The voters of Madison County will have quite a unique opportunity in the 2014 election cycle. Rarely does a community have a chance to send a message that corruption in public office will not be tolerated.

Since I arrived in WNC in January 2012, I’ve heard horror stories of the political machinations in Madison County. Some folks wear this almost as a badge of honor.

We’ll all find out just how proudly that badge is worn next year, when John Ledford attempts to win back a badge of his own.

According to the Asheville Citizen-Times: Just days after news spread of John Ledford’s dismissal from the Alcohol Law Enforcement Agency, the former Madison County Sheriff made another announcement — he will run for his old office in 2014. Ledford, a Democrat, was Madison County Sheriff before he was appointed Director of ALE. He was named to the post by Democratic former Gov. Bev Perdue in 2009.

But when Republican Pat McCrory won the gubernatorial race in 2012, Ledford asked for a demotion to a field agent. He got that demotion, according to a scathing memo from the new NC Department of Public Safety Commissioner, Frank Perry, by breaking the law.

This conduct, the letter states, stems from a 2012 request by Ledford to be reassigned from law enforcement director to an agent position. At the time, according to the letter, the only open position, budgeted at $39,198, was in Wilmington.

Perry states that Ledford requested top pay for “advanced” competency level. You then, in effect, recommended approval of your own request by signing the personnel action clearance form in your capacity as division director,” the letter states. Perry said the request was then “confirmed” by Chief Operating Officer Mikael Gross, rather than the deputy director, deviating from the correct procedure. “Not only did this procedure result in approval of a request that should not have been approved, it also resulted in approval of excessive salary ($65,887.00) thereby making you the highest-paid special agent in the division.”

There were no vacant positions in Asheville, according to Perry. Ledford says he was dismissed for “political reasons.” Apparently, following the law is now considered to be a political thing. I’d be more willing to believe Ledford’s explanation, if not for a little issue that popped up last June (which I believe comes before the month of November – and, as such, before the election of the Republican Governor).

From WRAL: Officials in the state Department of Public Safety repeatedly blocked attempts by state auditors to investigate a complaint that two high-ranking Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement officers were misusing their state-owned vehicles, according to an audit released Tuesday.

The auditors were responding to a tip that ALE Director John Ledford and Deputy Director for Operations Allen Page were using their state-owned vehicles to commute to their homes near Asheville on the weekends.

State law allows the men to use their official vehicles for commuting but also requires them to live in or near Raleigh since they are based at headquarters. The men share an apartment in Raleigh, according to the audit, so they shouldn’t be using a state-owned car to commute elsewhere.

According to the audit, attempts to speak with ALE officers in Asheville were met with so much resistance that the State Auditor’s Office had to ask the Attorney General’s Office to prepare subpoenas to compel cooperation before ALE officials finally relented and spoke with investigators.

So, all this “politicking” that has targeted Democrat Ledford occurred under a Democratic Governor.

After an audit by a Democratic Auditor. Who asked the Democratic Attorney General to intervene.

Got it. Maybe it’s not everyone else, Mr. Ledford. Maybe it’s you. This is a chance for the folks in Madison County to help repair the image as a hotbed of political machine corruption. But, November 2014 is a long way off.

EXIT QUOTE: Ledford said, “…we are going to put back confidence within the Sheriff’s Office.”

Good luck with that.

Did you notice who Obama threatened????
From now thru November 2014 this should be required weekly or at least monthly, reading – BY ALL WHO VOTE!!!

Did you notice who Obama threatened when he wasn’t getting his way on raising the debt ceiling?

He threatened to not pay: Social Security Retirees, Military Retirees, Social Security disability and Federal Retirees.

Now…  Let this sink in really good –

He did not threaten to stop payments to illegal aliens

He did not threatened to take frivolous benefits such as Internet access away from violent inmates

He did not offer to fire some of the thousands of unnecessary federal employees that he hired

He did not offer to cut down on his or his wife’s frivolous gallivanting around

He did not threaten to not pay the senators and representatives or any of their staff

He did not threaten to take benefits away from welfare recipients

He did not threaten the food stamp programs

He did not threaten to not pay foreign aid

He did not threaten to cut back on anything that involves his base voters

The list could go on and on.  He is in full political re-election mode!

