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Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
Charles Town, West Virginia
March 21, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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March 21, 2018

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F ADVOCATE A8 Wednesday, March 21, 2018 VIEW ii id Jefferson County Commis- sioner Jane Tabb violate any campaign laws as Democrats began switching their party af- filiation to independent, with plates to ask for a Republican ballot in May and vote for her? Of course she didn't, and we're sure the meinbers of the county's Republican Exec- utNe Committee knew the truth last week when they voted to for- ward a complaint to the West Virginia Secretary of State's Election Com- mission. The fact is, in West Virginia, both Democrats and Republicans hold open primaries. Any vot- er who registers as unaf- Tabb filiated, or as indepen- dent, or as no party, can re- quest a ballot of his or her choosing. Those are:the rules. Many in Jefferson County, of all political stripes, want to see Tabb begin a third six- year term on the JCC. Her supporters point to the thoughtful, deliberative approach she brings to the job, her deep ties to the county, her willingness to truly listen, her personal in- tegrity and many other reasons. By any rea- sonable measure, she is as fiscally conserva- tive as they come. Nonetheless, the county Republican leaders have decided Tabb isn't their kind of Repub- lican anymore. These Republicans, aligned with the far-right tea party, are angry that Tabb didn't sign on to their whacko plan to cut the ambulance fee by a whooping $5 last year and that she listened to reason and agrees the plaque at the entrance to the county court- house shouldn't thank only the Confederates. Nonetheless, the county Republican leaders have decided Jefferson County Commissioner Jane Tabb isn't their kind of Republican anymore. These Republicans, aligned with the far-right tea party, are angry that Tabb didn't sign on to their whacko plan to cut the ambulance fee by a whooping $5 last year and that she listened to reason and agrees the plaque at the entrance to the county courthouse shouldn't thank only the Confederates. Tabb's Republican opponents are not mo- hosted by the Jefferson County Democratic tivated by any thought of the integrity of the Association in the lower-level meeting room electoral process, or anything high-minded at of the Charles Town Library. No surprise, all. they got turned away. If more Democrats switch to independent Patricia Rucker, then the leader of the tea and request a Republican ballot, the GOP party group in Harpers Ferry who later won executive committee members' thinking no election to the state Senate, detailed her strat- doubt goes, then Tabb just may best her pri- egy after the Republicans were asked to leave mary opponent, Jack Hefestay, and Peter On- the Democratic strategy session. oszko, appointed to the JCC in 2016, may get "I would like everyone's help in making knocked off by his primary opponent, Gary W. what happened known statewide," reads a Cogle. (Hefestay is a member of the executive portion of Rucker's email to her tea party co- committee, though he did not cast an official horts. "Here in Jefferson County we are go- vote when the committee agreed to complain ing to make a big deal out of it, and hope to about Tabb to the secretary of state's office.) embarrass the Democrats, and I am going to To try and keep the tea partiers in power, personally demand a public apology for be- the GOP executive committee has gone into ing ousted from Stephen Skinner, the County full-on bully mode and while the committee Commission President and the Sheriff." accuses Tabb of coordinating party switches And right on cue, Onoszko took his outrage with Democratic voters, the executive com- to the next meeting of the Jefferson County mittee members are clearly engaging in coor- Commission, addressing the members during dination of their own. the public comment period. Such a disingenuous approach is old hat to "Nowhere in any of the announcements I this posse. Some Jefferson County residents saw was it stipulated that this event was only might recall the hubbub in 2013 when a group open to registered Democrats," explained On- of tea party Republicans sought to elbow their oszko, seeking to paint the episode as some- way into a workshop, "Running for Office," how a violation of county policy on public meetings. That sure seems like some Republi- can coordination, doesn't it? Or how about in 2016, when hours before an NAACP's voters forum, multiple Repub- lican candidates cancelled plans to appear - each independently claiming "a scheduling conflict"? Any coordination there? Let's not kid ourselves -- as the number of Democrats in Jefferson County have de- clined in recent years, the number of inde- pendents and Republicans has gro.wn. Some of the change comes from newcomers mov- ing into West Virginia, but it's reasonable to assume that many county residents have switched their registration from Democratic to registered Republican. Surely, Jack Hef- estay, Keith Lowry, Jill Upson and others on the county Republican executive committee are delighted when Democrats switch parties to vote for them. But now the powers that be don't want Democratic voters casting a ballot for Republicans because Jane Tabb and Gary Cogle aren't their chosen ones. The Republican executive committee's am- bush of Tabb at the March 10 meeting at the Clarion at Harpers Ferry has nothing to do with any actual concern about "potential vio- lation of fair campaign practices," as the com- mittee members told the secretary of state's office. They're concerned all right, fretting that Tabb will continue to do what any political candidate would do - simply let voters know there's a way to back her in the upcoming race. How is it that the party of "individual liber- ty" has such contempt for the individual lib- erty of voters? Voters who, by the way, have until April 17 to change their affiliation to independent and then request either party's ballot when Elec- tion Day comes on May 8. Questioning Neal Barkus's criticism of Rucker -I ast week's column in the Spirit of Jef- Everything