Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Editorial In Yes On Pricey

I get vocal at Yes this week on Pricey. The editorial is here.

Hey BJ, Tasers Don't Kill?

Another death after the use of a taser gun on a 17 year old in Illinois by police. Story here.

Quote of the piece that stands out to me: "In a report released in March, international human rights group Amnesty International said it had logged at least 156 deaths across the country in the previous five years related to police stun guns."

So what about taser's in schools BJ? Why must we shoot our children at all BJ? I wonder if BJ Barnes even cares? He didn't care enough to let the school board know before instilling his taser policy.

Berkley Blanks gets my vote.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Voting Machines Already Trouble

A report from the field today garnishes this information on early voting problems:

Early voting sites have malfunctions at Barber Park (Dan Rd, Greensboro) - opened at 11:30, instead of 10:00...malfunctions throughout the day, Culler Center (N Hamilton St., High Point) - Machines down during Day, and Leonard Center (Ballinger Rd, Greensboro)- Machines Down During day.
Only 4 machines were being used at EV locations, and lines were over an hour wait at AG Center (Burlington Rd, Greensboro).

Sounds like were off to a great start with these machines, maybe they'll figure it out by the 7th of November.

Also the Republican No-good-nicks begins:

Maggie Jeffus and Brad Miller signs stolen at AG Center, Leonard Center, and Culler Center.

A person with literature, from the Jim Rumley campaign was asked if they knew anything about missing signs, and they said, "No, but with the unfair Democratic advantage in Guilford County, it is ok to do that."

If you see anyone taking campaign signs, please get a license plate number and report it to the Board of Elections. It is a crime to mess with campaign yard signs. All I want is a level playing field. If the Republican's are OK with cheating, then it is a sign that they are scared. They should be.

Update 8:40pm: Signs also stolen at Craft Center (Yanceyville St, Greensboro) and Barber Park (Dan Rd, Greensboro). Oddly enough, were the signs are gone, Jim Rumley bumper stickers are all over the street signs. Coincidence? I think not. Hopefully no more updates are needed.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Play In My Fantasy Congress League

I started a Fantasy Congress league for our online community entitled Greensboro Bloggers. Feel free to join and have fun. There is 100 slots to fill and 99 are open. The more players the better. All are welcome. Right, Left, Center, what ever.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Miller and Robinson Debate On WRAL

Tonights debate from the WRAL website is here. Worth a watch to see Vernon stumble and scrape his knee again. Avoids questions, gets called on his inaccurate account of a bill and flat out shows he is not House of Representative material. Don't worry Vern, on Nov 8th you can start your quest again. The easiest way of dealing with defeat is accepting it and moving on, maybe back to your own district. Just some friendly advice.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Is BJ Pulling A Vernon? Document Edition

Doug Clark, at the N&R, got to it before I did here. I have had this document for a few days now and just haven't had the time to post it yet.

Here's the actual document:

The thing that Clark points out, but doesn't point out the possible legal violations, is that BJ Barnes lifted this photo from Berkley Blanks website. That is a personal photo, published on the web by Berkley Blanks and he has copyright protections from this sort of thing if he wants to use them. It is a Federal crime to commit copyright infringment. We'll see how this unfolds.

The picture of Blanks with James Brady was taken in DC, when Blanks was invited to a White House event as President of the NC Law Enforcement Officers Association, representing our police officers in this state. James Brady was the Keynote speaker.

For BJ to do what he has done here, stoops to the level of Vernon Robinson, a man that BJ has told me he does not associate with because of his actions. He is now doing the very thing he despises and I must ask BJ, why? Why did you stoop to that level?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Anyone Else Smell Sulfur?

Around 1:30-2pm I got this overwhelming smell of sulfur in the air. Oh yeah...Capi-ton Stupid is in town to visit kids and then dine with his big business pals at their home. Wonder what future mess for our country they will be discussing? Our current mess for that matter. Either way there is a lot to choose from, mess wise.

