Friday, April 15, 2011

15 APR 11: Hobbs in a Hurry

The new Columbus Mayor recently passed the 100-day mark in office. So what better way to celebrate could there be, than to start another election campaign? After all, yard sign makers have to make a living from something other than mortgage reduction gimmicks.

"And so it begins," Jeremy Hobbs wrote online Thursday as the first yard signs went up in his campaign for Columbus Council. Yes, yard signs are up 19 months before the next Council election - as if Hobbs wants to show he has more youthful enthusiasm than even Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin.

Long-time blog readers know Jeremy Hobbs has been planning a 2012 Council campaign for, well, a long time. Hobbs posted a YouTube video in February 2010 saying he would run in District 8 if incumbent Red McDaniel decides to retire [21 Feb 10]. McDaniel is in his 35th year on Council - so he can remember when "YouTube" referred to a local water park.

But in an online exchange with your blog Thursday, Jeremy Hobbs suggested Red McDaniel's plans for 2012 have been trumped by another issue....

First off Red McDaniel has made no such announcement or told me whatsoever that he is retiring after this term. You are correct about my statement I made last year regarding this race in 2012. But last Sunday I see in the paper where Red said he would VOTE NO to let the people decide on Sunday sales of alcohol saying the only people who wanted it were convenience stores and liquor stores and saying they don't want to open up for it. Well....I went out to the streets that very Sunday along Wynnton Rd and talked to the people. The people said they want Sunday Sales here and their voices should be heard and they shouldnt be dictated to on how, when and where they spend their money. If Liquor stores don't want to open then DON'T OPEN. I feel Councilor McDaniel has lost touch of the real voices of our community. Him being the only candidate who said NO was just not right. I would have much rather he made an informed decision and got out there and talked to the people like I did and either say Undecided instead of just saying NO.

Red is my friend and I love him dearly. But its time we move forward in Columbus. Whether Red decides to run or not cannot change my 20 month Campaign plans. I have to be ready and right now I am answering the call of the public. People tell me left and right to do it now. They want change this go round. They want to be heard and they want term limits as well. Something I will work non stop to implement on all elected city officials. We must have fresh voices and fresh ideas at work in our cities government. We must be innovative and we must get out there and hear what the people have to say....ALL THE PEOPLE. Not just our close friends.

There's one flaw in Hobbs's reasoning which appears right away. If he did a Sunday survey on Wynnton Road, convenience store customers were far more likely to be out and shopping than liquor store customers.

We may see here a major difference in how to be a Columbus Councilor. Red McDaniel may have waited for complaints to come, while Jeremy Hobbs went "to the streets." This also could mean Hobbs has a higher income to spend on gasoline.

Voters in District 8 may be telling Jeremy Hobbs they want change - but only five months ago, three out of four Columbus Council incumbents won reelection. So removing Red McDaniel may not be easy. Especially if he starts handing out literature at the Gallops Senior Center....

The term limit concept is common in many U.S. cities. I used to live in an Oklahoma city where city commissioners had only two four-year terms to get things done. When the city manager handed commissioners advance copies of the city budget that reporters could not see, it was fun to call new members who didn't know the secrecy rules.

But wait a minute -- shouldn't term limit proposals come from the city charter review commission? Its work should be finished well before the November 2012 city election. And Jeremy Hobbs has sent e-mail blasts to the Columbus news media for so long that he's probably sending the commission members new ideas every week.

This leads to a second, obvious question. Why does Jeremy Hobbs need "20 month campaign plans" in the first place?

And secondly....Why So Soon? I want two things. I want the people of Columbus to show me they are ready for change and two I want Red to see that the people of Columbus are ready for change. Perhaps once we get these signs out and Red see's the whole picture then he'll decide to retire. Red is a hero to Columbus Georgia. He has served the people well. But there comes a time when its time for the next chapter. And Im ready to help Columbus start that next chapter when Im elected Columbus Georgia's NEXT District 8 City Councilor in Novemeber 2012.

