by Ron Gregory
When one considers the pronouncements of Gilbert Mayor Vivian Livingood, as a whole, it becomes more and more evident that the good mayor believes everyone who ever worked the polls in Mingo County is a crook. I doubt that she’s right on that one.
Think a bit of what the Mayor has said over the past few weeks. She insists that poll workers were not picked “the way they always were” and then launches into a spiel about how crooked the polling has been in the past. She has said that some poll workers have told her about “dozens of dead people” being voted while things are going slow at polls. She somehow thinks poll workers at the precinct level have some control of the computerized results from their precincts.
I asked the question earlier but will repeat it: if Livingood is so convinced there are illegalities at the polls is that why she wants HER poll workers in place? What, exactly, is she saying about those she recommends?
There is a possibility that the Mayor does not realize the implications of what she says. One would hope that is the case. I doubt that it is. She has preached the “us against them” language of the Town of Gilbert versus Mingo County so long, she thinks it’s real. Somehow, she thinks bad-mouthing County Commissioners helps her little burg. The logic there defies imagination.
Now, Livingood will say she just has “questions” about how poll workers were selected. As I mentioned weeks ago, if Her Honor has legitimate queries, why not address them to the commissioners then? Although a quorum cannot legally meet without calling a public meeting, it is not impossible to approach an individual Commissioner and say, “just what happened here?” I’m sure the fine citizens of Gilbert are not required to wait until the next Council meeting to ask her or one of her family/staff members a question.
Wednesday’s Commission appearance is just a charade masquerading as a Thomas Taylor political rally. Livingood, you see, would rather elect Taylor to the County Commission than win her own House of Delegates contest. That can be confirmed by the picture on Taylor’s social media page that shows the Commission candidate “surrounded” by a host of supporters. Included is Livingood along with other candidates one might think would be more interested in their own race than Taylor’s. While preaching against the “Team Mingo” method of campaigning, this crew seems determined to simply out-do the Team.
One can also assume that those pictured in the Taylor photo are major proponents of ignoring Environmental Protection regulations, since Taylor is a known scofflaw when such regulations are applied to his tire business. Dozens of Mingo Countians, including candidates for other offices, stood firmly with Taylor on a hillside near Mingo Central. Do they all endorse thumbing their noses at environmental laws designed to make the county a safe place for their children and grandchildren to live? Is this why they chose to take the picture within a stone’s throw of a high school?
A person does not need to be a tree-hugger to know that the environment is important. After all, we live in it. If even a stranger to environmental laws took a look at the piles of tires Taylor kept at his facility, he or she would be appalled. Will Taylor advocate ignoring the law is he’s a Commissioner? Maybe he’s in the wrong group. I thought it was Team Mingo we all said breaks the law and “gets away with it.” Now it’s Team Mingo plus Thomas Taylor?
I called Taylor a “dumbass” when he told me he had never operated without proper permitting. I said that because the candidate said he has read the citations issued by the DEP. Some of them were clearly for lack of proper permits. I thought perhaps the man can’t read and/or comprehend the English language. Not thinking about the fact that Livingood’s grandchildren may read my stories, I did not remove “dumbass” from the final version. Hopefully, they will never see or hear such vulgarity again.
Anyway, coal baron Don Blankenship is being sentenced in federal court at the same time Wednesday when Livingood will be uncovering multiple law-breaking in the selection of Mingo poll workers. While many of my readers arguably care more about Blankenship that the silliness of a small town mayor, I plan to be in the courthouse for the poll worker revelations. Hopefully, I will be able to contain my shock at the revelations that occur.
This may be that rare occasion when “a good time was had by all.”
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One more little comment about the poll worker scandal. The esteemed Mingo Messenger, headquartered in Kentucky, felt compelled to issue an editorial demanding “answers” regarding the poll workers. Since nobody at the paper seems to understand West Virginia’s process of selecting workers, it might be helpful for them to reread the stories and columns we have had here. If there are words too complicated for them to understand, we will be happy to translate.
The simple fact is the poll workers were selected according to West Virginia law. No question there. They were notified according to West Virginia law. No question there. If any opt out, alternates have been selected and will be notified to work in their stead. No question there. So, perhaps on Wednesday we will hear the eloquent voice of the Messenger notify the Commission as to the “questions” that need answered.
