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November 14, 2018     Spirit of Jefferson Farmers Advocate
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November 14, 2018
 

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! q ~JP~ :i, A6 Wednesday, November 14, 2018 JIM BAUMAN Does West Virginia pay the price for Joe's winning strategy? , Joe Manchin won re-election .to the U.S. ,Senate last week, besting his Republican op- :ponent in 24 of our 55 counties. So while three Democratic Congressional candidates each lost by 10 or more points, Manchin ,pulled it through. So why him and not them? How did a Democrat win in the sea of red that is West Virginia? Consider three possible factors: 1) Man- ,chin was the incumbent, which always con- fers an advantage; 2) he is a middle-of-the- .roader, a centrist and; 3) he voted for Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court. ,The incumbent possibility certainly car- -,ties some weight - the devil you know ver- sus the devil you don't. But a strong incum- -bent would have coat tails to bring along oth- ers of his party. Instead, no other state-wide ' Democrat was elected. Even counties like Jefferson that went for Manchin did not give Congressman Alex Mooney's opponent Tal- ,ley Sergent a plurality. Manchin's campaign for re-election touted him as voting with Donald Trump when the president is right and against him when he's ,wrong. The reality, though, is that Manchin .thinks the president is fight more often -than he's wrong. The watchdog group Progressive Punch rating the legislative record of Manchin ,showed he comes in way toward the low end of the progressive scale. Of Demo- cratic senators, he ranks 48 of 49, vot- ing "correctly" 54 percent of the time on critical progressive issues - but this's far better than West Virginia's other Senator. Republican Shelley Moore Capito voted ,"correctly" less than 2 percent of the time. " Manchin touts his underlying sense of justice and compassion as driving forces on how he votes. He rejects the notion that he is .primarily motivated primarily by corporate interests, though his focus on economic de- velopment and jobs at any social and envi- ronmental cost is certainly influenced by the many corporate piggy banks that open up for him. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Joe Manchin has won a second full term in the U.S. Senate on Nov. 6 - even as fellow Demo- crats Talley Sergent, Richard Ojeda and Kendra Fershee lost their races for Congress. Joe Manchin has taken a political stance that ensures the status quo in West Virginia, one that encourages, often with tax incentives and other concessions, self-interested corporations to come into the state. So as a 50 percent progressive-50 percentothers, do not shape policy, are not visionary. conservative, Manchin seems to be who he For instance, his lukewarm position against claims to be: middle-of-the-road, centrist, Amendment 1 to remove any right to abor- the best kind of politician to represent West tion or funding of abortion from the state Virginia. He walks his fine line in order to constitution was ho-hummed by the left and hear out those of his constituency who are contested by the fight. For instance, he has fight leaning and -- no small consideration been photographed at different times with -to get re-elected, advocates and opponents of Planned Parent- But his centrism weakens his claim to be hood. His positions are put forward to ap- a political leader, and most definitely not a pease and to mollify, to come across as ev- Democratic leader. His opinions do not sway eryone's best buddy. He has taken a political stance tha ensures the status quo in West Virginia, one that en- courages, often with tax incentives other concessions, self-interested corporations to come into the state. Way too often these cor- poration have pillaged and trashed Our en- vironment and then taken off or gone into bankruptcy when it's time to do the cleanup. Our way out of the many messes taat have made our state among the poorest, he sick- est and least educated requires progressive vision. So what about Manchin's vote to lappoint Brett Kavanaugh? His "yes" vote!distin- guishes him as the only Democratic sena- tor of 49 to vote for the confirmation. His vote was not the decisive one, given ihat 50 Republican senators voted for it. ,That deci- sive vote came from U.S. Susan Collins of Maine, who much like Manchin, isiheralded as some sort of independently minded, bal- anced legislator. Could it be that his "yes" was dec ded not out of principle and consideration of evi- dence, but to buff up his creds with ted vot- ers in the state? I'm afraid it looks that way. The equally threatened Heidi Heitkunp in North Dakota did vote her conscience- and lost her bid for a second term. But with his vote, Manchin again dd not lead. Instead, he slapped the growing, xibrant progressive wing of his party in the f ce. A slap that will keep on stinging every time the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision votes against health care, women's issues, minorites, se- niors' economic security, public edacation and labor rights. What he promises to do to promote the welfare of West Virginims, he made more difficult by his vote. If there is truth to this accusation ard truth to the assertion that West Virginia reeds a heavy dose of progressive action, thel Man- chin wouldn't be the answer to solvirg West Virginia's problems; he could well be some- thing of a liability. I write this as a registered Democrat, who in fact did vote for Man- chin and would do so again given the choice. I do hope, though, that we will have a more inspir- ing progressive Demo- cratic choice in our next Senate election. - Jim Bauman writes from Bakerton % JCC should serve the public Editor's note: The writer shared this open letter to the Jefferson County Com- ?mission with the Spirit just before the Nov. 6 election. " A lot has been said about Rockwool. I will bless the reader by not repeating the 'many reasons why locating Rockwool and the extension of the Mountaineer Pipe- line tothe Jefferson Orchards site is a bad idea. I will not condone nor condemn !'flae manner in w ,lfich decisions were made to bring Rockwool to Jefferson Coun- ity. We've had thatdiscussion too. I will simply state one irrefutable fact: You are :i public