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Baxley may opt to sit this one out

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY–I made passing mention a week ago of the sudden and widespread appearance of "We Luv Lucy '06" bumper stickers around the state.
While Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley insists she had nothing to do with it, she has not been seen peeling any of the stickers off the bumpers of cars.
To the contrary, she seems to be enjoying all the talk about her making a run for governor in 2006.
She has good reason to feel as she does. What few polls taken on that race-it is still 18 months before the primary elections–show that Baxley would be a formidable candidate.
In fact one recent survey showed her beating Don Siegelman if they should meet in the Democratic Primary, and also a fraction ahead of Gov. Bob Riley should they go one-on-one in the General Election.
Some of the Siegelman diehards…still hopeful he will be in position to make another run for the office in '06…are confident that Baxley would never run against him. As the saying goes, they drink from the same trough, politically speaking…they share many of the same supporters, the same financial backers.
Their logic is that when it gets down to the nitty gritty, Baxley will opt to stay where she is…and she would be a lock to win re-election as lieutenant governor…rather than risk a bloodbath and a possible defeat in a race with Siegelman. Comes to mind the old truth, a bird in the hand…
In July, the most recent prison population statistics available, there were 26,496 inmates in state prisons in Alabama. The prisons were built to accommodate only 22,406 according to the SLC but an Alabama prison spokesman said even that number was wrong. He said the prisons in the state were built to accommodate only 12,388 inmates.
If that number is correct, then the prisons are at 214 percent of capacity.
Not surprisingly, with such a huge population of inmates, Alabama also has the highest prisoner-to-guard ratio in the South…there are 9.8 inmates for every one corrections officer, which is dramatically higher than any other Southern state.
In the current issue Dr. Bronner…of all people…takes some wicked shots at the news media in Alabama. Coming from him, this was most unusual. Dr. Bronner has been the darling of the press for years. In fact, he has played the press like a piano ever since those long-ago days when he was called a "Whiz Kid."
Don't misunderstand me. I like Bronner. I applaud him. I think he has done a splendid job administering the RSA funds. He has stepped on some toes along the way, made some powerful enemies. But mostly that is due to his personality. How can I say it….when the Lord was giving out vanity and ego, Bronner wasn't hiding behind the door.
But back to the point. He is now in an editorial uproar because he thinks the Alabama press dwells on bad news and overlooks good news.
The example he gives: When RSA lost a ton of money by investing in WorldCom in 2002 Bronner said television and newspaper reporters were standing in line to report on the loss.
However, when a lawsuit brought by RSA against WorldCom resulted in the repayment of that money…$111 million…Bronner said the press all but ignored the story.
Editorialized Bronner: "Can you believe not one TV station requested an interview regarding the good news for RSA? Astonishingly, only one newspaper called."

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