1. Anniston’s field of mayoral candidates is nearly equal to the population of Ball Play.
2. Mike Henderson wants his old job back.
3. Greg Thrower, too.
4. Why aren’t more people talking about the Ben Little-Seyram Selase race for Anniston’s Ward 3 seat?
5. The Oxford City Council of 2013 may look nothing like the current council. Five seats, but how many new members?
And a bonus question:
After all these years, what motivates people to run against Oxford Mayor Leon Smith? It can’t be success. (The list of people who’ve tried to knock off Calhoun County’s longest-tenured mayor reads like an odd who’s-who list.)
Finally, we can talk about these things. They’re premature no longer.
It is the Silly Season of Calhoun County politics; if you don’t like city elections, you might want to take a vacation. Qualifying has started, Election Day is next month, and garish campaign signs are de-beautifying front lawns. If we had a contest for whose signs are the most attractive, I’m not sure any would win, but here’s a tip: If signs are hard to read — like those of one sitting Anniston councilman — they’re not effective.
Simple is best.
(And, while we’re at this, why are there signs for an Anniston Ward 4 candidate placed strategically in Ward 1? Just saying …)
Thus far, three noteworthy things have happened in Silly Season, though none are revelatory: Everyone except Chip Howell wants to be Anniston’s mayor; old faces have rejoined the fun in Oxford; and Wayne Willis is on the mayoral ballot in Weaver, which has unseated Anniston as the home of the most dysfunctional mayor-council relationship in Calhoun County. Plus, it’s worth watching the Jacksonville mayoral race — in which Councilman Derek Raulerson wants to unseat Mayor Johnny Smith. What should we expect: nasty or gentlemanly? (Assume the latter.)
Buzz is such a sophomoric political term — “buzz” is everywhere during campaigns — but it works in this sense: The buzz is all about Anniston because the last four years have brought the city a never-ending dose of political nightmares. Anniston is fortunate that the departures of former Councilmen John Spain and David Dawson allowed for a mid-term council redo; Anniston voters, eager to toss away the demagoguery like yesterday’s trash, have enjoyed a glimpse of what’s possible.
That said, Anniston doesn’t own the copyright on “buzz.” Look around; you’ll see it.
Interest abounds in Oxford, and not necessarily over the fact that Smith, first elected in 1984, again has a known opponent — Cristy Humphries — he must fend off. The buzz there hovers above the council, where June Land Reaves and Mitch Key’s decisions not to seek re-election have paved the way for a revamped council in 2013. Question is, will it be a council often in lockstep with Smith, or will it be a remaking of the previous Henderson-Thrower council that sparred with the mayor over policy and city finances?
Perhaps the better question: Which council is better for Oxford?
In Weaver, well, political dysfunction is good for no one; perhaps Election Day will change that. In Jacksonville, Raulerson’s decision to run for the big office will immediately affect the incoming council’s makeup and could shake up City Hall. And in Piedmont, a city with as many positive accomplishments in the last four years as any in Calhoun County, it looks as if the mayoral field will be crowded there, as well.
As for Anniston, its mayoral race may prove to be a train wreck: too many candidates, a good chance for split votes among residents with common interests — particularly in Wards 1 and 4 — and a real possibility for a runoff. But look at its council races, especially in Wards 2 and 3. The Little-Selase pairing is fascinating on multiple levels, and David Reddick’s attempt to unseat Herbert Palmore shouldn’t be ignored.
Like summer heat, Silly Season is in full force.
Calhoun County voters have less than two months to decide what’s best for their towns. Municipal elections aren’t about Republicans and Democrats, the right or the left. They’re about who is the best person for the job. Nothing else matters.
There are competent candidates and there are potential bozos. Brains and savvy rise to the top; personal agendas stink like rotting fish, which is why candidates must pass the smell test. As we saw in 2008, a few stinkers got through.
Voters take notice: These are your elections; you make the decisions. You’re on the clock. In August, Calhoun County’s next four years are in your hands.
Phillip Tutor — firstname.lastname@example.org — is The Star’s commentary editor. Follow him at Twitter.com/PTutor_Star.