Sheriff's race is talk of the area

Posted 6/28/18

Let's clean out the notebook ... I went to the Winston County Arts Council on Tuesday night, where you had people from across the region. And everyone wanted to know about the Walker County …

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Sheriff's race is talk of the area


Let's clean out the notebook ... 

I went to the Winston County Arts Council on Tuesday night, where you had people from across the region. And everyone wanted to know about the Walker County sheriff's race. People from outside the county are as fascinated with it as we are. 

I thought the race might settle down before the holidays but online it is raging back and forth. Underwood has now undertaken Facebook and a website. Frankly, one issue is getting much attention online: Smith's comment at the end of his presentation at the Daily Mountain Eagle forum, which was a quick throw away line at the end as he was told he had ran out of time. 

Smith said, "I was endorsed by the AFL-CIO, which is teacher unions and United Mine Workers, and also BamaCarry." That struck some odd, as District 20 Coal Miners Political Action Committee (COMPAC) endorsed Underwood on a letterhead for District 20 of the United Mine Workers of America. Smith has said online that the AFL-CIO "is the Alabama Federation of Labor, which represents EVERY SINGLE UNION IN CENTRAL ALABAMA, including, but not limited to, the UMWA and the AFT."

But this has created quite a stir, as someone allegedly put another pro-Underwood image online. The graphic is linking the AFL-CIO with Hillary Clinton, abortion and liberals. Smith has been disturbed about the graphic (especially on the abortion part, noting his wife's struggle with infertility and the couple's dealings with foster children and adoption) and spoke of it online, saying he had lost respect for Underwood. For his part, Underwood replied, saying he did not put out the graphic but said it is based on fact. And he said Smith's online accusations "makes accusations and assumptions without the facts." And so it goes. 

Frankly, it is an interesting skirmish addressing credibility and endorsements — character and resume issues, or just dumb or awkward statements, also play an important factor in races. But the fact remains that we also have major financial issues in the county and the Sheriff's Department, opioids, needed jail upgrades, a need for more officers and school resource officers, courthouse security, staffing issues and any other number of issues you would care to name. We only have less than three weeks to the election. Due to the lack of time, I would hope we would start concentrating again on the major issues, in addition to the personal study of character and resumes. (By the way, one person was asking us this week for more resume material about the candidates.) 

Frankly, we are likely to make an attempt to interview both candidates separately before this election to get an in-depth try at discussing background, issues and concerns for either side. 

• I was impressed during my visit to Double Springs Tuesday night, first with the Lakeshore Inn restaurant. If I have been there, I don't recall it, even after all these years in the area. It has a beautiful view of the marina area and I had a great grilled chicken meal. It is certainly worth a visit, as I understand it has only improved in recent years. 

I was also impressed with the Winston County Arts Council, which was celebrating the receipt of $5,000 from the Alabama Bicentennial Commission. They are a very active arts council and seem to be involved in school instruction, plays, and a number of other activities. I think they are a good model of how the arts can be promoted in small rural county. 

• Needless to say, we got some feedback on the column last week on President Trump. To my surprise, the response was not one solid negative reaction — it was half and half, with some people very mad and some being very nice and encouraging. I'm sure that reaction is still in the minority in this state, but I still wonder how that will play two years from now in the General Election. I will say Trump candidates seem to have done well overall in the primaries across the nation, but the real test will be in swing states to see how those candidates do overall. 

The reaction of a number of people was that there should not be any opinion in the newspaper, which was odd to me since my column was on the opinion page. However, a new study I saw this week is showing many people are not aware of how a newspaper works, which is something we will address on this page another day very soon. 

• I had a strange experience with my 2015 Honda Accord, obtained in March. There were times out of the blue I could hit the start button and nothing happened — a green light on it just beeped at me until it was ready to start. I finally had my fill one day and brought it by Honda of Jasper. After a short inspection, their surprise question was, "Do you carry any gym card on the key ring?" I had three of those little plastic cards that you have on the ring to scan discounts and admission into the gym or whatever.

They said they have a lot of problems with those cards, as they block the signal from the main car remote in your pocket when you start the push button ignition. I took them off and so far, I haven't had a problem over the past week or so. I'll let you know if there are any changes. 

• For what it is worth, I've lost six pounds to 230 pounds after watching my diet and walking at the gym for the past two or three weeks. I am optimistic I can do better, but today I was stuck on the same weight, had to skip the gym and, as the crowning achievement, I topped a salad at Five Loafs with the triple chocolate cake. It might as well have been the double cake; I cut it in half and took half as a take-home portion. (Yes, the half I ate on the spot was wonderful.) Here is hoping that I can get back on schedule as you read this Thursday.