Showing posts with label scpolitics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scpolitics. Show all posts

Family Court races going down to the wire

Several judicial races are going down to the wire, with candidates hustling for support before legislators vote to fill the seats at noon tomorrow.

The Blogland did Q&A interviews with two candidates still in the running: Kelly Pope, who is seeking Family Court At-Large Seat 1, and Melissa Emery, who is seeking Family Court At-Large Seat 5. We appreciate their willingness to answer questions to help enlighten.

Last week, the Blogland raised questions about a Family Court candidate who has no courtroom experience, but still wants to be elected to a Family Court seat:

While candidates are withdrawing from a number of formerly-contested judicial races as they find themselves short of the votes needed to win election to seats, Frierson is still hanging in the race, meaning she has likely attracted some support - but we're not sure why.

If Frierson wanted to serve as a judge badly enough, especially in a focused post such as a Family Court judge, it would seem logical that she would have sought to add practical courtroom experience, especially with domestic issues, to her resume before seeking this post. Hopefully she will address this lack of experience and try again in the future - but this is too important a post for on-the-job or know someone who is.

All three articles should make for good reading - especially if you're one of those voting, or know someone who is.

Lexington Senator to sponsor Concealed Carry classes for educators

Say what you want about newly-elected Lexington County Senator Katrina Shealy, you can't call her a liberal gun-hating politico.

Shealy announced free Concealed Weapon Permit classes for South Carolina teachers and school administrators. The classes, which require both classroom instruction and written tests, will take place in February at Shealy & Sons Electric, which is located at 517 Spring Street in West Columbia. The shooting proficiency test will be scheduled subsequently at Mid Carolina Rifle Club.

The Lexington County Republican was motivated to provide teachers training in response to recent school violence:

Kelly Pope, Family Court candidate - Seat One

As part of the Blogland's efforts to open up the state's judicial election process for people to see, judicial candidates are invited to answer questions about their background. Thus far, two candidates for this year's judicial elections have taken questions from the Blogland: Family Court candidate Melissa Emery and Circuit Court candidate Maite Murphy.

Now, we’d like for our readers to meet Kelly Pope, who is seeking At-Large Judge seat #1 in the Family Court:

Sixteen Republicans running for First District special

With filing closed, an unprecedented sixteen candidates have filed to run for the open First Congressional District seat's Republican primary.

The First District has been held by the GOP since 1980, when Republican Tommy Hartnett from Charleston took the seat in an open-race. The Democrats generally have not run strong races for the seat, but in 2008, a strong challenger fell just a few thousand votes behind then-incumbent Henry Brown.

Candidates will meet in the March 19, 2013 Republican Primary. A runoff (if necessary) would be held on April 2, 2013 and the general election is May 7, 2013.

Here's who's running - with web links for most candidates:

John Kerry - not fit for duty

Following the failure of Barack Obama's first effort to name a new Secretary of State to replace outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he's trying again with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.

Until John Kerry steps forward and answers these questions with the transparency and specificity we require, we will not cease assailing him, and we will not cease our opposition to his candidacy for Secretary of State. Senator Kerry, if you truly value the openness and truthfulness that is part and parcel of this vaunted office, you will promptly come clean and, following that, formally remove yourself from consideration for this position.

There are plenty of good reasons why Kerry is wrong for the job. Many of them have to do with his lack of candor about his Vietnam service and his subsequent efforts to oppose the war and tarnish the image of those who served there. In 2004, the group Swift Vets and POWs for Truth went after Kerry, most prominently via a series of TV ads which featured numerous Vietnam War veterans who questioned Kerry's service record and claims about Vietnam. Their website, which remains online today, raises troubling questions about his record and honesty.

Legislators back Burns in Upstate House GOP run-off

On Tuesday, Mike Burns missed winning the five-way GOP primary for House District 17 by a mere eight votes - and roughly ten percentage points ahead of Chris Sullivan, who he'll face in a February 5th runoff.

While it's not impossible for candidates to close a ten-point gap in a run-off, Burns is leaving nothing to chance, which is smart considering that Sullivan came within ten points of ousting Senator Mike Fair in the June GOP primary.

Today, we see more evidence of how seriously Burns is taking the run-off challenge - and how seriously he's being taken by others - as he released endorsements from five Upstate legislators. The endorsements include Senator Tom Corbin, who'd vacated the District 17 House seat in November when he was elected to the Senate, along with House members Dan Hamilton, Phyllis Henderson, Dwight Loftis and Phillip Owens - all of whom represent areas near or adjacent to District 17.

