(Parents & students sending tuition checks to the University of Montevallo might ask why the college is donating to the Cullman County Republican Party. - promoted by countrycat)
According to reports from the Alabama Secretary of State's Office, a couple of Alabama's publicly funded higher education institutions are budgeting campaign contributions into university expenses on the students' and taxpayers' dime – and not on any nonpartisan basis.
In addition, the president of the liberal arts college, John Stewart, has donated $1,800 this election cycle to exclusively GOP candidates like State Senator Cam Ward ($1100 8/26/2013) and State Representative April Weaver - $100 8/2/2013 - (both of which represent the Montevallo area.)
Particularly interesting in Montevallo's case is the GOP donations given the liberal leaning of the town. Consisting of a widely regarded left-leaning student body and somewhat of a community of professors, the Montevallo community has not been known for its support – particularly financially – of Republicans politically.
Both students and alumna have expressed concerns with the donations, particularly with those made by the University itself.
“What troubles me most,” one alumna, Treasure Ingels, told APR's Lee Hedgepeth, “is the idea that our university, sacred in its education of one of the most diverse student bodies in the Southeast, would so publicly shift from influencing equipped young minds equipped to choose wisely for themselves to political influence and affect choice for all... and I have to wonder at the rising cost of education against the rising investments.”
Teila Younce, President of Montevallo Young Democrats was much more blatant. “University of Montevallo belongs to us. The students. The public. This is a state university: the only public university in Shelby County. And at a time when folks are struggling for the right to vote and be represented, unelected officials are spending our tuition and tax dollars on Republicans in Cullman, she said.
UM's community, particularly student life, does not have any conservative feel. Clubs like the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, Montevallo Young Democrats, SPECTRUM, and Secular Student Alliance blossom.
Coincidentally – or not – 2014 will be the first year to see the reemergence of a Young Republican group on campus, a feat some students say has not been accomplished in years.
Troy University also has a history of partisan campaign contributions. According the FCPA reports, two of Troy's faculty political arms, the Troy University Foundation and the Troy University PAC have given a total of 2,500 to the Alabama Republican Executive Committee, and to Senator Cam Ward.
As of press time, and after extensive research, I have been able to find no other four-year universities with direct partisan donations during election cycles. I was also only able to find one other college president, Judy Bonner of UA, who has donated (also to the GOP in her case) to political candidates.
It will be a crowded "meet & greet" at the "Hot Dogs & Yellow Dogs II - The Nominees" event September 4 from 5-7pm at a private home in Madison. This Empower Alabama fundraiser will feature many state & local Democratic candidates and Independent candidate for AL-05, Mark Bray.
Confirmed candidates include:
Parker Griffith – candidate Governor
James Fields – candidate Lt. Governor
Joe Hubbard - candidate Attorney General
Miranda Joseph – candidate State Auditor
Mike Curtis – candidate State Senate District 1
Angelo "Doc" Mancuso - candidate State Senate District 4
Bryan Bennett– candidate State Senate District 7
Horace Clemmons – candidate State Senate District 8
Darrell Turner – candidate State Senate District 13
Terry Jones - candidate State House of Representatives District 21
Anthony Daniels - candidate State House of Representatives District 53
Mark Craig – incumbent/candidate Madison County Licenses Director
Patrick Douglass – candidate Madison County Tax Assessor
Lynda Hall – incumbent/candidate Madison Tax Collector
Tim Clardy – candidate Madison County Sheriff
Sheriff Mike Blakely – incumbent/candidate Limestone County
Mark Bray – Independent candidate for Congress District 5
Judge Mark Kennedy will emcee the event.
Suggested donation is $25 & the event includes a picnic supper of hot dogs (both meat & veggie), chips, apple pie, ice tea, & craft beer.
Location is the home of Jeff & Pam Miles - 125 Bordeaux Lane Madison, AL. RSVP to email@example.com or on the event Facebook page.
