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Hartselle Enquirer

Race for Lt. Gov. heating up

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY – Because I am what some folks call a "wordsmith" — one who uses words in his trade — I have always been fascinated by the origin of words.
For example, centuries ago it was commonplace for people in high places in France to give choice jobs to their nephews and other family members.
This practice became so flagrant that the French came up with a word for the practice: Nepotisme, from the French word for nephew. We stole that word and changed it to "nepotism."
Methinks that English dictionaries might well consider in future abridged editions to print a picture of Chancellor Roy Johnson, the head man of the state's two-year colleges, alongside the definition of "nepotism."
Understand, Johnson is doing right well in his state job. His salary of $237,000 is one of the most generous in state government. (For the record, that is more than three times the salary of the governor.) But now comes to light thanks to some splendid investigative reporting by Brett Blackledge of the Birmingham News how incredibly well Johnson has taken care of some of his close kin in the two-year college program.
Let me call the roll: Linda Johnson, the wife of the chancellor, is paid $90,000 a year by Southern Union Jr. College; Steve Johnson, his son, has a $49,000 a year job with Lawson State Jr. College; Malinda Morgan, the chancellor's daughter, has a $69,000 a year job with Southern Union Jr. College; and her husband, Greg Morgan was paid $6,000 a month by three junior colleges for legal services. That contract was recently cancelled.
Give Chancellor Johnson his due — he made no apologies for how well his family members are faring in the program he heads.
He said there was nothing improper about it.
"We are a family of educators," he said.
There must be a few other "families of educators" in Alabama who wish they were doing so well.
George Wallace has launched a fierce TV attack on Luther Strange in the GOP primary for lieutenant governor, and Roy Moore has finally begun his television campaign, highlighted by a never-before-seen video tape of his trial before the State Supreme Court where he was eventually booted out of the office of Chief Justice.
Wallace's television spot, a predictable one although a long time in coming, challenge's Strange's TV claim that he is not a politician. While this is Strange's first race for office he has been a big-time lobbyist in Washington and Montgomery for years.
The Wallace-Strange race could be one of the more interesting to watch on election night. Will the Wallace name, surely the most familiar in Alabama politics, be enough to carry the second generation George to victory or will Strange's splendid TV blitz carry him to victory?
Pruett is running some radio spots in which he is vigorously attacking his one-time ally, Sen. Lowell Barron, D-Fyffe. He says Barron is financing the campaign of his opponent.
It is no secret that Pruett would very much like to replace Barron as pro tem of the Senate.
In the opinion of those I have talked to, and they know vastly more than I about criminal cases, the likelihood of a conviction is slim.The likelihood of an acquittal is slim.
Their feeling is that there will surely be one or two jurors who will hold out for acquittal, one or two will hold out for conviction.
And if you put any stock into what you just read you have forgotten the OJ verdict of a decade ago and the Chris McNair verdict in Birmingham only a couple of months ago.