Wednesday, June 02, 2010

2 JUN 10: Taylor Made

Alabamians went to the polls Tuesday, for what WTVM General Manager Lee Brantley declared in an editorial was something "uniquely American." It is?! Is our country the only one on Earth which holds elections?! If Brantley really thinks so, he should join Chuck Leonard on one of those trips to Canada or Europe.

The biggest local race in the Alabama Primary turned out largely as expected. Heath Taylor won the Democratic Primary for Russell County Sheriff by about a two-to-one margin over Jeff Gibson. Let the record show that's a wider margin than the "white-to-black" population of Russell County. So it appears about 15 percent of the residents are color-blind....

"I'm in shock," Heath Taylor said on the late-night news about the vote which for all practical purposes makes him Russell County Sheriff. I'm really not sure why. Taylor was endorsed by outgoing Sheriff Tommy Boswell. He had a fairly large advertising budget. And his opponent was a man who now hopes to go back to dog catching in Columbus.

Heath Taylor took a leave of absence from the Russell County Sheriff's Department to campaign for the top job. He says he'll now take a break for a few days, before preparing to take the Sheriff's office. Hopefully Tommy Boswell can resist taking that fishing trip a little longer.

Even before the Russell County Sheriff vote was final, a large cake was brought out at Heath Taylor's campaign party. "Congratulations, Heath," it proclaimed. But if there were no Heath bars embedded in the batter, something seems suspicious....

It appeared late Tuesday night Russell County Commissioner Ronnie Reed would lose his bid for the Alabama House. Incumbent George "Tootie" Bandy had a lead of about 500 votes - so if Reed hired a band to play "Toot-Toot Tootie Goodbye," it hopefully also knew how to play the blues.

Billy Beasley came close to winning a majority, in an Alabama Senate race. But it appeared Tuesday night he'll head to a Democratic runoff against Johnny Ford -- who probably will call for a debate between greyhound races at Victoryland.

The most famous candidate on the Alabama Primary ballot appeared to be a loser late Tuesday. No, not Senator Richard Shelby - tough-talking YouTube sensation Dale Peterson. He was third in the Republican race for Agriculture Commissioner. This could be a fatal blow to Glenn Beck's Presidential chances for 2012.

Several other familiar names were shown the proverbial door by Alabama voters. Attorney General Troy King lost the Republican primary to Luther Strange. If you thought Alabama politics was a little strange before now....

And George Wallace Jr. lost the Republican primary for Alabama State Treasurer by a two-to-one margin. The winner was a man named Young Boozer - who probably succeeded because voters younger than 30 thought he was a hip-hop star.

(Give Young Boozer credit for one thing - with that name, he had enough wisdom NOT to run for Attorney General.)

At the top of the tickets, Congressman Artur Davis conceded the Democratic primary for Governor Tuesday night. Davis tried to sell himself as an independent candidate - and African-American political groups seemed to wish weeks ago he'd go all the way with that, and leave the Democratic Party.

So Ron Sparks will be the Democratic candidate for Alabama Governor. But the Republican opponent is very much in doubt, as no candidate topped 30 percent of the vote. The 13 July runoff may come down to which man signed the party loyalty oath with bolder strokes.

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was in line to finish fourth in the Republican primary for Governor. I hesitate to call Moore a "kingmaker" in the runoff - because he'd probably respond with a poem about how a "King of Kings" made him.

An Alabama Supreme Court Justice in the style of Roy Moore won his primary Tuesday night. Tom Parker declared himself "fair and balanced" in his ads - and we all know from watching Fox News Channel that phrase automatically means you're a Republican.

Justice Tom Parker says he's "fair and balanced." Yet his campaign website openly declares he's a Tea Party conservative who "stood up to the liberals." Really now - is that how you would define a "fair and balanced" judge? After all, people in a courtroom are expected to stand up when ANY judge enters.

E-MAIL UPDATE: Back in Columbus, Tuesday's mention of layoffs among Muscogee County school para-professionals brought this comment....

When people loose their jobs because of budget cuts with MCSD we should not forget the $230,000+ spent on out of county libraries...

More cuts were revealed Tuesday, as WTVM reported ten pre-Kindergarten resource coordinators were laid off last week. I'm admittedly not sure what those coordinators did - but it sounds like the teachers will have to go shopping for cases of Play-Doh after school themselves.

-> A sure win for us at the poker table Monday night turned into something very different. Your jaw may drop when you read "On the Flop!" <-

BLOG UPDATE: The Columbus City Manager revealed his first major response to "Rec-Gate" Tuesday. Isaiah Hugley said he wants a comprehensive policy on the use of city facilities by outside residents. The next time a Presidential candidate wants to campaign at the Trade Center, he might have to buy a house first.

Isaiah Hugley told WDAK's "Viewpoint" the city lacks a complete policy on out-of-towners using ALL Columbus facilities. That goes far beyond the Innovative Sports Program's basketball teams. For instance, Hugley hinted visitors might be charged higher greens fees at public golf courses. Somewhere in Cusseta, the Red Oak Golf Course managers prepared a bigger advertising budget.

The City Manager didn't want to discuss the controversy surrounding Parks and Recreation Director Tony Adams. Isaiah Hugley explained Adams has until next Tuesday to file a response to the city audit, and has a "right to due process." Viewpoint host Mike Gaymon brought up Coach Bobby Howard minutes later - but Hugley was careful to say "success," not "successor."

Let's quickly wrap up other Tuesday topics....

+ The Columbus Health Department announced it will investigate a mother's claim that her child went down a slide at Hollywood Connection and became (ahem) covered with human refuse. I know this complex sells scrambled dogs, but maybe it needs other items from Dinglewood Pharmacy - like diarrhea medicine.

+ Atlanta-based Cable News Network marked its 30th anniversary. I worked with CNN's Headline News channel for 11 of those years - but I left long before it added Nancy Grace and became a channel for women. You know, "H-e-L-e-N."

(I hesitate to say CNN "celebrated" its 30th anniversary. The channel's ratings have dropped so far in recent years that the staff probably isn't in a mood to celebrate -- and is fearful Bill O'Reilly might send an ambush team to crash the party.)

+ Instant Message to all critics of the Columbus Parks Department: The Therapeutic Recreation program is planning to a road trip to the Montgomery Zoo at the end of the month. Is this getaway wrong, too? Should participants stay in town, and settle for an outing at Paws Humane?

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