Letters to the Editor from Nov. 30, 2017

Suspecting voter fraud from the signs

​Voter fraud is not “water under the bridge” to be ignored because a runoff is scheduled for Dec. 19.   Actions by some during the Nov. 14 city council election warrant a grand jury investigation, not business as usual in Phenix City.  

Vickey Carter Johnson was 10 votes short (of) avoiding a runoff election against Baxley Oswalt on Dec. 19.  An investigation by the Phenix City Police found 52 voters living outside District 2 re-registered as residing in the district using business addresses as their residence.  There was an organized conspiracy, or someone duped these folks.  Either way, there needs to be an investigation for possible prosecution.  

I’m inclined toward (suspecting) voter fraud.  Two addresses are vacant lots.  Another business has been vacant for almost a year.  Three more “residents” claimed the Phenix City Board of Realtors as their residence.  Do they own the building or the board?

Since this election was purportedly nonpartisan, there is no record of party affiliation or how individual voters voted.  But records from last November’s election exist.  They identify party affiliation and where these District 2 voters resided for that election.  And their current registration will confirm when they “moved” and establish if there is a pattern of potential voter fraud.  The common denominator is the “Vote For” signs for the same candidate posted prominently in front of almost all the listed addresses.   

A grand jury needs to investigate.  I am confident District Attorney Ken Davis could get to the bottom of this apparent abuse.

James H. Centric
Phenix City

I’m proud of my daughter playing football

Should girls play football? Since I am a die-hard fan of the sport, this has always been a question for me. Although this question and argument usually pertained to controversial sports talk on television and beer-drinking guys at the bar, it became personally relevant to me once my five-year-old daughter asked, “Daddy, can I play football?” I did not know what to say. I was shocked, stunned and excited all at the same time.  She had talked about wanting to play for almost a year. I don’t have any boys of my own, so who wouldn’t want to say “yes” regardless of the taboo nature of it? She has always been both rough and tough. If you took a stick of dynamite and put blonde hair with blue eyes on it, that would sum up Hadley. With Hadley so enthused at the thought of playing, of course I wanted to coach. I not only wanted to teach her, but also knew I needed to be her sideline protector in a “guys world.”

I can remember that first practice day like it was yesterday, and will never forget it. The other coaches and I intentionally arrived almost an hour early in hopes to set up the field and then receive the other players as they filtered in. As we were conversing and setting up the field, all I could focus on was the joy surrounding my daughter. Even though she was the only child there at the time, you would have thought she was surrounded by a hundred invisible friends. She was running up and down the field over and over screaming, “Daddy, this is how I’m gonna score.” When I saw her wanting to impress me, I felt like a million dollars.

Despite how cute she was in her jersey that was two sizes too big for her, I knew she was entering a dark world; I was concerned for her safety. The more success stories of women in football programs I read, the more comfortable I became with Hadley playing. Instead of doubting her ability and strength in comparison to a boy her age, I began to exert all my energy into making her a future “Heisman” candidate. Hadley and I began to spend afternoon hours outside running, conducting drills, and implanting toughness into her already excited approach on the sport. She was driven; nothing could hold her back. Even at the age of five, it was as if she knew she had to prove she deserved to be there.  

It wasn’t until her first game that all my doubts, fears, and perceptions of a girl playing were depleted. What made it so special is that it was not just any girl, but my girl. It was the second quarter and we were using Hadley as the running back.  The quarterback said “hike” and handed the ball off to Hadley. Hadley took the ball and plowed through the middle of the field. With the other team chasing her as if she had stolen their favorite crayon, Hadley bolted into the end zone scoring her first touchdown ever. With our fans cheering and Hadley overcome with excitement, all of my negativities of girls playing football vanished. This was her first touchdown, but would not be her last. Hadley continued to score in that game and more thereafter.  

My daughter has forever changed my perception of football. She made me realize that females can have just as big of an impact on the sport as any male. Statistics show that girls who play football have an increasingly higher self-esteem, lower rate of fear and achieve goals which were once seemingly unreachable for a female. My once negative thoughts are now overtaken by support and enthusiasm for her. 

Tim Herrington
Phenix City, AL