Beaufort County Republican Party and the Secret Petition | Eastern North Carolina Now

Sometimes it's not what you want to get done, but rather how you are going about it that matters more.

There is no doubt there are two Republican Parties in Beaufort County. One is conservative and the other seems to exist only for the purpose of defeating the conservative Republicans. 

Much of the friction comes about because many party hacks seem to believe it is their job to tell elected officials how to behave and vote.  The sole purpose of the Republican Party and its Executive Committee is to serve all Republicans equally.  It is the duty of the Executive Committee to remain neutral in all matters during primary elections.  In the goal of remaining neutral they have failed miserably.  The insiders, the Super Executive Committee, have failed to remain neutral.  They actively take sides in primary elections. They believe they should control elected Republicans,

These party insiders, most of whom recently arrived in Beaufort County, gleefully undertake to mold us elected officials into their brand of liberalism.  I wonder if they were as pushy and self-important in the places they came from.  Things must not have been going well there or they would not be here.  Not all the insiders are from other places, they have plenty of locals helping them.

Speaking of recent arrivals, I never saw the present Party Chairwoman at an Executive Committee meeting until Paul Varco and the insiders presented her at the County Convention.  With zero experience she has to listen to the insiders.

Their most recent experiment in Republican affairs is to change the way Beaufort County Commissioners are elected.  They have been operating in secret.  They are circulating petitions to force a vote during the November of this year’s election.  They present petitions with a strong arm recommendation to “Just sign it, you can read the details later”.  The petition has been presented at voting places, the Republican forum held at the Community College during April, the Republican Head Quarters in Pamlico Plaza  and some other locations.

The creation of the petition and the maps that go with it was never approved by the Beaufort County Republican Executive Committee or the Democrat Party or given an opportunity for public comment.  But, all those soliciting signatures are Republicans.  This includes the Chairwoman of the Beaufort County Republican Party, Carolyn Garris, along with other members of  the Executive Committee.  I understand RINO,  zip code, Frankie Waters’ wife has been asking people to sign the petition.

The conservative Republicans were never asked or notified about the petition or the map showing how the districts would look.  They also serve on the Executive Committee.

This is the petition people are being asked to sign:  TO CHANGE THE METHOD OF ELECTING BEAFORT COUNTY NC COUNTY COMMISSIONES FROM AT-LARGE TO DISTRICTS: This petition is to change the method of electing county commissioner from limited at-large voting to seven single member districts with staggered four (4) year terms.  There shall be four (4) commissioners elected in presidential election years and three (3) commissioners elected in non-presidential election years.  5000 or 15 %, whichever is less, of registered voters in Beaufort County NC are required to sign this petition in order for a referendum to be placed on the 2022 general elections ballot.  If passed by a majority of  Beaufort County voters, the four commissioners elected in 2024 will be elected from a district in which they reside.  The three commissioners elected in 2026 will be elected from a district in which they reside.

It takes a lot of gaul in a democracy for anyone to make these decisions in secret. This is entirely in character with what has been going on within the Beaufort County Republican party during the past few years.  It was the Super Executive Committee with the ex-Senator Bill Cook in charge who used the Party machinery and Headquarters workers to defeat conservative Tandy Dunn and elect their favorite Buzzeo Republican, John Rebholz, only two years ago. 

Take a hard look at what these moronic Republicans are asking for.  Under their plan your vote will be cut in half.  You will be able to vote for only one commissioner every four years.  Even if everyone in the county gets to vote for one seat, can anyone explain what geography has to do with deciding the beliefs, principles. and character of anyone? 

There is presently a corruption on the Board of County Commissioners. That corruption is supported by the Beaufort County Republican Party.  The Party refused to vet candidates.  That is why we have Democrats running as Republicans and then forming alliances with elected Democrats to decide who the chairman of the Board will be.  At present the Republican party has taken no action to stop this.  Five of the seven commissioners are Republican, but the two Democrats decide who the chairman will be and with the backroom deals, many other major issues also.  This will not change when we vote by districts.  In fact history shows that dealmaking increases in a district system.  That is exactly how Southside High School was overbuilt and will never reach capacity utilization.  The Beaufort Observer reported that when it was built Southside was the most expensive school ever built in North Carolina, as measured on a per pupil basis.  Somebody cut a deal to get all that money for Southside while shortchanging other growing and overcrowded schools.

History shows us that the district system soon becomes corrupt in personnel decisions.  Many superintendents would not recommend a principal for a school in a district without getting the blessing of the board member from that district.  As a matter of fact, right here in Beaufort County principal candidates were sent to meet with the school board member from that district.  The same process came to be with terminations and school assignments for principals.  A person who was in a position to know told me that a young prospective teacher was told by a board member “when you get ready to apply to BCS let me know.  I’ll take care of it from there.”  Other board members seldom, if ever, challenged a recommendation that had the support of the board member from that district because they knew the day would come when they would expect the favor to be repaid.  Tales are told about the same corruption playing out in student discipline cases.  If your parents were buddies with the school board member from that district it was the board member, not the principal or superintendent who actually made the decision about who got punished and how harshly.  And of course this same system likely operates with businesses wanting to do business with the schools.  It is a sorry way to run a school system.

