Chattahoochee Chatter: Mayor not satisfied with 'poll' results

November 13, 2013 

Let's start this week's Chatter in the murky world of politics. …

It isn't science, but it is politically intriguing.

WRBL-TV ran an online poll on Tuesday and Wednesday. The question: "It has been three years since Mayor Teresa Tomlinson took office in Columbus. Are you satisfied with her first three years in office?"

The poll stayed up for nearly 34 hours and about 1,488 votes were cast, according to WRBL News Director Perry Boxx. The results: 368 votes, or 24.7 percent, yes; 1,120 votes, or 75.3 percent, no.

"It's an unscientific poll," Boxx said. "It represents only those who chose to participate."

The poll was run in conjunction with a sweeps-week story by WRBL anchor Phil Scoggins on Tomlinson's tenure.

Wednesday morning, Tomlinson said she put zero stock in the poll.

"It is not reflective of what is out there," the mayor said. "I feel confident about that. … I am not saying everybody is happy and there are not some disappointed people, but, by in large, people are very happy with our city. Our city has never been more alive."

During her 2010 campaign, Tomlinson said supporters of opponents flooded these types of polls conducted by WRBL, WTVM and the Ledger-Enquirer, skewing the results.

"We never won a single poll," she said.

One of the people who found the results interesting was Zeph Baker, the only announced opposition to Tomlinson in 2014. The mayor soundly defeated Baker in a runoff three years ago.

Baker insists he did not use his campaign organization to skew the results of the recent WRBL poll.

"I tried to make sure we didn't put the word out," Baker said. "I wanted to see what people outside our group thought about it. What amazed us was we think that was Columbus speaking."

Baker does have a theory.

"We don't know if the city workers got a hold of it," Baker said.

If you want to weigh in, go to, where we are conducting a similar poll.

Tomlinson said her problem with these types of polls is people can vote multiple times.

"Simply by clearing the cookies in their browser, they can vote more than once," she said. "And there is free software available that allows people to vote repeatedly in polls that don't have particular safeguards."


It's not often a Muscogee County Superior Court judge sets this as a condition of a defendant's probation: Don't play in the National Football League.

That's what Judge William Rumer told a man pleading guilty to drug charges on Monday.

It was a joke born of a misspelled name. While sentencing the defendant, Rumer ticked off the usual conditions of probation. The man was not to break any more laws; he was to sign a waiver of any

Fourth Amendment rights so law enforcement officers could search him at any time without probable cause; and finally, Rumer added, "Stay away from Kordell Stewart."

Court workers laughed.

Kordell "Slash" Stewart is a former quarterback who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens. Lately he has been in the gossip news for divorcing Porsha Stewart, an Atlanta native who's the granddaughter of civil rights leader Hosea Williams and is on the reality-TV show "The Real Housewives of Atlanta."

The name typed on Rumer's court documents was wrong.

The man was supposed to have been ordered to stay away from a co-defendant named "Kodie," not "Kordell."

Rumer corrected the error, but as the defendant left the courtroom, the judge joked: "Don't go to the NFL."


During the Muscogee County School Board work session Tuesday night, District 2 representative John Wells reminisced about the stable force his school provided him while growing up in Bibb City.

"Just for the record," Wells said, "I don't remember missing a single day of school, except one time I was so sick I couldn't get out of bed and mother wouldn't let me go.

"Talk about stability, my mother and dad both worked, and they were out of the house before 7 o'clock, before some of us kids got up, but I went to school because I wanted to see people, be with people, be there. So I stayed in school. You couldn't keep me out of school. That was all the way through high school."

District 4 representative Naomi Buckner cracked up the crowd when she asked, "Did you do any work there?"

District 5 representative and chairman Rob Varner tried to adjourn the meeting to save his colleague, but Wells saved himself.

"I was not the best student," he said, "but I probably was one of the hardest-working students. There are a lot of teachers that can vouch for that."

And we welcome them to give us a holler. We might even report on it in the next edition of Chatter.

Until next week ...

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