Archive for the ‘Ken Gulley’ Category

>Take her with you!!!

October 20, 2010

>Update: Breaking news (around 4:30) – a Bessemer judge has dismissed the challenge to Ken Gulley’s election.

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Another challenge to the election of Ken Gulley as mayor has been filed by the same person, Jessie Burrell, that filed the earlier suit that was thrown out. The election had to be certified before it could be challenged.

She lays out 20 points in a statement which according to her prove that Gulley does not live in Bessemer.

This suit was filed Friday.

The entire statement from Burrell is printed in the Western Star today.

I don’t understand statement number 1.

“1. On October 5, 2010 the City of Bessemer held an election for the office of Mayor. Ten persons, including Ms. Burrell and Mr. Gulley, declared themselves candidates for the office.”

First of all, ten people did not declare themselves candidates for mayor. There were two people on the ballot on October 5, Ken Gulley and Ed May. It was a runoff. Ms. Burrell was not on the ballot on October 5, having lost her city council bid. And she was never on the ballot in the mayor’s race. And there were never 10 people in the race.

If the wording of this statement is any indication of the inteligence behind this case, they have no chance.

I have the court documents that she filed. Here is the first page out of 5.

When you read the Western Star, what you read is actually what she wrote.

The Western Star, in their “Why?” column, says this suit is a joke. Among other things:

“Over 70 percent of the people of Bessemer have said, “May go back to Mobile or go back to Birmingham.”

Can I add, take Jessie Burrell with you?

Ms. Burrell is not asking the court to find Mr. Gulley unqualified based on legal grounds, it seems. She concludes with “wherefore, premises considered, Plaintiff prays that this court will take jurisdiction…The Plaintiff further prays that upon this declaration, that Mayor May be declared the winner of the election…”

I pray that this case will be thrown out before it makes Bessemer look even more foolish. I mean, here’s a guy that over 70% of the people want out. 4,145 people voted for Gulley, 1,543 voted for May. Yet he still has his minions fighting for him?

I notice on page 5 there was instruction to the sheriff to serve the defendant at … his Hueytown address. No, his Bessemer address. Wait, it’s f**ked up.

Kenneth D. Gulley

306 Westlake Circle SW (that’s his Bessemer address that he swore to in his affidavit)

Hueytown, AL 35023 (that’s his former city of residence, and zip code)

Will the sheriff even be able to deliver it?

Of course, legal issues are unpredictable. Bessemer Opinions will be following this.

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>A New Day Dawns in Bessemer

October 6, 2010

>The sirens went off and the lights were flashing this morning in celebration, I guess, of the New Dawn of Bessemer.

The siren was, of course, the tornado siren that sounds at 10:00 the first Wednesday of every month, and the lights flashing were a test of the fire alarm system in the new Courtyard Café and Bakery in Bessemer, opening today in just a few minutes.

This blog is coming to you live from the opening.

Next week the Café will begin opening at 7:30 to serve breakfast or for those out early just to stop by and get a cup of Community Coffee.

These pasties, pies, cakes and cookies, would go well with the coffee that they serve.

Open for Lunch this week, the menu has some expected items; a variety of Deli Sandwiches and Chicken Salad and Spinach Artichoke Dip, but also some unexpected delicacies such as Chipotle Chicken Salad and a Thai Salad. There’s also a soup of the day and a soup and sandwich combination.

There will soon be wrought iron chairs on the courtyard, perfect for these crisp autumn days.

But the real New Dawn is a result of the election yesterday in which Ken Gulley tromped the incumbent mayor Ed May. May ended an interview last night with Fox 6 News with the two words we all wanted to hear, “I lost.” Gulley had 4,144 votes and Ed May had 1,543. That’s 73% of voters opting for a change.

I saw a “suggested” headline from the paper.

Probably won’t be the real headline, but nothing could be further from the truth. And some asses need kicking.

Eight years ago I celebrated when change came to Bessemer, but the change never happened. Crime rates are still up, the neighborhoods are in disarray, and city finances are a mess. Promises were made, but soon forgotten.

The new mayor and council will be sworn in on Monday, November 1, 2010. Their first council meeting will be the following day.

