Posts Tagged ‘Jay Lawson’

I figure it’s only appropriate that Pitch’s 2014 Blogger of the Year share his thoughts on next Tuesday’s election.

Here is a copy of the ballot for all of Clay County. I will be sharing how I will vote on the races and issues I can vote on. As usual, I’m sure this post will further annoy some local politicos and confuse others. I don’t like boxes and shall not be placed in one.

State Auditor:

I find this race interesting. There’s no Democrat. I am not a fan of Tom Schweich. I had the pleasure of sitting across the table from him before the 2010 election at a Clay County Pachyderm meeting. He was rude, arrogant, and I think he thought he was just going to push me around. I stood my ground, he didn’t like it, and I didn’t like him. I still can’t forgive him for donating to Claire McCaskill many years ago. His excuse to me, that’s just the way things worked in the lawyers office he worked for… Oh… Huh?  I’m voting for Sean O’Toole, the Libertarian candidate. Is Schweich competent, no doubt, but Schweich is also as establishment as they come. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my reasoning here, but that’s where I am at on this one.

US House 6th District

While I voted against Congressman Graves in the primary, I have no doubt he is a better choice than the other two candidates in the race. I believe it is important to hold the house. While I’m not super excited to do it, I have no problem voting for Congressman Graves in this race.

Clay County Presiding Commissioner

I will be voting for Jerry Nolte. I have known Jerry for sometime, and I find him to be a great person. As you know if you are a regular visitor here, I loudly supported him in the Republican primary. I know he will make a far better Commissioner than who is currently in office.

Jay Swearingen and I have a mutual friend. Everything this friend had told me about him had me optimistic that we would have had a different race. Swearingen’s campaign is best described as the “I’m not Jerry Nolte” campaign which really makes little sense. His website has no information about a vision for the county or anything that he will do as commissioner. One thing Swearingen wants you to know is that he will show up to vote. Ok… great!

My one frustration with this race is that there will be no end to “Economic Development Councils” with either race. I find these things to be a complete waste of money and not the role of government. I don’t look to my government to create jobs., Government’s purpose is to create a positive environment for jobs to be created within.

County Clerk

I won’t be voting for either candidate. This is the quintessential Clay County race and something I have spoken out against since the early days of the blog. Follow the connections here: Megan Thompson is somehow related to Matt Thompson who is the son of T.K. Thompson who is friends with Vic Hurlbert. See how this works? Oh, wait, it gets better, Sherry Duffett is close friends with Pam Mason and worked for her when Mason was county clerk. If I was a betting man, which I’m usually not, but I’d put money on the table that Pam Mason receives a job in the Clerk’s office no matter who wins this race.

County Auditor

I will be voting for Sheila Ernzen. I don’t need to rehash all of the history here as to why. If you are curious, just do a search on the blog for Clay County Auditor or Sheila Ernzen. The McCaslins are friends with Hurlbert/Mason et. al. This is yet another Hurlbert inspired candidacy and rehashing of the vendetta against Ms. Ernzen.

Ms. McCaslin has a bit of the I-don’t-know-what-political-party-I’m-from-syndrome. Maybe her and Jay Lawson drink the same water… Anyway, she’s run as a Democrat for past elections, and now, she’s suddenly a Republican. Her husband, Dale McCaslin ran as Democrat in the primary against Ms. Ernzen.

In addition, Ms. McCaslin has no qualifications to be the Auditor. She is not a CPA, nor does she have any experience as an auditor. Wait…this story sounds familiar. William James Norris, Part Deux!

Furthermore, Ms. McCaslin has failed to show up at any voter forums, has no website, no Facebook presence…nothing.

Hopefully nothing I said above was slanderous…I await notification from Mrs. McCaslin’s lawyer. Because based upon her previous behavior, I have no confidence she’d have the courage to send me a note to explain or correct the record. But, just in case:

(That’s an email list above. The big font is for effect.)

Clay County Collector

I will be voting for the Democrat Tom Brandom. While I appreciate Mrs. McEvoy’s willingness to update the County’s software system, and thought that helping other municipalities tax collection was a good idea, I just don’t believe she has always acted with the interests of the tax payers in mind.

I have never really understood Mrs. McEvoy. Back in 2010, I wrote a short piece reporting that, McEvoy may have been unbondable after she was elected. Apparently, it was not okay to report facts because shortly after that I received an email expressing her frustration with me through Facebook. I offered to allow her to respond to the piece, but I never heard anything back. Since then, Meanderings tipsters say she buddied up with Hurlbert and Mason.

