Monday, September 30, 2013

Yay! We're Getting Sued!

The Federal lawsuit against the new voter suppression law in North Carolina will, as we understand it, challenge four parts of the state law: the state's decision to cut back on early voting by a week; the elimination of same day registration during that early voting period; the prohibition on counting certain provisional ballots that are not prepared in a voter's specific precinct; and the adoption of a strict photo identification requirement "without adequate protection" for voters who lack that required ID.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Eggers and Aceto Are Still Remotely Controlled Drones

Watauga County Board of Elections majority, Luke Eggers and Bill Aceto, continue to treat elections office Director Jane Anne Hodges like a doorstop.

In an article published last night in the Winston-Salem Journal, it comes to light that 27-year veteran Hodges recommended that Eggers and Aceto add a discussion to Wednesday's meeting agenda of the potential election-day problems at the Legends building (Boone 2 precinct) ... no back-up power, a flooding problem, and inadequate handicap access. State Board of Elections Executive Director Kim Strach had in fact directed that the local board come up with a backup polling place plan.

No dice, say Eggers and Aceto.

It's not in the script written for them by Luke Eggers' big brother Four, so they're not going to discuss it.

Watauga BOE meets Wednesday, October 2, 5 p.m., in the County Courthouse.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Randolph County Board of Education Reverses Itself

"The Invisible Man" ain't invisible anymore in Randolph County schools.

The book by Ralph Ellison, banned last week on a 5-2 vote by the Randolph County School Board, was reinstated in school libraries last night on a 6-1 vote to reconsider what some school board members admitted was a rash decision.

The original vote to ban the book came after the complaint of a single parent. The vote to reinstate came after a deluge of email and negative state-wide and national attention.

One school board member who reversed his vote last night had a good deal to confess about his personal feelings and a newfound appreciation for the Constitution, according to the Asheboro Courier-Tribune:
Board member Matthew Lambeth led off the discussion, apologizing for not personally seeking counsel from the board’s legal adviser, teachers and the superintendent before voting last week. He said he read the book twice, once in college and again three weeks ago after receiving a copy. 
He explained that as a college freshman it gave him a perspective he had never seen, having been raised in a “very white background.” However, he said he took issue about the “explicit accounts” related to incest and rape with which he was familiar because of incidents affecting individuals he knew. 
Lambeth said since the last meeting he had listened to other viewpoints and still was concerned about the book’s content and protection of students, but realized that the decision was about a child’s First Amendment rights and educational values, not his personal perspective.
I'm liking that Randolph County School Board member this morning! And the rest of those members who actually listened and learned and reversed a wrong-headed decision.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Koch Blocked

It was the Koch Brothers who funded a web ad last week that features a man in a "creepy Uncle Sam" costume preparing to give a college-aged woman a pelvic exam.

Pasquotank County BOE Still Up to No Good

Pete Gilbert, Republican
mastermind of voter
suppression in Pasquotank Co.
The all-white Board of Elections staff in Pasquotank County is still hassling the mainly black student body at Elizabeth City State University. Early Voting began there on September 19.

This is where the now-famous Montravius King is running for Elizabeth City's town council, after being reinstated to the ballot by the State Board of Elections.

The only thing that's going to correct this situation is the intervention of the Department of Justice.

This Is Your Government on Gas

They intend to frack us, and they intend to deny that anything bad has happened to our water as a result.

That was utterly transparent when the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) turned down federal grants that would have paid for establishing a "baseline" of water quality in areas where fracking will take place. Without a baseline report of what's in your water and what's not in your water right now, well, when your faucet swill starts igniting, the gas companies will be able to say with a straight face, "That methane was in there all along."

You have turned your government over to vandals, North Carolina, who have no conscience, no values, no vision beyond the enrichment of their special interest supporters.


Friday, September 20, 2013


So the Republican majority on the Watauga County Commission are very comfortable about having their Republican attorney also running the Board of Elections while not serving on the Board of Elections.

