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Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
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The Political Round-Up

Bonner opens HQ; Barnard an early bird;
Thomas BBQ March 20; Top cop making rounds; Road work; Brown gets nod;
James rally March 20; Sign of the times;
GOP women to hear King, Rich, Evans

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
The "Jo Bonner for Congress" Campaign Re-election Headquarters has opened at 3664-B Airport Blvd. in the Yester Oaks Shopping Center. Call 251-460-2500 for more information. The incumbent Republican is seeking a fourth two-year term in Congress.

Orange Beach real estate developer Peter Gounares is challenging Bonner in the Republican primary June 1.

Early bird
South Mobile attorney Eaton Barnard is already talking up his candidacy for a circuit judgeship that will open up in 2012 with the retirement of Circuit Judge Jim Wood. By law, Wood, a Democrat, will be too old to run for re-election. Barnard, 50, will run as a Republican. He has been in private
practice for 24 years. Sitting as a
judge has been a lifelong ambition,
said Barnard, who earned his law
degree from the University of
Alabama in 1986.

"I believe that I have the intelligence,
experience and temperament that is
necessary to do the job," said Barnard.
"I have enjoyed a successful practice for 24 years. I have had the opportunity to practice law and try plenty of cases."

Barnard said the "golden rule" would guide his service on the bench: "... treat everyone with the same respect and dignity with which I wish to be treated."

Among others considered prospects for the judgeship are state Sen. Ben Brooks and Walter Honeycutt, the GOP nominee for district attorney in 2004. Both are Republicans.

Thomas BBQ March 20
The owners of American Foods located on St. Stephens Rd. (near I-65) will host a "neighborhood Bar B Q" in support of Herman Thomas's state Senate, District 33 candidacy Saturday, March 20 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Top cop talk   
New Mobile Police Chief Michael T. Williams will be the featured guest speaker at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 8 when City Councilwoman Gina Gregory hosts the District 7 spring community meeting at the Mobile Museum of Art. State lawmakers whose districts include District 7 have also been invited to attend and report on developments with the state Legislature in Montgomery, according to Gregory.

Road work
Tough economic times and harsh winter weather have counties in north Alabama mulling a return to gravel roads.

Times and conditions haven't reached that stage in Mobile County just yet, according to County Engineer Joe Ruffer. But the condition of local roads is nothing to celebrate.

The bay area was spared the "freeze/thaw" cycles that punished north Alabama, but excessive rain locally raised the water table enough to damage the subgrade foundations of some roads here, according to Ruffer. No main roads have been damaged though, said Ruffer.

Tight finances and deferred maintenance continue to go steady in county budgeting.

"Roads should be resurfaced at least every 10 years and many have not seen that maintenance in 20 years," Ruffer noted.

GOP group backs Brown
The Tombigbee Republican Club has endorsed Mobile commercial real estate broker Chip Brown in his bid for Place 2 on the Alabama Public Service Commission. Brown hopes to unseat the incumbent Democrat Susan Parker.

James rally Saturday
Tim James, in a large field of Republican candidates for governor, will hold a statewide grassroots rally from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, March 20 in Clanton at the Grand Ole Pumpkin Patch, 1901 Lay Dam Road. For more information call (205) 755-4553.

Sign of the times
There is at least one stubbornly committed soldier in the traditional sign wars that plague every political season. And this one does not fight for GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bradley Byrne.

Video surveillance captured footage of a man allegedly stealing Byrne for Governor campaign signs in south Alabama from Will Dumas's property.

“It’s unfortunate that someone would go through the trouble - not once, not twice, but three times - to steal a campaign sign," said Byrne spokeswoman Marty Sullivan in a statement following release of the video. “We’re very grateful to the Dumas family for their support and dedication to our campaign. I’m hopeful that thanks to their efforts in catching this gentleman in the act of removing our campaign signs that we’ll be able to identify him and ask him to cover the cost of the signs he’s collecting.”

Meanwhile, across town, Napoleon Bracy alleges a similar, though more widespread, complaint.

This morning (Friday) I was riding to work and I noticed that we didn't have any campaign signs on the streets," Bracy contends. "They have all been stolen."

Bracy said he had planned to buy more signs, but instead would spend the money on a $1,000 reward to "anyone with information leading to the arrest of the people responsible for stealing from our campaign."

Bracy said he also would attempt to nail the sign thief by arranging a dialogue between the police and the owner of the Shell gasoline station at Lott and St. Stephens Roads to review the business's surveillance videos.

Bracy, president of the Prichard City Council, is seeking the Democratic nomination for House District 98. 

GOP women to meet
The Azalea City Republican Women will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 30 at Wintzell's in downtown Mobile, 605 Dauphin St.

Scheduled speakers are incumbent Attorney General Troy King, Mobile County District Attorney candidate Ashley Rich and Stephen Evans, GOP hopeful for Public Service Commission, Pl. 1.

For further information, call Donna Skipper, (251) 689-3303; or Shirley Short, (251) 344-1394.
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