Showing posts with label county government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label county government. Show all posts

Friday, January 15, 2016

Wal-Mart To Close All Wal-Mart Express Stores - After Driving Our Local Grocery Stores Out Of Business

Today's Washington Post reports that Wal-Mart is abandoning its Wal Mart Express concept and closing all Wal-Mart Express stores.

This has been very damaging to Pamlico County's economy.

Let's hear from all those folks who cheered Wal-Mart on, citing all the new jobs and low prices.

Turned out to be a fantasy, but one that has played out for decades in small towns across America.

Some of us saw it coming.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Republicans On Pamlico County Board Of Elections Abolish Three Voting Precincts

Yesterday at the monthly meeting of Pamlico County's Board of Elections, the two Republican members of the Board voted to abolish three voting precincts in Pamlico County: Alliance, Mesic and Stonewall. The only Democratic member of the Board voted against the measure. Since the vote was not unanimous, the resolution does not go into effect until the State Board of Elections, also with a Republican majority, approves it.

Members of the public opposed to closing the three precincts filled the room for the meeting and spoke against it, as was the case at the last previous Board meeting. At the previous meeting, then Republican Board member Gene Lupton, made a motion to table the proposal, which was adopted, against the wishes of the Board Chair. Since that meeting, the Republican party appointed a new member to the board, Russ Richards. At yesterday's meeting, Russ Richards voted with the Chair.

Jennifer Roe, Chair of the Board, explained that the purpose of doing away with the three precincts was to save money when purchasing new voting equipment as mandated by the Republican state legislature, but provided no figures for how much money, if any, would be saved. Democratic Board member Delcine Gibbs, explained that taking this measure now will save no money for this year's municipal elections, and no money for the 2016 statewide elections. In fact, she pointed out, the State Board has not yet certified any new equipment for purchase, and it is unlikely any will be certified before 2017.

This appears to be another Republican solution looking for a problem. In December 2009, long before the legislature mandated any change in voting equipment, newly appointed Republican Board member Judy Smith pressed for reduction in the number of precincts in the County. We don't know where the effort originated, but doing away with precincts, including Pamlico County's only African American precinct, has been on the Republican Party wish list for a long time.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Slave Deeds

Some of my ancestors owned slaves - from as early as the 1650's in Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and possibly Georgia, Arkansas and Texas.

I never knew how to trace those slaves, if ever I wanted to.

I just learned of a project in Buncome County, North Carolina that shows the way.

It somehow never occurred to me that if slaves were property, there must be some sort of title deed or other government record of ownership and sale. In Buncome County, the records were kept at the Register of Deeds. The county's web site explains:

"The Buncombe County Register of Deeds office has kept property records since the late 1700’s. In our records one can find a wealth of information about the history of our community. On this page, we have compiled a list of the documents that record the trade of people as slaves in Buncombe County. These people were considered “property” prior to end of the Civil War; therefore these transfers were recorded in the Register of Deeds office. The list below shows the book and page number where the deed is located in our record books as well as the seller (grantor) and buyer (grantee) of the “property.” For your convenience, you can view each original document by clicking on the book and page hyperlink.

"The Register of Deeds Office presents these records in an effort to help remember our past so we will never again repeat it."

Here is a link to Buncome County's slave deeds.

We should all be grateful to Buncome County for showing us the way to find and preserve these records and make them available.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

He's Back!

The comings and goings of local peripatetic journalist and curmudgeon Tony Tharp are sometimes mysterious. He disappeared from the 'net at the end of December and was apparently off line for the entire month of January.

Now he's back. Here's the link.

If you want to know what's going on in Pamlico County that's worth thinking about, bookmark Tony's site and check it frequently.

If you want to know what to THINK about what is going on, you might want to put your own critical thinking skills to work. There are worse places to start with your critical thinking, though you might want to avoid some of Tony's ad hominem tendencies.

Even so, I'm always glad when he's back on line.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 21 County Commissioners' Meeting - Oriental Commissioners Lose

There's an old rule of thumb in politics as well as other areas of human endeavor - if you are in a hole, stop digging!

At least two of the three-member delegation from the Town of Oriental to the County Commission need refresher training on that point.

Mayor Bill Sage, accompanied by Commissioner Summers and Commissioner White represented the Town in an effort to obtain support from the County Commission for a proposed local bill from the state legislature to extend Town jurisdiction over adjacent waters to a distance of 200 yards. After complimenting the previous speaker (who reported results of the annual audit) for a succinct presentation, Mayor Sage proceeded to give a convoluted and lengthy presentation. So far as I could tell, he provided no visual aids except the text of a proposed bill. At one point, he mentioned "public trust waters."