According to the endorsement press release:

More Sheriff problems

The last couple of weeks haven't been good for South Carolina Sheriffs.

Last week, the Abbeville County Sheriff was convicted for misconduct in office. This week, problems reportedly have surfaced in two other counties: Chester and Chesterfield.

The Link, a Chesterfield County newspaper, reported that SLED is investigating reports of using inmate labor. While SLED denied the investigation to WBTW TV News, the Blogland received other reports of an ongoing inquiry going back to Friday of last week.

But wait, there's more ...

Alex Underwood, the newly-elected Sheriff in Chester County, found unserved and unlogged warrants for several dozen people in a storage container that dated back over the last year and were left behind from the previous Sheriff, who Underwood defeated in November. The charges reportedly include a wide range of offenses, including drug violations, rape and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.

Underwood has called SLED in to investigate and help untangle the mess. Source have confirmed that there is discussion of bringing charges in the matter.

Let's hope Underwood's tenure goes uphill from here.

Could North Carolina tax changes efforts boost S.C. Fair Tax prospects?

Those backing a state-level FairTax proposal, which would replace state income taxes with a sales tax, have worked to attract support for their vision of changing the state's tax codes. Recent events in North Carolina may help the South Carolina FairTax activists make some long-awaited progress.

In recent weeks, leaders in North Carolina state government, including Governor Pat McCrory, N.C. House Speaker Tom Tillis and N.C. Senate President Phil Berger, have discussed the idea of cutting or eliminating the state's income tax and replacing it with a sales tax, similar to FairTax legislation which has been proposed in South Carolina.

In an  interview with the Winston-Salem Journal last month, McCrory said he believed that "North Carolina's corporate and personal income tax rates are holding back recovery from the Great Recession because they make the state less attractive to business executives seeking to create jobs." Yesterday, House Speaker Tillis echoed McCrory's sentiments while speaking to a group of small business owners near Charlotte.

Also speaking out on this subject yesterday was Forbes, which called for states to end their income taxes, pointing out the recent moves in North Carolina:

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback have all called for their states to eliminate their income tax and replace it with a sales tax over the past week. They were joined yesterday morning by North Carolina, where the Senate President Pro Tempore, Phil Berger, confirmed the legislature and the Governor, Pat McCrory, would pursue serious tax reform this session. Indeed, a senate proposal being crafted into legislation includes a repeal of North Carolina’s personal and corporate income taxes along with an expanded sales tax.

Moves like these will likely draw greater attention upon two bills which have been filed in the state House and Senate here in South Carolina - H3116 and S185 - both of which would replace the state's income and estate taxes with a six percent sales tax.

Close primary finish in District 17 leads to run-off

The Tuesday Republican primary in House District 17, which will be followed by a run-off in two weeks, was one of the closest photo-finishes seen in state politics in some time.

According to a report posted on The South Carolina Conservative website, Mike Burns fell just eight votes short of winning the nomination outright, with 1114 votes (49.7%), forcing a run-off with Chris Sullivan, who got 874 votes (just under 39%). 

Following Burns and Sullivan were three others: Roy Harmon (143 votes - 6.4%), Tom Kolarik (75 votes - 3.4%) and Randall Young (24 votes - 1.1%).

With a ten point deficit to close in the run-off race, the eight votes that eluded Burns could be all it takes to give Sullivan a second chance to win the seat. Sullivan waged a strong GOP primary challenge to Senator Mike Fair last spring, carrying nearly forty-six percent of the vote. Those we've talked with expect a spirited race between the two leading another close - but final - finish in two weeks.

Kudos to Javan Browder for getting the numbers out there before anyone else.

Set-up at Tea Party convention?

Earlier this month, several stories claimed that radical political activities were taking place at the Tea Party convention held in Myrtle Beach, most notably the "witch doctor" t-shirt activist who reported selling t-shirts which portrayed Barack Obama as a witch doctor. Writing on, Tim Slagle responded to those stories with a different take on things:

No matter what Conservatives do to make their case, the Alinsky-bound Left is determined to continue the narrative of angry white racists.

Did you know there was a Tea Party convention in South Carolina, last weekend? Well if you read the Huffington Post or any number of Left Wing blogs, you do now. Because some yahoo, decided it would be funny to show up in a T-Shirt, with a caricature of the President as a Witch Doctor.

Slagle dug deeper into this story, finding a more restrained picture than what was presented by other sources, including raising questions about the identity of the person who allegedly produced and sold the t-shirts.