Of course such corruption can occur in an at large system, but it is easier to succumb to corruption when it is just one representative rather than four (majority) or seven as we have now.  Each commissioner now knows anybody in the county can vote against him/her.

Representative Keith Kidwell started this about three years ago.   I suggested to him that the Chairman and Vice Chairman be elected at-large if we went to districts.  Since that time no one in the Republican Party has spoken with me or the other conservatives on the board about going to the district system.  My concern is more with how this idea came to be and how the Republican Party handled it.  But I would still favor an at-large system which gave each voter as many votes as seats to be filled.

Secrecy in Government, secrecy in political parties, secrecy in circulating petitions, secrecy in setting up voting districts without input from the public are all corrupt practices.  The public should take care in voting for schemes put together in secrecy.  Honest people have no problem in being up front with the public.  Remember how secret Obama Care was.  How has that worked out?


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( June 4th, 2022 @ 1:24 pm )
Steve: As you know, I have put much time in this electoral construct of electing Beaufort County Commissioners, and, along with yourself and The Hood in this very tiny group, know much more than anyone else in Beaufort County regarding this issue, so my opinion should carry some weight.

What passes as a local GOP has not talked to me, does not care for my well considered opinion, so, rightly put, I will advise everyone to NOT sign any petition until I, and The Hood have approved the best possible plan to elect county commissioners. Also, if anyone has flippantly signed said petition, they should wisely withdraw their name until they get the Green Light from myself and The Hood. If anyone truly cares what is best here in local politics, what is most wise should matter.

Districts will not work in Beaufort County for a variety of reasons (this I am very sure of); however, the at-large plan, with everyone running at one time, has merit (with "shotgun voting" an option), and could be considered.

There are other plans that might also have merit, but districts in Beaufort County would reward the corrupt, and we have a gracious plenty of that already without any further help.
( June 4th, 2022 @ 7:58 am )
Countrygirl, what you suggest is a lot like the old system, where there were five districts , each township being a district, and candidates had to live in the district but all voters in the county voted on each district race. They all ran at the same time and had 2 year terms, which makes for a more responsive set of politicians. Unfortunately, the courts have held such systems racially discriminatory, so we are blocked from going back to that.

Limited voting is the same system the Red Chinese proposed for Hong Kong in their negotiations to end British colonial rule, but the British rejected as totally undemocratic. US courts have ruled that limited voting cannot be imposed on a local government by court order because it is such a questionably democratic system. The only way a local government can get stuck with it is by agreement to settle a lawsuit. We can thank our former all Democrat board of commissioners for getting stuck with it here, because they were the ones who proposed it, to try to save chairman Frank Bonner from having to run in a majority black district. David Moore proposed a district plan, and the GOP would have almost certainly won two of the districts he drew and had a shot at two more.

So what are out options now? There are really two of them, a district plan and an all at-large plan, with all commissioners running at the same time in the latter. Dividing an all at-large system into two groups elected at different times is discriminatory as it reduces to odds of electing minority candidates.

If the numbers were different here, I like the plan that Buncombe County used to use. They designated one seat as the chairman and candidates ran for that seat to be the chairman, so that the chairmanship was decided by the voters instead of the politiicians. The chairman's seat was a full time job and he also served as county manager, so there was no one powerful bureaucrat in the system. Conservative Republican Curt Ratcliff held the commission chairman's seat under that system for many years and the county never had a tax increase under it. Unfortunately, doing that in Beaufort County would set the numbers for six seats that would prohibit a minority-majority district, and that would probably be considered discriminatory. To have a separate chairman's seat would probably require increasing the number of commissioners to nine. I really like that system but I do not know that having nine commissioners would fly with the voters.

Because of David Moore's lawsuit, and the Democrat commissioners' foolish settlement of it, we have to be particularly careful of impacts on minorities. If the Democrat commissioners had not hired a surrender monkey for an attorney, whose goal was always negotiating the surrender instead of fighting the case, we had a really good chance of winning it in court.
( June 3rd, 2022 @ 6:33 pm )
Commissioners need to be elected just like judges. Each judge election is separate. Number the commissioner seats 1 - 7 if seat 2, 5 and 7 are up for re-election those wishing to run file to run for that seat 2, 5 or 7. When election time comes we get to vote for each seat not just one person. Or go back to the way it was if there are 3 seats up for re-election you get to vote for 3 people. Being able to vote for only one person when there are 3 seats up for re-election is just not right.

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