Why are we allowing this person to destroy this wonderful country with his selfishness and his lies?

His type of change is killing our country.  He needs to be stopped and only our votes can stop him.

Do not forget about his tactics when it’s election time. Vote for true conservative candidates for US Senate and US House in 2014.



Leake Ousted as Madison County Attorney

9:45 PM, Dec 3, 2012   |  By Melissa Dean

MARSHALL — It did not take long for newly appointed county commissioners to shake things up in Madison County.

Within minutes of swearing in new county commissioners on Monday, Larry Leake was ousted as the Madison County Attorney by a 3-2 vote.

“I’ve known (Leake) for many years, and I consider him a good friend of mine,” said newly elected Commissioner Jim Baker, who made the motion. “But people voted me in because they are ready for the county and county government to go in a different direction.”

Democrat Wayne Brigman joined Republican Commissioners Bill Briggs and Baker to cast the deciding vote to replace Leake.

“People wanted a change,” said Briggs.

Commissioners Sue Vicinskas and Hall Moore dissented.

“I think it was a promise made during the election that Larry needed to be removed,” said Vilcinskas, who was appointed commission chair during Monday’s meeting. Baker was unanimously appointed vice chair.

Leake could not be reached to comment on the meeting.

Attorney Hal Harrison was appointed as the new county attorney. Harrison is also the attorney of Mitchell and Avery counties.

According to Baker, the move to replace Leake was due in part by what could be considered a conflict of interest for the county.

“Larry has the reputation of doing much more than just legal advice,” said Baker. “

It is time to do away with the county feeling that the same person is calling the shots. It will be a positive change for the county.”

Leake, while he has held the position as county attorney for more than 30 years, is also the attorney for the towns of Mars Hill, Marshall and Hot Springs, as well as the attorney for the Madison County Department of Social Services.

Leake also currently serves as the chairman of the state Board of Elections.

“They have, at times, gotten in the way of each other,” said Baker, who cited the 2011 case in which county commissioners sued DSS following a discrepancy with a board member.

“He is the attorney for a lot of different towns and agencies,” said Briggs. “It is good not to have one person in control of everything.”

Baker said the move will save the county money. Leake was paid a retainer fee of $1,000 a month, according to the county Finance Department.

While the move to replace Leake was not unanimous, Vicinskas said she hopes the board will move the county forward through bipartisanship and collaborative efforts.

“It will be an interesting time in our county,” said Vilcinskas. “I think the county is going to be surprised at how differently things will be run.”

“The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But, under the name of “Liberalism”, they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened. I no longer need to run as a Presidential candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democrat Party has adopted our platform.”–Norman Thomas, 1944 (six-time Presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America)

NC Democrats coping with all power lost in NC

By GARY D. ROBERTSON – Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Republicans can never remember soaring so high in state government with Pat McCrory entering the Executive Mansion and expanding GOP majorities at the Legislative Building come January.

Democrats can’t remember sitting so low.

As the dominant force in North Carolina politics for over a century, Democrats almost always held all the strings of power in Raleigh. They’ll all be cut after last week’s election. The Democrats’ 20-year winning streak for governor is over. They’ll hold barely one-third of the Legislature’s seats, and Republicans remain the majority on the state Supreme Court.

Democrats also took hits in federal races. North Carolina was the only battleground state President Barack Obama lost in his successful re-election campaign. And Democrats lost at least three U.S. House seats.

“The Democratic Party in North Carolina is as weak as it has ever been as a political power force,” veteran North Carolina political researcher John Davis said.

It’s left Democrats wondering how they’ll maximize what little influence they’ll have and how to rebuild their brand in the state. But they’re also nervous about whether 2012 was an aberration in a competitive two-party state or the start of a long-term hiatus.

“We’re at a crossroads. I don’t think anybody knows the answer to this question,” said former Democratic Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker, but “there’s no question the Democratic Party is going to be going through a retooling process.”

The first crack in Democratic dominance in state government opened 40 years ago when Jim Holshouser was elected the first GOP governor since 1901. GOP Gov. Jim Martin served for eight years a decade later, and the state House went Republican in the mid-1990s. The big moment came two years ago, when Republicans won a majority in both legislative chambers for the first time since 1870.