So this is a little bit like what happened in Egypt -- only with posters along the road, instead of mass rallying outside the Government Center.

We called Red McDaniel Thursday to get his viewpoint on all this, but our message was NOT returned Thursday night. Perhaps the incumbent is waiting to see if Jeremy Hobbs will repeat what he did in 2008 -- announcing a campaign for Columbus Council, then backing out [26 Feb 08]. Hobbs could have been the poster child for "guys who can't commit."

When Jeremy Hobbs isn't busy making campaign plans, he runs the Chattahoochee Valley Better Way Foundation. Would Red McDaniel dare make an issue of Hobbs being HIV positive - or his foundation offering free condoms to AIDS patients? Or would Hobbs point out he's been HIV-positive so long, he could have served two full terms on Columbus Council by now?

-> We took a long nail to our poker nights this week. Find out why at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: Now to the chilliest city issue of the moment....

City Manager Hughley sticks his foot in his mouth up to his knee once again..Front headline of Ledger;"City Manager Hugley says opening ice rink without manager will not present a problem."...Then ,the big question is why have a manager.Just add it on to the job description of the Civic Center manager and crew.Why didn't Hughley push to interview all these people with experience who have applied...The ball was dropped once again...

The question of having one manager or two challenged Columbus Council earlier this year. The ice rink manager's position was approved in February. Maybe Isaiah Hugley is waiting for all those interviews with Parks and Recreation Director candidates to end.

Mayor Teresa Pike Tomlinson was asked Thursday about the Columbus Hockey Association's complaint that the new skating rink hasn't been opened for games. She told WRBL it couldn't be opened in part due to "fiduciary obligations." If Tomlinson said that to a group of hard-core hockey players, they might have concluded she was speaking French.

City officials say the new skating rink already has brought more than $50,000 in revenue. Wow - it cost a lot of money for St. Francis Hospital to paint its logo on the Zamboni.

For a homework assignment, we challenge everyone in a lather about the skating rink to name the 16 teams in the National Hockey League playoffs. In the meantime, let's cross-check review other Thursday news:

+ The first class of soldiers graduated from Fort Benning's new U.S. Armor School. Why this ceremony didn't take place at the Buckhead Grill on Armour Road is a mystery to me....

+ The final day of the Georgia Legislature's session included passage of a bill extending a sales tax exemption on airplane parts. GPB explained that bill could protect jobs at the Columbus Pratt & Whitney plant -- but in the wrong hands, high-speed police chases could become much more dangerous.

+ LaGrange police announced arrests at a "business center" which had computer screens in a back room for customers to play "sweepstakes." Police say in reality, illegal gambling is going on - and someone has to intervene, to curb people's addiction to fantasy baseball.

+ Best Buy released a report indicating Georgians recycle 39 percent more "electronic waste" at its stores than Alabamians do. I'm not sure what the difference is between the states. Maybe Alabama churches still use real pianos and organs.

+ Phenix City School Superintendent Larry DiChiara was nominated for a seat on the Auburn University Board of Trustees. Aha! Maybe Jimmy Wetzel suggested DiChiara's name, to get him out of town more often.

+ Auburn University announced the school's three Heisman Trophy winners will be honored with bronze statues. Hopefully a duplicate is being made for Cam Newton, in case all those illegal recruiting stories turn out to be right.

(WLTZ noted the Auburn football statues are being made in Montana. Huh?! Is this part of a deal to book easy homecoming opponents for the next five years?)

+ Newspaper reports revealed Talladega Superspeedway is covering 12,000 seats with banners, because the crowds for this weekend's NASCAR races are expected to be that small. This is a shocking sign that NASCAR is in trouble - and the drivers need to work out a way for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to end his losing streak.

SCHEDULED THIS WEEKEND: A four-word question you'd better not ask....

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