WITH the Metro Police HQ on Habersham as a backdrop, former Chatham County Commissioner and local businessman Eddie DeLoach announced his campaign for Savannah Mayor today.
Calling Savannah a "shootin' range," DeLoach pledged to fully staff the police department within his first year in office.
"In Ellis Square five innocent bystanders are hit by bullets from nowhere. How is that possible in the City of Savannah? That’s why I’m here," he said.
"We're 100 officers short right now! We need to offer quality pay and benefits and actually back them up in what they do."
DeLoach quickly pivoted to the issue of the current Mayor and Council's record of fiscal mismanagement, including a jab at the City's current obsession with outsourced consultants.
"There was the Waters & 38th Street property to build a police station. Nothing happened, it's a waste of money. There was the pharmacy on MLK, they tore that building down, another waste of money," he said.
"They did a study on the Civic Center. Do you know what’s happening with the Civic Center? Nobody knows what's happening with the Civic Center, it fell off the map," DeLoach said.
"We need to be sure that if we do a study it’s for a reason, not to just placate people. And when we decide to do something we move forward instead of sit back and wait for something to happen."
Referencing James Oglethorpe's original city plan featuring Savannah's world-famous squares, DeLoach said, "This city was founded on a vision. Since 1733 we all have been following that road map. We all benefit from that road map today."
DeLoach says the main problem today is leadership lacking strategic vision.
"Where is our long range plan for the City of Savannah? If you go down to City Hall right now you cannot find a long-range plan. It’s a hit and miss deal down there," he said to laughter.
"When I take office there will be a long-term plan. My goal is to make sure we do have that long-range plan. Something down on paper people can follow. And then move forward. That’s what this election is about," he concluded.
During his short speech, DeLoach was flanked by some notable Savannah business and political figures, including Reed Dulany of Dulany Industries, state Rep. Ron Stephens, downtown business leader Lowell Kronowitz, and once-rumored mayoral candidate and area businessman O.C. Welch.