Monday, October 18, 2010

18 OCT 10: Black, White and Green

Please now - don't jump to wrong conclusions from our title. Today's main topic is NOT about how the Philadelphia Eagles dominated the Atlanta Falcons....

BLOG EXCLUSIVE: Staff members with two Columbus churches denied Sunday night receiving favors from Teresa Tomlinson in exchange for mayoral endorsements. In fact, one respected pastor talked about suing the blog which posted that claim. Now all he has to do is track down who posted it -- and so far, no one else has.

The blog called "The Truth About Teresa" cited "credible sources" Sunday, who claim Teresa Tomlinson offered "substantial financial assistance" to Fourth Street Baptist Church. The blog called that congregation "cash-strapped" -- which sounds strange on its face, considering two women stole $450,000 from it.

"There are no offers," Fourth Street Baptist Senior Pastor J.H. Flakes told me Sunday night. He declared the report "not true" - and at the end of our phone conversation brought up the word "lawsuit." So that blogger may be the one needing substantial financial assistance, to pay for an attorney.

The clearly anti-Tomlinson blog also claimed Fourth Street Baptist Church has distributed "the infamous 'black ballot,'" encouraging worshipers to elect Teresa Tomlinson mayor. But Pastor J.H. Flakes says there's been no such thing in Columbus in years. Perhaps I should have asked if the ballot now has a pink color during October?!

The Fourth Street Baptist Pastor said the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance used to have a ballot of recommended candidates, but it doesn't anymore. Zeph Baker probably wishes it did this year - since his father used to be I.M.A. President. [True!]

What about those newspaper ads with lists of people (including ministers) endorsing certain local candidates? Pastor J.H. Flakes said that list has NOT yet come out for 2010. The "Truth" blog might be surprised when it does - because Flakes's wife Robena has donated to Wayne Anthony's campaign, not Teresa Tomlinson's. I'm not sure this anonymous blogger could get a job with TMZ.

The anti-Tomlinson blog also claims Teresa Tomlinson purchased a van for World Changes Tabernacle on Alta Vista Drive. But an assistant at that church told your blog Sunday night that is "absolutely not" true, and the congregation purchased it. Last time I checked, the Tomlinsons did NOT operate a title pawn business.

Administrative assistant Sandy Anderson says World Changes Tabernacle worshipers were presented with the opportunity to buy a van at a Sunday service, and they did so with their own contributions. She added no money came from outside sources - which I guess means Pastor Prathan Powell used up all the money from his failed Columbus Council bid in 2006.

Sandy Anderson said it's a shame when "mudslinging" erupts in a campaign, and churches falsely are brought into it. But she should look on the bright side. Critics picked up stones to throw at Jesus long ago - so hurling mud at pastors is a slight improvement.

Disclosure reports only show one direct donation from the Teresa Tomlinson campaign to a church organization - and that was $150 for an advertisement. But the "Truth" blog wants her to disclose all private gifts to churches, along with any "recognition she has received" in response. In other words, friends should have been with her timing the applause.

The "Truth" blog goes on to claim African-American voters are rushing to Zeph Baker, in early voting for Columbus Mayor. It gives no evidence to back that claim. And since the ballots from early voting normally aren't counted until Election Night, I'm wondering if his supporters are kissing that campaign truck parked outside the Government Center.

It's hard to tell if African-American ministers have a favorite in the Columbus mayor's race, because Zeph Baker's third-quarter campaign report has yet to be posted by the Election Board. We can't even be sure if he's living up to his campaign slogan, with donations from all zip codes....

But a headline of Sunday's "Truth" blog entry says a lot: "Tomlinson Trying to Buy the Black Vote?" With two weeks to go, someone finally has done what probably was inevitable -- throwing the "race card" into the Columbus city election. And amazingly, Edward DuBose did NOT call a news conference to do it.

Even if the blog claims are true about donations to African-American churches, a big question remains. Is something suspicious about European-American people donating to African-American causes? Isn't that part of what "One Columbus" is about? Or does that concept have an off-season, between the annual golf tournament and Election Day?

By the way: we gained answers debunking these rumors merely by making two phone calls on a Sunday evening. A blog with "Truth" in its title probably could have done the same thing. But then, perhaps this anonymous blogger was assigned to Columbus by Andrew Breitbart.

-> Last Wednesday night's "thrilling moment" in online poker now has us feeling robbed! Read the latest on this matter at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: An up-front statement first - I have felt compelled over the last few months to post C.A. Hardmon's messages to this blog in their entirety. I've been concerned anything less would bring accusations that I'm a censor, a dictator, or even something worse. Not that my nieces have asked me to be the godfather of their babies, but still....

But today that approach will change, because C.A. Hardmon is permitting it. I apparently surprised him by posting one of his e-mails here Friday. That led to a reply titled: "Spelling is Important - There's No Argument From Me"....


This is the only email address I have for you. It is your prerogative to post whatever I send you via email whether I send it for that purpose or not. As long as I know the rules, that is fine with me. Had I known you were going to post the October 10th email I would have been more succinct. Disseminating the hard facts mattered more than my opinion if the email was going to be posted on your blog. The citizens deserve to know the truth. My opinion of Jim Wetherington as a mayor your audience could read for themselves in next week's Courier/Eco Latino.

That much opinion editorial writing and somebody would have had to pay for it. If they were paying, the spelling certain would be correct. Since your blog is humorous, that was my contribution to the humor.

There is a Columbus attorney J. Frank Myers III. There is also a Chief Jeffery A. Meyer with the Columbus Fire & EMS. You are correct. In my emails Chief Meyer's name was misspelled a number of times, but I did spell correctly spell Jim Wetherington's.

