Showing posts with label voters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label voters. Show all posts

Friday, January 28, 2011

Don Malloy Files To Run For Council Seat In Pocomoke

POCOMOKE CITY -- With the filing of Don Malloy for a council seat, both offices up for grabs in Pocomoke's April 5 election have a candidate. Malloy, who had served previously on the Council from 1965-1968, filed to fill the third district seat. That seat is now up for election as Bruce Morrison, the present occupant, has filed for mayor.

Malloy said that he had been asked by a number of friends and acqaintances to put his name in for the post. He doesn't see any problems with the direction of the town but would like to see Pocomoke continue to improve, he said in an interview.

A member of the Pocomoke Volunteer Fire Company for more than 40 years, he was also active in the ambulance service. He served on the board of the historic Mar-Va Theater during a number of the years the landmark was brought back to life. He is a member of the Pocomoke Elks Lodge where he is a past exalted ruler.

One project he points to with pride is helping with the construction of the Nature Trail from Cypress Park to the edge of the Winter Quarters Golf Course.

To be eligible to run for mayor, a person must be a resident of Pocomoke City for at least one year prior to the election, a registered voter and at least 25 years old. To be eligible to run for the open council seat, a person must be a registered voter and a resident of the Third District.

The deadline for filing is Friday, Feb. 4, at Pocomoke City Hall.

The deadline for registering to vote in the election is March 4. To be eligible to register, a person must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, a resident of Maryland for the past six months and must have been a resident of Pocomoke City for at least 30 days just prior to the election.

Anyone who does not know his or her district of residence can find it at City Hall.

written by: Bill Kerbin

Sunday, November 7, 2010

LAST WORD OF THE WEEK: Win Or Lose- Meals Tax Was A Bad Idea!

by, Ted Shockley

Earlier this year, the Accomack County School Board was staring down the barrel of $3 million in state funding cuts. The Board of Supervisors instead gave the school system $730,000 to cover the shortfall.

The result wasn't good. The school system couldn't afford to enhance programs or salaries. It had to reduce 52 positions. Class sizes grew. Support staff was lost.

It was during this gloomy time that the seeds of Accomack's proposed meals tax were planted.

It was a strange idea for elected leaders supposedly looking out of the best interests of public education -- let voters in the state's most overweight county decide whether to pay more for fried chicken and hushpuppies, the taxes on which could raise between $500,000 and $700,000 annually for schools.

Maybe I'm a distrustful skeptic, but I was convinced that there was no way for Accomack's public schools to win with this referendum, no matter how voters cast their ballots.

It was a short-sighted, ill-advised measure and a strange corner in which to push our children's futures.

Had it passed, I feared the public schools would have never received a penny more in new funding than the meals tax would have provided.

I feared that the county would have cut its contribution to the school system by the amount of the meals tax revenues -- if the meals tax generated $600,000, the county would reduce its contribution to schools by $600,000.

I feared meals tax proceeds would have forever been held against the school system by taxpayers and the Board of Supervisors, as in, "Why are you asking for more; you already get the meals tax money."

I feared that the meals tax proceeds would have been plowed into debt service for school buildings and not operations money to help teachers and students.

But the meals tax failed, and now my fear is that elected officials will try to twist the results into a referendum on increased local funding for schools.

Elected leaders and governmental skinflints will suggest that county voters don't support new education money because they voted against it on Tuesday.

That would be wrong. The only message sent at the polls on Tuesday is that residents of the most obese county in Virginia do not want to pay more for fries and pies.

Did I say it was a strange corner in which to push our children's futures?

Accomack's public budget negotiations will begin in a few months. Public school systems need local increases each year to develop a career staff, grow educational programs and ensure our greatest resource is well-prepared for the future.

Local elected officials should make this the area's hallmark priority. Local parents, proponents and products of public education should demand it be supported by something besides a tax on food.

The state's obesity capital can tolerate taxes on land, cars, boats and businesses, but we draw the line at doughnuts and cheeseburgers.

The problem is, I think our county leaders knew that.

Maybe our local officials should concentrate on getting the back taxes collected from property owners before they put another tax on already overtaxed residents. Or were they planning on tourism? Either one, not a good idea and thank goodness the voters were able to tell them.

Monday, October 25, 2010

State's Attorney Candidates See Experience Differently

This still seems to be a pretty sore issue among alot of Todd supporters, Oglesby supporters and Maryland Coast Dispatch readers...........

BERLIN – Experience has been a catch-word of sorts in the race for Worcester County State’s Attorney, with the incumbent touting his 25 years of prosecuting the most serious crimes in the county and the challenger drawing on endorsements from those on the front lines of crime in the community.

