Friday, July 30, 2010

30 JUL 10: Push and Poll

Some curmudgeons grumbled years ago they'd never taken part in an opinion poll, and never knew anyone who had. But I suspect the Internet age has changed all that. People can vote in online surveys at every TV station website in Columbus. Sometimes we even have surveys here -- and public officials tend to give our Big Blog Questions the same lack of attention.

One of the biggest names in political polls dialed my phone number Thursday night. Rasmussen Reports is the polling firm of choice for Fox News Channel - but I should note up front that I was never asked to give the "right answers."

I've answered consumer phone surveys for decades, and know real people usually ask the questions. But Rasmussen Reports had everything automated for a touch-tone phone -- which I suppose proves a Republican bias, because the company doesn't hire low-paying workers to help the economy recover.

After a couple of introductory questions about my language and age, the poll got down to business. Is our country heading in the right direction, I was asked? Being the attentive churchgoing man that I am, I voted no - since ministers keep telling me the U.S. is hitting new moral lows. And they did that even before Lindsay Lohan went to jail.

Then I was asked for a rating on the job President Obama was doing. At that moment, I felt a little guilty and ignorant - because I didn't watch the President's appearance on "The View" hours before.

Rasmussen Reports gave me five options for rating the President's job performance. I could strongly or moderately approve, strongly or moderately disapprove - or press "not sure." Guys who can't commit always appreciate an option like that last one....

The politically neutral guy in me actually came out at that point. I voted "not sure" on the performance of President Obama -- even though I've heard many ministers preach against his policies and philosophy. One even has warned the President's voice could put people in a "post-hypnotic" state of suggestion. If that's true, why didn't Chicago wind up with the 2016 Olympic Games?

A couple more questions followed about my age and gender. But then came the question which probably made all the other answers meaningless - how often I vote in elections. Elections? I don't even vote in my own blog questions....

Long-time blog readers probably know I do NOT vote in elections for religious reasons. When I pressed the phone option for "rarely or never," the interview session ended. Rasmussen Reports tends to quote numbers from "likely voters" in its poll results. They probably want the rest of us to quit riding the fence, and start building one along the Arizona-Mexico border.

I've heard some people call Rasmussen Reports the most reliable pollsters, when it comes to politics. Based on my short phone session, I'm not sure what makes them more reliable than Gallup. People can lie with fingers on a phone pad every bit as easily as with words at the front door.

The first Rasmussen Report poll since the Alabama runoff came out this week -- and it's a bit stunning. Republican Robert Bentley has a 20-point lead over Democrat Ron Sparks in the race for Governor. It must be the Alabama football connection - since Bentley is from Tuscaloosa, and has that elephant symbol.

As for the Georgia Governor's race, Rasmussen's latest poll shows Nathan Deal six percentage points ahead of Roy Barnes. Karen Handel is only one percentage point ahead of Barnes. For some reason, Rasmussen did NOT ask a Deal-Handel question about the Republican runoff - perhaps because the last thing we want to see is a divided party.

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. People around the world visit "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: He was on this week's Columbus Council "Public Agenda" as C.A. Hardmon. Maybe that's why news reports ignored him - they didn't realize his other identity....


When it comes to most media in this town I seem to always have a sore throat [28 Jul]. They want my information on the Bruner case but do not want me on camera. Guess they do not realize I write for the Courier/Eco Latino. The Ledger and the TV news always seems to leave me out of the story. My ego is not very big so they are wasting their time if it is done to hurt me in anyway. My thing is fairness and justice not limelight.

Mr. DuBose is a much better speaker anyway. So the people get the money's worth.

Nevertheless, this story is about a lot more than screws and car tires. The mayor was provided with evidence unearned time was be awarded and employee and a higher ranking chief had ordered another chief to change time. The mayor wants the public to believe we do not even know what we are talking about by using the term time cards. He claims CFEMS does not even use time cards anymore. However, that was the terminology in the Fair Treatment Report filed against Chief Jeff Meyer.

My point is that when the mayor was provided with evidence there was misconduct, he did not move to straighten it up he moved to cover it up, and the facts prove the assertion. The Internal Auditor never performed an audit of CFEMS, though he recommended to the mayor that one be done ASAP. However, there was an investigation that generated a 3-page report that does not come close to doing Battalion Chief Bruner's Fair Treatment Report any justice. Redmond's report does not square with the facts. Screws are not tacks. Whatever system you use to award unearned time or whatever you call the system, somebody is ripping the city off for dollars.

The NAACP and Grassroots Unity Movement for Change have been consistent from the start. We have always urged there be a GBI investigation of P & R and the Bruner case. The mayor is the one worried what they my find in the CFEMS. Likewise, he is worried they would not find anything in the P & R investigation.

There certainly is a double-standard under this mayor. He does even try to hide it and City Council refuses to publicly challenge him on it. There is evidence that will prove just about everything the mayor and internal auditor said about the Bruner case is not true. There is documented evidence, but the council is sitting on its hands.

