July 30, 2011 9:30:00 PM
For the past two months a lot of people have spent a lot of time, energy and money trying to convince you to give them a four-year job. On Tuesday, they''ll find out how convincing they''ve been.
These aren''t like national or even state elections where candidates are packaged, managed and marketed beyond recognition. These are real people, folks you know. Chances are they''ve knocked on your door, given you a card and asked for your vote. At least one of them (Bo Harris) has stood out on Highway 45 N. with a placard urging voters to make him their personal sheriff. Another (Andre Roberts) promises to personally sponsor monthly dinners and cookouts for the staff of the chancery clerk''s office. Local politics, there''s nothing quite like it.
The Lowndes Supervisors races feature two match-ups that will be closely watched, one Republican, the other Democrat.
Retired banker Bill Brigham is forcing retired office furniture salesman and incumbent Frank Ferguson to fight for his District 2 supervisor''s job. Reserved and soft-spoken as befitting his former profession, Brigham has turned out to be a surprisingly forceful stump speaker. The affable Ferguson, who seems at home in any crowd, has strategically placed signs reminding motorists of the two "bypasses" he''s championed, Waverley Ferry Road and Holly Hills Road. This one''s too close to call.
On the Democrat side in District 5, Leroy Brooks hopes to add to his 28-year incumbency by beating back a challenge from Kenneth McFarland. Those fed up with Brooks'' boardroom tantrums see the silky smooth McFarland (He was once a TV newsman.) as the best hope for change. On Monday, Brooks used his bully pulpit as supervisor to exploit the recent uncertainty over school funding by making an issue of McFarland''s salary (reportedly $45,000, about the same as Brooks'') as a central office employee.
Waiting in the wings to take on the winner is independent Roger Larsen, who as publisher of The Columbus Packet, was Brooks'' chief nemesis. A Kansas native who could have stepped out of a Grant Wood painting, Larsen has a dry, matter-of-fact manner that suggests a belief voters will opt for logic over bombast. No backslapping or baby kissing here. Will a Packet-less Larsen (He sold his publication last year.) continue to be a factor in local politics? We''ll see Nov. 8.
Voters have six choices for the next county school superintendent. After Tuesday (and perhaps a runoff two weeks later) the field will shrink to four when Republican voters choose between Sam Allison, Edna McGill and Lynn Wright. Allison, the youngest of the three by almost 20 years, may be the most articulate. He has acquitted himself well in public forums and seems to have an enthusiastic following. McGill, a seasoned administrator, touts her experience and what she says will be a seamless transition. Wright in debates has come across as an experienced and compassionate advocate for children. Will his involvement in the Stacy Hester brouhaha and his subsequent lawsuit (which presumably would be dropped if he is elected) be a negative? We''ll find out day after tomorrow.
Seven law enforcement veterans and one justice court judge want to be your next sheriff. Juvenile Detention Center Administrator Anthony Nelson, acting Columbus Police Chief Selvain McQueen (e-mail address: Lt._Supercop@hotmail.com) and recently retired CPD narcotics specialist John Pevey will be battling it out with Sherman Vaughn for the Democratic spot.
Two Republicans from a field that includes Mike Arledge, Joey Brackin, Barry Goode and Bo Harris will likely find themselves in a runoff two weeks from Tuesday.
Two bright youngsters (relatively speaking) hope to capture the Republican spot to succeed Tim Hudson as county prosecuting attorney. Judging from the number of yard signs, both Allison Kizer and Shane Tompkins have large, enthusiastic followings. The winner will face former state Supreme Court justice Chuck Easley this fall.
The so-far unsinkable Peggy Phillips of Crawford is going to try to beat back a challenge from Monique Montgomery, who is 25 years her junior. On the job for 35 years, Phillips is the consummate Southern politician; she knows your mama and your mama''s people, and she''s going to ask you about them. Montgomery is an effective speaker, and as wife of M.U. Baptist Church pastor Tony Montgomery, she has a built-in constituency. Still, "Miss Peggy" is going to be tough to beat.
For more on these and other races, see our voting guide in today''s paper. Candidates -- at least the large majority of them -- answered a three-question survey. Some of the responses had to be edited for length. Their unedited responses can be found at cdispatch.com.
We encourage you to study what these candidates have to say. Lowndes voters are fortunate to have distinct choices. You have to appreciate these men and women who have worked hard to earn your vote. This is what democracy is, folks. Now''s time to do your part.
Get out there and vote.
Birney Imes III is the Editor and Publisher of The Dispatch.
pat henry commented at 7/31/2011 6:39:00 PM:
Wow, Birney,always an ad for B-Rock on the Dispatch's "web pressence". Do you actually get paid to be a professional water boy?
So, earlier this week, I picked up the weekly paper of record for the tri-counties. Lo, and behold, results from the state standardized tests were there as I predicted. They have not appeared in your water boy, parasite, rag sheet, as of yet. Why? Because those scores would tear a hole as large as the gap between the Dispatch and profitability in your water carrying matyrdom for Dr. Del.
The City of Columbus has gotten worse. The City of Columbus cannot even meet state requirements in any area of the test material. However, the County schools continue to increase their margin of superiority. In fact, those Caledonia Confederates remain the smartest kids in Lowndes County.
Birney, how long can your carry $22 million worth of water?
I asked you before to define "enthusiasm", and "optimism". Those are the words you used to describe the tax increase on the citizens of Columbus that you carried water for on the editorial page a week ago. The proof of what $22 million bought us is in the test scores (which you, as the coward, parasite you are, chose to ignore).
Sounds like hope, and enthusiasm easily seduce you. Facts, escape you
pat henry commented at 7/31/2011 6:49:00 PM:
So, Birney, because I wouldn't count on your gambling luck to tell which way the sun set, I nominate that you retire your self appointed position as the barometer of public opinion in Lowndes County. Heck, I can't remember when you were right about anything! As you've been advised before, report the news, don't create it.
BTW, I see that today Hippie Adele admits to being part of the Water Boy Gang. Big shouts to Sarah Fowler, again. Baby, you're the cutest, and most factual reporter in Lowndes County print. Sorry that thing didn't work out, keep your head up, boo.
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2. Birney Imes: A case for maps LOCAL COLUMNS
3. Voice of the people: Who has got your back? LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)
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5. Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Away from the spring break hordes NATIONAL COLUMNS