Fort Valley candidate says mayor gets unfair access

FORT VALLEY – A candidate for mayor in Fort Valley has claimed the local cable company is unfairly allowing his opponent, Mayor John Stumbo, to campaign on air.

Valley Cable officials said mayoral candidate Randy King told them during a visit to their offices Tuesday that he had filed a complaint with the FCC claiming he and Stumbo were not being given equal time on the company’s local access channel. Calls to King seeking comment were not returned.

“It’s all bogus,” Robert Barnes said Thursday afternoon. “Every year when elections come around, (Stumbo) always encourages people to vote. He doesn’t campaign for himself.

“I guess it’s just playing politics.”

Officials at Valley Cable and Stumbo say the program, “The Mayor’s Show,” hasn’t included any campaigning. King has not inquired about purchasing air time, Barnes said.

“The Mayor’s Show” has appeared on the channel since shortly after Stumbo took office in 1998. With no major media outlets based in the city, Stumbo said the best way he could think of to get the word out about city projects was to talk about them on Valley Cable’s local access channel 7.

FCC officials did not return calls seeking comment.

The document was not available on the FCC Web site.

Officials with the State Ethics Commission, which would handle complaints on the state level, said they did not receive anything from King.

“Part of it is the fact that as a current officeholder, I’m going to continue to do my job,” Stumbo said. “Not using my position in some improper way to campaign. As an officeholder, I’m going to continue to communicate with my people. Part of the way I do that … is this show.”