No, no conflict of interest here. Move along now.

One does experience a little whiplash trying to follow Commissioner David Blust's defense of Stacy C. Eggers IV. Sez Blust, Four Eggers has "never been political one way or the other" and then two seconds later, according to the reporter for the Watauga Democrat, "he suggested that the county attorney's role is inherently political."

The second statement is the correct one. Though not all county attorneys so successfully subvert democrary by simultaneously manipulating the voting process for partisan advantage to benefit his own bosses on the County Commission as well as every other Republican running for office.

The problem with building those stonewalls of denial is what gets walled up with the people doing the denying. There's a point at which an albatross begins to stink.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bill Aceto Improperly Appointed to the Watauga BOE

State statute §163-30, regarding appointments to local boards of elections, states in part that "…No person who holds any office in a state, congressional district, county or precinct political party or organization, or who is a campaign manager or treasurer of any candidate or political party in a primary or election, shall be eligible to serve as a member of a county board of elections."

Bill Aceto, who has been Four Luke Eggers' second vote on everything, was listed as the Boone 2 precinct chair for the Watauga County Republican Party at the time of his appointment, and is still listed as precinct chair of Boone 2.

Par for the course for this illegitimate Watauga County Board of Ventriloquism.

The Wrath

Yup, EggersBros, the subversion of the Board of Elections to your partisan goals has indeed gotten the attention of Appalachian State University students. Scheme, meet backfire.

Andrew Cox, in The Appalachian newspaper:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Isn't This Just Plain Fraud?

Four Eggers,
email impersonator
During the infamous August 12 Board of Elections meeting, in which the newly installed Luke Eggers presented several resolutions for changing the voting landscape of Boone, his big brother Four Eggers sat down the street in his office and began writing an email to NC Board of Elections Executive Director Kim Strach ... impersonating Luke and using Luke's email address to defend resolutions that had not even been officially passed at that time.

This is the irrefutable evidence presented in a fresh report in the Winston-Salem Journal, posted tonight at 10:01 p.m.


An article published yesterday in the Watauga Democrat allowed Four and Luke Eggers to tell their version of events surrounding the cooptation of the Watauga County Board of Elections. We select quotations from both the reporter and the Eggers Bros. for comment:

1. "County Attorney Stacy 'Four' Eggers had influence...." Mere "influence" has never been the issue. Complete remote control by unseen hands has always been the issue.

2. "...question of whether a person can act as an impartial legal advisor to the Board of Elections while simultaneously assisting with its policies."
Again, "assisting" misses the point that Four Eggers has been running the entire operation from hiding. Misses the point by a good country mile. He rewrote the minutes of the August 12th meeting, fer Chrissakes, without having been there.

3. Four Eggers is quoted: "I'm volunteering my past experience to the current board members at no cost to the county."
Four Eggers wrote an official letter to the Democratic member of the BOE, refusing to offer advice or help to her because county policy prohibited him from advising a single member of the BOE, he said: "It has been the longstanding policy of Watauga County that its County Attorney does not provide legal advice to the members of the general public, the media, or individual board members about legal matters involving the county." The Watauga Democrat reporter did not call Four Eggers out on that glaring inconsistency. Furthermore, he's not just "volunteering" his "past experience" to his brother. He's writing everything, or directing his secretary to type what he has written, and pulling all the strings. And he's doing all of that in yet a third unacknowledged role as political director of the Watauga County Republican Party, in consultation with party Chair Anne Marie Yates whose brother is currently running for Boone Town Council. Yeah, there's no problem with any of that at all!

4. Luke Eggers, who was unavailable to the Winston-Salem Journal reporter, is suddenly not only available to the Watauga Democrat, but he's a positive blabber-mouth, telling a story. And it is a story. A cover-up story not particularly credible.

