Posts Tagged ‘Luann Ridgeway’

Zero hour approaches… Which means Clay County primary voters will be given the ability to further screw up the county.

Even though I’m a card carrying and dues paying Libertarian, I usually pull a Republican primary ballot because, in theory, they’re the closest ideologically to where I stand on some things. Plus, Libertarians usually only have one candidate per race if we’re lucky, so it’s mostly pointless to pull a Libertarian primary ballot.

Watching the Republicans the last four years has become exceptionally painful. What was once a party of principles (at least I thought) has been consumed by factions, partisanship, and Trump worship. On many days, it’s not much different than the Democrat party of the Obozo years. The Democrat party of 2020 is filled with Marxist psychopaths that scare me half to death. Until more Americans wake up, we’re dealt the hand we’re dealt, and we’ve got to play the cards as they are.

There are two races at the local level that I’m most concerned about. Those races are Clay County Eastern Commissioner (in which I live inside of) and Clay County Assessor. I have no comments on the Western Commissioner race as I quit spending time and energy worrying about races I have no say in.

For the last eight years, we’ve been tortured by the endless chaos, disrespect of the citizens, and fiscal waste brought on by Commissioners LuAnn Ridgeway and Gene Owen. And in 2020, we all get to begin anew because both of these parasites figured out that it’s probably better to end their political careers than attempt to face the voters.

Thanks you two, you won’t be missed. Enjoy your gubmint pension. We all know you worked so hard for it the last 8 years.

I got to somewhat know Megan Thompson through the time when I ran TheNorthlandNews.com. I always found her friendly, polite, and she seemed to have the best interests of the County at heart. Frankly, it pains me a little to write what I’m about to write because I always found her so likable. But, my agenda since I started this blog close to 10 years ago is not to make people like me, it’s always been about what’s best for my community when it comes to politics. Truth has no agenda.

I’ve spent much of my adult life in business and business leadership. What is required after the election is going to be an impressive exercise in personnel management and leadership. I suspect that quite a few people are going to lose their jobs. There’s a high probability tax revenues will be down. Tough decisions are going to have to be made. This is not going to be a task for the timid.

To me, this is a simple decision when you put Doug Ervin and Megan Thompson’s career and life experiences beside one another on paper. There’s just no way a person could justify voting for Megan Thompson in this election when you examine the needs of the task at hand.

I’ve seen some real dumb stuff come off the tips of people’s fingers on the ole’ Facebook groups about Ervin the last couple of weeks.

“Jeff City Politician”, or “career politician” or “outsider”. I’ve also seen the exceptionally brilliant comment that he’s just another Ridgeway.

That’s just idiotic.

The saddest part of American politics, especially local politics, is we like to reduce people to the simplest thing we don’t like when we think we don’t like them. It would do people well to dig a little deeper.

Did Ervin serve in the Missouri State Legislature?

Yep, sure did, and unlike a lot of the people that go down to that absolute Hell hole, he didn’t lose sight of who he was. And I might point out, he didn’t stay down there. A House seat, didn’t turn into a Senate seat, and then turn into a statewide run. Ervin came back home and went back into the private sector. That’s an act of true service.

The county is an absolute mess, and there’s a growing risk it may become a financial mess as we move forward into the 2020s as the affects of Covid are yet to be fully realized.

His education and private sector experience is absolutely best suited for the job. Ervin holds dual degrees in mathematics and business administration. He’s a Senior Director for Cerner. For 22 years he’s managed projects, people, and budgets.

Might I remind everyone that Cerner has revenue in the billions of dollars. The Clerks office deals with revenue in the thousands. Oh, and they file stuff.

Cerner is a company that deals with the health care sector. It is arguably in one of, if not the most, highly regulated sectors of the entire economy. Ervin has led teams inside of this environment successfully.

While Megan Thompson is a good person (seriously, I can’t stress this point enough, none of this is meant as a personal attack), while she’s absolutely taken some slings and arrows from the idiots on the commission, there’s nothing in her professional experience that even remotely says she’s more qualified for the position than Ervin. I don’t know what Ervin’s annual income is, but I assure you, this position pales in comparison to what he makes now. He’s not doing this because he needs to do it. He’s doing it because he wants to serve the people.

You should vote for people that have the qualifications for the job, and are best able to articulate a plan. That’s what real leaders do. Unfortunately, this campaign has largely happened on Facebook, but in the category of who has created a plan, and who has a vision, Ervin has handily proven himself to be ready for the job.

