Candidates’ use of newsletter still controversial

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 3, 2004

The Alabaster Newsletter became the focus of campaign controversy for a second time this election season Monday night.

Amy Milliron, a candidate for the City Council Ward 4 seat, questioned why her photo was removed from a business ad that had been publishing for about a year when the entire Alabaster City Council was pictured on the back page of the August 2004 city newsletter.

Previously Robert O. Blain of Alabaster filed an ethics complaint against Mayor David Frings alleging that his article in the July issue of the newsletter included political implications because of the use of his campaign slogan &uot;continue the progress.&uot;

Mayoral candidate Larry Rollan also asked if other candidates for office in Alabaster would be able to campaign in the newsletter.

It was announced, however, that the August issue of the newsletter would not feature articles or photos from councilmembers or anyone seeking election on Aug. 24.

The August issue did not include councilmember articles or the accompanying photos.

However, there was a photograph on the back of the newsletter featuring current members of the council and the current mayor.

Councilmember Adam Moseley defended the photo,

pointing out that it was a (news) event (the dedication of Veterans Park) and that councilmembers were not identified.

Ted Vodde, editor of the city newsletter, said Milliron was not charged for her August advertisement.

He said he would not charge her for the September issue as well as there could be runoff elections that continue into that month.

In other election business, City Clerk Marsha Massey resigned her appointment as election official for the upcoming

municipal elections as her husband is a candidate for city council. As a result, the council appointed Assistant City Clerk Gwen Cupp to fill the position.

And in still election-related matters, the council approved a resolution giving notice of electronic vote counting systems and election officers and set compensation for election officials at $75 for assistant clerk, $85 for chief clerk and $150 for inspector.

In park and recreation matters, the council authorized Frings to enter into a contract with Shelby County that would be an addition to a previous contract in which the city would receive about $518,000 from the county.

Funds will be used for additional parking and a skate park at the new Veterans Park on Highway 119.

The council also voted to create a program coordinator position in the Park and Recreation Department not to be filled until Oct. 1.

In another park and recreation related matter, the council voted to amend the Park and Recreation Department budget adding $37,200 for work at Limestone Park on Highway 31 near Charter Funeral Home. The park will include a firing range for the police, radio control airplane facility and practice fields. The work will include road and water lines.

And in other action the council:

* Approved the annexation of lots 5, 6, 6A and 7 of Maxwell’s Addition to Elliottsville at the corner of Highway 119 and County Road 26 across from Whitestone. While annexed property comes in zoned as municipal reserve, Councilmember Tommy Ryals said the surrounding area is zones B-3 for community business.

* Approved the annexation Park Forest Swim and Tennis Club. Ryals said the club owns 3.15 acres and wants to take advantage of the city’s fire, medical and police protection.

* Set a public hearing for Aug. 16 for the annexation request of about 18 acres on Highway 31 south for Saginaw Pipe.

* Approved the letting of bids for two vehicles for the Police Department.

Alabaster Councilmember Bobby Harris announced that a political forum will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10 at Liberty Baptist Church, 306 5th Ave. S.E., Alabaster.

All candidates for mayor and council for the city of Alabaster are expected to attend. Councilman Harris is to serve as moderator