MCGOP – 17 September 2011

Congressman Mo Brooks received a standing ovation from more than 300 people at the Madison County Republican Men’s Club breakfast this morning.

Congressman Brooks spoke about the “Obama Kill Jobs Bill” and the futility of trying to compromise with people who have an “aberrant ideology”.  Mo may have said “abhorrent” – either adjective is correct when describing the left…

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Campaigns – Isackson

The election season will be heating up pretty soon, people are thinking about becoming candidates, and candidates are thinking about campaigning.

Adam Isackson is writing a book about local political campaign management and posted some of his thoughts at REDSTATE.  So far, Isackson has posted two articles:  “Things to consider before running for public office” and  “Precinct analysis and canvassing strategy”.   Anyone interested in the subject should read the articles.

Here are some of the questions Isackson suggests that one considers before running for public office:

Are you willing and able to commit the time necessary?
Are you financially stable?
What effects will running have on your finances?
Are you the best candidate for the job?
Are you willing to have your baggage aired out in public?
Do you have strong interpersonal skills?
Can you ask people for money?
Would you likely face primary opposition?
Are you electable?
Can you build a strong campaign infrastructure?

Isackson’s precinct analysis and canvassing strategy article is very detailed.  Here are some snippets to pique your interest:

Local campaigns in particular are largely about meeting more voters then your opponent. You can only meet a small percentage of likely voters by attending community functions and meetings. To reach the rest of them you need to go door to door. In a local campaign where you face any, even minor opposition this shouldn’t be a matter of debate. Going door to door should be a, if not the central aspect of your campaign for public office.

…Good maps will save you a TON of time out in the field.

…First and foremost you’re going to want to look at the most relevant recent elections data and look at the precinct by precinct results.

…Another thing you want to consider before you start pounding the pavement is the use of walking lists. If you’re running for partisan office you’re going to want to get a hold of your state or local political party and find out what resources they have available.

I’ll be on the lookout for more from Isackson…

MCGOP – 20 August 2011

After missing the past couple of Madison County Republican breakfasts because of travel, I attended Judgefest yesterday. 

MCGOP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently appointed Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Chuck Malone was the featured speaker.  Attendees included: Court of Criminal Appeals Judges Liles Burke and Mike Joiner; Circuit Court Judges Dennis O’Dell, Alan Mann, and Ruth Ann Hall; District Court Judges Dick Richardson and Alison Austin, Madison County Circuit Court Clerk Jane Smith;  prospective District Court Judge appointees Jonathan Pippin and Robert Rodgers; plus District Judge candidates Chris Messervy and Don Rizzardi

I listed the judges to illustrate how completely the people of Alabama have entrusted the judiciary to Republicans.  Consider that before 1994, no Republican held a statewide judicial seat (since Civil War Reconstruction).  Now every statewide judge is a Republican, furthermore, every State office is held by Republicans except Public Service Commission President Lucy Baxley (D).   The Republican Revolution is transforming the State at the County office level too.  Madison County Republicans won every office on the ballot in 2010.  Their rejection at the polls helps explain why Democrats push for unelected judicial selection instead of election by citizens.

More notes from the meeting…

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Giant Belgium wins best tasting tomato

The Huntsville Botanical Garden selected a Giant Belgium tomato as the best tasting tomato entered in the annual contest held this weekend.  (this years taste winner also won biggest weight at 1 pound 5 ounces).  Last year’s winner for best taste was a Cherokee Purple; biggest was a 2 pound 5 ounce ‘Delicious’.

In news from my garden, the Cherokee Purples I planted are starting to ripen – I’ve tried a couple and they are fantastic! 

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In other news, my lawyer friends are interested in Governor Dr. Bentley’s upcoming appointment to replace retired Madison County Circuit Judge Bruce Williams.  Several good counselors have suggested that District Court Judge Ruth Ann Hall will likely be appointed by Governor Dr. Love.  If Judge Hall is raised to the Circuit Court, then the Governor will appoint a new District Court judge:  Robert Rogers, Linda Coates, Bill Starnes, Patty Demos, and Claude Hundley are among those I’ve heard mentioned for the job.

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In more other news, the Birmingham News wrote a great article on the Jefferson County Sewer Bond mess:

Jefferson County officials are asking Wall Street creditors to wipe out nearly $1.3 billion of the $3.14 billion sewer debt as part of a plan presented in secret last week to resolve the lingering financial problems tied to the county’s sewer system bonds…

“The resolve of this commission is to fix the problem,” Commissioner Jimmie Stephens said. “If the fix is afforded through bankruptcy, so be it. If there is a fix available outside of bankruptcy, that would be much better. But, one way or the other this will be fixed.”

