Sunday, August 29, 2010

29 AUG 10: Yes, Ministers

This year's election leaves no doubt that Columbus is still a "Bible Belt" city. Two of the four candidates for mayor list their occupation as "minister." Of course, that means they can work as mayor from Monday through Friday - then write a sermon Saturday night to deliver on Sunday morning.

We're finally ready to review what ministers and mayoral candidates Wayne Anthony and Zeph Baker said on WDAK's "Viewpoint" a few days ago. Both men described themselves as "conservative," with Anthony adding he's a religious conservative as well. Anthony must preach from the New Testament constantly - since it's on the right-hand side of the Bible.

Wayne Anthony points to his Columbus roots. In fact, he says he grew up on a farm in the north side of town. Anthony probably still can take you to the subdivision under construction there....

Columbus Councilor Wayne Anthony is one of several candidates who thinks a "sunset" provision should be put on the city property tax freeze. It almost sounds unnatural, doesn't it? If the sun sets, a thaw will happen....

Wayne Anthony noted Columbus residents have supported the property tax freeze for years. But he listed five groups of people whom he claims are harmed by the rules -- including me, even though I rent an apartment. About the only people who seem to benefit are Alabama residents, because they pay no state property tax at all.

Viewpoint host Mike Gaymon asked Wayne Anthony to list his top campaign issues. Anthony gave three - then minutes later declared education "number five." Somehow issue number four got lost. Maybe it was that issue's bye week.

Zeph Baker also is a Columbus native. He told WDAK he's voted on "both sides of the line" in elections. In Baker's case, that's a bit like hockey - jumping from Democrat to the Independent "neutral zone" two years ago.

Zeph Baker claimed Columbus has "missed a lot over the last eight years." Host Mike Gaymon didn't follow up by asking what the city's missed - and I wish he had. Columbus has gained base realignment, NCR and three Wal-Mart SuperCenters. Does Baker know something about Magic Johnson Theatres?

Zeph Baker is trying to stand out from the mayoral pack with some thought-provoking proposals. He mentioned on radio Columbus Council should have an "ex-officio member" on the Muscogee County School Board. Apparently Councilors don't have time to watch the replays of board meetings on CCG-TV.

(Host Mike Gaymon DID follow up that one, asking if Zeph Baker would support an ex-officio member of the school board on Columbus Council. "Great idea," Baker answered - reminding us again that the Chamber of Commerce sometimes acts as ex-officio leader over the entire city.)

After hearing this interview, I was left with the impression Zeph Baker is filling a niche the other three mayoral candidates aren't. Not racially - but by being friendly and folksy. Bobby Peters, Bob Poydasheff and Jim Wetherington all came across as down-to-earth "everyman" mayors. Baker presents himself the same way - although as a minister, he probably wouldn't buy you a drink at the bar.

But Zeph Baker has a couple of speaking habits which might annoy some people. He said "absolutely" several times during the radio interview, even when the question wasn't yes-or-no. Sometimes you can say "absolutely" absolutely too often....

The four mayoral candidates have about nine weeks left to make their points. Their big event this coming week will be an evening forum on live TV at the RiverCenter. If one of the four shows up late, you know downtown parking will become his or her top issue.

BLOG UPDATE: Has Columbus recovered from the heartbreak yet? From the Northern All-Stars losing that big lead? Of being eliminated from.... oh wait, I forgot. The first big high school football night occurred only hours later.

Hawaii won two in a row over Northern, to knock Columbus out of the Little League World Series. Friday's final score was 12-5 - and somewhere, a former college quarterback named Colt Brennan had to be smiling.

Northern jumped out to a 4-0 lead on Waipahu, Hawaii -- but the game turned when a Hawaiian player tried to steal second base in the third inning. The umpire called him out, but a video challenge determined he was safe. Call the video judge "four-eyes" if you wish - but at least he relied on four camera lenses.

After a couple of close calls, Waipahu's batters finally rattled Northern star pitcher Jacob Pate. From there, the hurling fell apart - as I counted four Hawaii players hit by pitches in two innings. People who didn't know better might have thought the Hughston Clinic arranged this.

I went to Loco's on 13th Street, presuming I'd join a Friday afternoon crowd watching the Northern Little Lagers Leaguers. But I found only a few people sitting in booths, and a half-filled bar. When the Peach Little League fans don't rally around Northern, has One Columbus really arrived?

Did WRBL know Northern would be eliminated from the Little League World Series? Sports anchor Stuart Webber was back in Columbus Friday night, after spending several days in Pennsylvania. If this station can do big stories on possible local conspiracies, I can start one back at them.

The Northern All-Stars are staying in Williamsport for today's final game. When they come home Monday, should they get a big welcome-home celebration? The 2006 world champs received a party which filled the Civic Center, despite a lightning storm. The 2010 regional champs may have to settle for photo shoots will all the candidates for mayor.

-> A little piece of bread crust keeps stealing the show at our local poker tournaments. Read what happened at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

OVERHEARD OVER HERE: "I've got 100 dollars, says Tiger Woods doesn't win!" the man hollered as soon as he stepped outside around 8:00 a.m. Saturday. His comments seemed to be aimed at anyone in earshot -- but especially toward someone near the street.

"I whupped your a** when you were a young man, and I'll whup your a** again as an old man!" he says later in his speech.

Eventually he's satisfied and walks back inside -- but then a neighbor offers a suggestion. "Next time you step outside, start by saying good morning."

Now that we've updated baseball and golf, let's check other weekend items....

+ Saturday's rain-cooled high temperature in Columbus was 88 degrees F. For the first time that I can recall since May, I went all day without turning on the air conditioner. I hope that doesn't bring out those sniffing dogs from Georgia Power, to investigate what happened.

+ Phenix City Police arrested a female school employee, on charges of sending "sexually inappropriate" material to a child over the Internet. C'mon, folks - young people know how to spell Katy Perry's name, without any help from grown-ups.

+ Carver clobbered Spencer 63-0 in their annual "Heritage Bowl" high school football rivalry. The start of the game was delayed by lightning - forcing some concerned fans back to their metal grills in the South Commons parking lot.

+ Georgia running back Washaun Ealey was suspended for next weekend's opening game, after he was arrested in Athens. The charges include "hit and run" - while Coach Mark Richt actually wants Ealey to run, get hit and then keep running.

+ The 30th annual Midnight Express run was held in Midtown. There's a reason why this run does NOT take place on Broadway. Too many customers on a Saturday night at midnight would try to jump into the field, causing hundreds of runners to trip and fall.

+ Instant Message to U.S. Senate candidate Mike Thurmond: I almost forgot - we missed you at Thursday night's Columbus State University forum. You were scheduled to appear, you know. And as Georgia Labor Commissioner, you should realize that missing an interview without explanation probably will cost you the job.

SCHEDULED MONDAY: A football road trip.... although some people won't really consider it football....

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