Archive for the ‘Priscilla Dunn’ Category

>Jefferson Jackson Dinner 2009

October 23, 2009

>The Jefferson Jackson dinner was held last night, and as usual, elected officials and candidates from Bessemer or who want to represent Bessemer were there. State senator Priscilla Dunn and her husband Grover Dunn, tax collector for the Bessemer Cutoff, were there.

Claire Mitchell, aiming to take senator Dunn’s place in the house, was there also.

As was Terri Sewell, hoping to take the place of Artur Davis as AL-07 representative.

Of course Davis and his competition, Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks were there, and most other elected democrats.

The big hit of the night was West Virginia governor Joe Manchin (who grew up neighbors with Nick Saban), who reminded us that politics was like driving a car. Park and neutral you don’t go anywhere, but R, like republican takes you in reverse and D, like democrat, drives you forward.

He also made a quip about Abraham Lincoln probably being a closet democrat. That’s not the only closet Mr. Lincoln may have hidden in if you believe a recent book, which I mentioned here, titled The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln by C. A. Tripp.

Manchin mentioned 5 key points to success, especially concerning children.

  1. Give them unconditional love.
  2. Provide a safe place for children. A home, or a grandparent’s house, a school, or other place at times.
  3. Give them a healthy start and teach a healthy lifestyle.
  4. Teach them a livable skill.
  5. Have them grow to be a loving adult who is willing to give something back to the world.

Good advice, for both republicans and democrats.

>Dunn "wins" again and Bingo does as well

July 21, 2009

>If you are at all interested in what’s going on in the gay community or in the Episcopal Church or in what Artur Davis and Ron Sparks said, click on over to my page on and read some of my writings. Day after day, even though I have only been reporting for a week, I am the most popular examiner and I get 5-10 times the number of hits that the average Birmingham examiners are getting. On Examiner, you can click on “subscribe to email” and you will get an email whenever I post. I do not know who my followers are on Examiner, so you can subscribe and I won’t even know about it. Be sure your GLBT friends know about the site, too.

Priscilla Dunn

Priscilla Dunn had been scheduled to run again on August 18 against no one. There is no Republican in the race, however, so that allows Secretary of State Beth Chapman to cancel the election and issue a certificate of election (remember, the race between Dunn and Merika Coleman was a Democratic primary runoff). Dunn could be sworn in by August.

Story on

This will save the county $100,000, by not having to fund another election. A drop in the bucket of good news for Jefferson County, but a drop, nevertheless.

This creates an unwelcome (for Democrats) temporary power shift, however. During the probable upcoming special session which would deal with the Jefferson County occupational tax, the county House delegation will have a Republican one seat majority, because Dunn’s seat will not be filled by that time. The House delegation currently is evenly split with nine Democrats and nine Republicans.

However, it may allow the County delegation to actually get something done. I mean, whether we agree with whatever action the County delegation recommends, and the special session takes up, something needs to be done.

And the governor needs to call a special election soon. We will need a representative in the House next year.


The Bessemer Council approved the Bingo ordinance this morning, as expected, and mayor Ed May has reaffirmed that he will veto it.

article on

Voting for it were council members Louise Alexander, Sarah Belcher, Dorothy Davidson, Jesse Matthews and council President Earl Cochran.

Opposed were council members Jimmy Stephens and Albert Soles.

If May carries out his veto, the council can vote to override him at a subsequent meeting. An override would require votes from five of the seven council members.

This is interesting.

Asked how the post (VFW Post 1762) was able to operate the machines without an electronic bingo ordinance, Calhoun (Paul Calhoun, commander of the Post) said the city had not bothered the operation (which has been operating electronic bingo machines for about a month in the shadow of City Hall).

Be sure to read my Western Tribune column tomorrow. It’s about Bingo, mostly. And mayors.

>Things didn’t start out right today

July 2, 2009

>I like to read the morning paper by holding in my hand with a cup of coffee on the table. But once again, the Birmingham News did not deliver today.

I know, I could read online, but I really can’t stand because of their never ending pop ups and crap.

But I did read John Archibald’s column because it is about Priscilla Dunn’s victory in the District 19 Senate race.

At the Lipscomb Fire Station, where 373 people are registered, just 11 came out. That’s a turnout of just 2.9 percent. It’s a number — really — that is smaller than the percentage of people who live below the poverty level in Mountain Brook.