Other winners last night include Sherrina Rice in District 2, who had 508 votes to Chester Porter’s 477, Ron Marshall in District 5 who with 363 votes squeaked by incumbent Albert Soles who had 361 votes, and Cleo King in District 7 who beat incumbent Earl Cochran 426-405.

I spoke with business leaders last night and this morning and they all agree that Mayor-elect Gulley will be a positive change as far as the business community is concerned. Here is Courtyard Café and Bakery owner Van Sykes with Senator Priscilla Dunn and Mayor-elect Ken Gulley at Gulley headquarters last night. Not the best picture in the world, but indicative of the support Gulley had.

The vote totals are unofficial, and I was at City Hall this morning when acting City Clerk Travis Brooks wheeled them out to take them to the County office where they will be counted. The only race where this might be a problem seems to be District 5 where Marshall won by just 2 votes. In that district I saw that there are only 6 provisional ballots cast.

But in all the races the absentee ballots could be questioned. But even these probably wouldn’t change any results except Marshall’s. I spoke with Ron this morning at City Hall and he will be watching the votes and counts carefully. I’m sure his opponent will be, too.

Marshall told me that he is interested in using his management skills to bring people together. Not just the council, but the other interests like business and civic organizations. And he said he is interested in working with the new mayor to bring about a change in the perception of Bessemer.

Travis Brooks told Ron and me, and an official at Jefferson County confirmed that the results will not be confirmed and made official until Tuesday. But even though Ron’s win is not certain, we do know this: the majority of the council will be new to the body. They don’t have baggage, and as far as I can tell they all have Bessemer’s interest as their priorities.

This is a time to celebrate, and I’m starting by enjoying a Grilled Fish Sandwich at Courtyard Café and Bakery, and I’ll have one of those Peanut Butter Balls, too.

>Who’s supporting who?

September 22, 2010

>In two weeks we will wake up knowing who will lead Bessemer into the “teens,” the second decade of the 21st century.

The case has been made with certainty for Ken Gulley, (here and here), but a lot will be said and every effort will be made to de-rail his campaign before the runoff election on October 5.

Take for instance that silly lawsuit that was dismissed last week. All that did was make the Bessemer Progressives realize that maybe there is someone worse than Sarah Belcher in District 3. Unfortunately, we supported that person, pretty much only because she was the only person running against Belcher. But I’ve seen a glimmer of hope that Ms. Belcher will work with Gulley if he is elected. It never hurts to be an optimist.

I have copies of Ken Gulley’s and Ed May’s campaign finance reports.

There are no big surprises, but it is obvious where the support for each candidate is coming from.

Ken Gulley has the bulk of his money coming from individuals, with over 40 people donating to his campaign. This does not count the numerous people who donated at three fund raising events that raised a total of over $800. His other donors are primarily local small businesses. His total contributions were $21,109.

Ed May, on the other hand, had only one individual contribute and the bulk of his money came from PACS and Corporations. At least 56% ($25,240) of his contributions are from PACS associated with city attorneys, and it’s probable ,that another $14,500 did also, as it was funnelled through PACs that one of those attorneys used during the 2006 campaign. His total contributions are $44,540.

I guess what it boils down to is that the people who live in Bessemer and the people who own small businesses want a change in the leadership of our city. And those who are embedded in the city’s affairs and their special interest groups like the status quo.

Speaking of the people of Bessemer they were recently asked to voice their opinion on a poll on the mayor’s campaign web site. The Mayor asked, “Are you happy with the current growth of Bessemer?” A simple question.

The poll is no longer on the site.

But before it was removed a week ago, here were the results. 76.5% of respondents chose “No,” and only 23.5% chose “Yes.”

(You can click on the pictures to enlarge them)

Individuals, not PACS, vote in online polls. Individuals are funding and supporting the Gulley campaign, because they are not happy with the growth of Bessemer, according to the mayor’s own polling, and do not think he has addressed the issues of importance to the city, according to a poll on Bessemer Opinions that was posted just after the election in August.

While on the mayor’s campaign web site I noticed a couple of things that he or his campaign manager or web site manager should have caught. I am not the best speller, or typist, and often I hit the wrong keys and I may misspell words on this blog. But I use spell check and I have readers who alert me if something slips by, and I correct it. But May’s campaign site has been up for 6 weeks or so, and this is how the home page appears. I circled a couple of misspelled words.


