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Montgomery mayoral candidate releases plan to reduce crime

Brandon Moseley

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Elton Dean, president of the Montgomery County Commission and candidate for mayor of Montgomery, released his plan Tuesday for reducing crime in Montgomery.

He calls his plan the “Take Back Our Town” program.

The plan approaches crime reduction from several different angles including law enforcement, job growth, education and community involvement.

The first part of Dean’s plan focuses on law enforcement.

He says, if elected mayor, he would work to increase the number of law enforcement officers patrolling the streets of Montgomery by at least 100.

He also believes that it is time to open new precincts in West and East Montgomery.

“We live in a large city and we need to set up our police command to accommodate the large geography that they have to cover,” Dean said. “By establishing precincts in West Montgomery and East Montgomery, police officers will be able to do their jobs more effectively. Having more police officers on the ground and having them operate out of precincts around the city will be an essential first step to combatting crime.”

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Dean pledged to work closely with the district attorney to ensure that he has everything he needs from the city and county to effectively prosecute criminals.

Dean said that he also believes that connecting Montgomery citizens with companies that are offering quality jobs with good pay will help to reduce crime.

Dean promises to hold quarterly job fairs that would be sponsored by the office of the mayor. These job fairs would bring Montgomery companies that are hiring to one location so that Montgomery citizens who are looking for work could apply for jobs with the corporations that are hiring.

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He also stressed that two job fairs per year would focus on companies that had openings for part-time jobs for high school students and recent graduates.

“We need to help connect people who want to work with companies that are hiring, including our young people,” Dean said. “Having a job can make a meaningful impact in someone’s life and in our communities. You get a sense of self-worth and dignity from working and we have people in our community that want to work. This will put them in touch with companies that can hire them.”

The education community also has a role in Dean’s crime reduction initiative.

He announced that he wants to pair middle school and high school students with professionals from the community that can serve as mentors and role models to students.

Modeled after the Big Brother/Big Sisters program, Dean’s plan would match businessmen and businesswomen from around the city with groups of 3 to 5 middle school and high school students to serve as role models for the city’s young people.

Dean said that he doesn’t think the government, alone, can solve the crime program and is seeking community involvement to address the issue as well.

“I know that government can not solve all of our problems and government, alone, can not eliminate all crime.” Dean said. “I think it is important for us to approach this problem from all sides and to work together to make Montgomery as safe as it can possibly be.”

Dean said that his administration would host monthly town hall meetings across the city to address the issues that the city is facing.

“As mayor, I want to take the meetings to the people, just as we have done on the County Commission,” Dean said. “I will host monthly ‘Meetings with the Mayor’ around the city and bring religious leaders, educators, parents and concerned citizens together to discuss issues, including crime, and to hear their ideas. I don’t have all of the answers and I can’t fix all of this alone but if we all come together, we can start making a real impact.”

Dean said that he believes that crime is an important issue to everyone in Montgomery and that the solution must be multi-faceted. He insists people from across the city must participate to find a solution. He believes that the majority of crimes are committed by a small number of people who are intent on causing problems for the entirety of Montgomery.

“The vast majority of Montgomery citizens are good, law-abiding people,” Dean said. “The troublemakers need to put down their guns and pick up a Bible.”

Montgomery has a violent crime rate of 641 violent crimes per 100,000 people. The national average is 383 per 100,000. The Alabama average is 524.

Montgomery has a murder rate of 19 per 100,000 people. The national average is 5 per 100,000, and the Alabama average is 8.

Montgomery has a property crime rate of 4,420 per 100,000 residents. The national average is 2,362 per 100,000 residents, and the state average is 2,957.

The possible Montgomery mayoral field includes at this point: Artur Davis, Elton Dean, J.C. Love III, Marcus McNeal, Steven Reed, David Woods, and Brig. Gen. Edward Crowell.

The election is scheduled for August 27.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Elections

Alabama GOP chair says Harris “drags the Democrats’ ticket even further to the left”

Brandon Moseley

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U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris speaking with attendees at the 2019 National Forum on Wages and Working People. (VIA GAGE SKIDMORE/FLIKR)

Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan released a statement critical of presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s choice of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, as his running mate in the Nov. 3 general election. Biden announced the pick to supporters via text message.

