Friday, July 09, 2010

9 JUL 10: Emily's List

You may be concerned about the lack of rain so far in July. But the Georgia Primary is only 11 days away - so candidates can make their own mud to sling, even without a storm.

Perhaps we should have seen the latest "attack ad" coming months ago. A candidate for Georgia Attorney General released a commercial Thursday that features the mother of Kenneth Walker. She doesn't really endorse anyone, but she's clearly against someone - and in a two-way primary race, a loud "no" can be the same as a head-nodding "yes."

Emily Walker appears in a commercial paid for by the Rob Teilhut campaign. She repeats familiar details of the night her son was killed in 2003 -- then says David Glisson "got off because the prosecutor, Ken Hodges, forgot to swear him in...." That part is a matter of opinion and dispute. An oath with the words "I do" can be overlooked by grand juries every bit as much as Hollywood spouses.

Emily Walker also claims Ken Hodges "tried to hide the video" from a Sheriff's Department dashboard camera of Kenneth Walker being shot. My records show the special prosecutor didn't want to release tape to journalists before a grand jury was convened [10 Mar 04] - but attorneys on both sides of the case did see it [18 Apr 04]. And no lawyers apparently had hidden cell phones then, to make a sneaky copy.

Emily Walker correctly states Ken Hodges "refused to reopen the case" of her son's death. "I could never get an answer why," she adds. This may earn Mrs. Walker a phone call today, asking her to make another political ad - opposing Thurbert Baker for Governor.

Rob Teilhut told WRBL Thursday night Emily Walker's story "needs to be told." While Columbus residents are quite familiar with it, people in the rest of Georgia might not know. But it'll be up to Ken Hodges to tell the other side of the story - assuming he finally can convince David Glisson to speak in front of a camera.

You may consider the Emily Walker statement a "negative ad" by Rob Teilhut. But his website claims Democratic primary opponent Ken Hodges went negative first, with a mailing in Atlanta in June. The Teilhut campaign must include mathematics majors -- who reminded him two negatives add up to a positive.

Perhaps it's not surprising that the Ken Hodges website doesn't mention the Kenneth Walker case. But his campaign "photo stream" includes a picture of him seemingly marching with a Rainbow/PUSH Coalition group in April. Perhaps this is a chapter too low on donations to afford Internet service, so e-mails from Columbus can't be checked.

What strikes me most about Emily Walker's "anti-endorsement" is that I don't recall her doing campaign speeches before. Where were the commercials opposing Muscogee County Sheriff Ralph Johnson in 2004 and 2008, or against Mayor Bob Poydasheff in 2006? Ads specifically focused on Columbus might have really.... oh wait. Voters removed both those men, anyway.

(So where is Kenneth Walker's widow these days? While mother Emily has become an activist, Cheryl directs children's ministry at the family's church. So far no one's been brave enough to nominate her for a crime prevention commission.)

As for other Georgia races, a Republican candidate for Secretary of State came to Columbus Thursday. Doug MacGinnite met voters at a Burger King on Wynnton Road. When a Republican schmoozes for votes at a Burger King and not the River Club, you know our economy still has problems.

And to be honest, I'm becoming a little concerned about Roy Barnes's campaign for Governor. Have you seen his commercial where he claims Georgia can't add jobs "while the rest of the nation is laughing at us"? I didn't realize this blog was powerful enough to keep Kia out of West Point and NCR out of Columbus.

BLOG UPDATE: We were surprised Thursday night to find Columbus's budding sumo wrestling star at our regular poker tournament. Big Daddy a.k.a. Buddha is NOT in Wyoming for the U.S. Nationals, after weeks of training [20 Jun]. He told me it was a matter of not having enough money. I didn't know the entry fee was paid by the pound.

Anyone might have lost some weight outside Thursday - and our news review starts there....

+ Columbus had its hottest day in three years, with a high temperature of 101 degrees F. My next-door neighbor warned me about it as I stepped outside in the morning - and despite those words of encouragement, I then had my longest morning run since April.

(The 101-degree weather was bearable because the humidity was unusually low. This must be what they call in Arizona a "dry heat" - so why was I still sweating when the run was over?)

+ Columbus Police told WTVM someone smashed through a window at Cici's Pizza on Auburn Avenue, and stole a giant gumball machine. If this is the same man who stole all that peach tea, his pregnant wife must be having some strange late-night cravings.

+ A University of Georgia report concluded Columbus State University has an impact on the local economy of $234.9 million a year. If the Columbus Woodbats played home games at Golden Park, that number might plunge to $234.899 million.

+ WTVM revealed the owners of New Life Tanning Centers now are offering "Formo-Wrap" heat treatment to trim your body. Is this the right response to the new "tanning tax" - penetrating heat even deeper under your skin?

+ Local CRCT results were released by the Georgia Department of Education. I called up the fourth-grade charts at random, and found 34 percent of Muscogee County students missed the standard in math. At Muscogee Elementary School, 59 percent of fourth-graders fell short - so why was Benning Hills closed in that merger again?

+ The Georgia Board of Education voted to end "solitary confinement" of children. This may end "good behavior" outings for students at Columbus Cottonmouths games - because the penalty boxes will send a dangerous subtle message.

+ The Columbus Lions lashed Lafayette 61-26, to advance to the Southern Indoor Football League championship game. Hopefully the Columbus Civic Center was well cleaned afterward - because families at today's Jehovah's Witnesses conference could be upset by blood stains every bit as much as the smell of beer.

+ Instant Message to LeBron James: I'm sorry, but you did this all wrong. Your big announcement Thursday night should have been delayed until the end of the hour - with the dramatic unbuttoning of your dress shirt to show a Miami jersey, followed by band music and confetti falling from the roof. Haven't you ever watched shows like American Idol?

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