Friday, April 16, 2010

16 Apr 10: Have Home, Will Travel

Some political candidates put their personal lives on hold, when they seek public office. But Thursday brought another reminder that not every candidate in Columbus does that. Sometimes they even move out of town for the sake of their families - although former Constable Robert Schweiger was unable to persuade everyone in Hurtsboro to do that.

BLOG EXCLUSIVE: Seven months after using this blog to announce a campaign for Muscogee County School Board [18 Sep 09], Charles Lawhon surprisingly withdrew from the race Thursday. In true 2010 campaign style, he announced the change of plans in a Facebook posting. So far, potential opponent John Wells has yet to click the "like" option.

"God has blessed us with our First Brand New Home," Charles Lawhon explained in his Facebook message, "and it is in Alabama." I didn't realize all the incoming Fort Benning soldiers had gobbled up every home under construction in Columbus....

Since his new home is outside Georgia (much less Columbus), Charles Lawhon writes "I can't run for the Muscogee County School Board at this time." Hmmmm - at this time?! Does that mean Lawhon might move back someday and try another campaign? Is he waiting for two-thirds of the students to fail the CRCT's?

But in a separate e-mail exchange with your blog, Charles Lawhon admits a little frustration with his campaign for school board. "I was really disappointed in the number of people that wanted John Wells out of office," Lawhon writes, "but none of them wanted to serve on my campaign team." It's as if Wells has the power to transfer all opposing children to low-scoring schools across town.

In fact, Charles Lawhon felt some campaign backlash here last fall. When we posted a Big Blog Question about the 2010 election, some comments accused Lawhon of not doing enough to stop the presentation of a Georgia P.T.A. award to disgraced Columbus High School Principal Susan Bryant [4 Nov 09]. State P.T.A. events clearly need a place to put people in "time out" - even adults.

Charles Lawhon told us last September he had financial commitments from "Older Money People" in his bid for school board. But it's noteworthy that no financial disclosure report for Lawhon has been posted at the Columbus Election Board web site. Maybe older people need to hold on to their money more than ever these days....

Yet even though he's moving to Phenix City, Charles Lawhon tells me he'll still have an "open door" to Muscogee County Superintendent Susan Andrews "because of my position with P.T.A." He's on the national P.T.A. board's membership committee - but in Phenix City, he'll really need to watch out for fireworks-toting sports boosters.

In fact, Charles Lawhon says a seat was "extended" to him several weeks ago to serve on the Alabama State P.T.A. Board. We'll see if that's different from the Georgia state board - for instance, by offering to give a free lifetime membership to Nick Saban.

Charles Lawhon writes his P.T.A. work and his effort to promote "All-Pro Dads" through speeches and seminars provide "a greater opportunity to have a kingdom impact." As we noted last September, Lawhon is an unashamed Christian - so the "kingdom" he's describing has nothing to do with raising the title of President Obama.

The withdrawal of Charles Lawhon still leaves John Wells with opposition for another term on the Muscogee County School Board. Last time I checked, Bert Coker had NOT taken back his announcement here in November 2008 of a campaign against Wells. But now, Wells may not have to count big campaign donations to get to sleep at night.

E-MAIL UPDATE: We picked a radio name somewhat at random for Thursday's Blog Exclusive on Ed Bostic's new station - and look at what happened....

I should thank you for digging up the name Jack Diamond. I'm pretty sure that guy is THE Jack Diamond, the one who used to moonlight from his radio job to do weekend weather for my station in San Antonio back in the late '80s. Had not heard anything about him for years. Now I can e-mail him and find out if he remembers ME or not.

Kurt Schmitz

Chief Meteorologist


THE Jack Diamond?! I chose that name because I worked with a different one about 30 years ago, at a radio station in Kansas City. He went on to an oldies station in town, calling himself "Jumping Jack Diamond." But if he had jumped when I attended his wedding, his weight might have cracked the floor.

Since I didn't win big money at poker Thursday night with the Jack of diamonds, I'll keep blogging here -- and move on to other news items:

+ Which woman walked into a local tanning salon this week - and broke the tanning bed, because she weighs more than 285 pounds? If someone weighs this much, is a bronze body really going to be what people talk about at the beach?

+ Phenix City and Russell County officials held a combined meeting, on a proposal to expand the county jail. Mayor Sonny Coulter says much has changed since an agreement was signed 20 years ago, requiring Phenix City to help pay for expansion. For instance, a sheriff in Arizona has shown prisoners can be housed outdoors under tents.

+ Former Columbus Bank and Trust executive Gail Baker-Page was sentenced to eight months in prison for fraud. WTVM reported Federal Judge Clay Land reduced the sentence because Baker-Page was a "trailblazer" in local banking for African-American women. But she'll probably have to finish her sentence before receiving a proclamation about that from Mayor Pro Tem Evelyn Turner Pugh.

+ Aflac moved up 22 places on the "Fortune 500" list of the largest U.S. companies, and is now number 130. Fortune magazine places Aflac third among life and health insurance companies, with MetLife first - so even with that fast stock car, the duck still can't catch Snoopy with his blimp.

(Fortune estimates Aflac had $18.3 billion in revenues last year -- an amount which now tops the Southern Company. Restaurants with free Wi-fi may be the worst thing to happen to Georgia Power and Alabama Power in years.)

+ The Food Network showed an "Ace of Cakes" creating a giant cake shaped like the Aflac duck. It marked the duck's tenth anniversary -- and thanks to health care reform, I don't think the duck can lose his job anymore due to pre-existing web feet.

+ An insurance web site's survey ranked Georgia eighth among the states, for the highest auto insurance rates. The average Georgian pays more than $1,700 per year. I know a way for you to pay one-fifth of that price -- but you have to buy my 16-year-old Honda to do it.

+ The annual "C.S.U. Day" honored donors to Columbus State University. Who needs that Faculty Senate "no confidence" vote on the President, when you can count all those yard signs?

+ Chattahoochee Valley Community College expunged Enterprise-Ozark in college baseball 13-3. The Pirates have won 17 games in a row - while the major league Pittsburgh Pirates may do well to win 17 games by the end of May.

+ Atlanta fanned San Diego 6-2, in an unusual major league baseball game. The teams honored the late Jackie Robinson by having every player wear jersey number 42 -- so Atlanta might have cheated, and sent Jason Heyward up to bat 11 times.

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