June 8, 2014
The winds of change are blowing across Logan County and the people are starting to realize that the ones that have been in power for decades are not really the leaders that they claim to be, but rather the only “leadership styles” the people of Logan have ever known. Leadership capabilities are not something that can be passed down from father to son but only obtained through lifetime experience. The citizens of Logan County and surrounding counties are starting to see the stranglehold that has been applied and are starting to rebel at the poles during elections. Why else would a person such as myself do so well or another man who was virtually unknown win 43 percent of the vote in a county race against a man who has been looked at as nothing less than a living legend.
The reason for this is not always against the man (which was the case of the local commission race) but rather the regime that has controlled everything within the county for decades. The tactics that have been used over the years to maintain power is blatantly obvious yet now, people are starting to stand up and have their voices heard.
The citizens of Holden, Whitman and parts of the Chapmanville area are tired of being represented by people in other counties when they clearly live within the Logan county borders. I want to state that every time I have ever called Justin Marcum, Mingo County Delegate, he has always returned my calls and has worked hard to address any issues that I have brought to his attention… However, he is still in Mingo County and has plenty to deal with over there.
Since the residents of Whitman and Logan are within a five minute drive of downtown Logan, it really doesn’t make sense for us to have to look to Williamson for representation. The reason for this re-districting debacle was to cut out areas that were not very supportive of a few House of Delegate members and to cut away their opposition’s power base! Ralph Rodighiero has always ran very strong in Holden and Whitman so it made perfect sense to cut away his strong areas and kick them to Mingo County where he could no longer use them as supporters. How fair is that? It isn’t!
Let’s now shift focus towards the County Commission lines. What makes perfect sense across Logan is to focus on representation amongst the three major population centers in Logan County which are Man, Logan and Chapmanville. The rules, as I have always been informed, was that to represent these areas one would have to reside within these areas (which makes perfect sense). According to where the leadership lives (and has lived for decades) this would be impossible. To change the commission lines to go north/south and break them up into Logan East, Logan Central and Logan West allows for all of the leadership to remain living within five miles of one another in the Chapmanville area thus maintaining the power amongst those who have controlled it for decades.
Do the citizens of Man really have representation? Ask the common citizen of Man and enjoy the response. My last point I would like to make (but there will surely be more later down the road) is the voting discrepancies concerning the House of Delegate races and the County Commission races. My question is “Why does a person have to live in the district to vote for a certain House of Delegate member but when it comes to the County Commission race, you don’t have to live within the lines of the area up for grabs to be able to vote… once again, it really doesn’t make sense.
Let’s take the Logan East area. If the only people who were allowed to actually vote in that race were only the citizens from Garrett’s Fork, Sharples, Lake, all of Man (Buffalo Creek, Accoville) and all of Route 44 (Sarah Ann, Cow Creek, Omar, Switzer, Monaville. Wilkinson, Yuma, etc.) I would feel pretty confident that the person elected by the people in that area would most likely come from the Man or Omar area due to the number of voters in those communities. By allowing everyone across the county to vote it gives the powers that be a better chance to maintain their control because they draw support from the areas not up for grabs to get behind their horse in the race. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what the voters in Logan West want, they must always accept defeat to a 66 percent to 33 percent loss.
If you read all of this and think this is still fair then you have obviously never been on the losing end of a two against one competition. I would also like to address the issue of “appointing” people to fill roles after an elected official resigns due to illegal activities or due to an illness. When a person must resign due to criminal behavior or an illness, elections need to be the cure rather than allowing those in power to be able to replace the person stepping down with whoever they feel needs to fill the role.
We elect people to represent us. If they cannot fulfill their obligations then we, the people should be allowed to select the replacement. Sometimes the people selected to replace an official may be no better and actually worse in some occasions. The people of Logan deserve better!
In closing, besides term limits to keep these lifetime politicians from getting rich off of the system (and they all eventually do), we need to go back to the old House of Delegate lines that allow the people in Logan voting for representatives from Logan.
We need to go back to the old County Commission lines that has a representative supporting the three major areas of Man, Chapmanville and Logan and then let’s only allow the people in those areas to select the person that they want to represent them in the county. Why should I, a person living in Holden, have a say about who gets to represent the people of Man, Sharples or Harts Creek in the County Commission?
Please do not respond with “Sometimes the Commissioner from Logan East will have to make a decision concerning Logan West”. Unless it is due to an untimely death, the actual representative for the area in question should always have his/her say.
Sappers Clear The Way! Airborne All The Way!
MAJ (RET) Richard Ojeda II