I’m of the mind if you are a person that runs for office, the truth matters. Guess what? We’re all human and fallible. We all make mistakes in life. Had she simply acknowledged the truth and explained, there’s a pretty good chance I would have moved on and never worried about it. One thing I’ve learned about life, own a mistake and people tend to respect you more.

Anyway, there have been some questionable things happen while Mrs. McEvoy has been collector. There is the trip to Alaska to look at new software. All the county municipalities in America and somehow Alaska was the one that was most promising.

Then there is the issue of diverting funds to an account that circumvented the auditing process. Those funds were then utilized to oppose the County Home Rule Charter that was on the ballot in 2010. On top of that, she attempted to use a private email account to circumvent the Sunshine Law.

A couple of articles from the KC MSM that are worth your time:

Clay County collector: McEvoy disputes criticism from Brandom about how she’s spent money

Clay County collector in hot water after e-mail sent from personal account

I have spoken with Mr. Brandom a couple of times. We disagree on politics, but I find him a decent and trustworthy person. In politics, especially Clay County politics, that’s saying a lot. He deserves your vote for Collector.

Constitutional Amendment No. 2

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that it will be permissible to allow relevant evidence of prior criminal acts to be admissible in prosecutions for crimes of a sexual nature involving a victim under eighteen years of age? If more resources are needed to defend increased prosecutions additional costs to governmental entities could be at least $1.4 million annually, otherwise the fiscal impact is expected to be limited.

On the surface this seems like a pretty simple amendment, but the more I have thought about it the more I am concerned about its implications. If a person is accused of a sexual crime, this would allow the past criminal behavior of the accused to be included as evidence. Normally, Missouri only allows prior sexual criminal acts to be admitted during the sentencing phase of a trial.

Here is my concern with this. Say a person commits a crime 15 years ago, and he/she has truly reformed their lives. They are accused of a sexual crime in the present. Let us pretend in our hypothetical that the current accusation is wrong for whatever reason. Say the evidence is circumstantial, or it is based upon personal testimony only. The prosecutor could introduce the old conviction as “evidence” in this new case. To make it even more convoluted, it appears a mere accusation, not a conviction, could be admissible as evidence.

That’s not the way I conceptualize our justice system nor our civil liberties. Admittedly sexual crimes against minors are of the worst offenses imaginable. You are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. While I’m a true believer that past behavior can lead us to be concerned about present or future behavior, I’m also a big believer that people can change. A person should be judged in a criminal proceeding upon the evidence for that crime and that crime only.

Unless someone can convince me otherwise, and I’m honestly willing to listen, I’m voting no on this amendment. (And I fully acknowledge that if I ever decide to run for office, this post will be turned into some mailer. Whatever…)

Constitutional Amendment No. 3

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

  • require teachers to be evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation system for which each local school district must receive state approval to continue receiving state and local funding;
  • require teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system;
  • require teachers to enter into contracts of three years or fewer with public school districts;
  • and prohibit teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining regarding the design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system?

Decisions by school districts regarding provisions allowed or required by this proposal and their implementation will influence the potential costs or savings impacting each district. Significant potential costs may be incurred by the state and/or the districts if new/additional evaluation instruments must be developed to satisfy the proposal’s performance evaluation requirements.

I’m going to be up front. I signed the petition to put this on the ballot. I thought it important to allow this discussion about teacher tenure and merit pay to happen. Having said that, I’m voting no on amendment 3.

The language is horrible, and I have a significant concern about this line: “promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data.”

Public education is currently a mess. It’s only going to get worse in the coming years. One of the biggest problems is the current push for standardized assessments. To promote and pay primarily upon one data point borders on insanity. It won’t improve teaching or public schools. There’s a chance it could even do the opposite of the intention of the amendment. Good teachers may consider leaving the profession for risk of being unfairly judged.

There are lots of better ideas for education reform in Missouri although few people are talking about or proposing them. A couple things I would love to see would be educational savings accounts and allowing charter schools to exist in all counties of Missouri. Don’t get your hopes up because the education “blob” will work its butt off not to allow any positive change in Missouri.

Constitutional Amendment No. 6

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to permit voting in person or by mail for a period of six business days prior to and including the Wednesday before the Election Day in all general elections?
State governmental entities estimated startup costs of about $2 million and costs to reimburse local election authorities of at least $100,000 per election. Local election authorities estimated higher reimbursable costs per election. Those costs will depend on the compensation, staffing, and, planning decisions of election authorities with the total costs being unknown.