S.C. State to offer Corruption major

Struggling with declining enrollment and funding shortfalls, S.C. State University could use some fresh new ideas to help boost enrollment. The Blogland has been informed that the college intends to specialize in a new major in Corruption.

"A lot of people have called this college a poster child for corruption," one source at the Orangeburg-based university told us. "So we figured 'why not work with what we're good at?'"

The school has been the center of a lot of attention regarding money, ethics and it's leadership. Recently, a former university board Chair and former campus police chief were busted in a big kickback scandal. While this would seem to be more than enough of a scandal for any college, S.C. State has been the source of enough incompetence and mismanagement for ten colleges, as evidenced by a string of problems faced by the school:

First District parody candidates on Twitter

The race to fill the First Congressional District seat is underway. Without a minute to spare, pranksters have taken the race to Twitter with parody Twitter accounts. While we've seen this taking place in some South Carolina races, the speed and number of parody accounts is greater than before.

So far, the Blogland has identified four Twitter parody accounts running wild (look at some of the comments and you'll see what we mean):

As the race develops, we're sure there will be more. Stay tuned.

Blogland Tales of Corruption

It's no secret that South Carolina government is a playground for the dishonest, unethical and downright criminal - and occasionally the lights get shined on a few of them, including here in the Blogland.

A new subject category on the right-hand sidebar "CorruptionSC" allows quick access on Blogland postings which discuss the corrupt, dishonest and inept games and those who play them. Many of them may not be big, sexy headline stories, but often state and local governments screw us by the little things, not the big things.

Amazingly, many of these things are done in local government without any effort to hide what is being done.

The Blogland has been doing its part to try to change some of that and will continue to do so, but your help is needed. If you've got a story to tell, the Blogland is ready to listen to what you have to say. Drop us an email anytime.

Brackett & Pope mark twenty good years in the 16th Circuit

As shown here, State Rep. Tommy Pope is standing with his successor in the Sixteenth Circuit Solicitor's Office as he is sworn into office for another four year term by Chief Justice Jean Toal.

Pope was elected to the office twenty years ago and stepped down several years back. Brackett, his deputy, was appointed to replace him and has won two elections (the most recent one unopposed) in his own right. Pope returned to politics two years ago, scoring the second political upset of his career when he ousted the senior member of the State House, Herb Kirsh from York County.

Both have built a strong record of partnering with local law enforcement and being among the toughest prosecutors in the state. Brackett has also worked with the Blogland on a number of stories about what is taking place in his Circuit.

Here's to four more years for Brackett!

Assault conviction in Atlantic Beach assault not the end of questions about Town and former Chief

The Blogland has discussed the Horry County town of Atlantic Beach and former Police Chief and town Administrator Benny Webb plenty - and for good reason. Both can't seem to stay out of trouble.

Thursday last week, Webb was found guilty of assault and battery. This occurred in May of last year, involving an altercation between Webb and local activist Paul Curry, who was requesting town records.

While the conviction may provide some vindication for Curry, when we talked with him, he was concerned about what this ruling may show for other cases where Webb was involved in prosecuting others during his law enforcement career:

After listening to Webb on the witness stand, I'm concerned whether he may actually believe that the audio recording of his threats had been altered, that he did not actually say the things captured on the recording. I question whether Webb may have given perjured testimony during his law enforcement career, convicting innocent people, who did not have a recording of what actually happened.

Kickback scheme at S.C. State the target of federal probe and indictments

At any reputable public college or university, the kind of dysfunction, stone-walling and misappropriated money that seems the norm at S.C. State Universiy wouldn't be tolerated.

Today's news of federal indictments related to kickbacks involving S.C. State board members and campus police are yet another wake-up call for the school nobody seems to want to touch:

A former trustee at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg has been indicted in a federal kickback scheme, according to documents unsealed Thursday.

Court documents reviewed by The Associated Press show that Jonathan N. Pinson faces two felony counts of interference with commerce by threat of violence. Pinson, a Greenville businessman, used his position to solicit favors and money, prosecutors said.

Also indicted is a Greenville businessman who allegedly worked with Pinson. A former university police chief pled guilty to his role in the scheme and is cooperating with investigators.

Apparently since the state won't clean the school up, the feds will have to do the job for South Carolina.

We know these would be problems at other places, but look at the pattern taking place here. Nobody seems to care what takes place, judging by the lack of accountability for the school, so if the big money hole known as the James E. Clyburn Transportation Center is considered perfectly acceptable, which it seems to be based upon the lack of attention upon the school's problems, why should anyone care about a few more kickbacks?

