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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Senators Shelby and Barron Town Hall Meetings

US Senator Richard Shelby and State Senator Lowell Barron had Town Hall meetings in Dekalb County in the last ten days or so and I was present for both; Shelby, March 7 at Noon in Mentone, and Barron Feb 27 at 5pm at the American Cafe in Collinsville.
If you are interested in this blog at all, do check back in 5-7 days or so as I may add a few more nuances.
Both are gifted Alabama politicians who know the audiences I was in well. Whether they are statesmen and will yet use their considerable political capital to leave a legacy of progress in the state; whether they will leave an imprint on the state that would do justice to the legacy of Judge Frank Johnson or Hugo Black, I defer to the likes of Hardy Jackson and Wayne Flynt and Emory's Dan Carter to say.
Jennifer Foster has a great link below that challenges both powerful politicians to do better.
The crowd at Mentone was interesting, about 40 or so, lilly white; and with the exception of myself and about three others all seemed to be of considerable wealth and success.
Good people, who impressed me as having worked a system of merit justly and played by the rules. My take was they are concerned about the country as are the rest of us.
Shelby played my question about Constitutional Reform. I can't say he finessed it dismissively, but did not give me much opportunity to get to the meat of Jennifer Foster's reservations linked below. I held a copy in my hand and was angling to get to the heart of her reservations but he sparred me off to his advantage.
The next morning he was on ABC This Week with George Steph in an interesting panel with the President of the US Chamber of Commerce and Indy Senator Evan Bayh and McCaskill of Missouri.
Shelby is a Master of the Town Hall Setting, and Barron does well himself. To get to the heart of whether they are worthy of the high legacy of Frank Johnson and Hugo Black; jury is still out.
And to the extent that they game these Forums; well it will take a setting where all the participants including the audience come to the event with a sound reading, conversational knowledge at a modicum of Hardy Jackson's layman's History of Alabama, and the Collection of essays History and Hope in the Heart of Dixie.

Till that day, while there is something noble and heartwarming about participating in a discussion where powerful politicians engage in conversation and take questions from "the people"; I don't see where these two town hall events quite rose to a level that advanced the common good near as much as it could be advanced, even in these difficult times.

St. Senator Barron's Collinsville Town Hall Meeting , Feb 27
Here is the way I wish I had introduced my question to St. Senator Lowell Barron who some say outside the governor is the most powerful man in the state.Here is what I wish I had said Friday afternoon at the Town Hall meeting at the American Cafe in Collinsvlle, where about 82 people showed up in threatening weather.Senator, I miss the days when I called you up on statewide public television. We had a good time every 6 months or so there for a while.But they changed the 800 number on me, then cut the program back; and here in Collinsville the locals have changed the locks on me at the local library and the Baptist Church; it's good to see you today and to have a chance to ask this question. It uplifts my spirits a good deal.

I think I woulda gotten a good chuckle as there for a while my call in questions were of some notoriety locally and sometimes provocative.But Senator Barron for the most part, though an artful dodger, was a good sport about it and I guess that is part of his charm and longevity in the state senate.Friday he made mention of our history on statewide TV as he first did in a town hall meeting in Jan 04 and again June 06. I didn't make it in 04 as I'd had some setbacks and was out of state. But we had a good time in 06 on Constitutional Reform Question.I handed him a copy of Opelika-Auburn News column by Jennifer Foster, Friday,
but decided to ask something on another topic when my time came for questions.I asked him how he voted in the Presidential election last fall, and to handicap the Alabama Governor's race upcoming. He played the crowd pretty well; took a pass on Obama's election, named the Bama Gube candidates but didn't volunteer any estimation he had of them.I do give him credit during his Power Point Presentation for the several anecdotes he told about recent conversations with Bama's Gov. Riley about how to address the state's financial crisis. I think he made a strong point about the rainy day fund, telling the Governor's "It's Raining" and now is the time to tap those resources.
Sadly, Barron uses the ruse of the Big Mules to obfuscate clear remedies for the necessity of a Rainy Day Fund in the First Place.
As Hardy Jackson and Flynt and a host of Bama analysts have said for some time--and I have to believe Barron know this--The Black Belt Politicians of the Days of George Wallace and their hirelings in Montgomery and Birmingham are no more a Big Mule than Barron is.
Barron is in the Stable of Big Mules in the State and has been for some time. Principled and deliberate work toward Constitutional Reform is a first step that will make all the other dances on Barron's card outdated to the benefit of us all.
Barron has for the most part quite gracious and hospitable to me on statewide call in programs, in these town hall meetings;even in several encounters where I have bumped into him around the county.
I appreciate it.
Still he is too savvy after 25 years or so in the state legislature not to know where the High Ground is. To that end I join Jennifer Foster in calling on him to do better


Blogger Muser said...

Many thanks for your message. Tell Ms. Campbell I'd be glad to send her a book of poems (a soporific if nothing else). Does she actually read the poem on the recording? That's probably too much to hope for. Thanks for the reading recommendation--will check it out. I'm from the High Sierra (town of 200) but live in the Pac Northwest now. However, my wife spent her early years in Fairhope. My dad played rock-a-billy on 78rpm's. Peace.

6:20 PM  

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