This blog originally founded by Blogger who holds a theological degree and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Taught Psychology for 32 years and is now Professor Emeritus. Is a board-certified psychologist and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in his profession. Ministered as a chaplain, and pastored Baptist and Episcopal churches. Publications cover the integration of psychology and theology. Served in the Army, the Merchant Marines and the Peace Corps.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Equal Opportunity for All

Referring to placement of early voting sites, an Anonymous commenter accused another commenter of wanting “to keep (the kids) from voting.”  Anonymous, as far as I know, no one on this blog speaks of keeping young people from voting.  So what then are they saying? 

Let’s back up a minute.  In the good old days, voting day was a big thing in one’s community.  The polling places were placed in the local neighborhoods of each of the citizens.  Some businesses even closed.  People gathered in their local communities and interacted with each other.  It was an exciting community event.

But then, all that changed with one stop early voting.  Instead of the time-honored election day,  there are now days and days that people can vote.  The new system was not trivial and like many  changes, there were unintended consequences.   For budgetary reasons, one stop voting places had to be  placed in the most heavily populated parts of a county.  It soon was apparent that the convenience and extended time,  favored some groups over others–city dwellers over rural as an example.  Other aberrations soon became apparent. 

Anonymous, no one is saying anything against having polling places every where in the community for all to vote on election day.  What the good people on this blog have been saying is, let’s work out a system that is non-discriminatory–equal opportunity for everyone. 

We are trying to appeal here to fair-minded people.  Can you try to be one and help the good citizens of Watauga County solve a complicated problem?


Anonymous said...

Blogger you will just have to accept the fact that some people aren't looking for "fairness", they are looking for a political advantage.

With Democrats having control of the governors mansion the advantage will go to them. Once Republicans take over the governors office, the local election boards will suddenly all be getting a Republican majority and the advantage will shift.

As long as the governor appoints the boards and the governor is a Democrat, you will have Democrat controlled election boards. This will end when McCrory takes over.

Anonymous said...

It may not change much. McCroy is pretty liberal.

Wolf's Head said...

Dem love early voting so that their dupes will vote early for them in a typical emotional, senseless fog.

And then when Bad News hits just before election day their vote will have made and they will not even realize how they've been taken.

Anonymous said...

If there is early voting it should be at the high-traffic areas. Why waste county money having early sites open in the more rural areas when most of those folks wait for election day anyway. It makes sense on the return on the county's investment. I'm a non-city-dwelling resident and don't see what the issue is.

Anonymous said...

"What the good people on this blog have been saying is, let’s work out a system that is non-discriminatory–equal opportunity for everyone."

Ah, so I guess the "good people on this blog" spoke out strongly against Amendment One......wait.

Anonymous said...

anonymous....The "good people on this blog" include many who spoke out on both sides of the marriage amendment issue. You must have been pretty selective in your readings if you failed to note the posts by Happily Married, Tea Party Steve and many others who spoke against the amendment.

Good people sometimes have differences of opinion.

Anonymous said...

I was speaking of the blog administrators, Blogger and NewGuy.

Anonymous said...

First you refer to "the good people on this blog" and then say that you are only referring to two people of the many who post here?

The administrators are as entitled to their opinions as anyone else is. If you disagree with what they post, you certainly have the option to post a contrary opinion.

Anonymous said...

Why would they speak out and endorse discrimination and restriction of equal opportunity, then claim to strongly support non-discriminatory and equal opportunity practices?

That's not a "difference of opinion", it's blatant hypocrisy.

guy faulkes said...

All polls should be open if any of them are. Voter ID (with a picture and current address) is needed to stop voter fraud.

Anyone opposing either of those principals is hoping to further his own interests. There is no other excuse for a contrary position. End of Story.

Anonymous said...

I realize that this is off topic but how about a thread for Dan Soucek's bill to eliminate the Boone ETJ. I understand the New Guy may be against it but this is the perfect forum to dicuss this pressing issue. I'm a little disappointted that this blog has been slow to react to this important local issue.

Anonymous said...