There is no way you cannot at times believe it is all just about who the messengers and the victims are that counts more than justice or the truth. The mayor has been involved in cover up and a lot of folks are just acting like it did not happen, and buying into this garbage that Chief Bruner never mentioned a word until 13 months later about the screws. When we disprove that, it will instantly be another lie that moves to the forefront. The fear and division in this community allows that to happen, which has been particularly true under the Wetherington administration.

This one is going to really wake this town up. Keep a watch out.

God bless,

Brother Love, Director

Grassroots Unity Movement for Change

It's nice to know the writer's ego is "not very big." Some of his columns and e-mails are, but he's not....

The debate over doctored "time cards" sounds to me like a word game. Fire Chief Jeff Meyer says employee work records have gone computerized in recent years. Yet plenty of workers still would call them "time cards" or "time sheets" - although even the word "sheet" might be considered too racially sensitive nowadays.

Yes, "screws are not tacks" -- but I know from experience they can cause the same amount of damage to your tires. It's not the name of the thing, you know. It's the point of the thing that counts.

So why wait to release the evidence, which supposedly condemns the Columbus Mayor and proves Janice Bruner's points? The most silent person in this story right now is the woman at the center of it all. But perhaps Janice Bruner has to schedule her news conference around all the other city employees Stacey Jackson is representing.

Meanwhile, WRBL reported Thursday the Georgia NAACP has requested a "Rec-Gate" ruling from the U.S. Justice Department. Edward DuBose wants to know if Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington has the power to request city audits. Why ask officials in Washington that? Isn't that a city charter issue? Or has Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker already cleaned out his office?

The Columbus city government "flow chart" shows the Internal Auditor on the same line as the City Manager, one line below the Mayor. But the "Citizens of Columbus, Georgia" sit above them all - so I'd like to request an audit of whether the Mayor or City Manager spends more money on suits.

Here's one other e-mail, which became hidden in our Spam box Wednesday night:

Suppose to have the 4 canididates for mayor doing a scraubble on the show Thursday morning


Yes, I knew the candidates were appearing on WLTZ's "Rise N Shine." And playing Scrabble should have been much more organized than those forums with viewer phone calls....

I tend to finish blogging late at night these days, so 6:00 a.m. ET is awfully early for me. But I was ready Thursday to record the mayoral candidates' discussion. I woke up in bed at 5:30 a.m. - then the next thing I knew, it was 7:15. So at least I'm not losing any sleep over this race.

WLTZ's evening newscasts again didn't consider the mayoral candidates worthy of a story. Instead, viewers saw a special report on "Craigslist Call Girls" - and I'm personally glad this story wasn't assigned to Dee Armstrong for "Fixing It."

Thanks for your e-mails, comments and eyeballs - and now let's review the things I did NOT miss Thursday:

+ New teachers in Muscogee County schools began an orientation program. I assume all grade school teachers are required to know the proper spelling of furlough.

+ Columbus, Phenix City and Fort Benning leaders announced a combined task force to fight underage drinking. The ceremony at the Columbus Civic Center was called "Three Rings of Commitment" - so I expect tickets for the Shrine Circus will be on sale today.

(Really now - who came up with that name, "Three Rings of Commitment?" Encouraging threesomes in a Bible Belt city simply doesn't seem right....)

+ A man told WTVM he brought home a food order from the Phenix City Zaxby's - only to find a dead cockroach, apparently fried with his dinner. He did NOT eat the roach, to determine once and for all if it tastes like chicken.

+ Canterbury Health Care opened expanded facilities in Phenix City. The officials at the ribbon-cutting included State Senate candidate Billy Beasley. I didn't know he drove up from Barbour County in the middle of the night, to fill nursing home prescriptions.

+ The Columbus area escaped Winn-Dixie's butcher knife, as the supermarket chain announced the closing of one Alabama and two Georgia stores. This is especially good news for people in Columbus South -- because the thought of replacing the South Lumpkin Road store with a third Piggly Wiggly in a two-mile radius would be too hard to bear.

+ Columbus Northern completed a sweep of pool play at the Georgia Little League baseball tournament. Northern knocked over Walton County 16-0 - which is amazing, considering a team with "Walton" in its name should have the best equipment Wal-Mart can provide.

+ WRBL hosted a pre-season cookout for all area high school football coaches. The coaches had to be careful about what they ate. Anyone asking for chicken could have it mentioned on their rivals' bulletin boards in September.

+ WTVM showed the annual picture day for the Carver football team, in the high school gym. What happened after the photo session was NOT shown - with players ripping out bleacher planks to take home as souvenirs, before demolition begins next week.

+ Instant Message to President Obama: OK, that's nice - you were on "The View" Thursday. Now will you do the fair and evenhanded thing? You should appear on that other 11:00 a.m. program - and show your economic prowess as a contestant on "The Price is Right."

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