Constitution blocks change

Published 4:09 am Wednesday, April 23, 2003

By By James Crawford
News Editor
When you're in a battle for your life the last thing you want to have to think about is running out of energy or bullets or whatever you happen to be fighting with.
Imagine the soldiers in Iraq not getting their latest shipment of ammunition and you can visualize how big a problem that could be.
In problem here inAlabame is the constitution is essentially a barrier wall that prevents officials on a local level and in many cases those at the state level from fixing problems as they happen.
In a democratic state, local officials elected by the residents of that county, should have the ability to enact laws and regulations that their commuity needs without having to spend four years fighting to get a measure on a ballet.
In an era that has saw the Internet become a driving force in our daily lives, it is more than riduculous to have to deal with the reality that those elected to office in a county are hamstrung in their ability to do their jobs.
The issue of accountability has become a very strong one here in Escambia County and in the state in the past few months.
Gov. Riley took a huge step for Alabama kind to borrow some famous words when he took back all the state cars, credit cards and then insisted on department heads acually being held responsible for their budgets.
An amazing concept if you think about it. A person in charge of running a department having to do his job efficiently without waste and without unnecessary spending.
You might even say that was how a business was run — its about time here in Alabama.
We have a great state with many, many things to be proud of but our political system is not one of them.
Our justice system is also a black eye on the national front with ridiculous fights over monuments and plaques
But the outdated portions of our constitution are the most glaring shortfall we as Alabamians have to deal with.
The document known nationally as the longest and most amended constitution in the United States prevents Alabama from moving forward into the future and thats the long and the short of it.
The power rested in Montgomery makes Alabama more or less a dictatorship with counties having to beg and plead for their cases to be heard each year and we as residents suffering greatly for it.
Those in power will be reluctant to give up their seat at the throne but if they have any backbone about them they'll see the writing on the wall and let what has to happen come to be finally.
The recent tax situation here in Escambia is a perfect example of why we need change.
Although schools are dying and communities are being strangled by the economy, our officials are powerless to make change.
They can't reallocate funding, they can't restructure taxes or earmarking without Montgomery's say-so and they have to wait in line for that.
The bottome line to this situation is most Alabama have come to realize how bad our constitution is and agree that it needs to be changed now the real question is there anyone in Montgomery with the courage to cause change.
James Crawford is News Editor of the Atmore Advance. His column appears on Wednesday's. You can reach him at 368-2123 or by e-mail at

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