Voters may need to take sack lunch to polls next week

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2000

You have read in the papers and heard on TV that the vote next Tuesday is not what is defined as a "major" election.

"Major" elections in Alabama are defined as those where constitutional officers are elected…governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, etc…as well as the entire Legislature.

The election next Tuesday is mostly judicial-lots of judgeships to be filled, and what with the huge salaries and generous retirement benefits now given to judges, there is no shortage of candidates.

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But minor though the election may be, don't think that trannslates into a short ballot. It doesn't. Also to be elected are delegates to the Democrat and Republican National Conventions, and the aspirants for those seats make the ballot very long.

In fact if every person who goes to the polls votes in every race on the ballot you would need to take a sack lunch to eat while you stand in line. The lines could move that slowly. Happily, many voters will probably skip most of the delegate races. They always do.

The big race…the only one that has created even a blip on the radar screen and it is only a tiny blip…is that for chief justice of the Supreme Court in the Republican Primary.

Four members of the bench aspire for the highest position on the bench-Pam ("Walking") Bashab, Roy Moore, Harold See and Wayne Thorn. Moore and Thorn are sitting circuit judges, Bashab is a member of the Court of Criminal Appeals, and See is an associate justice of the Supreme Court.

The details of the retirement package given to longtime Alfa Insurance president Goodwin Myrick became public last week and it touched off more howls of disbelief and indignation than you can imagine.

It was indeed a generous golden parachute for the controversial Myrick. He will be paid more than $6 million in benefits over the next 10 years-each month he will receive a check of at least $50,000.

For many Alabamians who don't make $50,000-a-year, the send-off for Myrick seemed way out of line. However even his harshest critics…and he had a lot of them…can't deny that the giant insurance empire prospered greatly during his 20-year watch. Assets soared from less than $300 million to more than $2 billion.

It is not likely that the stockholders of Alfa begrudge Myrick's retirement package.

If one in a thousand of you recognize the name of Miss Emily Reed, you have an exceptional memory.

Miss Reed, 89, died in a retirement home in Maryland last week. Her story…her 15 minutes of fame…was one of the most bizarre of 1950s Alabama.

From 1957-1960 Miss Reed served as director of the Alabama Public Library Service Division. In total innocence Miss Reed gave her authorization for the placement of a number of children's books in the public libraries. One of the books she approved was entitled "The Rabbits' Wedding."

The book featured black and white rabbits playing together, and worse, it told the story of a wedding between a white and black rabbit.

Hard core segregationists in Alabama went ballistic. How dare such a book be made available to the children of Alabama? The stink they raised attracted national attention. And ridicule.

Miss Reed surived that firestorm but life here for her was never the same. She resigned in 1960.

Looking back on it today the whole affair looks laughable, but believe me, it wasn't laughable then.