Don’t trust guys named

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 22, 2000

Chad or Perkins in politics


Managing Editor

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Nov. 22, 2000 10 PM

I don’t know anybody named Chad, but apparently there’s this guy running all over South Florida with that name. He has many disguises. Sometimes, he pretends to be pregnant. Sometimes, he shows up with dimples. Sometimes, he’s just loafing around, "hanging out" at the different polling places.

I wish somebody would find him, stick a fork in him and declare him done.

He’s wreaked havoc over this election process and stands to decide single-handedly who will be our next president.

I know, the Florida Supreme Court has to reach its decision, but with six Democrats and one independent appointed by a Democrat on the Court, the outcome has been pre-determined.

It brings a new meaning to the term "winner" and to the phrase "every vote counts."

Boy, doesn’t it, though.

And by the way, the media seems to be slamming both major candidates, declaring that they are "crybabies" for their reaction to this process.

All I can say is that if I won the election in two fair and judicious counts I wouldn’t let someone steal it from me. There is a crybaby, but it’s not the Republican candidate in this case. Once a person has won the prize, it’s difficult to call him or her a crybaby when the other contestant is jumping up and down and screaming about how unfair the process was (and is throwing a lawsuit at every public official in the state to support his or her claim).




It’s high time somebody said it, and since being politically correct and quiet about things with which I strongly disagree has never been my thing, I guess I’ll say in print what people have been murmuring about for weeks now.

James Perkins, recently elected mayor of Selma, is the poster child of a person who would rather tear a community apart for the sake of his ego than to bring it together.

Since taking office, his behavior has been irresponsible and reckless and has served to further divide an already divided community.

Here are some of the things he has done since being elected to office:

1) Pulled four police officers from active duty to serve as his personal bodyguards.

2) Installed bullet proof glass in his office at great expense to the taxpayers of his city.

3) Managed to, in one month’s time, get booted from his position as superintendent of the Water Works and Sewer Board for his shenanigans, a move which was countered with a threat of a lawsuit.

4) Stir up a racial controversy surrounding the formation of a bust to Civil War hero Nathan Bedford Forrest.

5) Hired a convicted felon at a salary of nearly $40,000 annually to serve as his administrative assistant. The person, who had served time for an embezzlement conviction, would be partially responsible for handling city funds.

And these are just the things that have been officially reported.

It’s not my problem, you understand, but I figured that since I live in Alabama and often drive through Selma, I have as much a right to speak my peace as Dan Rather or anyone else who’s never been there.

My point in all of this is that a lot of bad decisions have been made in Selma and Perkins is the common theme in all of them.

Selma, the most historic city in the nation when it comes to civil rights struggles, never had a black mayor before Perkins took office. It is appropriate than in this first year of the new millennium that town had the chance to start fresh and to move beyond the tear gas and beatings on the Pettus Bridge.

But that chance, thus far, has been lost on James Perkins Jr.

Perhaps Mayor Perkins feels that the years of suffered injustices make it OK for him to squander city funds and to destroy his own credibility, taking the city’s with him. But he’s dead wrong for doing it.

Perkins hasn’t, as the networks reported after his election, "been able to help the community begin its healing process." And why would he? He’s a man who, like many other activists, has made a living stirring up racial unrest.

It may have been time for Selma to elect a black mayor, but if James Perkins Jr. is the best candidate for the job, then God help us all.

Brian Blackley is the managing editor for The Messenger. He may be reached by calling 670-6314 or by e-mail at  

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