30 MAR 07: BUBBA AND THE BURNING BUSH
The next step came Thursday in the fight for control of Phenix City government. But no, Eve Tidwell is NOT organizing a "God Bless City Managers" rally....
Phenix City Councilman Ray Bush told WRBL he's started a petition drive to have the city's form of government changed. The City Manager style would be eliminated, with a "strong Mayor" style replacing it - since we've come to see Jeff Hardin isn't strong enough to get City Manager Bubba Roberts to resign on his own.
Ray Bush says a strong-Mayor form of government would be better for improving Phenix City's economy. He explains City Managers aren't well known for bringing new businesses to a city. Maybe not - but they know how to delegate such things to The Valley Partnership.
But isn't Ray Bush forgetting something here? The two big job announcements in Phenix City this month have occurred with Bubba Roberts serving as City Manager. Mayor Jeff Hardin still hasn't been able to fulfill that campaign promise to bring a movie theater back to town....
Close watchers of local government probably suspect what Ray Bush is doing has little to do with job growth. Bush is Mayor Jeff Hardin's closest ally on the Phenix City Council - and since they don't have the votes to fire City Manager Bubba Roberts, he's going in a different direction. It's almost like Bush is borrowing from the weather forecasts for a "backdoor cold front."
Ray Bush and the "Concerned Citizens for a Better Phenix City" have about 300 names on petitions so far. If they can get ten percent of the voters in the last city election to sign their names, the question about keeping a City Manager will go on the ballot. Then former Muscogee County Marshal Ken Suddeth can resurface, as a special adviser to help Bubba Roberts keep his job.
Phenix City Councilman John Storey responded to the petition drive by saying there's no need to change the city's form of government right now. If he decides to run for mayor next year and wins, then he might talk about it....
Mayor Jeff Hardin declined to comment on the petition drive, even though he stands to gain the most power from it. Some of us are waiting for a letter to surface, in which the mayor asks Ray Bush to form that "Concerned Citizens" group.
Meanwhile, Jim Wetherington is about to mark three months as Columbus Mayor - and if you'll notice, he's done nothing to remove City Manager Isaiah Hugley. So those rumors from last year's campaign appear to have been bogus. Unless, of course, the mayor tries to follow up that "land swap" with an across-the-river "manager swap."
E-MAIL UPDATE: I have no way to verify this report, so I'll simply post it and comment:
A lady near CSU paid a pet detective from Augusta to search for her lost cat..He arrived with search and rescue dogs..He walked the neighborhood trailing the cat..Never found him..charged her $900 for a 24 hr search...I think I'm in the wrong business..
Maybe the problem was with this detective's method. You bring in search dogs, to look for a cat?! That's a bit like thinking committed Christians can lure Usama bin-Laden out of hiding....
I wondered why a woman would go all the way to Augusta to hire a pet detective. But when I looked in the Columbus Yellow Pages, none of the detectives and "private investigators" mentioned anything about finding animals. Maybe there's a deal in Columbus, so psychics get the first crack at them.
But the fee for cat-searching doesn't surprise me all that much. Some people are so absorbed in their animals that they'll pay hundreds of dollars to track them down. In fact, you wonder why this woman didn't spend some money to put a GPS tracking system around the cat's neck.
(And I'm sorry, but I simply can't resist asking - did this pet detective from Augusta happen to go by the first name of Ace?)
Now for other confirmed discoveries from Thursday's news:
+ The high temperature in Columbus again tied an all-time high for March, at 89 degrees F. I honestly didn't notice it as much this time - so maybe all the pine pollen is providing me with insulation.
+ New Muscogee County Republican Chair Josh McKoon was the guest host of WRCG's "TalkLine." He warned there's pressure on the Library Board to allow residences on land behind the main library. As long as one of them has a giant outdoor swimming pool to match that enclosed natatorium, what's the problem?
+ The United Negro College Fund held its annual "Night of Excellence" at the Trade Center. Please do not confuse this with a typical evening shift at a Waffle House - which is a night of averageness.
+ Jacksonville surprised the Columbus Cottonmouths in the Southern League playoff opener, winning 2-1 in double overtime. Those of you who left the Civic Center before the overtime period began - well, this is why the Pittsburgh Penguins considered moving to Las Vegas, and not here.
(You could tell the playoffs were underway and things were serious, simply by listening to the radio broadcast on WEAM-AM. Mike Vee broke down during the first overtime, and used the "H-word" twice.)
+ Columbus Lions head coach Jason Gibson announced he's changing starting quarterbacks, even though the team is 2-1 and in first place. If this man was in charge of WRBL, everyone on the staff might have been a news anchor by now.
+ Instant Message to WHAL-AM: Congratulations on marking one year as "Viva 1460" this weekend. From what I can tell, you've succeeded so far in blocking all takeovers by the Minuteman Project.
SCHEDULED THIS WEEKEND: A special Sunday edition of "Hurtsboro Monday," thanks to someone named Russell....
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