Credit goes to state Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, for putting the kibosh on the measure by letting it die in committee. “In terms of city-county matters, unless I get a resolution from the city, county or board asking me to do something, then I am not going to push it and I have not received any letter from, in this case, the City Council,” Marsh told The Star last week.
Of course, supporters of the inquiry bill — which was sponsored by Rep. Randy Wood, R-Anniston — aren’t likely to give Marsh any credit; they will likely blame him for the legislative homicide.
The bill proposed to limit the city’s subpoena power. Our sympathies are with those wishing to end Anniston’s divisive and expensive inquiry, our long municipal nightmare. The council’s conduct during the inquiry has stained the city’s reputation. The petty score-settling and ham-fisted gamesmanship sent the wrong signal about Anniston to the wider world.
However, Marsh is right in ushering Wood’s micro-managing legislation to an early grave.
The solution to Anniston’s inquiry problem won’t come from Montgomery. It will come from home.
The fault for Anniston’s inquiry shame doesn’t sit in some obscure section of Alabama’s legal code. It is not in the ability of a municipality to conduct an internal probe that is somewhat more than a civil service review and somewhat less than a district attorney’s investigation.
Anniston’s problem is of Anniston’s own making. In 2008, Anniston voters put the current council and mayor in office. The mix of old faces and new ones turned out to be a toxic concoction perfectly suited for disharmony and horribly equipped for growing a city. The result has been a disaster.
In the face of protests against the sideshow and pleadings to move on to serious business, a majority of Anniston’s elected officials has persisted in wasting time. The council recently discussed legal steps it could take should Wood’s bill become law.
Frankly, no bill produced in the state Legislature can fully police the conduct of politicians at 1128 Gurnee Ave. Fixing Anniston isn’t rocket science; it’s political science.
Anniston voters seeking a change for the better will have to put their feet down in August 2012, at the next city election.