Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

>How Ron Sparks will win in November

June 7, 2010

>People aren’t giving Democratic nominee Ron Sparks much of a chance to win in November, regardless of who his opponent is.

I disagree. Not that it’s going to be easy. But there are things Sparks can do, and there are factors that people aren’t considering.

First of all, why believe the polls?

They were wrong, oh, so wrong, about the primary election with their predictions of a Davis win and a poor Sparks showing. Ron Sparks proved them wrong.

Or, should I say, the voters proved them wrong.

So, ignore all future polling data on this race.

Of course, we don’t know who the Republican candidate will be.

We don’t know how much crossing over will take place in the runoff.

We don’t know if the Republican Party will accept the results. They could screw up like the Democrats did in 1986 (Graddick/Baxley).

Now, consider a few things.

Republicans love to gamble. They bet on the Alabama/Auburn game. They buy lottery tickets in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and other states. They travel to Silverstar in Philadelphia, Mississippi and to Biloxi to the Casinos there.

They might not be crazy about Milton McGregor, but they love to gamble.

Trouble is, many are in the closet. They don’t want the people who sit on their pew at the Baptist Church to know they play the slots. Or the tables.

So they gamble on the downlow.

And put a Byrne or James or Bentley sign in their front yard.

But when they go into that voting booth, they could easily fill in the Ron Sparks oval rather than the Bradley Byrne/Robert Bentley/Tim James choice. The voter knows that their ballot is secret. They can vote to allow the regulation of gambling in this state, to allow the state to reap the benefits of gambling rather than sending all those dollars to Mississippi and Florida.

Conventional wisdom (and a lot of people) tells us that Alabama Black voters wanted Artur Davis to learn a lesson. That you don’t take them for granted. Conventional wisdom might also tell us that the voters feel they have done just that, and that they won’t be excited to come back out in November to vote for Sparks.

But I’ve spoken with a number of Blacks in the Bessemer area and not one has led me to believe that they will sit at home in November. Sparks will hold on to that support.

Ron Sparks needs to do three things. Everyone now knows that he is the only pro-gambling candidate.

1. He needs to stress his views on ethics reform. Summarized at Left in Alabama is this editorial Sparks wrote last year about ethics and restoring trust in state government. The highlights:

  • Ban PAC-to-PAC transfers
  • Campaign contributions will be transparent, clearly identifying the individual contributor
  • Federal “office holder” fund transfers to State campaigns will have the same transparency
  • Lobbyists will report “every penny”
  • Lobbying the Executive Branch will have the same transparency, and lobbyists will be required to register

Please read the entire editorial.

2. He needs to develop a consistent and sound policy about the disaster on the Gulf Coast. This will be a major focus of the next governor’s term, and Sparks can tie his plan for saving the coast with his successful promotion of international trade, particularly with Cuba, without “politicizing” the disaster.

3. Every other word out of his mouth should be “jobs”. He has worked in a factory. He has promoted jobs in agriculture during his two statewide elected terms as Agriculture Commissioner. The Democrats brought in the automakers. Yes they did. Autoworkers know that the Democratic governors have been pro – their industry. Teachers should know that the Democrats support them (and that the Democrats in Washington are saving their jobs).

Ron Sparks can win in November. The issues that Alabama cares about are not how strongly a candidate believes in science, or in God, or in both, or how many guns a Governor totes. But even for the gun toting, beer drinking, hunting and fishing voters of the state, Sparks is their buddy.

With Ron Sparks’ Black support and pro-ethics reform and gambling and good ole boy identity and union/workers support we can look forward to taking the Governor’s mansion in November.

But we won’t take anything or anyone for granted. Artur Davis taught us that.


>What we learned yesterday

June 2, 2010

>Where to start after yesterday’s primary election?

I’ve not spent 13 hours at a polling place since my own campaign on election day 4 years ago. Those of us making a last minute effort to influence voters had a good day at Thompson Manor in Bessemer.

Do we do any good by handing out ballots or candidate info to people on their way in to vote?

Who knows, But in a close race, when there are many races on the ballot, a voter might be coming to the poll in strong support of only one candidate in a single race, and really not decided on the other races, so we pass out our literature in hopes of gaining a vote or two.

At any rate, I think the voters of Alabama proved one thing yesterday. We are not a teabagger state.

Xenophobe Tim James seems destined to be left out of the runoff. He’s currently in third place.

Theocrat Roy Moore can ride off into the sunset on that horse he’s pictured on in today’s Birmingham News.

Racial profiler wanna-be Steve French lost. (The victor of this primary may well be a teabagger).

Laughingstock Dale Peterson lost his youtube based campaign of threat to a couple of more sensible Republicans that will face each other in a runoff.

Teabagger-come-lately Parker Griffith lost his Republican bid for the seat that Democrats gave him 4 years ago. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature, and it’s not nice to fool Democrats either, Griffith. (His replacement leans teabag).

As for the Governor’s race, the only surprise on the Democrat side was the margin of the Ron Sparks win over “throw ’em (both gays and blacks, other wise known as “your base”) under the bus” Artur Davis.

