Greene County with the whiff

Published 10:16 pm Friday, June 25, 2010

Last Sunday, our church had a cello player perform during the ceremony. The cello is a pretty big instrument — you don’t just whip one out of your pocket and start jamming — but despite its size, it plays such beautiful music that, as far as I’m concerned (wait for it), there’s always room for cello.

Yeah, thanks for throwing yourselves in front of that one. I had been sitting on that joke for a week now, and it feels good to let it out, no matter how bad it smells. So to speak.

What makes it funny (or terrible) is the difference of one letter between “cello” and Jell-O.” A little difference in one thing can be the difference in being successful and just plain missing the point.

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Greene County is taking Gov. Bob Riley to court not to finally define what kind of machines Greenetrack has, but because they are angry that the governor chose an interim sheriff to replace the late Ison Thomas.

See, Thomas (like most Greene Countians) believed that the electronic bingo machines at Greenetrack were legal. Riley did not, but his attempts to raid Greenetrack to check the machines was halted by a June 4 seizure order issued by Circuit Court Judge Eddie Hardaway, who wanted to meet with both sides.

The real issue — the issue that has been the issue for months — is whether these machines are legal or not. Once that is determined, everything pretty much falls into place. The thing is, no one is asking anyone to rule on that one way or another. So, here we are.

The Greenetrack supporters obviously don’t want a neutral party to check the machines because they are pretty sure they are illegal, but they also bring in money to Greenetrack. I can’t say it brings in money to Greene County because someone owes $72 million in taxes (not naming names), which is not helping Greene County at all.

The Riley faction isn’t seeking a real neutral party to determine if the machines are legal because he would rather throw some weight around with task forces in an overly visible quest to shut down the state’s casinos. In a time when the state’s schools desperately need money, I would think the best thing to do would be to make those moneymakers work for the state instead of taking an ax to them.

The whole bingo thing has been all about power and none about resolving the issue. Conflicts with both sides throwing their weight around makes for good drama, but little more. It doesn’t matter how hard and how fast you swing at a baseball; if you miss, it’s still just a miss.

David B. Snow is the managing editor of The Demopolis Times.