Friday, July 28, 2006


The candidates for Columbus Mayor had their first campaign showdown Thursday. Bob Poydasheff and Jim Wetherington came together at 7:30 a.m. - and let's face it: both men are so up in years, they might consider WXTX "News at Ten" past their bedtimes.

The "Jim-Bob" joint appearance occurred during a Columbus Chamber of Commerce "Eye-Opener Breakfast" at the Trade Center. I wasn't able to go, so can anyone tell me if appropriate drinks were served? Did pro-Wetherington Democrats demand some "Red Bull" be displayed?

Mayor Bob Poydasheff told the audience he's running for reelection on his record of "positive effective leadership." I fear some public safety employees would rephrase that a bit - to start with "positively," then a different sort of word with "ef."

Challenger Jim Wetherington told the audience he's prepared to offer "genuine leadership skills" as mayor. I'm not sure how that would make him so different. Perhaps Wetherington will promise to stay inside the U.S. on his summer vacations.

It only figured that public safety would come up at the candidates' forum, since.... oh yeah, that reminds me. Why does the Chamber of Commerce have "forums" instead of debates? Are we simply too courteous and gentle-minded in Columbus to have a debate about something? If Chamber leaders think so, they must not listen to "TalkLine" or read the letters to the newspaper.

But anyway: when it comes to public safety, Mayor Bob Poydasheff says Police Chief R. Boren has received "the extra ammunition he needs" in recent months. That's funny - I thought the budget issue was personnel, not bullets....

Jim Wetherington is unimpressed by the adjustments in the new city budget to benefit public safety. "He had four years," Wetherington told the breakfast. And Mayor Poydasheff may be thankful about that - because in Phenix City he would only have three.

But incumbent Bob Poydasheff dismissed suggestions that businesses are avoiding Columbus because of crime or police problems. He said if the city really was poor, businesses would not be locating here. Simply drive north for proof -- since Krispy Kreme never opened a freestanding doughnut shop for Jim Wetherington's police force.

(By the way: didn't Mayor Poydasheff promise to open his campaign headquarters on 13th Street by August? Only four days are left in July - so maybe he needs to break away from reprogramming the city paycheck computers for one night....)

Randy Robertson of the Fraternal Order of Police attended the Chamber of Commerce forum, and told one reporter it proved public safety affects all aspects of Columbus. Well, yes - but so do city road crews, and I don't hear any of them lobbying for extra money to fix potholes.

More than 14 weeks remain before Election Day, so we're likely to see "Jim-Bob" come together again. Some people who attended Thursday's breakfast openly wished the candidates would be more specific with their plans. About the only part of city government where you're liable to get such specifics is the lunch menu of a senior center.


Power Frisbee heads to Augusta this Sunday, for an open tryout to find who will represent that city on opening night! And pre-season stops in Columbus and LaGrange are coming August 13. Find out where and learn all about our new game at the official Power Frisbee web site; then offer your comments about it at the P.F.G. blog.

Now a quick check of other thrilling Thursday subjects:

+ The federal department of Housing and Urban Development presented a grant check for about three million dollars to the Columbus Housing Authority. It occurred at the old Peabody Apartments site, which is being renovated into the new "Ashley Station." How Ashley Nix arranged for this to be named after her before she left town, I have no idea....

+ Glenwood High School became the first team in the area to begin football practice. Well, at least that's what the evening news said. So many high school teams have "passing camps" during the summer now that I wonder if running backs should sue for discrimination.

+ Instant Message to Reginald Pugh: Oh dear - I didn't realize. After reading what the Street Committee reported in "The Courier" Thursday, you really didn't have to leave that meeting of African-American leaders to talk to me. I'm a single guy - so I'm used to waiting a long time for the phone to ring.

BURKARD'S BEST BETS: Gas for $2.87 a gallon at Dolly Madison on Victory Drive.... FREE "Summerfest" from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. at the Liberty Theater.... Tim Hudson bobblehead doll night Saturday at the Catfish game, fittingly sponsored by Hughston Orthopedic Hospital....

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