Isn't it finally time for someone to take this school's problems seriously, demand accountability and either clean the school up or close it?

Lunatic Fringe: Meet the nullifiers

Caught in a crossfire of attacks from Democratic Party and affiliated groups and selective media presentation of token extremists, the Tea Party movement is hemorrhaging public support nationwide. According to a recent poll by Rasmussen, only eight percent of those surveyed identified themselves as being part of the Tea Party movement, while forty-nine percent of respondents held a negative view of the Tea Party movement.

Moments like that which followed a recent press conference by those wanting South Carolina to "nullify" Obamacare legislation might explain why people have soured on the Tea Party movement.

Upwards of sixty screen captures of Facebook commentary by some of those in attendance at the event were sent to the Blogland earlier this evening. While most of them consist of repetitive and shop-worn criticisms of Republican Party leaders, most notably House Speaker Bobby Harrell, House LCI Chair Bill Sandifer and Charleston County GOP Chair Lin Bennett, several screen captures went over the lunatic fringe, including threats of violence. We've been told that SLED agents are looking into these messages to determine if the threats have any merit.

Richland County: Where nobody really gets fired

The Election Day mess in Richland County last year was the worst ever seen in this state in modern times.  The lines, polls with lines hours after the 7pm closing time, a widespread shortage of voting machines and trickle of ballots magically appearing were unprecedented in modern times.

After an investigation and hearings, we were told the person believed to be most responsible for the mess, Lillian McBride, the county's Director of Elections was fired and that a house-cleaning would get the county's election operation back in order.

But we must warn our readers that while the word "fired" in most places means you're gone and a new team comes in to straighten things out, the word seems to have a very different meaning in Richland County.

In Richland County, when you're "fired", that just means demoted with a modest pay cut, because McBride is back as the county's deputy elections director. According to The State:

McBride – who last week agreed to step out of her $89,124-a-year director’s job – would stay in the office, overseeing county voter registration efforts and absentee balloting. That’s the job she held 18 months ago before becoming the state’s highest-paid county elections director and presiding Nov. 6 over the most bungled county election in modern state history. Wednesday night, the four-member county elections commission, which oversees the elections office, passed resolutions urging incoming interim elections director Jasper Salmond to offer McBride the job at that salary.

Go figure.

DSS: More kids put in harm's way

Last year, South Carolina DSS removed children from a home after a child was mauled to death by a dog. The surviving children were returned to the home after an investigation. Earlier this week, another child in the home was attacked by a dog. According to News Channel 4:

According to the incident report filed on Jan. 3, the 3-year-old had significant injury to his face, including a puncture wound on his right cheek and to the left side of his nose.

It's hard to imagine that the children would have been returned to a home with dogs in it, but hey, we ARE talking South Carolina DSS, the agency tasked with wasting tax dollars and putting children in harm's way.

This incident comes less than a week after reports that DSS placed a child into a home in the Upstate without doing a complete background check. The child's uncle, a convicted violent felon, was later charged with abusing the child before the child was placed with another relative (no word on if a complete background check was done on that relative).

DSS: Putting Children in Harm's Way is Job One

Dorchester County State Rep. Jenny Horne has been one of those most vocal with concerns about the gross inability of the Child Protective Services arm of SC DSS to protect children from abuse.

In a Charleston Post and Courier story, Horne cited concerns about "timeliness of DSS response to complaints about child welfare and delayed court proceedings because department paperwork was not in order." This included one instance where the agency failed to act three years after parental rights had been terminated three years ago and another where a girl was placed in a Dorchester County home with a registered sex offender.

One can add to this growing pile of complaints - and childrens' bodies - this story in the Rock Hill Herald on Friday about how the agency placed a child in a home with an uncle who had served time for a violent felony without conducting a complete background check (hint: one can be done in minutes on the SLED website). 

Not surprisingly, after being placed with the uncle, the child was taken out after reports of ... yep ... physical abuse by the uncle.

Responding to a request by nearly three dozen House Republican legislators, the Legislative Audit Council has initiated an audit of the agency's ability to protect children. Such an audit has been long overdue as the agency has a long history of failing to protect children. Not only have some of these gross failures been talked about on this blog, but DSS is the agency which historically generates the most complaints to the Blogland.

It would be nice if the agency would be held accountable for a change, but asking for that would be like beating a dead horse (or child, as the agency would probably prefer).