They keep digging that hole deeper, inadvertently assisted by the Watauga Democrat, in this particular instance.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Intercepted E-Mail to the State Board of Elections

Date: Sun, Sep 15, 2013 at 1:28 PM
Subject: Watauga County BOE - Today's WSJ Article
To:, "Wright, Don" <>,

I believe it important to bring to your attention today's Winston Salem Journal article, clearly revealing wrongdoing on the part of Luke and Stacy "Four" Eggers.
Four Eggers' actions now clearly demonstrate the very reason that Chairman Howard stated for not reappointing Four Eggers - that he could not serve as County Attorney and serve on the County BOE.  The problem is that Four Eggers has found a way to continue acting in both roles.

Surely it is the case that this is more than unethical.  I find it hard to believe that it is not illegal for one person (really anyone) to actually run a county BOE without being officially appointed to that board. 
Further, it seems clear that the individual who was officially appointed by the State BOE to serve on Watauga's BOE - Luke Eggers - has abdicated his responsibilities and was (minimally) complicit in letting his brother, Four, run the board on his behalf.  I would think that the State Board now has the responsibility to consider whether Luke Eggers' continued service on the Watauga BOE is warranted.

Brother Love

Four Eggers
I began saying, or at least implying, back early in August that Stacy C. Eggers IV ("Four"), Watauga County attorney, was also ghostwriting every word that his little brother Luke Eggers began delivering as Chair of the Watauga County Board of Elections, mainly resolutions that seriously attempted to reorder access to the polls in Watauga County and which were seriously partisan in nature.

It was obvious that Four was authoring all those resolutions and that he also rewrote the minutes of the August 12th meeting without having been there.

Now Bertrand Gutierrez of the Winston-Salem Journal has proven it with the evidence of the digital "thumbprint" that every computer places on every document created on that computer. Before Gutierrez's article this morning, I didn't even know such a thumbprint existed. Now I can legitimately say, "Told ya so!"

There's much more in the Gutierrez article:

1. Finally, an explanation for why Four Eggers was not appointed to the Watauga County Board of Elections in the first place: Josh Howard, chair of the State Board of Elections that made the appointments, is quoted: “He serves as the county attorney. I don’t think he can do both jobs because the county attorney often has to advise the county board of elections.” In other words, Josh Howard was troubled by the appearance of a conflict of interest. Appearance. Yeah, we've gone a little past that!

2. Did we say "conflict of interest"? Gutierrez includes evidence in his article that while Four Eggers was doing all of his little brother's homework, he was also turning aside a request for help or clarification from Democratic member of the Watauga Board of Elections, Kathleen Campbell. Four Eggers is revealed as a double-dealer, telling Campbell piously, "Oh I can't help you without also helping another member of the Board, and that would be wrong because I would have to bill the county for that service."

3. Speaking of "billing the county," Gutierrez does not delve into Four Eggers' billing records. Maybe Watauga's local press would like to take up that slack.

4. O it was a grand scheme: Even though Four Eggers was kept off the local BOE, he pushed his little brother Luke forward to Republican Party Chair Anne Marie Yates for appointment, and with Four writing all Luke's documents, including most especially agendas for the meetings, Four could still run the Board of Elections from behind the scenes, and they would take the gloves off ... grind down Elections Director Jane Anne Hodges, shut down ASU student voting to the extent the law allows, make it possible for Anne Marie Yates's "Templeton slate" of candidates to take the Boone Town Council in this fall's elections. O it was a grand scheme. But turns out Four Eggers had a thumbprint.

5. What does it say about Four Eggers that he would hang his brother out to dry: "Asked if Luke Eggers wrote any of them [resolutions voted on by the BOE], Four Eggers said: 'You’d have to ask him about that.'”  Yeah, give that a try. Luke Eggers is now dodging the press like a fugitive. What does it say about Four Eggers that he would volunteer his little brother to become a big patsy, the total tool of older, more powerful, and more ruthless people?

