- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Recent editorials from Alabama newspapers:

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Nov. 29

The Tuscaloosa News on disenchanted voters having a third option in U.S. Senate race:

He has no campaign apparatus, no big money backers and no support from the state or national Republican Party.

He doesn’t even have his name on the ballot.

And he has no reasonable chance of winning.

But Lee Busby does have the right to ask for your vote. The Tuscaloosa sculptor and retired Marine also makes a good point that many Alabama voters don’t like either option on the ballot in the Dec. 12 special election for the U.S. Senate.

“I think there are a lot of people out there in Alabama who are like me and don’t feel that either of these candidates represent them,” Busby said earlier this week, explaining why he decided to launch a write-in campaign for the seat.

Busby believes his 31 years as a Marine who has served in Iraq and as vice chief of staff for former Lt. Gen. John Kelly, now President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, has prepared him well for the Senate. He also believes positioning himself as a moderate Republican who is a centrist on social issues and a fiscal conservative makes him a viable option in this race.

“One of the reasons I did this is the far left and the far right flanks is where everybody is, and I think there is room to drive straight up the middle,” Busby said.

Of course, he’s right. Roy Moore, the Republican nominee, is embattled after accusations of sexual misconduct. His Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, is being branded as too liberal for Alabama voters. A third option on the ballot would be viable, but state law doesn’t allow for that this late in the game.

As it stands, the most likely scenario is that whatever votes Busby gets as a write-in candidate will be siphoned from Moore, not Jones. The accusations against Moore, particularly that he had sexual contact with a girl who was 14 when he was in his 30s, are disturbing. And Moore’s failure to offer a plausible denial or explanation is sure to weigh heavily on those Republicans who simply cannot bring themselves to vote for a Democrat. Busby gives them an option.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, brought this upon the Alabama GOP. When he warned political operatives and potential candidates that if they ran or worked against Luther Strange in the Republican primary he would destroy them, he cleared the field of any other viable candidacy. Only Mo Brooks dared to challenge McConnell, and Brooks lost. A better candidate probably would have beaten Moore. Strange was damaged goods after accepting the appointment to the Senate from then-Gov. Robert Bentley when, as attorney general, he should have been investigating Bentley. After Alabama Republicans rejected Strange and chose Moore, McConnell denounced Moore.

It’s a shame Strange traded his integrity for a temporary seat in the U.S. Senate. It’s a shame McConnell’s strong-arm efforts without regard for the voters resulted in Moore winning the GOP nomination. It’s a shame Busby’s name won’t be on the ballot instead.

Online: http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/

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Nov. 23

Opelika-Auburn News on an Auburn University student being named as a Rhodes scholar:

Winning a Rhodes scholarship is a big deal.

A very big deal.

Congratulations to Auburn University student Matthew Rogers, who earlier this week was announced as one of only 32 U.S. students to receive the highly acclaimed, international honor that will allow him to study at the University of Oxford in England.

It is a highly prestigious recognition in the academic world for both the student and the university from which he was chosen, meaning both Rogers and Auburn both deserve special praise.

Rogers is a senior at Auburn majoring in software engineering. He plans to pursue a doctorate in cybersecurity, a hot field these days in demand of good talent.

Auburn is gaining a solid reputation in the young cybersecurity field, and its engineering school will get additional attention from Rogers making his mark.

Rogers grew up the son of an Army officer, moving from post to post until his father’s retirement in Huntsville, which is the family’s home now.

He maintains a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and is an undergraduate research fellow working with IBM.

His research includes work on a crypto-processor to create secure exchanges of information, something clearly in demand in today’s high-tech world and the daily headlines of hackers causing chaos.

“This is a great honor for Matthew and Auburn University,” Auburn President Steven Leath said. “He has excelled throughout his academic career and he epitomizes the Auburn Creed through his commitment to academic studies, dedications to leadership activities and hard work.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Congratulations, Matthew Rogers, for being named a Rhodes scholar; and to Auburn University for helping him get there.

Well done.

Online: http://www.oanow.com/

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Nov. 27

Decatur Daily on a water management plan for Alabama:

Alabama is one the most water-abundant states in the nation, but does not have a management plan for that abundance.

Gov. Kay Ivey last week disbanded a committee charged with developing a statewide water management plan. The committee was appointed in 2012 by former Gov. Robert Bentley, who resigned in April. Ivey has disbanded a number of committees appointed by Bentley.

The Alabama Water Agencies Working Group, as the committee was called, did not produce anything of significance, which seems to be a tradition for agencies and committees assigned to craft a water plan. The group was to have submitted a plan by the end of 2013.

Back in 1990, the Water Resources Act gave the Office of Water Resources, under the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, the responsibility to develop a statewide water management plan. To date, there is no tangible plan.

The Alabama Rivers Alliance, an environmental watchdog, is concerned that the state remains without a plan in an era when droughts have parched the South.

Cindy Lowry, executive director of Alabama Rivers Alliance, said no one is monitoring the total amount of water being pulled from rivers by multiple industrial users, or the impacts those withdrawals are having downstream.

The Southern Environmental Law Center has concerns, too.

Sarah Stokes, the center’s attorney, said state policies have been ineffective, in part because they provide no protections during droughts.

Ivey, in a letter explaining termination of the study group, said she will rely on existing data for water policy decisions.

The (hopefully) good news is ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said two water studies will be published soon mapping the state’s water supplies. He said they will provide “a significant baseline of data and information” for water management.

Here’s more bad news. To create a water management plan, $3 million will be needed to draft it. In a state that is perpetually broke because of an archaic and regressive tax code, that could be an insurmountable challenge. If the money is provided, it would take three years to complete.

Alabama desperately needs a water management plan. Climate change demands that fresh water sources be managed with the greatest care and foresight possible.

Online: http://www.decaturdaily.com/

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