Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Look for this flyer and ad

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Some questions, some answers

I know that there are some questions about me and my positions. I have answered a few general questions for you to get to know me better. I welcome your questions, as well.

Q: Why are you running for office in the first place?
A: I can answer that in two words: PUBLIC SERVICE. I have a long history of public service. I have not been doing a lot of public service over the past few years and have wanted to get back into that mode for a while. I have seen candidates run unopposed for a while in various elections and that bothers me. It especially bothers me if a liberal runs unopposed. The last election cycle, I even went to the county courthouse on the last day for filing and was ready to file for office on the county level if any Democrat was running unopposed for any office for which I was qualified to run. Fortunately, a conservative Republican was the only person who filed to run in that election, so I let him have it all to himself.

Q: Then why Selma? Why town council?
A: Because I live here. I moved to Selma because I wanted to live here. When we were looking to purchase a house, we had only a few areas in which I wanted to look. We found a decent deal on a house we wanted near downtown (oops, excuse me…Uptown) Selma. My wife and I liked the quaint, small town feel we could still have in Selma. We also liked the access to highways, shopping, and the growth we found in Johnston County.

Since this is where I chose to live, I believe in serving and blooming where I am planted. I have had the strong burden to get involved in my community in some fashion. I knew the elections were upcoming, so I decided that was a good way to serve my community.

Q: Describe your political views.
A: That is easy to know but maybe a bit harder to express. I am a registered Republican, but only because there is really no other choice or political party that I can call "home". I have a problem with much of the Republican Party as a whole, but there is no other party that is no the ballot that I can come close to identifying with. If they become more well known and popular, I might join the Constitution Party. I don't see that happening anytime soon, however.

I am very conservative in my political views. I believe that there are essential services that government is supposed to provide, for which we pay taxes. I believe that the government that governs least governs best. At the same time, I do believe in smaller level governments being proactive in promoting and protecting their towns and cities.

I guess that I can put it this way. If you like Jesse Helms, you will love me politically. I may not agree with every social viewpoint he held, but I do believe in his conservative message. His reputation for having spine enough to say the word "NO" regardless of the populist opposition, I find honorable.

Q: Where are you from?
A: I spent the first two decades of my life in New Hampshire. While there, I was active in the local fire department, went to school, and worked my way through college at a radio station. Much of my family is still there. After graduating college, I relocated to Raleigh to take a position at NC State University in my field of study. While living in Raleigh for nine years or so, I found a beautiful wife, was active in ministry outreach, worked to found several Christian fellowship groups, and worked to pay the bills. Eventually, I relocated to Smithfield where I closer to where I worked here in Johnston County. I lived there for about five years until my wife and I could afford to purchase a house in our chosen hometown of Selma. We moved to Selma about three years ago.

Q: What do you see as the greatest challenge for the Town of Selma?
A: Maintaining fiscal accountability and responsibility while experiencing growth. I have addressed this a bit in my blog in the past, but it is well worth repeating. There are issues that I see that are worth re-evaluating. One big one that jumped out at me as I read it was the growth plan for our parks and recreation facilities. Selma only has about 6,000 population. We may well experience growth in the future. However, I do not believe that building seven mini parks and three dog parks in our little town makes good economic sense. It seems wasteful to me. I do not want our town to be turned into another Cary, North Carolina.

If we want to maintain our slogan of "A Charming Place to Be", then we must continue in the things that make us charming. We need to make effective use of our resources while still making our town charming. There are some areas in which we do well. There are other areas in which we could stand some improvement. I do not know ALL of those areas, but I will be diligent to work for improvement where it is necessary.


Do you have more questions that you want to see me answer? Please email me. My email link is on the right side of the page. Do you want to help with the campaign? Here are a few ways that you can help.
- Tell others about this site
- Tell others about me
- Get some flyers or business cards from me and give out a few of them
- You can help me do the above by helping financially. A link is on the right side of the page to do this.

New URLs, ad copy

I have been busy setting up some new web addresses and advertising. I believe that I have finalized my flyer, a newsprint ad, and two radio ads. Look for and listen for the ads in about a month.

I have been wanting to get my own URL for myself for a long time. I finally broke down and got The URL is currently pointed right back to this blog, as are and I figure that I will be using these in one way or another, so I wanted to get them before someone else does. The address is one I have looked at and verified as available for several years now. I am not sure how I will use that one in the future, but I will at least have it for my own.

I realize that this is a "national" issue, but here I go

I know that I am running for "local" office, but for what it is worth, I have found the federal tax code abhorent for as long as I can remember. I have looked over different tax code replacement proposals, and would love to see a complete overhaul of the national taxation system. I am not going to get into a long pontification and explanation of what I support and why, but I will simply say that I am a huge supporter of the so called "fair tax" plan. I am all for the elimination of the IRS and a more fair, simplified tax code.

Here is a link for more.

You can help the hurricane relief efforts

The American Red Cross, in my experience, is one of the most dedicated and reliable charitable organizations in America. They have always been willing to help when disaster strikes, whether it has been a family home fire or a huge hurricane. My experience in the fire service has shown this to be true and I have known a good many hard working volunteers over the years.

I remember a story my father told about coming home from the Korean War. He said that there was one charity set up selling donuts to the service men who were returning. The Red Cross was set up giving away donuts to the service men. That speaks volumes to me.

I am sure that there will be many local churches and charitable efforts organized to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. If you wish to help, please do so. One local church in Selma has helped with hurricane victims in the past by gathering clothes, bottled water, food, and other items for transport into the affected area.

If you wish to donate monetarily to an organization that will help, then I can recommend the American Red Cross with all confidence that you will not be "scammed". Click on the banner below to donate online, directly to the Red Cross.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

News 14 wasn't at the court proceedings, but reports on the case on their web site

The fact that News 14 wasn't at the court proceeding is obvious, considering the sketchy details in the story below.


Selma candidates allowed to run for office
8/30/2005 10:39 AM
By: News 14 Carolina Staff

(SELMA) -- Two Selma candidates who were once not allowed on the November ballot will be allowed to run for office.

On Monday, a Superior Court judge decided to allow mayoral candidate Charles Hester and town council hopeful Tommy Holmes onto the ballot.

Election board members decided Hester and Holmes should not be on the ballot even though they missed a filing deadline because of a town clerk's mistake.

On Monday, a Superior Court judge decided to allow mayoral candidate Charles Hester and town council hopeful Tommy Holmes onto the ballot.

They filled out the paperwork at town hall the morning of August 5th. But Selma officials failed to deliver that paperwork to the board of elections by the noon deadline.

To prevent the problem from happening again, the county's Board of Elections voted that future municipal candidates must file their paperwork only at the Board's office and not their individual town halls.

My opinion on Hester's comments

In both "The Smithfield Herald" and in the N&O, Charles Hester was quoted as saying that he was reconsidering his quest to become Selma's Mayor (see posts below). I am a bit disappointed in this, considering all that has transpired on his behalf. If he didn't bow out of the race as Jimmy Earp did early on, he had obviously decided to see this through and had intentions of getting elected.

After all of this free publicity, I am a bit baffled. Mr. Hester has gotten a good amount of press in the local media at no cost to him, but it has cost the Town of Selma money and negative publicity.

In my opinion, to pull out of the race now would be a squandering of the equity that the town just fought for and won. Is that how I would want a mayor to think? I don't know.