6. The reaction of Watauga County Commission Chair Nathan Miller: "If he [Four Eggers] wants to give advice to his brother, free and off the public doles, so that he’s not taking any public money, then so be it. I’m not going to stop him from giving advice to his brother. And I don’t think that creates any kind of conflict.” It's been proven that what's at issue here is a good deal more than "giving advice to his brother." Nathan Miller sees no conflict of interest. Mind you, this is the eyesight of the man who wants to be elected our District Attorney next year. (And there, still begging for attention, are Four's billing records.)

7. "Collaboration" means something else to Four Eggers. It means "dictation."

8. O what a web we weave when first we practice to deceive. The part of Gutierrez' article that details his interview with Four Eggers is a tangled mass of equivocations. Four changes his story to fit the evidence as the interview progresses, wrapping yourself around the axle of his own Grand Scheme. Four first says he "helped Luke work on some of those" resolutions. Then he's not sure that "I can say I wrote them. But I did help him [Luke] work on his resolutions," just like two frat boys with a sixpack and a yellow pad, spitballing ideas late into the night. “I don’t know if I can claim authorship," Four sez, but presented with the thumbprint evidence, he decides that maybe he was sitting at the computer, just typing while Luke dictated the language of the resolutions. Then he places Luke at the computer, borrowing it to send e-mails. The biggest groaner: Four claims that he didn't really know the final form of the resolutions that Luke sent out. Holes, meet truck.

9. No, there's been no "over-exaggeration" of Four Eggers' role in the recent political life of Watauga County, even though Four Eggers said this to Bertrand Gutierrez: “It is no secret that I have been involved in political activities and have been involved with issues that are local issues of local concern. I think that they [critics] would probably be over-exaggerating my role and my influence by saying that I [am] somehow making decisions."

10. Where is Anne Marie Yates in all this?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Too Clever By Half

The stir on the Right is that the Rev. Mark Harris is being inserted into the Republican U.S. Senate race in order to split the conservative vote and thereby advantage NC House Speaker Thom Tillis, whose own campaign stalled months ago.


The Governor Shrugs

What! No toe-stepping this time?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A New Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate: Baptist Preacher, Who Calls Thom Tillis "A Kay Hagan Lite"

The Republican circus just got another main ring, with Rev. Mark Harris, whose main claim to fame (other than pastoring First Baptist Church in Charlotte), is leading the fight in North Carolina to make sure gay couples are treated as second-class citizens.

Thom Tillis, now headed further to the Right.

Jonathan Jordan Dumping His House Seat for Something More Lucrative?

There have been persistent rumors that the Ashe County Commission recently fired their county manager in order to hire current NC House member Jonathan Jordan. Those rumors just broke out into the open.

When asked directly whether he would be applying for the manager's job, Jonathan Jordan gave what must go down in the annals as one of the most inartful non-denial denials we've ever heard: “I really don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Yes he does.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Different Can, Same Swill

Secretary of Health and Human Services, Aldona Wos, has felt compelled to hire herself a "branding" director. Make that rebranding.

Aldona Wos is our dollar-a-year public servant and worth every penny of that dollar! She's one of those sterling appointees by our governor, made during an infrequent break from "stepping on toes."

Who did she hire to "rebrand" her dismantlement of health and human services in North Carolina? A political hack named Aaron Mullins, 38, who's making $68,000, which is almost $20,000 less than a 24-year-old former McCrory campaign staffer almost hired by Wos to pretend to be some sort of health-care "analyst." Mullins should ask for a raise. He's old enough to be that boy's father.

What's the re-brander's qualifications for the job? He once held Senator Elizabeth Dole's handbag, and he worked recently for former NC Republican Party Chair Tom Fetzer. So we guess he had high-powered references. And there's this: "Mullins also produced a glowing biographical video on Pat McCrory that was shown as part of the future GOP governor's 2012 election night victory celebration." He got $7,000 for that video and learned an important lesson: flattery is a pretty good career track.

