Feb 262010

Primary election candidate registration ended today at high noon.  The follwing list of candidates does not include the Judge seats and candidates.

Note:  VSO Endorsements will come after the filing closes and the candidates become know to the publc.

US Senate

Richard Burr (R) (i)
Eddie Burks (R)
Brad Jones (R)

Marcus Williams (D)
Ken Lewis (D)
Cal Cunningham (D)
Elaine Marshall (D)
Ann Worthy (D)

Michael Beitler (L)

US Congress 9th District

Sue Myrick (R) (i)
Jeff Doctor (D)

US Congress 8th District

Larry Kissel (D) (i)
Nancy Shakir (D)

Tim D’Annunzio (R)
Darrell Day (R)
Lou Huddleston (R)
Harold Johnson (R)
Hal Jordan (R)
Thomas Hill (L)

NC Senate 35th District

Fern Shubert (R)
Tommy Tucker (R)

Ed McQuire (D)

NC House of Representatives District 68

Jeff Gerber (R)
Craig Horn (R)

NC House of Representatives District 69

Pryor Gibson (D) (i)
John Barker (R)

NC House of Representatives District 67

Justin P. Burr (R) (i)
Kevin Furr (D)

Union County Commissioners

Lanny Openshaw (R)(i)
Roger Lane (R)
Todd Johnson (R)

Jerry Simpson (R)
Jonathan Thomas (R)
Walker Davidson (R)

Dr. Ken Baker (D)
Robin Stitt (D)

Stephen Burr (L)
Brandon Derr (L)
Tom Hohman (L)

Union County Sheriff

Eddie Cathey (R)

Union County District Attorney

John Snyder (R) (i)
Clayton Jones (R)

Union County Clerk of Court

J.R. Rowell (R) (i)

(R) Republican
(D) Democrat
(L) Libertarian

(i) indicates incumbent

Candidates in Color indicate actual filing for office.

NOTE to Candidates: If you have announced to run for office, please send me an email so I can post your name.

Feb 202010

According to the Charlotte Observer story (below) County Manager Al Greene withdrew is name from consideration for the top job in Horry County, South Carolina.

Union County manager drops plans to seek S_C_ job - CharlotteObserver_com_1259091
Click Thumbnail image to view article

Well, I didn’t see this coming.

According to published accounts, Mr. Greene never notified the Board of Commissioners officially or personally that he had applied for employment elsewhere. Perhaps he thought his application would remain in confidence — which I doubt as Mr. Greene’s experience should negate that kind of naiveté.

Then after the story breaks revealing that Mr. Greene is one of three finalists, he pulls his name out of consideration — for personal reasons.

Obviously, something changed. I can speculate that Mr. Greene may have been tipped off that the job was being given to another candidate or perhaps upon further investigation, he realized that Horry County is a political quagmire. You may recall Mr. Greene’s characterization of the Union County Board of Commissioners as ‘dysfunctional’, which apparently is a world class understatement when compared to Horry County’s eleven commissioner circus.

The following article concerns the ongoing controversy in Horry County involving a the County managers position and infighting among the commissioners (council-members) over the job candidates.

Horry County e-mails raise concerns; council may have violated S_C_ law - TheState_com
Click Thumbnail image to view article

Apparently, Al Greene has had a change of heart and now wants to stay at his job. This may not be so easy now that the ‘Genie is out of the bottle’ and everyone from Commissioners to fellow staff and employees know that Mr. Greene is looking for greener pastures.

Feb 182010

In yesterday’s Rock Hill Herald was a story concerning Union County’s current County Manager Al Greene, who was listed as a finalist for a County Manager position with Horry County, South Carolina. Horry County’s largest city is Myrtle Beach.

Mr. Greene’s employment contract with Union County expires on September 30, 2010. He was hired in May of 2008, after an 18 month search.

Former York Co_ manager Al Greene a finalist for Horry County post
Click thumbnail to view story

In today’s EJ covering the story, Parker Mills was quoted as saying:

“I’m not surprised,” Commissioner Parker Mills said. “The current majority (Commissioners Kim Rogers, Tracy Kuehler and Lanny Openshaw) stripped too much of his power.”