that follows that first sentence Patricia Rucker when Anne was bedridden ferson Neal Barkus would be a text- is equally misleading and spun to make it with an injury for three weeks in 2006. Pa- book example of pure propaganda except look dark and evil. A good example is when tricia delivered several days worth of pre- that it's too transparent. For example, in Mr. Barkus talks about the $104,000 that pared food representing a ministry that she the first sentence he refers to his target as Senator Rucker raised in her race without had started called 'Meals With Love'. An- "Patricia P. Rucker." We have never seen mentioning the money spent against her, other group that Patricia founded had as her name printed that way. Obviously, Mr. said to be in excess of $600,000, including part of its mission, 'educating ourselves Barkus does not want to reveal that the P. $213,000 raised by her opponent and an es- and our community about the history of stands for Puertas, thereby concealing the timated $250,000 by a union PAC with the our great nation which wasbuilt upon God- fact that the Senator is a Latina immigrant, misleading name, "WV Family Values." given and unalienable rights'. We need Pa- That would make it harder for Mr. Barkus To give you a true picture of Patricia tricia Rucker in the State Senate." to convince his readers that she is "a leader Puertas Rucker, here's what we said in an GARY DUNGAN of West Virginia's far-right fringe." endorsement letter in 2016: "We first met Harpers Ferry Say no to electronic billboard signs in ,Jefferson County Is anyone in Jefferson County in favor of more brighter-than-the-sun electronic signs sprouting up along our country roads? The law on this is con- voluted and it has been possible to reject sign ap- plications in recent years, but the Jefferson Coun- ty Planning Commission is considering an amend- mdnt, ZTA17-01, that would once again allow so- called "static" electronic signs. Static is defined as a change every 15 seconds ! Brightness limits are set at "7000 nits" which one vendor's video bragged as "the brightest in the w ld." Did you know the sun is measured at less 7,000 nits? Most municipalities are attempt- in,to reign in light pollution, not add to it, I have not found any message on these signs important enough disturb the tranquility of the evening - of- tet[ the signs display cutesy graphics or homilies I don't need forced on me from a brilliant sign as I dr ve by. The current proposal does state that "Electron- ic igns adjacent to lots in the Rural, Residential Growth, and Village zoning districts shall auto- m,tically shut-off by 10 p.m. and shall not turn on until 6 a.m" - it's critical that this or more restric- times remains. Outside of these areas the rule is l'a maximum of 600 nits for the time period be- tween hour before sunset and hour after sun- ris " - sothe signs are on all night. If you are opposed to these electronic signs, the JCPC know. The record is open for nearly anlather week - through Tuesday. You can email i pl nnmgdepartment or pl one 304-728-3228. TERRY THORSON Shepherdstown Marjory Stoneman Douglas is shown with one of her books, "The Everglades - River of Grass," in this April 19, 1973, portrait by The Associated Press. She'd just turned 83. f NOTING "Be a nuisance when it counts. Do your part to inform and stimulate the public to join your action. Be depressed, discouraged and disappointed at failure and the disheartening effects of ignorance, greed, corruption and bad politics -- but never give up." - MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS, the namesake of the high school in Broward County, Fla writing in a 1980 column for the journal GeoJourney. In 1993, at age 103, the Minnesota-born journalist, author, conservationist and environmental activist - who 'd also advocated for women's right to vote early in her life - won the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She died May 14, 1998 A message for Rucker, Blair critics West Virginia just completed a bruising leg- islative session. The most noticeable challenge faced by all three government branches this year was the proposed pay raise for teachers and pub- lic employees. Throughout all the commotion and vitriol surrounding the pay raise, our elect- ed representatives and Senators performed in an outstanding manner. The Democrat Party controlled West V'u:gin- ia's Legislature from the early 1930s until 2015. Yet decade after decade, teachers and public ser- vants were paid according to one of the lowest pay scales in the nation. Why? Three years ago Re- publicans gained control of the state Legislature and worked to make the state fiscally responsible by reducing spending. Current critics, however, ignore West Virginia's political history and call for a return to Democrat control. They tar state Senators Patficia Rucker (Jefferson County) and Craig Blair (Berkeley County) as haters of chil- dren, schools and public employees. That's ridiculqus. Both Patficia Rucker, a for- mer public school teacher, and Craig Blair care deeply about children, schools and public employ- ees. They also care about making West V'trginia fiscally sound. During the pay negotiations, sev- eral plans were presented but rejected by teach- ers and unions. The first was an annual 1 percent raise over five years; next, a 2 percent raise fol- lowed by two more years of 1 percent was pre- sented but rejected. Finally, the Senate affirmed a 5 percent pay raise if it could be attained without raising taxes. While critics were willing to raise taxes, legis- lators like Senators Rucker and Blair forced the executive branch to find a way to increase state employee pay without increasing taxes. West Vir- ginians appreciate keeping more money in their households. West Virginia needs Senators Rucker and Blair and others who adhere to fiscally sound poli- cies. The Republican Party values teachers and pub- lic servants. We also value fiscal responsibili- ty. Critics of Senators Rucker and Blair would do well to remember that Democrats controlled West Virginia public employee pay for over 80 years, yet Republicans are repairing that pay dis- parity in three years. Elections matter. KEITH LOWRY Harpers Ferry Jefferson County Republican Executive Committee chairman , L J