When commissioners asked some fairly direct questions (was there a public hearing? did the Town Board approve the text of the proposed bill?, etc.), he avoided direct answers. The questions grew increasingly skeptical, if not downright hostile. Discussion about "public trust waters" was mostly in opposition to the Town's scheme.

County Commissioner Kenny Heath made a motion to the effect that the commissioners not only don't support the draft bill, but will not support it unless there is a county-wide public hearing. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Summers asked to speak during public comment period.

Bad idea.

When you're in a hole, stop digging.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tomorrow Is Election Day: Vote Wisely

I wish Oriental's voters could all have been at tonight's meeting of the Pamlico County Board of Commissioners. They would have seen the kind of board at work that the Town needs.

Those who have been following the issue know about Alan Propst's articles in Pamlico News and the Sun Journal exposing the effort of an out of state corporation to unlawfully convert a very large tract of land from wetlands to farmlands. If successful, this could result in vast profits for the firm and vast damage to the county.

The Pamlico County courtroom was filled with citizens concerned about the environmental damage this plan could cause.

As commissioner Chris Mele explained, the commissioners learned about the problem only two weeks ago. The last thing the county needed was the kind of dithering that has become routine in Oriental.

At tonight's meeting, the County Comissioners took three actions aimed at gaining control over the situation:
1. Approved a letter from the chair of the Board of Commissioners to the US Corps of Engineers detailing the reasons the Corps decision concerning the Trent Road parcel should be reexamined;
2. Referred a draft ordinance to the county planning board, which would require notification of such actions to the County Government as well as to state and federal officials;
3. Agreed to ask our legislators to seek a local bill clearly granting legal jurisdiction to the county over wetlands matters.

All three measures were unanimously approved. Clearly the commissioners had shared views with each other and with the county manager and had achieved a measure of agreement before the meeting. Only a few small details were discussed and quickly resolved.

Just as clearly, the County Commissioners were aware of public sentiment on the matter and arranged the agenda so that the problem could be presented to the board and the public.

It was a well-run meeting, addressing and engaging public concerns, and taking action.

Would that we had a mayor and Board of Commissioners in Oriental capable of such effective measures.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pamlico County Commissioners Go For Wind Generators

After several months worth of effort, On Monday night, Pamlico County's Board of Commissioners voted five to two to adopt the Pamlico County Wind Energy Ordinance developed by the County Planning Board. Because the vote was not unanimous, there will be another vote taken at the Board's next regular meeting.

I spoke in favor of adopting the ordinance even though I agree with Neil Jones of Kimley-Horn and Associates that the ordinance is more restrictive than necessary. That can be fixed.

Well done to the Planning Board and the County Commissioners!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tony's Back

There is always a bit of an empty spot in public discourse when Tony Tharp's blog disappears, as it did a week or so ago.

I don't read him because I agree with him, though I often do. I read him because he makes me think.

That's a good thing.

Today he says he has made his last comment on Oriental politics for awhile.

I hope that isn't true.

Nevertheless, there are bigger and perhaps more interesting fish to fry in North Carolina politics.

What is happening in this state is worthy of Tony's analytic talents.

What do you suppose he means by "worth plowing through?"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pamlico County: New Board Of Elections Sworn In

There was a brief but well-attended ceremony at the County Board of Elections office in Bayboro at noon today. This is the time set forth in North Carolina General Statutes on the third Tuesday in July of every odd-numbered year, when newly-appointed Board of Elections members are sworn in for two year terms.

I was honored and deeply touched by remarks of the new Chair, Jennifer Roe and the Director of Elections, Lisa Bennett. It meant a lot to me.

I think the County is blessed with a good board that will serve the voters well in coming years.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pamlico County Commissioners March 18, 2013

Last night's County Commissioner meeting dealt mostly with the County Planning Board's draft ordinance covering possible wind farms. They scheduled a public hearing April 1 by a vote of 4-1 (Chris Mele against) with two absentees (Pat Prescott and Carl Ollison).

The draft ordinance has not yet been posted on line.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Buying Representation

On a more local note, at last night's meeting of the Pamlico County Board of Commissioners, the commissioners voted unanimously to hire a lobbyist to represent the county in Raleigh.

Excuse me? Didn't we elect a state senator and a state representative last month to do that very job?

Oh, I forgot. The person we elected as state senator has explained on more than one occasion that he represents all the people of North Carolina, not just those who elected him to represent them. Never mind that this theory of representation seems similar to the theory held by the British Parliament in 1776. We rejected the theory at that time. Have we forgotten?

As for the person we elected to the state house, Ann Holton, chair of the county commissioners, reminded everyone that he has never been elected to any public office and is therefore very inexperienced. That's putting it kindly.

So we have to spend county money to hire a person to do the job.

We never had to do that when we were represented by Alice Underhill.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Replacement Candidates And Write-Ins For November

There seems to be a bit of confusion or uncertainty about this year's general election ballot. The problems: write-ins and replacement candidates in partisan elections.

