Barry Moore Found Not Guilty

October 31, 2014

Byron Shehee
Alabama Political Reporter

OPELIKA—After deliberating on its second day, the jury broke on Thursday afternoon and found Rep. Barry Moore (R-Enterprise) not guilty on two charges of perjury and two counts of providing false statements.

The prosecution closed yesterday by asking the jury not to be confused by the defense’s efforts to fog the facts of the case. However, it appears the defense’s tactics were successful. The jury found the burden of proof in this case had not been met and Moore was cleared of the charges against him.

At the heart of the prosecution’s case was how Moore found out about a possible threat to an economic development project involving Enterprise Electronics Corporation (EEC) and Enterprise State Community College (ESCC). Moore maintained that he did not know of any potential threats until his opponent, Josh Pipkin from Enterprise, brought it up to him during a recorded conversation.  Moore said his opponent was “the only person who mentioned the project being in jeopardy.”

The defense claimed Pipkin was asking Moore “loaded questions” in an effort to trap him. The defense also said Moore and Hubbard supported the project the entire time.

This is common sense, but it should be mentioned: it would be bad public relations to kill a project that would bring jobs to a community before an election so I’m not sure if anyone believed they would really kill the project. The act in question was the threat, not an attempt to kill the project.

The prosecution said they thought Moore lied during his Grand Jury testimony in January. The State offered evidence to show the first time the development project was mentioned as being in jeopardy was during a conversation between Jonathan Tullos, Executive Director of the Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation and Moore.

Additionally, the jury heard two recordings from Pipkin and Moore where they discussed the economic project.  In one of those calls Moore told Pipkin that he’d convey a message to Hubbard that he would drop out of the race if it ensured the completion of the project.  Moore replied, “OK, I’ll tell him if we get these jobs, you’re going to get out.” That was not enough and the defense got the win.

They say perception is reality.  Well, the perception is the decision in Moore’s case definitely provides a boost to Hubbard’s legal defense. It might, but there’s a big difference between the charges Moore beat and the 23 indictments facing Hubbard.

Time and a jury will tell if the results are any different.

Battle Lost, War to Continue

October 31, 2014

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Indicted lawmaker Rep. Barry Moore (R – Enterprise) is a free man once again. He and his family have a great deal to be thankful for, as the system worked, and this time it worked in his favor.

I sat through the trial and I must say, I would have cast a different lot than the 12 good citizens of this jury.

I owe Bill Baxley an apology. I never thought that his incoherent ramblings added up to a strategy, much less a win. I was wrong.
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Tuesday is a Big Election for Republicans: Opinion

October 31, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

A lot is on the line in this election for Republicans. This is an enormous for the Party of Reagan and Lincoln to see if it really is still a equal to its Democratic Party rival.

2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney understood the situation brilliantly (though saying it out loud was a mistake): 47% of the American people are untouchable for the Republicans. They don’t believe the same principles we do. They aren’t for limited government because they see big government as their provider and their defender against the corporations and rich people they despise. For any Republican to win the presidency he (or she) has to cobble together just about everybody that is left. Any fracture in that GOP big tent, means victory for the Democrats. Republicans could have taken back the U.S. Senate in 2010 but failed. In 2012 Mitt Romney could not get as many voters as Sen. John McCain got in his run four years earlier and again efforts by the GOP to wrest away control of the Senate failed…and failed miserably
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Sessions Responds to Wall Street Journal Report

October 31, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Tuesday, November 4 American citizens will go to the polls to elect a new Congress.  Under the U.S. Constitution the Congress sets immigration and naturalization policy.  Not anymore they don’t.  The ‘Wall Street Journal’ is reporting that President Barack H. Obama intends to implement a plan to unilaterally set immigration policy and give legal residency and work permits to millions of illegal aliens and expand foreign worker programs.
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Moore Not Guilty

October 30, 2014

Staff Report
Alabama Political Reporter

Opelika–After deliberating for two days, the jury in the Barry Moore trial returned a verdict of not guilty on all four counts of the indictment against him.

Moore’s attorneys’ numerous attempts to cloud the issues and confuse the jury, produced the desired results of not guilty.

More to follow…

Moore Trial: Day Three

October 30, 2014

By Byron Shehee
Alabama Political Reporter

OPELIKA— On day three of the trial, and what some thought would be the last day of the State’s case vs. Rep. Barry Moore. R-Enterprise, the defendant testified and closing arguments were heard.

