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Newspaper Archive of
The Tuskegee News
Tuskegee, Alabama
September 19, 1996     The Tuskegee News
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September 19, 1996
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tabl/s'b b 1865 Era over as Williams wins New mayor gets over 73% By GUY RHODES Editor The grill was sizzling, the records were loud, and even some champagne bottles were popped open Tuesday night at Ron Williams headquarters as happy supporters celebrat- ed the election of their candidate as mayor of Tuskegee. It had been 24 years--six four-year terms--since anyone other than Johnny Ford had held such a celebration in Tuskegee. Ron Williams had been in on some of those festive occasions as an administrative assis- tant and Ford's right- hand man. Tuesday, it was Williams who would now wear the title, "Mayor." While his supporters happily celebrated a deci- sive victory with Williams outpolling Ford 2,848 to 1,041, Williams didn't flaunt the victory. He wasn't loud and lead- ing the cheers. That's not Freddie Washington Lateefah Muhammad Muhammad, Colson, Washington winners By GUY RHODES Editor his style. figures in and many other areas, Williams was con- tent to walk among his ( See MAYOR, P. A-2) ge, opportunity ahead the second verse that you heard the fat lady sing on Tuesday. There can be no doubt that the people of and Macon County are ready for, hungry for, a new both the city and the county. by amazing percentages--Ron Williams got 73 per- We now have some golden opportunities. We must resolve to see that these new elected officials live up to their promises. We should also regularly remind them that they are servants of those who honored them with positions of public trust. For much too long, the major, loud messages being sent forth Vote against Johnny Ford-- were perceived to be unwill- [ to chart a new course for our I have seen an old-fashion woodshed for both Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford and Macon ion Chairman Frank Lee--and almost all of city and county governing bodies. is dawning. assume that all those left in the dust in recent "bad" people. Some of them were, based on the carried out their duties, but most were simply caught of despair. The county was not moving for- city was in a "status quo" holding pattern. The people their elected officials. from our city and county have been negative. riaiiAnd there was a general malaise in ur city An Edi'to and county. How could we possibility grow, attract new business and new industry and tourists when we constantly presented such a negative image. Just this week, there was another one of those terrible, but true stories. Auditors again remind us that our schools are now under state financial control, that we had a set of terribly slop- py financial records, now burned up in a questionable fire. And last month there was the negative story about the use and misuse of funds by the Macon County Water Authority. The county's financial records are so terribly sloppy that they can't (See EDITORIAL, P. A-2) When Tuskegee's new city council is seated the first week of October, the only returning member will be Place 3 office holder Mae Doris Williams. The voters of Tuskegee have issued a man- date in replacing four of five incumbents. They did that with a strong turnout of 3,890 going to the polls in ~esday's city of 501 overthe ini- tlal v~g fewer voter in runoff el~on~ :: In the Aug. 27 election, newcomer Rozell Chappell Jr. unseated incumbent Harold Washington for Place 1 without a runoff. Tuesday, first-time office holders Jess Colson, Freddie L. Wash- ington and Lateefah Muhammad joined Chappell as newcomers to the council. With Mayor Johnny Ford defeated by Ron Williams, nearly 100 years experience in elected positions for the city of Tuskegee was replaced by Mrs. Williams with four years' experience. In Place 2, Colson defeated Ludie Hall 1,784 to 1,748. For Place 4, council president Louis Maxwell was ousted by Washington who had a decisive 2,412 votes to 1,200 for the incumbent. Place 5 was a close race between first-time office seekers as Muham- mad defeated Ben Rackley 1,942 to 1,852. Washington and Muhammad see positive days ahead for Tuskegee. "This is a tremendous opportunity," Washington said. "The peo- ple have spoken for change, and I think we will listen. As for the lack of experience with the council, I think we can look to the experience we all bring to the council from our backgrounds to make a difference." Washington works with the state in ADECCA while Muhammed is an attorney. Colson, who was at a revival and unavailable for comment, is in real estate and was in the U.S. Navy 22 years, including two years on a council that advised for- mer President Jimmy Carter. Washington and Muhammad agree that an independent audit is needed to see where the city stands financially. "We will almost beat a standstill for, at least the first year, except for the services mandated by law while we get an audit and see what direction we need to go," Muhammad said. uWe have to make assessments. I'm not talking about whq|esale changes, but to make decisions that need to be made." kegee 's Hattie King ready for 'Ms. Senior America' ES I00 supporters from Tuskegee County are expected to cheer City Clerk Hattie King on this when she participates in the America" Pageant in BiloxJ, was crowned "Ms. Senior in the pageant for ladies 60 earlier this year in competition In winning the honor, is the second representative to compete for the nation- Thomas was "Ms. Senior in 1994 and finished first run- Senior America." are expected to be repre- the event that includes a week for the contestants who will Grand Casino Hotel. COmpetition begins Friday with the contestants appearing in an opening number, followed by individual talent presentations. After winning the "Ms. Senior Alaba- ma" title with a talent presentation of Tins Turner, Mrs. King has a new rou- tine for the "Ms. Senior America" compe- tition. In Biloxi, she will perform a mono- logue, dance and sing to "Dark Strutters Ball." Mrs. King will wear a bright pink tuxe- do jacket with tails, black shorts and hose, and carry a top hat as she "struts" across the stage. "After looking over the contest from the previous year, and in keeping with the 'Age of Elegance' theme, I decided to have a different routine," said Mrs. King. "Right after winning the 'Ms. Senior Alabama' pageant Feb. 17, I began work- ing with Eleanor Trafton of Birmingham, also with help from Barbara Bonfield." Mrs. King said her adrenaline is flowing as the competition near. She is particu- larly appreciative of the support she's received from many fronts, especially from her home county and town. About 70 people from RSVP led by Mrs. Sadie Edwards, one of the sponsors of the local contest to qualify those for the state competition, will be in Biloxi. There will be at least 30 others making the trip. It has been a strange week for Mrs. King, who will retire Sept. 30 after 31 years with the city of Tuskegee, the past four as city clerk. Normally, Tuesday she would have been in charge of the runoff election, but was given permission several months ago by the city council to allow her assistant, Linda Pace, to handle the election. Young at heart, Mrs. King looks to the concept of "inner beauty" and being a "possibility" thinker to carry her through the competition. Ms. Senior Alabama Hattie King of Tuskegee ... Gets encouragement from Gov. Fob James