Monday, June 28, 2010

28 JUN 10: Enter and Sign In, Please

After months of planning and positioning, a big week begins in Columbus today. Surely you've noticed all the paving work on Veterans Parkway and downtown streets - all to make sure candidates get to the Elections Office without ruining their cars.

It's time for "qualifying week" for Columbus city elections. Candidates will file for mayor, five city council seats, half of the Muscogee County School Board.... in fact, about the only office you CAN'T seek is an Election Board seat to oversee everybody else.

Sunday's Ledger-Enquirer revealed how much it costs to run for Columbus city office. The qualifying fee for Council is $420. The fee to run for mayor is $1,950. This makes the mayor's office a better value, because you can serve eight times as many people at a 42-percent discount rate.

Unlike other years, many candidates for Columbus city office already have announced their campaigns. But in a stunning shift, Bert Coker has indicated he'll run for the at-large Columbus Council seat - after telling this blog he was running for school board. Coker had better not say anything in his campaign about keeping his promises....

It was November 2008 when Bert Coker told me he'd run for Muscogee County School Board [9 Nov 08], apparently against John Wells. But in late May, Coker filed a "Declaration of Intention" form at the Government Center saying he'd run for Council Post 9 instead. At least Charles Lawhon was polite enough to announce his campaign flip-flop online.

Bert Coker's change means qualifying week will begin with no official challenger for John Wells, where once he seemed to have two. What could have made the difference? Did Wells threaten to bring in some bulls from Pamplona, Spain to run through Columbus streets?

Bert Coker will be part of a crowded campaign for the Council seat Wayne Anthony is surrendering. Election Board records show five candidates plan to run for Post 9 - so it maybe "at large," but the percentages for each contestant may be really small.

The Courier's columnist "Brother Love" raised a good point recently about Post 9 candidate Judy Thomas. If she has campaign signs all over Columbus, why hasn't she resigned her job as the mayor's executive assistant? Besides that, how did a Democrat like Thomas approve "JT" logos which look a little like a Republican elephant?

(This is a case where the "letter of the law" and the spirit of the law are different things. Thomas probably would say she's not officially a candidate until she files the fee. And for all we know, those campaign signs may be posted by off-duty police officers.)

As of now, two Columbus Councilors have no announced opposition. Mimi Woodson is likely to run for another term in District 7. It appears Mike Baker will do the same in District 5 - and do it very quietly, to match his approach to the past four years.

The main event in Columbus, of course, is the race for mayor. In case you've missed some critical developments of recent days....

+ Large billboards for Zeph Baker appeared across the city. Let the record show one of them DOES have his picture on it, north of Manchester Expressway.

+ Teresa Tomlinson was invited to speak at the Junior Marshal program's closing ceremony. Marshal Greg Countryman may be more color-blind than some people think.

+ Paul Olson's website disclosed his wife "at one time was considered one of the best lady bowlers in the state of Georgia...." We certainly don't want a mayor whose wife has a gutter mentality.

This is also a big campaign week in Atlanta. Independent candidates can file papers for statewide offices, from Governor to the General Assembly. So it's a different sort of qualifying week there - or as they might be calling it at Reginald Pugh's house, "last call."

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. See what we mean at "On the Flop!" <-

BLOG UPDATE: That critical minister we mentioned Saturday might want to pay attention to the wife of the Cascade Hills Church Pastor. This weekend's Bill Purvis telecast on WLTZ featured Debbie Purvis warning: "You don't touch God's anointed." Too bad the e-mail critics of her husband don't sign their names - I can't check the obituary listings for them.

Debbie Purvis admitted husband Bill sometimes receives "constructive criticisms" about his preaching. But she claimed based on the Bible, you correct ministers at your own peril. Wow - do I feel guilty! I went to the Pastor a couple of years ago and noted his Powerpoint presentation referred to Second Thessalonians, when it should have said First.

Speaking of risking a "God-smack," let's see what else caught our attention over the weekend....

+ A severe thunderstorm spread rain across north Columbus. WTVM reported lightning hit a tree, causing a brief fire at a home for sale on 17th Avenue. The real estate agent quickly changed the ad online to include the words, "fixer-upper."

+ Amateur radio buffs concluded a 24-hour exercise at Idle Hour Park in Phenix City. You'd think more people would have this hobby in the rural South - you know, as country hams.

+ Instant Message to whomever set up a fireworks tent on Macon Road in front of Kmart: You know the rules, right? If you sell anything other than sparklers in Georgia, you'll wish those Black Cats never crossed your path....

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