If anyone should be frustrated with the upcoming election, read my commentary below on the use of nonpartisan elections. Even though I filed early, I am put at a disadvantage just because my last name occurs last alphabetically. None the less, I still have a lot of plans with which to proceed. After achieving a victory in the court at the expense of the Town of Selma, Charles Hester is considering quitting????? Mr. Hester, if you are reading this web log, please reconsider reconsidering. Stand up and follow through.

The Smithfield Herald on the court ruling

Judge sides with Selma


Smithfield -- Selma leaders breathed a sigh of relief Monday after a judge backed their bid to add two names to the November ballot.

In a civil complaint against the Johnston County Board of Elections, Selma argued that a mistake on its part should not keep Charles Hester and Tommy Holmes from running for office. The Board of Elections had thrown out their filings when the town failed to deliver the paperwork by the noon Aug. 5 deadline.

Although Hester and Holmes both filed at Selma's Town Hall before the deadline, their paperwork did not arrive in the elections office in Smithfield until 4 p.m.

Earlier this month, the Board of Elections denied the town's request to add Hester and Holmes to the November ballot. Election officials said they did not have the power to overturn state law.

That put the matter in the hands of Superior Court Judge Knox V. Jenkins. "This is clearly an adversarial situation," the judge said from the bench on Monday. "But I understand that both parties are interested in the welfare of Selma's citizens. I'm not here to assess blame. This is not your typical situation where someone stands to gain while the other loses."

Jenkins said the law was clear: last-minute filings are due by noon on the last day. "But by the same token, the Board [of Elections] does authorize the town to receive filings at a different location," he noted.

That makes Selma an extension of the elections office, Jenkins said. "The town acts as an agent to the board to receive filings," he said. "The applications were filed at the Board of Elections when they were filed in Selma."

Jenkins commended county election officials for upholding the law. But the judge also acknowledged a concession by the Board of Elections that a judge "had jurisdiction under extraordinary circumstances to extend extraordinary relief." "I believe extraordinary relief is in order here," he said.

In court, Selma Town Attorney Alan "Chip" Hewitt cited cases from other states in which judges ruled in favor of the candidates -- provided the candidates were not at fault.

"The last thing we want to do is get into an adversarial situation with the Board of Elections," he said. "But we also know that it's hard to find people who are willing to serve."

Reacting to the news, Tommy Holmes, a candidate for one of two council seats in Selma, said he was elated. "I really think he has done the right thing," Holmes said of Jenkins.

Charles Hester, who filed to run against incumbent Mayor Harry Blackley, echoed Holmes' sentiment. "I'm glad he ruled the way he did," Hester said. "It exonerates the town. I had been worried about the town being accused of something or thought of in the wrong way. I had thought all along it was just an administrative error, but this confirms it."

Gordon Woodruff, chairman of the Board of Elections, was also pleased with Jenkins' ruling. "I'm glad that the judge recognized that the Board of Elections and the town of Selma were both working in good faith," he said. "We're not in an adversarial situation with each other over this." "It was a very unusual case, and the judge took that into account with his ruling," Woodruff added. "I'm happy to have this resolved. It makes it clear now what we need to do to get the ballot ready. We'll move forward from here in light of Judge Jenkins' decision."

But in an ironic twist, Selma's ballot could change again. Hester said Monday that time spent waiting for a decision in the election dispute had led him to rethink running for office. "I'm not considering this to knock down the system that stood up for us," he said. "But I've just begun to have some second thoughts about things. There's a chance I might pull out of the race. I'll make my decision in the next few days."

Herald Staff Reporter Jordan Cooke can be reached at 934-2176, Ext. 133, or by e-mail at

Kenly News article on the court ruling

Judges orders Selma candidates on ballot
By Rick Stewart, Editor & Publisher
Aug 29, 2005, 12:57

Judge Knox Jenkins Jr. ruled Monday that Charles Hester, candidate for mayor, and Tommy Holmes, town council candidate, for the town of Selma will be on the ballot in November. The two filed for office at town hall in Selma before the noon, Aug. 5, deadline, but the filings did not reach the Johnston County Board of Elections before noon.

The town of Selma filed a lawsuit against the board of elections asking the court to deem the filings valid and allow the men on the ballot.
Before hearing the case Jenkins said that the most important of elected officials are local town council members and county commissioners, because they most directly effect the lives of citizens.

"This is no trivial matter," said Jenkins. "It is very important to everyone."

He added that both parties, the town of Selma and the Johnston County Board of Elections, were interested in the same thing—"the welfare of our citizens."
Jenkins went over the undisputed facts of the case. He said the board of an individual was authorized to receive filings (town clerk Fran Davis) and that the law mandates that the filings must be received at noon on the deadline day.

"The candidates filed with a designee of the board of election and those filings were delivered to the board by 4 p.m. on the same day," said Jenkins, stating the facts of the case. "The board (of elections) designated a person at a different location and that designee was acting as an agent of the board of elections to receive filings."

Jenkins said when the candidates filed with the town agent, designated by the board of elections, they filed with the board of elections.

He added that the board of elections, however, had no legal choice by to challenge the filings by law.
"The attorney for the county (Mark Paine) concedes that the court has jurisdiction under extraordinary circumstances to provide extraordinary relief and I belief it is in order here," said Jenkins. "Both parties should be commented for taking the positions they have in this matter."

He said the two sides have not taken an adversarial position against one another. He commented the board of elections on it performance, saying that the "of elections over the years have done an extraordinary job."

Paine said he agreed with the judge’s statement of the facts of the case. Jenkins said he believes it is fair to grant the candidates the opportunity to run for public office.

My area of experience

While going through the N&O web site, I ran across this article about the Selma Fire Department. I understand the operations of a municipal fire department, having worked with one for four and a half years prior to taking a job to do fire and rescue at a local university. I see the petty politics of this and its effect on the town. I read an article on this topic over a year ago. If there will be a candidate for Town Council that will have a degree of qualification to work with a situation like this, it will be me. I have about nine years experience in the fire field, including a degree in Fire Protection.


Published: Dec 30, 2004
Modified: Dec 30, 2004 3:05 AM

Selma hears firefighters' issues
The town appoints a committee to study concerns that have strained relations with the volunteer group

By MANDY LOCKE, Staff Writer

SELMA -- A band of Selma firefighters nearly tossed their boots into the laps of the mayor and town council members Wednesday night and abandoned their posts as the town's volunteer force.

But cooler heads prevailed as council members appointed a joint committee to examine the sticking points between the two camps.

For several months, the volunteers -- 23 strong -- have been in a tug-of-war with town leaders over what the firefighters say is needless meddling in their affairs.

The town manager said the department had been operating without liability insurance, and town leaders were trying to fix that.

The firefighters say the council -- without warning -- imposed three pages' worth of ordinances on the department. They learned of the new ordinances from firefighters in a neighboring town who had been asked to run Selma's fire calls if their volunteers quit, they said.

But the biggest rub to firefighters was the change in status of the fire chief. Council members and the mayor want to hire a paid chief -- a move they say is unavoidable as the town grows. Volunteer firefighters want to elect one from their ranks, just as they have for decades.

"We are growing, and this is part of our growing pains," Mayor Harry Blackley Jr. said.

The feud came to a head Wednesday night in an emergency meeting. "To me, it sounds like y'all want us to quit," Lt. Mike Kendall told the Selma council.

Selma's volunteer fire department acts more like a national guard in its district of 10,000 residents. Its call load, which hit 47 this month, includes house fires, freeing trapped passengers from wrecked vehicles, cleaning up storm debris, directing traffic at wreck scenes, and hanging Christmas lights along downtown streets. Firefighters are paid with a monthly laundry stipend, health care benefits and good will.

