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Chip Drago
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The Political Round-Up

Political cat and mouse in Baldwin County;
a kung fu kickoff; Picked up pieces; downtown doings; Shooting The Bull; Just kidding, Mahmoud; Red & white aiming for green; Senior Center soiree

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
Baldwin state Senate District 32 contestants Trip Pittman and A.J. Cooper hope to finalize a debate schedule as the Oct. 16 election draws near.

Cooper, the Democratic nominee and an Eastern Shore attorney, is seeking a series of four debates.

Without commiting to Cooper's suggestion, Pittman, the GOP candidate and an Eastern Shore businessman, said details should be finalized either Tuesday or Wednesday.

"Trip and I have an obligation to let the people of Baldwin County hear our views on a wide range of subjects but especially on issues like returning a fair share of our tax revenue to Baldwin County, tax  appraisals, property and wind insurance, education and openness in
government," said Cooper. "If we can't present our views in front of our neighbors and friends, how can we be expected to stand up and argue for Baldwin County in front of the State Senate? Trip has said that he might consider one debate. That just is not enough. We need to debate down on the Shore, in Robertsdale, in Bay Minette and in Daphne so folks can get the information straight from our mouths to their ears."

"Slick mailers ... just isn't the same as a live debate where the
candidates have to deliver real talk to real people," said Cooper, a veteran politico and former mayor of Prichard across the bay.

Cooper also proposed a "play nice" accord, as follows:

"I look forward to you and I having the best campaign ever presented to the citizens of Baldwin County. No matter who wins, we will do ourselves proud by agreeing to the above proposals. I have no pride of authorship, so please feel free to change, add or delete the above suggestions and return them to me for review," Cooper wrote in an e-mail and closed "with best regards."

Martial arts expert kicks off campaign
Former Mobile police officer and west Mobile martial arts and fitness center owner John Graham kicked off his county commission campaign with a rally Saturday. Graham, 54, intends to challenge incumbent Republican Commissioner Mike Dean in the District 3 GOP primary next year. In a brief report, he said about 105 supporters attended the affair.

Picked up pieces
Longtime Mobile law officer James Mayo has joined the five-member court police force at the Strickland Youth Center, according to Juvenile Circuit Judge Edmond Naman. Officers serve at the pleasure of the presiding judge. Mayo previously ran unsuccessfully for sheriff. 

Mobile attorney Jim Newman has joined in the legal defense of Clarke County Circuit Judge Stuart Dubose. Embroiled in an estate dispute lingering from his private practice, Dubose was recently found individually responsible for a $1.2 million judgment. Mobile attorneys Jim Rossler and Dan McCleave are also involved in DuBose's defense. 

The Oct. 9 mayoral election in Birmingham holds more than the customary interest in Mobile this year with the candidacy of Birmingham attorney and Mobile native Patrick Cooper, the nephew of the Baldwin state senate Democratic nominee and the son of longtime Mobile area community leader Maj. Gen. (ret.) J. Gary Cooper and his wife Beverly.  

Cooper's showing can be viewed in recent televised forums, one and

The Birmingham mayoral hopeful travels to Washington, DC Wednesday to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). On Friday, his schedule includes the third annual UAB Minority Health & Research Center Gala.

Matt McDonald and Brian Cash of the Miller Hamilton law firm will handle the legal work on a $70 million Mobile County bond issue relating to incentives in landing the $3.7 billion ThyssenKrupp steel plant in north Mobile County. On recent issues, the county's bond counsel has been Preston Bolt of Hand Arendall.

County Commission President Stephen Nodine said not to read any political meaning into the development.

"We've always been satisfied with Preston and we'll be using Preston again in the future, I'm certain," Nodine said. "In fact, I don't think you can count him out totally on this deal. Matt and Brian will be handling the bulk of it though. Matt and Mark (Erwin) put in a lot of hard work in putting together the (economic development) consortium. They did a lot of negotiating with Aldot. Preston has been handling the EADS/Northrup Grumman work. We're allowing Matt and Brian to work this and plan on using Hand Arendall in the future. There is a lot of good counsel out there. We believe in spreading the work as much as we can  so the county benefits from all qualified counsel."

Veteran prosecutor John Furman has left the Mobile County District Attorney's office. Furman reportedly has political ambitions in Baldwin County where he resides. A call to Furman for comment was not returned right away.

Downtown doings
News from Carol Hunter at the Downtown Mobile Alliance:

Just kidding, Mahmoud, no need for nukes
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, scoffing at the purported presence of homosexuals in Iran, apparently has misplaced his Book of Light Limericks. Otherwise he would have known:

A wonderful people are the Persians.
They make love all day
In the regular way
And save up the night for perversions.

Red & White aiming for green
The Second Annual Moore & Wolfe Charity Wine Tasting is scheduled Oct. 28 from 3-6 p.m. at the Bakery Cafe on Dauphin St.

All proceeds this year will go to the USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital, according to Steve Moore who added that an early sell out was anticipated.

Anyone or a company able to donate a silent auction item can contact Moore at

More than 175 people attended the inaugural event last year, helping to raise $20,000 build a community playground for the Homeless Day Center at Central Presbyterian Church.

Another wine-featured fundraiser -- Wine Festival at 5 Rivers -- is set Saturday, Oct. 6 from 1-5 p.m. at the 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center on the Causeway. Tickets are $45 per person and restricted to adults 21-years or older. 

The benefit to help the Catholic Social Services' Service Center Emergency Assistance Fund features 140 fine wines, a live auction of wines, dining and travel packages, the R&B sounds of New Orleans musician J.B. Davis, a retail wine store with special pricing, cooking demonstrations and delicacies from top Gulf Coast chefs.

For more information call 454-2322. 

Senior Center fundraiser set
A fundraiser to benefit the Mobile Regional Senior Community Center is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 4 from 6:30-9 p.m. at the Heron Lakes Country Club, 3851 Government Blvd. There will be music by jazz musician Joe Lewis, a silent auction, cash bar and heavy hors d'oeuvres. The cost is $35 person or $60 per couple. Dress is casual. For more information call 391-9379 before Monday, Oct. 1.   

The Mobile Regional Senior Community Center is a City of Mobile owned recreational facility currently under construction off Hillcrest Road in West Mobile. Completion is targeted for December. Proceeds from the event will be used by the non-profit MRSCC Foundation to purchase furnishings and equipment for the Center.

The Center is also to be designated by Mobile County EMA as a Medical Needs/Comfort Station for seniors and persons with special medical needs following hurricanes and other emergencies, according to Mobile City Councilwoman Connie Hudson who has long championed the center.
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