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…And there isn't a PLO in Arab, Alabama

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–Somewhere in the after life State Sen. Lawrence K. "Snag" Andrews of Union Springs must be smiling.
He would have loved what happened in Montgomery this year in the regular session just ended.
Whether the quote was originated by him I do not know, but he would tell one and all that his role as a legislator was three-fold: "To kill bills, kill bills and kill bills."
Andrews figured that Alabama had all the laws it needed so the best thing he could do was kill any new laws proposed.
Feeling as he did, he would have given a standing ovation to the legislators for what happened in the 2003 Regular Session. It may go down as one of the most un-productive in history, if productivity is based on how many new laws are added to the books.
Close to 1,200 new laws were proposed, but less than 10 percent of those were enacted into law.
Yes, the lawmakers did recess in the middle of the regular session to pass some historic tax and accountability measures in a special session…and yes, they must come back in September to pass the required state budgets.
But as far as the regular session is concerned, it gave new meaning to "do-nothing."
It was a session Snag would have loved.
Last week Gov. Riley submitted three nominees to serve on the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, one of them being the controversial former mayor of Montgomery, Emory Folmar.
The Senate Confirmations Committee rejected all three nominees. While the senators talked about a lack of diversity in the appointees…all three are white males…it was no secret that Folmar's nomination didn't sit well with some of the senators.
Riley didn't take the rejection lying down. Within 48 hours he appointed Folmar as administrator of the ABC Board, an appointment not subject to approval by the Senate.
Some ABC employees had lobbied fiercely against Folmar being named to the board. They probably wish now that they had kept their mouths shut.
As a board member he would have had little input into the day-to-day operation of the department…now he is the boss. And his track record indicates, he will be a very hands-on boss.
I was by no means a close friend of Brinkley's but our paths crossed on a number of occasions during the 1960s and 1970s. More than once when he was covering a political story in Alabama he would pick my brain about Alabama politics and George Wallace.
My favorite Brinkley story goes back to 1980 when he was in Alabama covering a campaign appearance by President Jimmy Carter in Birmingham, who was running for re-election, a race he lost to Ronald Reagan.
During his four years in office Carter had on his staff a bright young lady from Arab…for the life of me I cannot remember her name. She had been one of those all-everything girls while in school…governor of Girls State, debate champion…a really talented young lady.
(One of you will surely write me and tell me her name.)
No matter, when Carter came to Birmingham it seemed like the entire population of Arab…so proud of their "daughter" who worked in the White House…showed up for the rally, many of them holding up
signs which proclaimed "Arab's For Carter."
Brinkley sidled over to me, a puzzled look on his face, and commented: "I never knew there was such a sizable Arab population in
Alabama."
I had to explain that the signs referred to a city. I also had to pronounce it for him.

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