Empower Alabama is a grassroots campaign that never stops, regardless of the election calendar. We are working year-round to engage citizens, to educate voters, and to elect outstanding local leaders.
We believe that Alabama can do better. The Alabama Legislature should reflect the people of Alabama. As it stands now, too many Alabamians are not engaged in the political process and aren’t being represented.
Our goal is to build a new generation of leaders, activists, volunteers, and voters and to be a catalyst for common sense solutions to Alabama’s problems.
Budget problems in Alabama are so severe that elected officials openly discuss new gimmicks to balance the state's budget. Real political leaders would be looking for long-term sustainable solutions, and SD-35 (Mobile area) candidate Beau Doolittle offered a proposal last week.
Doolittle would open negotiations with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians to create a State-Tribal compact that would allow Class III gaming in Alabama.
From the campaign's press release:
“Attempts to block a Tribal-State Compact display outdated thinking and antiquated business strategy. Alabama is the only state in the country that has failed to capture any revenue from tribal gaming. This just doesn’t make good sense as our state continues to face economic hardship and the inability to provide our children with the education they deserve,” stated Doolittle.
A Tribal-State Compact would allow the tribe to operate Class III games and a portion of the revenue would go into the General Fund, increasing the quality of education in the state and easing the economic woes Alabamians continues to face. “This is not about partisanship . . . this is about education, the economy and priorities,’” stated Doolittle.
Doolittle called on his opponent to support his plan for Class III gambling, but doesn't doesn't appear likely since Hightower has stated that gambling leads to divorce & other family problems.
But you know what else causes family stresses & problems? Economic uncertainity and unemployment. A 2014 Money Magazine survey found that 70% of married couples argue about money more than any other issue. Any politician who thinks government should focus more on private family matters like divorce, birth control, marriage equality, etc. than it does on basic economic security quite simply doesn't understand the priorities of Alabama families. Doolittle called out his opponent on that very issue:
"Mr. Hightower what is your plan to ease the woes of the Education and General Fund Budgets? More tax cuts for the wealthy and cuts in services to children, the elderly, disabled people and veterans? In these tough times we need real answers to the question of how do we create more revenue for our beloved state...not pontificating in an effort to pander to those who put their personal whims over the good of others. This is not about politics, it’s not about partisanship .. . it’s about doing what is right and creating a win-win scenario for all Alabamians," Doolittle stated.
When is an "economic development forum" not an open forum & chance for Governor Bentley to meet with local officials & business leaders? When it's a thinly-disguised campaign appearance. Here's how an August 12 stop in Arab by Governor Bentley was publicized in advance by the Governor's office:
Bentley will visit Syncro Corp., a manufacturing and systems integration company that specializes in product research and development, management and post manufacturing support.
After a 2 p.m. tour of the facility, Bentley will participate in an on-site economic development forum with community and business leaders.
So imagine the surprise when local business leader and candidate for state legislature, Jeff McLaughlin, tried to attend - but was turned away from this "Republican only" event.
A press release said the governor would “meet with local community and business leaders at Syncro” in Arab. “Gov. Bentley will tour the facility with company leaders then participate in an economic development forum with local community and business leaders.”
Media outlets, including al.com, reported it was an economic development forum.
It was, however, a political event for Bentley and District 27 Republican nominee Will Ainsworth.
District 27 Democratic nominee Jeff McLaughlin says he was turned away at the door when he tried to attend the forum.
McLaughlin said he contacted the governor’s office, but never got a reply. He also said he contacted Syncro president and CEO Ed Childress.
McLaughlin said that Childress told him he only provided the venue (Syncro) for the event, and he wasn’t in charge of invitations so he couldn’t invite him.
Just to make it clear to readers who aren't familiar with Jeff McLaughlin, he was a state representative for District 27 (Marshall County area) who lost his seat in 2010. McLaughlin was a long-time advocate of campaign finance reform & refused to accept campaign donations. The Legislature's "last honest man" hopes to return to Montgomery.
