Chattahoochee Chatter: One less 2014 mayoral candidate

July 17, 2013 

Scratch another name off the list of potential mayoral candidates in 2014.

State Rep. Richard Smith, an unsuccessful candidate for mayor against Bob Poydasheff in 2002, said he has been approached about a run, but is not interested.

Smith, a Columbus Republican whose House district includes portions of Muscogee and Harris counties, said it was flattering, but it ain't going to happen.

"Once you get elected to the General Assembly, you are one of 180," Smith said this week. "I have been there nine years, and I think my best years and most productive years are ahead of me."

Smith did say whoever is thinking about challenging Mayor Teresa Tomlinson next year better plan to raise a lot of money. Tomlinson has already put more than $70,000 in the bank a year out.

"I think it is going to take $250,000 to $300,000 to run," Smith said.

When he ran 11 years ago, he spent a little more than $100,000.

•••

It seems like every time Muscogee County School District secondary education director Keith Seifert addresses the school board that we end up with a Chatter item.

But he was just the setup guy for this one.

During the work session Monday evening, Seifert mentioned the word "exceeds" several times when referring to the highest performance level for End of Course Tests. Board member John Wells of District 2 said he thought "Cs" are the worst grades, not the best.

Wells' colleagues gently informed him that he had misheard the word.

•••

Do you feel like a VIP? Do you wanna?

If you're traveling through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport -- and have some time to spend waiting for a flight or a ride home -- there now is an uncommon oasis for the common folks.

The Club at ATL, referred to as the airport's "first common use VIP lounge," officially opens to the public today. It is located past the security check area and available to those either boarding or departing a flight.

The airport said the 7,257-square-foot lounge's perks include complimentary snacks, bars with alcoholic beverages, Wi-Fi, com

puter work stations with printers, newspapers, magazines and, if you need one, a place to shower.

Alas, being a very important person, or VIP, isn't free. Would you have it otherwise?

The price tag for a day pass is $35.

For that fee, some might want to show up early and lounge around for awhile. Don't forget your comfy slippers and maybe even some PJs -- after a hot shower, of course -- to fully immerse yourself in the VIP experience. Enjoy!

•••

Carmike Cinemas CEO David Passman is taking over as chairman of the board of directors of the United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley. He replaces Tim Mescon, the president of Columbus State University.

Community volunteer Gary Ledbetter is replacing Alan Shaw, CEO of the Char-Broil Division of W.C. Bradley Company, as treasurer.

Shaw is coming off the board, as is Robert Granger, CEO of St. Francis Hospital.

Ledbetter is new to the board. There are eight other new members. They are Alexander Electric Company president Jay Alexander; Pratt & Whitney general manager Tom Bode; Phenix-Girard Bank training officer Adicia Coulter; Phenix City City Manager Wallace Hunter; Bradley Park Publix manager Bryant McClenaghan; Columbus Water Works vice president for strategic planning and employee services GwenDolyn Ruff; Columbus Regional Healthcare System president and CEO Chuck Stark; and Synder's-Lance director of operations Chuck Staton.

In a news release, Scott Ferguson, president and CEO of United Way, said, "Our United Way's strength is found in its volunteer leadership. These new board members represent the diversity of knowledge, experience and expertise we need as we increase our focus on our community's greatest needs. We're proud to have these passionate and enthusiastic leaders join the team."

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