Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Dusty Zeigler could use a little Dusty Rhodes
"You gonna get orientated with the fam-ly, in public, if you will!" Dusty Rhodes, American Dream.
It's probably because I grew up in the 1970's and 80's, but every time I hear the name of Effingham County's Commission Chairman, I can't help but think of one of the finest performers in the history of professional wrestling; The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes. Of course, he isn't a real Dusty - his real name is Virgil Runnels. And there are some who now claim that Effingham County's Dusty isn't exactly a real commissioner. Mr. Zeigler might not be in this spot if his rhetoric were less Dusty Zeigler and more Dusty Rhodes.
Mr. Zeigler is threatening the bionic elbow of legal action against other commissioners, Republicans, developers, Yankees, Mets, Packers, Harvey and his supermarket, and anyone else whom he thinks would deny him a vote on the county commission. He claims the 2007 law that created the chairman's position makes him a regular, plain old commissioner giving him full voting power on everything, from zoning to declaring it "Use a Lou Holtz Lisp While Making Official Proclamations Day."
Those who don't see eye-to-eye with Mr. Zeigler claim he is operating in the spirit of his old Notre Dame coach, at the least the Holtz who was cited for multiple NCAA violations during his career. They say the wording of the law was intentionally left vague by state lawmakers so that the chairman's actual duties could be defined locally. They also point out that a chairman voting regularly means there is always an even number of commissioners, six of them - potential tie votes on every single matter. It's a wonder the geniuses in Washington didn't come up with this idea first.
Mr. Zeigler claims this ludicrous set-up was intentional to slow down the commission. Not surprisingly, those proposals he wishes to slow down have to do with the county growing faster than a Lou Holtz-coached offensive lineman; the desire of people who (gasp!) want to live in a nice place like Effingham County.
How dare these outside agitators want to move to where the public schools are excellent. How dare they want a modern hospital so they and their families don't have to drive to Savannah. How dare they want decent public libraries even if Mr. Zeigler doesn't know what a library does. Well, we hear the Notre Dame library wasn't a busy place during the Holtz era.
Okay, that’s one-too-many cheap shots on Mr. Holtz, so with apologies to the coach and to Mr. Zeigler, the chairman does make one excellent point. If his having a regular vote as chairman is a problem, why did it take two years after his election for other commissioners to object? The answer might be the influx of new blood on the commission after the 2010 election. But more likely, the answer is Mr. Zeigler's own mouth which, even for some who agree with him, has become an embarrassment. This is where The American Dream might be able to help Mr. Zeigler save face.
Rather than claiming the hospital is a waste of money, Mr. Zeigler could re-create Rhodes' famous 1985 "Hard Times" interview; "They put hard tiiimmeth (that's the Dusty Rhodes lisp, by the way) on this county. Hard times are when a man has worked at a job 30 years, and they give a watch, kick him in the butt, and say hey, a computuh took yo' place, daddy! That'th hard tiimeth."
Or when commissioners complain that Mr. Zeigler won't put their items on the agenda, he could respond with the famous Dustyism, "I have wined and dined with kingth and queenth, and I've slept in the alley and dined on pork 'n beanth. And now it'th time for everybody to get funky like a monkey!" Sure, we might not know what he is talking about, but it might win him fewer enemies than such verbal gems as "I don't have to explain my vote" and his desire to "eliminate the village idiots," from speaking at commission meetings.
The best thing about this plan is that Mr. Zeigler can rehearse anytime he wants, as there are a plethora of classic Dusty Rhodes TV appearances on YouTube. It might be too late to save his commission vote, but it might win him some of the public’s votes in what will most assuredly be a highly competitive heavyweight chairmanship title bout in 2012.