McLaughlin is also a local business leader: an attorney, an employer, and member of local commissions & service organizations. He understands that economic development isn't a partisan issue. Too bad his opponent and the state's governor appear to think differently.
Quick! Someone asks you a simple question: "What's the median income in Alabama?" Would you... A: Use Google to find the answer on the US Bureau of the Census Web site or B: Set up a no-bid contract suggested by Bob Riley's daughter and commission a $72,000 study with a Birmingham law firm that inquired about why they weren't getting any state business?
The Alabama Personnel Department entered into a $72,000 contract with Birmingham-based Baker Donelson Bearman in June to handle legal services and determine the median household income in the state, which will determine lawmakers’ salaries in the coming year.
The contract, was negotiated in part by Minda Riley Campbell, a lobbyist who is also the daughter of former Gov. Bob Riley. It is the first Alabama government contract the law firm has received since 2009, according to state records.
Under a constitutional amendment approved by state voters in 2012, lawmakers’ pay will be fixed to the state’s median household income starting next year. While the U.S. Census Bureau tracks household income, the amendment did not specify how that should be measured, but tasks the Personnel Department with determining it.
Why not just turn to Google? Why... there are a lot of hard questions to answer!
“We want some outside legal authority to tell us which one do we use,” said Alice Ann Byrne, general counsel for the department. “Are we going to use the (household income) when they are elected in November? Do we change it in January? When do we do it? We want to make sure there’s no question.”
How is it exactly that a law firm would have the answers to those questions? Wouldn't it be a better idea to get an opinion from Alabama's attorney general (assuming he's not too busy suing the President) or ask the legislators who drafted the bill? Hey, that might make it "political."
“We are trying to make sure we don’t put the attorney general in a position to say what a lawmaker’s salary is,” Byrne said. “We’re trying to make sure there’s nothing political about it.”
Here's another question for Ms. Bryne. This is a one-year contract: will the department spend money on this every single year? And a question for Alabama's GOP legislators.... Is it remotely possible for you guys to pass a piece of legislation that makes sense and doesn't come with a sidecar load of "unintended consequences" and costs for the state?
Former Governor Bob Riley & his buddies are already cashing in on the "scholarship" programs authorized by the Alabama Accountability Act. Looks like his daughter wanted a piece of that pie as well.
Broadway star Rufus Bonds, Jr. will be in Birmingham for one performance only this week, and it's to support the James Fields for Lt. Governor campaign. Tickets are only $50, so get yours ASAP!
Bonds is currently performing in Porgy & Bess at the Regent's Park Theater in London. He has also appeared in numerous Broadway productons including Miss Saigon, Rent, The Lion King, & The Color Purple. An award-winning writer/actor/director, he'll be performing at the Red Mountain Theatre Company 301 19th Street North in Birmingham. The event begins at 6:30 pm. A light dinner will be served and James Fields will speak.
Food, entertainment, & politics - what more could you ask of an evening?
Tickets are$50. Purchase them online at the Fields for Lt. Governor Web site (enter the # of tickets in the comments section) or mail a check to:
Fields for Lt. Governor c/oLindaVerin3535HampshireRd. Birmingham, AL35223
Full disclosure: A close family member recently became a part-time paid staffer for the Fields campaign.
Democratic nominee for governor Parker Griffith took the stage after a rather contentious meeting on Saturday, 8/16 to address the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee. By all appearances the committee members were united in support of Griffith, who drew applause when he invoked the civil rights movement, spoke in favor of ballot access, called on the state to expand Medicaid, and denounced the Republican supermajority in the legislature.
It was a good speech, but Griffith has given good speeches before - both as a Democrat and a Republican. We can only hope he means it this time. Medicaid expansion, in particular, is vital to the health & welfare of Alabama's citizens and also to the state's economy.
