By: Hood Richardson
The reality is most political parties are split into two factions. Both the Democrat and Republican parties have these factions. Party success usually depends on how dogmatic these factions are. Dogmatism is stronger in the Republican Party. Democrats, until lately, realize that unless they all stick together they will lose. For the past few years, the Democrat Party has become fiercely dogmatic resulting in the loss of support because of their drift toward socialism.
Within the Beaufort County Republican Party Executive Committee, in more recent years, there has been little or no discussion about issues. For instance, there has been no open discussion about “how we elect county commissioners.” Yet party resources have been used to promote a petition drive to change the electoral system for commissioners from “Limited Voting” to a district system. A district map has even been produced, but to date never discussed or voted upon by the Executive Committee. Mainly because the liberals or RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) have had their way. There way has been for a small clique to get together and decide “how it’s going to be” and then expect everyone else to fall in line. That is slowly beginning to change. While conservative republicans differed, most kept quiet, on this and other issues, to preserve some semblance of party unity.
That is beginning to change, mainly because absolute power breeds absolute corruption. The RINOs thought they were in charge when they unilaterally started circulating the petition to change the way we elect commissioners in Beaufort County. They ignored the elected conservative Republicans, the Democrats, the blacks, and the public at large. We have reports that several who were pushing the petition told potential signatories that “the Republican Party supports this (going to a district system)…”
The “insiders” in the Beaufort County Executive Committee are arrogant enough to propose a system of electing commissioners from districts they thought they could control. And all other things being equal, they assumed it would be easier to control a district than to have candidates run county-wide. And of course, we have seen the shenanigans that go on in “redistricting.” The Leadership (of both parties) in Raleigh seem obsessed with who gets districted in and who gets the shaft. Just ask Bill Cook how that works. This current Republican Executive Committee has proposed a map that they think would make it harder to Stan Deatherage and Hood Richardson to get re-elected to the County Commission.
The insiders in the Beaufort County Executive Committee tried to politically purge Richardson and Deatherage from the Republican Party. I remember the news stories about the purges of Joseph Stalin, the Russian dictator. He purged people into Siberian prisons. He purged people from Moscow and the Communist Party. Mao did likewise in China.
By “purge” here I mean marginalize those who might disagree with the Ruling Clique.
Purging conservative Republicans became the most important goal of the RINOs when Proctor Kidwell was County Chairman, followed by Keith Kidwell, and reached a higher level with former Senator Bill Cook as Chairman and is now being carried out by Carolyn Garris. If you’re not aware of what the “Yellow Sheet Crusade” was, then you should check it out. Oversimplified, what the Ruling Clique did was corral attendance at the County Convention with people, many of whom had never attended a convention and have not been seen since. Because these people were so ill informed the Ruling Clique felt it necessary to print instructions for who they should vote for. They did it on yellow paper, thus the “Yellowsheeters.” Only Republicans attending the Beaufort County Conventions can bring an end to this misery,
The simple fact is that it is easier to purge candidates who are not part of the Ruling Clique in a district system than it is in a county-wide election. There is some dialogue related to this on the Beaufort Observer and Beaufort County Now web sites if you want to check this out. There are 100 counties in North Carolina. There may be 40 or 50 ways counties elect commissioners. The legislature allows each county to decide, then passes a law for that county.
I am not opposed to changing the way we elect commissioners, provided it gives the public more votes and addresses the concerns of all of the various interest groups and all options are fairly considered.
In principle, I favor each voter getting as many votes as there are seats available, county-wide. One way is to allow commissioners to run at large with each voter having 7 votes to be cast as he pleases. That is to place one vote for 7 people or 7 votes for one person, or any other combination desired by the voter.
Currently, there is the issue of corruption between the Republicans and the Democrats in the selection a Chairman and Vice Chairman. Even with 5 Republicans sitting on the board, the two Democrats decide who the Chairman and Vice Chairman will be.
This happens because the system of limited voting that was installed in the early 1990’s has worked “too well.” The purpose of limited voting was to guarantee that two minority blacks would be elected commissioner. The system favors minorities. Seven Democrats installed this system to settle a lawsuit over minorities not getting elected. However, limited voting favors all minorities. No Republicans or blacks were elected before the law was changed. Now the reverse is true, 5 Republicans and 2 Democrats. The old system was not a real at-large system because it used “residential districts.” It shows how The Clique can control a district system. That system was used to insure Frank Bonner having a “safe district.” It worked…for a few Democrats.
The present situation is not all strait mathematics. The Democrats moved away from their conservative ways into socialism and communism. Many left the party and became independents (unaffiliated) or Republicans, while young people registered disproportionately unaffiliated. You have to wonder if this was not a rejection of the districted system.
The shift of people who were liberal but not liberal enough to embrace socialism or communism, provided an opportunity for more liberals to be elected. It is apparent that Democrats have a hard time getting elected in Beaufort County. Several Democrats have sworn their allegiance to conservatism, got themselves elected as Republicans and then voted as Democrats. In my book, if you vote like a Democrat you are a Democrat, regardless of whether you are registered as a Democrat or a Republican. But you can fool part of the people all of the time.
With five Republicans, sitting on the board, two Democrats decide who the Chairman will be. This is because liberal Republicans make deals with them and vote with them. Fake Frankie Waters uses the votes of two Democrats, Jerry Langley and Ed Booth , to be chairman. He votes with them on the majority of all issues. That is why I call him “Fake Frankie.” He is good at fooling the people about what he actually is.
This is how we got a budget with 5.6 million dollars of increased spending this year. Not one penny was cut from the proposed budget. They actually increased the Manager‘s proposed budget. Taxes are not being raised because the increased spending is coming from our savings. Faking the people out. All spending increases become tax increases. Fake Frankie Waters may not be a Commissioner when it is time for you to pay for his wasteful ways.
The issue of corruption between RINOs and Democrats can easily be resolved in the way we vote for commissioners. What if the Chairman and Vice Chairman ran at large every two years with the five commissioners running at large every two years. Each voter would have five votes to use as they please with one vote for the chairman and one vote for the vice chairman. Then the public has 14 votes every two years. With the chairman being elected on a single slate, he should have the option of assuming the position of County Manager. Should he have to say whether or not he would be the manager before or after he is elected? There is no doubt electing officials as I have described in this paragraph would clean up a lot of Beaufort County Government. Wonder if that may be why the Ruling Clique doesn’t want to discuss other options.
Involving the black voters and the Democrat Party in the process of deciding how we vote for commissioners eliminates law suits, provides for minority representation and slaps the hands of the RINOs.
Returning government to the will of the people should be the goal of everyone. That is not likely to happen in a backroom by a small clique.
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