The Oxford mayoral and aldermen debate/forum was last night. It was a good event. Here are the highlights:
COLD BEER: Every single candidate said that he or she would support or "be fine with" legalizing cold beer. Did you know Oxford is the only jurisdiction in the state that requires beer to be hot?
SUNDAY SALES: All candidates but Mayor Patterson and Alderman Coach Howell said that they would either support Sunday sales of alcohol or defer to the will of the constituents. Mayor Patterson seemed to make it pretty clear that, if re-elected, he would veto Sunday sales even if the Aldermen voted to pass it.
GROWTH: Planning for growth was the big topic. There was a great deal of talk about planning, but there were very few who actually provided specific plans to solve the obvious issues such as parking. Multiple incumbents held up binders of papers showing that they had written down plans. The challengers countered by suggesting that the plans were all talk.
SHAPIRO: Ron Shapiro is running, and that's great. Although he suggested some funny stuff like Native American monuments and a bicycle festival, he also had some of the best ideas of the night. He suggested solving Square parking problems by limiting the number of on-Square parking spaces on-Square business employees can use. That's a really good idea.
CHALLENGERS: The challengers are super strong this year. This is a hot race, and a large to total overhaul of the existing government would not be surprising at all.
HUMOR: The forum was hilarious. Ms. Carol Flemmons is running for Alderman, and she was extremely honest and intentionally vulnerable. In response to one question, she said, "Lord help me Jesus, I'm going to have to get back to you on that one." It was great. In response to Coach Howell saying that Sundays should be kept holy, Shapiro said, "Jesus turned water into wine, not wine into water." At one point, all the lights went out, and Todd Wade said, "Last call!" It was good-spirited.
WILKIE: Ernest Hemingway, err, Curtis Wilkie was a pretty good moderator even if it did sound like he was gargling gravel. Incumbent Ney Williams called him "Dr. Wilkie" at one point, and Wilkie quickly responded, "I've just been promoted. I barely got a bachelors degree!"
The three mayoral candidates are Pat Patterson, Jason Plunk, and Todd Wade. They all answered questions in a mostly friendly manner. Plunk wins the award for being the most straightforward and intentionally unpolished. He was very candid with the audience about issues, and offered a refreshing comparison to politicians.
Mayor Patterson stood on his record and basically said that, if things are going well enough, let's just keep going like this. He was just about the farthest on the anti-alcohol side at one time asking the audience to ask themselves what they wanted the character of Oxford to be and saying that he wanted Oxford to be more like it was when he grew up. He also asserted his skill and strengths in budgeting and claimed the Baptist Hospital sale and resulting financial windfall as one of his achievements.
Todd Wade offered a competent and strong contrast to Mayor Patterson. He emphasized decreased government involvement and increased encouragement of business. He also offered specific actions he would take to alleviate problems, and Mayor Patterson told him, point blank, "No, that's not viable." Wade disagreed. Wade also challenged Mayor Patterson to shut down the robo-ticketing Jeep on the Square after revealing that it has lost the city $100,000 this year.
Tate Moore owns Square Pizza in Oxford. They are a local staple. They support local arts, and they make their pizza square in honor of the Square. The Double Decker Food Committee recently rejected Tate from selling his pizza at Double Decker because, get this, he wasn't unique enough!
Their rejection letter to him is just too classic not to share, even if it has nothing to do with sports. What's better is the decision to let some local restaurant owners decide which other local restaurant owners can participate. That's true objectivity and a very safe process. Feel free to submit your own rephrasing of the letter. I propose:
"Be unique... just like we tell you to be!"
"We have decided to fill Double Decker with 100% organic, foodie pretentiousness this year. Please conform to our guidelines for uniqueness."
Hilarious. Here's the letter. It is apparent that the irony of this letter simply missed the authors.
Since Ole Miss's basketball team got off to a record-breaking start, it's hard not to lose some hope with a couple of losses and a couple of key injuries. However, I think Ole Miss is looking good. The Rebels have 17 wins with ten games left to play plus the SEC Tournament. Although 20 used to be the number to get in, a 23-win Rebel team would be hard to exclude.
Side note: it would be interesting to complete this sentence, "No team with ____ wins prior to the NCAA Tournament has ever been excluded."
We lost to Kentucky in what they say was their best game of the year.
If you watched the Ole Miss-Kentucky game, you may have noticed something was missing... fouls called against Kentucky's big men. Nerlens Noel had twelve blocks, you say? Well, that's not that big of a feat when the ref gives you ten to fifteen fouls to use.
Although the Rebels shooting was hugely to blame, Referee Jim Burr cannot be excused. He allowed Kentucky to absolutely batter Ole Miss's big men without batting an eye, but, if Ole Miss even looked at his dear Kentucky players the wrong way, his whistle blew, and he proudly called dramatically danced out fouls.
One of these fouls against Ole Miss occurred as Ole Miss forward Aaron Jones fell to the ground with what may be a season ending injury.
Ole Miss plays Pitt in the Compass Bowl. As of now, four Pitt players have been charged with assault. All four deny that they committed the alleged assault. Consider Pitt's official response to the four players:
Importance to Team
Official Response to Assault Charge
Leading rusher on team
Allowed to play
Allowed to play
Leading kick returner
Allowed to play
Redshirt freshman DB
Kicked off team
When Graham, Street, and Pitts were charged with assault, Coach Paul Chryst said, "We take matters of player discipline very seriously and will continue to cooperate with any investigation. However, we will not, and hope others will not, rush to judgment on these misdemeanor allegations. All three players will remain active members of our program while we gain more clarity on this situation."
When Williams was charged with assault, Coach Chryst kicked him off the team.
I wonder why Graham, Street, and Pitts were granted such lenient treatment?
It's right and appropriate to celebrate this win at least until the bowl game. We're going to post all the highlight videos and other things on this page, and we'll update it as more come in. Feel free to suggest more in the comments.
Official Ole Miss Egg Bowl Highlights
Scott Burton's Egg Bowl Highlight Reel
Official Egg Bowl Week Ole Miss Team Inspirational Video
Original Feed Moncrief Music Video
Unofficial Egg Bowl Week Ole Miss Inspirational Video
(Including Mullen's notorious comments which were played at the end of the game)