The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Supreme Court race in Alabama

We now have a clear choice in the race for Chief Justice in Alabama.

Judge Robert Vance is now the nominee for the Democratic Party, and ousted former chief justice Roy Moore is the Republican nominee.

I was not able to attend the Over the Mountain Democrats meeting this week where Judge Vance spoke, but my friend Regina did and she sent me this picture. 

Judge Robert Vance speaking at Over the Mountain Democrats

The prior Democratic nominee was Harry Lyons, and he was removed from the ticket last week at a hearing that I attended. The  removal was brought about after Lyons posted inflammatory and bizarre remarks on his Facebook page, and it was decided that his comments violated judicial canons that justices should adhere to.

Vance threw his hat in the ring after the ouster, and he has only a few weeks to build a campaign and convince voters that he is the better alternative.

"My message to voters is simply I am here as an alternative choice, as someone who will focus on the real problems facing the state, facing the court system and someone who will run a positive, honorable campaign," said Judge Vance regarding his campaign.

Vance is a Circuit Judge in Jefferson County, having been elected in 2004 and in 2010.

Vance has not had much to say about his opponent, Roy Moore, other than this.

"I have grave concerns based on his last tenure as chief justice," Vance said.

But I have something to say about the disgraced former chief justice.

Roy Moore was removed from office when he was Chief Justice for failing to obey a federal order that he remove the washing machine sized 10 commandments monument that he installed during the dark of night in the Alabama Supreme Court building.

As if that isn't bad enough, he advocated violence and death against gays and lesbians in an opinion he wrote in a custody case.

In 2002, in the case of D.H v H. H. he wrote the following (the bold highlight is mine):

"To disfavor practicing homosexuals in custody matters is not invidious discrimination, nor is it legislating personal morality. On the contrary, disfavoring practicing homosexuals in custody matters promotes the general welfare of the people of our State in accordance with our law, which is the duty of its public servants... The State carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution. It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this lifestyle, to not encourage a criminal lifestyle... Homosexual behavior is a ground for divorce, an act of sexual misconduct punishable as a crime in Alabama, a crime against nature, an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one's ability to describe it. That is enough under the law to allow a court to consider such activity harmful to a child. To declare that homosexuality is harmful is not to make new law but to reaffirm the old; to say that it is not harmful is to experiment with people's lives, particularly the lives of children."

Could a gay or lesbian person get a fair trial in Justice Moore's supreme court?

But let's look at another issue. Todd Akin, the Missouri Republican senate candidate, has brought rape and abortion into the conversation, so let's see what Roy Moore has to say about the subject.

Most rational All rational people would say that in cases of rape or incest or when the mother's life is in danger that the option of terminating the pregnancy should be available. Republicans like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are changing their positions on this issue so quickly and often that I am not going to quote either of them.  They are not the concern here.

But Roy Moore wants abortion outlawed and does not believe in any exceptions. He wants all abortions outlawed.

In 2009 the candidates for governor were interviewed by the Birmingham News.

(Bill) Johnson, (Tim) James and (Roy) Moore called for a complete ban on abortion, with no exceptions. Johnson said that medical science has progressed to the point where there are almost no cases in which abortion is necessary to protect the life of the mother. If a woman is raped, he said, "it is possible to prevent conception and, therefore, there is no need for an abortion."

 James and Moore said abortion is an all-or-nothing question; either a human being is created at the moment of conception and must be protected, or it is not, they argued.

  "You have to declare whether it's legal or illegal to kill a child in the womb," Moore said.

No one is for abortion. But most women, if raped, might want the option of terminating the pregnancy, and not having to carry a reminder of the violent act for nine months and then raise it, being reminded of being raped every time she saw her child.

So Roy Moore takes the most extreme view on abortion, and promotes violence against the gay and lesbian citizens of our state. If that isn't enough to withhold your vote from him, I don't know what is.

Democrats now have a solid choice in Robert Vance for Chief Justice. And Republicans have an option, in Robert Vance, that they can vote for with the realization that a fair minded experienced judge will be leading the state judiciary.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lipscomb - Jeffco's "best kept secret"

One candidate for mayor of Lipscomb who was born and raised there proclaims that "There is no doubt in my mind that Lipscomb is Jefferson County’s best kept secret."

