Reactionary Endorsement Senate 7

Not for real.

I will vote in the GOP Primary and have narrowed my choices, but I am still undecided.

However, believe it or not, several Democrats have asked me for whom I would vote in the Democratic Party Primary between Representative Laura Hall and Anthony Daniels.  I guess it’s because I’ve met both candidates and have spoken with each of them at length. Or maybe they plan to vote against whoever I recommend…

Well, after careful consideration, I endorse Anthony Daniels for the Senate 7 Democratic Primary. 

He holds some conservative views (Pro-Life) and is a Christian. He is interested in practical and innovative solutions to education problems.  He seems to be pro-business. He likes a glass of wine occasionally and would consider supporting Free the Hops.  He likes infrastructure.

Daniels also doesn’t have PAC money relationships (an artifact of challenging an incumbent) or ties to the scandal-ridden Two-Year College system (she may not have done anything wrong, but Laura Hall’s timesheets bother me).

I like Rep. Hall and appreciate her support for Free the Hops, and I know that she has performed well for her constituents (they love her!). She knows how to work Goat Hill.

Note that neither one of them answered our questionnaire.

Focus on PACs – STA PAC

Since PACs are interested enough in the Senate 7 race to contribute to our candidates, I think maybe we should be interested in the PACs.

STA PAC contributed $10,000 to Republican Sam Givhan and $2,000 to Democrat Laura Hall, so this seems like a good PAC to examine.

STA PAC, of 1751 Indian Creek Parkway Birmingham AL, is run by “Rudolph Davidson”.

STA PAC filed their most recent “Annual 01-31-2009″ report with the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office on January 5, 2009.  Each Report can have five sections: Form 1 Summary, Form 2 Contributions, Form 3 In-Kind, Form 4 Receipts from Other Sources, and Form 5 Expenditures.

Form 1 is a summary: it displays STA PACs Beginning Balance of $22,918 plus Form 2 Contributions of $76,149 plus Form 3 In-Kind of $0 plus Form 4 Other Sources of $0 minus Form 5 Expenditures of $80,250 equals Ending Balance of $18,817.  The form is signed (Davidson) and notarized.

Form 2 provides itemized details of Contributions (greater than $100). STA PAC listed five individuals who contributed $500 each and “Drummon Co” for $9,500 for a total of $12,000. 

Hmm. The contributions of $12,000  on Form 2 are not the same as the contributions of $76,149 on Form 1.  I guess I don’t understand ‘political accounting’.  Moving on.

Form 5 provides itemized details of Expenditures.  STA PAC contributed $1,000 to Samford University on 11-23 for a total of $1,000.

Hmmmm. The Expenditures of $1,000 on Form 5 are not the same as the Expenditures of $80,250 on Form 1. I guess I still don’t understand ‘political accounting’.

Maybe if we look at another report the numbers will be clearer.  The next most recent STA PAC report is the “10-day 11-04-2008″ Report filed on 10-29-08, signed by Rudoph Davidson and notarized.

STA PACs Beginning Balance of $22,918 plus Form 2 Contributions of $64,149 plus Form 3 In-Kind of $0 plus Form 4 Other Sources of $0 minus Form 5 Expenditures of $79,250 equals Ending Balance of $7,817.

Form 2 Contributions included seven businesses, nine individuals, and one PAC – Ala for a Better Plan for $20,000.  The Form 2 total is $33,000 which is not the same as $64,149 (more ‘political accounting’).

Form 5 Expenditures included the following:  William Bell $6,500; Carol Smitherman $17,000; AL Senate Democratic Cacus $2,500; Jerry Bishop $500;  New South Coalition $5,000; A PAC $1,500; Dabra Pastur $20,000; AL Democratic Party $8,000; Debra Paseur $5,000; JT Smallwood $2,500; Bill Thompson $3,000; AL Democrat Party $10,000.  The Form 5 total is $79,250 which IS the same as the Form 1 $79,250 – now I’m just confused about ‘political accounting’.