At Fairfield City Hall, where 114 people are registered to vote, just six bothered to show up. There were 23 voters at Mulga Town Hall, 41 at Brookside City Hall, and 41 at Forestdale Square.

I’d really like to meet the voter who bothered to show up at Hueytown Community School. It’s true only 39 voters in the district are registered there, but still. Only one hearty soul came.

Forget one man, one vote. We’re practicing one man, one voting place…

That is absolutely pitiful. Of course, as I alluded to yesterday, it’s shocking that more people voted in the runoff than in the primary.

Hey, if we can get voters in Bessemer to continue their apathy next year, maybe we can elect a progressive candidate that will offer solutions to problems rather than just thanking God for our blessings (number 9 most dangerous city in the country, potholes in every street, “thank you God”).

So, I’m sitting here getting the run around regarding a writing opportunity and left to think about “Do I really want to be living here?”

No, it’s not just about the crime rate. I want to see that changed. And it’s not just about having air quality that keeps me confined to the house (I don’t always observe the recommendations, but I do suffer when I try to have a life on “ozone” days). I would like to see that changed, too, but there’s Alabama Power.

It’s more about living in a city located in a county that is trying to reduce law enforcement (thankfully we have a sheriff that will stand up to the county commission), about to stop inspection services (so houses can be built without adhering to proper electrical and plumbing and construction codes…if a contractor so chooses), and is unable to support the arts and the quality of life issues that I seek.

And its about living next to a “major” city that controls the doings of the metro area, with a mayor who is an absolute nutcase. (Well, at least he supports the zoo).

Today I could continue my theme of glbt hate crimes (a teenager in the UK , a bar in Fort Worth in a case that I have been following, a sailor at Camp Pendleton and there are more)…

Jason Saunders, age 18, in the UK

…but I think I’ll just post this video of an unemployed chicken catcher from Mayfield, Kentucky that wowed the judges last night on America’s Got Talent. I like Garth Brooks, by the way.

>Area Politics

July 1, 2009

>Congratulations to Priscilla Dunn, the new state senator (after she is sworn in) for District 19.

A few comments.

When’s the last time you heard of this happening. More people voted in the runoff between Dunn and Merika Coleman than voted in the May 12 Democratic primary for the seat. Yesterday (with 86 of 87 precincts reporting) 6,150 people voted, and in May 5,952 people voted. CW says that less people vote in runoffs in part because people who supported those who don’t make the runoff tend to stay home. But this time, voters wanted to be sure that Dunn moved up to the Senate, giving her 3,444 votes to Coleman’s 2,705 (56 % to 44%).

The good news here is that Coleman remains in the legislature, retaining her seat in the House. She’s young and presumably will have opportunity to run for another office if she so chooses at a later date.

Also yesterday was a reception for State Rep. Earl Hilliard, Jr., who is running for U. S. House District 7, Artur Davis’ seat. The 7th congressional district extends from Birmingham through Bessemer and part of Tuscaloosa through parts of the Black Belt including Selma.

Hilliard, and his wife Janine, were greeted at the home of State Rep. Patricia Todd and her partner Jen (just back in town from their whirlwind trip to DC and the Stonewall Event hosted by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama).

Hilliard is 100% supportive of equality for the LGBT community, and he has shown this in his votes in Montgomery (he was one of only three reps to vote to include gender identity in the state hate crimes bill).

He’s a champion for missing, exploited and parentless children and supportive of foster care and adoption.

He’s also a filmmaker and president of Magic City Films, Inc.

Hilliard was named Freshman Legislator of the Year.

Learn more at

>Goings on in Bessemer

June 30, 2009

>Today, if you live in Bessemer and nearby areas of Senate district 19, you need to vote. Polls are open until 7:00. The Western Tribune has endorsed Priscilla Dunn, who has been voted legislator of the year twice (even her opponent voted for her).

Tonight, at 6:30, Mayor Ed May will hold his last (thank God) Town Hall Meeting at the Bessemer Civic Center. (I will probably be late, as I have another event with Earl Hilliard, Jr. to attend).

Congratulations to the Bessemer Police Department. Yesterday, they dedicated the new South side Police Substation (first suggested on Bessemer Opinions on June 26, 2007) and today they dedicate the new E-911 Center. Both of these facilities were paid for with drug money confiscated by the department. That’s putting the money to good use. Both of these facilities will contribute to greater public safety, which is needed here. ranks Bessemer as the 9th most dangerous city in America. This was reported by The Western Tribune last week, and comes as a surprise even to those of us who are concerned about the crime rates.

