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Siegelman shows political stamina

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY-Some fascinating and intriguing numbers came from a survey conducted last week by the Mobile Register and the University of South Alabama on whether Don Siegelman should be a candidate for governor in 2006. The poll showed the people were almost evenly split on whether he should run after being indicted by a federal grand jury for alleged wrongdoing during his administration. The poll showed 44 percent of the respondents felt he should not run, 42 percent said he should stay in the race.
Even more intriguing: When asked if they felt Siegelman would be convicted of the charges brought against him, only 20 percent of them said they felt he would be found guilty.
Be sure Siegelman grabbed that number and put his own spin on it, to wit: What we are finding is that 80 percent of the people believe that the charges are political?
It could be that the 80 percent who did not think he would be convicted were not necessarily clearing him but indicting the judicial system.
Certainly these polling numbers indicate that Siegelman is still a viable candidate, despite the cloud hanging over his head.
Keith Nicholls, the USA political scientist who directed the poll, said the numbers suggested that Siegelman is not in as bad a shape as one might think.
For decades property was assessed every four years for tax purposes but shortly after Gov. Bob Riley assumed office his Revenue Commissioner ordered the assessments to be made annually.
For years other commissioners had sought to make this change, insisting that the law required annual assessment to determine the fair market value of the property.
It is hard to argue with that logic. How many of you would want to sell your property for what it was assessed for four years ago?
After Siegelman agreed with Moore's criticism of this policy, Lt. Gov. Baxley, not wanting to be left out of this debate, made a formal request of Atty. Gen. Troy King that he issue a ruling on the issue.
King declined to give an answer to her question, saying he was not authorized to issue advisory opinion on actions already taken.
Riley sought to close the door on this mini-debate by issuing a statement saying he could not pick and choose which laws to obey and that the law as now written requires annual assessments.
Be sure this issue is not dead.
Said the Editorial Board: "After decades of supporting the death penalty, the editorial board can no longer do so. We can no longer in good conscience continue to advocate the death penalty in Alabama."
At a press conference where he was joined by the mother and step-father of missing teenager Natalee Holloway, Riley said he wanted to make it clear that the people of Alabama were not going to let the Holloway case go away. In subsequent interviews on national TV, Riley said he planned to ask the governors of the other states to join him in calling for the boycott, which is in protest to the perceived lack of effort on the part of Aruba officials in the Holloway case. Holloway disappeared on May 30 while on a senior trip to Aruba. Riley's call for a boycott prompted a sharp rebuke from Aruba Prime Minister Nelson Oduber. He called it a "preposterous and irresponsible act."

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