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Boone County is a hotbed of political activity at this time of year. Several close races are predicted and, as usual, the Corridor Chronicle has favorites in most of them.
We consider Democrat Gary Williams a competent County Clerk and urge his re-nomination. In the County Commission races, the two parties have unopposed candidates. Still, Democrat Craig Bratcher and Republican Delegate Joshua Nelson are deserving of your time in marking their names. Nelson, a rare Republican Delegate representing most of Boone County in the legislature, has chosen to step down from that job to seek the County Commission post.
Assessor and former Sheriff Jennings Miller is the clear choice for Sheriff. The ex-lawman has pledged to rejuvenate many of the effective programs and neighborhood policing he instituted when he served as Sheriff before. Miller is public-spirited and has always served Mingo well. He deserves another term to replace the quiet incumbent, Randall White.
With Miller moving from the Assessor’s office to Sheriff, his able Deputy, Susan Baisden, is seeking to replace him. She is a quality person who has professionally managed the office affairs for some time. We recommend Baisden for Assessor on the Democrat ticket.
C. Porter Snodgrass gets our nod for Magistrate in the Second Division, having served well in his job. Danny B. Moore gets the mark in Division One.
For State Senate from the Seventh District we endorse incumbent Democrat Art Kirkendoll. His exemplary service as a Logan County Commissioner and as State Senator make the choice easy. On the Republican side, we favor Jordan Ray Burgess of Logan.
For House of Delegates from the 22nd District, where two are elected in the fall, we favor Republican Zack Maynard and Democrat incumbent Jeff Eldridge. Eldridge has proven himself as a hard-working people person and Maynard’s youth fills him with fresh ideas for our economic future.
Former Boone Sheriff Rodney Miller is the clear choice to replace the retiring Nelson in House District 23. While Miller is the Democrat selection, Daniel Belcher is unopposed as the Republican side.
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Overheard at the laundry-mat: some coal mining jobs will be returning to Boone County on April 15. That would be good news in light of the downward trend of recent months and years.
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Delegate Doug Reynolds of Cabell County is running for Attorney General on the Democrat ticket. Interesting among the moves made by Reynolds is to issue a fund-raising invitation listing just two hosts, Doug Skaff, Sr. and Doug Skaff, Jr. The event was held at Celsius on Hale Street in downtown Charleston.
Most intriguing about the invitation is that the junior Skaff is so prominently displayed. Following the affair, Skaff Jr.’s picture was also featured on social media at the event.
I like Doug Skaff, Jr. and Sr. But the wisdom of using the former House of Delegates member as a sponsor is a bit lost on me. It was Skaff, after all, who famously was charged with a DUI in Morgantown which ultimately led to his defeat in a bid for State Senate from Kanawha County. Later, he was charged with illegal conduct with regard to lottery-regulated gaming at the Greenbrier Resort. A portion of his punishment for that violation was reported to be being banned from state gambling establishments.
Rehabilitation is a great thing and I praise Skaff Jr. if he is rehabilitated. But I don’t think, if I were Reynolds, I’d wear his rehabilitation on MY shirt sleeve. I also wonder how hollow Skaff’s prominence with Reynolds makes future Reynolds’ claims against Republican incumbent Patrick Morrisey look. It could be that Mrs. Morrisey’s alleged unethical behavior pales when compared to a scofflaw like Skaff Jr.
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Speaking of wearing someone on your sleeve reminds me of the old story about former Agriculture Commissioner and Congressman Cleve Benedict. It is told that Cleve was running against legendary U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd. Since Morgantown businessman Milan Pushkar had always supported Benedict political ventures, Cleve gave Pushkar a call, telling him that he and wife Ann had learned of a big football game coming up in Morgantown. Pushkar assured the candidate of great tickets for the contest.
Benedict and Ann arrived at the stadium to find fabulous seats near the 50-yard-line. When Pushkar came by to say hello, Benedict asked if he could walk him around and introduce him to folks.That was something Pushkar had routinely done before.
“Well, no,” said the businessman.
Benedict was startled but respectful. He leaned over, “can I ask you why you won’t take me around this time, Milan?” To which Pushkar reputedly said, “It’s like this: I don’t mind betting on a dead horse. I just don’t want to try riding him down Main Street.”
Benedict lost big time, of course.
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Your comments, story ideas, gossip and tales of riding dead horses are always welcome. Use my email listed or call my cell, 304-533-5185.