Friday, October 16, 2009

16 OCT 09: Big Chief's Last Pages

Today is National Boss's Day. So the timing of Thursday's two big announcements at the Government Center was perfect. Columbus will vote for a new boss in about a year. And if you think the current boss is City Manager Isaiah Hugley, you haven't been paying attention to city business lately.

Mayor Jim Wetherington confirmed weeks of rumors, by announcing he will NOT seek a second term. The mayor explained he made a promise to his wife to serve only one term - so apparently NBC News is right to declare it "A Woman's Nation."

But the mayor was tempted to break that promise, because an internal poll showed 63 percent of Columbus residents supported him seeking a second term. That's a poll I'd like to personally review -- to find out if residents also were asked about the proposed Crime Prevention Director.

Mayor Jim Wetherington put it this way in a TV interview: "I've been on this public highway for about 50 years, and I see a sign ahead that says 'Rest Area.'" This is why I do NOT plan to run for mayor - I'm simply not folksy enough to do the job.

Jim Wetherington joined the Columbus Police Department in 1959. When he leaves office in January 2011, he'll be 73 years old. Based on the example of John McCain, that means Wetherington can begin planning a Presidential campaign.

But the mayor assured reporters he plans to "take a break" from public service once his term ends. So much for my big theory - that Jim Wetherington might borrow an idea from the Illinois Governor, and resign early after appointing himself Crime Prevention Director.

Mayor Wetherington says he still has things to accomplish before leaving office. For example, he wants to see blueprints for building a new tower at the Muscogee County Jail. Exactly where WILL they put the plaque naming the tower in his honor?

Only 30 minutes after Mayor Wetherington's announcement, there was another one at the Government Center - as Columbus Councilor Wayne Anthony announced he'll run for mayor. WLTZ reported the two men coordinated the timing of the events. After all, WRBL's cash-strapped news department needs to save on gas money.

Wayne Anthony admitted he could have announced his campaign for mayor a long time ago, but he waited until Thursday out of "deference" for Mayor Jim Wetherington. But when you only wait 30 minutes after the mayor's announcement.... well, you'd think a minister such as Anthony would be more patient than that.

Wayne Anthony told a news conference he wants to expand on Mayor Wetherington's commitment to public safety. Anthony's goals are "good neighbors in good neighborhoods" and "good jobs for good people." He said the word "good" so often that I thought he was running for mayor of Albany - you know, the Good Life City.

Your blog was first to report in 2006 that a campaign web site was registered in Jim Wetherington's name [26 Apr 06]. A check Thursday night found Wayne Anthony has held a web site named after him for several years. And while it claims to be "under construction," I can't help noticing Anthony is named a "saint" six times on the home page.

(The Jim Wetherington web site no longer exists, and the domain sale can be purchased by anyone. So maybe the mayor really means it, when he talks about a rest stop. Maybe he'll spend his free time in 2011 calling in regular tips to Crimestoppers.)

The Mass Media and other bloggers have been busy in recent days, check on other possible candidates for mayor. As of Thursday night, the scorecard looked like this....

+ Former City Manager Carmen Cavezza says he's NOT running. Being the unofficial mayor of Fort Benning while Commanding General apparently was enough of a power trip.

+ Current City Manager Isaiah Hugley says he's NOT running. Then again, he doesn't have to run. African-American leaders will demand all the other candidates guarantee Hugley's job is safe.

+ Minister Zeph Baker is learning toward a campaign. Remembering his race last year against Calvin Smyre, Baker should have the independent vote locked up. Trouble is, the mayor's race is nonpartisan.

+ Teresa Tomlinson of Midtown Inc. promises a decision in early 2010. She could become the first Columbus political candidate to be nominated for "C-Town Hottie" in The Edge magazine.

+ Councilor Skip Henderson.... well, he's in the rumor mix. But we're not sure whether he plans to run, and make it "Skip Town."

THE BIG BLOG QUESTION returns from a long break, to get your thoughts about the 2010 Columbus Mayor's race. We've posted five confirmed and possible candidates for your votes, along with an "Other" line. Enough write-in votes just might persuade Bert Coker to switch from his race for Muscogee County School Board.

Let's check what happened beyond the Government Center on Thursday....

+ Davis Broadcasting pulled the plug on "Mix 95.7" - changing WIOL-FM to a simulcast of WEAM-AM "1580 the Zone." That means you can hear the baseball playoffs and World Series in FM stereo. And I assume the "Two Live Stews" in the afternoon will have their own separate channels.

(Do you realize what this change by WIOL means for Columbus radio? Doug Kellett's long-suggested "FM talk" station finally has arrived - except the only time Rush Limbaugh's name will come up is when he tries to buy a pro football team.)

+ The Opelika-Auburn News reported Russell County High School football coach Rico White has been arrested. A grand jury apparently indicted him on charges of painting graffiti in a high school driveway. I shudder to think what would happen if cheerleaders painted arrows pointing toward the stadium.

(Rico White is charged with third-degree criminal mischief. He should be thankful the grand jury didn't look at his name, and indict him under the "RICO" racketeering act.)

+ The Georgia Board of Transportation met in Columbus, and named a section of State Highway 22 after former legislator Tom Buck. The Tom Buck Parkway will extend from 13th and Veterans Parkway to Buena Vista Road and Brown Avenue - so if anyone asks you where the Buck stops in Columbus, you have two possible answers.

+ WRBL reported Midtown Inc. has identified 44 potential new retail businesses for the neighborhood. The unnamed candidates include movie theaters -- so maybe the asphalt behind the Columbus Public Library can be used for something other than greenspace after all.

+ A dive into the Chattahoochee River to kick off "Help the Hooch" weekend was canceled. The river level is high to handle this week's rain - and apparently there's an extra charge for switching to bigger oxygen tanks.

(Did you hear about Lake Lanier finally reaching full pool, because of all the rain? Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue probably celebrated by driving to the lake with all the water jugs he could find.)

+ The Kendrick-Columbus high school football game at Kinnett Stadium was postponed until Saturday, because of stormy weather. Before you ask - no, the storms did NOT develop because the Kendrick coaching staff is under a cloud.

+ Instant Message to One Columbus: I'm a little confused. You're having the "City-Wide Barbeque" today at Fourth Street Baptist Church?! Were all the locations in Opelika booked?

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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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