“The resolve of this commission is to fix the problem,” Commissioner Jimmie Stephens said. “If the fix is afforded through bankruptcy, so be it. If there is a fix available outside of bankruptcy, that would be much better. But, one way or the other this will be fixed”…

Why should we care?

Alabama officials say bankruptcy would be a stain on the state and have pledged credit enhancements to help the two sides reach an agreement. Credit enhancements could include letters of credit, lines of credit, or credit support for refinancing the debt in the form of a moral obligation agreement…

State involvement is a must for any settlement, county officials say.

The governor could call a special session for legislation that allows the transfer of the sewer system to a separate public corporation, better known as a GUSC, a Government Utility Services Corporation, which would oversee the issuance of new bonds and repayment of bonds…

However, the county and creditors must decide whether the corporation could file a Chapter 9 petition.

The creditors have insisted that the corporation be prohibited from filing for bankruptcy while county officials have said they don’t control the state Legislature and cannot predict in what form the bill might be adopted.

Looks like the legislature may get called to two special sessions: coastal insurance reform and JeffCo debt.

South Carolina coastal insurance reform

Governor Dr. Robert Bentley recently appointed the Affordable Homeowners Insurance Commission to address “the troubled insurance market” with an eye to passing legislation in a special session.

Dr. Love says: “The lack of affordable insurance is an important issue that many in Alabama face. After the devastating tornadoes of April, insurance reform needs to be examined now more than ever.  I want this new commission to work together to stop the rising cost of insurance for the benefit of all Alabamians.”

In looking for information as to just what this means, I Googled “coastal insurance reform” – the top hit was my article on “Coastal insurance reform”.  That is no help to me (other than to feed my ego), and believe me it’s not much help to you either.  Fortunately, the South Carolina Omnibus Coastal Property Insurance Reform Act of 2007, co-sponsored by now-Governor Nikki Haley (R), was also listed. 

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“Mean as a snake” Democratic Party Chairman visits Huntsville

Alabama Democratic Party Chairman Justice Mark Kennedy visited Huntsville today for a reception at Amendment XXI downtown.  WVNN’s ‘cyberbullying coping counselor’ Dale Jackson and I attended the event, along with more than 50 local Democrats.

Self-described “mean as a snake” former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Kennedy gave a good speech highlighting the challenges faced by Alabama Democrats and some of his improvements to the State Party organization.  Personally, I thought Kennedy seemed to be a pretty nice guy, but when someone tells you they’re mean as a snake you ought to listen…

Kidding aside, Kennedy said that the State Party would stop charging candidates for voter lists and that the Democrats would focus on “taking back the courthouses” across Alabama.   The Party is sending training teams throughout the State instructing activists on how to hold meetings, including how much lemonade to serve for how many people.

Kennedy complained that the PAC to PAC transfer ban killed Democratic Party fundraising – I say good riddance to money laundering and shady backroom deals.  As a judge, Kennedy ruled in favor of the White Hall casino – saying that the slot machines were actually bingo machines instead of slot machines.  I’ve seen (and um, ‘investigated’) bingo machines, and IMO if he can’t tell the difference between bingo and a slot machine I’m happy he’s on their side…

Non-partisan Huntsville City Schools Board of Education member Laurie McCauley attended, as well as my former State Representative Randy Hinshaw.  I really do enjoy talking with my friend Randy and I got to meet former candidate for State Representative Jenny Askins: I wrote about her non-approach to political issues in a terribly snarky post  “Whatever YOU want” (however I didn’t write that Askins is the “Democrat version of Sarah Palin”). [Reactionary edit - the link appears to be broken, but this refers to an AL.com commenter who wrote the following on 7/12/2009:  "Askins is hot, but her response to the debate invitation that “people elect legislators, debates dont elect legislators” is insipid. She is the Democratic version of Palin."]   I’m pretty sure from her demeanor toward me that she reads the blog…

I also got to speak with countrycat of Left in Alabama, with whom I share an interest in gardening.  BTW my heirloom Cherokee Purple tomatoes are almost ready – this is my first year of growing them and I’m eager to know if they really are the “best tasting tomato” and “almost like candy”.

SHCA Legislative and Superintendent Forum

Me and Ben and about 300 of our closest friends attended the South Huntsville Civic Association Superintendent reception and legislative forum this evening at Grissom High School.  This was HCS Superintendent Dr. Casey Wardynski’s first public meeting in his new job, and the SHCA invited every member of the South Huntsville legislative delegation to help welcome Casey. 

