Houston Co. Commission Chairman Responds to Raids

Below is a statement released by Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver.

Culver says the following remarks do not represent the views of the commission but are his personal thoughts.

"Today has been a dark day for the State of Alabama. The events of today constitute one of the largest abuses of power and waste of tax payer dollars in the history of the State.

The Governor of this State has become irrational in his behavior related to the issue of charitable electronic bingo and it should be concerning to everyone in the great State of Alabama. I have heard today from candidates for Governor, legislators, elected officials and many citizens expressing this concern.

In 2002 and 2006, I personally worked to get Governor Riley elected. I worked for a man of vision and compassion, not someone obsessed to the point that he would try to eliminate thousands of jobs in this State. I campaigned for a man who said he would work with and lead the citizens of this State, not abuse the power of the people’s office and create a police state to enforce his personal views rather than follow rules. I asked people to vote for a Governor, not a tyrant who would ignore the wishes of the people he represents at any cost and the legal authority of a legislative body, the County Commission.

Consider the lack of concern for public safety shown by the Governor’s Task Force concerning these raids, using tax payer funded law enforcement officers, particularly in planning a raid during the grand opening celebration two weeks ago with 15,000 law abiding citizens on sight that would be mixed with hundreds of armed officers. Who possibly could have thought that was a rational decision.

Consider the lack of regard for the strapped state financial situation by mandating these costly raids that include manpower, vehicles, fuel, motel rooms, food, and more, particularly when we have invited the State to come calmly inspect the facility with little or no cost as they pursue these misdemeanor charges. These are huge expenses at a time when we are prorating both budgets, cutting teachers, furloughing employees, and facing a budget for next year that, assuming Medicare and corrections are level funded, will require a near 50% cut in every general fund department unless our Republican Governor gets his wish and the Democratic plan for a second Federal stimulus program passes and bails us out. Thank goodness the election of Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts may keep that from happening so I ask again; is it rational thinking to expend all those task force funds when the State if virtually broke? I don’t think so.

Lastly, consider the lack of thinking for our Republican Governor to appoint a Democrat as Task Force Director who has obvious ties to a group that the Governor continues to be linked with and after losing the last Director because he was patronizing a casino operating by this same group. How can the creation of a monopoly in our State possibly be rational thinking?

It has been the desire of the Houston County Commission and a majority of the citizens of the Wiregrass to address any issues in our county in a civil manner. It has been our desire to help create thousands of jobs at a time when the State’s unemployment rate is the highest it has been in over 25 years in spite of claims of new job creation. The employees of Country Crossing have new jobs that have been created NOW and yet I get calls from single moms crying because they need this job and don’t understand why the Governor is trying to eliminate them. We are fighting for those individuals right to work and our right to promote economic development.

This is not being handled right. There is a better way that won’t hurt families and children of Alabama, further depress our economy and destroy a huge tourist destination for our State. I call on Governor Riley to be rational and work together with us for a prosperous Alabama and not leave a legacy of division and unemployment and financial crisis. We stand ready to work with the Governor and the Task Force in a rational manner through the courts as we have stated in letters and public statements and look forward to that opportunity.