I second Anonymous at 10:43. I am against the concept of ETJ in general, but frankly, thus far, Soucek IMO has come off badly on this issue. The newspaper gave him a thumbs down (even though they included the wrong graphic). If he wanted to pass this bill, why in the world did he take Templeton and Miller and others with him to meet with town officials? That was not a good idea. It looks like a set up, even if it isn't. It also looks bad that he singled out Boone instead of submitting a bill for his entire district. If there is a good reason for this (and there probably is), he should have backed it up with specific examples of ETJ abuses. My point is, while this might have been a good idea, Soucek is losing on the politics of it.

ETJ Republican said...

ETJ that is in close to Boone has much more in common with a city then with the open county. Therefore, zoning laws that make a town liveable are obviously necessary. Unless county commissioners from now to the far out future can convince me they will keep the present R1 zoning for single family areas that make this area a decent place to live, I will fight Soucek’s ETJ bill with all that is in me.

I too, agree that taking the builders to the meeting was very bad optics. It gives the impression that Dan is not serving the citizens, only the usual suspects.

guy faulkes said...

If you cannot vote or run for municipal office as a resident of the ETJ, then there does not need to be a ETJ. Residents in this area are disenfranchised.

This is not the point of Soucek's bill. It is to correct the abuses of the Town Code that the council is famous for both in and out of the municipal limits.

It does not go far enough to eliminate the ETJ everywhere in the state as should be done until voting rights are granted the affected residents.

Anonymous said...

What abuses do you reference guy? Or are you trying to protect your puppet representative? Does he need people to hold his hand on the floor of the Senate, too?

Anonymous said...

I would like also like to know what abuses of the Town Code the Council is famous for. Perhaps Guy will give us some examples.

Anonymous said...

Dan should have held a public hearing on this bill if he wanted to go forward. I'm in a neighborhood in the ETJ. I feel like ETJ Republican does in his (her) earlier post. I would have been another Republican coming forward at the hearing to state my opposition to this bill. We purposefully bought a home over 20 years ago in the ETJ so we would have some protections and security in home value. This bill stinks of back room dealing by powerful people. Second, should it pass it will put at serious risk the value of my property. I bought with a certain understanding and expectation regarding my property value. The thought that the state legislature and Dan in particular could take that all away with the stroke of a pen infuriates me.

Blogger said...

"Dan should have held a public hearing on this bill if he wanted to go forward. I'm in a neighborhood in the ETJ"

I totally agree with everything this Anonymous above said.

Again,I wish people would hit the Name button when they comment instead of the Anonymous button, ignore the URL request and give themselves a handle, even if it is just X like the old timers had to do when they signed a document. We don't know which Anonymous we are addressing and typically we try not to even respond to those who won't help us out here with someway to address them specifically. Everyone on this blog is anonymous so it is inexcusable not to take a pseudonym.

Larry said...

Dan should drop the bill and move on. That's his best shot of living through this thing.

Anonymous said...

Dan will do fine. He may lose some votes over this issue but he has enough support to overcome any losses.

X said...

Ban anonymous posters!

Larry said...

Boone's water committee voted last night (I think it was last night) to recommend if the bill passes to suspend all water extensions and hookups into the ETJ. I do not think this goes down well for Dan at all.

guy faulkes said...

WWhat abuses do you reference guy? Or are you trying to protect your puppet representative?
Part 1
The town does not follow its own code.

The town used the "it does not fit the neighborhood" excuse when the use was a legal option for that zone and the majority of the properties that bordered the same road were a similar or more intense use.

The town would not change a watershed map after maps were provided by both a surveyor and an engineer that proved their map was in error. They clearly showed the town's map had water draining up hill.

The town nit picks almost all permit applications to discourage development.

The town has refused to allow people to submit applications to the planning department, instead forcing them to submit the application directly to the town attorny, where it sits on his desk for months with no action taken.

The town apparently fired one of its upper level employees for giving a favorable recommendation for a project.

The town has almost certainly held illegal closed session meetings in order to protect grant applications and lower the price of property it wished to acquire by delaying permits. As these were closed meetings with no recording of them having been made, this is impossible to prove.

The town tries to circumvent state laws controlling development.

The town tried to fine a person personally for cutting a tree on his employer's property. He did not cut the tree but was an official that helped manage the property. It was not his decision to make, in this instance, because the tree had to be cut according to a plan approved by the town and state.

The town objected to the county using its legal right to appoint ETJ members to the boards.

The town does not want diverse opinions as to the makeup of town boards. It only wants people that will rubber stamp the council decisions.

