Wednesday, November 24, 2010

24 NOV 10: You, Me and a Blog Makes Three

Teresa Tomlinson had to open her big mouth, didn't she? She called the "Truth About Teresa" blog "completely defunct" on television - and a new post appeared there within six hours. At least we know that blogger wasn't interested in "Oprah's favorite things" on the other channel....

But as the Columbus mayoral runoff approaches, another blog seems to be on the minds of both campaigns - and it's (blush) this one. It's led to something I never expected in an election. I had to give both campaigns a free opportunity to critique this blog. Would they praise me or razz me? And would either side offer me a job as Press Secretary?

This all started last week, in the wake of our trip to a mayoral forum at Green Island Country Club. A supporter of Zeph Baker called me two days in a row about it -- so I decided to visit his office and let him have at me. This is different from other election years, when campaign aides actually offered me an interview with their candidate.

Dan Menefee says his college-aged daughter was stunned to read online that her dad was "bullying." But as we noted last week [18 Nov], that was The River City Report's wording and NOT mine. "I just want the facts," Menefee told me. Maybe I should add emoticons to mark where the punch lines begin.

"I'm thankful that you corrected that," Dan Menefee continued - saying some people "throw rocks and hide their hands" online, with misinformation some readers might "believe.... as gospel." I think that means you can take Menefee off the list of "Truth About Teresa" suspects.

Dan Menefee actually called this blog "great," and told me: "You're gonna be somebody...." Hmmmm - I might need to call LeBron James and ask him who I should be....

The meeting with Dan Menefee (mostly about the blog) lasted about 35 minutes. Before I left, I explained I'd have to give Teresa Tomlinson's campaign an equal opportunity to critique my work. After all, Menefee wanted things to be evenhanded. It's like "turning the other cheek," except a different person slaps you the second time.

To my surprise, a message left at the Teresa Tomlinson campaign number was returned by the candidate herself. But sadly, it came while I was out jogging. I suppose I should invest in a cell phone, and carry it when I exercise - but heavy breathing during political interviews might be misunderstood.

Teresa Tomlinson offered her critique in exactly the 60 seconds my answering machine offered. She also called the blog "great," and said she takes any critical comments "with a grain of salt." Tomlinson probably depends on her food preparation staff to add more for flavor.

While some people describe Teresa Tomlinson as a "bully" in the mayor's race, she did NOT tell me to stop blogging. Her campaign wasn't the one which called me to lobby for changes in wording. And as of Tuesday night, Bill O'Reilly has yet to send "ambush journalists" to my door to ask questions.

It also turns out Teresa Tomlinson personally returned my phone call, while a couple of messages left last week at Zeph Baker's campaign office have brought no response at all. Tomlinson has been so "hands-on" in dealing with campaign issues that the mayor's office might have fewer positions by next November.

The outgoing Columbus mayor was given one last chance to endorse a successor Tuesday. But Jim Wetherington still declined - telling WXTX both runoff candidates "have a special relationship with the people." I'm not exactly sure what that means. Maybe they didn't giggle out loud at any silly questions during public forums.

THE BIG BLOG QUESTION on the mayoral runoff had a blind close Tuesday night - and for the second time in 14 months, a last-minute rush of votes put Zeph Baker on top. He finishes with 59 percent of the vote, leading 32 percent for Teresa Tomlinson (20-11-3). Don't worry, Baker voters - the Tomlinson campaign has NOT called me yet to demand your names.

One comment in our horrendously non-scientific poll took Teresa Tomlinson to task for proposing a "sunset" amendment to the property tax freeze. It's something she's actually proposed for months [18 Aug] - but how would residents protest it? People like iced tea, but they usually don't freeze it.

-> We had a character-testing moment at the poker table the other night. Read what happened at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

OUR TEXT FOR TODAY: We're not sure we should agree with this, but we couldn't help noticing what a Columbus man named Matt posted online Tuesday....

"I see that North and South Korea has decided to join in on Rivalry Week."

Let's see what made news closer to home....

+ Columbus Police arrested a man on charges of abusing the 911 system with constant calls. Officers say the last straw for William Parrish came when he called for an ambulance at 14th and Veterans Parkway, then told paramedics he was having "suicidal thoughts." Really now - the Taco Bell value menu isn't THAT bad.

+ The Georgia Supreme Court ruled defendants have the right to an interpreter during criminal trials, if they have trouble understanding English. OK - then how about an interpreter for jurors, to explain some of the legal mumbo-jumbo?

+ WDAK's Viewpoint focused on the United Way campaign, and mentioned a rap video prepared by CB&T employees. It gets a little violent at the end - as if the workers don't know some of the money could go to the Hope Harbour shelter.

(Yes, I noticed - the rap video has nothing but Caucasian employees. But look at it this way: they were trying to raise M's-n-M's in cash.)

+ WTVM showed the local chapter of Omega Psi Phi presenting boxes with Thanksgiving meals to ten local families. That's a nice thing to do every year - but did I see Rice Krispie Treats in those boxes? Is that really a more nutritious dessert than pumpkin pie?

+ The Raycom News Network reported the University of Alabama has given more than 500 "Iron Bowl" tickets to state officials, including legislators. State Senator Billy Beasley says he plans to attend Friday's game - and that pharmacist could come in handy, if Auburn's Cam Newton makes the Alabama defense dizzy.

+ Instant Message to the owner of this Hyundai parked along First Avenue: I hope you don't mind the color change it's had over the last couple of days. But I don't think you're the reason why Columbus Council voted Tuesday night to change parking rules in the Historic District.

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