“Joe Biden’s VP pick drags the Democrats’ ticket even further to the left,” Lathan charged. “Kamala Harris was the first proud co-sponsor Bernie’s Medicare for All government healthcare takeover. She’s applauded efforts to defund the police and even led the charge to block meaningful police reform in the Senate. She even wants to use the federal government to ban plastic straws and to control what we eat – a move that would devastate the U.S. dairy and beef industries – all in the name of ‘climate change.’”

“We look forward to the clear contrast in policies in the Vice Presidential debate with Mike Pence and Senator Harris,” Lathan concluded. “It will be a true mirror of the obtuse plans the Democrats want for our nation. This ticket does not represent the values of the American people. They will see through all bogus attempts by the Democrats who will pretend to move to the center. They will fail, as their policies have, and America will vote to re-elect President Trump on November 3rd.”

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel similarly blasted the decision.

“A hiding, diminished, & incoherent Biden didn’t just select a VP candidate, he chose the person who will actually be in charge if he were somehow able to win,” McDaniel said. “Harris’ radical policies may be popular among liberals, but they are well outside the mainstream for most Americans.”

“Kamala Harris’ extreme positions, from raising taxes to abolishing private health insurance to comparing law enforcement officials to the KKK, show that the left-wing mob is controlling Joe Biden’s candidacy, just like they would control him as president,” McDaniel concluded.

Harris is a U.S. senator, a former prosecutor, former 2020 presidential candidate and former California attorney general. Her father is an immigrant from Jamaica and her mother is an immigrant from India. She identifies as Black and is the first non-White woman to be on a major party presidential ticket.

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Harris is the fourth woman to appear on a major party presidential ticket. The previous nominees — 1984 Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — all lost in the general election.

Current Vice President Mike Pence is expected to return as Trump’s running mate.

Biden is expected to make a joint appearance with Harris on Wednesday in Delaware.

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Polls taken prior to the Harris pick show Biden with a significant lead in polling, both nationally and in several key swing states. Alabama is expected to support Trump by a large margin.

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Elections

Barry Moore: Trump is “doing what he can to counteract the Democrat’s stonewalling”

Brandon Moseley

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Congressional candidate Barry Moore.

Congressional candidate Barry Moore, a former Republican state representative from Enterprise, said that the president is “doing what he can to counteract the Democrat’s stonewalling,” referring to President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders extending unemployment payments, student loan relief, protection from eviction and a payroll tax deferral for persons making less than $100,000 a year.

“I’m glad that this President is once again showing his leadership during this crisis,” Moore said in a statement. “These executive orders show that he’s doing what he can to counteract the Democrat’s stonewalling. The American people need more relief from the effects of the ongoing pandemic, and it’s obvious that Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and the rest of the Democrats in Congress care more about playing political games and funneling taxpayer money to their cronies than helping the people.”

“The Democrats keep insisting on extending the full $600 per week unemployment benefit despite the Congressional Budget Office saying it will only hurt the economy starting early next year,” Moore continued. “They also keep adding more and more of their progressive wish-list to the deal. Last week it came out that they’re insisting on solar, wind, and other green energy tax credits in the relief bill. What does that have to do with the COVID pandemic? Nothing, except to satisfy their liberal supporters and their anti-American agenda.”

The president signed four executive orders on Saturday granting a $400 per week extension in unemployment benefits as well as extending the initial 120-day protections from eviction for renters and homeowners that were initially part of the CARES Act passed in April. Additional orders set student loan interest rates to zero and suspended federal student loan payments through December 31, 2020, and defers payroll taxes for employees making less than $100K a year from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 of this year.

“I am so thankful that President Donald Trump is standing firm against Pelosi’s and Schumer’s attempt to hold the American people hostage, and I look forward to joining the next Congress to help him resist the Democrat’s agenda,” Moore concluded.

Moore is the Republican nominee in Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. He faces Democratic nominee Phyllis Harvey-Hall in the Nov. 3 general election. Incumbent Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, is not seeking re-election.