I can't wait for this smell to clear. It's making me nauseous.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Official Resignation Statement

The RMA report found it's way to Greensboro101.com today, posted by anonymous. Following a conference call with the board I have officially resigned from my Editorial Board position at Greensboro101.com effective immediately. Let me explain. I have read the report, and as left leaning as I am, felt that it should not go up. At least not yet. Rumor has it a local publisher will have it in print on Thursday.

I really struggled with my position on this issue. Having read it, it is at the best the most damning thing I have ever laid eyes on. I am also a big advocate for free speech and the such. I feel that the information contained, even in the redacted version on 101, was going to hurt someone involved or maybe someone's. It is a moral and ethical issue versus the publics right to know. It is hard for me to stand behind a document that has names of individuals that might have snitched or been snitched on. There are also legal issues to consider.

I have a future in politics, I will run for office at some point, and with that said, needed to distance myself from this controversial document. I have enjoyed myself serving this board and hope that I helped build this online community in some way. I wish 101 the best of luck with this and future fights for citizen journalism.

With blogging comes responsibility, and I feel allowing this post with the RMA to stand is irresponsible. With that said, please folks continue the fight for bloggers everywhere if that is were you choose to stand. I can not help in this particular fight. Best of luck.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Interview With BJ Barnes

This interview came about when I started digging into some information on BJ. I had called the NSA and asked a few questions. They called me back the next day and politely answered. A few hours later my cell phone rang and it came up on the ID as private. The only person I get a private ID from is my daughter when she is at her grandmothers. So I answered. "Who am I speaking with?" the male voice said. "It depends on who's calling." I answered. "It's sheriff BJ Barnes", he said. I got grilled on why I was asking questions, etc.. and then agreed to meet him at his office for an interview. This is where it began.

So,I sat down a few months ago to interview BJ Barnes our current sheriff. I waited a while to post this so I could gather and verify more information. Sorry for the delay and I hope you enjoy it.

This is it as I remember it. So it's paraphrased, not quoted.

Jay Ovittore: Your full legal name is Eschol Edward Barnes Jr?
BJ Barnes: Yes, it is.

JO: What does BJ stand for?
BJ: Barnes J Jr.

JO: Have you ever served in the military?
BJ: Yes, for 6 years. 1970-1976 Marines (Reservist during Vietnam)

JO: Your opponent Berkley Blanks got the Simkin PAC nod this year. How do you feel about that?
BJ: I turned down the Simkin PAC this year. You know it's a paid recommendation.

JO: What is your role in immigration enforcement?
BJ: We have an indirect role. We do respond to all calls we get, including immigration enforcement calls.

JO: What can the public do to help expose illegal immigrants?
BJ: Continue to make complaints. It's really out of our scope, we turn it over to the SBI.

JO: You started as a deputy, correct?
BJ: Yes

JO: From when to when were you a deputy and was it in Guilford County?
BJ: It was from 1973-1983, then I was a magistrate for a month. In 1994, I was NCNB Bank of America Senior Fraud Investigator.

JO: At your website it says you are a college level instructor and maintain certification. Where and what do you teach?
BJ: I have taught at GTCC and Rockingham Community College. I taught Constitutional Law, Law and Arrest and ABC and NARC laws. I don't currently teach.

JO: On Rock92 you said in an interview that 99% of your deputies shoot expert. Is there any proof of this?
BJ: We have records.

JO: Your budget went from 20 to 44 million dollars. How long did this take to raise and why such an increase?
BJ: It took 12 years to increase and it is due to the County Farm and Jails and personnel expenses.

JO: Why did the School Board hear about the use of tasers in schools by your deputies on the news and not from your office?
BJ: They didn't hear about it from the news. I contacted Tony Scales.

JO: Is the use of tasers for defending students or to use on unruly students?
BJ: The reason I implemented tasers is so a Gil Barber incident never happens again. I made this decision to arm my officers with one more option before they have to pull a fire arm.