At a meeting of the Huntsville Zoning Commission Tuesday night, James Henderson, Executive Director of the Christian Coalition of Alabama decided to take a traditional approach & blame federal judges for his problems. Traditional, that is, for Alabama. We're the state remember, that likes to thumb our nose at Washington with one hand while we pocket federal cash with the other.
Judge Thompson's opinion (PDF) specifically called out Huntsville clinic protestors for creating a hostile, violent atmosphere outside the clinics (noisy too - note the bullhorn), outlined the state's "history of violence & threats againt abortion doctors," and noted that the "protests in Huntsville go beyond run-of-the-mill political protests."
Apparently, being called out on their bad behavior injured the tender feelings of Henderson & his crew because several mentioned the judge during their speeches to the board. But only Henderson offered specific instructions:
"He should mind his own business and stay out of ours."
Except that, Jenderson's "business" is denying women their constitutional right, so who better to get involved than a federal judge?
The "faces of anti-choice Huntsville" swarmed the city zoning board hearing last night in a last ditch attempt to keep North Alabama's lone women's clinic from reopening in a new location. In a breathtaking display of chutzpah, speaker after speaker - some of whom live more than 50 miles from the proposed location - went concern trolling. They cited concerns about "the neighborhood" and "disruptions" caused by protests at the previous clinic location.
Why yes.... block the sidewalks, bus in scores of children, bellow at passersby through a bullhorn, and assault clinic escorts.... and then complain about the "tension & violence" associated with the clinic.
The Huntsville clinic has been closed since the end of June, forcing many women to go out of state. The clinic owner found a new location that complies with the TRAP laws - the same laws that the demonstrators lobbied so hard to pass. But it's still not good enough. While some speakers tried to pretend it was just "concern" about the neighborhood, others were pretty candid. They don't like abortion & don't want a clinic to open anywhere.
One speaker, GOP legislative candidate Chris Horn, even obliquely referred to the events in Ferguson, MO as an example of what can happen when neighborhood residents don't have a voice. Except that residents do have a voice - and a forum where they could have exercised their rights last night. However, of all the opposition speakers, only Horn actually lives in the neighborhood. The next closest speaker is more than a mile from the new clinic location, and the main speaker, Rev. James Henderson, lives in Morgan County.
In spite of repeated requests to stick to the topic at hand - zoning - and avoid wading into the abortion debate or causing a disruption, many speakers just couldn't help themselves. A favorite moment was when a monk from Cullman stressed that neighborhood residents don't want this clinic! The next speaker? A woman who lives .8 miles from the clinic & who spoke in favor of the location. oops....
Another favorite moment: Rev. Henderson railing about "Wiccan witch smoke" being used against his group.
Watch the video clip for a sample of the evening's activities. In spite of all the Sturm und Drang, the zoning board voted against the appeal. Reverend Henderson, unwilling to give up his time in the limelight, promises a court challenge.
Note: I'll also have video up with the remarks of clinic supporters, but have to tend to other matters today. Coming soon!
Friday's hearing for disgraced federal judge Mark Fuller has been rescheduled for September 5, 2014, at 9 a.m. in Courtroom 1-A in the Fulton County Courthouse. The case has been assigned to Ms. Georgee Corley, an Assistant Fulton County Solicitor who specializes in domestic abuse cases. Ms. Corley handles all domestic violence cases.
The maximum sentence for the criminal charge against defendant Fuller is twelve months in jail. If convicted, Fuller may not receive the maximum sentence because (a) he is a first-time offender and (b) he is reported to be in a rehabilitation treatment facility.
No testimony is expected to be taken in the September 5th hearing. It is one that is typically scheduled so defendants can enter pleas. If Fuller successfully completes his rehabilitation treatment, courthouse observers expect him to either plead guilty or "no contest" to the criminal charge and get sentenced to such treatment, which he would have already completed. Despite the completion of a rehabilitation treatment program, Fuller could receive substantial jail time if the Solicitor is able to establish a pattern and practice of conduct by Fuller in physically abusing his wives and other women. The severity of the beating Fuller administered to his wife Kelli Fuller will also be a factor in his sentencing.