As anticipated, the campaigns being waged by incumbent State’s Attorney Joel Todd and challenger Beau Oglesby, currently a deputy state’s attorney in Caroline County, have accelerated as Election Day nears and one would expect nothing less between the familiar adversaries. Back in the 2006 election, the two were separated by a mere 14 votes when Todd emerged victorious.

Not surprisingly, the comparative experience level of the two candidates has become a focal point in their respective campaigns. Todd pointed out this week his two decades-plus as state’s attorney sets him apart from Oglesby, who has spent more than a decade as a prosecutor in three different Lower Shore counties.

“Absolutely, the thing that separates me from my opponent is that I have been prosecuting cases, in this office, for 25 years,” Todd said. “I’ve prosecuted everything from speeding tickets to dozens of murder cases, arson, child abuse, rape, sex offenses and countless drug offenses.”
Oglesby has spent much of his career as a prosecutor trying drug-related cases, according to Todd.
“Prosecuting drug offenses appears to be his claim to fame,” he said. “As far as I can tell, and I’ve searched, I don’t believe he has ever prosecuted a murder case. That’s not to say he hasn’t been involved in the prosecution of the murder, but I’m talking about a trial. I don’t think he has ever taken a murder case to trial.”

With four murder cases in Worcester County currently in various stages of the prosecution process, Todd said Oglesby is ill equipped to take over as state’s attorney in Worcester County at such a critical time.

“There are four pending homicide trials in Worcester County, all of which are scheduled for after the election,” he said. “He’s never tried a case in Worcester County. It would be extremely awkward to walk into this office and take on that right away. He doesn’t know the courtroom, he doesn’t know the judges and most importantly, he’s not experienced in victim cases. Clearly, my experience sets me apart.”

However, Oglesby disputed the “experience” factor, pointing out he is further along in his career than his opponent was when he was first elected.

“As far as the experience factor, how much is enough?” he said. “I have been a prosecutor for 13 years, which is more experience than the incumbent had when he took office 16 years ago.”
Oglesby also pointed out, as a means to discredit the experience factor, Todd allegedly offered him a position in the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s office following the close election in 2006.

“The incumbent offered me the position of deputy state’s attorney in January of 2007, so I find it strange that, with four years of additional experience and in the course of an election year, he now questions my experience and ability to manage an office,” he said. “I have worked in three different state’s attorney’s offices and implemented effective change in each of those offices. The incumbent has done things his way for 25 years. That’s 25 years of doing things only one way.

Doing something for a long time doesn’t mean it is being done in the best way or by the best person.” Todd has prosecuted numerous homicides and other violent crimes, and several victims and victim’s families have come out in recent days in support of the incumbent. In fact, as many as 400 crime victims have come out in support of Todd on a Facebook page dedicated to his campaign. For example, Debbie Ford, whose brother Joshua was murdered by Benjamin and Erica Sifrit in Ocean City in 2002, had this to say about the state’s attorney.

“Joel worked day and night to make sure that my family would have justice for the brutal murders committed by Benjamin and Erica Sifrit. Knowing that the people who committed this horrific crime will never hurt another family thanks to Joel’s help gets us through each day. I hope everyone will support Joel as I know he is the best man for this office,” she wrote.

For his part, Todd said he did not solicit the support of the crime victims, nor did he start the social network page, but he is gratified by their support nonetheless.

“It’s nice to know the people I’m working so hard to help are standing up behind me in this election,” he said. “I’m here to help them. I am the people’s attorney.”

Oglesby, however, discredited the campaign tactic, saying he would not consider soliciting the support from the victims of crime to forward his election effort.

“I believe the incumbent’s submission of endorsements made by crime victims is one example of the stark contrast between the incumbent’s campaign tactics and my campaign,” he said. “I respect the victims of all crimes and would never solicit support or endorsements from them for political purposes. The victims and their families have been traumatized enough without being put in the uncomfortable position of having to relive their ordeal for the political gain of an incumbent.”

Oglesby said there is an in-kind number of crime victims whose cases he has prosecuted that would come out in support of his campaign, but he would not solicit their affirmation.

“I could display the same support from families I have worked with over the past 13 years, but I do not think it is appropriate to ask victims and their families to participate in a political campaign or even a social network,” he said.

Instead, Oglesby likes to point out his apparent overwhelming support from the law enforcement community. The challenger has been formally endorsed by the Maryland State Fraternal Order of Police along with the FOPs in Worcester County, Ocean City and Berlin, for example.

“The historic, unanimous law enforcement endorsements I have received verify my experience and ability to be state’s attorney,” said Oglesby. “These endorsements are from the men and women who interact with the state’s attorney’s office on a daily basis. They see how all of the cases are handled, not just the high profile ones. They know best the importance of a strong and effective state’s attorney.”