Early in the morning, Moore took the stand in an effort to defend himself from two counts of perjury and two counts of providing false statements.

The defense, led by Derek Yarbrough (Dothan), opened by asking Moore about his relationships with Jonathan Tullos (Enterprise) and his challenger in the Republican Primary, Josh Pipkin (Enterprise). Moore responded that they were good friends prior to Pipkin indicating that he was going to enter the race.
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Marsh Tells Voters He Will Not Be Indicted

October 30, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday, October 29, an overflow crowd packed the Lurleen Wallace School of Nursing auditorium at Jacksonville State University to hear the Senate District 11 debate between incumbent Senator Del Marsh (R from Anniston) and his opponent, attorney Taylor Stewart (D from Anniston).  The event was a heavy weight slug fest between two gifted politicians who are both supremely confident in their command of a stage. 

Taylor Stewart called the situation in Montgomery a, “Disgusting mess.”  Stewart said that if one of his colleagues were accused of unethical behavior of using his office to gaining money for his business, “I wouldn’t stand behind that person.  I wouldn’t perjure myself before the grand jury.  I would be doing whatever I could to clean up that mess in Montgomery.”

Senate President Marsh said that Montgomery is not like that.  The first thing that the Republican Supermajority did was to pass sweeping ethics reform legislation.

Marsh said that Mike Hubbard has been accused of a crime, “And he will have his day in court.”  “Mike Hubbard (R from Auburn) is my friend.”  “I pray for him and for his family every night as I would for any of my friends if they were in the same situation.  I pray for (former Governor) Don Seigelman.”

Marsh said, “I was called as a witness to testify before the Grand Jury twice.”  Marsh said that you will not find Del Marsh guilty, indicted or charged with anything.  Marsh guaranteed that he won’t be convicted of anything.

Stewart accused Marsh of a lack of sincere concern for our students, teachers, and schools.   Mr. Stewart said that the district needed a leader who cares about our schools.  The people in the district want a leader who properly funds our schools.  They want a leader who does not divert funds from the educational trust fund to scholarship funds for their friends who used to be in office.

Senator Marsh said that in 2008 we had a housing bubble to bust.  That was not the fault of the Republicans.  That was not even the fault of the Democrats who were in charge in Montgomery at the time.  State revenues dropped.  Over a $ billion a year in revenue were gone.  We didn’t cut anything, we couldn’t spend more than we had.  Sen. Marsh said it would have been fiscally irresponsible to raise taxes on the people of Alabama in an economic crisis.

Sen. Del Marsh said that the GOP Supermajority in the legislature did everything we could to streamline state government.  Despite the hard times teachers still received one pay raise.  If you take 2008 out of that equation and it was just a 3% drop from the 2007 budget.

Taylor Stewart said if elected he would appeal the accountability act.  “It diverts millions into a scholarship fund.”  “That is the kind of money that we need in education.”  Stewart promised that teachers and state employees would get cost of living wages every year if he were the state Senator.

Mr. Taylor Stewart said that repealing the Accountability Act would be $25 million more for the Education Trust Fund.  That could be $50 million.  Who knows that could be $100 million a year diverted from education next year?  “That is funding we need for the educational trust fund.”

Mr. Stewart said, “We also need to get new industry to this community.  He has been negligent in this regard.”  If elected he would talk to local leaders and ask them what industry do we need here?  And then develop a plan for economic development in the district.

Del Marsh said that only 1/3 of the funding for Jacksonville State comes from the state of Alabama.  Jacksonville State and the other colleges and universities were hurt by changes in Pell grants by the Federal government.

Marsh said that in the last budget that the legislature added $400,000 to Jacksonville State more than the governor asked for.  Marsh said, “We have got to raise revenue.  I am a businessman.  I personally created 160 jobs.  As a businessman I know how to create jobs because I have done it and I will continue to do it if I am sent back to Montgomery.”

Sen. Marsh said that the unemployment rate in Calhoun County is 6.7%.  The state average is 6.6%.  That is just .1 percent higher than the state average after we lost Ford McClellan, had to deal with the pollution problem at Monsanto, and had an incinerator burning chemical weapons.  Under the circumstances I think that is pretty good.

Sen. Marsh said that the district needs more Aerospace, automotive, and high tech jobs.  Those are the kind of jobs that we need.  We want people who graduate from this great University to be able to stay here.  We need to create jobs.

Stewart said that if you go to each community and talk to public officials they want to get manufacturing jobs, soft industry jobs, technology jobs, and construction jobs.  That is what we need to do. “Actions speak louder than words.”  When the state recruits industries it doesn’t come to this district it goes elsewhere.

