Who I’m Voting For 2010

Well, it’s time once again to place our marks onto ballots and pretend that it actually makes a difference. The most important point to remember is that sometimes not making any mark at all makes the biggest difference.

Let’s get the easy one out of the way first:

US Senate: Mike Beitler. The only other choices are Richard Burr, who’s less fiscally conservative than Bill Clinton, and Elaine Marshall, who seems to think that printing more money will somehow work all of a sudden. Beitler, on the other hand, is truly for smaller government, including bringing our troops home and ending senseless, expensive, and failed policies like the War on Drugs. No contest.

US House: None. Let’s face it, it’s between Patrick McHenry–another pesudoconservative–and Jeff Gregory, who thinks that we can solve everything with magical tax cuts and not have to worry about cutting spending to match (also, worst website ever!).

Constitutional Amendment: Is it just me, or does anyone else think they should publish the exact text of the amendment on the ballot? Anyway, here it is. This is a bad idea for several reasons:

  • First, North Carolina has a lot of dumb laws on the books, making it illegal to do things like give someone an alcoholic beverage in a room where people are pretending to gamble (NCGS § 14-293) or stealing pine needles (NCGS § 14-79.1).

  • Second, a lot of people commit felonies when they’re young and make mistakes. Many of them develop into good, honorable people despite–and in some cases even because of–these mistakes.

  • The very concept of a system of individual liberty means that someone should have their full rights restored upon completion of their sentence. All of them. Including the right to seek public office, even sheriff.

  • A candidate’s background–including his criminal record–comes into play when running for office. The voters can certainly decide to reject a candidate because of his criminal record. (And if their choice is diminished in this, it can only be because of North Carolina’s hideously restrictive ballot access and election system.)

  • It’s also interesting that this is confined to the office of sheriff, and not (say) to County Commissioners or state legislators. How many legislators would we no longer have if this were the case? (I’ll refrain from making a crack about Commissioner candidate Loy Dellinger. His case was most likely a bad rap–which actually supports my points here, anyway.)

What it all boils down to is, I’m voting against the Constitutional amendment.

State and local offices below the fold.

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Who I’m Voting For

Once again, it’s time to go over the Lincoln County sample ballot and select my picks for the people who are going to pretend to be in charge of things for awhile. We’ll start at the top:

President: Bob Barr. He’s not ideal–not only is he not Libertarian ideal (despite his party affiliation), he’s not even Ron Paul ideal, and if you’d told me in 2002 I’d be voting for him for President I’d have laughed in your face–but he is a darn sight better than either of those other two bozos. Plus, a vote for Bob Barr is a vote for ballot access for Libertarians in North Carolina.

US Senate: Christopher Cole. Great guy. I never have any qualms about voting for him.

US House: This was tough. Not that I was ever considering voting for McHenry, but the choice was Daniel Johnson or nobody. In the end, I figure the Democrats need all the help they can in this
district, so I’m voting for Johnson. (Why, oh why couldn’t I live in BJ Lawson’s district?)

Governor: No question about it, Mike Munger. He owned the debates. My favorite was when, after McCrory and Perdue had given their usual non-answers (can Purdue say anything other than a string of sound bites?) he began an answer with, "Well, I’m actually going to answer the question…" He was the only candidate putting forth specific solutions for the problems facing North Carolina, and he did it without compromising his Libertarian principles or coming across as a radical. See? It can be done!

Lt. Governor: Phillip Rhodes. Like Chris Cole above, no qualms whatsoever. Great Libertarian, great guy.

Lesser offices below the fold.

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My Primary Ballot Recommendations

So on Tuesday I’ll be voting in the Republican primary. I’ve spent some time figuring out who I’m going to vote for in the different races on the Lincoln County ballot, and thought I’d share it for anyone who might be interested:

President: Ron Paul. Duh.

Senate: Pete Di Lauro. If he can be trusted to his word (I have no other information to go on), he should be nominated because 1) he’s not Elizabeth Dole, and 2) he’s for bringing the troops home as quickly as possible. He’s also talked about reigning in the Federal Reserve by making it part of the Treasury (although it would be better if we eliminated it entirely, and we saw in the early 1800s the problems that can arise by mixing the Treasury with the banking system) and realizes our monetary policy is the source of our current economic woes.

US Congress District 10: Lance Sigmon. Let’s face it: it doesn’t take much to be better than McHenry. Not only that, he talks about cutting taxes AND spending (whereas most Republicans are just borrow-and-spend). He’s against gun control, which is good, but I can’t figure out what his policy on Iraq is (other than McHenry is a dooty-head). Still, all in all, an improvement over McHenry.