Members of the public who have specific information about Fuller's physical abuse of women in the past should contact Ms. Corley and provide this information as quickly as possible. Her office number is 404-612-4823.
Meanwhile, anti-domestic violence groups in Alabama and Georgia are continuing to prepare for a mass protest movement in support of Kelli Fuller and against Mark Fuller's violent conduct. These groups are actively monitoring the Fulton County Court's handling of this case to determine whether Fuller will be extended any professional courtesy or special treatment in the Fulton County Court system because he is a sitting federal judge in Montgomery.
Veteran human rights activist Joseph Cole is coordinating this protest movement with various advocacy groups for battered and abused women. Cole expects thousands of women to attend Mark Fuller's September 5th hearing. Cole's is also closely watching the handling of this case within the Fulton County criminal justice system. Cole expects Alabama's oligarchy to use every ounce of influence it has to save defendant Mark Fuller from serving any time in jail.
The battle lines have been drawn. Fuller drew them in Kelli's blood with his own hand. The anti-domestic violence advocacy groups and I are standing with Kelli Fuller, the alleged crime victim. Alabama's mighty oligarchy is standing with Fuller, its tried and tested puppet on the federal bench. This is a classic case of the "might" versus "right", and it will be played out in a neutral venue - the City of Atlanta. The brighter the spotlight of public attention shines on Fuller's criminal case, the greater the chances are that "right" will prevail
State Senate District 7 in the Huntsville/Madison County area has a new Democratic nominee. SDEC members heard from four candidate hopefuls (including the runner-up in the June primary, Rose Gaskin) before selecting Bryan Bennett as the party's new candidate. Mitchell Howie won the Democratic primary in June, but withdrew from the race several weeks later, citing his wife's pregnancy & family concerns.
Bennett cited his experience working on Joe Sestak's winning campaign in PA-04 over a Republican incumbent. "It was a textbook case," he told the committee. "Where you win elections is on the ground. You have to talk to people, tell them what the issues are, ask them what their thoughts are, and then explain how you can help."
He's been a busy man:
Bennett is a retired Air Force colonel & retired high school teacher
Past-president of the Kiwanis Club of Huntsville & past president of the division
Past president of the Tennessee Valley Air Force Association.
He helped found Huntsville's free dental clinic.
Vice-chair of the Child Protective Services Board of Madison County.
He worked in inner-city Philadelphia to set up two school programs to get youth excited about aviation.
"I believe in our kids. I believe in our families. I believe in us working together.
He described moving to Selma in 1966, calling it a "divisive time in our history. I lived through that. I started out in segregated schools in Virginia, where the Governor, Jay Lindsey, said he would shut down the high schools rather than integrate them. And he did."
An enthusiastic supporter of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, Bennett also supports a higher minimum wage.
"We need to stop the groupthink that is in Montgomery. When you get a super-majority and groupthink takes over, you've got to break that. I believe in can beat Paul Sanford. I would not be in this if I didn't think that. I'm in this campaign to win."
I can't find a Web site for FB page for the campaign yet, but will post that as soon as we get it.
Yates said he could “take my guys and the training they have, the equipment we have, and we could shut this town down.”
No doubt the police in Ferguson, MO thought the same thing when they prepared to respond to protests:
Last night, as the images and stories from Ferguson, Missouri, joined the news churn, many who registered their thoughts via social media noted that what they were seeing—policemen with dogs and AR-15 assault rifles standing in a Stygian, blue-lit cloud of tear gas; crowds of protesters with their hands in the air, screaming “Hands up, don’t shoot”; members of the press being removed from the scene—did not look like America.
