Monday, May 01, 2006

The 2006 Primary Vote

Have you decided? Paid attention? Perused the excellent voting guide in the Mountain Xpress? BlogAsheville presents an only vaguely partisan look at tomorrow's big primary. Huge chunks have been shoplifted from Mountain Xpress' voters' guide. Xpressers ought to consider this the most sincere form of flattery:

Buncombe County Sheriff

I invite you to imagine the office politics when six subordinates of the current Sheriff are running against him for his job. Sheriff Bobby Medford, who tends to travel with a gang of beefy roughnecks for protection, is the lone Republican in this race. Six contenders are stepping up to the plate:

Rick Cummings (who maybe didn't understand the question) -
"What's your position on the unannounced urban-warfare exercise the department hosted in downtown Asheville in 2004? Are you aware of plans for more such maneuvers?"

"Everyone is entitled to freedom of speech, as long as no local or state laws are violated. No ... knowledge [of future plans]."

Van Duncan (who isn't bucking for friends in the middle management) -
"What does the Sheriff's Department spend too much money on? Too little?"

"Too much money is spent on salaries for people in administrative roles that are not contributing to the mission of service. We must use our budget effectively to provide that service. The priority must be more deputies on the road and continual training for them."

Lee Farnsworth (who echoes the standard talking points) -
"Should the Sheriff's Department be more transparent? If so, what steps would you take to achieve this?

Yes. Establish a public-relations position and employ a qualified individual. Provide the media with clear informational releases on issues on a daily basis. Provide open access by the media to the sheriff and division directors. Answer all media questions in a timely manner while complying with law concerning information."

James A. Grant (who wins the "most likely to be impossibly vague" award) -
What are your top three crime-fighting priorities?

• Environment
• Economy
• Education
• Enforcement

J.B. Howard (the only candidate not listing drug enforcement in his top priorities) -
What are your top three crime-fighting priorities?

• Improving response to domestic-violence incidents, including effective follow-ups.
• Addressing the sagging number of solved cases through better case management and accountability.
• Restore the School Resource Officer program to one where the officers are truly effective and proactive role models for our school kids.

Walt Robertson (who, if I read this right, is going to take a pay cut if he wins) -
What does the Sheriff's Department spend too much money on? Too little?

"Too much: High-ranking personnel.

Too little: Training and equipment."

State House District 116

Greg Cathcart, Democrat (who lays his cards on the table) -
"What most distinguishes you from your opponents in this primary?"

"I have no political experience, but I see and talk to people who live and work in this district, and I am running because I know what is important to them."

Jim F. Hughes, Democrat (who at least mentions mental health) -
"Name three state budget areas or items that should be reduced and three that should be increased."

"Budgets are interesting documents when looked at closely. But ... public leaders must take the trouble to actually look. Trimming wasteful spending ... will always be a priority of mine, regardless of the program. Education, mental health and emergency services are areas we need to be sure are appropriately funded."

Doug Jones, Democrat (who throws down the gauntlet regarding the lottery money) -
"What do you plan to do to ensure equitable distribution of state lottery funds to WNC?"

"I have called for a general freeze of all lottery revenues until the current unfair and irresponsible distribution method is corrected. We must have a lottery that creates a real promise for our students, one whose benefits are fairly shared, and one whose revenues do not supplant current education spending."

James Latimore, Democrat (who gets bonus points for saying "we're getting screwed") -
"What do you plan to do to ensure equitable distribution of state lottery funds to WNC?"

"Go back to the drawing board and come up with a new formula. The money should be distributed equitably on the basis of school population. It isn't now – we're getting screwed in WNC by a formula that was devised by the powers in the eastern part of the state."

Bill Porter, Republican (who believes that all politics is capitalism) -
Do you support a public-funding option for Council of State candidates, similar to the judicial public-financing system approved in 2002? Why?

No. Part of being a viable candidate is the ability to raise money.

Charles C. Thomas, Republican (who comes across as competent and very boring) -
"Do you believe the state's ethics law for legislators is adequate? If not, how would you change it?"

