Auman to hold town hall meetings in area

Posted 8/16/18

Let's clean out the notebook ... • Lee Auman, who is the Democratic nominee for the 4th District Congressional seat and will run against the Republican incumbent, Robert Aderholt, on Nov. 6, …

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Auman to hold town hall meetings in area

Posted

Let's clean out the notebook ... 

• Lee Auman, who is the Democratic nominee for the 4th District Congressional seat and will run against the Republican incumbent, Robert Aderholt, on Nov. 6, will be holding a town hall event on Thursday, Aug. 30, at 6 p.m. at the Jasper Civic Center. He is also having town hall events in Cullman (tonight, Cullman Civic Center), Double Springs (Aug. 27, Wild Magnolia Coffeehouse) and Winfield (Aug. 28, the large pavilion at Ivan K. Hill Park), all at 6 p.m.

• Auman, while we are at it, was not happy about the decision of the Alabama Democratic Executive Committee last Saturday to keep Nancy Worley as state chairman. In a statement, he called that vote "disappointing," although he was happy at those about those leaders who "challenged the status quo. Discussion and change in the party are healthy and should be embraced — not feared." He said the party should stand for accountability, transparency and growth, and commended U.S. Sen. Doug Jones for also taking that position. 

The state committee voted 101-89 to keep Worley, who claimed the financial condition of the party has improved. However, Jones and others said the party is an organizational mess and that it is hardly a presence on social media, and that more staff and structure is needed. 

Jones was particularly brutal, although not alone.

"Our candidates are going to have to go it alone, just like I did. We need to have a party. We don't have a party. There is no social media. There's no outreach. There's no get out the vote effort. There's no organization. There's no field. And the vote today was simply to keep that."

Marion County Democratic Party Chairwoman Susan Cobb said on Facebook Reed added 35 at-large members who were approved by the minority caucus Reed is vice chairman of before the main meeting. She said party leader Joe Reed, during floor votes for officers, "prowled" the aisles to note who was voting for who.

One complaint I have heard online is that Reed was able to stack the party with voting members and he kept everyone in line. Kyle Whitmire, the al.com columnist, charged the other day that Reed is using a consent decree to bring racial representation to the party's executive committee to put in people loyal to him, which has led to leaders like state state Sens. Vivan Davis and Chris England being shut out, and allowing Worley to be Reed's "puppet." (He noted many African-American Democrats in the state "loathe Reed.") 

• Sometimes restaurants do pay attention. I noted a couple of instances recently where a waiter did a very fine job at a Jasper restaurant. After giving a nice tip, I sent letters or emails to corporate and to the local manager and waiter, commending them and asking them to give any consideration appropriate. I heard from at least one so far from their out-of-state corporate headquarters, thanking me for the comments. "We will proudly recognize our team member for exceeding your expectations," they wrote. So it does make a difference to give an extra pat on the back. 

• You will note the editorial in today's Daily Mountain Eagle that joins over 200 other publications across the nation that promote freedom of the press in light of attacks by President Trump on the media. I can tell you that the media has a much greater record of character than this president. The attacks by the president have been personal and intense to the point he has made Spirow Agnew look like a Sunday school teacher. He has carried on to the point of appearing to incite riots, and even an agency of the United Nations has called the president on that aspect. 

We are not the fake news. We make mistakes sometimes, but we have a hard job that must work hard to keep transparency in an open and free government. Our experience is that many government leaders do not have high ideals of open government. Media complained bitterly of it with the Obama administration, and it has been 10 times worse in the Trump years, where the number of daily briefings have fallen off to a handful each month. The media at all levels is not perfect, but we are trying to hold government accountable. If we go, you will not find out much, because it makes no difference if it is Republican or Democrat, many in charge don't want you to know anything but the good stuff, due to the political nature of the job. 

The media is not to be elected; we are to stand neutral and find out about activities of all administrations. We have dug up as much on the Clintons as we have about the Trumps. In many cases, I do think print (particularly the Associated Press) does a more even-handed job, although some, such as CBS News, do a very good job of not acting out of line. But even some within Fox News and NBC News have done good reporting at times, and these are the best of days for the New York Times and the Washington Post.

We should protect all the media these days as absolute necessities in a working democracy. Crying "fake news" over all of the news media is a slap at the institution in general, and misleads the public to go off a cliff that would be perilous to the health of our nation, as it presumes the political leader can be totally trusted. They can have respect, but they must be challenged in terms of the completeness and viability of what they speak of. Let us not throw out the baby with the bath water, as this administration, more than any other in 40 years, has raised questions that need to be answered. The media is not trying to be fake; we are trying to show you what is real. Blind devotion to any person or institution will be the death of American democracy, and we must pray it doesn't come to that. 

• I almost forgot that I had a lot of news coming from across the border from my home county, via the Journal Record. With Marion County Superintendent of Education Ryan Hollingsworth becoming the executive director of the School Superintendents of Alabama,  Assistant Superintendent Ann West has been appointed the new superintendent. Meanwhile, a property manager for the Town and Country Plaza Shopping Center in Hamilton (where the old movie theater was) has come to an agreement with a local business to make renovations and repairs, which may avoid condemnation proceedings by the city. Jack's has decided not to tear down the old WERH building and will build elsewhere. The city is trying to get a grant to pave County Highway 35 to the industrial park. First Baptist Church of Hamilton (which has a new pastor and had spectacular success with a youth camp recently) is trying to get the old city hall property, but the city is concerned because it is now the police station, which would be expensive to relocate, and it currently gives monitoring to the adjacent Hamilton High School property. And it turns out that escape involving the Walker County man at the Marion County Jail recently was the third in the last year and a half; the sheriff there is serious about getting more help from the Marion County Commission, especially in terms of manpower.