If the department's ranks shrink below 18, Selma's fire rating will falter. This means a severe spike in homeowner's insurance, said Travis Heath, assistant fire chief. It would take three years of consistent staffing to restore their current rating, he said.

How the bickering reached a standoff is anyone's guess; everyone involved has a theory.

Some firefighters blamed Blackley, who they say is still sore about having lost three times in a campaign to be elected fire chief. There has been talk lately of kicking the mayor off the volunteer department he has served since 1972, Kendall said.

"Four years ago, somebody wanted a change in the leadership of our department, and it didn't happen," Joe Moore, former mayor and veteran fireman, told the group. "Things went kind of sour. There was a split in the department."

The mayor does not deny his attempts to unseat fire chief Joe Price, who is also the town's water and sewer manager.

"I didn't agree with Selma's fire chief moving 10 miles out of town, and I wanted to make a point," said Blackley, who was elected mayor three years ago.

It didn't help matters when the department's officers voted to kick the mayor's son, Brian Blackley off the squad for failing to show up to calls and having a bad attitude, Kendall said.

Staff writer Mandy Locke can be reached at 829-8927 or

The N&O article on the court ruling

Judge rules candidates can run
Missed filing deadline for November ballot created a slim field for Selma elections

By PEGGY LIM, Staff Writer

SMITHFIELD -- It can be tough finding candidates to run for office in small towns.

"It takes a special person" to volunteer for a job akin to a "migraine headache," Superior Court Judge Knox Jenkins said.

That's why, Jenkins said, he sided with the town of Selma on Monday in allowing mayoral candidate Charles Hester and Town Council hopeful Tommy Holmes onto the November ballot.

Hester, Holmes and another would-be council candidate, Jim Earp, filed in Selma's Town Hall before noon Aug. 5, the last day of filing. A town staff member delivered the filings to the county Board of Elections office in Smithfield after 4 p.m.

The deadline was noon. Following state law, the elections office declared the filings invalid.

Earp quickly withdrew his application. But Selma officials, including Mayor Harry Blackley and the entire Town Council, fought to get Hester and Holmes in the race. Without Hester and Holmes, the mayor would run unopposed, and only three candidates would vie for two seats on the Town Council.

Jenkins agreed that the county Board of Elections had no legal authority to reverse its decision. But he agreed with Town Attorney Alan "Chip" Hewett that if the court did not step in, Selma would be deprived of two candidates who were "ready, willing and able to run for political office" but would be kept off the ballot through no fault of their own.

Jenkins also delivered a brief homily on the importance of local officials, noting that they ensure residents have running water, maintained streets and adequate police protection.

Hewett, who thanked the judge for his decision, said the situation was unlikely to arise again.

Prompted by the Selma mishap, the county's Board of Elections voted Aug. 16 that future municipal candidates can file their paperwork only at the board's office, not their individual town halls.

"It eliminates this problem that was set up for failure," Hewett said.

Allowing municipal candidates to file in their town halls is a "dying" practice, said Gary Bartlett, executive director of the State Board of Elections.

Before the 1970s, many local municipalities ran their own elections, Bartlett said. "There were conflicts of interests where a municipality was running elections and the government at the same time," he said.

Nowadays, only about four municipal election offices remain in the state, he said. Responsibility has shifted almost entirely to county offices, which can hire full-time staff dedicated to elections.

Hester and Holmes, who were not present at the hearing, said they were pleased with the judge's decision. Holmes, a retired service station owner, is excited to get his campaign rolling. Hester, however, said the delay has cut into his bid for mayor.

"I've lost a little momentum," said Hester, owner of a real estate company.

He plans to decide in day or so if he's got what it takes to stay in the race.

Staff writer Peggy Lim can be reached at 836-5799 or

Monday, August 29, 2005

The election system

One thing that I really do not like about the current election system is the use of "nonpartisan" elections. That is how the upcoming municipal election will be handled. What this means is that all candidates appear under one heading, regardless of their party affiliation. That means that voters do not necessarily know what the political inclinations of a candidate are just by looking at the ballot. The candidates are all listed in alphabetical order. This favors candidates whose names happen to fall earlier in the alphabet than those whose names show up later, like mine. I have seen it in previous elections, including it to a friend of mine who lost election after having been switched to a nonpartisan ballot. After having several good elections in the past, he came in last after the nonpartisan ballot put his name LAST in alphabetical order.

Now that we will have four candidates for town council, all candidates will have their names listed under a heading that instructs them to vote for TWO candidates. My last name happens to fall LAST in order of all the candidates, regardless of the fact that I filed for office early. One candidate filed the day before the deadline and another filed the last day, just before noon. Regardless of this, I will most likely be listed LAST on the ballot.

The nonpartisan election system has been known to hurt those who have names that fall in the alphabet later than other candidates and therefore later in the list of candidates. Most people don't take the time to get to know the candidates in local elections, and most local election candidates don't take the time to get known.

For those of you who are reading this and feel strongly about my candidacy, here is how to help with working within the system. When you vote for me, you CAN vote for me and JUST ME. Voting for just one person in effect gives me more than one vote, since other candidates get fewer votes with which I have to contend. If I am going to be at a disadvantage going in to the election, I might as well work within the system to encourage something to my advantage.

I truly dislike this system and wish that we would have a partisan ballot. You have to declare a party affiliation in most elections and that works fine. The municipal and county election voters and candidates are truly done a disservice by this method of ballot building.

WMPM reports today's court ruling

Judge Orders Board Of Elections To Place 2 Candidates Names On Municipal Ballot - On Monday, a judge ordered the names of two candidates that filed for elected office in Selma be placed on the ballots this fall. Following a hearing that lasted less than an hour, Superior Court Judge Knox Jenkins ordered the Johnston County Board of Elections to place the names of Charles Hester and Tommy Holmes on the November 8 ballot. Hester filed for Selma mayor and Holmes for Selma town council just minutes before the noontime filing deadline on August 5. However, a Selma town employee did not deliver the names of the candidates to the Board of Elections office until 4pm, four hours after the filing deadline had closed. Elections officials rejected the candidate’s applications, however, the Town of Selma immediately filed a lawsuit and Judge Jenkins ruled in their favor.

UPDATE: Selma wins court hearing to have candidates put on the ballot

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, 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.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

A letter I am sending

I am sending the following letter to all Selma churches for which I can find an address. It is an open invitation to all others, as well. Feel free to join me. Contact me. Pray with me.


Some may see this year's municipal elections as an "off year" election cycle and therefore do not have much importance. I believe that it is as important as any election. I believe in the principle of "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;" (1Timothy 2:1-3)

For some time, I have had the burden to help gather saints together to do just that. The time is right, I believe. With leadership changes about to take place in our towns and future changes taking place in our counties, states, and nation, I believe that now would be an appropriate time to start a gathering.

As you may have seen in the newspaper or heard on the radio, I am running for the elected office of Town Councilmember here in our little town of Selma. Of course the mention of a name does not give you any information about the man behind the name. I want to make myself accessible to you, your congregations, and the citizens of Selma so that you may get to know me. However, win or lose the election, I do believe and do plan on continuing to gather with saints on a regular basis to pray.

Here is what I am proposing. I propose that we, the saints of "The Church at Selma" gather for an initial meeting. Whether that meeting is just with the leadership of your congregations or with all the saints, I do not care. The purpose of that meeting would be to solicit your interest in and plan for a first prayer gathering. Since the local election is happening on November the 8th, I believe that it would be wise for us to have a prayer gathering prior to that date.