JO: Are the tasers to be used in K-12?
BJ: They will only be used in middle and high schools.

JO: In a few articles I have read, you say that 72% of your budget goes to personnel. Can I see a budget breakdown?
BJ: Sure. (He pulls out a spreadsheet with the budget. I never laid eyes on it.) The current budget is actually 47 million and 35 million goes to personnel. That is 74.23%.

JO: How much do you currently make?
BJ: $123,000

JO: Is a call for back up mandatory or at the deputies discretion?
BJ: It's their discretion. It all depends on the call they are on.

JO: If a deputy uses deadly force there is to be an investigation, correct?
BJ: That is correct.

JO: Who does that investigation?
BJ: There are multiple investigations. First, we have what we call the shoot team. This team consists of a Sgt. not associated with the officer and other non-associated officers. Second, we have an investigative team. This consists of detectives. Then we have the internal affairs team. And last we have the DA's office.

JO: Did the SBI investigate the Deputy Gordy shooting of Gil Barber?
BJ: No.

JO: You have the Sheriff's blog. Will you blog some more?
BJ: I will more then likely blog.

JO: Who designed your campaign site?
BJ: A friend of mine named Scott Redman.

JO: Thanks for your time BJ.

After the interview, I stayed and chatted with BJ for a little while longer. He was very personable, very politician like. The subject of the jail came up and he said that he could tell me stories and show me pictures, but unless I went to see it myself, I couldn't fathom what it is really like there. He asked if I wanted a tour and I said yes.

I was given a pretty full tour of the jail downtown. I was in command central, on most of the prison floors, and went through processing.

Seeing it, smelling it and hearing it. I agree that the jail is a problem. BJ's opponent Berkley Blanks is also on the same page. It did come to my knowledge that BJ had the money for a new jail in 1997 and turned it down at the time.

I have also sat with Berkley Blanks an chatted about his positions and what his campaign is about. He too is very personable. But this isn't in a it's a job/politician sort of way, he really cares about his work and his fellow officers. You can see it in his eyes.

I am endorsing Berkley Blanks for Sheriff this election.

I came to this decision based on a couple of things: Upon inspecting the sheriff's budget, which I had to obtain myself, I feel that BJ is mismanaging the department. Cost could be cut and taxpayers money could be saved.

BJ also embellished some of the facts, like the paid endorsement for the Simkin PAC, Alma Adams from the PAC said that it was a case of "sour grapes" and that it is absolutely not the case. I write about that here.

There was and still is misrepresented fact on BJ's website, saying he "was endorsed by the National Sheriff's Association, as Sheriff of the Year." The fact is that the NSA does not endorse anyone, I asked them. You can have someone nominate you or you can nominate yourself, but they don't do endorsements. I asked BJ about the miswording (as I put it) and he said he didn't know it had said that, after showing him the webpage, he changed the subject. It still reads the same way.

I was asked to call BJ and let him know what I thought about the jail tour. I called, and a message was taken and no phone call back. I have not heard from BJ since.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Vernons Immoral Endorsement

As per Vernon Robinson's endorsement page at his campaign site, Rep Tom Reynolds is endorsing Vernon.

Just a quick reminder that Reynolds is involved smack in the middle of the Foley Page Scandal. He knew about Foley's behavior and told Hasterts office, but did nothing himself. That scandal. That's a great endorsement Vern. Morals and family values people Vernon Robinson and Tom Reynolds. I wonder what Tom knows about Vernon?

You would think that Vernon would remove the name of a representative who help cover up a sex scandal between an in the closet Republican House Rep(Foley) and a few 16 year old pages working at the Congress. I would have to assume that he approves of this behavior if he leaves Reynolds on the endorsement list. Wouldn't you?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Watch Vernon Embarrass Himself On FOX

Check out this Vernon gem. He appeared on Hannity and Colmes about a week ago and stumbles like a drunk. It looks pretty bad when your parties national tv station, FOX rips you a new one.

