Windom shows true colors

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–This is one of those impossible assignments for me…I write this column before the election, most of you read it after the election. I don't know who won, you do.
That being the case, I must look in another direction for inspiration for this column, and coincidentally, what I offer you today might be called an inspiring story…and it's a story I think needs to be told.
Not many months ago Congressman Bob Riley and Lt. Gov. Steve Windom were in a fierce and sometimes ugly battle for the GOP nomination for governor. What initially was thought to be a close race turned into a landslide. What Riley did to Windom in the Republican Primary was close to assault with intent to murder.
As Windom limped off to Buck's Pocket to recuperate he had good reason to not only be disappointed but to be bitter as well. He had reason to react to his defeat in a manner similar to Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bishop, who was pounded by Gov. Don Siegelman in the Democratic Primary. Bishop delivered a withering attack on Siegelman on election night.
Windom took a far different road. On election night, battered and bruised, he issued a gracious concession statement. But he didn't stop there. Later he met with Riley, shook his hand and asked how he could help. Throughout the summer and fall leading up to the election
Windom has played an exceedingly active role in the Riley campaign.
Windom introduced Riley to his supporters and major contributors and encouraged them to support the Riley campaign. If you look at the Riley contributors since the primary many of them are people who earlier had been major contributors to Windom.
In the final days of the campaign Windom accompanied Riley on many of his campaign stops. They attended the Winton Blount funeral arm in arm, and Windom has made several campaign appearances with Riley.
In the political arena where the rule oftentimes is "don't get mad, get even", Windom took a different road. It speaks well of him.
These almost obscene expenditures will surely provoke loud laments from editorial writers…as they should…but if you think it will result in legislation to put a cap on campaign expenditures you are a couple of bricks shy of a full load. It is not going to happen. It will only get worse.
Any time there is a comparison made on public school systems in
Alabama nearly always the schools in Mountain Brook…a very affluent
Birmingham suburb…are at the top of the list.
Hence it was no surprise when it was reported last week that a task force in that city has recommended a substantial increase in the already high property taxes in that city.
The property tax rate in Mountain Brook is already 99 mills, and it has been recommended that it be increased to 107 mills. Compare that with what you are paying in your school district. Property taxes in Mountain Brook or two or three times higher than in most other school districts.
Little wonder their school systems are at the top of the list. Like most everything else, you get what you pay for.
In the wake of yet another race for governor, a trivia question was posed to me: Did anyone ever run for governor more often than Shorty Price, the clown prince of Alabama politics several decades ago?
As a matter of fact, Price finishes a distant third in that category.
He ran for governor four times but ahead of him are George Wallace (five races for governor) and Big Jim Folsom, who ran for the office an incredible eight times. Wallace finished with a 4-1 record, Big Jim was 2-6.

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