That should be your first clue that Deborah Miller is the person to vote for on Tuesday, if you live in Lipscomb. Deborah has lived in Lipscomb all her life, and raised her children there. She understands the values of the community, things like knowing your neighbors by name and looking out for one another. And she has respect for everyone.

She understands that Lipscomb faces serious challenges, and realizes that the Mayor and Council must work together, and must include citizen input in decisions that are made.

Deborah was elected to the City Council in 2004, and in 2007 was appointed Mayor by Governor Bob Riley when the position became vacant. She served for one year and achieved financial stability for the city by paying debts that the city owed. Crime statistics improved during her short term.

This experience in the city government of Lipscomb gives her a heads up in how to manage through these tough economic times. She will not have to learn on the job the basics of running City Hall (which, she says, will be accessible to the public).

Deborah remembers the time in Lipscomb when there were two grocery stores and gas stations and places to eat. But she does not want to go backward. She wants to carry Lipscomb forward, and in doing so will seek to bring those amenities back. Currently the citizens of Lipscomb have to travel outside of the city to obtain groceries or gas or to eat out.

She realizes that in order to bring businesses into Lipscomb that it must be a safe and secure place for people to invest in. Police and fire protection and safety are two of her priorities because without these, business owners will be reluctant to locate to Lipscomb. And recruiting business is important because of the tax money that can generated.

I don't live in Lipscomb but I live on a street that is a main thoroughfare between Bessemer and Lipscomb, and I travel through there frequently on the way to Birmingham or Red Mountain Park or other places.

Once, a few years ago when Lipscomb was having serious leadership problems I suggested making it a part of the city of Bessemer. But I wondered then whether the residents there would want become a part of the Marvel City, because I learned that Lipscomb’s per capita annual income is about $1300 higher and household income about $7000 higher than Bessemer's.

That suggestion was made in 2007 because there was no suggestion that anyone in Lipscomb was willing to assume the type of leadership position that was needed. Soon after that, Deborah Miller was appointed mayor by the governor, and things began to improve.

So we know she has the leadership abilities, we know she has the passion, we know she has the experience needed, and we know she cares for her neighbors.

Bessemer Opinions endorses Deborah Miller for Mayor of Lipscomb. Vote "Deborah Miller" on August 28.

 Learn more at Elect Deborah Miller for Mayor

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Yesterday while enjoying our walk at Roosevelt Park in Bessemer, I observed something that I think should be addressed.

It's about how we raise our children.

It has to do with fences. Fences are supposed to serve a purpose. That purpose might be to keep people out, to create a sense of order, to keep a tennis ball from bouncing out of the court area, or other purposes.

Occasionally you come across a fence that seems to have no purpose.

This section of fence stands in the playground area at Roosevelt Park. I am sure it has or at one time had a purpose, but I don't know what it is.

This fence stands near a church on Dartmouth Avenue. other than acting as a support for the vine that is growing on it, I cannot imagine the purpose of this fence.

The fence in this picture surrounds the tennis courts at Roosevelt Park.

 In spite of the signs on the fence that say the courts are for playing tennis only, there is a group of young girls practicing cheerleading under adult supervision.

As we walked around the track, we noticed all of the participants returning from another area of the park, and they each entered through this hole in the fence (I have put an oval around the hole in the picture). This was also under adult supervision. Click on the picture and you can see the hole better.

 On our next trip around the track, we noticed several gates at the other end of the courts. 

So here is my question.

Why are we teaching the kids to disrespect the purpose of the fence? Someone disrespected the fence in our backyard once and came onto our property without our permission and stole some stuff. I wonder where they learned not to respect fences?

These girls (and the boys that were with them) could just as easy use the gate to enter the practice area. In fact, the practice session could just as easily be held at the end of the courts where the gates are, so they wouldn't even have to walk the length of the area to get to practice.

This may seem small. But in raising children, the little things count. And they learn respect for people and property at an early age.

And we wonder why we have problems in the Bessemer Schools with discipline and respect.