For anyone that’s curious and wants to educate themselves, visit the Ervin for Clay County Commission Facebook Page and read the multiple Notes that the campaign has released. The only thing we’ve seen out of the Thompson campaign is decently polished ads or mailers with one liner platitudes like, “Clean up Clay County Government”, or “I’m a conservative”, or “Megan Backs the Badge.” Good grief… There’s no plan for what she wants to do. Saying you want to “Clean up Clay County” is nice, but we’d kind of expect that if you’re running in this race.

The question is what are you going to DO?

Ervin has clearly answered that, Thompson hasn’t even begun to answer it.

The next race that concerns me is the County Assessor race. Truth be told, this race concerns me more than any others because there’s a real risk that the County could suffer some serious consequences if they make the wrong decision here.

There are three candidates in it: Tracy Baldwin, Chris Lonsdale, and Bill Keefer.

There’s one clear choice in this race, and that’s Tracy Baldwin. Baldwin has worked in the office since 2009 and served as the deputy assessor for the last 3 years.

In other words, he’s the guy with the most experience here.

In 2020, with what is potentially coming economically in this country, yeah, you’re going to want someone that has some clue of what to do. If we go through some sort of foreclosure crisis by year’s end, which is not improbable when you understand that all the forbearances that were granted because of Covid are probably going to have to be dealt with come October, there’s a real risk we see property values significantly affected.

Experience is going to matter.

Chris Lonsdale is reminiscent of the whole William James Norris affair that transpired years ago. Lonsdale is a young guy who has clearly been put up to running for the office because someone else had an axe to grind. He’s in his early 20s, lives at home with his parents, and up until the last week or so, didn’t even own any personal property. Supposedly, he now owns a car that was signed over to him by his parents.

Adulting is apparently really hard.

In addition to being the person who is effectively in charge of all assessment in the County, the assessor is also in charge of a sizable staff. Unless there’s some other evidence, I’m fairly certain that Lonsdale’s first real job of responsibility came just after he recently graduated from college.

Maybe the guy is like the Doogie Howser of property assessment and office management…

(Oh, wait, sorry, Chris, Doogie Howser, MD was a medical drama that ran in the early 90s on ABC. It featured a prodigy teenager who was a doctor. I was worried you wouldn’t get the reference since you weren’t even born yet.)

I doubt he’s the Doogie Howser of property assessment and office management, and this could be a real mess if he was elected.

Finally, Bill Keefer is the third candidate. Unfortunately, there’s no way to find out any in depth information about him. There’s no website and there’s barely a Facebook page. The candidate interview that the Courier did is available HERE. (As an aside, the Courier should have written the candidate interview in crayon as it’s so pathetic. Frankly, all the candidate interviews have been pathetic. Do people seriously subscribe to that newspaper?)

The biggest concern we all should have is that if Baldwin doesn’t win the primary, the Democrat candidate that is opposing him is Bruce Cantwell. Yeah, that guy, the one that ran for Recorder of Deeds who couldn’t pay his bills and taxes. He’s like Covid, he just won’t go away and keeps running for stuff.

(If this is literally all the Democrats in Clay County have to run for an important County wide race, well, you guys are desperately in trouble. There’s not one decent Democrat in all of Clay County more qualified than the guy who can’t pay his damn taxes? You do realize you have a candidate who didn’t pay his taxes and he’s freaking running for the office that assesses property so people can pay their taxes? And where in the Hell is the supposed Democratic saints of Clay County like Lauren Arthur, Mark Ellebracht, and Jon Carpenter? Is it too much to ask of you guys to come out and say something about this?)

There are a few top ballot primaries Republicans will cast votes on.

I can’t stand Governor Parson.

I had the unfortunate pleasure of meeting him several years ago when I attended the State of the State speech when Greitens was still Governor. I spent several minutes with him in his office in a private conversation. I found Parson to be of low intellect and incredibly uninspiring. All the guy wanted to do was tell me how great he was, and he had little interest in what I had to say.

Republican voters have a decent primary challenger with Dr. Jim Neely. Neely is actually a state representative from this area. I also met him in Jeff City at that same speech. He’d easily be better than Parson.

I also respect Neely for his willingness to speak out against the forced Covid lockdowns and the mask mandates (sorry peeps, wear a mask if you want, but my Libertarian hairs on my neck start rising when the government tells me to wear a particular article of clothing or forcibly closes businesses in the name of safety).

I’ll be voting for Neely in the primary, and if Parson wins, I’ll be voting for the Libertarian candidate (Rik Combs) in this race come November.

There is a primary for Lt. Governor. The current Lt. Governor is on the ballot and will likely win. It’s a mostly useless position although we strangely saw a Lt. Governor promoted to Governor because of the whole Greiten’s affair. The odds of that happening again are quite low. I’m not spending any energy on this one. I’ll likely fill the bubble for Kehoe and move on about my life.