He apparently has a whopping 150 Twitter followers, which, to dollar-a-year Aldona Wos, makes him an expert at social media.

Monday, September 09, 2013

McCrory Is Off To See the Wizard (Of PR Makeovers)

On the editorial pages of the major McClatchy papers in the state this morning, Gov. McCrory gets some advice from Jim Jenkins. It's good advice. We trust that McCrory will ignore it, and there's already evidence that he will ignore it.

Because he's putting his political future in the hands of makeover artists. The McCrory reelection front group, Renew North Carolina Foundation, is launching a 60-second TV ad across the state meant to make The Guv look, or at least talk, tough. "I'm stepping on toes right and left," The Guv brags.

If those ad-wise manipulators of public perception can't quite turn McCrory into Harry Truman, they at least know how to paint lips on a pig. So we'll see if that helps.

Despite all the voice-over bravado that 60 seconds can deliver, McCrory still seems more like Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion than like G.I. Joe.

How does such a lightweight step on toes and leave any impression at all?

Sunday, September 08, 2013


And the weather forecast for Republicans continues dismal, with a chance of tsunami.

The News&Observer today has an in-depth look at several "swing" districts in North Carolina, including Jonathan Jordan's 93rd House District. Best moment in the article: when the West Jefferson Republican sez he's "very happy" with what happened this year in Raleigh but only wishes they'd gone even further.

That attitude is very much pushing the pendulum away from the NC GOP, so we're glad to see it so naked and so unrepentant. Keep that up, fellas!

Best sign we've seen all summer at a public demonstration against Raleigh:


Saturday, September 07, 2013

Face-Palm or Giggles: Seven Pieces of Debris for a Saturday

Fluffing himself up. Why would Phil Berger spend that kind of money on that kind of TV ad unless he was planning to rough up Thom Tillis in a Republican senatorial primary? Inquiring minds want to know.

"DHHS is an example of cronyism gone wild." The NC state agency named for "Health & Human Services" may soon be changing its name to "High and Unjustified Salaries." A couple of weeks ago, the issue was 20-somethings who used to work for McCrory's campaign getting jobs in DHHS in the $80 thousand range. Now it's the 20-somethings who make over $80,000 defending a crony of the husband of the department's head making over $220,000 for eight months of "consultation."

Tip of the iceberg? Those high salaries being paid cronies of the ruling elite at DHHS don't even account for other sweetheart contracts being issued there, for example, to washed-up politicos like Les Merritt, whose name seems remarkably apt in this context.

When You're In a Bubble, Everyone Looks Like a Bubble-Popper. The Guv is still being followed everywhere by protesters who don't like his policies and are beginning to really detest him personally, and under those circumstances it was bound to happen that a news reporter would get kicked off the premises where The Guv was grippin' and grinnin' at a private function designed to fluff his image.

The Guv's Flack Uses a Fake Name. No Kidding. According to Greg Flynn, "With all the fuss by Pat McCrory about Voter ID you'd think that matching real names to real people was a major priority of his, yet Kim Genardo is not the real name of his Communications Director. It's a stage name based on her mother's maiden name. It's not the name she is registered to vote under. It's not the name she uses to register her vehicle or pay her property taxes. It's not the name on her government paycheck. Now, I understand why TV personalities use stage names for privacy, but shouldn't the Communications Director for the Governor of NC use a real name?" Stuff like this helps account for the uncontrollable giggles I'm prone to this week.

In Your Face, Non-Profit-Dissing Watauga County Commissioners!

"Always Low Wages, Always." We won't be satisfied until every Walmart in the country has a flash mob like this one in Raleigh.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Inside the Watauga GOP

The local Republican Party held an event last night at the Fairway Cafe on the Boone golf course, and Jimmy Hodges stood up and said he was changing his party affiliation and will run for County Commissioner in 2014 from Nathan Miller's Meat Camp district.

