Wednesday, June 17, 2009

17 JUN 09: Suck Up and Pay Up

Something strange and unexpected happened in Phenix City Tuesday. The temperature warmed up to 93 degrees F., but the City Council did NOT grow hotter to match....

The Phenix City Council made up with Mayor Sonny Coulter, one month after an open quarrel during a meeting. The mayor said he was sorry. Then the council voted to raise the mayor's salary. And if this was Washington, journalists would have pulled out the Latin phrase "quid pro quo."

Mayor Sonny Coulter took issue with a council vote in May to settle a legal case over land on Riverchase Drive. At the time, he said it "reeks of corruption." [20 May] Coulter's apparently now determined that odor he smelled was due to the last work on Streetscape.

Mayor Coulter explained Tuesday when he complained in May, "I spoke more from emotion than from intelligence." Why is he apologizing for that? That approach could get him on a lot of cable news talk shows.

Sonny Coulter added Phenix City voters elected him to speak with intelligence, not emotion. He may be on to something here. All political candidates should be required to take one of those online IQ tests.

The apology even extended to the Phenix City Attorney - as the Riverchase Drive land deal was settled by out-of-town lawyers, NOT him. This may explain why some people think Phenix City has several city attorneys. I guess to save gas, there's one on call every 20 miles.

From what I saw on the TV news, the Phenix City Council seemed to accept the mayor's apology. Jimmy Wetzel, who made his own outburst in May in response, said he hopes the council can put the incident behind it. Maybe in a dumpster, alongside the old police chief's badge....

(Did you notice Mayor Sonny Coulter was ready for trouble, in case the council did NOT accept his apology? He had a proclamation honoring Phenix City police officers and firefighters.)

Mayor Sonny Coulter told reporters after the meeting he'll talk no more about his emotional outburst of May. About the only person left in the area who could force him to talk about it is Calvin Floyd on "Rise N Shine."

(I'd say the Phenix City Council "kissed and made up" with the mayor - except City Clerk Charlotte Sierra was at the meeting, and any public kissing might have prompted to file another lawsuit.)

Then came the matter of the mayor's money - and the Phenix City Council vote was a bit confusing. The current mayor's salary will increase right away, to about $24,000. The next mayor's salary in 2012 will jump to $35,000. Yet I doubt Jeff Hardin will run again, because I remember him lobbying for $50,000.

Sonny Coulter told WXTX "News at Ten" the Phenix City Mayor essentially has a full-time job, whether people like it or not. He compared it to the mayors of Columbus, Eufaula and Smiths Station. OK - except the last two don't have city managers, as Phenix City does. And the Columbus mayor seems to delegate to the City Manager everything except law enforcement.

The mayor wasn't the only Coulter to come up at Tuesday's Phenix City Council. A portrait was unveiled of the late Hilda Coulter, who helped lead the Russell County Betterment Association during the "Sin City" era of the 1950s. I wonder if SHE ever apologized for saying something reeks of corruption....

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E-MAIL UPDATE: We tried to adjust our blog settings a bit for Tuesday's post. This message from Atlanta was the reason why....

Hi Richard,

I found your blog and wanted to subscribe or have an rss feed - I can't seem to find it. My mom used to say, "If it was a snake it would have bit you."

Please tell me so it won't bite me ;)



Wow - a blog subscriber! I can start the climb up, while the Ledger-Enquirer's numbers head down....

We've never done RSS feeds of this blog, because we honestly didn't know how. It may be "Real Simple Syndication" to many of you, but I was Really Stupid with Set-up.

I figured out how to switch the blog to send short feeds each day - but I don't think it worked. I mean, the bird population around my window didn't noticeably increase.

But Tuesday night we figured out a subscription alternative. Beginning today, Pam should receive our daily posts in her e-mail. If you'd like to try that, let the blog know and we'll put you on the list. We really do NOT try to bite, by the way - but perhaps sometimes we'll sting a little.

We should have told Pam of an even better idea - becoming a PAID subscriber to the blog. Check the details below about sending PayPal donations. Every little bit helps here -- especially when our poker playing is in a slump.

Now for some other quick Tuesday discoveries:

+ Columbus Council voted to commit $7.5 million in city funds to the new NCR plant. For those who were wondering, this comes to about 18,750 maximum daily ATM withdrawals. About 51 years' worth is one big investment.

+ A journalist from Argentina reported former Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel has a home somewhere in Alabama, and bases several corporations there as well. ¿Y por que no? And why not? If he flees to the U.S., Hugo Chavez would never think to look for him in Loachapoka.

+ Instant Message to the city of Eufaula: I didn't know you had a city "Pride Board." And I didn't know its job is to develop "activities increasing pride within the city." So what do you do between bass fishing tournaments?

The number of unique visitors to our blog is up more than 12.5 percent so far this year! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 640 (+ 22, 3.6%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

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