Let’s look at one more report (next next most recent), the “Annual 01-31-2008″ Report, filed on 1-3-08, signed by Rudolph Davidson and notarized.

STA PACs Beginning Balance of $12,418 plus Form 2 Contributions of $82,500 plus Form 3 In-Kind of $0 plus Form 4 Other Sources of $0 minus Form 5 Expenditures of $72,000 equals Ending Balance of $22,918.

Form 2 Contributions lists one entry for “Drummons Co” for $18,500.  More ‘political accounting’ – this is not the same as the $82,500 listed on Form 1.

There is no Form 5 Expenditures report available at the SOS website.

OK, I can’t help it, let’s look at ONE more report (I promise this will be the last one today).  STA PACs “Annual 01-31-2007″ report shows the biggest money numbers, so it should be fun. The report is dated 1-30-07, signed by Rudolph Davidson and notarized.

STA PACs Beginning Balance of $60,400 plus Form 2 Contributions of $881,833 plus Form 3 In-Kind of $0 plus Form 4 Other Sources of $0 minus Form 5 Expenditures of $930,815 equals Ending Balance of $12,418.

Form 2 Contributions lists eleven individuals for $500 each and Max PAC for $5,000 for a total of $10,500.  Hmmmmmm, that’s like $871,333 in unlisted contributions.

Form 5 Expenditures lists AL for a Better Plan $100,000; Sue Bell Cobb $5,000; FGA $5,000; Rudolph Davidson $1,000; AL for a Better Plan $100,000; Tom Parker $25,000; Sue Bell Cobb $5,000; FGA $5,000; Rudolph Davidson $1,000.  The total is $247,000 which of course is not the same as $930,815.

I’m going to email this link to the SOS Office (Public Information Specialist Tamara Cofield) and ask if they can explain this ‘political accounting’ to me, plus maybe they will comment on the incomplete or missing information.

UPDATE:

State of Alabama Office of the Secretary of State Elections Director Janice McDonald responded promptly to my query:

My specific questions are:

 1. Why don’t Form 1 numbers match the associated Forms 2 and 5?  In some reports, the difference is hundreds of thousands of dollars.

2. Form 5 Expenditures for STA PAC Annual 1-31-2008 report are missing.  Do you have the report and can you post it to the SOS website?

The SOS Response:

The deadline for the 10/5 day report for the SD 7 race was last week.  All reports filed have been scanned and are available on the website.

Our office is not required to audit reports. We are required by law to receive reports and make them available to the public.  Usually, it will be the press who report on inconsistencies.

I checked the ’08 Annual Report for STA.  There is no Form 5 on file.  The Form 5 was not attached to the report.

 

Senate 7 10-Day Report Detail

Here are details from the 10-Day Campaign Finance Reports, available from the Alabama Secretary of State’s Office:

Anthony Daniels (D) – Beginning Balance $78 + Contributions $5,183 + In-Kind $0 + Receipts from Other Sources $0 – Expenditures $3,495 = Ending Balance $1,766

Contributors listed on 1 page, no PAC money. Expenditures include Tennessee Valley Signs and Speaking Out News.

Sam Givhan (R) – Beginning Balance $20,348 + Contributions $62,999 + In-Kind $450 + Receipts from Other Sources $20,000 – Expenditures $91,067 = Ending Balance $12,279

Notable contributors and all PACs include (13 pages): Deserve Victory PAC $3,000;  STA PAC $10,000; TOC PAC $10,000; Children’s PAC $5,000; TAG PAC $2,000; and Farm PAC $6,500.

STA PAC, TOC PAC, and Children’s PAC share an address in Birmingham.  Deserve Victory PAC and TAG PAC share a P.O. Box in Montgomery.

The Receipts from Other Sources is a self-loan to his campaign. Expenditures are mostly to Southern Insights for consulting / advertising, plus Colonial Graphics, Off the Wall Printing, and The Huntsville Times.

