3 OCT 10: Weeks of Happiness?
"Did anything happen while I was gone?" I asked my next-door neighbor when I returned home from vacation Friday.
"Nope," the neighbor answered. "Everything was happy." Well, great! Maybe even Paul Olson was able to smile once or twice.
So let's wrap things up for But wait a minute - I admittedly knew better, and I asked my neighbor that question on purpose. I really didn't expect a two-week news summary from this retired man. He doesn't even have a telephone, so people who want to spread rumors have to visit him personally.
The last two weeks were a nice change of pace for me. I only logged on to a computer four times during the road trip -- not even when parts of the trip admittedly became boring. When a cruise ship charges 18 dollars for one hour of Internet access AND warns you in advance of possible satellite outages, it's easy to say no.
When I logged on at public libraries, I made the rounds of Columbus news websites - and I reached the conclusion not everyone was nearly as happy as my next-door neighbor indicated. So we'll review my vacation another time, and get caught up on several big events I've missed. No, Saturday's Seafood Festival downtown does NOT count....
With deep thanks to The River City Report, let's hit some high (or are they low?) points:
1. SHELNUTT'S SECOND ACT. Apparently it wasn't enough for Mark Shelnutt to have Columbus's trial of the year in 2009. Now he's in line to have that title again in 2011. But aren't attorneys supposed to defend the clients, instead of face the charges?
Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents claim Mark Shelnutt was caught giving prescription drugs to an undercover informant. Shelnutt told an Atlanta law newspaper that "informant" was former secretary Brandy Rivera. So much for attorney-client confidentiality....
As it happens, Mark Shelnutt's part-time secretary is on the payroll of Muscogee County District Attorney Julia Slater. Slater told state officials she had a conflict of interest in the drug investigation. But somewhere, Shelnutt's critics must be smiling - and finally are glad Slater took Shelnutt's hiring advice.
Mark Shelnutt says he had a prescription for the drugs he gave his former secretary. But Georgia state prosecutors say it's a felony merely to give a prescription drug to someone. That news must have doubled the turnout for "Prescription Drug Take-Back Day" - with husbands and wives fearing their spouses might report them.
Some people call the latest arrest of Mark Shelnutt a desperate attempt by the state of Georgia to get even for last year's loss in court. And admittedly, arresting someone for giving medicine to a "friend" doesn't seem like much. But last year's trial was on federal charges, not state counts. And isn't the G.B.I. an unbiased, impartial agency? Just ask Tony Adams's supporters....
2. REC-GATE REMOVAL. Oh wait - Tony Adams doesn't have his job anymore. Columbus Council fired the Parks and Recreation Director on a 6-3 vote. At least Adams now can devote all his time to recruiting AAU basketball players.
City Manager Isaiah Hugley called for the firing of Tony Adams, after concluding Adams lied about the existence of a contract with Nike. An attorney for Adams responded the Parks Director did NOT lie - and Hugley simply "asked the wrong questions." Maybe I should offer to be a city "journalist on call" for moments like this....
The most outspoken defender of Tony Adams on Columbus Council apparently was Mimi Woodson. She admitted not wanting to cast a vote on the Parks Director -- and you can't blame her, since she's up for re-election in 30 days. But Woodson could have followed the example of another Councilor in the same situation. Jerry "Pops" Barnes called out sick.
Defenders of Tony Adams at the meeting called it a racial issue. That led to a stunning statement by Mayor Jim Wetherington, who told Georgia NAACP President Edward DuBose: "It's always a black and white issue with you." Well, yeah - and if DuBose led the Georgians for Midget Rights, things might be different.
Criminal charges remain against Tony Adams, and his attorney now has withdrawn a motion for a "gag order" in the case. Let the record show no one on either side has ordered this blog to write any jokes. In fact, at least one side probably wishes I'd stayed on vacation....
Instant Message to The Courier: About your online poll I just discovered -- no, I don't think "Tony Adams and Herman Edwards are guilty." Herman Edwards did a lousy job coaching the Kansas City Chiefs, but I haven't heard his name come up in this Parks Department case at all.
3. OVER-BOARD. Not to be outdone, the Phenix City Council voted to remove its third school board member of the year. But there's one small problem - the school board is ignoring the latest vote, and keeping Frankie Horace as its President. It simply wouldn't be Phenix City politics without a big lawsuit, you know....
The vote to fire the Phenix City School Board President came after Mayor Sonny Coulter announced he was unable to get a face-to-face meeting with Frankie Horace. Should this really be that difficult? Both men HAVE to eat lunch at Booth's Corner Café sooner or later - they simply have to wait for each other.
Some Phenix City school board members are concerned the Council's real goal is the removal of Superintendent Larry DiChiara. You have to wonder if DiChiara already has resumes in circulation - keeping in mind one former Phenix City Superintendent is now Provost at Columbus State University.
WRBL brought up a long-lost name, in its review of the school board battle. One-time Columbus activist and "TalkLine" co-host Antonio Carter is about to become President of the Phenix City-Russell County NAACP. Carter dreamed of starting a "New Joshua Generation" - and instead, we have Josh McKoon running for State Senate.
4. T.T. VS. TTAT. As we expected, the anonymous e-mails have started in the Columbus Mayor's race. Two of them came from a new blog promising "The Truth About Teresa." It's a good thing Mother Teresa is no longer with us, because her reputation might be eternally ruined....
The anonymous blog takes Teresa Tomlinson to task, and so far is emphasizing her record of donations to Democratic candidates in federal races. They outnumber donations to Republicans by a large margin - but they make me wonder why Tomlinson's Columbus law firm would donate money to Senator Richard Shelby. How much pork-barrel spending can Phenix City handle at one time?
Teresa Tomlinson took the trouble to respond to The Truth About Teresa's topic. She explained she's donated to Republicans candidates for state office, including outgoing Sen. Seth Harp. Tomlinson should be thankful that blog hasn't found the $250 campaign donation she received from Mark Shelnutt.
So who might this alleged truth-teller be? I doubt it's opposing mayoral candidate Paul Olson, because he lists criticisms of Teresa Tomlinson and Wayne Anthony on his own campaign website. And Zeph Baker is trying to promote his campaign in more old-fashioned ways - such as parking a truck outside the Government Center. [True!]
Whoever started this "truth" blog, it's yet another sign Teresa Tomlinson is the front-runner in the mayor's race. There don't seem to be any other blogs or websites directly taking on other candidates. And is the author's use of "Volume 1" a sign that he/she plans to update the Tomlinson story for four more years?
5. BLADES WITHOUT GLORY. Two young men were arrested on charges of taping razor blades to playground equipment at Lakebottom Park last spring. Police Chief Ricky Boren says they did it as a "party prank." Wow, beer pong went out of style in a hurry....
The two suspects also face arson charges in Phenix City. I thought razor blades were "fire-tempered" at the factory from the start.
SCHEDULED MONDAY: We'll catch up on your e-mails from vacation.... along with other stuff....
The Blog of Columbus had nearly 25,000 unique visitors in the first half of 2010! To advertise to them, make a PayPal donation, offer a story tip or comment, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.
BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 727 (+ 73, 11.2%)
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.
© 2003-10 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.