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The Political Round-Up

Harbor Lady to offer bay cruises here;
2012 GOP Legislature has tough act to follow; Happy day coming to a close?;
Bentley's new broom sweeps clean;
LWV-Mobile offers course on local politics

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
Political and news tidbits of late.

City officials will announce this afternoon the arrival of a 149-passenger vessel, the Harbor Lady, that will offer daily sightseeing and dinner cruises along Mobile River and into Mobile Bay throughout the winter, according to informed sources.

Mayor Sam Jones and officials with the Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau are set to participate in a 1 p.m. press conference at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center on Water Street to announce "an exciting new waterfront venture."

The Harbor Lady Dinner Cruises yacht and its crew will be on hand as well.

The Harbor Lady sightseeing cruises will start Tuesday, Nov. 15. Dinner cruises will begin Dec. 1.

Prices for the 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. sightseeing are Adult, $23; Child, Ages 5 to 13, $8; Senior Citizen, age 55 and older, $21.

Prices for the 6:30-8:30 p.m. city lights and cocktails cruise are Adult, $29; Child, ages 5 to 13, $8; and Senior Citizen, 55 and older, $27.

Prices for a 9:30-11 p.m. city lights and cocktails cruises are Adult, $29; Child, Ages 5 to 13, $29; Senior Citizen
55 and older, $27.

The Harbor Lady is a 95-foot Skipperliner made in Wisconsin. It is USCG licensed and operates in Door County, Wisconsin during the summer and early fall. It has three open air decks.

For reservations call 251.229.6200.

GOP encore
Republican legislators promised dramatic action when they gained control of the legislature in 2011 and delivered. What do they have in mind for an encore in 2012?

Republican leaders will disclose the GOP's goals for the 2012 legislative session when they meet in Birmingham Monday.

A news conference is set for Vulcan Park where Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and House Speaker Mike Hubbard, among others, will preview the legislative session that opens Feb. 7.

After taking control from Democrats in the 2010 elections, Republicans hold big majorities in the House and Senate, making it impossible for Democrats to thwart the GOP agenda.

ESRW meeting set
Eloise Zeanah, president of the Alabama Federation of Republican Women, will be the guest speaker at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16 when the Eastern Shore Republican Women meet at 11:30 a.m. at the Fairhope Yacht Club. Guests and prospective members are welcome. Lunch is $16. Reservations should be made by Monday, Nov. 14 to

Matranga headlines GOP meet
Mobile County Commission District 3 candidate Nick Matranga will be the guest speaker when the Knollwood Republican Women's Club meets at 2 p.m. Wednesday inthe Building B dining room at Gordon Oaks Retirement Community, 3159 Knollwood Drive. The public is welcome. For more information call Laverne Smith at 633-8541.

Happy day passing?
Will School Board member Ken Megginson of Semmes seek re-election next year?

“My wife and I talk and one day it’s ‘yes’ and one day it’s ‘no,’” said Megginson. “I’ve really enjoyed a life in education, always listening  for the bell so I’ll know what to do. It’s all I know how to do.”

Megginson said he hopes to have a decision by the end of the month or very early in December.

Megginson believes the foundation of a good life has
four corners: country, church, home and school.
“Being part of what I think is the best school system you
could find has been a blessing,” said Megginson. “It would be very difficult to leave. So my answer is one day ‘yes’ and one day ‘no.’”

Regardless of his decision, Megginson said he hoped others with a passion for education and a desire for public service will also seek the seat he has held for the past five years.

“I hope a whole lot of people decide to run even if I do run,” he said. “I do hope it is a large pool of candidates. If it’s not the most important (public service a citizen can perform), it’s certainly one of the most important. Sixty thousand (60,000) children and 8,000 employees is an awesome responsibility. It’s quite large, the largest employer in Mobile County. It’s a position if you think you just go to the meetings and everyone does a job while you just show up, no, it’s not that. You will spend time with it. You better love it and have a real passion for it.” 

As a former social worker, Megginson worked with public school students who had discipline problems through the Helping Families Initiative, which originated in the office of former Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson, Jr.

Megginson taught at Murphy High School for 15 years, teaching mostly government and history. While there, he was chosen as the Alabama PTA High School Teacher of the Year. He also taught for 12 years at LeFlore High School.

He has degrees from Auburn University and the University of South Alabama. Megginson served in the Army for four years, including tours in Korea and Vietnam, where he was awarded the Bronze Star and several combat and conduct medals.

He is married to Anda Megginson and they are the parents of two adult children. Megginson is an active member and Adult Sunday School teacher at Moffett Road Baptist Church.

Fellow School Board member Judy Stout has previously announced that she will not seek re-election. Both Stout and Megginson hold office as Republicans.

Bentley's new broom sweeps clean
Out with the old, in with the new. Gov. Robert Bentley has cleaned house at the Mobile County Board of Equalization, installing three new appointees to supplant those of ex-Gov. Bob Riley.

Bentley's penchant for the unorthodox was again on display. One of his appointees is none other than venerable Democratic stalwart William Clark, a former state legislator and retired school administrator whose many rental properties doubtlessly qualify him to sit in review of property values.

Bentley's other appointees are former state Rep. Ken Kvalheim and Tommy Tyrrell, who also recently was appointed to the Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners of the city of Mobile.

The part-time position pays about $12,000 a year.

Riley appointees leaving the board include ex-state legislator Jeanette Greene, real estate businessman Ruffin Graham and former county Revenue Commission official Doug Sanders.