So typical of Parker Mills, whose first reaction is to interject an attack, without knowing any of the specifics — Mr. Greene never informed the Commissioners that he was looking at the Horry County opportunity.

Tell me, who wouldn’t want a job in Myrtle Beach?? How often does a plumb job opportunity come up?? Even Parker should see that if he wasn’t so blinded by partisanship.

The facts show that Mr. Greene’s authority is based on his contract, a contract given to him by Mr. Mills, and incidentally the same net contract given Mike Shalati less the sick leave.

No changes to his contract have taken place, thus no authority has been removed.

Unlike Mr. Mills, the new majority of Commissioners; Openshaw, Kuehler and Rogers didn’t FIRE the manager 30 DAYS after taking office, and PAY OUT $650,000 in severance and $1.2 million in lawyers trying not to pay the contract.

Oh, and then issue a statement saying that they saved the taxpayers $3 million because they could have lost that amount if Shalati’s case went to trial.

If Mr. Greene chooses to accept another position that is his decision and I wish him luck.

Feb 132010

There were promises of transparency and of a new kind of collaborative politics where establishment figures listened to ordinary Americans. We were going to see net spending cuts, tax cuts for nearly all Americans, an end to earmarks, legislation posted online for the public to review before it is signed into law, and a line-by-line review of the federal budget to remove wasteful programs.

These weren’t the tea-party platforms I heard discussed in Nashville last weekend. They were the campaign promises of Barack Obama in 2008.

Mr. Obama made those promises because the ideas they represented were popular with average Americans. So popular, it turns out, that average Americans are organizing themselves in pursuit of the kind of good government Mr. Obama promised, but has not delivered. And that, in a nutshell, was the feel of the National Tea Party Convention. The political elites have failed, and citizens are stepping in to pick up the slack.

via Glenn Harlan Reynolds: What I Saw at the Tea Party Convention – WSJ.com.

The author nailed it. Don’t miss this column.

Feb 112010
Indian Trail Town Council,

I cannot begin to express how disappointed I am with the actions taken during the Feb. 9th council meeting as the majority of Robert Allen, Jeff Goodall and Darlene Luther voted to eliminate the Public Safety committee. The nearly non-existent, so called reasoning provided by Mr. Allen for this action was a thin disguise for the real motive behind this. By all indications this was simply a move to eliminate the citizen involvement from the process. This will make it much easier for you to make future public safety decisions without the “hindrance” from citizen input and without the worry that their input may not support your agenda.

The fact that Mr. Allen also tried to “dissolve” the town’s Planning Board and Board of Adjustments with his initial motion is simply unbelievable. In the case of the Planning Board, it clearly shows that Mr. Allen had not even bothered to glance at the N.C. General Statues to discover that the Planning Board is required for towns and therefore can’t simply be “dissolved”. Smart move. Try opening a book next time.

The Planning Board and Board of Adjustment (BOA) are made up of citizen volunteers, appointed by the town council. They dedicate countless hours in meetings, in meeting preparation and in training for their tasks. These boards are setup such that about one third of the members of each board have terms that expire each year. This is designed for continuity reasons, so there is always a body of knowledge and experience on these boards. Within 18 months, following the normal process of interviewing applicants and appointing citizens to these two boards, the current council majority would have their “fingerprint” on a majority of these board members without the unnecessary risk of having boards with zero experience. Instead, you are apparently interested in getting rid of all current board members. Why? What is your real motive? One can only conclude that this is political. Appoint folks who agree with you and eliminate citizen committees that might hinder your agenda?

Why do you want to bring this Union County Board of Commissioners’ type of politics to Indian Trail?

You owe the citizens of Indian Trail an explanation for your actions. The worst thing is you don’t seem to have a clue or a care as to the message you have sent by your initial motion to “dissolve the Planning Board, the BOA, the Public Safety Committee and the Events Committee”. What’s the message? It’s “We don’t need genuine citizen involvement.” It’s “We don’t value your time or talents, your hours of service and your collective knowledge of the duties of your respective boards and committees.” Did you give any thought to the town planning staff that is responsible for providing education to new board members? To the fact that the countless hours of experience of our board members leads to a better “product”, be it a rezone request, an ordinance modification or the addition of necessary conditions on a given project, before that “product” even arrives at the council’s desk.