Governor: Okay, not Pat McCrory. A bad mayor would make a really bad governor.

Fred Smith’s been sending out fliers and copies of his (self-published) book, and I still don’t know what he stands for; someone who can use that many words and not actually say anything cannot be good.

Bill Graham has called for a gas tax “holiday;” make it permanent and I might like him. But he still needs to realize simple things, like the fact that water is a renewable resource and we in NC have one of the most plentiful supplies of potable water in the world, despite the “drought.”

Bob Orr? Don’t even get me started on his website…it should be submitted to “Web Pages That Suck.” Can we at least have functioning nav links? I can’t even use Google to get to the Issues page! At least he wants to “limit” corporate welfare, although “eliminate” would be better; why not make them compete for our money?

Elbie Powers will get my vote, even if I might have to hold one nostril shut to do it. At least he’s searching for profitable options other than tax, tax, and more tax. Add to that a fairly sensible education policy, and we could do a lot worse. If I can just get past his support for the death penalty…

Lt. Governor: Tim Cook may not say much, but what he does say I like. Greg Dority might as well be a cardboard cutout of a stereotypical Republican (and no, that’s not a good thing), Robert Pittenger’s website reads like a neocon manifesto, and Jim Snyder seems to be trying to distance himself from the neocons and McCain while not offering anything substantially different. I’m going with Cook.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Eric H. Smith. Pure Libertarian. I think he’s the only Republican candidate running for any NC office who’s in favor of lifting the caps on charter schools.

County Commissioner: Okay, first off, not Patton or Moore; supporting the sales tax increase and the ridiculous tax-hike-in-not-much-of-a-disguise revaluation should not get anyone reelected. And not Funderburk or Mitchem, either; they had their chance.

I’m really glad to see the name Martin Oakes on the ballot. He’s been a rare voice of reason and sanity in Lincoln County politics for years.

As for the others, Louis McConnell thinks districting and growth “management” are both great, Clayton Mullis can’t seem to land on a position, John Sitzenstock’s answer for everything is more debt, and George Arena just loves the phrases “land use” and “adequate public facilities.”

So, although I get three votes, Oakes will be the only one I can place a mark next to.

Court of Appeals: If I could find where any one of them stated the Constitution is supreme and must be followed at all times, I’d vote for them. As it is, it looks like we’ll be sinking deeper into the quagmire. I’m not voting for any of them. EDIT: I’ve just been informed that Dean Pourier is a constitutionalist whom Eric Smith has endorsed. I trust Eric, so Pourier gets my vote.

Sales Tax Increase: NO!!! (Did you really need to ask?)

School Bond: Yeah, like we need another $44.6 million in debt. And notice that it specifically authorizes the levying of new taxes to pay off the bond and the interest. It’s just like the one in 2004. It may even be verbatim. It’ll just leave us with more Taj-Mahal buildings and students and teachers scraping for supplies. If you care at all about our children, vote no to this. And you may also want to ask yourself (and our county and state politicians), if we need new school buildings so badly, why won’t they just remove the caps on charter schools?

Anyway, that’s how I’m voting. Use the comments to agree or disagree with me all you want.

Vote against legalized racketeering this Tuesday

It’s bad enough that NC taxes its citizens more than “Taxachusetts” does. It’s bad enough that Lincoln County just issued a laughable revaluation which is a very thinly veiled tax increase, revaluing some homes 300% or more of their previous value at a time when home prices are suffering. It’s bad enough that the dollar is the worst it’s ever been, that inflation is eating into our savings, and the Misery Index is the highest it’s been since 1980.

Now, they want to increase the sales tax as well–and they’re trying to slip it in through the primary where the turnout is lower than the general election (and which are supposed to be just for candidate selection, paid for by the filing fees of the candidates).

Do not let them get away with this! Go Tuesday and vote “No” to the sales tax increase. If you don’t live in Lincoln County, but you live in North Carolina, you can go to this website and see if your county is trying to increase taxes.

Oh, and while you’re at it, it would be great if you could vote for the only candidate on the ballot dedicated to getting taxes down–Ron Paul. Yes, he’s still in the running, and unlike votes for the rest of the candidates, every vote for Ron Paul absolutely will make a difference!

81% vote against new tax!

I’m feeling a bit more faith in my home county. Yesterday, 81% of Lincoln County voters rejected the Special Tax Referendum, which would have imposed an additional 5 cents per $100 on property taxes, ostensibly for recreation facilities. Ordinarily, referenda pass almost blindly, usually by a landslide. Not this year. So, now will our commissioners and other Lincoln County officials finally get the idea that we don’t like being taxed as much as we are?

