Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dist. 6's Bill James a 'virtual commissioner,' a 'RINO'?

The zingers thrown in the Republican presidential race have been hot and heavy. But firecrackers are already going off in a local race - the GOP District 6 primary for Mecklenburg County commissioner. It's hardly a surprise with incumbent Bill James in the mix. His blunt, often racially tinged comments have made him by his own admission an often polarizing figure. He hasn't faced primary competition in 10 years but Ed Driggs, a retired stock analyst and banker, announced Tuesday he would run against James.

On his website, Driggs' states his mission as this: “To promote Economic Opportunity by keeping government lean and efficient, investing wisely in our schools, and maintaining the rule of law. I am running to give the voters of District 6 a choice. It is time for more effective conservative government in South Mecklenburg!

The race, which is unofficial since filing isn't until next month, has gotten off to a fiery start with the two already trading accusations. James has attacked Driggs' voting record in local primary elections. Public records that go back to 2004 show Driggs voted in all of the general elections except 2009 but only voted in the 2007 primary."Republican primaries are made up of the faithful - they come out rain or shine," James said recently. "If a guy is going to run to represent the most Republican district of the county, he's got to be Republican enough to vote (in the primary)." James called Driggs "AWOL."

Driggs' campaign shot back with this: "In reply to my opponent’s comment on my voting record...

"Given the very low turnout in primaries, it is ridiculous to suggest that anyone who has missed them must be a Liberal or should not be a Conservative candidate for office. Is this the level of debate we can expect in this campaign?

"Since my opponent introduces the concept of AWOL, let’s take a look at his attendance record as a sitting Commissioner." Driggs then listed a series of events that he says James did not attend.

"The list goes on and on. The truth is, “Virtual Commissioner” James is almost never seen in public and is never going to win an attendance contest. Mr. James is the RINO…A REPRESENTATIVE IN NAME ONLY."

Virtual Commissioner? RINO? Ouch!

Driggs also responded to a charge that he was not a conservative since he did not vote for John Lassiter: "John Lassiter is on my Committee. He knows I have the greatest respect for him as person and a public servant. When he ran in 2009, I was not focused on the race because my 85 year old mother had had major surgery and was in very grave condition."

The Observer editorial board hasn't been a fan of James, whose inflammatory, demeaning words have been criticized even by his fellow Republicans. In 2008, 20 then current and former Republican officials even issued a statement that said they "fully and completely censure" James for comments he made. Among the signers were then Mayor Pat McCrory and former mayors Richard Vinroot and Ken Harris.

So we think competition for the seat is good news. If Driggs files, the voters will indeed have a choice. However they decide, the race promises to be a humdinger!

Posted by Associate Editor Fannie Flono


Ghoul said...

Waiting on the editorial on wanting competition for the most racist board member-Vilma Leake.

blockhead said...

Pity. to the Observer, any acknowledgement of race whatsoever, other than fawning comments for blacks of often faint achievement, equates to "tinged with racism." It is not racism to question why blacks are involved in crime in vastly disproportionate numbers. (The answer may indeed be the legacy of oppression and white racism, but we're not going to resolve anything by ignoring it). It is not racist to question why a star womens tennis player is obviously abusing steroids and hormones, and already has had potentially lethal health consequences (though no commentator in his right mind would dare raise the steroids issue for fear of being hooted off the air by cries of racism). It is not racist to acknowledge that near-riots over release of overpriced sneakers was an entirely black phenomenon (we have all seen T-shirts that say, "It's a black thing - you wouldn't understand." But if you're white, you'd better not go there). During the Cold War, there was a wonderful political cartoon. It showed an elephant, representing China, sitting on the tail of a monkey that represented the United Nations. China was seeking recognition and admission to the U.N. The caption was: "How can I tell him to get off if I don't recognize he's there." That's where we find ourselves on most questions of race.

Get Er Done said...

I have no issues with James, has done a good job as far as I am concerned.

Driggs appears to be likely a Democrat plant and at best a left leaning Republican, not sure what you call that.

He should run "at-large" if he thinks he has something to offer.

DistrictSix said...

The Observer Editorial Board, has done so much for our District Six schools, crime problems, our wish to keep low cost housing in check, based on our desire to sustain paying the outrageous taxes, with out our property values dropping much more, due to tax flight.

And couple that with the lack of services from Charlotte, the Editorial Board overlooks, and you can see why we are so happy to see them so involved in our politics.

bobcat99 said...

Bill James is a big blowhard who is an embarrassment to the County. His ignorant and vile commentary poisons local politics. He has said things publicly about people that I cannot repeat in front of my own child. That is no way for a Commissioner or a "leader" of any kind to behave. The people of District 6, my district, deserve better. I can't wait to vote.

Get Er Done said...

@bobcat99 - you really want us to believe you are from district 6? Your "Obama" is showing, you might want to tuck him back in ...

bobcat99 said...

Get er Done, I like Obama because I don't like James? Really? You have a very black and white view of the world, but that's your right. I won't give out my address, but I can assure you I am in District 6 and can't wait to do my part to get rid of James.