by Ron Gregory
Word on the streets and in the hills is that a new statewide poll shows Mountain Party guvernatorial candidate Charlotte Pritt with a full ten percent of the vote.
The poll, which solidifies the hold Democrat Jim Justice has on the election, shows Justice leading Republican State Senate President Bill Cole by double digits.
A Republican operative admitted to me over gthe weekend that “Bill just isn’t getting any traction. Look at it county-by-county and there’s little way to see a path to victory.”
Justice, the billionaire owner of the Greenbrier Resort has even remarkably turned the subject of wealth on his GOP opponent. The light-hearted commercial I mentioned in our last column comically turns Cole into the big spender unaware of fiscal restraint. So, the billionaire turned the walth isue on the millionaire. Hilarious in a state known for its miles of poverty.
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Some found it interesting when the Cole campaign announced, some weeks ago, that the candidate’s wife was going to begin appearing on his behalf. “It’s earth-shattering news to learn that Cole’s wife, Brownie, is for him,” said one pol. “That definitely merits a press release.”
Since then, several wags have wondered exactly where Mrs. Cole is campaigning. “I haven’t seen her yet,” said one Democrat from the Eastern Panhandle. “And I haven’t talked to anybody who has.”
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It’s no wonder many are opposed to plans to spend $100 million for access roads to a remote property near the Boone-Lincoln County line.
The Contractors Association has gone on record as opposing Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s plan, although its members would likely benefit if construction began.
As Director Mike Clowser has pointed out, West Virginia already suffers from a lack of road maintenance on existing highways and bridges. Instead of being on a replacement period that puts safety first, the state now barely funds 30-year maintenance on its roads.
That the Hobet property, a former mine site, offers a glimmer of hope for development cannot be denied. But betting a million in roadwork that businesses will come to this rural location is not at all logical.
If one travels the state, he or she will see thousands of flat, pristine acres sitting vacant and just waiting for a company to come calling. Many of these properties are located adjacent to major highways — not three miles away in the wilderness.
Even assuming that the site is the greatest around, building a road that links it to Corridor G only makes it miles from any major city, airport or other transportation.
As was shown with the pitifully-promoted ammunition factory for the Upper Kanawha Valley, West Virginians are desperately eager to see job creation. They are willing to grasp at almost any straw. Thus, Hobet looks like some kind of oasis in the desert. It is not.
I was also told in local government that it was not the public’s job to build infrastructure to bring in business development. “If it’s a good opportunity, the company will take care of that,” I was told. Conservatives often argue taht no project is worthwhile if it cannot fund itself in a reasonable amount of time. Does any Republican really think this asinine project will pay off?
It may be nice for the private property owners whose land will be enhanced by a beautiful road to the Corridor. It will help nobody else. Sounds a lot like private gain at public expense to me
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It would take someone with a law degree, maybe, to figure the machinations in Mingo Circuit Court. We have now gone through the exercise of “expunging” the record of any negative action toward Erik Rash in the Dawson Isom case.
Expungments are generally saved for cases in which someone has been convicted of some crime. Normally, the perpetrator hires an attorney, leads an exemplary life and asks to have a conviction removed from his or her court record.
That didn’t happen here.
In the weird and wonderful world of Mingo courtroom antics, the beleagured, cover-their-ass-at-any-cost Prosecutor, offered no objection to the expungment. Of course not.
This is the same Prosecutor who has dutifully ignored all facets of this case in the name of protecting the powers that be. Teresa Maynard got a verdict from the voters of Mingo County in May when they voted to toss her out on her ear. Problematically, the law permits her to continue to serve as Prosecutor until her victorious opponent is sworn in next January. That means Maynard can continue to conive, agree and submit to whatever mountaineer justice she thinks appropriate for another five months.
Most lawyers I talked with were fascinated by the move on Rash’s behalf by his attorney, Brian Abraham. While some saw no logic to it at all, others were skeptical enough to think the real end result wanted by the Rashes was to have Judge Miki Thompson seal the file. If that was the goal, she dutifully complied before adjourning court.
One attorney said, “they hope to bury it forever. Nobody will ever do anything about it, because it’s out of sight, out of mind.”
Who knows for sure if that is the end game but it should not be. Incoming Prosecutor Duke Jewell surely knows about the beating of Dawson Isom. He should know that voters largely turned to him because they were fed up with the antics of Maynard. He should make sure a fresh look is taken at the case and all its evidence.
The statute of limitations does not protect a defendant in a felony matter. Jewell cannot use the excuse that it’s too late to do something.
There must be justice, at some point, in this case and many — including I — will not rest until there is.
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Your comments, story ideas, gossip and plans to have the government build access roads to your rural property are always welcome. Use the email listed or call my cell, 304-533-5185.