Also, Lincoln County voters defeated the Districting referendum by almost 60%. I’m so glad my fellow residents saw through the fraud that districting comprises. I can understand the appeal of districting, and how it seems to be a more fair way of doing things, but considering that we hadn’t even voted on it and the proposed districts were already gerrymandered, it seems that this referendum is best left dead.

You can see the election results for Lincoln County here.

Having a tiff with TIFs

At last night’s County Commissioner’s meeting, I rose in the Public Comments section to speak out against Tax Increment Financing bonds (TIFs), now made possible in North Carolina by the (fraudulent) passing of Amendment One. I reiterated the arguments in the entry "Just say ‘No’ to Amendment One" below, and pointed out that Lincoln County voters actually voted against Amendment One 52-48%, when we voted in favor of the other two amendments by 76% and 66%, respectively. I urged them to consider the will of the people they represent and to not inflict TIFs on the people of Lincoln County, but instead to put any bond measure on the ballot and let us decide. During the break, I was complimented by several people attending the meeting who also voted against Amendment One.

If you’re in Lincoln County, I urge you to go to the Commissioners meeting and make this same argument: that we voted against Amendment One and, therefore, the Commissioners should not take our county into further debt without our approval. If you live elsewhere in North Carolina, see how your city or county voted (you can get these statistics from your local Board of Elections) and, if your local vote went against Amendment One, go to your city council or county commissioners and make this same plead. You made your voice heard on Nov. 2nd; now make sure your representatives listen.

Elephant footprints up and down my back

Well, any Lincoln County candidate who wasn’t a Republican got trampled Tuesday. Although we’re still waiting for the official results, the unofficial results have me getting 3,597 votes, or about 5.2%. I must admit to being disappointed; I thought I would do much better and I thought that the race would be much closer. Of course, that was before eighty bazillion Republicans showed up on Election Day. I was stumping at the Westport precinct, the biggest precinct in the county, at about 2:00 on election day when one of the workers came out and said they had already had 85% turnout. I knew then that all of my projections were out of the water.

Still, I have a lot of things to be pleased about. I received over 3½ times as many votes as I did in 2002, I received a greater percentage than Jack Stratton did in Mecklenburg County with a lot more publicity and name recognition, and I even got more votes than Ralph Nader did in some states (including Mississippi, Wyoming, and Delaware). The good fight is still going on, and we’re making progress.

Now we have to make sure we stay on the ballot. We’ll have to get about 60,000 signatures from valid registered voters (about 100,000 signatures all total before the BOE kicks out the invalid ones). If you believe in having your choice of candidates on Election Day, then please go to the LPNC Ballot Access web page to download, print, and mail in the petition. Even if you only send in one signature, it’s worth it to us! In 2000, it cost the Libertarian Party of North Carolina over $100,000 just to stay on the ballot. The more signatures we get from people like you, the less money we’ll have to spend on ballot access and the more money we’ll have left to run and publicize candidates for office.

You must be a registered voter in the state of NC for your signature to count, and the address etc. on the petition must match your voter registration. If you’re an NC resident over the age of 18 but aren’t registered, or you want to make sure your registration information is correct, just use the Register to Vote in NC link on the right side of this page. Then send in your petition!

Much thanks to everyone who donated to and supported my candidacy and the Libertarian Party. We’ve come a long way, but we’ve still got a long way to go. Be strong, and be free!

All’s Fair in love and bad weather

Since the Apple Festival was cancelled this year for fears that Ivan would bring in inclement and even dangerous weather (of course, it ended up being a beautiful day…), I’ve secured booth space for October 1st and 2nd at the Denver Days festival. The festival runs from 3-11 on Friday and 9-6 on Saturday, and I plan to be there for as much of that time as humanly possible.


As those of you who have seen the Lincoln County Libertarian Party’s website know, last year we presented a resolution to the County Commissioners urging them to instruct county officials to refuse to comply with the USA PATRIOT Act (about which they did nothing). We also set up a page supporting our claims, which I feel is the best of its kind that I’ve seen.

I was able to get my hands on a recording of my speech to the County Commissioners after the resolution was read to them. Considering it was an off-the-cuff, unscripted speech, and I was just going from notes, I think I did rather well. You can listen to it here (3.4MB mp3 file, 9:40).

It’s now official

This morning I filed with the Lincoln County Board of Elections as a candidate for the 2004 Libertarian Primary election for County Commissioner. If I win the primary (which seems likely, since to my knowledge I’m the only Libertarian filing and there are three open slots) then it’s on to the November campaign. I hope to add an Issues page to my website soon, so keep a watch on the left hand side. I plan to skewer my usual target, zoning, and I am also going to have a lot to say about accountability on the Board of Commissioners.