Various municipalities throughout Mobile County recommend prospects for the equalization board to the state revenue commissioner, currently Julie Magee of Mobile County. The commissioner in turn sent her picks on to the governor.

The GOP, particularly locally, has been roiled periodically with incidents that have tested party loyalty and ideological purity from Jeff Glidewell's judicial campaign of a few years ago to more recent examples, including Scott Buzbee and David Sessions in south Mobile County legislative races and executive committee members who backed the "more conservative" Constitution Party nominee Bill Atkinson over Sessions in last spring's special House District 105 election.

Although the Mobile County Republican Executive Committee, which considered ousting MCREC members Mike Burdine and Lee James for straying, is not likely to take harsh or punitive action, there have been rumblings that the party will "inform" voters of "RINO-like (Republican in name only)" activity of candidates running in the party primary races.  

MCREC Chairperson Terry Lathan sounded a more conciliatory note over Bentley's selection of Democrat Clark for the local Board of Equalization than in past similar instances.

"I have not heard any information on the decision but I do know the Governor served with Rep. Clark and is probably showing a bipartisanship appointment for our county," she said. "I also know that Ken and Tommy are great conservatives as are Jeanette and Doug. I don't know Ruffin, however a new Governor gets to place people in appointed positions at his choice. It's very common. The Governor is very articulate in explaining his choices on matters so I would assume he will have comments on his decision."       

Campaign tidbits
Mobile attorney Eaton Barnard, a GOP candidate for the circuit judgeship being vacated by Judge Jim Wood, has rolled out a series of you tube videos1 and 2. State Sen. Ben Brooks, R-Theodore, is also in the hunt for the judgeship.

GOP congressional candidate Pete Riehm will hold a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Hampton Inn, 4150 College Avenue, in Jackson. Riehm and Dean Young are challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner in the Republican primary next March.

Across the bay
Terry Lathan, chairperson of the Mobile County Republican Executive Committee, will be the guest speaker Saturday, Nov. 19 at 10 a.m. when the Baldwin County Republican Executive Committee holds its bi-monthly meeting at Robertsdale City Hall. For more information contact Matt Simpson at or visit

Dixon calls for county surveillance modifications
On Monday, Baldwin County District Attorney Hallie Dixon called for modifications to surveillance equipment at the Baldwin County Courthouse and other county offices.

“I learned last week that certain cameras installed in and around the courthouse are recording audio,” Dixon said in a written statement.

Dixon said upon learning of the audio capabilities of the equipment, she consulted with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which concurred that the audio recordings posed problems.

Dixon called a meeting with county officials on Monday and insisted that steps be taken to eliminate the audio capability of the system and to prevent future audio recordings.

Keahey's welcome baby girl
State Sen. Marc Keahey (D-Grove Hill, Dis. 22), Lara Keahey, Marc II and Scarlette welcomed the newest addition to their family, Laren Louise Keahey on Thursday, Sept. 8.

Laren Louise was born at 3:04 p.m. at the Mobile Infirmary in Mobile, Ala. and weighed 8 lbs. 5 oz. Grandparents are Ronnie and Lainie Keahey, from Grove Hill, and Johnny and Linda Bishop, from Roanoke, Ala.

New Year's Eve Moonpie Forecast: A 3 Dog Night
The sounds of “Joy to the World” will be flowing through the streets of downtown Mobile on New Year’s Eve. But don’t get your holiday songs confused. Legendary music group Three Dog Night will be headlining the free Mobile celebration leading to the MoonPie Drop at midnight.

In addition to listening to the top hits of Three Dog Night and opening acts, revelers will enjoy a Mardi Gras-style parade, a laser light show and spectacular fireworks. Whether you prefer RC Cola or a glass of champagne, you can ring in the New Year in downtown Mobile.

This year’s free celebration will be located on the corner of Government and Royal Streets. The new stage location will allow for larger crowds, better protection from the weather and great views of the MoonPie and the fireworks shows. A new VIP area on the fourth floor of the Renaissance Riverview Plaza will enable sponsors to get a bird’s eye view of the entertainment and the falling taste treat. The 12-foot-tall electronic MoonPie will descend from the 34-story RSA BankTrust skyrise as the city welcomes 2012 and the beginning of Mardi Gras season.

Obama for America Mobile doings
Democratic phone banks in Mobile County are underway and more than 500 calls were made on a recent Thursday evening, according to Obama worker Ty Burden. She reported that locally the re-elect Obama effort was "on target." Phone banks will continue each Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at local Democratic Headquarters, 918 Government St. next to Compass Bank near Broad St.

The Mobile County Democratic Executive Committee will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday at its 918 Goverment St. headquarters. The public is welcome. For more information contact Mary Johnson at 432-2012.  

League of Women Voters
offers course in local politics
The League of Women Voters will a new course -- Civics 101:  Your Government Today -- A Venture into Local Politics -- beginning Thursday, Sept. 29 from 11 a.m-12 noon at Dauphin Way Methodist Church, Room E205, 1507 Dauphin St. (corner of Catherine St.), according to LWV of Mobile spokeswoman Mary McGinnis.

The public is invited to attend the entire course or come to the classes that fit an individual's schedule. Each class is taught by a different guest speaker knowledgeable about the topic, according to McGinnis.

The remaining lecture topics and schedule are:

The course is open to all. For more information call 251-378-8378 or email
350 Dauphin St.
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Need help with legal research or, for that matter, any type of research? Public records and other research? Witness interviews? Consider contacting former Press-Register investigative reporter Eddie Curran. For more information, call Eddie at 251-454-1911, or visit Curran Research Services.