Jimmy Hodges was a registered Democrat when he sat on the County Commission from 1996-2004. He retired from the real estate business in 2009.

Our snitch said that all three Republican Boone Town Council candidates -- Mark Templeton, Matt Long, and James Milner -- were there, and they spoke. Candidate for Boone Mayor John Mena was not there, even though he's been publicly endorsed by the party chair Anne Marie Yates. County Commissioner David Blust announced that he will be running for reelection in 2014. Current County Commission Chair Nathan Miller spoke about his candidacy for District Attorney. According to my source, "He trashed the local DA's office." Britt Springer, a Republican member of that office and also a candidate for DA, was there, and at first party chair Anne Marie Yates was not going to allow her to speak, but Springer insisted. Snitch sez, "Springer knocked it out of the park."

No word on how many ASU College Republicans made it out to the golf course, but the local party was offering free tickets to any member of that club who wrote an email to the State Board of Elections supporting the selection of Legends nightclub for the Boone 2 polling place. Caroline Hartman is the president of the ASU College Republicans, and she's a good soldier:

Meanwhile, Republican insurgents are calling for the removal of Anne Marie Yates from her position as chair of the local party and spilling certain beans about a now notorious August 29 meeting (about which we had already heard from party insurgent and perennial pariah, Deborah Greene).

Thursday, September 05, 2013

The Line To Run Against McCrory Starts Here

May get crowded well before 2016 ... the congregation of prominent Democrats looking at Pat McCrory, assessing his plenitude of weaknesses, and calculating the odds of making him a one-term Guv.

Former Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker was the first really prominent politician to say he's looking at the race.

Hard on his heels today ... Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is by far the biggest dog so far to sniff at that bowl.

Hostile Workplace

Jane Anne Hodges, Luke Eggers, Bill Aceto, Kathleen Campell,
Donna Houcks. Photo High Country Press
At his first meeting of the Watauga County Board of Elections, Luke Eggers presented a resolution written by his brother “Four” Eggers which set out “Duties of Director of Board of Elections” and which contained new provisions aimed at Director Jane Anne Hodges, the likes of which had never before been seen in Watauga County.

One of those new “duties” imposed on Hodges decreed that she “shall not become involved in discussion or debate of political or discretionary decisions of the Board.”

At the BOE meeting yesterday, the three Board members debated the placement of the Boone 2 polling place. Should it be at Legends nightclub, which is what the two Republicans were determined to decree, and did decree, or in the new Linville Falls room in the Student Union? At one point, Democratic Board member Kathleen Campbell asked Director Hodges what her opinion was, and it was painful to watch that (almost) universally respected 27-year veteran of North Carolina elections ask Luke Eggers for permission to speak.

It was equally painful to watch the 20-something Luke Eggers deign to grant her that permission.

After the meeting, and well after Jane Anne Hodges had said that she would prefer the Linville Falls room for several good reasons, and would not prefer Legend’s nightclub for several good reasons, Luke Eggers was overheard to say to Hodges that he would be in her office later this week to cuss her out for her “performance” during the Board meeting.

This is the workplace that Luke Eggers and Bill Aceto have created for Jane Anne Hodges. She’s being treated like a counter-girl at a fast food joint, and Luke Eggers is resembling the teenaged manager of a Hardee’s.

Luke’s big brother Four tried to run Jane Anne Hodges off the director’s job as soon as Pat McCrory was elected governor. Four expected to be appointed chair of the Watauga BOE. That didn’t happen, so little brother Luke has inherited that project of getting rid of her. With her new “duties” in place (which also include the decree that no one can go into her office unaccompanied and everyone who visits or calls must be logged in), there’s a concerted effort to make Jane Anne Hodges’ working conditions so unpleasant that she’ll want to resign.

