Bell has a plan: For many years now, the Birmingham City Council has been loathe to make any tough decisions when it comes to spending. The Council has funded their frivolity by taking money from fund balance, which is basically the city’s savings account. The city’s own bylaws require that the city keep the equivalent of three months of the operating budget in fund balance, as the amount the city has in reserve matters to the city’s creditors. Mayor William Bell understands this, and is keeping fund balance in mind while working to close a massive budget gap left by the Langford administration. Kyle Whitmire of Second Front reported last week that Bell has proposed a compromise plan for the city to take a $15 million loan instead of dipping further into fund balance. The plan avoids pay cuts and restructures the city’s long-term debt. The council indicated some support for the plan.
Robert Bentley endorsed by the Huckster: All it took for Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee to endorse Republican candidate for Governor Robert Bentley was Bentley’s general alignment with Huckabee’s political views. Also, it probably helped that Bentley hired Huckabee’s son-in-law to run his campaign after firing the people that helped get Bentley from a no-name long-shot candidate to dark horse to where he is now, which is potentially the next Republican nominee for governor of Alabama. (Just so you know, Bentley faces fellow Republican Bradley Byrne in a run-off for the GOP nomination on Tuesday, July 13). So now aw-shucks Huck has finally come through for his son-in-law’s employer with an ad endorsing Bentley as a man who “will create jobs and bring honesty and integrity back to government.”
Gambling money exposed: Pro-gambling interests spent a massive $4.1 million on Alabama’s June 1 primary races, according to a fantastic report by investigative reporter Eric Velasco in Sunday’s Birmingham News. Velasco dissected the flow of money from pro-gambling interests, like the Poarch Creek Indians, who own Wind Creek casino, and Milton McGregor, who runs bingo casinos at Victoryland and the Birmingham Race Course. McGregor was the whale at the table, contributing $1.9 million from various sources, and the Poarch Creek Indians contributed $1.4 million. Most of that cash went to PACs, or political action committees, many of which were run by lobbyist John Teague. The PACs then donated money directly to candidates, or obscured the source of the money by mixing it with cash from other sources in other PACs.
Random acts in Alabama politics: Both the Birmingham News and the Montgomery Advertiser chose to endorse Bradley Byrne over his opponent Robert Bentley in the Alabama Republican gubernatorial primary run-off on Tuesday. Both papers cited Byrne’s emphasis on ethics and education reform. The Birmingham News editorial board seemed to like Byrne particularly because the powerful Alabama Education Association has spent a big chunk of change attacking Byrne. The AEA is also urging its members to vote against Byrne in the run-off, regardless of whether or not the members are Republicans or not. In other news, attorney Terri Sewell has raised more than $1 million in her campaign to succeed Artur Davis as the representative for Alabama’s 7th Congressional District, the Birmingham News reported. Shelia Smoot, Sewell’s opponent in the July 13 primary, has raised only about $138,000.