My first inclination for a prayer spot is to gather right behind town hall at the veranda and simply meet one another and then begin our communion with the Lord.

An initial meeting and/or planning gathering can be held anywhere. I had thought about getting the chance to meet many of you at a local restaurant such as Legend's (in Blackstone Plaza) in the banquet room. That would afford us the opportunity to have some "fellowship, and breaking of bread, and prayers" (Acts 2:42). Based upon interest expressed by your return communication, we can set a date or change venue. Please keep in mind that there are many differing tastes, schedules, and perspectives amongst the saints. For this reason, I would ask that you be flexible. One thing that we all have in common is our Lord Jesus Christ and our hometown. That commonality is a tremendous start for unity within the Body of Christ.

With the mutual cooperation of the saints in "The Church at Selma", which is ALL of us saints here in Selma, I believe that we can impact our town, our county, our state, and our nation. The long term goal is to have a continuing, regular prayer gathering of the saints. With unity such as that, I do believe that we can have great fellowship, form strong relationships, and have an impact through united prayer.

Please contact me so that we can set up a time for an initial gathering. My first thought is for a September 22nd first time gathering and perhaps a prayer meeting behind town hall of November 4th. These dates, of course, are flexible and we can certainly gather for prayer more than once.

As I stated earlier, whether I would win or lose the election here in Selma, I still plan on working together to have prayer together with the saints. If you would like to meet with me personally or with your congregation, please contact me. My contact information is on the letterhead.

Thank you for your attention, your consideration, and your prayers. I also look forward to joining you in Christian fellowship and the work of the ministry.

Your Brother In Christ,

Troy M. LaPlante

Friday, August 26, 2005

On today's WMPM web site

Lawsuit Against Board Of Elections Goes To Court Monday - A lawsuit filed by the Town of Selma against the Johnston County Board of Elections goes to court on Monday. A judge will decide if two candidates names should be placed on the November ballot. Charles Hester filed for Selma mayor and Tommy Holmes for town council just before the filing deadline on August 5 at the Selma Town Hall. Four hours after the deadline had passed, the candidate’s applications were delivered to the Board of Elections Office in Smithfield. The applications were rejected because they were received after the deadline. If a court judge upholds the Board of Elections decision, the candidates will have to mount a write-in campaign this fall.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A quote I have always liked and saved

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage."

Alexander Tyler, speaking of the Athenian Republic

A good idea, if it is financially feasible

I read this article on WMPM's web site. I also read a much more detailed article in today's "The Selma News". The idea is for the founding of a Boys' and Girls' Club of America in Selma. I am sure that the program is fine. Selma already has a parks and recreation program for children the the taxpayers are funding. I would even donate to such a private organization, provided that it is indeed private. The main issue that I have with donating to that organization is that I have read news articles of funds from a similar organization to The Boys' and Girls' Club being taken from the organization and given to Air America. Air America is the liberal talk radio network that has failed miserably since its inception. Liberal, hatefilled pundits as Al Franken helped start Air America. If they come to Selma, I would sincerely hope that no funding would be so embezzled.

Here is the short news blurb from WMPM's web site:

Boys & Girls Club America May Open Johnston County Chapter - An informational meeting was held this week to discuss creating a Boys and Girls Club of America in Johnston County. The proposed BGCA club would be located in a building at the old Selma Elementary School campus. Regional officials said it would take $75,000 to $125,000 in funding before the club could open. Local citizens spearheading the effort would like to see the club opened by the summer of 2006.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

OK, just a break from the serious side

So far, I have kept this blog fairly serious with news and a few opinions. Today, a friend forwarded me an email with something in it that I find amusing. I am posting it here, since it sort of sums up my philosophy in dealing with the subject in question. I am a regular poster and moderator at a large firearms web site, so I think I will pass this little forward on there, too.


Question: How do you tell the difference between a Democrat, Republican or a Southern Republican?

The answer can be found by posing the following question:

You're walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children. Suddenly, an Islamic Terrorist with a huge knife comes around the corner, locks eyes with you, screams obscenities, praises Allah, raises the knife, and charges at you. You are carrying a Glock 40, and you are an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family. What do you do?


Democrat's Answer:

Well, that's not enough information to answer the question!
Does the man look poor! Or oppressed?
Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack?
Could we run away?
What does my wife think?
What about the kids?
What does the law say about this situation?
Does the gun have appropriate safety built into it?
Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway, and what kind of message does this send to society and to my children?
Is it possible he'd be happy with just killing me?
Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me?
If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me?
Should I call 9-1-1?
Why is this street so deserted?
We need to raise taxes, have a paint and weed day and make this happier, healthier street that would discourage such behavior.
This is all so confusing! I need to debate this with some friends for few days and try to come to a consensus.

Republican's Answer:



Southern Republican's Answer:

BANG! click.....(sounds of reloading).

BANG! click

Daughter says: "Nice grouping, Daddy! Were those the Winchester Silver Tips or Hollow Points?"


Guess which one I fit into?

A reply about my letter to the editor

Thank you for the letter. Had it arrived a day earlier, it would have been in this week's Selma News. It will be in next week's issue. Our deadline is Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. for letters to the editor.

It is an excellent letter and I also appreciate your kind words about The News.

You are absolutely correct about the frustrations of having only a weekly publication date. However, we are working on a web site and I hope that will bridge the gap between our weekly in-depth coverage and breaking news.

Look forward to meeting you in person.
Rick Stewart

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A letter to the editor of "The Selma News"

I have written a letter to the editor of "The Selma News". Hopefully, this will actually make it in time for the Thursday printing.


To the Editor,

I wanted to take the opportunity to first thank "The Selma News" for being the first news outlet in the area to break the story about the problems with candidate filings for the upcoming municipal elections. I had no idea some of the problems that had gone on with late filings until I read it in your paper. None of the larger newspapers, radio, or television outlets covered the story until after you ran the news. The only disappointment was that I had to wait almost a week to read the story and learn of it, since your publication is a weekly periodical. For a small town weekly paper, I am impressed with that. Thank you.

Since the story broke, I have had a few news outlets interview me as well as a few citizens discuss the matter with me. Since I am a candidate for the upcoming election, I did want to give a bit of perspective on the situation. I am not one of the candidates adversely affected by the missed deadline. Either way, I am affected by the validity of the late filings or lack thereof. So far, my opinion has been and continues to be the following. It would be rather self serving of me to be happy with the ruling by the Johnston County Board of Elections that the candidate filings are invalid. I personally understand the decision that was taken by the Board, but in all fairness disagree with the outcome.

It may be state law that the deadline for filing for election was Friday, August the 5th at noon. According to Mr. Gordon Woodruff, Chairman of the Johnston County Board of Elections, it is also state law that candidates are allowed to file for office at the local town hall. Mr. Charles Hester, Mr. Jimmy Earp, and Mr. Tommy Holmes all did legitimately file for candidacy in the respective races in good faith at the designated location by the aforementioned deadline.