Todd, on the other hand, points out he has received the formal endorsements of Worcester County Sheriff Chuck Martin and Ocean Pines Police Chief and former Ocean City Police Chief Dave Massey.

“The thing to remember is that I’m an objective, independent attorney,” he said. “My client is the people of Worcester County, not the people of the police department. If the voters want an attorney for the police department, I’m not that person and they should not vote for me.”
Todd said while he works closely with law enforcement on prosecutions, by definition and by law, his first responsibility is the citizenry.

“Occasionally, and I should say very occasionally, I see a case differently than the police see it, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be,” he said. “If the constitution intended the state’s attorney to be the legal arm of law enforcement, then it would be called the police attorney. The reason the position is called state’s attorney is because it’s the attorney for the people of the state.”

Nonetheless, Oglesby points out his support from the police speaks volumes about dissatisfaction with the incumbent.

“The question for voters to ask themselves is, why after 25 years in the office do none of the law enforcement groups support the incumbent?” he said. “And why do all of those law enforcement groups endorse and support Beau Oglesby. The law enforcement endorsements I have received prove my assertion that immediate change is needed for the effective prosecution of all crimes in Worcester County.”
News Editor, Shawn J. Soper

Friday, July 2, 2010

Crisfield Election Investigated

CRISFIELD -- The U.S. Justice Department is expected to begin its own investigation into the recent Crisfield election following allegations that improper and illegal voting procedures may have been used.

The ACLU of Maryland has started its own probe into the matter, and a representative met with as many as 20 concerned residents last week in Crisfield, said Deborah Jeon, an attorney for the civil rights group.

Jeon said city elections officials turned away a number of potential voters without giving them provisional ballots.

It wasn't until late in the afternoon that provisional ballots were given to people whose names could not be immediately verified as being registered voters, she said.

Jeon said, at this point, she is unsure of the number of people who were turned away.

"We're still in the process of investigating," she said.

Within days of the June 16 election, the American Civil Liberties Union detailed a number of alleged irregularities, including unlawful voter identification requirements and the failure to offer rejected voters a provisional ballot, which the group said appeared to have disproportionately affected African-American voters.

The ACLU said it was acting on behalf of mayoral candidate James Lane and several African-American voters.

Lane, who lost the election to incumbent Percy Purnell, said he knows people who were turned away or who witnessed improprieties.

"We feel very strongly there are some very serious problems," he said.

Robin Cockey, the city's attorney, said he was unaware the Justice Department planned to launch an investigation.

"That's interesting and surprising," he said. "I didn't know the ACLU thought this was still a viable issue."

Cockey said he is still in the process of conducting his own investigation, but believes the ACLU's allegations are unfounded.

When city elections officials could not find names on their lists, they called the county election office in Princess Anne for verification. Those who were registered were allowed to vote, but those who were unregistered were turned away, he said.

After the county office closed, city poll workers gave out provisional ballots to people whose names were not on the list.

"The bottom line is, anyone who was registered to vote and who wanted to vote was able to vote," he said.

This week, city elections officials verified and opened the remaining 17 provisional ballots filed during the election.

While all 17 were verified to be registered voters, one ballot was left blank, said Joyce Morgan, the city's clerk-treasurer, who was present along with election board members when the ballots were opened Wednesday.

Candidates in the election were notified that the ballots would be opened Wednesday, but none showed up, Morgan said.

With the opening of the provisional ballots, all of the candidates, except one, picked up additional votes.

In the mayor's race, incumbent Percy Purnell received 5 votes and challenger James Lane, 11.

Votes cast for City Council were Raymond Anderson, 5; Barry Dize, 4; Robert Hooks, 2; Jordan Joyner, 4; Kim Lawson, 5; Carolyn Marquis, 4; Greg Sterling, 3; and Pamela Whittington, 10.

Three incumbent City Council members --Raymond Anderson, Barry Dize and Kim Lawson, who were elected with Purnell in 2006 as part of the Clean Sweep Team --were the winners for their at-large seats.

Purnell, Anderson, Dize and Lawson are scheduled to be sworn-in for their second terms July 12.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Meals Tax Referendum On November Ballots For Accomack County Voters

At their monthly meeting Wednesday night, the Accomack County Board of Supervisors voted to put a meals tax referendum on the November ballots.

The measure, which was initiated by Supervisor Wanda Thornton at an earlier meeting, would put a 4 cent tax increase on all prepared food sold in restaurants which are not located in incorporated towns. In Accomack County, most incorporated towns already have a meals tax on prepared food. Northampton County has the meals tax on all prepared food in the County.

The money raised by the tax will be used to supplement costs of education within the county, according to Supervisors. The ultimate decision lies to the taxpayers and voters this November.