House Bill 294 – Partisan Elections Act

I try to avoid posting about state or national issues in this space, unless the issue in question will affect us down here at the local level. House Bill 294 would do just that. The official title of the bill is “An Act To Require That Every Election In The State Be Held As A Partisan Election“.

I don’t care what party you might affiliate with, but it seems to me that to any reasonable person this bill would be terrible for folks like us living in small rural communities across this great state. I mean, it’s bad enough that judges and sheriffs races are tangled up in partisan politics, but throwing school boards and municipal boards into that swamp can only end badly for everyone.

As I’ve said before, down here close to home we have to learn to put our party affiliations and such aside because the pool of talent we have to draw from in places like Ramseur is so small. If this bill were passed into law, municipal boards and others affected by it would have vacancies filled not by the sitting members, but instead appointed by the Executive Committees of the party of the person who resigned or passed away. Positions could be handed out to party donors without regard for qualifications, while ignoring potentially better qualified candidates.

If that wasn’t bad enough, imagine the problems unaffiliated candidates would face, having to constantly gather petition signatures just to get onto the ballot, not to mention the logistical nightmare that would be presented if an unaffiliated board member’s seat were vacated early. Who’s going to decide what unaffiliated person gets appointed to finish that unexpired term?

Please click through this link and read this bill yourself, and pressure our delegation in Raleigh not to support this terrible idea. Partisan politics has created more division in this country than any other issue in my lifetime. This bill only threatens to make the problem even worse.

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A Clear Abuse Of Power

Before I get too deep into breaking down the Board of Commissioners meeting held on April 1st, perhaps it might be best to address an ongoing issue that’s caused many rumours and much controversy in recent days: the rules surrounding yard waste pickup in Ramseur.

Our current policy regarding solid waste removal practices states, in bold print, “Tree stumps, tree trunks and limbs produced by landscape workers, tree trimmers or contractors doing such work will not be hauled or removed by town trucks.” That seems pretty clear to most reasonable people: if you cut it yourself the town will haul it away; if you hire someone to do it for you, the town will not. Continue reading “A Clear Abuse Of Power”

Open Meetings Law and Advisory Committees

This past Tuesday, March 26, 2019, at 4 p.m., a meeting of the Ramseur Library Budget Committee was held to discuss the budgetary needs of our library in preparation for the upcoming 2019-2020 fiscal year budget ordinance. Attendees were chair, Joe Hardin; librarian, Sandra Livingston; county library representative, Ross Holt; and Commissioner* Adam Smith.

I heard about the meeting because I have requested copies of all email communications to or from our elected officials, attorney Wilhoit, and Clerk Hatley. The notice was sent out to the committee members by our librarian, Mrs. Livingston, on March 18th.

The meeting was fairly short, with a review of the library’s previous budget and discussion of areas that might need adjustment, in particular the leaking roof which is in need of replacement. Continue reading “Open Meetings Law and Advisory Committees”

They Just Don’t Get It

A few weeks ago I published an article laying out evidence that leads me to believe Commissioner* Adam Smith has intentionally attempted to evade public record laws by using multiple email accounts for official Town of Ramseur business.

On the same day, March 4th, 2019, Commissioner* Smith skipped a scheduled board meeting and told several people that he was going to resign from the Board of Commissioners, after losing his temper and cussing citizen Denise Lowe like a dog when she tried to have a conversation with him in our municipal office. Smith’s outburst was witnessed by Commissioner Overman, who was in the office to pay his water bill, our water billing clerk Grant Cheek, and Town Clerk Bobbie Hatley. You can hear Denise Lowe’s comments to the board later that night in the sound clip below. Continue reading “They Just Don’t Get It”