Tuesday, February 22, 2011

22 FEB 11: Hunter's Run Detour

The Government Center was open on President's Day. All in all, that may have been a good thing. Fewer people noticed the embarrassing political firestorm that needed to be put out.

City Attorney Clifton Fay announced former Columbus Councilor Julius Hunter is disqualified from becoming a Recorder's Court Judge this year. If Hunter really liked city government that much, he should have run harder in the runoff last fall.

The city attorney said Julius Hunter cannot become a Recorder's Court Judge because the Columbus City Charter's ethics code requires former city officials to wait one year before holding "any compensated appointive office in the government." So?! If Hunter wants to serve for free, that saves money in the mayor's budget....

(Do you realize what that ethics code also means? Jim Wetherington can't become a Columbus police officer again until the start of 2012.)

But this was no ordinary disqualification decision, for a couple of reasons. Some people suspect Clifton Fay acted only because a Ledger-Enquirer reader named "Housewife" brought up the ethics code over the weekend in an online comment. I wondered where the author of "The Truth About Teresa" went....

(People can post anonymously to the newspaper's website, so we don't know who "Housewife" is -- but in this case, I seriously doubt it's Rep. Carolyn Hugley.)

So we may have a Columbus first - a city appointment being stopped by an ordinary citizen using the power of the Internet. A pre-emptive move now saves a lengthy police department investigation later.

But there's a second strange twist to this story, which another Ledger-Enquirer comment mentioned Monday. Julius Hunter is a member of the Columbus Charter Review Commission - and he chairs a subcommittee studying the legislative branch. Apparently he's been so busy examining Article III that he hasn't bothered reading that appendix with the code of ethics.

This blog was first to report two weeks ago that Julius Hunter had applied to become Recorder's Court Judge. Little did we know how much political intrigue was behind that move. I've seen reports claiming some Councilors wanted Hunter to replace Chief Judge Michael Cielinski. It now appears the pro-Hunter group shot itself in the foot....

Monday's disqualification leaves six candidates for Columbus Council to consider tonight for four Recorder's Court positions. WRBL reported Monday night the two remaining "outside" candidates have arrests on their records from the 1980s and 90's. No wonder the mayor talked on inauguration day about seeking expertise from people with "youthful transgressions." No one else has applied.

BLOG CORRECTION: We mentioned Sunday "John Boy and Billy" from WVRK-FM appeared at the RiverCenter. Now someone who bought a ticket informs me the hosts were NOT there - only members of the supporting cast, with some guest comics. Now this show seems like a slap in the face. Isn't Columbus redneck enough to get these big stars?

-> We had a heartbreaking moment at the poker table last week. Read it and weep at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

BLOG UPDATE: The alleged "Al from Dadeville" reportedly has fled his home, in the wake of his arrest for the poisoning at Toomer's Corner. WTVM reported Monday Herman Updyke is living "in his car by a creek" - and is NOT talking to reporters on the advice of his attorney. Updyke could have used that advice about six weeks ago....

Meanwhile, experts began removing dirt from around the Toomer's Corner trees Monday. Then two protective tents were set up at the base of the trees. It's only a matter of time before Auburn University students sneak into those tents -- hoping to be first to roll the trees after they're declared healed.

Let's see what other dirt we dug up over the holiday weekend....

+ The Monday high temperature in Columbus was a near-record 78 degrees F. It was perfect for a twilight run on the Riverwalk - and as I jogged home, I noticed two geese flying north overhead. Of course, one immediate thought came to mind. It was just like NASCAR racing at Daytona.

+ Columbus Police reported officers caught a man playing loud music outside Peachtree Mall - and he turned out to be an illegal immigrant. Tip of the day for new arrivals in Columbus: set at least one car radio button on a country music radio station.

+ Confessed "Bubblegum Bandit" Trevor Love was sentenced to four years in prison and 16 more on probation. He's the man who broke into several Columbus businesses last year to steal gumball machines. But one big question remains - where did all the gum go? Some self-storage business in Columbus may have the stickiest locker in the state.

+ The planned reopening of Krispy Kreme on Veterans Parkway was delayed one more day, and visitors had to settle for one free doughnut each. Do you think Nathan Suber forgot Monday was the Black History Month breakfast downtown?

+ Former President Jimmy Carter told students in Plains he expects an end to royal dictatorships in the Middle East and Persian Gulf over the next ten years. If that means more Irans like what Mr. Carter faced in 1979, I'm not sure that's a good thing.

+ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported John Oxendine spent his last day as Georgia Insurance Commissioner assigning licenses to himself, for selling insurance. Those State Farm agents must really be "like a good neighbor" - so good that Oxendine didn't want to lose touch with them.

+ The high school baseball season began, with Hardaway handling Smiths Station 8-6. The Smiths players looked like they were wearing T-shirts instead of traditional uniforms. I don't think even Jordan High School cuts costs for baseball that much.

+ Instant Message to Legacy Chevrolet: Thanks -- but I don't think I'll apply for your spokesperson opening. I can say "COHHH-lumbus" like the sales manager, but I'm nowhere near as cute at Emanuel Jones's daughter.

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