All of these facts have been verified by the Town Manager, the Town Attorney, and the Board. I saw this in person at the hearing last Tuesday the 16th. Since the meeting started twenty-five minutes earlier than the announced time, no other candidates were present, nor any media except a reporter for "The Kenly News"/"The Selma News". As all "interested" parties were present, meaning the Town Manager, Jeff White and Town Attorney Chip Hewitt, as well as the Board members, the Chairman, Mr. Woodruff decided to call the meeting to order earlier than planned. A reporter from News 14 Carolina showed up before the announced noon hearing start time and was able to report on what was left of the hearing. News 14 only knew about the story because I contacted them myself and it was of interest to them. Another reporter from a cross town newspaper also arrived, but too late to catch the entire hearing. Mr. Jimmy Earp, the candidate who withdrew his candidacy after the problems with the filing, also was as interested as I was in the hearing and was able to attend. Unfortunately, he too, showed up on time for the announced schedule, but was late for the unexpected early start of the hearing.

The hearing was merely a formality, in my opinion. The Board's opinion was that they have "no authority to change deadlines" according to state law. The Board had already decided the outcome before the hearing took place. The Board, by the way, consisted of Mr. Woodruff, Ms. Lina Sanders Johnson, and Ms. Patricia Proctor. The Director of the Board of Elections, Teresa Davis, was also present. I realize that the State Board of Elections, in particular, Mr. Gary Bartlett, was giving counsel to the County Board. I understand that the interpretation of the law may be clear to lawyers like Mr. Woodruff. However, I must concur with the crux of the law suit being brought by the Town of Selma. Mr. Alan "Chip" Hewitt contends that the town effectively acted as an agent for the County Board of Elections in taking candidate filings, and that state law makes such provision for the town acting in that manner as prescribed by the County Board guidelines. I am in no way condemning Mr. Woodruff and the County Board. I am, however, a citizen to whom common sense tells me that the candidate filings by Misters Earp, Hester, and Holmes were all legitimately filed by the deadline at the prescribed location.

I have been following this story with great interest, since I am affected in one way or another by the outcome of the hearing and now court action by the town. As a candidate for Town Council myself, I can only sit by with slack jawed amazement. I have been chronicling all of this on my web site, so that there will be no secrets about the story and different angles and opinions can be seen, in addition to my own. None of the news stories I have read and saved, however, have covered some of the details I have just shared with the readers of "The Selma News".

The next date of interest will be August the 29th for the court hearing. I have filed for a day off work (yes, within the deadline) so that I may also attend that hearing at Superior Court. I just hope that there will be no more problems with the election, all candidates will get a fair shot, and we will not have any "hanging chads" so to speak when all this has been said and done.

Troy LaPlante
Selma resident
Candidate for Town Council

You can now donate to help the campaign

As you are aware, running a campaign takes time and money. Since this is a small town election, I am wanting to be able to handle all the finances for the campaign on my own. I do not like being beholden to outside interests. However, in looking at the cost of the campaign publicity supplies I have been checking out, I can see that it may take more money than I initiall intended to spend. Therefore, I figured that I will allow friends, family, fellow conservatives, and just plain anyone who wants to be supportive assist in my campaign finances. The chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party is a friend of mine and told me not to be afraid to ask for money. OK, I will take his advice, though reluctantly.

I already have an online payment account set up and have made it possible to donate funds via Visa and MasterCard. Of course, people can still help directly. For those who want to help online with a credit or debit card, you may do so with the button below.

Questionnaire from "The News and Observer"

It is on my list of things to do today to write in this blog. I have been planning the topics I want to write about and the personal questions I have gotten. I wanted to field them here. So, if you have one, feel free to email me and I will attempt to answer them here on the blog.

I got a questionnaire in the mail from Raleigh's "The News and Observer" for their upcoming voter's guide. I emailed them the answers to their questions in the format requested and included the photo that you see on the blog. So that there is no surprise, and so that we can document what I sent them and compare the final product to what I wrote, here are the questions and answers exactly as I submitted them in the exact format requested. The ONLY difference will be the hyperlinks that I have installed in some of my answers to allow you to navigate to the sources of my answers, should you wish.


OFFICE SOUGHT: Selma Town Council

NAME: Troy LaPlante


HOME: 505 West Anderson Street, Selma, NC 27576

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVEN IN YOUR COMMUNITY: Selma: 3 years. Johnston County: 8 years. North Carolina: 17 years

BORN: Jacksonville, Florida July 2, 1968

FAMILY: Wife: Teresa

EDUCATION: Associate in Applied Science in Fire Protection, 1988
New Hampshire Technical College, Laconia, New Hampshire

OCCUPATION: Technical Services Coordinator, Time Warner Cable Media Sales

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: First time seeking elected office.

CIVIC ACTIVITIES: Local fire department, 1982-1986, Franklin, NH
Johnston County Local Emergency Management Planning Committee, 2004-present
A lot of volunteer work over the years for different charities and church organizations

RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: I fellowship with a diverse group of small home church, online, and church groups.


FAVORITE MOVIES: "The Godfather" and "Patton"

TOP PRIORITY IF ELECTED: Ensure fiscal responsibility and accountability in town spending, operations, and growth planning.

HOW TO CONTACT: 919-965-9695

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Flyer making and positioning statements

We have been busy thinking of flyers and designing hand outs, business cards, t-shirts, etc. I have decided to try to keep things simple. I have tried different logos, designs, colors, etc. I think that the simpler ones have worked best thus far. I am also working on radio ads in my head. I have a strong radio broadcasting background, so this will be my forte.

One thing that I know from experience is that you can only put so much information on the back of a business card or on the back of a half page flyer. Here are some of the things I have put on a flyer for your reading enjoyment. By the way, I will be putting a lot more opinions and issue oriented discussion here in the VERY near future.

About me:

- Proven leadership in business and in municipal affairs
- Experience in municipal and state governments
- Common sense, conservative values
- Strong convictions
- Years of experience in public service
- A long time North Carolina resident
- Selma resident by choice
- Media and public relations experience
- A strong desire to serve the community
- Accessible


That is about all I can fit on the back of a business card. I put those along with the following on my flyer. I would fit more, but I can't make the type but so small if I am going to expect people to be able to read it.

Part of Troy's vision for leadership in Selma:

- Public service by public servants. Accountability is a MUST for elected representatives and town officials.
- Fiscal responsibility is a key to the town's future.
- Common sense plans for growth. We don't need three dog parks and seven mini parks in a small town, for example.
- Keep our existing parks clean and operational. Effectively use existing facilities before expanding or acquiring new.
- Encourage our existing businesses by co-op ventures.
- Essential town services such as police, fire, water, sewer, and waste handling come FIRST over desired services.
- Root out and eliminate wasteful spending.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of maintaining our own power grid versus private ownership.
- Do everything possible to keep taxes and utilities costs LOW!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Be looking for these around town

I have been tinkering with a business card for the campaign. I have tried a few different variations on the same theme. I started with a template in my Printshop program and modified it to my liking. I think I finally found something that I really like. It is a bit more simplistic than the first drafts, easier to read, and sharper looking. It also looks a lot better with the simple URL on the front. I think I will use this design. Look for them around town, my fellow "Selmites".

Image hosted by

The Kenly News weighs in

Selma files suit against Board of Elections
By Kelly Lake and Michael Moon
Aug 17, 2005, 12:11

The Johnston County Board of Elections has denied the town of Selma’s request to validate the municipal election filings of Charles Hester for mayor and Tommy Holmes for town council. In anticipation of that ruling, Chip Hewett, attorney for the town of Selma, filed a complaint against the Johnston County Board of Elections and a motion for an expedited hearing last Friday.
The lawsuit asks for a hearing in the Superior Court of Johnston County on Aug. 29 at 10 a.m. Clerk of Superior Court Will Crocker said the case will be heard on....


