I am giving an update via copying a letter that I wrote to the editor of "The Selma News", "The News & Observer", and "The Smithfield Herald". Here it is.
I just got back home from the Superior Court hearing in the case of The Town of Selma versus the Johnston County Board of Elections. The court was convened promptly at 10:01 AM, with Judge Knox Jenkins presiding. He went over the motion calendar first, with many of the cases having been settled or parties absent. After approximately twenty minutes and a run through of the calendar, Selma Town Attorney Chip Hewitt spoke up that the motion in the Selma case was skipped. Judge Jenkins acknowledged the case and put that one first in the trial calendar.
Judge Jenkins started off the trial after giving a brief pause for both sides to get ready for the case. Judge Jenkins then started the trial by giving a monologue on the case. He acknowledged having read the briefs filed by both sides of the matter, recounted the details of the case, and spoke on the importance of town government. He said that the town and county governments are probably the most important to the citizens, since they directly affect the citizenry. He then went on to compliment the County Board of Elections and their hard work over the years, as evidenced by the fact that a similar case to this has never happened before in Johnston County. I would have to agree with all of his monologue. He was well versed in the case, cited the town as a designee and therefore an agent of the Board of Elections, and recognized the fact that the Board did exactly what the law stated. He cited the statute, stated that the court does have jurisdiction over the matter to provide "extraordinary relief for extraordinary circumstances", and did so. He stated that the idea of "equitable relief" was his jurisdiction and not the Board of Elections. I say all of this not to be a reporter, but to state that this was a common sense solution to a common sense problem. For that, I am happy to see fairness come to the next Selma Municipal election.
Basically, Judge Jenkins did what was "fair". In laymen's terms, he allowed the names in the disputed filings to the ballot. Tommy Holmes will be able to join myself and the two incumbents on the Selma Town Council portion of the ballot and Charles Hester will be on the ballot to challenge Mayor Harry Blackley. I am glad to see this, as it is the "equitable" solution, according to Judge Jenkins.
The Town of Selma was well represented, with the Town Manager, Jeff White, and the town attorney, Chip Hewitt. Councilmembers Jeff Weaver and Gary Jackson were both in attendance, along with Mayor Harry Blackley. Neither of the two council members are up for election this year, but they took the time to come to the court hearing. I was happy to see that interest in the town's affairs and give them their due credit for that.
I have been chronicling this whole story on my web site, vote4troy.com. I am glad to add the story of a fair election coming to the town of Selma. I look forward to meeting with the other candidates, seeing a true choice on the Selma ballot, and to serving the town in which I live.