6/25 Stimulus paid for fiber optics to nowhere

Stimulus pays for fiber optic to empty building
Eric Eyre, Charleston Gazette
West Virginia used federal stimulus funds to run 425 feet of fiber-optic cable to a building in downtown Huntington that’s now empty. The state spent $22,600 for a high-end Internet router and $14,800 to bring a high-speed fiber connection to the Huntington-based Region 2 Planning and Development Council. The regional economic development agency leased office space at the now-vacant property last year, but moved to a new location in February. The fiber connection now belongs to the building’s new owner — a prestigious Huntington law firm. The Region 2 Planning Council’s new headquarters doesn’t have a high-speed fiber connection. The Internet router remains in storage …

We Deserve a Rockefeller vs. Manchin Debate

Woe, despair and agony on me. I try to keep up, but some weeks are just more fruitful than others … anyway, since you already know the news, let me give you my view of the impact of the stories out here in the hinterlands.

Rockefeller’s Coal Speech Biggest Impact

US Senator Jay Rockefeller blasts the coal industry, lauds EPA read numerous headlines after his June 20th Senate speech (full text) and might foreshadow one of the most significant West Virginia policy debates in memory not to mention the pure politics of it all. Coal association president Bill Raney responded that the remarks were “disappointing and discouraging” as did WV Chamber President Steve Roberts who reportedly answered his phone, “This is Capito for United States Senate headquarters.” Meanwhile, Rockefeller’s former press secretary, Mark Ferrell spun the speech as saying, … “it’s time to begin thinking differently about how we’re make the future of coal viable …”

Continue reading We Deserve a Rockefeller vs. Manchin Debate

Justifying Government Programs

US Senator Jay Rockefeller hosted a state roundtable on child hunger which concluded that students face hunger during their summer break. In fact, the Children’s Defense Fund says that there are 206,190 children receiving free or reduced lunches during the school year, but only 16,807 participate in the summer food service program. That means, they leave it to us to conclude, 189,383 don’t get enough to eat. Well, this reminds me of a classic equipment justification problem. Huh?

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Top Two Primaries

I mentioned the Top Two Primary system last week as adopted by the State of Washington. Well, in case you didn’t know (as I didn’t) California was the second state to adopt such a system, which it did by referendum in 2010 and held its first primary under the system last week. Well, how did it work? Thought I’d try to find out for us.

How Top Two Works: All candidates for a single House of Delegates seat (single-delegate district), are on the SAME primary ballot whether they be Democrat, Republican or whatever. If four Democrats and three Republicans run for that seat, then all voters (regardless of party-affiliation) vote for one person amongst the seven. The top two vote getters then go on to face each other in the general. That could be a Republican vs. Democrat, or two Republicans, or two Democrats or, again, whatever. If a nominee croaks before the general, then the third place finisher is promoted. I would assume in a five member district, then the top ten vote getters would go onto the general although I don’t know since California nor Washington are smart enough to have multi-member districts as we have.

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Case for Political Correctness

My good friend thinks this article is “ephemeral insipidity” (i.e. peeing in the stream) but I wish I would have written it because it makes a great point. What point? Julia Shaw points out (read full article here) how “conservative clichés” keeps us from winning friends and influencing people. It’s my contention that Republicans, in general, get trapped defending moral high-ground issues on principles while losing to Democrats on a more practical level. One of the main reasons is that we, out of principle, do not succumb to the concept of “political correctness.” We should. Consider the following.

Continue reading Case for Political Correctness

6/14 U.S. House looking into routers

Tom’s note: About time we get some action on this preposterous purchase. No outcry from West Virginians so the feds will have to do it again.

U.S. House committee wants inquiry into routers
Eric Eyre, Charleston Gazette
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives asked the inspector general to investigate West Virginia’s use of $24 million in federal stimulus funds to purchase oversized Internet routers. U.S. Reps. Greg Walden of Oregon and John Shimkus of Illinois want Department of Commerce Inspector General Greg Zinser to scrutinize West Virginia’s stimulus spending on the equipment. “We have requested Inspector General Zinser investigate whether taxpayer funds were spent properly and efficiently,” said Debbee Keller, press secretary for the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce …

Ex-GOP candidate charged in Clay shooting
Travis Crum, Charleston Gazette
PROCIOUS, W.Va. — State Police arrested a former Republican candidate for West Virginia Attorney General and the U.S. Senate after he allegedly shot a Clay County man in the leg Wednesday. Hiram Carson Lewis IV, 41, of Morgantown, was charged with malicious wounding and wanton endangerment involving a firearm after shooting Steven Bogart at about 1:30 p.m., according to a criminal complaint filed in Clay County Magistrate Court …

5/25 More Prevailing Wage May 20, 2012

Tom’s note: it occurred to me that it would be of some benefit if I posted my “weakly” newsletter each week so that it would be avaialable to all for searching on this site. Here’s the May 20, 2012 edition to get started. I will post others from time to time in order to “ketchup.” BTW, sign up for the “Single-Delegate” newsletter on this site and it will be delivered to your inbox every week. Won’t have to wait until I get around to posting it …
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Here we go again.

The Charleston Daily Mail reported that the Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department is now able to break ground on a scaled-back replacement fire station made necessary in order to pay West Virginia prevailing wages. The project was trimmed by the department from $1.9 million to $1.1 million and construction is expected to begin by May 29th. However, in the process, Kanawha County Commission President W. Kent Carper flew in the face of reason in defending the de facto requirement for the volunteer organization to pay prevailing wage.
Continue reading 5/25 More Prevailing Wage May 20, 2012