Dr. Jesse Lewis, Sr.
On Aug. 22 the people in Birmingham will decide who their Mayor and City Council will be.
Traditionally, when there is an election and only the mayor and city council people are running, it has been a low turnout. As a general rule, a low turnout favors the incumbent. This is usually because the voters are mostly women over age 40 and men over age 50.
It is also a general rule that your major corporations, that make financial contributions to mayors and city council persons, give their first consideration to the incumbent.
I am not implying under any circumstance that all the incumbents are going to win. The only thing that I am implying is that the incumbent has an advantage of fundraising and knowing their constituents.
Right now, we all know the state has put together a grand jury that is presently questioning several city agencies. To put together a grand jury to investigate any entity there is a procedure which starts with media reports on several incidents or issues where there is an implication that the project or individual in question could be illegal.
Secondly, for them to start this process, they get letters, emails, and phone calls from John Doe citizen agreeing with the publicity story and requests that the Attorney General for the state of Alabama and District Attorney check into the validity of their concerns. Thirdly, if the attorney general and the district attorney is convinced that there could be a possibility of wrong doing, they will convene a grand jury which consists of 12 people. If there is a possibility that someone has done something, then there is a strong possibility that it was something illegal.
During the fourth step, the grand jury will proceed to subpoena information from everyone they possibly can to look at this document and make sure that there is enough evidence to move to the next step. Step number five – they will subpoena individuals to testify before the grand jury. The subpoena in no way indicates that the people who are testifying are guilty of any wrongdoing.
Lastly, after all this information is gathered, they will decide, based on the information, whether they will drop the case or indict someone. If they indict someone, this does not mean they are guilty. It just so happens that we live in a county with a Constitution that states that you are innocent until proven guilty.
My guess would be that the decision will be made in May or June as to whether they will discontinue the investigation or should they issue indictments. No one knows who has appeared before the grand jury, and no one knows what questions that the person who appeared was asked, nor who they were asking questions about.
For the good of the city, I am personally praying and hoping that the attorney general, district attorney, and the grand jury will just pack their bags and move to another part of the state. In other words, there was no wrongdoing by anyone.
Incidentally, I am not implying here that individuals should not run for the city council or the mayor’s office. I still contend that the only way you can win a race is you get in it; and, the only way you are guaranteed to lose a race is you don’t get in it.