By Art Parker
By the time you read this I will probably be sleeping on the sofa in the den, and sent there without supper. In other words, my wife will be furious with this column once she reads this. Mrs. Parker taught history in a public school for thirty years and has been retired a while.
Last week a bill was floated before a Senate committee down in the State House. The bill basically provides for a special $400 one-time bonus to retired school teachers. The sponsor is Senator Gerald Dial of Lineville. Dial said we need to show appreciation and gratitude to the people that have educated us.
I don’t disagree that my wife, and other teachers, deserve the utmost respect, praise and appreciation. There is no way I would do that job and put up with the stuff they put up with mostly because of irresponsible parents who can’t raise their kids to behave and act responsibly.
But why now? Why all of a sudden do we need to show this love? Because somebody needs to get elected and it’s an election year. That’s why.
Senator Dial is currently serving his tenth (10th) term. He went to the State House when I was a senior in college. The 80-year old Dial is no longer seeking his Senate seat but he is running for the job of Alabama’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries.
In other words, the well-aged politician has now decided to run for statewide office instead of limiting his campaign to a Senate district. Being the crafty politico he is, Dial knows he needs to increase his name recognition outside his home district and he needs to be able to run around the State and tell people what he has done for them. There are thousands upon thousands of retired teachers and that makes for a good block of votes. I know $400 doesn’t seem like a bunch of money to some, but most retired teachers are like my wife and they will love the idea of some extra cash.
Now you know why I will be exiled to the den sofa.
I find Dial’s pandering to be a typical move by an Alabama politician. They will do anything to hang around. They will make us pay any price for their re-election. They will do anything to keep power, after all, that usually translates into money.
Further evidence of such selfishness has already been seen this year, notably in HB 317 and HB 93 and SB110. Within these bills you will find nothing but schemes to help current legislators either stay in office or be able to interact with legislators after they leave office without fear of breaking the law. These schemes include one for legislation to create the “Association of Former Members of the Alabama Legislature.” We also see within HB 317 that current members of the legislature can dodge the law under the guise of economic development. It should be named the “How to avoid indictment bill.”
Van Davis, the special prosecutor that prosecuted former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, said “The way they are going about it would change the definition to make it legal or OK to do the thing Hubbard got convicted of: lobbying for money,” according to al.com.
These recent considerations are proof that a disease hits members of the legislature once elected. It’s called “Shameless Officitis.”
Why can’t they be true statesman and work for the people without the goodies and then go home and let someone else serve? I guess they just can’t help themselves.
To further validate my suspicion about them hanging around too long one must look no further than this year’s HJR 23 – a joint resolution the State lawmakers wish to pass that require term limits on Federal office holders. These hypocrites and crooks wish for a restriction in Washington D.C. that they intentionally will not apply in Montgomery, AL. Wonder why?
Alabama is a great example of why tenure limits are needed. I say tenure instead of term because those elected already serve a pre-determined term. We must limit how long these guys can hang around and when their time is done severely restricted their efforts to remain influential and active within the legislative body. If we don’t then the corruption will never stop and we will never solve problems that we have with prisons, schools, the Medicaid program or mental health.