The permitting process is needlessly complicated and takes far to long.

The town attorney is a part of the decision making process and then advises the town on the legalities of the same issue before the board. This is clearly a conflict of interest, particularly in the case of an appeal to a decision.

The town has given false information about whether an item is on the agenda.

The town has changed the staff recommendations ten minutes before a meeting started without giving the applicant time to review them.

The town does not supply the applicant with a complete set of the packet that goes out to the board or council, thereby preventing him from being able to discuss things that have been given the permit issuing authority concerning the project.

guy faulkes said...

Part 2
The town changes the requirements for an application during the application process.

The town's attorny has obscenely verbally abused the attorney for an applicant in the council chambers where the council could hear it, there by prejudicing the council.

The town tries to micro manage projects by putting up obstacles to getting a permit in order to extort the applicant into compliance, not with the code, but with the council's desires.

The town makes judgements on properties that are outside of its powers. They should be made by a court of law or the state.

The town passed a view shed map that it knew was in error, saying the applicant could appeal the map. Note the case of trying to appeal a watershed map where objective proof was available and how that worked out. Also, this adds unneeded expense to the applicant.

Conflicts of interest with the mayor and council members occur because the effected politicians will not recuse themselves from the decision making process.

The town regularly requires applicants to exceed the requirements of the building code.

The largest abuse is the town is passing laws that govern the property of residents that cannot vote for the people that make the laws or run for office to be one of those people.

These are all things I have witnessed (the view shed map and building codes not being followed) or are from discussions with people I trust. They came off the top of my head, with no research having to be done. I could probably offer a list ten times as long if I thought about it for a few hours.

Why do you think most contractors do not want to work in the jurisdiction of the Town of Boone and add a significant amount of money to a quote for a project to be done in Boone's jurisdiction?

Wolf's Head said...

I've witnessed the things that Guy describes and it is not just the Town's abuse of the ordinances and procedures, but their use of the judicial system to financially intimidate and threaten the people.

The Town has access not only to their own tax revenues, but can enlist the aid from the League of Municipalities to finance their war on the people's rights.

Past time for a revolution. Soucek's bill should have been to eliminate ALL ETJs.

Anonymous said...

If Boone decides to suspend water connections outside the city limits for water it GETS outside the city limits, it makes them look like the fools they are. It doesn't hurt Soucek at all.

It makes another look at the grant money given to the water project something that should be done. Maybe we need to call Foxx.

A Boone Developer said...

I call bullshit on Guy's comments, all of which are just thrown out there as fact with no supporting evidence whatsoever. Just say it and it's true, right Guy?

I have worked with the Town of Boone on many, may projects over the years, and I don't always agree with all the regulations, but the Town doesn't alter those rules one way or another for anyone. I have developed in many other towns as well. Boone's regulations aren't the easiest, and they aren't the hardest either.

I have never known the Town to alter the rules in the middle of the game. I have never known the Council to extort anyone. The Viewshed map is clear as a bell--I know. I've consulted it many times. I have never been asked to exceed the requirements of any code, and the Town always, always follows its own code. The Town has not changed the water shed map, I have never been asked to submit my plans to the Town attorney instead of the Planning Department, the permitting process is not complicated, and I have always been given full and complete packets on applications.

I love the way Guy says he doesn't have to do any research because he gets all this off the top of his head from people he trusts. Take it from someone who has actually developed properties in town as opposed to listen to gossip and whining. Guy is full of it.

guy faulkes said...

Boone Developer, almost all of the facts I stated came from having been at the meetings at which they occured. The others came from talking with clients, attorneys, land planners, surveyors, engineers, and contractors. In other words with professionals involved with development. Also, if you have not experienced this, you are either connected to a councilperson or not a developer. This is where BS must be called.

Is it not interesting that after wanting to hear of abuses, then the abuses are vulgarly denied by someone claiming to know they did not happen, even though he was not present at the time for any of them? How would BD know if they happened or not? It is possible that he has a special relationship that lets him slide through, but then that would be another abuse, would it not?

If you want to check on my statements, talk with the same kind of people I mentioned.

The Wolf is correct in that Soucek's bill does not go far enough, but it is a start. If you cannot vote as a resident of the ETJ, then there should be no ETJ.

