Lee County

Latest from Lee: legal liability?

As Blue Lee reported previously, Lee County commissioners planned and then carried out a meeting that apparently violated NC's open meetings law.

Now a citizen has filed a lawsuit against the Lee County Commissioners.

A Lee County resident has sued the county Board of Commissioners over a public meeting he says was less open than required by the state's open meetings law.

Jay Calendine is an active member of the Lee County Democratic Party and one of those who initially raised objections to the county holding a public meeting in a gated community.

A Takedown of Carolina Journal's Convenient "Journalism"

Hot off the heels of getting a little love from NC Policy Watch during their Sunshine Week, The Rant has exposed the Carolina Journal's rather fraudulent story about tax fraud.

Carolina Journal has tried to dredge up fear of "Mexicans" and those with "Hispanic-sounding names," and has relied on one Lee County GOP activist named Martha Underwood for the crux of their convenient story. But, as The Rant shows, Underwood's story lacks proof, and a simple timeline of the events shows this story is, at best, questionable. Underwood's story unravels quickly with a few Google searches and access to a calendar.

Republican Lee Commissioners Ignore Illegal Meeting Warning

The Republican-led Lee County Board of Commissioners appear to have knowing broken the Open Meetings law, as shown by a recent article on The Rant. The commissioners were warned about the potential “liability”, via a staff memo, of having an official meeting in a gated community, but they carried on anyway. The meeting was obviously designed as an event solely for Republicans (including Republican candidates for various offices), but they conducted official business. The Rant has posted the memo and has also posted video of one citizen being turned away by a security guard from the event, clearly in violation of the law.

Lee Commissioners' Meeting: One gate, two guards, and an AFP gatekeeper

The Republican-led Lee County Board of Commissioners recently announced town-hall style meetings around the county. The problem is, their first meeting will be at the gated community Carolina Trace, which directly contradicts NC open meetings laws. When The Rant, a local blog, inquired about why this meeting was, essentially, closed to the public by virtue of its location, the Republicans took an interesting rightward turn to solve it.

Rather than move the location to an area outside the gates (as suggested by at least one Democratic commissioner), the meeting notice was changed to indicate that meeting attendees are to ask the guards at the gate to contact Lloyd Jennings, the “the founder of the Lee County Chapter of Americans for Prosperity.”

Just Give the Poor Kids PB&J

For about a year now, Lee County has had a board of commissioners that is controlled by Republicans by a 4-3 margin. These four vote in lock-step almost always, and when they do, it is always bad for the people. As part of that attempt to ruin Lee County, the commissioners have set their eyes on the local school board. In a recent joint meeting, one commissioner found the real problem with the schools--the poor kids.

Republican Commissioner Kirk Smith wondered aloud why the schools didn't just feed low-income students peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to save money. And, as noted in this post at The Rant, that's about two-thirds of students in Lee County.

MEC Chair Jim Womack: My Opponents Are Whiny "Libtards"

NC Mining and Energy Commission Chair Jim Womack recently called his opponents "whiney [sic] libtards" during an exchange in the comments section of The Sanford Herald. As shown in this entry on The Rant, a Lee County blog, Womack has a long history of aggressive and questionable comments online. An Independent Weekly article recently showed that Womack ran an anonymous blog while he was a sitting county commissioner, and the Sanford Herald ran an article about a Womack email suggesting running the Lee County manager over with a tank.

Mike Stone's trustee attack law headed to court

Drunk with power:

The complaint states that the Lee County Board of Commissioners, which wasn't affected by the bill, is controlled by a Republican majority, the same party as Stone. It also notes the four trustees kicked off the board and prohibited from being immediately re-elected are all registered as Democrat or Unaffiliated, and that the school board that elected them — which was recently changed to a partisan board, in a separate law proposed by Stone — is also majority Democrat or Unafilliated.

This isn't the first time General Assembly Republicans have misused their majority for partisan gain, and it's not the first time they've undermined the will of the people by taking authority away from local elected governments. But it may be the first time they've targeted specific individuals:

From Sanford With Love

UPDATE: While the blogging goes on, it seems some of the more inflammatory posts are disappearing. Usually when you think you're untouchable, that's when you're not.

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In this week's edition of the Independent, Billy Ball pulls back the curtain on Jim Womack, a sitting Lee County commissioner from Sanford who chairs the North Carolina Mining and Energy (Fracking) Commission.

Womack founded and for the past two-plus years has operated a vicious, spiteful, and above all unethical anonymous blog in Lee County. He and the other authors use the names of American Founding Fathers as cover. Ball calls it "the worst kept secret in Lee County."

Lee GOP says blacks are "kept in their place" by Democrats

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-obama-gop-north-carolina-2012...

This L.A. Times story highlights Republican efforts to beat Obama in North Carolina. Specifically, the story focuses on the Lee County GOP and its strategy to woo Latino voters into voting for Romney. Lee GOP front man Charles Staley predictably blames the media for creating the impression that the GOP is anti-Latino (I suppose the Republican assault on Latino immigrants in recent years had nothing to do with that impression), and then gives us this little tidbit of revisionist history:

Natural gas "rush" comes to Lee County

Residents are signing land-lease contracts already:

Energy companies are snapping up the rights to underground natural gas from scores of property owners in Lee County, where indications of a massive natural gas deposit recently surfaced.

"There's several levels of concern," said Ted Feitshans, an extension specialist at N.C. State University's agricultural economics department. "One is they're not getting the level of payment they could get if they were skilled negotiators."

Other issues include contracts that would leave property owners legally responsible for the cleanup costs if an environmental accident on their land contaminated neighboring properties or drinking water.

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