Frank Myers is not the Chief of Fire and EMS nor is Jeff Meyer an attorney-at-aw. However, I appreciate you pointing out I misspelled the names, although I did not confuse the individuals or their professional occupations your reader could have somehow. Correct spelling may not be as important as true and accurate reporting of the facts, but it does count a lot when you are being read by the public. Therefore, I can understand your concern.

Guess you did not find any humor in me misspelling Jeff Meyer's name. No problem. But you will notice I spelled William J. "Jim" Wetherington's name correctly. I never get his name wrong.

I myself would like to think all of this is a little bit more important than if I won the Blog of Columbus spelling contest, but your focus is humor and snappy come backs. That said, you ought to have gotten a kick out of the mayor saying that the 4 2-inch screws that were found 1 each center mass in the tires on the Battalion Chief's vehicle were picked up when she must have driven through some unidentified construction site. Talk about a joke! What are the odds of that happening? Forget about it.

Bottom line, what is an "e" left out of a name here or there in Columbus?

In this city the truth gets omitted, distorted, and dismissed and it does not matter much at all, depending on who gets hurt and who is complaining about wrongdoing or being hurt.

At least we know how Bill Mason feels about my emails or rants as he refers to them. It is always a rant when you do not like what is being said but cannot challenge the substance. Then again, sometimes it probably is just a rant. Rants are long on words short on facts and specifics.

Some people fear and oppose a GBI investigation of Fire & EMS primarily for 2 reasons: (1) They fear the findings of an independent audit and GBI investigation. (2) They hate or dislike the citizens or groups requesting the independent audit and GBI investigation.

The other email was comment without any name. When Jim Wetherington is no longer mayor, there will still be issues and causes. A truly concerned citizen willing to get involved or watchdog activist will always have plenty to do. A citizen's duty does not stop at the polls. If the citizens were more involved with city government, the government would be better. You do all you can to help public officials. Part of doing that is holding them accountable for their actions and bad decisions. You do not allow them to turn a blind eye and deaf ear whenever they want so that those they favor benefit but others are ruined. The next mayor can change a lot, but that mayor must understand the problems we face in Columbus. If that mayor does not understand the various communities that make up this city, we are just going to have more of the same with a different face.

One thing about DA Julia Slater, she has to do her job. She must do what the law says, and I believe she will. If there is probable cause indicating there was criminal conduct, she is bound to follow the law. She told the voters she would make the unpopular decision even when it was not popular. That is what following the law is about. Either the evidence is there to follow up or either it is not there. The job of a district attorney is to seek justice. In this case you need an independent investigative body to come in and determine if there are definite criminal violations of the law that could be charged to the perpetrator or perpetrators. If the DA's Office has a conflict of interest, DA Slater should pass the case or whatever evidence she has on to the Georgia State Attorney General. She should not stonewall or evade making a decision....

BTW, I also made a mistake in one of the May 2008 dates Chief Bruner was ordered to alter. I included Mayor 12th twice. That was incorrect. It should have been May 15th.

Take care,

Brother Love, Director

Grassroots Unity Movement for Change

Brother Love has an interesting idea here - a Blog of Columbus spelling contest. We did something like that last week, when we inspected the websites of school board candidates. That's apparently already brought one response - as Mark Cantrell's biography has vanished from his Facebook campaign page.

One missing letter in a word can make a big difference. My hometown had a business called Barney's Boats - but one letter often seemed to be missing from the overhead sign. Travelers who didn't know better might think Barney sold oats or bats.

If District Attorney Julia Slater has a conflict of interest when it comes to Columbus Fire Department matters, she hasn't said so publicly. But C.A. Hardmon should be careful with his suggestions - because what if Ken Hodges wins the Georgia Attorney General's race?

C.A. Hardmon sent one more e-mail Sunday, saying the Paul Voorhees appearance he was describing at Columbus Council occurred in 2008. He knew nothing of any appearance by Voorhees with Carmen Cavezza several weeks ago. Perhaps he was busy checking fire department time cards that day....

C.A. Hardmon also admitted Mayor Jim Wetherington has invited him at times to add comments to issues brought up by Georgia NAACP President Edward DuBose. He calls that a matter of "the mayor's discretion." So there - sometimes he stops short of indiscretions.

Hopefully we've sorted out enough fact from fiction for one day. Now let's clean out other weekend items:

+ WRBL restarted weekend newscasts, for the first time in almost two years. Teresa Whitaker and Bob Jeswald were on duty at 11:00 Sunday night - as if someone pulled a prank and told them it was Super Bowl Sunday.

+ A nine-mile bike ride rolled its way through MidTown Columbus. What I saw on WTVM was relieving -- as no one spit on the Wayne Anthony campaign headquarters, or threw his campaign signs on the street to run over them.

+ The National Infantry Museum completed a "living history" weekend, with actors depicting life in army barracks during World War Two. If you were there, please tell me how realistic it was. Were the actors allowed to say "J*ps?"

+ The annual Ossahatchee Indian Festival and Pow Wow concluded in Harris County. This was a wonderful learning experience for young people - especially if they've been exposed only to Lil Bow Wow and Jersey Shore's "J-Wow."

+ The first Bowl Championship Series rankings put Auburn in fourth place, right behind Boise State. It's enough to leave loyal Tiger fans blue in the face - even if that matches the color of Boise State's football field.

+ Instant Message to Cascade Hills Church: How did that new "life group" go over the weekend - the one where members watch UFC fights? Did anyone bother bringing up the Bible verse about turning the other cheek?

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