If you want people to be impressed with you, you can’t have little errors and if you do you must correct them when they are found. (I had one in my book and when I found out about it, I corrected it. Some of you have “rare and valuable” imperfect early copies of Those Others.)

There are actually other errors but I don’t want to post all of his pages on here.

My annual flowers (and some of my perennials) are just drying up. It’s fall, it’s unusually hot and dry, so the changes in our gardens are inevitable. Here are a couple of zinnia flowers that were hanging on last week, but even those are gone now. This purple one has a little spider creature on it that I didn’t notice when I was taking the photograph.


This orange flower looks as if it has no stem. It just seems to be floating, like something we might see on Pandora.

>Self-pleasure and the mayor’s race

September 15, 2010

>It’s hard to imagine Ed May and masturbation would come up in the same blog post, but it happened. Right now.

Just turn off your imagination right now, though. It’s not like that.

No, I wanted to write about the primaries last night, but then this information comes out about the local mayoral candidates and something very strange is going on.

In today’s Birmingham News the finance reports of the candidates are disclosed.

The article explains that Ken Gulley outspent his rivals by a huge margin. That is no surprise.

But this is:

“Ed May did not file campaign finance disclosures for the two reporting periods
before the general election. Candidates do not have to file disclosure forms
unless they raise or spend $1,000 or more. Candidates who don’t raise or spend
more than $1,000 can instead file a waiver indicating they did not need to file
disclosure forms. May also did not file any waiver.”

My understanding is that as a candidate you must file either a form or a waiver. Ed May did neither. What does this tell us? What are the possible reasons?

1. He is hiding something. I can’t believe the hundreds of signs he has put out cost less than $1000.

2. He does not respect the process. Somebody doesn’t respect it, that’s for sure. There’s that silly lawsuit challenging Ken Gulley’s residence, but I don’t think it’s tied to the May campaign. Seems there’s another fish splashing water out of the bowl in this case.

3. He’s lazy. He said after the poor showing in the general election that he had not campaigned. That could indicate laziness, or maybe his lack of campaigning reflects one of these other possibilities.

4. He’s unorganized. Have you seen his desk?

5. He has such high regard for himself that he feels he does not have to follow the rules.

In any case, I don’t think we want a person who falls under any of the above categories to be our mayor.

Ken Gulley raised over $21,000, and the contributors listed include business leaders, realty groups, law firms, investment firms, insurance firms and numerous individuals; people who love our city, understand our city, and want our city to prosper.

Who is left to contribute to May? No one. I guess maybe that’s the reason he has no contributions. But he still needed to file a waiver.

Oh, you are wondering about the masturbation reference.

In Delaware the Republicans chose Teabagger party doll Christine O’Donnell as their candidate, a move that those who rely on statistics and advanced polling say will decrease the GOP’s chance of taking the senate from 30% to 15%. It turns a sure Republican win in November in Delaware to a probable Democrat win.

O’Donnell is known for, among other things, speaking out against masturbation.
How can that be? I mean she is a teabagger, without question, and got the Teabagger party endorsement. And teabagging leads to…oh, never mind. But she said:

“The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery. So you can’t masturbate without lust.”

Hey, I don’t make up the news, I only report it. And I’m not going to dwell on this. But do you really think that little kids, male and female, when they are exploring their body and just learning about things are full of lust? No, they are just doing what feels good with no emotional attachment at all.

And monkeys. They masturbate. Are they lusting after furry hunk they just saw swinging through the trees?

And does fantasy always equal lust? Hardly.

OK, enough of that.

I mean, it was bad enough that every candidate had to give an opinion on the proposed mosque in New York. Are we now going to examine every candidate’s view on self-pleasure? Let’s hope not.

But last night’s primaries give new hope to the Democrats for November. Independents and moderate Republicans do not want to elect radical wing nuts to congress. So they will either stay at home or vote for the Democrats in November.

So, Twitter was set to launch a new interface last night, but my twitter page looks the same. But I like what’s coming. Watch the video. Then follow me….

>Election results and the runoffs

August 25, 2010

>Congratulations to all the winners and runoff candidates of yesterday’s Bessemer elections, even to those who had to dupe their constituents in order to win. You know who you are.

