Considering the night before writing this I awoke from a dream featuring Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts, Mid-South Wrestling star Mr. Wrestling #2 and a squirrel drinking a milkshake, my thoughts are clearly a bit scattered. I figured I’d just go with deal with a few issues swirling around my mind.
• I think we’re learning Hell hath no fury like a woman indicted. When District 104 Rep. Margie Wilcox announced last week at a Mobile County Merit System Employees meeting that she’s running for fellow Republican Jerry Carl’s seat on the Mobile County Commission next year, the motives were more than a bit obvious. The District 3 Commissioner has infuriated Wilcox and her BFF Revenue Commissioner Kim Hastie since he took office in 2012.
That Hastie-ites consider Carl to have been behind the alleged “political witch hunt” that put the then-license commissioner under indictment on a variety of charges is no secret. Wilcox’s and Hastie’s personal and political friendship that started as children is also well known, as Margie displayed by being in court to support Kim during most of her trial.
Tack onto all of that Carl’s efforts to clean up the slimy operations of the Mobile County Water, Sewer and Fire Protection District, which was headed up by Margie’s mother, Margaret Wilcox, and her daddy before that and has Hastie’s father on its board, and it’s easy to see why the first-term state rep. is ready to bail on her office to grab Carl’s.
It flies in the face of political orthodoxy for the neophyte Wilcox to make this kind of move against a generally well-liked politician from the same party, but everything I’ve heard behind the scenes is that Hastie wants blood for having been indicted and Jerry is at the top of her list. Add his clashes with fellow commish Connie Hudson over her soccer/swimming/waterpark complex into the mix, and it’s easy to see why they might like Carl out of the way.
But while the girls’ club might want him out, I’m wondering if voters would prefer someone who has already in her short time in office displayed a penchant for using political power in a personal fashion, versus someone who since coming into office has actively tried to clean up corrupt behavior. Of course this is Mobile County, where we seem to adore corrupt politicians.
The water board Wilcox’s mother and Hastie’s father were running before investigative reporting exposed it was a total disaster — missing equipment, unethically giving nearly free water to board members, unethical use of credit cards, violations of open meetings laws and even using water board funds to pay for some guy’s college education. Margie’s and Kim’s families seem to have run that water board like they owned it. Why the DA never indicted any of them is still beyond me.
When Hastie wanted to combine the license and revenue commissions while also getting a nice raise, she had Margie sponsor the bill. But when questioned during Hastie’s trial about how this move would save the taxpayers money, Wilcox displayed almost zero knowledge of either office’s finances. It looked a lot like she was simply doing what was best for her buddy.
Add in Margie’s efforts to keep Uber out of Mobile in order to keep her cab company in control of the city and you have to wonder what kind of commissioner Wilcox would be.
I’m all for someone running for office because they have the people’s best interests at heart and believe they can do a better job, but it’s hard justifying wasting money on another special election in district 104 just to fulfill a vendetta.
• The latest national fat rankings came out last week and Alabama weighed in as the country’s fifth fattest state, as tallied by the Trust for America’s Health. They have been tracking our collective girth since 1990 and the results are pretty horrifying.
According to their nifty graph, in 1990 our fattest state was my poor old home state of Mississippi, with 15 percent of the adults being clinically obese. These days 15 percent would have Mississippi on TV showing off its six-pack.
The thinnest state in the country now is Colorado, and 21 percent of its people are obese. Let that soak in — the thinnest state now is 6 percent more obese than the fattest state was in 1990!
So it’s bad enough the entire nation is swimming in lard, but Alabama has been moving up the ranks like we’re going to get a giant crystal bucket full of fried chicken if we win. In 1990 the Yellowhammer state was cruising in the middle of the pack at a svelte 11 percent, ranking 22nd. Now we’re in the top five with an obesity percentage of 33.5. That’s right, more than a third of our citizens are obese. Not chunky, plump or need to lose a few pounds — obese.
The three fattest states — Arkansas, West Virginia and Mississippi — all have an obesity rate over 35 percent now. If you look at the graph, the whole country’s obesity rate resembles a chart of tech stocks in the early 2000s.
All I can say is when I was at a Pizza Hut buffet the other day, I could definitely see we have some opportunities to move into first place in the near future.
• Now that Gov. Robert Bentley and his wife have completed the fastest divorce this side of Tijuana, what’s next? Bentley says he’s having the divorce papers unsealed, which I would assume isn’t going to prove anything one way or another about rumors the Gov. knocking boots with his chief adviser is the reason there’s now an ex-Mrs. Bentley.
If there’s no smoking gun, the world may never know what happened with the Bentleys, which will probably rankle a lot of media outlets that have allowed themselves to be led around by shady bloggers.
But more importantly, what happens with Dr. Governor now? Does he start dating? Can he use the state plane to get chicks? A doctor and a governor is quite a catch, so his dance card may be pretty full. It’s all kind of exciting.
• As big a mess as the sudden suspension of BayFest was, it’s pretty impressive how quickly people have come together to put on this Ten Sixty Five festival. Though I keep wondering if the name is going to cause some to show up dressed as damsels and knights, looking for a Renaissance festival, it sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Its birth at least has a cool, organic feel that may be just what’s needed to fill the void left by BayFest.
Get out and support Ten Sixty Five if you can and leave the armor at home.