Early voting is coming whether you like it or not. I’m not a fan. Some on the left like to use early voting to cheat and win elections. If they had their way, they’d vote as long and as often as possible. They are convinced of a false narrative about ballot access and voting, but then again, many of them are convinced of endless false narratives about our society. This version of early voting may be the most favorable to protecting against fraud and corruption. I will be voting yes on Amendment 6.

My good friend Mike Ferguson puts together a public policy show called Missouri Viewpoints. I’d encourage you to go watch the episode that looks at this issue:

Constitutional Amendment No. 10

Official Ballot Title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to require the governor to pay the public debt, to prohibit the governor from relying on revenue from legislation not yet passed when proposing a budget, and to provide a legislative check on the governor’s decisions to restrict funding for education and other state services?
State governmental entities expect no direct costs or savings. Local governmental entities expect an unknown fiscal impact.

Fair Ballot Language:

A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution regarding the requirements placed on the governor for proposing a state budget and for withholding money appropriated in the budget passed by the legislature. This amendment prohibits the governor from reducing funding passed by the general assembly without receiving legislative consent, and provides certain other restrictions on the governor’s ability to increase or decrease line items in the budget. This amendment further prohibits the governor from proposing a budget that relies on revenue from legislation that has not yet passed in the general assembly.
A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding the requirements placed on the governor for proposing a state budget and for withholding money appropriated in the budget passed by the legislature.
If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

This is one of those things that could go either way. It may not be the best fix, but I like the idea. I will be voting for Amendment 10. This puts the power of the purse in the hands of the people through the legislature. Governor Nixon has used with-holdings for political ends. One should not vote on this with Nixon in mind, I would fear the same thing with a Republican governor. Because if it’s one consistent thing about Missouri politics, we elect really crappy governors.

Once again, check out the Missouri Viewpoints episode on this topic:

Kansas City Question 1 Capital Improvements Tax


Kansas City Question 2 Public Transportation Sales Tax

NO! Both Question 1 and 2 are the result of crazy-man Clay Chastain.

Wow! Did you get Craig Porter’s letter in the mail earlier in the week? You may have if you live in Missouri House District 16. If you did not, you may want to check it out below.

From the Desk of

Craig Porter

July 30th, 2012

I sincerely hope you will take the time to read this letter.  I know you are receiving lots of direct mail pieces during this time leading to the primary election, but what I have to say is important so please bear with me.

My name is Craig Porter.  Some of you may have heard of me as I represented many of you as your County Commissioner for 8 years (2001-2008), and my family has been in the building materials business in the area for 60 years.  It is my commitment to Clay County that initially drove me to run for County Commissioner.  It is that same commitment that made me feel obligated to write this letter.  I am a loyal Republican and have supported numerous Republican candidates both local and national.

I live in the newly formed Missouri House District 16.  I know both candidates running in the Republican primary and one of them, Vic Hurlbert, is not telling you the truth about his past as an elected officeholder of Clay County.  I was a County Commissioner for 8 years while Vic Hurlbert was the County Auditor.  I know what he is like.  Here is a list of just some few things you should know about Vic Hurlbert before you vote next Tuesday.