And a note to those who were elected (or who may still be elected): you will be held accountable these next 4 years. The council will be more functional, and citizens interest will remain higher.

As for the mayor’s race, Ken Gulley had a good showing with 2,112 votes, or 37%. He will be in a runoff with Ed May, whose 1, 312 represented only 23% of the voters who want Bessemer to continue on the path it is currently on.

Out of 5,637 people who voted in the mayor’s race 4,325 voters did not want Ed May to return to office. That doesn’t mean the runoff will be smooth sailing for Gulley, but optimism for him, and for the city, is inevitable.

Council district 1 – David Vance – winner (a positive change for the city)

Council district 2 – runoff – Chester Porter and Sherrina Rice – this will be positive change for the city if Chester Porter wins. Remember when John McCain was running for president and it his candidacy was labelled Bush’s third term? Think of Rice as a continuation of Louise Alexander.

Council district 3 – Sarah Belcher – winner – this does nothing for our city

Council district 4 – Donna Thigpen – winner – let’s just hope that she comes around on the school board money owed by the city. Other than that issue, I think she will be an upgrade to the council, and will help to return the body to civility.

Council district 5 – runoff – Ron Marshall and Albert Soles – Marshall got 7% more of the votes that the incumbent. I predict he can hold on to win the runoff. Ron Marshall has wanted to put his management skills to work for our city for a long time.

Council district 6 – Jesse Matthews – winner – the only incumbent with a recommendation from the Progressive coalition, and in part because we were frightened of his opponent, Ed May II. The voters must have felt the same way as he only got 18% of the vote. I think Ed May II’s poor showing is a direct result of how the voters feel about his father.

Council district 7 – runoff – Earl Cochran and Cleo King – Cleo has a mountain to climb to reach 50% but the voters who cast their lot for Labrenda for the most part don’t appreciate Earl, the man who beat their favorite 4 years ago. So if they come back out to vote, they may chose Cleo King. Let’s hope they do.

School Board – Hattie Aikerson retains her seat and Earlene Cochran wins the other open seat. I don’t have a lot of insight on how this will affect the board, but we can’t expect too much change with only one new member. However, is much change needed? The board, for the most part, is doing a good job.

I will be writing about the candidates who are still in the running until the runoff in October. But for the next few days, I get to take some time off from politics. For the candidates, they had better be out there today, courting voters.

>On Tuesday

August 23, 2010

>This is a reminder about August 24, 2010.

It is Election Day in Bessemer.


Whether you are reading this on Monday or Tuesday, consider the following.

Do you want to continue to have crime ignored?

Do you want to continue to keep the money we pay for the schools in taxes to be hoarded and mis-spent by the city on lord knows what?

Do you want to continue to have the city finances kept secret?

Do you want to continue to have a mayor and council at odds, who act as though they have taken a vow to act like tom cats all after Miss Kitty?

Do you want Bessemer to pay its first responders so poorly that once they are trained they are tempted to go elsewhere just because the pay is better?

Do you want the business community, which brings dollars, jobs, dollars, tourists, dollars, prestige and more dollars to our coffers, to continue to be ignored?

Do you want outside business entities that are considering a site for business to continue to overlook our city, thus losing potential, no actual, jobs that our citizens could hold?

If these are the things you want for our city, just don’t vote. Let things stay the same.

But if you want the opposite of the above, if you want to see Bessemer improve, vote for change in Bessemer;

vote Ken Gulley for mayor.

While you are at it, vote for:

David Vance – council 1

Chester Porter – council 2

Jessie Burrell – council 3

Ralph Hodge – council 4

Ron Marshall – council 5

Jesse Matthews – council 6

Cleo King – council 7

Janet Ruffin – Education 2

Wanda Thomas – Education 7

Here are some of the reasons for those choices.

>Crime – the Number One Issue

August 21, 2010

>These signs have sprouted up around the city. However, it’s hard to stop and read them. So here. Take your time.


The first item – violence in our city? Crime in Bessemer – there has been at least one more murder in Bessemer since I posted that. Christopher Ward was killed on August 7.

The other night at the candidates forum the candidates were asked what the most important issue to the city Bessemer is. The answers varied: “Perception,” said Darayl Blue (with a positive reaction from the audience); Ed May agreed.

