It was on the stage at the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum Tuesday morning that Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson took a shot at those who leave only negative and critical comments on stories reported online by the newspaper and TV media outlets.
She recalled her time as executive director at MidTown Inc. a few years ago, when an investment company from outside the city was looking to spend millions in an area that desperately needed it.
In a phone call Wednesday, the mayor said she was referring to Cross Country Plaza on Macon Road and real-estate firm Glenwood Development. The company bought the center in May 2004 for $20.8 million and did a major renovation, completed last year, at a price tag of about $10 million.
"It was related to trying to get a new Publix, trying to get T.J. Maxx, all of those things that are happening now," Tomlinson said.
Glenwood partner Leo Wiener "could not get his principals to think that Columbus was a good investment because they were very concerned about the market," the mayor said. "They would read these articles (and reader comments) and it didn't seem like the citizens were supportive of this area, that there was a lot of bigotry and a sort of hatred.
"Investors -- particularly retail investors -- are looking for synergy and motivated buyers. And how can they lease space if they have, in our case, the erroneous impression that the place is a hell hole?"
On Wednesday, Tomlinson said her comments the day before did not mean that naysayers should have no say in the community. It's just that those with constructive ideas and feedback should be heard as well, she said.
"What I meant (Tuesday) was you, audience of 1,200 people, have abdicated your leadership responsibility when you allow other people to come in to the civic discourse forum and you remain silent," she said. "If the leaders remain silent and the (media) forum's been conceded to only the doomsdayers and naysayers, then people get an impression of your community."
At the Jim Blanchard Conference Tuesday, the mayor did issue a more specific plea for action.
"Log on to your local media and (post) one comment a day," she said. "That's all I'm asking, one comment a day, say something intelligent, say something that gives somebody a sign that there are leaders here in Columbus, Ga., ready, willing and able to work with those who want to come here, move here and invest. You have a duty to speak out. Be heard."
Tuesday night, Eddie Lowe was elected mayor of Phenix City.
Those of us at Chatter Central who are fans of both football and politics had a simple question: Is Lowe legendary Alabama Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's first mayor.
Lowe, a former Central High star, followed his brother, Woodrow, to Alabama in early 1980s, where he was a linebacker on Bryant's final Crimson Tide teams.
Bryant has had at least one former player become a mayor, according to Alabama historian and author Keith Dunnavant. Fullback Ed Morgan played for Bryant from 1966-68 and went on to become mayor of his hometown, Hattiesburg, Miss., from 1989-2001. Morgan has also been the revenue commissioner for Mississippi.
In addition to playing for Alabama, Lowe also played nine years in the Canadian Football League for the Saskatchewan Roughriders before returning to his hometown and going to work for CB&T Russell County.
Speaking of the Phenix City municipal election, Tuesday's races drew a wide array of voters to the polls in all three precincts.
Virginia Nathan, 90, said she wouldn't have missed the chance to voice her opinion.
"I came out to vote because I want this to be a better city," she said as she left the Spencer Recreation Center Tuesday afternoon.
But asked whom she voted for, Nathan demurred. "That's confidential," she said.
Those familiar with James Carville know the former adviser to President Bill Clinton has an opinion on most everything, and usually with a humorous and sarcastic twist.
That was the case for much of his appearance at Tuesday's Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum with wife, Mary Matalin, herself a consultant to the Republican Party.
But Carville, a Fort Benning-born military brat and Marine Corps veteran, did have some serious moments at the conference.
The Democrat said there is "one humongous problem" facing the United States of America today.
"And that is our middle class is shrinking," he said, acknowledging the redistribution of wealth in the nation didn't take place overnight or because of one specific thing. He also said it will not be cured overnight with a magic pill.
"Certainly some of it is the result of Washington," he said. "Some of it is the result of Wall Street, some of it is the result of what's going on in the health-care system, some of it is what's going on in the education system."
The Tulane University graduate then mentioned a key to how his life has unfolded.
"Through most of my life I knew the ticket to success was an education," he said.
In an inaugural event to honor three Georgia-based soldiers, The Wingman Foundation is looking for soldiers who have served their country with distinction.
The soldiers will be recognized at the Ultimate Wingman Georgia Military Heroes Award Banquet on Nov. 15 in Atlanta at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.
Nominations are open to soldiers for achievements between Jan. 1, 2009, and May 31, 2012. A soldier must be currently stationed in Georgia or a resident of the state and serving elsewhere in the world. Nominations must be submitted by Sept. 30, 2012.
The foundation, a nonprofit organization, was started by former U.S. Air Force Reserve fighter pilot Rob "Waldo" Waldman and his twin brother, Dave Waldman. The foundation has teamed up with Verizon Wireless to sponsor the event.
"No group embraces the wingman characteristics of service and courage more than the men and women of the U.S. military," said Rob Waldman. "The banquet will honor those soldiers who have served their country and community above and beyond the call of duty. It will also bring hope and confidence to a nation starved for inspiration by giving special thanks to the best of our country's military."
To nominate a soldier, go to www.theultimatewingman.com.
And, we will close this week in chatter with a lesson in what not to say.
Ronnie L. Reddish, 23, was charged last Sunday with disorderly while intoxicated.
According to Columbus police, Reddish had been escorted about 2 a.m. from a downtown bar and restaurant.
He refused to leave Broadway and started spouting racial slurs about President Barack Obama.
He also made "racial comments" about blacks in the area.
Enter the police, who then charged Reddish.
-- Ledger-Enquirer staff writers contribute to this report. Contact them at email@example.com.