Laura Hall (D) – Beginning Balance $0 + Contributions $46,043 + In-Kind $0 + Receipts from Other Sources $0 – Expenditures $29,678 = Ending Balance $16,364

Notable contributors and all PACs include (6 pages): FGAPAC $2,500; Yvonne Kennedy Campaign Fund $2,000; James Buskey Campaign Fund $2,000; Alvin Holmes (State Representative); JPAC $2,500; SEA PAC $2,500; John Knight Campaign Fund $2,500; STA PAC $2,000; Tim Morgan (Madison County District Attorney);  Committee to Elect Jack Page $100, Huntsville Professional Firefighters Association $1,000; BI PAC $2,500; ED PAC $2,500; A-VOTE $10,000; TRAIL $2,500; Lynn Sherrod (Judge); SIX PAC $1,000.

Expenditures are mostly to Driscol and Rucker Group; Tyson Group of  TX for phone bank; Tennessee Valley Signs of Scottsboro; Blueprint of Montgomery; plus $400 for “placing signs”.

Mary Scott Hunter (R) – Beginning Balance $20,750 + Contributions $15,142 + In-Kind $0 + Receipts from Other Sources $0 – Expenditures $22,912 = Ending Balance $12,979

Notable contributors include (5 pages): Al Wiggins (recent AL House candidate); Sonny Callahan (former Congressman); no PAC money.

Expenditures are mostly to Strategy Inc. and Ripley Signs.

Allan Rhodes (R) – Beginning Balance $0 + Contributions $6,619 + In-Kind $8,000 + Receipts from Other Sources $0 – Expenditures $6,349 = Ending Balance $270

Contributors listed on 2 pages, no PAC money. Expenditures include COMCAST Spotlight, WBHP radio, and Signs from TX.

Roger Richardson (R) – Beginning Balance $336 + Contributions $7,217 + In-Kind $4,818 + Receipts from Other Sources $0 – Expenditures $6,038 = Ending Balance $1,515

Contributors listed on 2 pages, no PAC money. Expenditures include Comcast, Cumulus, and Lite 96.9.

Paul Sanford (R) – Beginning Balance $4,894 + Contributions $9,096 + In-Kind $0 + Receipts from Other Sources $0 – Expenditures $7,356 = Ending Balance $6,635

Contributors listed on 5 pages including our friend and regular reader Jonathan, no PAC money. Expenditures include Heritage Advertising and Public Strategy Associates.

Peter Wright (R) – no report.

More about PACs – STA PAC, which contributed $10,000 to Sam Givhan and $2,000 to Laura Hall,  appears to be significantly funded by Drummon or Drummons (depending on the report – really Drummond Coal).  For some odd reason their Expenditure reports are incomplete, but they appear to contribute mostly to the Alabama Democratic Party and Democrat candidates.

STA PAC, TOC PAC, and Children’s PAC are run by Rudy Davidson.

Laura Hall got money from TRAIL, which is probably TRIAL, the Alabama Trial Lawyer’s PAC.  Funny how these groups and contributors make a lot of typos; it’s almost like they don’t really want people to know about them.

The Birmingham News has a great list of PACs.

More:

As I understand it, Rudy Davidson’s PACs are funnels for trial lawyers, gambling, and AEA.  Deserve Victory PAC and TAG PAC are run by Claire Austin and funnel money from trial lawyers and gambling.

FARM PAC is ALFA.

More:

Claire Austin is one of the good guys, so to speak.  She worked for Senator Sessions and was Attorney General Bill Pryor’s Campaign Manager. She also worked for Mitt Romney’s Presidential Campaign.  She does represent gambling interests (lottery).