Stewart said, “I do support raising the minimum wage to help those people out.”  There is no rule that says we (the state of Alabama) can’t raise the minimum wage.

Senator Del Marsh said that most minimum wage jobs are starter jobs.  Students need those jobs.  According to one study over 500,000 people would lose their jobs if the minimum wage were raised.

Businesses will reduce their sales force and people will lose their jobs.  The starter jobs are traditionally held by high school and college kids.  “It is what they pay for their college education with.”  The last thing we need to do is decrease jobs.  Instead we need to concentrate on creating those higher paying jobs.  “That is what I am going to do.”

Senate President Del Marsh said, “I have no issue with a lottery.”  “As Pro Tem I can stop that from coming to the floor at any time,” but said that he will not do that.

Sen. Marsh did object to the idea of earmarking that money for scholarships.  Marsh said, “87 percent of the money we have is earmarked.”  Marsh said that lottery income should be put in a safety valve fund and then used where that pit of money is needed; whether that is for education, prisons, Medicaid, whatever is the biggest need that year.  “Don’t tie your hands.”

Sen. Marsh said, “We have worked for the last several years working on long term problems,” and a safety valve fund would be s solution for a long term budget problem.

Stewart said that he support an educational lottery.  Stewart said that voters want lottery money, “Earmarked not put in the general fund where folks can grab it and use that money for whatever they wish.”  Stewart said that Georgia has Hope scholarships.  “I do disagree with him (Marsh) about not earmarking that money.”  Stewart said that he favors a bill to let the people vote on an education lottery.

Sen. Marsh said that Medicaid System cost the state $365 million when he got in office it costs over $700 million today and consumes a third of the state’s general fund.  Medicaid is a broken system in Alabama.  In the last session the legislature passed a plan that will reform Medicaid.  If that plan to save us millions of dollars works then we can look at adding more people.  Putting 300,000 more people on our Medicaid rolls would break the general fund budget after the first three years when those federal dollars run out and the burden is on the state.

Del Marsh pledged, “I will work to fix the problem and when we do we will address those of us in need as well as we can.”

Stewart said that the UAB study showed that expanding Medicaid would create 30,000 to 40,000 jobs and will produce income tax that we need.  Our tax dollars are going to expand people’s Medicaid in other states.

Stewart said that he supports expanding Medicaid, because it is the moral thing to do.

Stewart said that he support plan 2020 and higher standards.  He said that Common Core has opponents because the teachers are not yet all properly trained and parents are confused.

Marsh said that the state trusts curriculum and standards to the Alabama State School Board.  If you don’t let them make those decisions, why have a school board?

255 people attended the event at Jacksonville State University which filled the auditorium and the overflow lounge outside.

Voters go to the polls on November 4.

Congressional Incumbents Appear In Good Shape As Elections Wind Down

October 30, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

In the election of 2010, incumbents Parker Griffith (R from Huntsville) was easily defeated by Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks in the Republican Primary. Griffith has been elected as a Democrat with President Barack H. Obama in 2008, but that relationship rapidly soured and he switched political parties amidst much fanfare by the National GOP.

Republicans in the Fifth Congressional District of Alabama never bought into Griffith’s sudden conversion to conservatism and jettisoned the Huntsville oncologist for the candidate with the stronger conservative credentials: Commissioner Brooks.
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GOP Lawmakers And Candidates Speak At Train Depot

October 30, 2014

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Evoking images from an era long-ago, where the railroads were the primary method of travel, Republican candidates in Jefferson County spoke at the historic train depot in Leeds, AL.

State Representative Dickie Drake (R from Leeds) who represents Alabama House of Representatives District 45. Drake thanked everyone for coming to the event. Drake who was first elected in a special election for the office previously held by his brother, Owen Drake, said that he has no opponent on Tuesday, but urged everyone to vote on Tuesday, November 4.
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Warning: Dull Election Ahead

October 30, 2014

By Steve Flowers

The 2014 General Election is Tuesday. It is set to be uneventful. I predicted over a year ago that this election year was going to be dull and, folks, my prognostication has come to fruition. This year has been a yawner from the get go.

Even the GOP and Democratic primaries in June were void of any drama. As the results trickled in from the summer primaries, there were absolutely no surprises or upsets. Even in the face of historic low voter turnout, every favorite or incumbent prevailed and usually by the margin suggested by polling.
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