Davis’ vote against the health care bill has to go down down as one of the biggest political errors in Alabama history. Pundits are downplaying it, while every single black person I spoke with, and there were many, said that vote sealed the deal against him. Whoever advised him to vote that way (surely he didn’t come up with that himself, heck, he’s got a Harvard education! after all), should be fired. Oh wait, they don’t have a job now anyway, do they?

On the Republican side, it is truly a gift from God if in fact it turns out that Tim James can join Roy Moore at Buck’s Pocket (many of you younger readers might not know, but Buck’s Pocket is “where all the defeated public officials go to lick their wounds after an unsuccessful election.”

In the race to replace Davis in AL-07, Terri Sewell led the pack with 31,489 votes over Sheila Smoot with 24,376 votes. Earl Hilliard, Jr. came in third with 22,939 votes. Sewell and Smoot will face each other in a runoff.

Six weeks of campaigning to go for those in runoffs. I will investigate some numbers and comment more on these and other races later.

>Judge not…well, except for these guys

May 28, 2010

>Most people don’t know the people in our county that keep order and administer justice.

No, it’s not the Justice League. Our justice is administered in a different fashion.

There are a bevy of Circuit and District Court judges and several of them are up for election this year, and there are a boatload of candidates.

I heard a number of judicial candidates speak at the Stonewall Democrat’s Wine Loft mixer, plus I have read a bit about them and paid attention to the ratings by the Birmingham Bar Association.

Without a lot of fan fare, here are the ones to vote for. Some of these are just in Bessemer Division, some are County wide, some might just be in the Birmingham Division.

Circuit Court Criminal Division Place 3 – David Carpenter

Circuit Court Civil Court Place 12 – Dan King

Circuit Court Criminal Division Place 14 – Clyde Jones

Circuit Court Civil Court Place 17 – Nikki Still

Circuit Court Domestic Relations Place 20 – Agnes Chappell

Circuit Court Domestic Relations Place 23 – Denise Pomeroy

Circuit Court Criminal Division Place 24 – Stephen Wallace

District Court Civil Division Place 10 – Lynneice Washington

>Cleophus King announces

February 23, 2010

>Cleophus King has announced his intention to run for Bessemer City Council district 7 with the creation of a facebook fan page where he has listed some of his priorities for the city and the district.

District 7 includes my neighborhood as well as other areas including Jonesboro.

Here are some highlights of his priorities:

  • Support neighborhood beautification and revitalization of downtown district.
  • Stimulate economic growth in under served areas in the city.
  • Seek to develop a more effective relationship with school board officials to provide our youth with keys to success, implement things that will cultivate their talents for a higher education.
  • Fight for better police protection in our neighborhoods.
  • Expand the neighborhood watch program all over district seven.
  • Hold district meetings to ensure Pubic Safety is Priority One.

I have spoken with Cleophus about his candidacy and about working with the current or future leadership in the city. I plan to meet with him to learn more specifics about the issues.

>Western Tribune column January 27 2010 Supreme Court Decision

February 1, 2010

>My column from the Western Tribune January 27, 2010

It’s not how democracy should work

Never again should conservatives speak out against “activist judges” after the decision handed down by the U. S. Supreme Court last week that affirms corporate personhood and allows corporations to contribute unlimited amounts of money toward electing and defeating political candidates.

In doing so, the court reversed long standing legal precedent and overturned laws that had been on the books for decades.

How might this affect the election process?

Think of Exxon Mobil, the largest corporation in the country. In 2008 their operating profits equaled $85 billion. If they decide to spend just 10% of their profits on political campaigns, they would spend $8.5 billion, and this would be more than three times what President Obama, John McCain and all the House and Senate candidates in 2008 spent on their campaigns.

Does anyone think the environment stands a chance against this type of potential assault? Remember the Exxon Valdez?

At the risk of sounding like the Teabaggers, it’s “We the People,” not “We the Corporations.”
And we, conservatives and progressives, should fight this.

In a radio interview American University constitutional law professor Jamin Raskin proposed some steps that can be taken to return democracy to the people.

Raskin stated that since the early 1800’s corporations have been viewed as artificial creations of the state, but the state does not have to permit its creature to consume it.

He says that first; the president should call for a constitutional amendment to declare that corporations are not persons having the right to political expression.

Second, Congress should pass legislation stating that if you do business with the federal government, you cannot spend money on federal elections.

Third, the great people of this country and shareholders in the companies should demand that corporations not spend money on elections; rather they should involve themselves in the economy by economic production.

Short sighted conservatives may view this ruling favorably, as an opportunity to get legislators elected that will defeat attempts to pass progressive health care or environmental legislation. If they look to the future, they will recognize this tactic actually takes the power away from them.

After all, my measly contributions to political efforts, and theirs as well, will have little or no effect when matched up against the billions of dollars that corporations can offer.

And that is not how democracy is supposed to work.


You’ve seen the video of Justice Samuel Alito during the president’s speech. Here it is again if you want to refresh.