  • VIC HURLBERT RESIGNED AS COUNTY AUDITOR UNDER THREAT OF PROSECUTION:  After former County Clerk Pam Mason, (now Hurlbert’s wife) lost in the 2006 election, Hurlbert and Mason used funds from the “Indigent Care” account to build a wall between Mason’s office, (County Clerk’s Office), and Hurlbert’s office.  The wall damaged some irreplaceable marble in the courthouse and was built without the approval of the County Commission.   It was later concluded the funding was likely obtained illegally by Hurlbert and Mason.  A special prosecutor was appointed to investigate this and other issues relating to Hurlbert’s actions as Auditor.   Facing the threat of dismissal from office, Hurlbert resigned.  However, he chose to wait until Democratic Governor Jay Nixon took office in January ensuring a Democrat would be appointed to the Clay County Auditor position.  Had he resigned just days earlier Governor Matt Blunt would have been able to appoint a Republican to fill the position.  (Had Pam Mason (Currently the Presiding Commissioner of Clay County) not been defeated in the 2006 election there is a good chance she would have had the same fate as Hurlbert).
  • HURLBERT WAS A MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR TO “NERDGATE” SCANDAL:  For those of us that can remember the late 1990’s and the debacle that was Clay Co. Government at that time you will likely remember the “Nerdgate” scandal.  Hurlbert teamed with two Commissioners (Gene Owen & Jay Lawson), a Democratic Sheriff (Bob Boydston) and a Democratic Prosecutor to go after those in charge of the County “Information Technology” (IT) dept.  The result was approximately One Million Dollars of taxpayer funds spent on an investigation that resulted in no charges and no convictions.  Then, when Hurlbert was put in charge of the Information Technology Dept. the Circuit judges demanded the department be split into Judicial IT & Adm. IT as they wanted nothing to do with Hurlbert.  The department remains split to this day costing the taxpayers of Clay Co. about $500,000 annually.  In 2001 when Tom Brown & I took office we put control of the Administrative IT department back in the hands of the Commission.  To say it was a mess would be an understatement.  A company with past experience in securing sensitive military computer systems was hired to secure the system and help re-build it.  The County website was in terrible condition with very little information on the public portion.  The calendar of events had not been updated in four months.  Clay Co. now has one of the highest rated websites of any local government in the KC area.
  • UNSATISFACTORY OUTSIDE AUDIT RESULTS WHILE HURLBERT WAS CLAY COUNTY AUDITOR:  While Vic Hurlbert was County Auditor; Clay County received a “Qualified” opinion on the annual outside audit several occasions.  A “Qualified” audit is not the result anyone wants and means the outside Auditor was unable to give the County a satisfactory or “Clean” finding on the audit.  In most cases the Audit was “Qualified” due to Vic Hurlbert’s refusal to supply critical data to the outside Auditor.   In 2008 the outside audit firm charged Clay County an additional $54,000 for time they spent gathering information on their own.   This was due to Hurlbert’s refusal to produce this information that was critical to the audit.   The outside auditor went on to say that Hurlbert impeded the audit process and that “We believe that we did not receive the necessary, ordinary cooperation from the County Auditor” (Hurlbert).
  • HURLBERT VOTED TO RAISE HIS OWN SALARY:  Hurlbert consistently voted to raise his own salary as part of the County “Salary Commission”.  On one occasion after the salary commission had voted to freeze officeholder salaries at their 2003 regular meeting, he was part of a group of officeholders that called an additional salary commission meeting to change their vote and grant the raises anyway.  The meeting was called without proper notice as dictated by Missouri law, and two of the officeholders that voted against the raises at the initial meeting, (Tom Brown and I), were not even given notice of the second meeting. The second meeting was later found to be “Illegal” after I filed a formal complaint and the raises were denied.
  • HURLBERT IS NOT A LOYAL REPUBLICAN:  Hurlbert has, on numerous occasions, supported Democratic candidates over Republicans.  In 2004 he supported Democrat Assessor Cathy Rinehart and was quoted on her paid political mailer saying. “Cathy Rinehart runs the most financially solvent and well managed office in Clay County”.  He said this after Rinehart had incorrectly calculated property taxes potentially costing local schools, ambulance & fire districts, and other public entities hundreds of thousands of dollars.  In fact, Republican candidates like former Commissioner Tom Brown can testify to Hurlbert working against him while supporting his  Democratic opponent.
  • Hurlbert likes to pick on those most vulnerable:  Although he had refused to do audits on other officeholders as requested by the Commission, he took it on himself to audit the spending of the County’s Juvenile department, more specifically the boys and girls group homes.  His findings made the front page of the Tribune.  Just over $900 had allegedly been spent by the young men and women at the county’s group homes during all of 2003.  This sum amounts to about $5 per month per resident.  Most of if not all of this money was given to the young women and men as incentives for exemplary behavior.  These are young people that through no fault of their own have had their lives turned upside down by society.  To tell them they are wrong to spend this paltry amount of money for things other young people their age take for granted is at the very least ridiculous, and at the very most, cruel.

Is this really who we want representing us in Jefferson City?  Do we want someone that was forced to leave his position as County Auditor under the threat of prosecution?   Someone who refuses to do his job and produce critical data requested by the outside auditor?  Someone who will change his loyalties at any whim?  Someone that votes to raise his own salary while the economy suffers?

Vic Hurlbert says he wants to make government accountable but how can we trust him to do that when he was not accountable to the citizens of Clay Co. as their County Auditor?

AS A REPUBLICAN LIVING IN THE 16TH DISTRICT, I KNOW I DO NOT WANT VIC HURLBERT REPRESENTING ME IN JEFFERSON CITY!!!  I hope you agree and will consider Hurlbert’s record when you vote August 7th.