Normally, for partisan elections in November, the ballot lists the nominees of each of the approved political parties of North Carolina: Democratic, Libertarian and Republican. Those nominees are determined by the outcome of the party primaries held last May 8 for contested nominations. For contests where a candidate filed for a party but had no primary opponent, that candidate becomes his party's nominee.

Note that the party is the nominating entity. Unaffiliated voters are allowed to vote in a party's primary only if that party's State Executive Committee so provides by resolution delivered to the State Board of Elections by December 1 of the year prior to the primary election. In recent years, both Democratic and Republican parties have allowed unaffiliated voters to participate in their primary elections.

Winners of primary elections or uncontested filers will have their names printed on the general election ballot for partisan contests. Unaffiliated candidates can also be added to the ballot by petition (2% of voters for Governor in most recent election for statewide office, or 4% for district or county offices.) These candidates must be registered voters, but need not be registered as unaffiliated - they just aren't the official candidate of their party.

Just to make it interesting, it is also possible to qualify as a write-in candidate for the general election by petition. That takes 500, 250 or 100 petition signatures depending on the contest. When a person qualifies as a write-in candidate, a write-in line is added to the ballot, but only write-ins for the approved candidate will be counted.

There will also be a write-in line for every contest in a non-partisan election.

What if, after the primary,  a candidate dies, withdraws or becomes ineligible? In that case, the designated Committee of the Candidate's party appoints a replacement. If practical, the Board of Elections with jurisdiction over the ballot item will reprint the ballot. If that board determines it is impractical to reprint the ballot, then the original candidate's name remains on the ballot and all votes cast for the original candidate are counted for the replacement candidate.

This is all spelled out in North Carolina General Statutes.

This year, we have write-in lines for President and Governor. We also have one candidate who has withdrawn and whose party has appointed a replacement. Every vote for the withdrawn candidate will count as a vote for the replacement candidate.

This might or might not be the way it was where you come from, but it's that way in North Carolina.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ed Credle: Patriot And Servant Of The People

Last weekend, Mr. Ed Credle, one of Pamlico County's most good and faithful servants, passed away. The county has lost a wonderful gentleman who served our community well.

Ed did not seek the limelight, he merely sought to serve. Over the years, Mr. Credle served as a town commissioner, but most memorably, he served on the Pamlico County Board of Elections.

I don't have a list of the exact years that Ed served the voters of Pamlico County. His terms were not entirely consecutive, but they add up to about two decades.

He was an inspiration to me and a source of valuable perspective on election matters. He will be sorely missed.

Ed Credle will be laid to rest this coming Saturday at the Missionary Baptist Church in Mesic.

The finest tribute any of our citizens can pay to the memory of Ed Credle is to vote in the 2012 election.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Public Officials

In the summer of 2011 I posted a comment intending to put public service into context. In this case, I was writing mostly about municipal elected officials. But the same thoughts apply to County offices as well as state and higher offices. The pay may be somewhat greater than that for town officials, but the principal is the same and I thought it worth repeating:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Let Us Now Praise Local Pols

I sometimes sit in the peanut gallery and aim (figurative) slings and arrows at local officials.

I have no personal interest in any controversies - I just want things done right. Yes, I have opinions about WHAT should be done to improve our town. My main focus, however, is HOW things are done. I try not to be influenced by personal feelings for or against individuals involved in the process.

This isn't personal - it's business. Public business.

There's another side to the story, though. We should admire all of our fellow citizens willing to step up to the plate and compete for approval of voters for the right to perform long hours of public service, steeped in controversy, often in the face of hostility, for no pay. Of all elected public officials in this land of ours, these are the ones we should most admire.

Let all incumbents know that we appreciate what they do.

For those who have already filed as candidates in November's election, I say thank you. For those still weighing whether to run for public office, I say "do it."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sunday Voting

The Pamlico County Board of Elections went to Raleigh yesterday to seek State Board of Elections approval for a plan for One-Stop voting adopted by a majority of board members. Since the plan was not adopted unanimously, it required a hearing before the State Board. A total of nine counties whose plans were not adopted unanimously appeared before the board.

After hearing from of both majority and minority members, the State Board of Elections approved the Pamlico County plan supported by the majority. Therefore we will have voting on two Sunday afternoons during One-stop.

Both sides presented their positions on a well-prepared, rational and amicable basis. There was no hint of acrimony.

The same could not be said of some of the other counties. I came away from the hearing with a feeling of pride for the way our county conducts it business.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pamlico County Budget

The County Commissioners passed a good budget tonight. It was a hard slog under very difficult conditions to work it out, but there was no posturing by any of the commissioners. The vote was unanimous. Well done!

Now to some planning for the future.