UPDATE:If the video does not play from here for the full 5 minutes, the original source at Youtube is here.

This is what Vernon would be like at a national level with important issues that involve us all in the 13th district. He is an embarrassment to his party, this state and politics in general. Shame on you Vernon.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Clarey's Column This Week...Me

I sat down with Brian Clarey, editor of Yesweekly, last Friday at the ungodly hour of 8:45am. I only hoped that I didn't say anything stupid since I was in the process of consuming my first coffee and had just finished my morning BURN and it hadn't kicked in yet. Clarey had informed me he wanted to write a column on me, on what I've been up to. You can read it here or pick up the best paper in town(and that is not an ass kiss, it's the truth).

I think the column turned out well. I saw it today for the first time. The only thing I wish I would have added is that with all that I'm doing, my business, my politics, my civic services, my family, with all of that I'm still broke at the end of the day. I don't live a glamorous life, I don't wish to. I do think it says how tough it is out there for the average guy/gal trying to get by and possibly get ahead.

Enjoy the column, let me know what you think.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Letter To The Editor The N&R Wouldn't Publish

I received the following Letter To The Editor from the Berkley Blanks Campaign for Sheriff. The News and Record did not run this in print or online and my question is why? Is this not newsworthy enough? Not to mention that a candidate running for office wrote the letter. JR? Please clarify why this was not published, and I know what the N&R told the Blanks campaign as a heads up so I get the truth.

Here's the letter:

On Saturday, March 18th, 2006, Guilford County Sheriff B. J. Barnes posted a blog entry on his website critical of political candidates posting campaign signs that do not conform to legal standards. To quote the blog, "The amazing thing is the number of signs being put up by the folks running for Sheriff who are putting them up illegally. Each candidate is given the rules and regulations."” As a retired law enforcement officer with over 30 years of experience, I am keenly aware of the responsibility of those who are sworn to uphold the law to not place themselves above the law. By his own admission, as a candidate, Sheriff Barnes has been given the "rules and regulations"”, yet a drive through Guilford County reveals that he has chosen to place himself above the law by displaying illegal campaign signs. Is this due to Sheriff Barnes lack of experience as a law enforcement officer, or has he simply become a hypocritical, jaded politician who has placed himself above the law? A response to a recent question may provide the answer. When the Sheriff was questioned about my concerns about the method in which he decided to deploy tasers in middles schools, his reply was "“whatever"”. The public that pays the six-figure salary of Guilford County'’s highest ranking law-enforcement official deserves better. They deserve an experienced law enforcement officer as Sheriff that will take the issues seriously, that will put professionalism ahead of politics, and that will not place himself above the law.

Berkley Blanks

Candidate for Guilford County Sheriff

The blog referred to in the Letter is at BJ's site here.

In the last election for Sheriff, BJ's campaign filed complaints about Berkley on this same issue, and now they are breaking the law. Berkley admitted to the signs last election and says that he now knows the law and follows it. He was unaware of this regulation at the time.

The Blanks campaign also informed me that they have a Guilford County resident willing to swear to affidavit that BJ personally told him "You make signs bigger then they are allowed, frame them, make them mobile and then when someone complains you have 15 days to move them. Then simply place them elsewhere in the county and wait for someone to complain again, then you have another 15 days."

Maybe the problem is the law. If the 15 day grace period was not there, and you had to pay fines for breaking the regulations, none of this nonsense would occur.

Negligence of the law is never an excuse, blatantly breaking the law as the sitting Sheriff of Guilford County is despicable.

