The Political Round-Up
Sheriff skeptical or cynical Sam
By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
This and that along the political trail of late ...
Count Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran among the cynical over recent legislation to further deter the production of meth amphetamine in Alabama.
While there were some worthy aspects to the bill, it represented as much a tactical retreat by the pharmaceutical industry which will continue to reap huge profits as long as drug stores can carry products containing pseudoephedrine, according to Cochran.
Cochran calls the new meth legislation "a last ditch effort by the pharmaceutical manufacturers to continue to make their nearly $1 billion dollar a year profits."
Cochran saluted two aspects of the new law -- the barring of Mississippi residents from coming into Alabama without a prescription to obtain products containing pseudoephedrine and conforming state law with federal law on amounts.
"The reporting system was already in effect, and already allowed us to target" people who were buying pseudoephedrine for the purpose of making meth, said Cocharn.
But such measures fall far short of effective law enforcement, said Cochran, essentially rounding up the drug addicts who are also the meth cooks for the most part.
Left unaddressed are vulnerable children and other innocent people, as well as the environment that is harmed by the dumping of dangerous chemicals, said Cochran.
The problem could be solved "... if we took the one ingredient away from them that they must have" -- pseudoephedrine, Cochran said.
Cochran also praised the "smurfing" clause that targets the go-betweens who acquire pseudoephedrine from retailers on behalf of meth cooks.
"... but again, it creates a new class of criminals, i.e., teenagers and other people who wouldn’t be solicited to make the smurf purchases were it not for the easy bucks to be lured to do so for the meth cooks," said Cochran.
"We wouldn’t be bothered by meth manufacturing were it not for pseudoephedrine sales," he said. "I believe it may be a matter of time before the manufacturers are forced by the feds to sell only products that can’t be tampered with or converted. But until then, they’re going to profit as much as they can."
According to Cochran, the pharmaceutical industry spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying in Alabama and other states to ensure that pseudoephedrine remain as readily available as possible for the law-abiding and law-breaking public.
Young Boozer in Mobile June 9
State Treasurer Young Boozer will be the featured speaker at 8 a.m. Saturday, June 9 for the South Alabama Republican Men’s Club Breakfast at John Word's Captain’s Table Restaurant near USS Alabama Battleship Park on the Causeway.
The State Treasury is responsible for multiple state financial interests, including unclaimed property, cash management, bonds, the Alabama Trust Fund and more.
According to Boozer, he is guided by a lifelong principle: Do the right thing, do it the right way, and do it right away.
Women are welcome to attend, noted George E. Williams, Senior Vice Chairman, Alabama Republican Party.
Mobile City Council President Reggie Copeland Sr. has tapped Page Stalcup, an experienced local CPA, to serve on the city's standing Budget and Finance Advisory Committee.
Stalcup's selection would appear to close out the committee with six members. They include financial advisor John Thompson, auditor Ken Germany, attorney and real estate executive Paul Wesch, City Councilman Fred Richardson.
District Judge Jody Bishop named
Alabama’s 'Judge of the Year'
The Alabama Forest Owners Association and the Alabama Forestry Commission today awarded Baldwin County District Judge Jody Bishop as “Judge of the Year” for the entire state of Alabama.
He was selected over judges who were nominated throughout the state.
AFC Forestry Investigators in Southwest Alabama nominated Bishop for the award. The AFOA reviewed all nominations and made the final selection based on votes and a written recommendation letter.
Bishop was selected to win because of his “exemplary commitment to the apprehension/prosecution of individuals who steal, burn or otherwise destroy the forest resources of this state,” according to Forestry Commission officials.
“I am honored to be selected for this award,” said Bishop, who will take office as a Baldwin County circuit judge in January. “Our forests have always been a key component of Baldwin County’s history and economy, and I am committed to enforcing the laws that protect them.”
The award was presented during a meeting of Forestry Investigators at the Stockton Community Center at the Old Stockton School Yard Park in Stockton.
The Alabama Forestry Commission is a state agency tasked with protecting forests, serving landowners in an effort to foster responsible forest management, and educating the public about the value of Alabama forests to the state’s economy and environment. The Alabama Forest Owners' Association has more than 6,500 members throughout Alabama and elsewhere in the United States.