I was setting working on the computer last night when there was a knock upon my door. It was none other than Ryan Silvey himself. Imagine my surprise! He was out working hard for his senate campaign.

After the initial awkward moment the conversation began. I figured what better opportunity to get some questions answered than on ClayCoMOPolitics’ own doorstep! To Mr. Silvey’s credit he was very respectful, but his responses to my questions only served to muddy the water and make me question him even more.

According to Ryan, Noel Shull is not a conservative, Mr. Hurlbert is. And according to Mr. Silvey, the reason that Mr. Shull is not a conservative is because he gave $650 to former County Commissioner Ed Quick. I asked Mr. Shull about this one time and found his answer to be acceptable. Mr. Shull donated $650 to Quick in 2006 because he was concerned about his opponent Jay Lawson. Mr. Lawson was a mediocre commissioner from 1990-2000. This is the same Jay Lawson who filed as a Democrat for Presiding Commissioner in 2010, but after he failed to file his personal financial disclosure he was thrown off the ballot. He then refiled as a Republican for Recorder of Deeds and ended up winning.

I never reported this, but I had a sit down with Mr. Quick before the election in 2010. I myself voted for Ed Quick against Pam Mason because of her absolutely ridiculous campaign she ran against him.

I’m not sure who died and appointed Mr. Silvey the arbiter of all that is conservative, especially when you look at his most recent MEC reports. Last time I checked, unions were not considered remotely conservative. As reported on his July MEC report, Mr. Silvey received $3475 from unions. The $1,000 he received from the Greater KC AFL-CIO is especially interesting.

Something for Mr. Silvey to think about. President of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka stated in a recent op-ed in the Huffington Post that “conservatives not only don’t believe in freedom, but use the word as a cynical con job to dupe voters out of voting for their own interests.”

His reason for taking their money? They were part of his constituency. Oh… Yeah, they are, but it doesn’t mean you should take their money.

I asked him about Right to Work, and he said no, he would not vote for it in the senate. He really never gave a good reason either. You see, believing that a worker has the right to join or not join a union is a form of freedom. In a capitalist society I can think of few more important freedoms than the right to control the state of your employment. Last time I checked, conservatives were for freedom. Well, unless you ask Mr. Silvey’s buddy Richard Trumka. The data for Right to Work states is solid, they are growing. States that have forced unionism, like Missouri, are not. Right to Work is a big game changer, but with Republicans like this, don’t expect our economic situation to change.

Mr. Silvey believes that Mr. Hurlbert was wrongly accused, and the only reason that Mr. Hurlbert resigned is because he was trying to save the taxpayers money. I come back to the fact, if someone is doing something wrong you stand up to it. If Mr. Hurlbert was wronged then he should have stayed and fought. Remember he held an ELECTED office. After all, didn’t the people send him there?  Even if it is true, and he was trying to save money then once he was out of office he should have done everything in his power to clear his name.

Update 11:50 AM: Something else that I forgot to mention that ties in here. Mr. Hurlbert could have resigned in time to allow then governor Matt Blunt to appoint a conservative Republican to the seat he was vacating. Instead, he waited till after the 2008 election and allowed Nixon to appoint Sheila Ernzen. Now, I have supported Ms. Ernzen and have no problem with her. My point here is that we are told to believe that Mr. Hurlbert is a passionate consistent loyal conservative Republican. One would think, that if that was the case, Mr. Hurlbert would have at least shown some allegiance to his party and resigned to allow Governor Blunt to make the appointment. Once again, it’s not about party or principle, it’s just about ME.

One interesting part of the conversation was where I got Mr. Silvey to admit that it was Mr. Hurlbert who was commenting on this blog anonymously. Mr. Silvey’s response was “well, some people do some stupid things.” Hmmm…

Yes, they sure do.

What I find most ironic is that Mr. Silvey’s campaign slogan is “Building Consensus.” Now, consensus is a word that means general agreement. To build consensus means that you have to work with Democrats and people you may not agree with on issues. So, it’s not okay for Mr. Shull to build consensus with Ed Quick, but it is okay for Mr. Silvey to build consensus with unions. And that makes one less a conservative than the other. The reality is, I believe that Mr. Silvey, Mr. Hurlbert, and Mr. Shull are all somewhat conservative, just as I am. For anyone that has been following this blog knows my problems with Vic Hurlbert is more about ethics and character than conservative political positions. That’s the big problem here.