And still more:

Southern Insights (“a full service Republican Political Consulting and Public Affairs firm”) is Givhan’s political consultant.  One would hope that they steered him away from bad ol’ AEA money, but the STA PAC, TOC PAC, and Children’s PAC contributions of $25,000 are somewhat troubling. Maybe Chris Brown or Paul Glass can explain it to us.

UPDATE:

Dale Jackson at WVNN invited Brian to comment on the election this morning – Thanks Dale.

Will Anderson at WBHP mentioned this post this morning – Thanks Will.

Rocket City Beer Blastoff

Free the Hops is hosting a Beer Blastoff Party to kickoff this year’s legislative efforts. 

The Blastoff  is Saturday February 28 at Lowe Mill, 2211 Seminole Drive, from 6 til 10.

Bob Walters Banned and Witchdoctor’s Opera will be performing.

Sponsors include: Olde Towne Brewing of Huntsville, Supreme Beverage of Huntsville, Terrapin Beer of Athens GA, Yazoo of Nashville, Lazy Magnolia of Mississippi, Oskar Blues of Colorado, Samuel Adams of Boston, Great Divide of Colorado, Flying Dog of Maryland, and Rogue of Oregon.

The Valley Planet and Huntsville Alive are also sponsors.

The State Legislature is in session and the Gourmet Beer Bill has already passed the House Tourism and Travel Committee and the Senate Tourism and Marketing Committee.  The next steps are getting passed in the State House and the State Senate, then getting signed by the Governor.

Props to State Representative Randy Hinshaw (D – 21) for his support in the House Committee.

Politics goes so good with beer. – The Pixies

Senate 7 Democratic Party Primary

Representative Laura Hall (D – 10) and Anthony Daniels are running in the Democratic Party Primary.  I’ve been trying to figure out this race, asking Democrats which candidate they support.

I asked Rep. Hall about the Senate race the other day, and commented that Daniels had probably worn out a pair of shoes campaigning in the District. She replied that he had worn out at least two pair.  Hall is at somewhat of a disadvantage trying to campaign while the Legislature is in Session.

Daniels got off to a good start in the race and created some buzz, plus he got a lot of yard signs placed on major streets (I know that yard signs don’t vote, so I differentiate between a yard sign on a random corner versus a yard sign placed with the property owner’s approval).  Daniels also had a clearly superior web presence early on. IIRC his last Finance Report showed about $4000 in contributions and I don’t expect an update before the Primary.

Hall caught up on her web presence. However, I still haven’t seen many Hall yard signs. She may not need the signs in her House District, since she is well-known.  IIRC she had about $8000 available to her campaign.

I don’t see many policy differences between the candidates. Left in Alabama interviewed both Hall and Daniels.

In my unstatistically insignificant sample of likely voting Democrats, Hall wins with at least 2/3 of the Primary vote.  She can expect the big money Dem organizations to support her, plus the local Dem power brokers, plus a base of loyal supporters who will turn out to vote – she has a lot of friends.

Thoughts?

UPDATE:

I had the pleasure of meeting Anthony Daniels at the WVNN Happy Hour at Mason’s Pub, and we spoke for quite awhile.  He seems like a genuinely nice guy, and I would like to see him mature into a Republican some day ;)

He is committed to running a positive campaign against Laura Hall, and from what I can see he is following through with that. He is bright and charismatic, just like a budding politician should be, and he has some ideas on education that are worth exploring, regardless of party.

We also talked about light rail in Huntsville, since I read his interview with Left in Alabama.  While I like (and have used) mass transit, I don’t think that Huntsville has the population density, money, or desire for a rail system yet.  I do think that the City should start planning for it and begin acquiring Right-of-Way, which is about a twenty year project.  I also think that as a pilot project, running a New Orleans-style streetcar (the new kind) from Downtown to Ditto Landing on the railroad tracks beside the Parkway might be doable in the near term (as recent Mayoral Candidate Mike Polemeni suggested). 

With a transit plan, the City could also start building the most important part of any mass transit system – sidewalks.

