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Chip Drago
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The Political Round-Up

Stimulus package a scary walk on a dark night; Watson eyes Baldwin DA run; An artful dodger;
Local Dems on the move; Hall advising Joyner;
Belk survives protest; Dems look to unseat GOP vets;
Bonner not threatened yet?; Action Alert!!!

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
This and that picked up recently along the political trails.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim James thinks tough love or simple adherence to free market principles would do more to restore confidence in the U.S. economy than an unfathomable stimulus package. Regardless of the depths to which the economy has sunk, a typical businessman in Greenville, AL or 1,000 places like it all across the nation will have faith in the system and act with confidence if poor business decisions are punished and good business decisions are rewarded, said James. An entrepreneurial spirit still burns in the U.S., unlike Europe, said James. Any measures that would smother or stifle that spirit are the biggest long term threats to the country's economic vitality, he said. Time and entrepreneurs, if permitted, will fix a broken economy, he said. James said he doesn't really know U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, but all Americans should salute him as a truth-telling patriot in his disdain for the economic stimulus package. If nothing else good comes from the pain of the economic retraction, a severing of the unholy alliance between Wall Street and Washington would be one blessing amid the curses, according to James.

Conquer the Crash
James cited Robert Prechter's Conquer the Crash as a worthwhile read in trying to make sense of how the economy came to be where it is and what to expect in the future.

Anyone for a stimulating capital gains tax holiday?
U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner told a meeting of the West Mobile Rotary Club here this week that a five-year moratorium on the capital gains tax would deliver a boost to the economy through means tried and true unlike the 1,000-plus page, $787 billion Rorschach-like stimulus plan recently signed by President Obama.

Political rumblings in Baldwin County
Russell Watson of the Ball, Koon and Watson law firm is considering a run for Baldwin County district attorney, he confirmed. Watson has been practicing law for about 15 years. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama School of Law. Incumbent Baldwin County DA Judy Newcomb is seeking re-election. 

Art Dyas said talk of his possible candidacy for the Baldwin County Commission wasn't being fueled by him.

"My attitude at the moment is I'm not giving it any consideration at a time like this when I'm struggling to do what I do for a living," he said. "I'm not seriously considering it. It's really not on the forefront of things I'm considering at the moment."

Dyas, 57, is a forester and vice chair of the Baldwin County Planning Commission.

Mobile County Dems to reach out in '09
The Mobile County Democratic Party Executive Committee will meet Tuesday, March 10 at 6 p.m. at the Semmes branch of the Mobile Public Library, according to party Chairman Brad Warren. Warren said the committee plans to meet at a variety of locations throughout the county during 2009 in a bid to generate more interest in the party as well as to serve as a convenience to members of the executive committee itself. The public is welcome. 

Hall joins Joyner
Media/political consultant Sherry Hall of Timbes & Yeager is working with Danny Joyner's state Senate District 22 GOP campaign. Joyner, born and raised in Brewton, lost a 1998 bid for the seat to longtime incumbent Pat Lindsey, D-Butler, whose death recently created the vacancy. Joyner polled a respectable 44 percent of the vote even though his campaign was hobbled by the death from MS of his 20-year-old son. After working in law enforcement, Joyner started a company called Safety and Security Consultants. Hall described Joyner as "a very conservative Republican." Former state legislator Greg Albritton and Citronelle businesswoman Judy Belk are also seeking the Republican nomination. With no opposition, state Rep. Marc Keahey became the Democratic nominee in the special election.

The state Republican Party's candidate committee today tossed out a challenge to Belk's candidacy. Citing Belk's two campaigns as a Democrat for Congress against Bonner, supporters of Joyner sought her removal from the GOP ballot. The motion to deny Belk a spot on the ballot failed in a split vote.

Dems to test GOP vets
A couple of Democrats are reportedly gearing up to run for Mobile County seats in the state House of Representatives. Tim Morgan, a public school teacher and conservative Democrat, has an eye on the House District 100 seat now held by state Rep. Victor Gaston, a venerable Republican official. Adam Jackson is said to be considering a challenge for the House District 104 seat, now held by Republican state Rep. Jim Barton. Jackson's platform includes improved infrastructure for educational facilities as well as improved zoning and economic planning in the county.     

Gounares no threat?
An Orange Beach developer and political newcomer doesn't figure to topple incumbent U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner, according to noted oddsmaker and political/sports analyst Danny Sheridan. Peter Gounares, 35, announced plans to challenge Bonner in the GOP primary next year. He said Bonner did not represent true Republican values of fiscal conservatism. Gounares calls for a balanced federal budget, increased energy exploration in the U.S. and climate policies "based on sound science, not media hype." Nevertheless, said Sheridan, a Bonner/Gounares match would be "off the board;" Gounares is a "huge, huge underdog ..." 

From the desk (or press office) of Gov. Bob Riley

The governor urges citizens to contact their state senators to express opposition to Senate Bill 135, "an unconstitutional measure sponsored by Sen. Bobby Singleton that could lead to the legalization of slot machines and expand gambling."

Riley contends that the bill attempts to give certain casino operators full immunity from all criminal laws against possession of illegal gambling devices. It also would "protect and exempt certain Las Vegas-style slot-machine operations from any new taxes," the governor claims. The governor pointed to a contradiction in the argument of gambling's proponents who contend that gambling is the answer to the state's budgetary woes and "this bill" which "would block any new gambling taxes from being levied on certain gambling operations."

Riley reiterated his position that illegal gambling "will only invite more misery, crime and corruption into our state."

He called on ordinary citizens to rise up against "the gambling moguls across the state (who) will make sure their voices are heard in the halls of the Legislature."

McClurkin joins James' gang
Veteran Republican legislator, State Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin of Shelby County has joined Tim James's gubernatorial campaign as its Vice Chairwoman. Former U.S. Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-Mobile) is the Campaign Chairman.

A conservative potpourri
Former state GOP chairman Marty Conners reports from Washington where he attended a recent forum headed by Grover Norquist of the Americans for Tax Reform. Among the highlights and Conners' observations:

An organization -- "Save Our Secret Ballot" -- aimed at stopping Card Check at the state level is now in full swing in a number of states to outlaw the practice by either  legislation, referendum or constitutional amendment, according to Thune. Currently such action is underway, he said, in Georgia, Arkansas, Arizona, Missouri, Nevada, Utah, South Dakota, South Carolina and Oklahoma. Action is now beginning in Michigan, Florida, Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado, said Thune.
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