Tuscaloosa police officer promises to be District 6 voice

By Rudy Rodriguez

Running opposite current council member, Bob Lundell in the race for the City Council District 6 seat is Mike Zeilner, a 13-year resident of Tuscaloosa.

Zeilner, father to five children, has worked as a Tuscaloosa City police officer for the past 12 years.

In addition to this position, he is also the owner of two local businesses, MCZ Security Services and Tropical Tan tanning salon.

Another political campaign

However, Zeilner is no stranger to the City Council campaign race, having ran previously for the same position in 2005.

For the 2009 elections, Zeilner says his campaign approach hasn’t had any drastic changes.

“The biggest difference is I took a more grassroots approach, talking directly to the people and listening to their concerns,” Zeilner said. “This time around more people in the neighborhoods were involved.”

Zeilner said that his decision to run for City Council again came about from a promise he made four years ago.

“ I said that in four years if the district was better and things were going well, you wouldn’t hear from me but apparently my neighbors and friends didn’t feel enough was done and not enough got accomplished, and I decided to run,” Zeilner said.

Top priority: Growth

Zeilner says his biggest concerns are the lack of protection and involvement citizens have in regards to the current growth developments in District 6.

“It’s the biggest growing district in the city right now and with all the mass development going on, I’d like to see the community a little more involved in this growth,” Zeilner said.

He would also like to implement an Early Notification Act which would require builders and developers to hold public forums to notify the public of any future plans before they are introduced to the city council.

“Right now we see lots being cleared and nobody knows what’s going there so we don’t know if we are for it, behind it, or against it until it goes to the city planning board,” Zeilner said. “An Early Notification Act would prevent this.”

Above all else, Zeilner stresses his desire to serve the citizens of Tuscaloosa by letting their voice be heard.

Law enforcement experience an asset

“I think my biggest asset is, as a police officer, I know what public service means,” Zeilner said.

You do it for the people, and that’s what I want to do it (serve on City Council) for, the people.

I want to go to city hall and be their voice; I don’t want to be their brain. My message is going to be their message. I don’t want to pretend to know what’s best for them or what’s good for the people. They’re going to tell me and I’m going to carry that message.”