Yup, believe it or not, the artcile ends with "...." A reporter for The Kenly News was there for the entire meeting. He was there earlier than I was and this is the entire story printed in "The Kenly News", at least the online edition. Since "The Kenly News" owns "The Selma News", we will see what is published in that paper. I do subscribe to the printed version of the Selma paper, but they do not have an online edition to send you to.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The News 14 web site story

Two candidates can't run on November ballots
8/17/2005 9:23 AM
By: Ken Derksen & Web Staff

(SELMA) -- Despite a town mistake, the Johnston County Board of Elections still won't let two Selma candidates make it on the November ballot.

Charles Hester admits he waited until the last minute to file for Selma town mayor but says a town clerk's mistake shouldn't keep him from running for office.

“We had to file by 12,” Hester explained. “I went down at 11:20."

Hester and two other candidates who wanted to run for town council filled out filing paperwork at Selma’s Town Hall the morning of August 5th. But Selma officials delivered that paperwork to the board of elections four hours late, which made all three ineligible to appear on the November ballot.

“It's like missing the train,” Hester continued. “Suddenly the train was due in at 12 noon. It got there at 12 but you thought you had a 12:05 time to get there."

On Tuesday, Selma officials asked the elections board to change its ruling. But the board says its hands are tied.

“What we have is a statute that has an absolute deadline and it doesn't provide for any type of exception,” said Selma attorney Chip Hewett.

“It sets up a situation that you almost have to be in two places at once if you wait until the last minute to file,” added Gordon Woodruff of the Board of Elections.

For candidates who filed early, their names may be for certain on the ballots. But they say the filing problems still impact them directly for election time.

“It effects not only myself, but obviously other individuals, people I am going to end up, if elected, end up working with and being around,” said Town Council candidate Troy LaPlante.

The town is now suing the board in an effort to get a judge to overturn the decision. Some hope it sends a strong message to state legislatures that having two different filing deadlines ending at the same time is asking for trouble.

Hester added, “They should have said you have to file at Selma by 10 which would have given them two hours to get across town to take it to the board of elections."

Hester says if the judge doesn't overturn the board's ruling, he's ready to hit the streets to build up a "write-in" campaign, ensuring his name still makes it on November ballots.

Tommy Holmes and Jim Earp were the two other candidates ruled invalid. They were both running for Selma Town Council but since the ruling, Earp decided not to run.

Selma's lawsuit against the elections board will go before a Superior Court judge August 29th.

N&O article in today's paper

Selma's campaign to add to ballot now goes to judge
Johnston elections board, bound by state law, rejects request on behalf of last-minute candidates

By MARTI MAGUIRE, Staff Writer

A Superior Court judge will decide whether two last-minute candidates will make it onto Selma's ballots in November.

The Johnston County Board of Elections on Tuesday turned down the town's request to accept filings from developer Charles Hester, a would-be mayoral candidate, and retired service station owner Tommy Holmes, who hopes to run for Town Council.

Hester and Holmes both filed Aug. 5 before the noon deadline set by the state. But the Selma town clerk did not deliver their paperwork to the Board of Elections office in Smithfield until hours later.

The town is fighting to correct its error.

Town officials asked the county elections board to accept the candidates. But the board cannot make an exception to the state deadline.

"Our board has no authority to change any general statute law," said Elections Director Teresa Davis.

Davis said this is the first case in which a candidate who filed on time has been kept off the ballot in Johnston County. Starting next year, candidates will be required to file their paperwork at the Board of Elections office in Smithfield instead of town halls.

"This is just to keep any situation like this from happening again," Davis said.

Selma will now rely on the courts to decide the fate of the would-be candidates.

Town attorney Alan "Chip" Hewett filed a complaint in Johnston County Superior Court on Friday claiming Selma will be "deprived of two faultless candidates" if the two cannot run.

A hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 29 at the Smithfield courthouse.

Hester, the mayoral candidate, said he may campaign as a write-in candidate if his name does not appear on the ballot.

"However it comes out, I'll roll with it," Hester said. "It's not going to be end of the world for me."

Selma Town Manager Jeff White said he was not surprised that the board did not reverse its decision. But he said town officials feel obligated to pursue all possible avenues.

"They filed in good faith," White said of the candidates. "We accepted those filings in good faith, and we just want to make sure we're continuing to do everything we can to make sure those individuals are on the ballot."

Another potential Town Council candidate who filed the same day, Jim Earp, withdrew from the race after the filings were declared invalid.

Staff writer Marti Maguire can be reached at 829-4841 or

A list of candidates in Johnston County

For those of you who want a list of who is officially running for office in different elections in Johnston County, click on the link of the post title. You will get a page of the candidates. It does not include western Johnston communities, though.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

WMPM corrected their story

In previous stories, WMPM has gotten the names wrong of the three candidates that were adversely affected. Simply put, they could not keep track of who had dropped out of the race and who had not. It is good to see that they finally corrected the story.

Board Of Elections Upholds Ruling Rejecting Candidates Applications - During a hearing on Tuesday, the Johnston County Board of Elections said they had no authority to place the names of two candidates on the November ballot. Applications from Charles Hester who filed for Selma mayor and Tommy Holmes who filed for Selma Town Council were rejected because they were received by the Board of Elections four hours after the 12 noon filing deadline on August 5. However, the candidates had filed prior to the deadline at the Selma Town Hall, despite instructions from the Board that all candidates filing on the last day must do so at the Election Office, not at individual town halls. The matter now goes before a court judge on August 29. Selma leaders are hoping a judge will force the Board of Elections to place Hester and Holmes names on the ballot. Otherwise, they must mount a write-in campaign.

My new blog URL

I finally signed up for my new URL for this blog. Rather than use as a longer, harder to remember URL, I was able to easily secure It is not active just yet, but I did set up the URL to point to my blog and set up my new email address of Hopefully, the URL will be active within hours. Feel free to email me.

News 14 story

I just saw the story on News 14 Carolina on TV. This was the first time the story package ran. The interview with me was not used, but the ones with Gordon Woodruff, the Chairman of the Board of Elections and Chip Hewitt, Selma Town Attorney were used in brief clips. All that could be seen of me was a bit of my Tommy Hilfiger shirt in the background of one shot. I make a good back drop, I guess. :^) The stoy is not on their web site, yet.

Again, WMPM gets it wrong

I attended the Board of Elections hearing today, which was scheduled for high noon. I was at the courthouse by 11:30 AM or so. Town Manager, Jeff White and Town Attorney Chip Hewitt were there before I arrived. When the Board was finished with other business, they came to the meeting room. Since all necessary parties were there as of 11:35 AM, the meeting started early. This did affect several people. "The Smithfield Herald" reporter, a News 14 reporter, and one man whose bid for office was cut short by the late filing all got there after the meeting late, since it started early. A reporter from "The Kenly News", which also owns "The Selma News" was there early, waiting for the meeting to start. I realize that all necessary parties were present, but I do wish that the meeting had started at the announced time. I enjoyed the irony in that, though. No reporter was there for WMPM, and they got the story's facts wrong...again. Look for me in the papers and on News 14.


Board Of Elections Upholds Ruling Rejecting Candidates Applications - During a hearing on Tuesday, the Johnston County Board of Elections said they had no authority to place the names of two candidates on the November ballot. Applications from Charles Hester who filed for Selma mayor and Tommy Holmes who filed for Selma Town Council were rejected because they were received by the Board of Elections four hours after the 12 noon filing deadline on August 5. However, the candidates had filed prior to the deadline at the Selma Town Hall, despite instructions from the Board that all candidates filing on the last day must do so at the Election Office, not at individual town halls. The matter now goes before a court judge on August 29. Selma leaders are hoping a judge will force the Board of Elections to place Earp and Holmes names on the ballot. Otherwise, they must mount a write-in campaign.