I believe it was Chair Josh Howard at the State Board of Elections hearing on Tuesday who sternly lectured both Eggers and Aceto that they should respect and listen to the advice of Jane Anne Hodges. Instead, they’re treating her like the cleaning woman.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Split Decision

At the State Board of Elections hearing yesterday in Raleigh, Montravius King of Elizabeth City State University won his case. He will be reinstalled on the ballot this fall. He won something for all students across the state (more below).

But in the Watauga County case, Appalachian State University students lost and were told to hoof it, if they wanted to vote early this fall in the Boone municipal elections.

Both those decisions by the NC State Board of Elections were served up with verbal scoldings of the Republican members of both the Pasquotank County and the Watauga County boards of elections. The hearing also should have established definitively for everyone in the state, and especially for boards of elections in counties with colleges, that college students – even college students in dormitories – are valid residents for the purposes of voting, if they meet the other qualifications of citizenship and age. In other words, the state Board of Elections shut down the voter disenfranchisement “project” of Pete Gilbert, chair of the Pasquotank County Republican Party, who was planning to take his crusade against college students on the road across the state.

Pete Gilbert (in beard)
Everyone in that room yesterday in Raleigh knew, under the Constitution, that the SBOE could NOT deny Montravius King the right to run for office, though two of the Republican members on the SBOE, Paul Foley and Rhonda Amoroso, appeared at first to be perfectly ready to deny him that right.

What we’re up against
Make no mistake. Don’t be naive: the North Carolina Board of Elections is a partisan arena, despite the piety they profess about being “quasi-judicial” and therefore somehow magically above politics.

Yesterday’s hearing on Montravius King could have just as easily gone the other way, except that the new Republican Chair, Joshua Howard, took control and clearly swayed the other two Republicans, Amoroso and Foley. Amoroso had begun that hearing suggesting aggressively that she hadn’t seen any real evidence that satisfied her that Montravius King was a resident of Elizabeth City, North Carolina. And Foley, who is the youngest member on the new board and who cannot resist smirking every time he opens his mouth, asked what he clearly thought was a “gotcha” question: If Montravius King did not have a car, whose car was he driving in that famous Rachel Maddow Show segment?

What that car had to do with King’s eligibility to run for office remained totally obscure.

But that was the level of relevance on which Foley and Amoroso started the hearing.

Then Republican Chair Howard lowered the boom on Pete Gilbert, the instigator of disenfranchisement in Pasquotank County: Did you really, seriously believe what you said, when you challenged Mr. King’s right to run for office, that “permanent residence” meant living in the same place for 365 days a year? asked Mr. Howard

The absurdity of that claim for “permanence” was self-evident to everyone in the room, even Mr. Gilbert, and even without the citation of Symm v. U.S. and Lloyd v. Babb, the U.S. Supreme and N.C. Supreme Court cases that have settled the law that college students who live in “temporary” housing like school dormitories are still residents for the purposes of voting.

The personalities we’ll all be dealing with for the next little while, until Pat McCrory loses reelection:

Paul J. Foley, new Republican SBOE member: Lawyer, associate in the law firm of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton in Forsyth County. Before his appointment by Gov. McCrory to the SBOE, he was general counsel to the NC Republican Party. He may feel that he earned the smirk on his face with this: “In addition to representing traditional business clients with regard to general corporate law issues, Mr. Foley regularly represents investment advisers, hedge funds, private equity funds, venture capital funds, mutual funds, funds of funds, institutional investors, broker-dealers, financial institutions and other entities with regard to complex federal and state securities regulatory matters. His practice covers the entire range of securities regulation .... Mr. Foley has assisted fund managers with fund offerings totaling in the billions of dollars.” Well, okay then.

His obsession with money came through in the Watauga hearing yesterday. Even though there was direct testimony from Watauga Elections Director Jane Anne Hodges that two Early Voting sites in Watauga would not cost any more money than one site would cost, he continued to say that he had cost concerns with an Early Voting site on the ASU campus.

Mr. Foley evidently feels fully justified in the partisanship of his decisions, since he believes that the Democrats were partisan first. That's the extent of his ethical compass.

