Two-year college system under fire again

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Capitol Scene
MONTGOMERY — Ethics Commission Director Jim Sumner caught all sorts of grief recently in commenting on the seemingly endless scandals coming from Alabama's two-year colleges.
Sumner said the mess in these institutions was like “pulling up a worn out rug and seeing roaches running in every direction.”
Sadly, his description may be more accurate than his critics would have you believe.
Now comes the disclosure that a private foundation at Bishop State Community College spent more money from a private foundation for parties than it did in providing financial aid for needy students.
The foundation had reported it allocated $254,000 for student aid when in fact the correct amount was only $58,000.
Meanwhile that same foundation spent far more money on parties for alumni — events which featured high-priced entertainers like The Spinners, The Manhattans and Bobby Womack.
Bishop State President Dr. Yvonne Kennedy, also a power in the Alabama Legislature, said much of the foundation money came from contributions made by employees and they were aware it was not used exclusively for student aid.
Invitations have already been mailed and the tickets range from a low of $250 for a seat barely in the same zip code with the president, up to $1,000 if you want to be up-close-and-personal with him.
No one has estimated how much will be raised for Riley's already over-flowing coffer, but it is likely to be a substantial sum.
That he was speeding is not an issue but rather whether Lindsey used the legislative immunity law to avoid getting a ticket.
The Department of Public Safety said the trooper asked Lindsey if the legislature was in session, which would make him immune to arrest, and he said it was.
The Legislature has not been in session since last spring. Lindsey has denied saying the Legislature was in session. Rather than being ticketed, he was sent on his way with a warning to drive slower.
Like I said, in a dispute like this it boils down to whom you want to believe.
Born in abject poverty in rural Missouri during the Depression (she described her home as “four rooms and a path”) with no education beyond a high school diploma, Fletcher scratched and clawed her way to the presidency of National Industries in Montgomery, a firm which employed more than 5,000 people.
She became a nationally recognized figure in the corporate world, a frequent guest on national TV shows and the subject of countless interviews in national publications.
And politically, she might well have been governor of Alabama had it not been for some lousy political advice from me. In the fall of 1985 she asked me what I thought of her running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. I told her she was out of her mind, that Republican's didn't get elected governor in Alabama.
Some of you may remember what happened in 1986. The dumb Democrats handpicked Bill Baxley as their nominee after Charlie Graddick violated party rules by soliciting crossover Republican voters.
Alabama voters were so incensed that they elected Republican nominee Guy Hunt to be governor. I have absolutely no doubt that June would have easily defeated Hunt in the GOP primary had she run and as such would surely have been elected governor.
And yes, more than once in the ensuing years, June reminded me of my bad advice.
Ostentatious, outspoken, outrageous, she was all of that. But she made a dent in a man's world like few women I have known.

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