Tuesday, April 06, 2010

6 APR 10: Passing the Police Baton?

A surprising e-mail was in my InBox Monday night. It was from a woman who's written the blog before - but for a change, she was NOT taking me to task for misquoting the Columbus mayor....

Executive to the Mayor Judy Thomas announced she's running for the District 9 city-wide Columbus Council seat Wayne Anthony is giving up. Yes, her title is Executive to the Mayor -- which doesn't sound as strange as Pope Benedict having a "Personal Preacher," but it's close.

A news release from Judy Thomas says she wants to use "the knowledge that I've amassed" as Executive to Mayor Jim Wetherington, by serving on Columbus Council. Translation: the current candidates for mayor have NOT promised Thomas a job next year.

Judy Thomas reveals in her news release that she's 64. Some people might make that age an issue - but keep something in mind. Compared with the last two Columbus mayors, that's youthful and exuberant. And Councilor Red McDaniel might call Thomas a "spring chicken."

I've heard people compare Judy Thomas to a "bulldog," in the way she sticks up for Mayor Jim Wetherington -- even keeping a close watch on Columbus Council meetings. It's a good thing Bert Coker is running for the school board, because Thomas might challenge his remarks in debates by calling in some of those 100 new police officers.

While Mayor Jim Wetherington is NOT seeking re-election, there's little doubt from Monday's news release that Judy Thomas will run for Council on his record. But there was one big problem with her statement - a failure to use Wetherington's "phrase that pays." You have to praise public safety in there somewhere....

Yet I couldn't help thinking Monday night of one of the e-mails Judy Thomas has sent this blog in recent years. It asked me to "keep my name out of your blog," after she spoke at a workshop titled "A Practical Guide to Union Avoidance" [19 Sep 08]. I left her name out - well, at least that day.

Judy Thomas is joining a crowded race for Columbus Council District 9. The other announced candidates are real estate agents Travis Chambers and Shep Mullin. So it's a fight between people who want to sell houses, and someone more concerned about protecting them from criminals.

Speaking of campaign surprises, I didn't realize until Monday that Russell County Commissioner Ronnie Reed is running for the Alabama House. He apparently announced his intentions months ago - but Columbus news media didn't mention it, so Reed must not have brought up electronic bingo.

Ronnie Reed is challenging State Rep. George Bandy in the Democratic primary. And as we all know, the only issue in Alabama politics this year is gambling. I don't even remember if Reed supported putting video games in the lobby of The Phenixian.

By the way, a blog about Alabama politics notes Rep. Lesley Vance is unopposed for re-election after the qualifying deadline. So much for voters being angry about his bill to give Phenix City officials big raises. The only one who might be upset never seems to sign his snail mail letters to me....

E-MAIL UPDATE: Another item in the InBox Monday night went back to last week's Columbus radio change....

Richard, I enjoyed reading the history of WRCG. I've been listening to that station since the early l980's. There was one mistake made, however. Russ Hollenbeck was the host of Talkline for one year in between Doug Graham and Robbie Watson.Talkline was always extremely popular and I believe PMB Broadcasting made a serious mistake when they refused to bring WRCG's most popular program back. The two most popular hosts of that program I believe were J. Edward Wilson and Doug Kellett. I think most of us regulars (daily listeners) realized the program was going downhill when a co-host was added to the program with Robbie Watson in her last year there. I have continued to listen to Bill Bennett, Neal Boortz, Clark Howard, and Kim Komando. But since they are now gone from the lineup I will certainly abandon WRCG after almost 30 years. Maybe the last listener to WRCG should turn the lights out! I do receive daily emails from Doug Kellett informing me about his schedule on various out of state stations. Since I bought a new car about six months ago which has satellite radio I must say I have really enjoyed listening to the classic country stations without commercials. Unless some other local station picks up some of the talk programs that WRCG had I will abandon local radio. Former WRCG and Talkline listener

That wasn't really a "mistake" made by Doug Kellett Friday. The "old Talkline producer" he mentioned actually was Russ Hollenbeck. But that's OK -- the name "Jerry Garcia" is far more likely to lead people here in web searches.

This listener's change to satellite radio reinforces our puzzle, about why Columbus stations don't try to sound more local. That approach probably helps WFXE-FM "Foxie 105" stay on top of the ratings. But even Davis Broadcasting has stations which rely on national hosts most of the day - and don't get more "local" than Paul Finebaum in Birmingham.

-> You can't win 'em all at the poker table. Find out what happened to us Thursday night at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

BLOG UPDATE: Sigh -- so near and yet so far. Duke downed Butler 61-59 Monday night to win the NCAA men's basketball title. And as a result, my dream of a second-place prize in the "My Bracket is Money" contest was blown up. I wound up 36th out of 448 entries - and if Piggly Wiggly had run this like most poker tournaments, I still would have earned a little money.

The "Blog of Columbus" bracket wound up with the best pick percentage, with 70 percent of my choices correct. All that gets me is a random drawing among all the players to win an iPod. Had I won the $1,000 gift card for second place, I might have fixed the iPod I have - the one that still refuses to charge, so is more like an iDud.

Before I go dream about other things, let's check other Monday matters....

+ The high temperature in Columbus was 88 degrees F. If it stays this sunny and hot for a few more days, the yellow pollen will turn a sunburned bronze.

+ Hollywood Connection announced it now will close at 9:00 p.m. every day, including weekends. That should chase those unruly teenagers away - all the way to the Columbus Park Crossing parking lot.

+ An afternoon drive home from Montgomery led to a surprising low gas price. A Crown station on U.S. 80 in the Society Hill area has regular unleaded for $2.64 a gallon - which beat the best prices in Columbus and Montgomery. Sometimes it's a good thing, when news travels slowly to those rural spots.

+ Atlanta opened the baseball season by shelling the Chicago Cubs 16-5. The score was 6-3 after one inning - leading some fans at Turner Field to wonder if they were at Wrigley Field by mistake.

+ Instant Message to whomever runs the "Hillbilly Mall" along U.S. 80 in Macon County, Alabama: Does anyone ever act like Zell Miller, and complain to you about that name? Especially when they discover your "mall" is NOT a log cabin with a steel car port attached?

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