In Ed May’s eyes, that’s all crime is, perception. See this column from the Western Tribune, June 10, 2009.

I know a victim of violent crime in Bessemer. It was not perception that his front door was busted in. It was not perception that he was knocked around. It was not perception that he was forced at gunpoint and told he was going to die.

Crime is a reality in Bessemer.

Ken Gulley was the only candidate to look the citizens in the eye and unabashedly tell them that the number one issue in the city is crime.

Picture credit – Nancy Hartzog

Do away with crime, and perception will improve. Do away with crime, and home sales will increase. Do away with crime, and children will have a better environment in which to learn. Do away with crime, and businesses will want to locate here. Do away with crime, and the citizens will spend time outdoors, will get to know their neighbors, will not be reluctant to work in their yards.

Do away with crime, and our quality of life will improve.

I’m no fool, however, and I don’t think we will ever completely do away with crime.

But it certainly is not going to improve until we have a mayor that recognizes it as a problem.

Just one more reason that Ken Gulley should be our next mayor.

>For Mayor

August 10, 2010

>There are five challengers hoping to unseat the current mayor of Bessemer, and of the six candidates, only one has the qualifications and the vision necessary to lead us into a new era.

Eight years ago, the people of Bessemer decided a change was in order. Our city had been declared “past the point of no return.” As we look around we don’t see evidence of the change we were promised. Oh we have a shiny new shopping center out Eastern Valley Road and a theater
and some nice restaurants. The same can be said for the Academy Drive area.

But our neighborhoods are crumbling, trash is piled in our alleys, and crime is as bad or worse than it was a decade ago.

The people of Bessemer do not feel good about their city, and they are not inspired to work with each other, or to support the city council, because of the lack of leadership and lack of evidence that the mayor and council are doing anything to help our city progress.

I proposed a list of qualifications that the next mayor of Bessemer should possess. One candidate met these standards and agreed with all these qualifications.

The Progressive Bessemer Coalition has endorsed Ken Gulley for mayor.

Ken Gulley kicked his campaign off in March. Here are Bob Pennington, Gulley, Otis Smith and Hank Tyler at that event.

Image courtesy the Western Tribune

In a conversation with the candidate he said this about the list, “All those things can be summed up; we want good government.”

The list included taking control of the budget (in a transparent way), having a vision for the city and a plan to get us there, a person who can get along with the council and share information with the city, be committed to transparency, must be squeaky clean, must be committed to addressing our crime problem, and must live in Bessemer and support Bessemer in everyday living.

The Gulley family

Supporting Bessemer is something Ken Gulley has done all his professional life. Not long after receiving his degree in business management from Alabama A & M University he began working in Bessemer city government, so he has a foundation in how government works, and how the city is organized. After he left city government, he continued to contribute to Bessemer by serving on several community boards and organizations including the Red Cross and the Bessemer Chamber of Commerce.

His vision for the city includes “sound fiscal management, structure and accountability, a state of the art school system, a clean and beautiful city, promoting more tourism and new businesses to our city.”

He also says that he will “work to unify the relationship of the mayor and council, so that we can work together to attract more residents, businesses and tourism.”

He has promised to treat city employees fairly, and will work to make their salaries comparable to surrounding cities.

He will find funding for youth and senior citizens recreational programs.

He will work to restore the Bessemer Home Rehabilitation Program, which assisted qualified elderly residents who needed renovations to preserve their homes.

He also will examine the status of the First Time Buyers Program. Under this program approximately 50 homes were built, giving those that did not qualify for home ownership under regular conventional methods the opportunity to enjoy the American dream.

These are just a few of real and reachable goals of the Gulley administration.

Vote for Ken Gulley on August 24.

You can find out more about Ken Gulley at Voteken2010 (click on “On the issues”) or by attending the Mayoral Candidate Forum on Tuesday, August 17 at 6 pm. the event is free to the public, and all 6 candidates are expected to speak and answer questions. The forum will be at Bessemer city High School.

The City Council and School Board Forums will be on Thursday, August 12 (Districts 1, 2 and 3)and Monday, August 16 (Districts 4, 5, 6 and 7) at 6 pm. More on these later.