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  • by Aldridge Location: Ozark on Feb 3, 2010 at 01:12 AM
    (?) Location:( Heaven) I am sick and tired of religious fanatics sighting everything to be a curse from God. I don’t know what God you worship, but I am a Christian too and I REJECT your assertion! FYI, God made ALL of us and he gave most of us brains. I believe he expects use them. You hide behind your MORAL stand. How ‘bout this, do you think it’s MORAL to not provide enough decent jobs in this economy for years? Things have progressed in the area, but not fast enough, just look at our poor congested highways. Our kids grow up and have to leave the state to have any real alternatives. You don’t seem to acknowledge or care about that, just your pathetic self-imposed morals you force on everyone else. People like you are such hypocrites just like wonderful Governor Riley. It’s all about what’s good for ME and MINE, you can’t be bothered worrying about everyone else. You call that moral? You should be proud that Mr. Ronnie Gilley, along with his other investors, cares enough about the area to invest their capital here. Hmm, where’s the billion dollar surplus our beloved Governor use to brag about just a few years ago. I don’t see any evidence of it in this area, do you? As far as I can tell, most of the improvements have been provided by private or corporate investment.
  • by jch Location: dothan on Feb 1, 2010 at 08:06 AM
    Lets face it theres nothing to do here! Thats why Alabamians go to Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi to waste their money. The smart thing to do is so obvious Bob wouldnt know it if he was sitting on it! Create a gaming commision regulate it and make it legal! So you can keep your money here where it belongs in Alabama! Alabama needs this development to happen terribly, not only for education purposes but for additional tax revenue for infrastructure. Alabama has fallen behind for years for its hasty decisions why not drop all the negatives, because people will do what the want whether its here or there.Look at the positives they absolutley outweigh the negatives!
  • by ? Location: Heaven on Feb 1, 2010 at 06:36 AM
    I posted a comment about this Country Crossing incident on Friday morning and it was not posted. We are to respect our people that we have elected in to our public offices but we can't do that because they are not doing what we want them to do. First of all this is a sin in the eyes of God. Have we become like the people of Rome going against the laws of God. Jesus turned over the tables in the temple. Do we want our tables to be turned over and whipped by him? God Bless! [WTVY Note: All comments on wtvy.com are moderated and do not appear until they have been seen by an editor. In times of heavy traffic this may cause a delay in comments appearing.]
  • by susan Location: coffee springs on Feb 1, 2010 at 06:16 AM
    if gambling is so against the law. Why did the governor wait till almost the end of his term to enforce the ;aw?
  • by Dennis Location: Enterprise on Jan 31, 2010 at 07:21 PM
    Stay with the core fundamental issue: IT IS NOT LEAGAL TO GAMBLE IN THE STATE OF ALABAMA. Mr. Culver new that this was a scam from the start and he placed the citizens of Houston County in harms way. He is the reason for all of this. Had he done his home work, as many large casino's have previously done when wanting to enter into Alabama to do business, he would have realized that this is not leagal in this state. He could have pationed the state to vote on the issue. Also stop trying to blame all this on people who know and understand who is ultimately in charge, our Lord Jesus Christ. It is ok to disagree, but when you loose then accept defeat and dont try to just do what you want.
  • by J Location: Clio on Jan 31, 2010 at 06:04 PM
    We should flood the governors office with letters of concern. He put my family at risk and no one to patrol the highways and spent our tax payers money to do this.He spent 130,000 dollars on theses raids in both counties. I am sure the school system could have used this money for materials in the class room.The thing about the whole issue is we do not know the whole story on Bob Riley and now his buddy John Tyson.
  • by april diehl Location: wicksburg on Jan 31, 2010 at 09:23 AM
    i think we as citizens of THE GREAT STATE OF ALABAMA need to get together and get bob riley out of office...we've got 2 great men in this state that have our lifes and our families on the top of the list let alone the state....if mark culver and ronnie gilley ran for the gov. office i'd have a really hard time makin a choice.....BUT BY GOD I KNOW WITH OUT A DOUBT-------BOB RILEY HAS GOTTA GO!!!!!!!!!
  • by bamaman315 Location: ozark on Jan 31, 2010 at 08:30 AM
  • by ee Location: Ozark, al on Jan 31, 2010 at 08:11 AM
    I lived in Louisiana for 20 years and thought that no state could ever outnumber the corrupt politicians there....but, I have now been proven wrong. I live in Alabama now.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 31, 2010 at 08:06 AM
    Now that it seems to be affecting everyone locally, the county commission chairman is mentioning "opinions"...lets hear from the other commissioners. Its simple as I will state again. By definition the task force has reviewed the statutes of the State of Alabama, and the upper courts of Alabama have too. It seems the lower courts keep conducting themselves illegally by stopping the raids...it was even admitted so by the lawyers that prevented the raid. Simple answer is for the people of Alabama to change the law and have the definition by statute read so whatever gambling is occuring is allowed. Turn it into Las Vegas for all I care. But beware...dont think about today..think about what can occur from the change. We wanted change in the presidential election and look where we are now. Buried in debt to a communist country who owns our bonds and a few temporary construction jobs...where are the jobs on the other side when the current projects are finished...nowhere right now
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