Democrats lost another nine seats in the House and one seat in the Senate on Election Day, meaning Republicans now hold veto-proof majorities in each chamber. Democrats, with just 61 seats in the 170-member Legislature, will have no way to stop GOP policies as long as most Republicans and McCrory are in agreement.

Democrats offer several explanations for their recent setbacks – some out of their control and others self-inflicted.

The slowly recovering economy and low approval numbers for outgoing Gov. Beverly Perdue put Democratic gubernatorial nominee Walter Dalton deep in a hole against McCrory, who narrowly lost to Perdue in 2008. Republicans also got to redraw district maps for the House and Senate and the U.S. House delegation.

“It shows the power of the pen – meaning the redistricting pen – and the power of the purse – meaning having tremendous access to a large amount of campaign money,” said Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Wake, a minority whip. Democrats and their allies have challenged the legality of the maps.

After political scandals over the past decade involving mostly Democratic elected officials, the party also suffered through another this year when the party’s executive director resigned after sexual harassment allegations were made against him by an employee.

Party Chairman David Parker, who held onto his post when Perdue, Dalton and others tried to force him out, said Friday the controversy didn’t “change the mind of a single voter” but acknowledged there “was definitely an energy drain.”

Parker said there were some positives from Election Day. Democrats retained a majority on the Council of State and were extremely well organized for the Obama campaign. Parker said his party’s commitment to public education and job creation still align well with the minds of voters.

“I am genuinely optimistic about the Democratic Party because our message is so solid,” he said.

Wicker and others say the message has to expand to bring back conservative Democrats and the corporate community, which largely is now siding with Republicans.

House and Senate Democratic caucuses also have to overcome the perception they are anti-business or support higher taxes.

“There is no ideological balance in those caucuses anymore,” Davis said. But he added that urban population growth still brings tremendous opportunities for Democrats to rebound in the future.

Chris Fitzsimon, executive director of the liberal-leaning North Carolina Policy Watch, said elected officials in the party have failed to step up after Democratic heavyweights like Sens. Marc Basnight and Tony Rand left the political stage in the past four years.

“It’s an opportunity to clear the lot and start over in terms of party infrastructure and strategy and fundraising,” Fitzsimon said.

Potential Democratic standard bearers could include Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and State Treasurer Janet Cowell. It’s unclear whether Attorney General Roy Cooper will take a more prominent party role or consider a gubernatorial run in 2016. Others believe Parker is still the problem and want him out. He said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll run for chairman again in a few months.

Republicans who served in the minority for years cautioned Democrats against being too intensely partisan, or risk failing to accomplish things for constituents.

“The member has to decide whether to be effective in the body, or do they want to be a politico,” said former House Speaker Harold Brubaker, who was just one of six Republicans in the House when he arrived in the chamber in 1977.

Democrats acknowledge political victories will be rare.

“Is it going to be pleasant? No, but I’ve always said there’s always a dignity to being in the minority party,” Ross said, “so we’ll go forward. We have no choice.”


Upcoming presidential election:

Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee.  We enthusiastically support his candidacy.  For my friends who have hesitation on that score, I’d just ask you to keep four things in mind:

    1. Justice Scalia is 76 years old
    2. Justice Kennedy is 76 years old
    3. Justice Breyer turned 74 in August
    4. Justice Ginsburg turned 79 a couple months ago.

In addition, Justice Ginsburg has Pancreatic Cancer.  Justice Stephen Breyer has already indicated he would retire and is just waiting to see if Obama is reelected.  The next president could appoint as many as 4 new Justices over next 8 years.  This election is about more than the economy, ObamaCare, Medicare, and the National Debt.

We wish them all well, of course, but the brute fact is that whoever we elect as president in November is almost certainly going to choose at least one new member of the Supreme Court, in addition to hundreds of other life-tenured federal judges, all of whom will be making momentous decisions about our lives for decades to come.

So for anybody who is thinking of not voting because your favorite didn’t get nominated, or writing in a candidate who can’t win, imagine this:  SUPREME COURT JUSTICE ERIC HOLDER