Finally, there is one constitutional amendment on the ballot. The forces of darkness, also known as “progressive” Democrats, have successfully managed to get Medicaid expansion on the ballot. You’re voting for your own financial demise as a state if you vote yes on this thing. Missouri is already teetering on the edge of making this state far less desirable for capital. This will be one more thing that just creates more budget problems. We already have a ridiculously high state income tax, and budgetary shortfalls this thing eventually creates will have to be remedied somehow.

Want to know more? Listen to this Podcast from the Show-Me institute that lines out the risks involved in doing this.

I thought I’d take a minute to throw out a couple theories on what I suspect Commissioner Ridgeway is up to with her recent call for a charter. For those that haven’t seen the long, bloviating email from her, the basic synapsis is she wants to convene a Charter Committee to discuss a potential charter for Clay County.

Nothing like having committees to discuss potential future committees.

So, if you’re wondering why this suddenly appeared, let me explain what I think happened.

After fighting those of us that wanted an audit, Commissioner Owen and Ridgeway’s legal challenge (that we all paid for) fell flat on its face.

Ridgeway is facing a three-way primary against former Missouri State Rep. Doug Ervin and current County Clerk Megan Thompson. Ervin has been actively raising money and Thompson self-funded her campaign with a huge chunk of money.

Everything right now is pointing towards big trouble for Ridgeway because last time I checked she’s not raised any new money, and there’s just no one coming to her defense on anything she’s done. Additionally, Ervin and Thompson both have decent to good name ID and have good reputations with the people that will be electing them.

So what’s a life long politician that makes over $70k a year and pension and health benefits to do?

Deflect and change the narrative.

On it’s surface, it’s somewhat clever because in my experience watching American politics, people fall for this sort of crap all the time.

For those who are actively involved, a call for a charter is bubbling to the surface again as my good friend Jason Withington has began to push for that since the audit is now back underway.

By calling for this charter committee, which BTW is functionally useless as it has no teeth and no legal binding, her and Commissioner Owen will stack the committee with people friendly to them.

This forces the press to begin to discuss this new issue while the audit takes place in the background. She’s able to positively discuss the charter on interviews and begin to look like a leader.

The one thing that might still help Ridgeway in the upcoming primary is ignorance and apathy. I’ve been involved and followed politics in this county for over 10 years now. The one constant thing I’ve seen when it comes to the county offices is people are either ignorant about who they’re voting for and just don’t care because they’re not constantly bombarded by the press with stories on these office holders. After all, when you don’t know who is running, you simply default to the name you know on Team Red or Team Blue and leave the voting booth content in the fact that you did your “civic duty”.

If I’m Ridgeway, and I’m going to be primaried by two legitimate challengers I have to do something to get people to think I’ve not done the things I’ve done. I suspect she’s betting on the ignorant and apathetic to just start tuning in about the time this committee is up and running. It’s probably her hope she looks real good through all of this.

Another more sinister view of all this is that Owen and Ridgeway are hoping to create a committee that is dysfunctional from the start and that turns people away from the idea of charter. After all, they both opposed the charter that was put to the voters almost 20 years ago.

Whatever the case, don’t for a second this has anything to do with benefitting the county, you, or I. Just as sure as the sun rises in the east, Luann Ridgeway is always looking out for Luann Ridgeway.

For those that don’t know, State Representative Ken Wilson has introduced a bill for the recall of County Commissioners. It’s HB 580 and you can read the full text here. This has been at the pushing of local activists that have been involved in the audit movement.

Full disclosure, this bill would give us no ability to recall the two commissioners we’re most frustrated with. The idea arose among many of us that are involved as a way to insure the future.

Last night, I saw Commissioner Ridgeway’s testimony against the bill posted on Facebook. I thought I’d go through her response as there are a couple pertinent points. As usual though, there are multiple things wrong and we learn a little more about her disrespect of the people she represents.

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Commissioner Ridgeway, Representative Wilson doesn’t owe you a thing. He never needed to discuss this legislation with you. He represents a portion of your district in the state house. And most importantly, he represents the people of his specific district. Personally, I hope he represents your full district in a couple years.

Furthermore, I know that you think when you speak just accept what you have to say, but you and Commissioner Owen don’t speak for the full Commission, and the only time the Clay County Commission speaks as one voice is when it passes a resolution that is unanimously supported by all three of your voices. This hasn’t happened, but yet you use that language.