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Congress

AFL-CIO endorses Adia Winfrey for Congress

Brandon Moseley

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Congressional candidate Adia Winfrey. (VIA WINFREY CAMPAIGN)

Democratic congressional candidate Adia Winfrey’s campaign announced Monday that she has received the endorsement of the Alabama AFL-CIO in Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District.

At their annual convention last week, union leaders from across the state recognized Winfrey’s “passion, ability to lead and attentiveness to the issues affecting working men and women” as reasons to endorse the Democratic challenger against incumbent Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Alabama.

“Labor unions have long been a leading force in our nation’s economy,” Winfrey wrote. “Workplace safety standards, employee benefits, equal pay for women, non-discrimination policies and so much more can be attributed directly to union members who were willing to speak up for what is right. I look forward to being a voice for Alabama’s hard-working men and women in Congress.”

Winfrey is challenging Rogers, a nine-term incumbent, in the Nov. 3 general election. During his 18 years in Congress, Rogers has earned only a 16 percent lifetime rating by the AFL-CIO for his votes.

“For seven generations, my family has called Talladega, Alabama, home,” Winfrey said. “I am the mother of four amazing children, a doctor of psychology, author, founder of the H.Y.P.E. (Healing Young People thru Empowerment) Movement, and … I am running for Congress in Alabama’s 3rd Congressional District! I believe in the future of our beautiful state and nation. It is time for leadership with a new vision which is #FocusedOnAlabama.”

Winfrey has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wilberforce University and a doctorate of clinical psychology degree from the Wright State University School of Professional Psychology.

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Courts

Plaintiffs ask for panel of judges to reconsider ruling on Alabama voter ID law

Eddie Burkhalter

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(STOCK PHOTO)

Plaintiffs suing Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill alleging the state’s voter ID law discriminates against minorities on Monday asked a panel of judges to reconsider an appeals court decision that affirmed the law. 

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund on Monday filed a petition Monday asking that all of the judges on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reconsider the July 21 decision by a panel of three judges that fell 2-1 in favor of the state’s voter ID law. 

The 2011 law requires voters in Alabama to show a valid, government-issued photo ID to vote. The NAACP, Greater Birmingham Ministries and several minority voters sued, arguing that lawmakers knowingly crafted the law to prevent Black people and other minorities, who are less likely to have such photo IDs, from voting. 

The three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in its July 21 opinion found that the burden of Alabama’s voter ID law is minimal, and does not“violate the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments of the Constitution, nor does it violate the Voting Rights Act.”

Merrill has argued that the state’s voter ID law is meant to deter in-person voting fraud and that the state makes available mobile photo ID units able to provide voters with the necessary IDs.

District Judge Darrin Gayles in his dissenting opinion wrote that voter fraud in Alabama is rare, and that “while there have been some limited cases of absentee voter fraud, in-person voter fraud is virtually non-existent.”

Gayles wrote that Merrill presented evidence of just two instances of in-person voter fraud in Alabama’s history.

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“Despite the lack of in-person voter fraud, Secretary Merrill claims Alabama enacted the Photo ID Law to combat voter fraud and to restore confidence in elections — a dubious position in light of the facts,” Gayles wrote.

Gayles noted that former State Sen. Larry Dixon, R-Montgomery, before his retirement in 2010, sponsored similar voter ID bills.

“During this time, Senator Dixon made repeated comments linking photo identification legislation to race, including ‘the fact you don’t have to show an ID is very beneficial to the Black power structure and the rest of the Democrats’ and that voting without photo identification ‘benefits Black elected leaders, and that’s why they’re opposed to it,'” Gayles wrote in his dissenting opinion.

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“It is clear from the statements of the legislators who enacted Alabama’s photo ID law that they passed it for the unconstitutional purpose of discriminating against voters of color,” said LDF senior counsel Natasha Merle in a statement Monday. “As long as this law is intact, Black and Latinx Alabamians will continue to be disproportionately excluded from the state’s electoral process.”

Attorneys in the filing Monday told the court that “roughly 118,000 Alabamians lack qualifying photo ID, and Black and Latinx voters are twice as likely to lack qualifying ID as compared to white voters. Given this evidence, a trial was required to determine whether HB19 violates the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.”

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