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Chip Drago
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The Political Round-Up

James puts money where mouth is; Little gets gavel;
Johnson sets District 3 meet; Time to take a little risk?; A cautionary tale of legal turmoil;
Edwards, GOP women eye Republicans' future 

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
Tim James, the only announced candidate for governor in 2010, in recently filing his gubernatorial campaign’s annual finance report for 2008, contributed $2 million of his own money into his campaign and reported expenditures of $409,322.

“I look forward to the date in June when we can begin our fund-raising efforts,” James said. “To take advantage of our early start I made a personal financial commitment which has shown encouraging results.”

The Republican and son of former Gov. Fob James last year announced his campaign for governor of Alabama. Since that time, he has engaged a campaign staff and opened a headquarters in Montgomery with a satellite office in Birmingham. In the past year, James has campaigned in 40 of the state’s 67 counties and now has campaign leadership throughout the state.

He and his wife, Angela, have three children and live in Greenville, Alabama, where he operates his business interests.
Little gets the gavel
The Mobile City Council last week picked Carol Little to fill the part-time Judge position covering the Metro Jail Docket. She is currently Assistant City Attorney for the City of Mobile where her primary role is prosecutor.

Little earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1984 from
Vanderbilt University where she received the Gertrude Vanderbilt scholarship. In 1991, she graduated from Howard University School of Law in Washington, DC. At Howard, Little was Book Review Editor of the Howard
Law Journal and Vice President of her graduating class.

She will be sworn in Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 10 a.m.
in the Government Plaza Auditorium.

Johnson skeds District 3 public meeting
Mobile City Councilman Clinton Johnson has set a Community Meeting Thursday, Feb. 5 at B.C. Rain High School (3125 Dauphin Island Parkway), starting at 6:30 p.m.

The meeting is for citizens who have become residents of District Three as a result of the recent City Council reapportionment. For a map of the new City Council districts visit

Key city department heads and Public Safety officials are slated to attend.

Is it time to revisit expanded legal gambling?
Noted oddsmaker and sports analyst Danny Sheridan of Mobile says the answer is a resounding 'yes.'

"It's past time for a lottery or casinos in Alabama, but I don't see casino gambling happening until the Poarch Creek Indians get the right to have full blown casinos in Atmore and Wetumpka (Atlanta market)," said Sheridan. "When Alabamians see those two casinos combined making over $1 billion annually and paying no taxes to the state, the politicians will do a 180 (degree turn) and the people will legalize casino gambling in Alabama. The people of Alabama currently play a huge roll in supporting casinos on the (Mississippi) coast and one 90 miles from Birmingham and also heavily support lottery sales in Florida and Tennessee."

"Personally I'm against a lottery, but I would vote for it now as it's all around us, and people might well as play here as opposed to bordering states," he said.

Fulton book signing Saturday
Mobile businessman Tommy Fulton will sign copies of his book "An Act of Congress" Saturday, Feb. 7 at Jesse's Restaurant in Magnolia Springs from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

"An Act of Congress is a remarkable and compelling real life story that is a must read for every family-owned or closely-held business," said Dick Bruso, founder of Heard Above the Noise and past president of the Colorado chapter of the National Speakers Association. "In fact, financial advisors, attorneys, accountants, and other professionals serving such businesses need to put this incredible book at the top of their reading lists, as well."

From the bookflap: "When Tommy Fulton became the third-generation president of his family's business, he dealt firsthand with the challenges inherent in succession from one generation to the next. In An Act of Congress, he describes in great detail the pain, frustration and betrayal his family experienced with succession 'non-planning.' The families involved found themselves in court in an embittered battle over the family business. There were several attorneys, some representing minority shareholders and some representing the majority, who were watching the case to see what precedent would be set.

An Act of Congress is the author's recollection of true events, supported by thousands of pages of court documents, letters, audio recordings, and firsthand stories from those who were involved. It is a story of what happens when family businesses do not properly plan for the future. No matter how much one generation thinks, things will fall into place at the proper time, unless you plan for smooth succession, disaster is probably waiting.

Any family succession expert will be able to point out at least a dozen moments in this story when either side could have made more effective and intelligent decisions. This book encourages the reader to learn from one family's mistakes, and strive to work in a way that makes the 'handing over of the baton' an exciting and fruitful experience for everyone involved."

The Fultons and former U.S. Rep. H.L. "Sonny" Callahan battled over ownership of Finch Companies (warehousing and trucking) almost two decades ago.

Callahan was Fulton's grandparents’ nephew on Fulton's mother’s side. Callahan had lived with the Finches from about the age of 12. With the death in 1964 of Tom Finch, Fulton's grandfather, Callahan assumed the presidency of Finch Companies. When Callahan was elected to Congress in the mid-80's, Fulton took over as president of Finch Companies. Callahan filed suit in 1991 and took over the companies. However, the verdict for Callahan was overturned on appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court. The parties reached a settlement in 1994 and the Fultons returned to work at the Finch Companies, Inc. on March 1, 1994.

Mobile GOP website under construction
Mobile GOP chairman Pete Riehm reports that the club is launching a new web site which presently is still under construction. It will be located at

Edwards, GOP women look to the future
Former GOP Congressman Jack Edwards will speak to the Eastern Shore Republican Women Monday, Feb. 16 at 11:30 a.m. at the Fairhope Yacht Club.

Edwards's topic will be "The Future of the Republican Party."

The lunch is $14 and reservations should be made by Friday, Feb. 13 to Sherree Brush at 929-0963 or by

For further information, contact Mary Ann Baltzer, 251-929-2394 or by e-mail.

Bonner Staffer to visit Citronelle, Dauphin Island
A staff member from the office of U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner (R-AL) will stop twice in Mobile County Thursday, Feb. 5, to assist constituents who may be having problems with the federal government and who are seeking the congressman’s help in resolving them.

The representative will be at Citronelle City Hall from 11 a.m-12 p.m. and at Dauphin Island Town Hall between 2-3 p.m.

For more information on this visit, please contact Frazier Payne, Bonner’s District Representative, at 251-690-2811 or 800-288-8721.

Shelby announces grant process
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala) announced that the grant process for the Delta Regional Authority’s (DRA) 2009 federal grant program has begun. Pre-application packages and a timeline for applying for DRA grants are accesible at the DRA’s website at

“These grants are essential to improving and developing infrastructure that will facilitate economic development in Alabama," said Shelby. "I urge eligible communities in our state to complete the DRA pre-application process before the deadline of March 6, 2009.”

The DRA serves 252 counties and parishes in parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

The Mobile Bay Times in a recent Political Round-Up mistakenly reported that state Rep. Yvonne Kennedy testified in the trial of state Sen. E.B McClain. Dr. Kennedy did not testify in the federal court proceeding and, in fact, had no involvement in the matter whatsoever. Another Yvonne Kennedy with no connection to the former Bishop State Community College president testified for the defense in the trial. MBT regrets the error and is glad to set the record straight.
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