Rhonda K. Amoroso, new Republican SBOE member: A New York lawyer, transplanted to New Hanover County. She most recently served as chair of the New Hanover County Republican Party and as vice chair of the Republican executive committee in charge of "election operations." She describes herself as a “conservative” advocating for stricter voter I.D. laws and says that her interest in politics was “reignited” by the candidacy of Sarah Palin. That would put her in the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party and make her a nice complement to the Paul Foley “money” wing.

Amoroso’s leadership of the New Hanover County Republican Party was fraught with controversy, as she attempted to appoint a person to a vacated seat on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners that the Republican commissioners had a problem with.

She has said that voters who use straight-ticket voting (now newly outlawed by the Republicans in the General Assembly) are “lazy.”

Joshua Howard, new Republican SBOE member and chair: Wake County lawyer. Judging from his performance yesterday, takes himself very seriously. According to a conservative blog, Howard “was a junior counsel in the Independent Counsel’s Office in Washington during the investigations of President Bill Clinton, including the inquiry into his affair with Monica Lewinsky. He also served at the Department of Justice and assisted in the confirmations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Those are all magical names, no?

Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Cookie Crumbles

Republican members of the Watauga County Board of Elections, Luke Eggers and Bill Aceto, have caved on the creation of a "mega-precinct" out of Boone 1, Boone 2, and Boone 3 precincts, just passed by them in a 2-1 vote on August 12th, a day that will live in memory.

In a resolution written by county attorney Stacy Eggers IV ("Four"), and distributed this time by Bill Aceto to the press (gone, apparently, are the days when such resolutions were kept secret from the public, the press, and the Democratic member of the BOE), the Republicans made room for whining about "misinformation being disseminated," though what misinformation has been disseminated is not specified, and I rather thought that we were all perfectly clear on the what, when, how, and why the Republicans were trying to discourage ASU students from voting:
...Whereas, on Monday, August 12, 2013, the Watauga County Board of Elections voted to re-combine the Boone precincts due to the small geographic area of the precincts, the presence of early voting within the precinct, and the historically low voter turnout for the precincts; and 
Whereas, this action has resulted in a great deal of misinformation being disseminated regarding the eligibility and ability of individuals to vote at the Boone precinct; and 
Whereas, the Watauga County Board of Elections encourages all eligible voters to exercise the right to participate in the election process; and 
Whereas, the Watauga County Board of Elections is concerned that the misinformation being distributed regarding this recombination of this precinct will result in voter confusion; and....
Yada, yada, yada. So they're now proposing to restore the three precincts, with polling places returning to the status quo ante ... well almost the status quo (see below about the other resolution to move Boone 2 precinct polling place).

The resolution to prematurely withdraw the mega-precinct, to be voted on at the Watauga BOE meeting this Wednesday morning, Sept. 4, at 9 a.m. (we assume it's 9; the agenda doesn't actually give a time), has nothing to do with their Early Voting Plan, which eliminates Early Voting altogether on the ASU campus. That particular change will be decided in Raleigh this coming Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 1 p.m., following a hearing before the State Board of Elections in which Kathleen Campbell will present her rival plan for Early Voting, one that includes an Early Voting site on the ASU campus.

The sudden withdrawal of the mega-precinct resolution (excerpted above), along with a second resolution written by Four Eggers to relocate Boone 2 from the Student Union to the windowless Legends nightclub, will allow voting on campus for one day on November 5 for one precinct and in one location. Boone 1 and Boone 3 will vote at their usual locations.

Over in Right Blogistan, the Watauga Conservative is experiencing dyspepsia over this sudden surrender, with some posters there complaining that Republicans have retreated and others saying, "Then speak up and tell them so at the meeting on Wednesday," and someone else pointing out that speaking up at a BOE meeting is now impossible, because the Republican members have eliminated public comment except via words on paper submitted in advance.

Turns out that there are myriad ways to get bitten in the ass.