"Ethics reform is a serious issue and is seriously needed. The new system must include a process for ethics-compliance verification and full disclosure."

State House District 115

Eric Gorny, Republican (who wants to privatize the lottery, and give most of the money to some mega-corporation) -
"What do you plan to do to ensure equitable distribution of state lottery funds to WNC?"

I think the state should sell the lottery to a private company and place a 35 percent tax on the tickets that would go to a school trust fund.

Bill Reynolds, Republican (who demonstrates a to-a-fault economy of language) -
"Name three state budget areas or items that should be reduced and three that should be increased."

"Too much is being spent in most cases already. Adjust present expenditures."

State Senate District 49

R.L. Clark, Republican (who is three times as old as his opponent) -
"What's your position on the proposed passenger-rail service between Raleigh and Western North Carolina?"

"This is pie-in-the-sky dreaming of another way to spend taxpayer money, whether it be local, state or federal."

Brian Cooper, Republican (whose youthful enthusiasm verges on grandiosity) -
"What most distinguishes you from your opponents in this primary?"

"This is a campaign of pure idealism. It is one of the common man, and it is an effort to bring about a revolution in political thought."

North Carolina Supreme Court - go here to see the nonpartisan judicial voting guide.

North Carolina Court of Appeals - go here to see the same damn nonpartisan judicial voting guide

United States Congress District 11

Clyde Michael Morgan, Democrat: Morgan, who's earned the loyalty of Cecil Bothwell and some guy named anonymous at my blog, is a full-on lefty liberal with a head full of steam and no campaign budget to speak of. He's also got a sticky Voluntary Manslaughter charge, for which he completed a six-year jail sentence. We'll assume the manslaughtering was done with full liberal compassion for the cause of social justice.

Heath Shuler, Democrat: The establishment candidate with a real mixed bag of stances, Shuler has been running strongly west of the Balsams. He's going to have trouble explaining his pro-life stance and previous support of Republicans to Asheville's anti-establishment voters, but his progressive beliefs regarding health care, education, environment, and labor are palatable to every Democrat in the district.

John Armor, Republican: Armor, the only candidate to give an on-the-record interview to BlogAsheville, is a constitutional scholar and online rabble-rouser. His quixotic campaign against Charles Taylor is at turns admirable and laughable. Armor has said that he would vote pretty much the same way Taylor has, but he'll be honest. He's running against Charles Taylor's lousy ethics, and here's hoping he gets 30%.

Charles Taylor, Republican: Charles Taylor, perennial muckraker, scoundrel, liar, and xenophobe is running another campaign against another challenger. He's planning lots of untruthful advertisements, lots of touting his pork barrel mythology, and lots of not showing up to debates. He's an awful, awful man. Republican or not, this guy is too ethically compromised to even consider. {this opinion is not the opinion of BlogAsheville as an entity. It is merely the truth}

So go vote, Ashevillains! If you want my recommendations, click the comments.


Screwy Hoolie said...

Sheriff - J.B. Howard
State House 116 - Doug Jones
State House 115 - Um... I like the incumbent, who doesn't have a primary challenger...
State Senate 49 - more distasteful Republicans here...

Congress NC11 - Screwy Hoolie endorses Heath Shuler. Clyde Michael Morgan is not a viable candidate for this district. We all loved Patsy Keever, right? Well Patsy got shellacked because she was too far left. Morgan is waaaaaay to the left of Patsy.

Shuler's going to take a lot of flack from Asheville liberals, and he ought to. I don't like where he stands on abortion, and I don't like his alliance with Republicans in Tennessee. However, I do like his commitment to health care, education, the environment, and labor. His abortion stance takes that issue off the table for the election, and he's stated in meetings that he will not attempt to legislate what he sees as a personal moral decision.

Screwy Hoolie said...

NC Supreme Court - Sarah Parker, Chief Justice

Patricia Timmons-Goodson

Jill Ledford Cheek

NC Court of appeals -

Robert C. "Bob" Hunter

Linda Stephens