We thank the Kiwanis for inviting us to share their breakfast meeting and their guest speaker, Mayor Eddie DeLoach, with us this past week. We enjoyed this personal meeting with the Kiwanis members and the Mayor.
Mayor DeLoach, in turn, thanked the Kiwanis and the members of the Skidaway Island Rotary Club for their efforts to help the community they share, including money, knowledge, volunteering…….we in Savannah know, he said, how much is done by these two groups of people and by many others who are a part of the Landings community. Please, he said, continue to do what you are doing.

Our mayor made three points in his presentation to us, all having to do with the youth of our area.

First, crime. When I was elected, he told us, I myself, and my constituents, all agreed we are fed up with the crime in Savannah. Change is needed. Overall, in Savannah, there are industries amounting to some two and a half billion dollars, and they are at risk. Poverty is the basic cause of the problem. (The official figure shows a 25% poverty rate.) The young people need an opportunity to work – but many don’t know how – have little schooling, and that too late, don’t know how to dress, write a resume, show up on time, etc., etc. What’s needed are programs for teens so that they can learn these basics. And before that we must teach and engage with young children so that they do not get into trouble. They must start learning and socialization very early in life, so that they can get their education and then benefit from work opportunities that are there for them. The mayor praised the police department and Chief Lumpkin; his ideas are great, he said, and he has been chronically short of manpower. The department should be up to “snuff” by October, and, the mayor said, please thank a police officer for his or her service if you see one, it’s a difficult job.

Second, young adults who are capable of doing a job; some are already known to the courts and jail…..we are providing opportunities for them via contractors for the city. These are companies doing work for the city whom the city can control; it can ask them to offer jobs to these youths to give them a chance. The companies have to pay them the going wage because of the competition, and the young people get a chance to experience going to work, showing up on time, obeying orders and learning skills for the future.

Third, athletic programs. There is no money in the budget for these programs, and they are key for kids. There has not been any money for this for the past twenty years. At best, in the city and county, there are 4 areas for play. We must do something about this, it is directly relevant to kids all over our area.

At the end of the meeting the mayor answered many questions from the floor. These concerned the fairgrounds, the issue of the release of felons into the community without notification, (there is a 60% recidivism rate among them), Junior Achievement, which should be a part of the school curriculum, and more. He thanked the programs by the professors at Savannah Tech which are geared to help this same segment of our community. Our mayor has many good ideas. We hope he gets the chance, the votes, and the money, to put them into effect.
Below is is a photo of President Elect Bill, Mayor Eddie DeLoach and President Tom (his last meeting).