Here's why you should be nice to those you meet
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY-There is an old saying that holds to the truth that one should be kind to folks when you are on the way up the ladder of success because some day you might meet them when you are on the way down.
Back in 1986, I was selling copies of the book I had written like hot cakes at what was then called Gayfer's Department Store in Montgomery. (Being the Auburn man I am I must add that on my first day at Gayfer's I set a record for sales, breaking the mark held by a football coach named Paul Bryant.)
No matter, the store assigned a young part-time employee to help me…a "go-fer" is what they are called. He was working part-time at Gayfer's to help pay his way through Troy State. He would bring boxes of books to me from my car, coffee, cold drinks, whatever that needed to be done.
Thankfully, I was nice to him. In fact, we became friends. Last week that "go-fer" was appointed Attorney General of Alabama.
Troy King, at 35, is not Alabama's youngest AG. When Bill Baxley was first elected to the office in 1970, he was only 28. Despite his youth, King brings considerable experience to the job, having worked in the Executive Department under Govs. James and Riley and also was in the AG Department.
And in a related matter, if you think the line was long for those who wanted to be appointed Attorney General, the line is even longer for those who would like to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court if the decision to remove Roy Moore is upheld by the Judicial Inquiry Court.
An example of what I speak is a proposed amendment to the constitution which would outlaw same-sex marriages. You can be sure that just about everybody in the Legislature is for the measure, but now the opposing parties are jawing at one another over when this amendment should be voted on by the people.
The Republicans think it should be on the ballot at the next election, which happens to be the November General Election. The Democrats, apparently concluding that if the issue is on the ballot it would help President Bush's chances of carrying the state, want to delay the referendum until 2006.
Does anybody in their right mind think that the issue of same-sex marriage on the November ballot is going to impact on how any Alabamian votes for President? That borders on the ridiculous.
Alabama has gone Republican in every presidential election since 1976 (that is when neighbor Jimmy Carter of Georgia was the Democratic nominee) and it will go Republican in the November election with or without the same-sex marriage ban on the ballot.
Perhaps the Birmingham City Council should be re-named the Birmingham City Clowncil.
A month seldom passes when there is not some bizarre revelation about misconduct, mis-spending, you name it, in what used to be called the Magic City.
Not long ago, there was a controversy after the mayor approved spending several hundred thousand dollars to send about 250 neighborhood association officers to a national convention in Florida.
Even more bizarre was the revelation last week that a top aide to a Birmingham City Council member had used her city-issued cell phone for 7,703 minutes two months ago and then topped that last month by spending 8,579 minutes on the same phone. If you take the time to figure that out, that amounts to more than four hours a day during one month and five hours a day the second month. All the more suspicious was that she made eight calls of one hour or more to the same number…one of these calls went on for four hours. And incredibly, she has refused to say who she was talking too.
The Birmingham News gently editorially suggested the employee should be required to pay for any personal calls. Some would think the employee should be fired. If she spends that much time on her phone, when does she do the work she was hired to do?