The Mayor and Police chief need to pow-wow and come up with a new strategy to overcome this. The strategy should include informing the public through the Newspapers and through a direct mailing or door to door canvassing that crime is NOT going to be tolerated, and that this includes big crime and little crime. Then, we need to see cops on the beat out of their cars and walking the neighborhoods, because when you walk you can see so much more than when you are driving by (keeping your eyes on the road).

All we want is a safer city. We are not ashamed of our city, as the mayor claimed when we asked about public safety issues. But 9th in the nation? That’s something to be ashamed of.

>Election Results

May 13, 2009

>Priscilla Dunn top vote getter in special election.

There will be a runoff between Priscilla Dunn with 2006 votes (33.73%) and Merika Coleman with 1725 votes (29.01%). Congratulations to both Dunn and Coleman.

CW says most of Alexander’s and McAdory’s votes will go to Dunn, and Scott’s votes will split, putting Dunn over the top in the runoff.

The big story is that almost nobody voted. Out of 72,104 registered voters only 5947 people voted. That is a dismal 8.25%.

Here are the unofficial results of the District 19 Election from
Jefferson county web site .

RUN TIME:08:59 PM MAY 12, 2009


PRECINCTS COUNTED (OF 86) . . . . . 86 100.00
REGISTERED VOTERS – TOTAL . . . . . 72,104
BALLOTS CAST – TOTAL. . . . . . . 5,947
VOTER TURNOUT – TOTAL . . . . . . 8.25

********** (Democrat) **********

LOUISE “LULU” ALEXANDER. . . . . . 332 5.58
MERIKA COLEMAN. . . . . . . . . 1,725 29.01
PRISCILLA DUNN. . . . . . . . . 2,006 33.73
ERIC MAJOR . . . . . . . . . . 364 6.12
LAWRENCE MCADORY . . . . . . . . 503 8.46
NATHAN REED. . . . . . . . . . 123 2.07
RODERICK “ROD” SCOTT. . . . . . . 873 14.68
MADILYN SOUTHERN . . . . . . . . 21 .35

>Seis de Mayo and District 19 Forum Report

May 6, 2009

>Updates at the end of this post.

Los Sombreros es un buen lugar para celebrar Cinco de Mayo.

Pardon my Spanish, but Los Sombreros in Bessemer is a good place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo because the management comes around and pours extra tequila into your frozen margarita.

Yet still, I am up early and able to function at full capacity.

At the forum for Democratic Senate district 19 candidates last night all of the candidates except for Madilyn Southern showed up to spar for votes. Rep. Rod Scott of Fairfield arrived late and only had 2 minutes to present his case. The others gave opening statements and then answered questions from the audience.

I asked a question about the budget passed by the senate yesterday. The budget included $2.8 million for AIDS funding, but $5 million is required to receive matching federal funds under the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act of 2006 formerly (and still commonly) known as the Ryan White Care Act.

Without the $5 million from the state, we stand to lose millions in money that pays for treatment and saves countless lives. In short, people will die.

I mentioned that the House had passed the same budget, as far as AIDS funding goes.

Both Priscilla Dunn and Merika Coleman were surprised. They indicated that they were not aware, and agreed to the importance of the match. They were surprised that Rep. Patricia Todd had not made them (and other legislators) aware of the urgency regarding this. Other candidates jumped on this, saying the current legislators should have been more informed and they they would have read the legislation and known.

Not necessarily. You might read “2.8 million” but the legislation is not going to say (“this does not meet federal matching standards”).

Anyway, my multiple attempts to get a response from Rep. Todd about this have not been successful. When she does, I will post an update.

In the end, Dunn and Coleman believe that the budget can be adjusted in committee and the funding will be there. All of the candidates stressed the importance of getting matching funds when possible (I could have mentioned the lack of securing matching funds for public transportation by our Jefferson county delegation and local elected officials for years…decades, but we won’t go there).

The Birmingham News reported this

(Eric)Major said he tried to introduce legislation while a representative to stop the
bond swaps, measures he said Coleman and Rep. Priscilla Dunn of Bessemer
Coleman fired back by asking the voters to “Google” her record on
the issue.

