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The Hardest Race, Sixty

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Dr. Jesse J.Lewis, Sr.

Juandalynn Givan against Arthur Shores Lee was the hardest race for the House Seat. Lee accused Givan of handling a grant inappropriately. Yet, when he appeared before The Birmingham News with Givan to have their great debate, he said that she had done nothing wrong. I tend to agree with that, and the record shows in all probability there was no mishandling of funds, but there could be some questions about the way it was handled. In plain and simple terms Givan received a $10,000 grant about a year ago to give to the schools and the City. That dollar amount was not dispersed until a year and a half later. It went to the NAACP, and finally the dollar amount was dispersed.

Givan may not have handled the grant money inappropriately, but the organization that may have been at the root of the issue is the NAACP. The NAACP, the local chapter, has two tax ID numbers; one tax ID number was done by the attorney who worked for Arthur Shores 35 years ago by the name of Pete Hall. The other tax ID number was done by the present head of the NAACP. The problem with this is that there has not been any accountability where they are concerned. To my knowledge, there has been no audit or documentation that spells out how much money was received and how the money was spent. Several city council members and corporations have given the NAACP money, and if I were in their position, I would call in an auditor to gather documentation on where the funds were sent and how they were spent in their entirety.

However, the head of the NAACP is entitled to a salary. They’re entitled to some type of compensation, and also they’re entitled to an expense account. That’s legal. I’m not implying that they are participating in illegal activities, but what I am implying is that when a public organization receives money, that organization should be held accountable for whatever dollar amount it receives.

My other concern with the NAACP is that the head of the NAACP, from what I’ve observed, is a campaign manager for politicians. They go out and work for politicians, endorse politicians, and spearhead campaigns. This shouldn’t be. The NAACP should be involved in ensuring that young people vote,  and educate people on why they should vote. The most important thing is to make sure that everyone understands how the Republican Party is trying to make it difficult for everybody to cast a ballot. These are the areas they should be involved in, not with handling campaigns or being the campaign managers of individuals. The Birmingham Times does not endorse candidates. We don’t work for candidates. We treat them all equally and give them the same opportunities to express their plans and strategies for development, in hopes that we elect the right candidate to move the City forward.

The NAACP isn’t the only one involved in a highly debated dispute. Donald Watkins is in the news again. Donald Watkins, for whatever reason, is always in the news over a controversial issue. According to the City, he owes $75,000 in back taxes. According to Watkins, he owes nothing. Watkins, being a lawyer, knows whether or not there’s a tax situation he’s involved in. Also, as founder of a bank, a financial institution, you cannot afford to live in a city and be involved in the city and not pay your taxes. In defense of Watkins, simply because someone said you owe taxes does not mean that it is true. We sometimes assume that if someone is accused of something they’re automatically guilty. Even if you accuse someone of something and they are indicted, they’re not guilty. They’re only guilty if it’s proven in court that the law was broken; and so far, it has not been proven that Donald Watkins has broken any laws, but as head of a banking institution, he does not need any adverse publicity concerning taxes that he may or may not owe the city. If he owes the city any tax money, he should pay it and move the bank to another level. In a Wall Street Journal article published May 31, Phil Mickelson denied any wrongdoing in regards to the investigation that is currently underway concerning the accusation of insider-trading: DUBLIN, Ohio – Pro golfer Phil Mickelson said he has done “absolutely nothing wrong,” making his first public comments about a federal insider-trading investigation involving him, Las Vegas sports gambler and Wall Street activist investor
William “Billy” Walters. “That is why I have been fully cooperating with the FBI agents, and I am happy to do so in the future, too, until this gets resolved,” Mr. Mickelson told reporters on Saturday after the third round of the Memorial Tournament here.”But for right now I really can’t talk much about it,” he said.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission are examining whether Mr. Mickelson and Mr. Walters – an occasional golf partner of Mr. Mickelson’s – traded on nonpublic, potentially market-moving information provided by Mr. Icahn to Mr. Walters on at least one occasion.
When a reporter asked if he thought he could put the distraction of the investigation past him as he prepares for the U.S. Open, Mr. Mickelson said, “Yes, I do. I think as a player you have to be able to block out whatever’s going on off the golf course and be able to focus on the golf course.”

If anything goes wrong in the United States people accuse Barack Obama. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone said the investigation of Phil Mickelson is because of President Obama’s wrongdoing. One would think if you live in Alabama that Barack Obama must be running for governor or legislative body, because everybody running for political office in the Republican Party mentions Barack Obama’s name every second to the point where the public service commission would say they aren’t going to allow Barack Obama to raise rates.Since when does the president of the United States raise rates in other states? The irony of it is that people really believe that Barack Obama is responsible for this and these Republicans will stop him. It’s a sad state when the only thing you can say is, “I don’t like Barack Obama and I am a conservative” to win an election.


By: Dr. Jesse J. Lewis Sr.

jlewis@birminghamtimes.com