servants paid by the public purse and therefore you work for us - the citi- ; ei s0f Jefferson County -- and we do not want Rockwool, the pipeline extension, i eorfor at matter,'other heavy industry, located in this county. i:s projec is opposed by all but a handful of people, the likes of Whom run "around in the dead of darkness stealing signs like a bunch of middle school prank- sters. The list of businesses, institutions, towns and cities and individuals express- ing opposition is extensive and keeps growing. Please understand that we respect your right as individuals to hold your own opinions on these matters. But as elected officials it simply doesn't matter in the face of this tsunami of opposition whether you believe Rockwool's claims or whether ou believe the weight of the evidence to the contrary. The majority of the testimony given for months now in meetings of city coun- cils, the JCC, the Jefferson County Development Authority, the school board and so forth makes it patently obvious that the citizens of Jefferson County and . surrounding areas want you to pull out of the PILOT agreement. If you refuse to do this you are saying that you are not accountable to the will of the citizens ,of this county. PATRICIA STEPHENSON Shenandoah Junction Rockwool 'bribing us in plain sight' My Facebook feed has been speckled with the news that Rockwool is buying influence with our social organizations in the form of donations and sponsorships. Roxul, as a foreign company worth $50 billion, has been spreading money around to our fire companies, Rotary and other organiza- tions - $500 here, $250 there. If there is an open palm and a headline to capture, Roxul's slick, new public relations machine will be there. Bribing us in plain sight. The gifts are given so that the popu- lation of Jefferson County will forget that the pro- posed coal burning smelter, with 200-foot smoke- stacks, plans to increase the air pollution of Jef- ferson County. They want us to forget they are building very near our schools, forget that our politicians have given them a huge tax break than no local compa- ny can get, and that their permitted pollution pro- file legally will allow this local plant to emit over 250 tons of microscopic particles that cannot be fil- tered by the human body. They want us to forget our health and focus on the money, the charity. The politically savvy international company that has invaded our beautiful county is not pass- ing out money because their bank account is too big. They are buying influence. They are buy- Skeptical about Christine Snyder's column , I find it a little ironic that Christine Sny- :der has written an opinion column in the vSpirit of Jefferson last month implying that -'the anti-Rockwool people are spreading "false accusations about publicizing when have a group of toady local and state politicians that are willing to "keep things ;under wraps" for "Operation Shuttle" and provides in his articles that fill in missing the entire county such as this is contem- info as to how we arrived at this point and plated just from the perspective of com- how far up the polit.ical chain this goes. mon sense. Who in their right mind would As to your point Christine about how the allow a "self-regulating" 155,000 ton pol- public hasn't been plugged into this issue, luter smokestack facility to be built smack is it too much to expect our public officials dab in the middle of the county fight next to be looking out for our best interests and to an elementary school? the health of the county and our children P.S. A note to Charles Town City Coun- and not Rockwool and the fracking com- cilman Michael Tolbert: We don't want to panies? sit down and have a chat with Rockwool of- Since you contrast the new Jefferson ficials. WE DON'TWANTTHEM HERE! County Commissioner Josh Compton's ap- They shouldn't even be a party to discus- proach of having small government ver- sions since they have a conflict of interest sus the previous Dale Manuel approach of with this county. What I suggest Council- holding hearings on every topic, don't you man Tolbert do is sponsor is an environ- think a topic such as bringing heavy indus- mental impact study and cost benefit anal- try to Jefferson County warrants a thorough ysis that should have been done before this public hearing? process started. In fact, we should be having public ref- JIM REID erendums whenever an ssue that impacts Bakerton ' 'sign nondlsclosure statements to bring this heavy polluter Trojan horse into our coun- ty. " First she talks about how just by chance : the notice was published during the year's - most heavily travelled holiday week. And , the Spirit just happened to publish the front 'page Rockwool plans that same issue. Re- ally Christine? Dragging David Levine's name and past through the mud doesn't take away from the invaluable background inforr ation he ing loyalty and will expect that loyalty is given in return. It's the polluting source of the money, and the expectation of something in return that should concern those that want their "old" Jeffer- son County back. Rockwool is ushering in the new Jefferson County. Tyranny is oppressive power over anoth- er. Charity is the voluntary giving of help, typif cally in the form of money, to those in need. True charity does not need headlines, true charity does not need commercials on Facebook to show what a charitable company the Demark-based Roxul is Real charity is given quietly in the offering plate or to the boot drive on Saturday morning. Not with fanfare, not w th implied actions in return. Not to buy populafiky. Roxul knovi, s it w ll pollute our air. While they are affecting our physical environment, they arc attempting to disrup our social order as well. We need to heed the tim -honored proverb, "Timeo Danaos et dona fere ates. It has come to mean "Beware of Greeks b afing gifts." In the case Jef- ferson County in 20 8, those Greeks are Danes, but the gifts are just suspicious. ROGE SNAMAN Charles Town to us Send your letters to editor@spiritofjefferson. com. We ask that you keep each letter to 400 words or !ess and that you write us no more than oncea month. Please include a phone number (reeded for verification but will not appear in rint) and your town of residence. LTEs also may be faxed (304-728-6856) or marled (P.O. Box 966 Charles Town 25414).