I guess what she wanted the voters to be reminded of is Major’s domestic violence charge and his trip to the Supreme Court of Alabama which threw out his $500,000 award for his claim that his civil rights were violated when he was arrested ( here and here).

Back to the AIDS funding.

There is still a final step left to finalize the General Fund budget. A committee of members from the House (Representatives Knight, Page, and Gaston) has to vote to reconcile the Senate’s version of the budget.

Please take a moment to call and email Representative John Knight, Representative Victor Gaston, and Representative Jack Page and let them know that the $2.8 million for AIDS funding needs to be upped to $5 million, and while you are at it, tell them the $700,000 for AIDS Service Organizations needs to be added back as well.

Representative John Knight (334) 242-7660

Representative Victor Gaston (334) 242-7675

Representative Jack Page (334) 242-7742

Update: The house today unanimously rejected the Senate version of the budget for various reasons. Maybe they will fix this problem.

Also, today, a senate committee approved adding sexual orientation to the hate crimes bill. Now to the full senate.

Update: Rep. Todd told me she that Rep. Laura Hall is the primary advocate in the house for AIDS related issues. That makes sense, Hall had a son that died from AIDS and has been an outspoken advocate for AIDS issues over the years. One would think that Dunn and Coleman would have recognized this.

>Home from Denver: Fired up, ready to go

September 17, 2008

>My friend and representative in Montgomery, Priscilla Dunn, wrote this column which appeared in The Western Tribune Wednesday. This is the best account of Denver that I have read. Thanks, Priscilla.

Home from Denver: Fired up, ready to go

“A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.”

When Sen. Hillary Clinton opened her remarks at the Democratic Convention with these words, she was speaking for me and perhaps you, too. I traveled to Denver as one of those honored to serve as a delegate for this great lady. I’m just as honored to return home to Alabama convinced that, for our families and our future, Barack Obama and Joe Biden represent the best hope for a better tomorrow.

For those of you who know little about how political conventions work, it is fair to say there is a big celebration at the central convention hall surrounded by a constellation of constant food, policy discussions, and entertainment in every corner of the host city. Delegates learn and laugh together, and I for one came home fired up and ready to go.

But I must admit, while the cuisine and panel discussions were all great fun, I’m always more impressed by what goes on at the convention itself. One thing is abundantly clear every time I attend these extended “family reunions” — the Democratic Party truly looks and sounds like the America I see each day in Alabama.

I think of the values of our nominee for vice-president, Sen. Joe Biden. Here’s a man who lost his daughter and wife to tragedy days after being elected to office. For decades, he traveled home from Washington, D.C., to Delaware every single night to be with his sons and, later when he remarried, his wife and daughter. In his father’s advice, “Champ, when you get knocked down, get up. Get up.”

I hear the echoes of my own parents telling me that success comes from facing adversity head on.

I think of how Michelle Obama, who spoke with such clarity and conviction, reminds me of the strong, self-assured women I see every day at my church and in my neighborhood. When she said, “I come here as a mom whose girls are the heart of my heart and the center of my world … their future and all our children’s future is my stake in this election,” my mind turned to my own family, and why I am so committed to staying involved in the political process.

I think of the surprising support that was on display there on stage even from Republicans.
Former GOP congressman Jim Leach described Obama as, “an individual whom I am convinced will recapture the American dream and be a truly great president.” And I will never forget the average citizen and self-described life-long Republican Barney Smith who spoke to the perils of corporate excess that leaves workers behind, saying, “We need a president who puts the Barney Smiths before the Smith Barneys.”

I think about the discussion of issues that impact real people, and proposals to address the challenges head on. One after another, speakers talked about things that matter — fixing an economy that is clearly in a recession, addressing our dependence of foreign oil, providing health care for all Americans, and bringing our brave troops home safely from harm’s way.

I think about the charge our nominee handed us at the end of his remarks, saying, “America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend.”

That is his vision for the future, and it is mine as well. No cheap shots and lies. No hokey smoke screens or cynical decision making. No political posturing to divert attention from a bankrupt agenda that looks exactly like the last eight years.

Democrats see work to be done, and we’re ready to roll up our sleeves, accept a call for shared sacrifice, and move this nation forward together.

So, I remain a proud mother, a proud Democrat, a proud American, and a proud supporter of Barack Obama.