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Baxley? Riley? The governor's race is on

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–First it was the "We Luv Lucy" bumper stickers which showed up a few months ago, now comes the more subdued "Riley 2006" bumper stickers.
Which is to say the 2006 gubernatorial campaign is off and running. The Riley stickers were considered surprising by some, many thinking that there was still some doubt about Gov. Bob Riley's intentions next year.
Why there would be any doubt about Riley running in 2006 is a mystery. All you need to do is look at him and you can see he enjoys being governor-just about every person who ever held the office enjoyed it-and it would be a monumental surprise if he opted to step down after one term.
He has not made any official announcement, he is still in the "considering" mode. But that is a silly little game played by politicians for as long as there have been politicians.
The legislation had been No. 1 on the legislative agenda for the Alabama Press Association for the past two years, but despite the so-called "power of the press," the measure never made it through the Legislature.
It sailed through this time in remarkable fashion. Not one vote was cast against the measure in either chamber. Indicative of the bi-partisan support for the bill was the fact it was co-sponsored by opposing party members-Sen. Zeb Little, a Democrat from Cullman, and Rep. Blaine Galliher, a Republican from Gadsden.
The old "open meeting" law had been on the books since 1915 but included countless loopholes which public officials used to deny public and press access to meetings and records.
The State Supreme Court…the same tribunal he once headed…unanimously upheld a lower court decision that Moore did not have to pay the big legal bill he ran up in his unsuccessful fight to keep the Ten Commandments monument in the State Judicial Building.
A group of taxpayers had filed a suit claiming that Moore should pay the $549,000 tab out of his own pocket. A lower court said no, and the Supreme Court agreed.
He first attracted attention as a high schooler at Hueytown when he was paid an unheard-of bonus of $75,000 to sign a baseball contract with the Detroit Tigers. No teenage high school player had ever been paid so much.
After a long and sterling career in the majors, House returned to Birmingham, served two terms in the Alabama House (where he was chief sponsor of the bill which established the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame) and later served in the Cabinet of Gov. Albert Brewer as Commissioner of the Department of Human Resources. It was during that period that I got to know him well.
Any list I make of the good guys I have known in the political arena in the past half century would most certainly include Pig House. He was one of my favorites.
Surely, you say, this district must in some poverty-stricken district with a low educational level. How wrong you would be. This pathetic turnout came from a district which includes Hoover, Homewood, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills…the residences of some of the most affluent, best educated people in Alabama.
Many of these same people are the first to howl at the incompetence of
the Alabama Legislature. They should be reminded of an old truth:
Democracy is a device that insures that you will be governed no better than
you deserve.