Some Democrats want Bedford to give up chair post

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–Dr. Bill Walker is gone as president of Auburn, replaced on a temporary basis by Dr. Ed Richardson, the former state Superintendent of Education.
Every indication is that three new AU trustees will be confirmed by the State Senate early next month, and a fourth not much later to fill the vacancy caused by the untimely death of Jimmy Samford.
All of which suggests that maybe, just maybe, long-suffering Auburn faithful can see a light at the end of the tunnel and it is not the light of an oncoming locomotive with a Colonial Bank logo on the front.
The end of what some have dubbed the "Lowder Power Era" at Auburn may be in sight.
For years much of the blame for Auburn's troubles…academically, athletically and otherwise…has been placed on AU Trustee Bobby Lowder, the head man of Colonial Bank of Montgomery.
Whether he is as evil as his critics have claimed, whether he was in fact the puppeteer who pulled all the strings on the board, is subject to some debate. But in reality it matters not because that was the perception, and in politics perception is everything.
Without question, the addition of four new members to the AU board will greatly diminish Lowder's real or imagined clout on the board.
The selection of Dr. Richardson as president brought mild protest from a handful of Auburnites, some who felt a search committee should have been created to find someone for this temp job.
Gov. Bob Riley, who had taken the lead in the removal of Walker, disagreed. He said he felt it was imperative that a beekeeper be put on the job without delay to calm the swarm.
State Sen. Jeff Enfinger, D-Huntsville, has called on one of his own colleagues, Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, to give up his coveted seat as chairman of the General Fund Committee.
It has been from that place of power that Bedford has become a near legendary pork producer for his district.
Enfinger was surprisingly critical of his colleague, saying that Bedford had deceived his fellow senators and spent money in such a manner that it has been an embarrassment to the Legislature.
Bedford made it clear he had no intention of vacating the powerful seat, and he got a strong vote of support from State Sen. Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe, the president pro tem of the Senate. And in the Senate…to paraphrase the Good Book…if Barron be for you, who can be against you?
Last week the new Tennessee lottery was kicked off, made possible by a 2002 statewide referendum in which it was approved by a 58 percent-42 percent margin.
Alabama's other neighboring states…Florida, Mississippi and Georgia…have had lotteries for years.
Without question an effort will be made in Alabama this year to legalize a lottery and with the financial crisis facing the state it's chances of success are strong.
But with the neighboring states offering much larger jackpots there is serious doubt that an Alabama lottery will generate a great deal of money.
Several years ago, as a storm swirled around the financial condition of HealthSouth Corporation, stock in that Birmingham-based company plunged to 10 cents a share.
If at that time you had bought 10,000 shares of HealthSouth at a cost of $1,000 it would be worth $61,900 today.
Just thought I would spoil your day. I didn't buy any at that price either.

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