Like police departments in so many other US cities and towns, the Ferguson Police Department eagerly snapped up military-grade equipment - and they're using it:
They have short-barreled 5.56-mm rifles based on the military M4 carbine, with scopes that can accurately hit a target out to 500 meters. On their side they carry pistols. On their front, over their body armor, they carry at least four to six extra magazines, loaded with 30 rounds each.
And they stand in front of a massive uparmored truck called a Bearcat, similar in look to a mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle, or as the troops who rode in them call it, the MRAP.
Democratic Congressman from Georgia, Hank Johnson, is drafting a bill to cut back on Pentagon transfers of military equipment to local police forces. He plans to introduce the bill in September, when Congress finally returns from its summer vacation.
He noted in the last several months those vehicles have been given to cities in Texas, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arizona, Illinois and Alabama.
"This trend is not only sweeping America's small cities, it's hitting American college campuses as well. Ohio State University recently acquired an MRAP," he said. "Apparently, college kids are getting too rowdy."
Johnson said his bill would limit the type of equipment that could be transferred and would make sure states track all equipment received.
There won't be much time to hold hearings and pass the bill, however, because Congress is only in session for 12 days before taking almost the entire month of October off to campaign. So contact your Senators & Representatives now to ask that they co-sponsor Johnson's bill and help move it through the legislative process.
One bright spot in Saturday's SDEC meeting was the nomination of Birmingham Southern history professor Mark Lester to run in CD-06. The previous candidate, Avery Vise, withdrew from the race due to professional obligations.
Lester briefly addressed the crowd & reminded everyone that the election was just "80 days out," so it's all hands on deck to help Lester raise money & get out the vote. He asked Democrats to stop saying - and believing - that we can't win in the 6th district, citing another candidate who thought he was invulnerable to challenge - from a history professor.
How'd that work out for you, Eric Cantor?
Lester promised an unapologetic progressive platform, including support for the Affordable Care Act, and an increase in the minimum wage.
Watch him here:
Learn more about his candidacy at his campaign Web site: LesterForCongress.com. You can donate there as well!
(Another, more hopeful perspective, on yesterday's SDEC meeting. - promoted by countrycat)
I, as many of you, attended August 16th's meeting of the SDEC. The following was spawned from a conversation in the popular Facebook group Wake Up Alabama, which I encourage you all to join.
I post it here in the the hopes that it sparks discussion on the part of those who voted in the minority during the meeting, of which I very may have been one had I the position.
As I express, I don't know if I'm right, but I hope you'll let me know.
I try (and sometimes don't succeed) to think of it this way: African-Americans in Alabama have been oppressed since before its inception until today, and I don't see racism leaving Dixie anytime soon.
Like Malcolm X and WEB DuBois famously argued, whites have done what they will for centuries blacks, and to some extent -- maybe now its our turn. Not in the sense of white being lynched, etc., but to the extent that if African-Americans in Alabama want a homogenously minority party, then they should get it. White Dixiecrats -- yes, Democrats (and I hate to say it, but the fore bearers of the distinctly white minority of today's SDEC meeting) -- got that political power for centuries, justified or not. Malcolm X said that after slavery, terrorism, and Jim Crow (and now stop and frisk and voter id laws), there is no reason that a so-called American Negro should want to sit next to the white man at the political table -- even Democrats, in reality especially Democrats.
What happened today was undemocratic, yes. But when Democrats actually had power in Alabama, whites were, as privileged as we are, able to still be the majority in the legislature. Now that Dems are the minority, whites in Alabama fled the party (because the GOP became the racists instead of us), and the Joe Reed faction was able to take over, colored by the shadow of Wallace in the schoolhouse door.
Does Reed see any of those who lost votes today as descendants of Wallace? I don't know, and I don't want to speak for him. But I can understand if he did. And I don't blame him, or anyone who voted with him today. They are entitled to their votes, too, and in light of the history, maybe a little more.