A Boone Developer said...

I am not connected with any council member. Know none of them on even a casual basis. You should back up your claims instead of referring me to unnamed people. Tell me by name who to talk to and I will. Otherwise, I continue to call bullshit on your claims. I actually have no interest in this issue except to say that the people I have built for in the ETJ actually want the protections land-use provides. Guy, do you live in the ETJ?

A Boone Developer said...

"clients, attorneys, land planners, surveyors, engineers, and contractors"

Name them.

guy faulkes said...

Take your pick. I do no know if these people want their names placed on the blog due to possible retaliation from the left wing loons out there.

What development did you do, BD.

A Real Boone Developer said...

Guy Faulkes, I don't know if I talked with you or not, but it sounds like I did. Please do not publish any names because the town would try to pay back anybody that complains by making things worse.

When you have to worry about something like this is a sure sign that Boone's power should be taken away in the ETJ.

Wolf's Head said...

Anyone can post here and claim to be a developer.

Public meetings and filings for permits, etc. are matters of public record and can verify what Guy says.

John Winkler seems to be about the only developer who can get anything approved in Boone. As to why ask him, cause I don't know.

The Town Council has repeatedly voiced their hatred for development and free enterprise. Look at their problems with the downtown merchants.

This is what happens when un-elected officials have control over the property rights of others.

guy faulkes said...

Rest assured that I will not out anyone to the vengeance of the Boone Town Council. As the Wolf say, it is all public record. You just have to find it and decide if the conflicts of interest do exist from the actions taken by the parties involved.

Anonymous said...

Here is the entire roster of the State and Local Government Committee. Call as many of them as you can and keep calling until you get through. Ask to speak with the Senators directly. Urge them to expedite passage of the bill.

Thanks to Watauga Watch for the information

Jim Davis (co-chair):(919) 733-5875
Michael Walters (co-chair):(919) 733-5651
Tommy Tucker (vice chair):(919) 733-7659
Chris Carney: (919) 715-3050
Stan Bingham: (919) 733-5665
Harris Blake: (919) 733-4809
Don East: (919) 733-5743
Thom Goolsby: (919) 715-2525
Fletcher Hartsell: (919) 733-7223
Kathy Harrington: (919) 733-5734 (She is a real estate agent and should understand the advantages to homeowners in the ETJ)
Brent Jackson: (919) 733-5705
Ed Jones: (919) 715-3032
Ellie Kinnaird: (919) 733-5804
Martin Nesbit: (919) 715-3001
Louis Pate: (919) 733-5621
Gladys Robinson: (919) 715-3042
Richard Stevens: (919) 733-5653
Stan White: (919) 715-8293

Anonymous said...

Bill to eliminate ETJ passes committee

Deborah Greene said...

Way to go Dan. We only hear rave reviews over in Meat Camp!

Another Freaked Out Republican said...

Heaven's yes! Thanks Meat Camp for sticking your nose where it doesn't belong. None of you are in the ETJ, and none of you are in the least affected by Soucek's bill, so we're really happy to know you all stand with him when you don't even have a dog in this fight. Thanks, Meat Camp, for sticking it to us.

Anonymous said...

Heaven's yes! Thanks Meat Camp for sticking your nose where it doesn't belong.

Funny, that's exactly what Boone is doing in the ETJ but it doesn't bother you.

Anonymous said...

Anon, Boone was requested to extend the etj into the Seven Oaks area by the residents of that area.
I wouldn't call that sticking their nose in where it wasnt wanted. They were invited. You, on the other hand, stuck your nose into this conversation without any invitation whatever.

See the difference?

Anonymous said...

You, on the other hand, stuck your nose into this conversation without any invitation whatever.

Would you post a copy of YOUR invitation, my friend?

Anonymous said...

I wasn't talking about Seven Oaks. Seven Oaks is not in Meat Camp. They are in New River.

Anonymous said...

Whichever anonymous you are, what the hell are you talking about?

oatz said...

I love the fact that Seven Oaks had several signs and fundraisers to oppose Amendment one saying government should not dictate who a person can marry, yet feel perfectly unhypocritical in advocating that government tell property owners what they can do on their property. I had one resident admit the hypocrisy saying this affects my property value (ref cement plant, that was there before this property owner bought their home).