*Appeared in the print edition of the the Gabber Newspaper on February 27, 2014
Every election we see a new crop of hopefuls, overflowing with ideas and ideals about how to make Gulfport better. And every year, I look at at least one of the candidates and wonder, “Where did you come from?” because I will never have seen them before. I am, if you follow my Twitter and Facebook whinings this time of year, an advocate of something not totally unlike hazing for the candidates.
Look, that’s not saying we should blindfold them and make them walk naked through the city, or whatever it is fraternities and sororities do that’s considered hazing (I wasn’t really the sorority type, if you couldn’t tell, so I’m winging it here), but I do think there should be some sort of initiation ritual for candidates, beyond “filling out the forms properly” (although that’s thinned the herd more than once, I’ll admit.)
This year, I’m helping plan the Gulfport Historical Society’s first-ever History Hunt – which is exactly what it sounds like, a scavenger hunt through downtown with some history-based clues. I’ve also, because it’s election season, started obsessing on one of my favorite topics: how well elected officials know their city. More and more I feel as though it would be totally appropriate to put the hopefuls through a fun little test. Sort of an initiation.
Now, I freely admit I don’t have all the answers and also that I tend towards the – let’s call it the “extreme.” Nonetheless, I’d like to propose a challenge of our own for the candidates and anyone else who wants to play. And because this is my column, I’ve created the questions and challenges.
So go ahead, take the challenge yourself. Send me your answers. Think of it as a preview of the March 29 scavenger hunt. The first 10 people to send me the correct answers get a free “You Know You’re a Gulfportian If…” t-shirt. And let’s hope above hope that both our candidates will rank among the ten winners. Also, if you’re a Worthington or the town historian, you’re not eligible. That’s called “stacking the deck”.
1. What is the address of the old harbormaster’s house?
2. Where is there a tree planted in honor of the current city manager’s grandmother?
3. Who is Gulfport’s “Eve”?
4. What was the name of the restaurant where ladies danced topless?
5. Where is Osgood Point?
6. What is the name of the dog the current mayor adopted at a previous Get Rescued event?
7. Which former city council member makes the hush puppies for the masses?
8. Name any of the galleries or gallery owners on Beach Boulevard during the first ArtWalk.
9. Name at least two of the businesses that preceeded T and Me Tea Company.
10. Who founded the Gabber?
11. How long may boats currently be anchored in waters adjacent to Gulfport?
12. What are our city boundaries and which municipalities border us?
13. Are golf carts legal on city streets?
14. What are the city’s two enterprise funds?
15. Who was Nathan White?
16. Name two buildings which once had military-related purposes.
17. Why are there two Tangerines?
18. Who was the first mayor?
19. Who was Reese Whitworth?
20. Name five former city council members and their wards.
One final note: it’s no crime to get help; elected officials realize quickly they must rely on a team of people to make their time in office productive. Best of luck to you!