And whites aren't losing out on a whole lot, except the Party's debt, and a possibility of learning from people who history will see as heroes, in light of or in spite of what happened today. Joe Reed, Hank Sanders, Johnny Ford. These are not undemocratic people. These are experienced people. We just have to understand that experience, I think, and learn from it.
At one point in the SDEC meeting, a white member facetiously moved that Dr. Reed just go ahead and appoint all the executive board members. A quick witted Johnny Ford, Mayor of Tuskegee, then seconded that motion. Everyone in the room -- white or black, SDEC member or guest, politician or reporter -- laughed. Hard. Maybe we're not so divided after all. Maybe we just need some laughter. And a few more minority appointments (Reed and the Minority Caucus appointed more whites than blacks today, I believe, contrary to some beliefs.)
Very few people who attended the SDEC meeting in Montgomery yesterday went home happy. Almost everyone deplored the tone of the meeting, and others left very concerned with the direction of the Alabama Democratic Party. We have some terrific candidates running for office this cycle, but their campaigns were overshadowed the debate over how the committee should fill vacancies.
Calling it a "debate" is kind. In actuality, it was more like a rugby scrum.
For those not familiar with ADP by-laws & procedures, it's probably helpful to provide a little background. That will help you understand what all the fuss was about.
Filling SDEC vacancies: The ADP by-laws call for one male & one female member from every House district. Those positions are elected during the primary in gubernatorial years. The most recent election was in June, so there were a number of new members.
In the event that nobody qualified to run for the slot or a sitting member moves out of the district, resigns, or passes away, the SDEC can fill the spot by a majority vote.
Prior to yesterday's meeting, the SDEC had 56 vacancies for elected positions.
The committee also had 55 vacancies for appointed positions called "at-large" seats. Those are filled by the minority caucus & Dr. Joe Reed announced that the minority caucus had filled those slots during its meeting prior to the entire SDEC meeting.
Election to by the SDEC: Prospective members must be nominated by a sitting SDEC member & are required to be present at the meeting at the time of their nomination. As Chairwoman Worley noted, that requirement isn't in the by-laws, but is a "custom."
In previous meetings, election of new committee members was the first order of business after announcements, officer reports, and old business. That allowed the new members to take office at the meeting and participate in discussion and - at this particular meeting - the election of officers.
Yesterday, a number of people who were interested in filling those vacant positions attended the meeting, hoping to be nominated. People drove from all over the state, some making trips of 3 hours or more to reach Montgomery.
In previous meetings, the chair went through the list district by district asking for nominations. Yesterday however, Chairwoman Worley recognized Dr. Joe Reed first and he made a motion to fill just 7 of the 58 open positions (he already had the names available to read aloud) and "hold over" the remaining vacancies.
Repeatedly, Worley made reference to the committee's "long agenda" and taking some shortcuts "in the interest of time," but what many attendees saw was an effort to restrict committee membership for no good reason.
Although members repeatedly asked WHY Dr. Reed made the motion to change the standard meeting procedure, he declined to speak on the matter again.
If they were indeed trying to "save time," let's just say that strategy didn't work and caused a huge amount of ill will on the committee for no good reason. The committee spent nearly an hour fighting over this when the actual elections for all the slots could have been done in half that time. Not only that, it embarrassed the members who had worked to recruit new committee members and wasted the time of those hopefuls who had attended the meeting, but who were somehow left off Dr. Reed's list - the one that only a few knew in advance that he was making.
Think about how strange this is: SDEC members are supposed to be leaders in their districts who help recruit candidates, boost the Democratic party, work at their headquarters, and take local concerns and comments to the full SDEC for consideration. What possible reason would the committee have to keep new members from being elected right on the cusp of one of the most important elections Alabama has had in years? The SDEC won't meet again before the election, unless a special meeting is called.
I still haven't heard a reason that makes sense. Watch the video series on the flip.