State Senator Arthur Orr (R), Senator Paul Sanford (R), Senator Clay Scofield (R), Representative Mike Ball (R), and Representative Howard Sanderford (R) were on hand to answer questions during the forum.  BTW it feels really good to be writing (R) after all of those seats.  Huntsville City Councilman John Olshefski was also on the panel.  Read on for Casey’s speech and the Q&A…

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Message from McMillan

Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Commissioner John McMillan wrote “Voter Interest at an all-time high” for the ALGOP:

We live in extraordinary times when government is running on empty, both in terms of revenue and ideas. No longer are people content to let the Washington crowd raise taxes and grow government.

As this summer’s drama at the White House plays out, people are watching every move to make sure that the big government crowd doesn’t prevail. It’s two against one in this fight, with President Obama and the Senate Democrats versus the Republicans in the House.

People realize as never before that bigger government means fewer jobs for American families. To those of us elected to serve, our responsibility is to keep government small and off the backs of those who create the jobs.

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John McMillan is one of my favorite politicians.  I still enjoy hearing about his family taking a milk cow to the beach with them way back when.  Fun fact:

Bottle Creek, the largest Mississippian site (AD 1200 to 1450) on the north-central Gulf coast, has eighteen earthen mounds that served as platforms for houses and temples.

…Bottle Creek is one of the few major Mississippian sites not yet developed for tourism. The heavily forested site, in the midst of the Mobile-Tensaw delta, gives visitors a sense of the rich natural environment that supported Native American societies for thousands of years…

The McMillan family protected the Bottle Creek site for most of this century. In the early 1990s the land was purchased by Scott Paper Company, which in turn donated the site to the State of Alabama.

I’m sure this fellow and his kin help scare away most tourists (the photo is from the excellent mobilepaddler blog).

 

District Court competition

The Republican Primary for Madison County District Court Judge got competitive today with Chris Messervy entering the race.  Assistant District Attorney Don Rizzardi announced his candidacy last month.  Incumbent Judge Lynn Sherrod (D) hasn’t announced her plans to run for re-election or retire yet.

From The Times article about Messervy by Brian Lawson:

The District Court has broad responsibility. The court handles civil cases up to $10,000, misdemeanor criminal cases and preliminary hearings, custody disputes, traffic charges and small claims cases.

“The District Court judge is really on the front lines between the community and the court system,” Messervy said. “You make all the decisions from the bench; there are no juries. And often, what the community thinks about the court system most likely derives from their experience with the District Court.

“I think being respectful from the bench goes a long way.”

Messervy has already picked up endorsements from retired Circuit Judge Loyd “Buddy” Little and Circuit Court Clerk Jane Smith.

From The Times article about Rizzardi by Brian Lawson:

“You will never find a more dedicated public servant than Don Rizzardi,” [Madison County District Attorney Rob] Broussard said. “He does have vast trial experience, and like many in our office, a lot of if it is unheralded work in the courtroom. He has ground through his cases and always done his duty. We’ve always been proud of Don in our office.”

The years in the courtroom and managing a heavy caseload have prepared him for the challenges every judge faces, Rizzardi said.

“I’ve seen a lot of different judges, and I’ve seen what works for some and what doesn’t. I will take the best I’ve seen from all of them,” he said.

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Full disclosure:  I’ve known Don Rizzardi for many years and I will campaign for him and then vote for him in the GOP Primary (March 13, 2012 – only 8 months away!).  I’ve met Chris Messervy a couple of times and like him and would support him except that he’s running against Rizzardi.

Coastal insurance reform

The average cost to insure a home in Mobile and Baldwin Counties is eleventy billion dollars, if you can find an insurer.  Central and North Alabama are facing the same types of issues in the wake of the recent devastating tornadoes, so this is about more than ‘coastal insurance reform’.  Insurance reform may get addressed in a special session of the legislature, if not, it will certainly be a top issue in the next legislative session.

Governor Dr. Robert Bentley just named the members of the Affordable Homeowners Insurance Commission, led by Baldwin County Probate Judge Tim Russell (R).  Huntsville is represented on the commission by Wayne Parker and State Farm agent Joe Demos.  Some interesting appointments include K. Carl Smith (The conservativeMessenger) and Michelle Kurtz (Homeowners’ Hurricane Insurance Initiative).  State Senator Ben Brooks (R – Mobile), State Representative Mike Hill (R – Columbiana), and State Representative Steve McMillan (R – Gulf Shores) are on the commission – presumably to sponsor legislation incorporating the results of the Commission’s efforts.

I spoke with Representative McMillan last week after his fishing trip and he said that insurance reform was his top legislative priority.  The GOP legislature passed a couple of bills this year to ”create a tax deduction for strengthening homes against hurricanes and tornadoes, set up an Insurance Department trust fund for retrofitting homes, and require that insurers publicly disclose information when they ask regulators for rate changes.”

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