You’ve been asked by Commissioner Nolte to stop doing this. As is usual with your behavior, you demonstrate an outright disrespect of the Commissioner that represents the full democratic voice of all of Clay County. You and Commissioner Owen represent political subdivisions and represent the voice of the democratic body from over two years ago. More importantly, that majority voice just spoke months ago when it told Commissioner Nolte that they were content with his representation, and I’d argue his continual oppostion to you and Commissioner Owen.

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This section of the letter is just an absolute mess. Fundamental proof that just because someone has a law degree, it doesn’t mean they know anything about the principles that founded our country.

An election is not a recall process. It’s a chance for the democratic body of a political subdivision to decide who they want to represent them going forward. A recall gives a strong minority voice of a democratic body the chance to further check the majority.

Sometimes the Democratic winds shift, and not neccessarily at the time of an election. A recall gives those winds a chance to be tempered, but also heard. Tempered by a barrier through a limit on the amount of petition signatures, heard in the form of an election if necessary.

The founders of this country were terrified of the majority voice as they knew that it from time to time makes mistakes. You’re correct in the sense that an election is one place that we can right a majority wrong, but a recall mechanism, rightly constructed, further gives the body politic a chance to correct a mistake. In today’s world, a world that is arguably quicker paced due to various reasons, a recall process makes sense and still pays respect to the construction our representative Republic.

The state constitution currently provides for 3 county commissioners whose terms are staggered. Every four years we allow the full body politic to speak in the form of Presiding Commissioner, then offset by two years, we allow smaller democratic bodies inside of the full body politic to speak.

Since you were last elected we’ve seen a growing movement of a frustrated minority that opposes your actions, the winds have shifted and they blow harder with every news report it seems, but we currently have no check on your actions due to the construction of the Commission.

Commissioner Ridgeway, people often mockingly call you the Queen of Clay County politics. And you’re writing above demonstrates that that sarcastic quip is not completely off the mark.

You’re worried about a minority harming the majority?

You don’t even respect the will of the full democratic body of this County as we just elected Commissioner Nolte for another four years. You and Commissioner Owen seem to care little about what Commissioner Nolte says, and you refuse to listen to the growing minority opposition. If we had a recall option, I suspect your behavior would be markedly different. You’d definitely be listening more than you are. You’d probably be open to compromise. And you’d be acting in ways that you showed you care about the minority criticisms.

I guess that’s maybe what you meant by this sentence:

“The net effect is that every officeholder subject to a potential recall will always be looking over their shoulder for any vocal minority in opposition.”

From your vantage point, I suspect this is terrifying to you based upon your actions of the past years. In my estimation, this should be a feature, not a bug of a well constructed representative democracy.

It was an irate tireless minority that threw off the shackles of the King of England to found this nation. Heck, even the Revolutionary War was supported by a minority of the total population.

You’re just flat wrong here.

In fairness, I always believe that you should give people you vehemently disagree with credit when they are correct. Your following criticisms of the bill are valid and deserve to be listened to.

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I agree. I see no reason to limit this recall bill to just County Commissioners. Let’s put every elected official in the state on notice that if you don’t listen to the people, that you absolutely could face a recall. The natural result of this would be better governance and politicians more in line with the democratic bodies they represent. Yes, action might even be slower, but again, that should be a feature, not a bug. We want quick action only when an overwhelming majority feel it is necessary.

I find the bill language about defining a reason for the recall unnecessary. If you’re going to start a petition, you’re going to define that in your appeal to the public. This shouldn’t be written into law. I don’t think it really matters.

I completely agree that 7.5% is way too low of a barrier for the signatures. I think this bill should be amended, and the amount of signatures increased. She’s right. If we find precedent in statute in Missouri for 25% it’s probably prudent to go with this. I agree with Commissioner Ridgeway in the sense that you don’t want too small of a minority able to do this. A recall should not be a walk in the park and we do not want too small of a minority able to interrupt majority will. The balance is probably debatable, but I think 7.5% tilts way too small.

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I’m not clear on where you’re getting the statement about a recalled Commissioner being banned from being a candidate. If you read the bill in its entirety, you don’t see a clear statement on this. I’d actually agree, I don’t think a recalled Commissioner should not be allowed to run. This would respect the tension that we hold in our form of government between majority will and respecting the minority.

I believe you’re wrong on the last concern. From what I understand, Missouri law provides for solutions to your conerns. You can still have a quorum with 2 commissioners. If you lost 2 commissioners to recall, the Governor can appoint one. If you lost 3 commissioners, decisions of the commission are kicked to the presiding judge of the circuit court.

I agree we need to improve this legislation, but there’s no reason to not support the general goal. I applaud Representative Wilson for being a leader on this bill. I look forward to supporting his primary challenge of Commissioner Ridgeway.

It will truly be for the Best of Clay County.