A month ago, Aug. 29 to be exact, I posted about the lack of political leadership and will in Alabama and the growing frustration of people across the state with our legislators. Of the 160 entries on this site, this one has been far and away the one most read with more than 20,000 views to date
Since then we had another special session that turned to dollars meant for education to prop up the General Fund. And while education got concessions on the Rolling Reserve Act that promise to be good in the long run, the over-riding message was, “we will be back.” In fact, Governor Bentley has already stated that he is ready to lead another raid on the Education Trust Fund when the legislature convenes in 2016.
During September I spoke to groups in Moulton, Andalusia, Hamilton, Selma and Huntsville. Every where I go, people are questioning decisions being made in Montgomery and shaking their heads. They are convinced the common good is the last thing policy-makers consider these days.
And who can blame them as more and more info comes to light in regards to the pending trial of Speaker Mike Hubbard next March. The most recent batch of emails released by the prosecution paints a picture of a person consumed with bettering himself financially than worrying about whether school children have adequate textbooks or up-to-date technology.
I have read each of these emails. (You can find them by following this link.)
Here are some of the things I learned.
* The Southeast Alabama Gas District in Andalusia retained Hubbard for $12,000 a month to do economic development for them. In an email from Hubbard to Bob Riley about trying to land a project in this capacity for Abbeville he says, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
* In another email Hubbard mentions that Billy Joe Camp is also doing work for the gas district, but he does not know who he is. Billy Joe was once director of the Alabama Development Office and also worked for a number of years for the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. Camp is one of the most well-known people in economic development circles for the past 20-30 years.
* Hubbard was being paid by Edginuity, a company that delivers on-line education courses. At one point he called his counterpart in South Carolina, Speaker Bobby Harrell, in regards to an issue Edginuity had in South Carolina. In October 2014 Harrell plead guilty to illegally using campaign funds and resigned his office in the legislature.
* In an email from Minda Riley Campbell (Governor Riley’s daughter) to Hubbard she says, “YOU are the speaker. You never ask for invitations. You only accept them.”
I ended my Aug. 29 post by saying, “I weep for Alabama.” Nothing has changed.