Indian Trail is in a transition period as we anxiously await the arrival of our new town manager. The fact that you choose this time, just weeks before the new manager comes onboard to start something as controversial as eliminating committees and “thanking” dedicated citizen volunteers by a motion to explore how to “dissolve” the boards that they serve on, shows a complete lack of sensitivity and frankly a lack of respect for our new town manager. “Welcome to your new position, we just axed several dozen of our most active citizens from our boards and committees, we hope this doesn’t make your new job any tougher than it already is.”

As a town citizen and as a former council member, I am embarrassed by your actions on this matter. I urge you to reconsider and attempt to repair the damage you have caused. Most of all, the three who supported this owe a real explanation to the voters. You do understand that you don’t just represent your own interests, right? You understand that you now represent the interests of over 27,000 people, right?. How do your actions in this matter benefit those 27,000+ people?

Dan Schallenkamp, Indian Trail Citizen

Feb 102010

Anti-Tea Party Web Site Part of Scheme to Funnel Funds
By Joseph Abrams – FOXNews.com

A new Web site targeting the tea parties is a part of a complex network of money flowing from the mountainous coffers of the country’s biggest labor unions and trickling slowly into political slush funds for Democratic activists.

A seemingly grassroots organization that’s mounted an online campaign to counter the tea party movement is actually the front end of an elaborate scheme that funnels funds — including sizable labor union contributions — through the offices of a prominent Democratic party lawyer.

A Web site popped up in January dedicated to preventing the tea party’s “radical” and “dangerous” ideas from “gaining legislative traction,” targeting GOP candidates in Illinois for the firing squad.

“This movement is a fad,” proclaims TheTeaPartyIsOver.org, which was established by the American Public Policy Center (APPC), a D.C.-based campaign shop that few people have ever heard of.

But a close look reveals the APPC’s place in a complex network of money flowing from the mountainous coffers of the country’s biggest labor unions into political slush funds for Democratic activists.

Here’s how it works: What appears like a local groundswell is in fact the creation of two men — Craig Varoga and George Rakis, Democratic Party strategists who have set up a number of so-called 527 groups, the non-profit election organizations that hammer on contentious issues (think Swift Boats, for example).

Read more.
FOXNews.com – Anti-Tea Party Web Site Part of Scheme to Funnel Funds.

In reading the Fox News article, it is easy to draw the conclusion that a political shell game has become the norm as advocacy groups attempt to gain undeserved credibility by virtue of hiding their true identity and laundering contributions through multiple layers of organization. Organized crime operates in a similar fashion.

Happened here in Union County

Union County has experienced the same kind of Political Hit-Squads reported in the Fox News story. In the 2008 Primary Election, supporters of Jonathan Thomas’ candidacy created a ’503 (c)’ non-profit corporation called Union County 2020. This group was specifically engineered to blatantly skirt campaign finance laws, hide funding sources and launch negative attacks with impunity against opposition candidates.

From the County Edge Newspaper – May 9, 2008

A dejected Jonathan Thomas
Jonathan Thomas

…Though a new political name, Thomas mounted a stiff challenge for his first pursuit of elected office. Many observers found Thomas to be a polished candidate – one that could be on the fast track for a political career. His detractors, however, questioned the source of his support with some suggesting that Thomas had special interest ties and could be behind the attacks against Rogers.

“There are things that happened outside our control,” Thomas said. “That’s completely not who I am.”

According to a filing with the Secretary of State, an organization named Union County 2020, with officers Stephen Helms, son of former commissioner and state Department of Transportation board member Larry Helms, county agricultural leader Don Kerr, and Ingram Walters, threw its support behind Thomas.

“The only special interest that I’m behind is Union County,” Thomas said.

Thomas said he too was the victim of misinformation, including false ties about his connection to builders.(1)

  1. Apparently, Mr. Thomas didn’t read his own Campaign Finance report he submitted to the Board of Elections, which listed very large donations from well-known Union County developers and Developer PACs, including Dean Harrell, John Crossland, Michael McGee, SSPACE and NC Realtors PAC, to name a few. []