Hops March toward Freedom

Dan “Daily Dixie” and I road-tripped to Montgomery Wednesday to attend the House Tourism and Travel Committee in support of the Gourmet Beer Bill (Dan spoke).

My first impression of visiting the State House is that there are no public parking lots / garages nearby.  It almost seems like the State Government doesn’t want people to spend time visiting with them.  The parking meters were cheap (quarter for an hour) but had a two-hour limit (“Re-feeding” is Illegal).

More impressions:

Security personnel were professional, friendly, and plentiful.

It’s good to see the Capitol renovations.  The RSA owns everything. Downtown Montgomery seems kinda dead. ‘Old Town Alabama’ is a good idea (creating an historic district with relocated buildings).  Montgomery Brewpub is a State treasure.

The Gourmet Beer Bill passed the Committee.

I saw Committee member Representative Randy Hinshaw (D – my representative), who is a supporter of FTH.  I saw our friend Representative Mike Ball (R – 10), visited his office, and met Representative Greg Canfield (R – 48). I said Hey to AEA Executive Secretary Dr. Paul Hubbert.

Later, I met Committee Chairman Johnny Mac Morrow (D – 18)  and chatted about Pickwick Lake – nice guy.  I spoke with Representative Laura Hall (D – 19) about the State Senate 7 race and teased her about not responding to the Flashpoint questionnaire. 

Then I ended up speaking at length with Representative Rod Scott (D – 55) from Birmingham, nice guy (he tried the ‘What’s the Matter with Kansas’ argument, insisting that GOP supporters vote against their interests and that 97% of the population should support the Democrats on economic terms – the other 3% must be “the rich” who get to pay for it all).  Margaret Thatcher said that “the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money”.

For walt moffett, speaking of trivia:

Montgomery County was named for Major Lemuel Montgomery, who died in 1814 at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. The City of Montgomery was named for General Richard Montgomery, who died in 1775 at Quebec City during the invasion of Canada.

Sublime Christian Heroism

Today we honor President Abraham Lincoln, Republican of Illinois.

Here are excerpts from Lincoln’s Letter

To the Workingmen of Manchester, England

January 19, 1863.

When I came, on the fourth day of March, 1861, through a free and constitutional election, to preside in the government of the United States, the country was found at the verge of civil war. Whatever might have been the cause, or whosoever the fault, one duty paramount to all others was before me, namely, to maintain and preserve at once the Constitution and the integrity of the federal republic.

I have understood well that the duty of self-preservation rests solely with the American people. But I have at the same time been aware that favor or disfavor of foreign nations might have a material influence in enlarging and prolonging the struggle with disloyal men in which the country is engaged. A fair examination of history has seemed to authorize a belief that the past action and influences of the United States were generally regarded as having been beneficient towards mankind.

I know and deeply deplore the sufferings which the workingmen at Manchester and in all Europe are called to endure in this crisis. It has been often and studiously represented that the attempt to overthrow this government, which was built upon the foundation of human rights, and to substitute for it one which should rest exclusively on the basis of human slavery, was likely to obtain the favor of Europe. Through the actions of our disloyal citizens the workingmen of Europe have been subjected to a severe trial, for the purpose of forcing their sanction to that attempt. Under these circumstances, I cannot but regard your decisive utterance upon the question as an instance of sublime Christian heroism which has not been surpassed in any age or in any country. It is, indeed, an energetic and reinspiring assurance of the inherent power of truth and of the ultimate and universal triumph of justice, humanity, and freedom.

Lincoln’s Letter was in reply to a Letter from the Workingmen of Manchester, who had relied on the cotton trade for their livelihoods and had been suffering because of the War:

“…the vast progress you have made in the short space of twenty months fills us with hope that every stain on your freedom will shortly be removed, and that the erasure of that foul blot upon civilization and Christianity – chattel slavery – during your Presidency will cause the name of Abraham Lincoln to be honored and revered by posterity.”