Gov. Kay Ivey announced at the beginning of this month she’s running for reelection, which isn’t terribly surprising given that she’s held elected office as long as anyone can remember. But last week I received the first email soliciting campaign donations for her run and it carried the subject line, “A dollar would make us holler ….”
Looks like we’re off and running.
The rhyme “dolla to make you holla” has a strong prostitution connotation, which perhaps makes perfect sense for an Alabama politician, but is a pretty saucy way for our 76-year-old governor to ask for money. If you look up “dolla to make me holla” on Urban Dictionary, the number one definition is, “What a pimp says to his hoe.” (I’m not sure if they’re really talking about the farm implement there. Let’s assume it’s a spelling issue and move on. I don’t want to ponder what it might be like to watch pimps garden.)
But if you need more, what proof could be better than famed rapper Tone Loc’s massive hit “Wild Thing?”
“We was all alone and she said, ‘Tone, let me tell you one thing I need, Dollar 50 to make you holler, I get paid to do the wild thing’” is one line in this family-friendly classic. Ivey’s team may even want to get the OK from Tone to use “Wild Thing” as a campaign song if they’re going to continue down this fundraising avenue. The thought of Kay twerking to “Wild Thing” at a fundraiser makes me giggle.
I’m just saying, “a dollar would make us holler” may not be the best way to kick off a campaign season. It did get my attention, though, so maybe it’s working.
The gubernatorial campaign is beginning to take more shape now that Ivey is hollering for dollars and “State Agitator” — as he likes to call himself — Jim “Ziggy” Zeigler launched an “exploratory committee” to see if he should run against her.
Zeigler, whose actual title is state auditor, and who is term-limited out of running for that position again, has been making noise about running for governor for a while now. Of course, he’s always making noise about something. Frankly, it seems like the man who loves to hand out teeny-tiny business cards as a gimmick to show how he cuts waste is really just being paid by taxpayers to bray about one issue or another for his own political purposes. Maybe somewhere between taking credit for stopping the I-10 toll bridge, the governor’s prison rental plan and Amendment One with his Facebook page, he actually audits state agencies. Maybe.
He announced the formation of his “exploratory committee” on Tuesday, but didn’t say who was on this committee. Could just be his wife, him and their dog. There’s no telling. But the one thing you can be sure of is exploratory committees almost never come back and say, “Hey, Zig, the committee explored and found out the vast majority of the state finds you ridiculous. Maybe you’d better go back to ripping off the elderly. Oh, we forgot, you don’t have a law license anymore. Oops.”
All the silly ties and teeny cards aside, the biggest problem I have with Zeigler is he repeatedly dodged questions and lied about what happened to his law license in 2018. The Alabama Bar Association forced Ziggy to “surrender” that license after the Mobile Bar ordered him to return $10,000 to one of his elder care clients in a fee dispute.
Zeigler offered media outlets an outlandish excuse for his license surrender, claiming he’d decided not to run for attorney general and would no longer need to be a licensed attorney. He claimed he was quitting his elder care law practice, but three years later still sends out political emails almost daily from email@example.com.
Just for the record, when you look up Zeigler’s license surrender, it appears under the Bar Association’s “Disciplinary History” page, and he is not eligible to petition to have his license reinstated until five years have passed since it was surrendered. That’s the same length of time a disbarred attorney must wait to apply for readmission. The notion that he’s no longer a licensed attorney because he chose not to be is laughable.
While I’m all for seeing Ivey face competition next year, Zeigler has already failed the honesty test. If he’ll rip off his elderly clients, then lie about having to surrender his license, just imagine what he’d do as governor.
But that’s not to say he doesn’t have some good points when it comes to Ivey. She’s completely left us hanging down here in Southwest Bama in terms of fixing the state’s biggest traffic jam. Her preferred plan would have partnered with a private company that would have reaped billions in profit over the coming decades, while also controlling toll prices. If you look at similar deals across the country, tolls just go up and up, even if traffic flow doesn’t. It was a sweet deal for that private company, though.
If we can’t get federal dollars to pay for the federal road, it at least makes far more sense to have the state bond the necessary money, charge a reasonable toll until it’s paid off, then remove the toll.
Ivey’s prison plan suffered from some of the same issues. At the end of the day, we’d have paid billions, wouldn’t own what we paid for and still might not have enough capacity. The governor is definitely a fan of some “holla for a dolla” when it comes to private-public partnerships that are especially kind to the contractors involved.
It’s also hard to know what another Ivey administration would look like. I’ve been told by some people in pretty high places that her “brain,” Chief of Staff Jo Bonner, is being scrutinized as the next president of the University of South Alabama. I have no idea if that’s going to happen, but if Bonner did depart, it would leave a big question mark as to who would step in and actually run the state.
I suggest we all just hang onto our “dollas” for a bit and see if someone else worth a “holla” shows up on the Republican side of the field. Surely we can do better than Ziggy and Kay.
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