April 28, 2008

So what else is new.

I ran across this in ALTERNET today. My first comment is that it is nothing more than one of the first zaps from Democrats into a Republican. Does it strike me as an oddity or an uncommon practice? Heck no.

Comment 2. It's now the Republicans turn to zap the Dems, and they will. Do I think the American public will lose any sleep over this? Heck no.

Comment 3. I don't know about you or the rest of the American public, but I think it's a darn good idea to use prisoners in every state for public works. I am sure that this would free up some state money for other purposes and I am sure most of the cons would like to do some consturctive work for which I think they would be paid a stipend, and maybe even learn a skill that maybe, just maybe they could turn to when they are released. As it stands now, I think they just sit and think of how better to commit criminal acts when they are released.

McCain Gets 80% Discount; Free Inmate Labor for Fundraiser

Homewood AL Mayor Barry McCulley (R-obviously) has stepped in it with this one. He's supposed to bring requests for discounts to the City Council, but for some reason he decided to rent the McCain people a room at Rosewood Hall for $250, substantially less than the going rate of $1,200 for a weeknight event. He also provided free inmate labor to set up the tables and chairs, waiving the usual $100 set-up fee.

Homewood Mayor Barry McCulley said the rental rate was discounted because the event was on Monday, a slow day for business. City Council members say they always vote on such discounts but didn't get a say in this deal. They're upset, as are local Democrats.

"I think it's outrageous," said Robert Yarbrough, chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party and a Homewood resident.

"I was charged full book rate. I was never offered any free inmate services to set up for my event. Mayor McCulley owes an apology to every citizen in Homewood as to why he arbitrarily changed the fee for this out-of-state senator from Arizona."

Yarbrough rented the entire hall, three rooms, on Thursday nights in September 2006 and September 2007 for the Democratic Blue Dot Ball fundraiser. The weekday fee is $1,700 for all three rooms, according to the official rates. Yarbrough said the Democrats paid more than $2,500 for all charges each year.

McCulley claims Council President Ginger Busby agreed to the discount, but she says different.

"The mayor asked me if the hall could be free for the McCain event, and I said absolutely not," Busby said. "He then asked if it was appropriate to charge a lesser fee for Mondays. I said as long as it didn't cost the city money, it could be considered."

That's right. The Mayor had no problem charging one of his own tax-paying citizens full freight, but he wanted to give away the store for John McCain. Does anyone else think party affiliation might have played a tiny part in his decision?

City Council member David Hooks is also concerned about the legal ramifications of the city making what amounts to an in-kind donation to a political campaign. Perhaps the Mayor just assumed that every taxpayer in Homewood is a McCain supporter. Robbie Yarbrough won't be the only person telling him he's wrong.

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