Article from "The Smithfield Herald"

Selma waging ballot battle


SELMA -- In a last-ditch effort to spice up this year's election, the town is suing the Johnston County Board of Elections.

In a complaint filed Friday afternoon, the town claims the Board of Elections is unfairly rebuffing efforts by two would-be candidates.

On Aug. 5, the last day of the filing period, Charles Hester filed for mayor, and Tommy Holmes filed for a seat on the Town Council. The two filed their paperwork at Town Hall.

But under the rules, last-day filings must be done in the Board of Elections office in Smithfield, said Leigh Anne Price, deputy supervisor of elections in Johnston.

"Normally, when the filing process starts, candidates do have that option to file at their town hall," Price said. "But on the last day, candidates are supposed to be instructed to file here at the Board of Elections in Smithfield. In this particular case, the candidates filed in Selma before the noon deadline, but we did not receive their applications until after 4 p.m., four hours after the deadline had passed."

The Board of Elections disallowed the filings of Hester and Holmes because the deadline had passed, Price said. A third candidate, Jimmy Earp, also filed for council at the last minute but later withdrew.

If the town is successful in overturning the Board of Elections decision, Hester would square off against incumbent Mayor Harry Blackley in November.

Blackley said the town was at fault for failing to direct Hester and Holmes to the Board of Elections office. The board, he added, shouldn't hold that against the would-be candidates.

"The people that filed should be allowed to run," the mayor said. "Elections are important. The people of this town should decide who represents them, so all candidates who filed should be allowed to run if they so desire."

Town Manager Jeff White said he understood that the Board of Elections was simply following the law. Still, he said he hoped the board would overturn its decision.

"These candidates were under the impression they could complete their registration here in town at any time before the deadline and that it would be good," White added. "We in good faith accepted those, believing they would be valid, so this matter is something that we intend to continue to pursue."

In its complaint, the town is asking a Superior Court judge to overturn the Board of Elections' decision to invalidate the late filings. North Carolina law allows judges to overturn such decisions when appropriate.

Without court intervention, the complaint says, the town would essentially be "deprived of two faultless candidates that are ready, willing and able to run for political office."

"All we're asking for here is that two candidates be treated fairly," said Town Attorney Chip Hewitt noted. "They are not at fault, and the town is trying to remedy a mistake it made."

Hewitt and White will appear before the Board of Elections today (Tuesday) to ask the board to overturn its decision and declare the filings valid. Should their efforts fail, the town will take its case to court. A hearing on the complaint is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 29.

Herald Staff Reporter Jordan Cooke can be reached at 934-2176, Ext. 133, or by e-mail at

Saturday, August 13, 2005

N&O article

As I wrote yesterday, I spoke with a reporter for The N&O. I checked their online edition today and here is the article. You can also link to it by the post title link.

Selma officials try to add challengers

By PEGGY LIM, Staff Writer

Selma seemed destined for a sleepy election this season, with the mayor apparently unopposed and only three candidates for two seats on the Town Council.

But two other would-be candidates, whose filings the Johnston County Board of Elections declared invalid, may shake up the race yet. Charles Hester, who wants to run for mayor, and Tommy Holmes, who hopes to run for Town Council, are battling to get on the November ballot.

Hester, Holmes and another council hopeful, Jim Earp, filed in Selma's Town Hall the morning of Aug. 5, the last day of filing for the election. The town clerk delivered their paperwork to the county Board of Elections office in Smithfield after 4 p.m., said the board's deputy director, Leigh Anne Price.

The deadline was noon. Following state law, the elections office declared the filings invalid.

Earp withdrew his application. But Selma officials, including Mayor Harry Blackley and the entire Town Council, say they want Hester and Holmes in the race.

"We need the election," Blackley said. "The people of Selma should decide who their mayor is."

Town officials will meet Tuesday with the county Board of Elections in hopes of overturning the decision.

Fearing the board may have little leeway to reverse the decision, Selma town attorney Alan "Chip" Hewett is seeking a Superior Court ruling to let Hester and Holmes appear on the ballot. Hewett requested a court hearing Aug. 29.

If the Elections Board's decision is not overturned, Selma would "be deprived of two faultless candidates that are ready, willing and able to run for political office," Hewett wrote in a legal complaint filed Friday against the county Board of Elections.

Troy LaPlante, 37, another Town Council candidate, said he also thought Hester's and Holmes' filings should be considered valid. "But then again, that's why I filed better than a month ago," he said.

Holmes, a retired service station owner, said he was disappointed when his filing was rejected.

"My understanding was I had until 12 to file," said Holmes, 55.

Hester, who made up his mind to run for office that morning, said he wished the town had taken the filings immediately to Smithfield or directed him there.

"I'm not angry. I know [Town Clerk] Fran Davis, and she's a great woman," said Hester, 70, who owns a real estate company. "She feels terrible about it, and the town manager does, too."

If the court or board does not reverse the ruling, Hester's and Holmes' only recourse would be to run as write-in candidates.

Staff writer Peggy Lim can be reached at 836-5799 or

Friday, August 12, 2005

A bit of misinformation

Here is the latest information from WMPM radio's web site concerning the Selma elections. Notice that they wrongly reported the names of who candidate who dropped out of the race and the remaining candidate.

Town Of Selma Files Lawsuit Against Board Of Elections For Rejecting Candidates Applications - The Town of Selma has filed a lawsuit against the Johnston County Board of Elections office after they rejected the names of three candidates. Just before the 12:00 noon filing deadline on August 5, Charles Hester filed for Selma mayor, Jim Earp and Tommy Holmes filed for town council, at the Selma Town Hall. All three filing were accepted by the Selma town clerk but the applications were not delivered to the Board of Elections office until 4:00pm, four hours after the filing deadline had passed. Since the applications were received late, elections officials declared all three as invalid. Elections officials had told clerks in all municipalities that any candidate filing on the last day, must file at the Board of Elections Office. Selma officials reportedly did not adhere to that request. In the lawsuit, filed by Town Attorney Alan B. Hewett, town officials are requesting a court judge force the Board of Elections to place the candidates name on the November ballot. The civil complaint is expected to be heard by a superior court judge as early as August 29. Mark Payne, attorney for Johnston County, was not available for comment on Friday. One of the three candidates, Tommy Holmes, has since withdrew his name for political office. If a judge refused to side with the plaintiffs, Hester and Earp will have to mount a write-in campaign in November.

A nice reporterette

I just got off the phone with a nice reporter, Peggy Lim, from "The News and Observer". Apparently, she is doing a story on the city council and mayoral election filing problems we are having here in li'l old Selma. She was pleasant enough. I gave her my opinions on the matter, as asked. I also gave her the link to this blog, my web site, and my cell phone number. I invited her to keep in touch. I want to be accessible for people to get to know me and about me.

I will be looking to see how the N&O reports this story. They are about a week behind, since the event happened last Friday afternoon and has already been in the local, weekly paper.

Peggy, if you are reading this, thanks for the call.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

One other person was in the story, but not reported

"The Selma News" had a more detailed story in some aspects of the late filing problems than did WMPM. However, WMPM had a few critical details I wanted to see.

