Monday, November 02, 2009

2 NOV 09: Aren't They Special?

One year from today, the Columbus Election Board office will be busy. There will be all sorts of candidates on the Election Day ballot - from Columbus Council to the Georgia Governor's office. It'll be all poll workers can do to keep "tea parties" from breaking out at polling places all over town.

But in this off-year, there's a special election in Harris and Muscogee Counties on Election Day. Tuesday's vote is SO special that only parts of Columbus can vote in it - and not a single member of President Obama's party has felt emboldened to run.

The vote is for Georgia House District 129 -- the district served by Vance Smith of Pine Mountain, before he was named Georgia Transportation Commissioner. You may have noticed Smith has returned to Columbus a couple of times since taking that new job. Is he checking the quality of the roads, or whether candidates are taking the high road?

Four Republicans are on the ballot, hoping to succeed Vance Smith. One of them happens to be Smith's son Kip - whom I presume has used the phrase "Kip off the old block" in campaign appearances at least 25 times.

We went to a site set up by the League of Women Voters to see where Kip Smith stands on issues. Trouble is, Smith sent in no information - so either you're supposed to copy and paste his father's views, or he's been too busy running to take a stand on things.

The League of Women Voters also received no information from Earl Davis. Davis last served in the Georgia legislature 35 years ago. He may be in the G.O.P., but he also appeals to the G.O.B.'s - you know, the Good Old Boys.

Earl Davis might contend a vote for him Tuesday is a vote to bring back the "good old days" to Georgia politics. The days when Jimmy Carter was Governor, and could only get national attention as a contestant on "What's My Line."

Steve Earles's campaign signs along Bradley Park Drive tout his "experience" for a House seat. It includes a place on the Georgia Board of Massage Therapy - which could mean he merely rubs down people for campaign donations, instead of shaking them down.

The League of Women Voters guide shows Steve Earles has some old-fashioned proposals for Georgia government. He wants the school year to begin in September, and term limits on elected officials. So it's just as well Vance Smith resigned his house seat after 17 years - he probably had been there too long.

The best-known name on Tuesday's ballot is undoubtedly Jerry Luquire. He lists his occupation as "publishing consultant," but his career includes years hosting Columbus radio and TV talk shows. I'm a bit surprised Luquire's opponents haven't brought up some of his more colorful quotes - like when he called hurricanes "little" weeks before Katrina struck.

Jerry Luquire told the League of Women Voters he opposes a statewide sales tax - but he supports a new sales tax on lottery tickets. You know times are tough in Georgia when someone wants to tax the losing gamblers, along with the winners.

There's been little buzz about this four-way House race, aside from a TV appearance or two and scattered radio ads. Perhaps it's because all the candidates are Republicans - or perhaps it's because Josh McKoon has been too focused on his own 2010 State Senate race to dig up dirt on anyone else.

If Republican House member Richard Smith has endorsed a candidate in this special election, I haven't heard about it. His web sites don't mention it, and state financial reports filed two weeks ago don't indicate Smith has donated money to any campaign. This probably stems from the knowledge that Smith will have to work with the winner, whether he likes that man or not.

-> Sunday night turned out to be dramatic for us, in an online poker tournament. Read what happened at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <--

BLOG UPDATE: Today might be called "D Day" in the Phenix Friday Football Fireworks Flap. It might - but they're shooting off fireworks, not dynamite.

We heard from a Columbus fireworks show expert (and blog patron) Sunday about the controversial Central High School fireworks displays. Stephen King says all the Booster Club needed to do was gain permission from the Phenix City Fire Marshal, without going to officials in Montgomery. But the more approval slips you have, the more likely you are to shut up upset Council members.

Stephen King encouraged the Booster Club to shoot off fireworks during Friday night's Phenix City Central playoff game. He said there's no risk of anything burning - and besides, they'll always face "people trying to complain about everything." Does this mean the Phenix City Council will get a surprise visit from Paul Olson?

So we've looked ahead to Monday and Tuesday - but what happened Sunday? Several things....

+ The Ledger-Enquirer asked Columbus Councilor Gary Allen where he stood on the proposed Crime Prevention Director - but he didn't give a direct answer. How many more things in Columbus does he want named after his dad?

. + The Columbus Civic Center hosted a rock concert by REO Speedwagon and Styx. The last time Styx played in Columbus, I think the group wore baseball jerseys....

+ The annual "Christmas Made in the South" show closed at the Trade Center. Organizers told WXTX News at Ten Mountain Time after baseball attendance was up 30 percent this year.-- which I fear will only encourage WGSY-FM "Sunny 100" to start the Christmas music even earlier.

(Doesn't this show set a terrible example, when it comes to rushing the seasons? Now I'm seeing signs for an "Ultimate Guys' Expo" in mid-November - seven months before Father's Day.)

+ The new Oasis Hotel opened in Shorter, Alabama, next to Victoryland. After staring at slot machines mindlessly for hours, you're going to need a nice place to sleep.

+ Jamie McMurray won the NASCAR race at Talladega. Wild crashes in the last ten laps sent two cars flipping onto their roofs - making me wonder if the sponsor of this race shouldn't be Amp Energy drinks, but a company specializing in upside-down mortgages.

+ An Atlanta jewelry store began an unusual offer tied to the Georgia-Georgia Tech football game. If a player runs a kick back for a touchdown during the rivalry game, any item purchased at Solomon Brothers during November will be free [True/Tech Radio Network]. This is about the only chance Georgia players still have for "getting a ring" this season.

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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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