I will have more on BJ in the next week, with my long talked about interview that I had with him a few months back that included a personal tour of the jail downtown.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Travel Tips For Vernon

10/7/06 vs. Clemson @ Winston-Salem
10/14/06 vs. NC State @Raleigh
10/28/06 vs. UNC @ Chapel Hill
11/04/06 vs. Boston College @Winston-Salem

Above is the Wake Forest Demon Deacons Football schedule from now until the election. Vernon, you may want to leave a little early on 10/7 and 11/4 to allow time to get to the 13th district. I hear I-40 can be hell coming from Winston-Salem when Wake has a football game. No one would want you to be late getting to the district you are running in. Just taking into consideration that you live outside the district you are running in. I thought there was a term for that...What is it? Oh yeah, carpetbagger.

And The Oscar For Best Drama In A Campaign E-mail Goes To...

You guessed it, Vernon Robinson. Now let me explain why. First, on the left is the e-mail he sent out to all on his campaign e-mail list.

A truck he was borrowing to move 7000 yard signs went up in flames. This I would not wish upon anyone, but I am going to point out the exaggerations. I, at one point thought this might be a campaign stunt of the likes of Vernon's political icon Jesse Helms. Helm's once staged a campaign tragedy to raise more money. Helm's also later admitted to it. Now to the fact checking of the e-mail.

On page one, paragraph one Vernon says their campaign "was yet again the victim of apparent sabotage" Also, the number "seven thousand" yard signs.

In paragraph seven, "...it was consumed in a full-fledged conflagration." Then in paragraph nine, "It is to early to know how much if any of the cargo may be salvageable." If it was a conflagration, which means uncontrollable or engulfing fire, then there wouldn't be anything to salvage.

Vernon goes on to talk about all the bad things that happen to him and his family, none of which I endorse or condone. Then a bombshell accusation, page two, paragraph 2. Well I monitor your e-mail Vern, but I do it to see what bullshit you're putting out this week and next, not to plot illegal activities against your campaign. I don't think anyone else is either. I'll explain in a second.

Page 2, paragraph 3, Vernon goes into an Oscar worthy rant on how he is "...reminded of the heroic men and women aboard the September 11th airlines flight that crashed in the Pennsylvania field."

Page 2, paragraph 6, Vernon asks about new yard signs, "Where will the money come from?"

AAAH...a fundraising e-mail for the followers.

Drop down 2 paragraphs and he says, "It was an older vehicle, but still very serviceable..." No chance that this fuel leak might have occurred because of age and wear on the fuel line of this "older vehicle"? Give me another second.

Page 2, paragraph 12, Vernon says, "There will be no hard sell here. You bought those signs for me the first time, so I'm almost ashamed to ask you to buy them twice"

Now the real story.

Vernon did have a truck fire on Sept the 8th. It happened in Winston-Salem, not in the 13th district, were Vernon is running, for those who care .

Below is the Winston-Salem fire department report on that fire. It is listed as unintentional, so no one cut the fuel line. It is listed as a leak or break. It was not "sabotage" as Vernon put it. It was, apparently, a leak from the fuel line area of this "older vehicle" that caught fire, unintentionally as stated in the report. So stop with the Miller supporters did this, give me more money bullshit Vernon. It's not to becoming.

The vehicle value is $4000, which I can buy. The contents, the 7000 yard signs, are listed at $3000. Now being that yard signs at the very cheapest are about $1.75 and go up to about $7 for the really nice ones, $3000 doesn't add up. What it does add up to is 1714.2857 yard signs for the cheap ones and 428.57143 yard signs for the top of the line. Neither equals 7000 yard signs.

Just remember that this message is brought to you by the guy who keeps on pointing out how Vernon twists the truth and flat out lies when it furthers his agenda. This e-mail and fire report is just a small example of how Vernon twists the truth and lies all in the name of money for his campaign. Above you said you were almost ashamed, well you should be very ashamed Vernon. Actions speak louder then words, and the only thing you have is words and untrue ones at that.

Just a friendly piece of advice Vernon, if you tone it down and start following the rules and stop breaking campaign finance laws, people might just take you seriously, at least a little.
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