I got a phone call from Jimmy Earp, a Selma resident who also filed for the town council election on Friday morning. We talked for quite some time this afternoon. He filed for election close to 8 AM, but also got caught up in the problem of the reported late filing. He decided to withdraw from the election rather than pursue the matter, which I can understand. He has a similar thought pattern to my own, in that neither of us want to see people be elected handily, without opposition. I got involved in order to be more a part of my community. It is a shame to see little participation in the election process.

The latest report from WMPM

Late Applications For Mayor, Town Commissioner Rejected By Board Of Elections - Two candidates who filed for office in Selma may have to go to court to get their names on the November ballot. Charles Hester filed for mayor and Tommy Holmes filed for town council less than an hour before the filing period closed at 12 noon last Friday. A town official did not take the candidates application to the Johnston County Board of Elections office until 4pm that day, four hours after the deadline has passed. Election officials declared both filings as invalid. Johnston County Board of Elections officials had told officials in local municipalities that candidates filing on the last day must do so at the Board of Elections office, not at town halls. In addition, the filings must be hand delivered before the deadline. A hearing on the matter has been set for next Tuesday, but according to an attorney with the NC Board of Elections, the only recourse the candidates have is to appeal the decision to court or to launch a write in campaign.

Latest developments in the Town Council race

I just got a copy of "The Selma News" and saw the headline: "Selma candidate filings not valid". Fortunately, it was not referring to me. It seems that two town council candidates and one mayoral candidate filed for election at the town hall on Friday, just after 11 AM. The deadline was Friday at noon. OK, here is the catch: the filings have to be in to the County Board of Elections by noon, not just at the town hall. This is the last election where candidates are allowed to file at the local town hall. In the future, all filings must be made at the County Board of Elections.

The Board declared two of the filings invalid. A third individual had filed for town council and later pulled out of the race. So, one town council challenger and one mayoral challenger have been told that their names will NOT be on the ballot in November.

There is a hearing on the 16th at the Board offices in Smithfield at noon. I will try to be there. It will be interesting to see how this situation develops.

As a matter of self interest, it would make sense for me to desire one less candidate. However, in the interest of fairness, the two candidates did file before noon time and should be included in the election. If candidates are allowed to file in the town hall, then the deadline should apply to filing in the town hall, not necessarily at the Board offices. That is only fair and appropriate. However, it seems that the Board is playing "hard ball" about this issue.

I have filled out an application for a booth at the Selma Railroad Days festival. I plan on being available to voters to meet and talk to. I have made arrangements for a tent and table already. Railroad Day is on Saturday, October 1st.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

This is just the sort of mindset I want to avoid and fight against

NY Candidate To Employ Exotic Dancers At Fundraiser

August 6, 2005 11:48 p.m. EST

Jasen K Lee - All Headline News Staff Reporter

New York, NY (AHN) – Leave it to a New York City political candidate to pull a stunt like this. Democrat Victor Bernace is planning a "Havana Night" campaign party next month at a Manhattan nightclub, complete with bikini-clad dancers and men wearing nothing but briefs.

He will charge twenty dollars per person for the event, which he claims, will be “a very erotic show”.

Bernace says, "I'm throwing a fun event. Most politicians - I've been to their fundraisers, and they are boring. People can go with a standard politician who will disappear into the woodwork. I'm trying to be part of the next generation."

Bernace is a Harvard-educated attorney who represents taxi drivers. He’s making his third bid for city council in northern Manhattan.
He isn’t too worried about offending potential voters. He even says it might help get younger men interested in politics, saying, "I'm not running for mayor in a small, old-time religious town in Utah. I'm running in New York City. I might as well try to energize a different base."

Friday, August 05, 2005

Another "Selma"

New sea serpent claim

Monster hunter Jan-Ove Sundberg continues his search for proof of famous sea serpents and once again claims that he has evidence for the presence of Selma, the beast reputed to live in Norway's Lake Seljord.

Sundberg and his team GUST (Global Underwater Search Team) told TV 2 Nettavisen Thursday that they had logged sonar readings of a large creature in the lake, which is in the middle of Telemark county.

"I have news today. We were just off Sanden Camping today, between noon and 2 p.m. We got two large objects on sonar, they were four to five meters (13-16.5 feet) long and this was no fish," Sundberg told TV 2 Nettavisen.

"Afterwards we heard some very loud noises on the hydrophone. The sounds were so powerful that the our headphones banged and vibrated," Sundberg said.

Sundberg has regularly visited Seljord in the summer to hunt for concrete proof that Norway's Loch Ness monster exists, and claimed last year to have images of the creature, but the picture quality left much to be desired and convinced no one.

"If researchers are to be satisfied we have to catch it in our traps. Or we have to take photos or film that demonstrates it is an unknown animal. Half-bad pictures from long distance aren't good enough," Sundberg said.

The 58-year-old is now training a new generation of cryptozoologists how to run an expedition to find unconfirmed animals by holding courses in Sweden.

This year's trip to Seljord is Sundberg's sixth, and he believes he now knows where the serpent is most likely to appear.
As of yesterday afternoon, there were only two candidates reported as having filed for the Town Council election. Just this afternoon, I found this on WMPM's news page:

"Princeton Mayor Don Rains will be unopposed. Incumbent Commissioners David Starling and Larry Withrow will be challenged for their two seats by Billy Sutton. In Selma, Mayor Harry Blackley will return without opposition. Debbie Johnson, Jackie Lacy, and Troy Laplante are seeking two council seats."

I find this interesting. It means that if Debbie Johnson is indeed running for re-election, she sure waited until the last minute to file. According to an earlier story in "The Selma News", she was undecided about running for re-election. In yesterday's "Selma News", today's "News and Observer", and yesterday's WMPM site, there were still only two of us having filed. I guess that this makes the upcoming election a little more interesting.

Town of Selma resource

One thing that I did not write in that last post is that the Town of Selma has a pretty good web site in place. I read in "The Selma News" all about the development of the new site. Quite honestly, I like it. There is a lot of helpful information there. You can navigate the site to find all the contact information you should need for each town department. You can also check out all the town ordinances right online. Fee schedules and trash pick up dates are published there, so there are no surprises, if you know to look.

Closing day for filing for election

Today is the last day to be able to file for election to office for the municipal election in November. To date, only two candidates have filed for Town Council. Jackie Lacy and Harry Blackley have filed for re-election to the council and for mayor, respectively. There are only two council positions open, and it looks like Jackie Lacy and myself will be in those two slots.

I was wanting to attend the next council meeting, which is this coming Tuesday night. However, the Johnston County Republican Party Executive Committe meeting is the same night. I was advised by the Chairman of the local Republican Party to attend, so I will most likely do so. There are still a few council meetings before the election, so I can get a much better feel of how things are handled here in town.

I got my first phone call from a concerned citizen today. She was upset about her noisy neighbors and wanted to know if the town has a noice ordinance. She got my answering machine at first, since I was not immediately available. I called her back in short order and had a pleasant call. She was unsure of her polling place for the upcoming election, so I referred her to the Johnston County Board of Elections. If you are not sure of your polling place, voting status, or have not registered to vote, please contact the Board of Elections. The link I just gave should get you contact information. October 14th is the deadline for registering to vote and the election is on November 8th.

Even if my election is a sure thing, I still want to talk to citizens and municipal groups. I would love to sit and talk with the local police and fire officials, public works employees, library workers, and concerned citizens. People can call me at 965-9695 or on my cell phone, 623-7649.