Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Is GOP real winner in sheriff's election?

Last night I ran into a lifelong Democrat I've known for years, a Yellow Dog if there ever was. She said she and her husband are thinking about taking a drastic step: changing their registration to independent. The reason is last week's election by Mecklenburg Democrats of Nick Mackey as the new sheriff.

Mackey is the candidate who beat acting Sheriff Chipp Bailey, who was hand-picked by former Sheriff Jim Pendergraph. With the help of a voting system weighted under party rules, Mackey won overwhelmingly.

But just as overwhelming has been the criticism, both of him and the process. Like my acquaintance, a lot of Democrats are among those turned off by Mackey's record. He left the police department a few years ago after being suspended without pay after what sources described as a probe that found he put in for hours he didn't work. He later filed for bankruptcy. Letters to the editor and online message boards are full of criticism.

Before the election took place, Democratic county commissioner Parks Helms proposed a plan that would have stripped the new sheriff -- whoever it was -- of responsibility for jail administration. The idea was roundly shot down. Now Democrats are even less likely to embrace it.

John Minter, a former Observer and Charlotte Post reporter who advised Beverly Earle's mayoral campaign, sent this to commissioners this week:
"Changing the rules in the middle of the game will only reinforce the assumption by many African Americans that 2007 is not much different from 1907, when poll taxes and other ruses often were used to stifle black political influence. Most of you owe your very positions to loyal black support at the polls. The attempt to pull an end run around black voters now will break bonds that have put Democrats in control of local Mecklenburg County and Charlotte City governments. What will be the reward for black voter loyalty?"

Republicans have no base among African American voters. Their candidates for county commissioner in 2008 could run on what would amount to an anti-Mackey platform, pledging to hire a professional jail administrator and strip the sheriff of those duties. That would leave Democrats in what many would consider the uncomfortable position of defending a sheriff whose debut, at least, has been rocky.

Republicans would only need two of three at-large seats to retake the county board.

What do you think?


JAT said...

Jim, I'll ask you what I asked Rick Thames the other day and who quite reasonably has not had a chance to respond --

How is that the Observer missed reporting Mackey's background and CMPD issues in the run-up to the 06 district court judge race? People have asked me, and I do not know.

In addition, just how long has the paper had the "background check" policy in place for local candidates? Another question asked of me I cannot answer.

In the meantime, yes, county Demos have a problem. They very much want to put a quarter-cent sales tax hike on the ballot -- framed as a property tax hike alternative -- but cannot possibly play the responsible leadership angle with a Sheriff Mackey.


clayj said...

Here's what I wrote about this this past weekend on another blog:

Man, this is simply awesome political theatre. (Reaches for the popcorn.) And the best part is that it's rapidly turning into a no-win situation for the Democrats.

On the one hand, Parks Helms and his 4 cohorts could all vote to ratify Thursday night's vote and confirm Mackey as sheriff. Of course, everyone knows now that the man has filed for bankruptcy, which may make him ineligible to be bonded for the position of sheriff; that he has taken money from lawyers who are under investigation for defrauding the courts with respect to billing for their defense of indigent clients; that he left the CMPD under a cloud and the threat of being fired for falsifying timesheets, and that his CMPD employee jacket has a great big "do not rehire" sticker on it; and now that he may have committed perjury, bankruptcy fraud, and election fraud back in 2005 when he voted in Charlotte but claimed his residence was in Burlington. Chipp Bailey, as we all know, doesn't have a perfect record, but it's been very clean for a very long time now and he has many years of experience preparing for this job. [I forgot in my original post to mention that Mackey is also being investigated by the NC State Bar for extortion, and that he sent out pornographic files from his city-owned computer.]

Confirming Mackey, though, will undoubtedly cast a shadow of disgust over the entire local Democratic party apparat; the calls I heard last night to WBT, and the posts I'm seeing over at Charlotte.com, confirm that this was the last straw for a lot of Democrat voters, and many of them have now announced their intent to move out of the county and/or switch party affiliation to Republican or unaffiliated.

On the other hand, if even one of the 5 Democrat county commissioners sticks to their guns concerning their previous statement (just this week) that Mackey was unqualified for the job, then they'd vote with the 4 Republicans and reject Mackey. This would no doubt cause a lot of black Democrats, who apparently support Mackey ONLY because he is black and despite his manifold problems, to lose faith in the local Democrat leadership. (Of course, Republicans have known, acknowledged, and been telling people for a very long time now that the Democratic party has been USING blacks in this country; they court the black vote, but they seem intent on keeping blacks oppressed for their own political purposes. Perhaps this will be a wake-up call for black Democrats and some of them will realize that Republicans really aren't so bad after all.)

Either of the above scenarios is a win for the Republicans, and a huge loss for the Democrats. The best part is that the Republicans just get to sit back and see how this plays out; they don't have to say or do anything until they're called to ratify Mackey’s selection (or not).

So what we see now, according to Charlotte.com, is Parks Helms [or his proxies] trying to shift the blame for Thursday night onto "byzantine" party procedures and improper actions on the part of the Democrat precinct captains. In essence, he's trying to come up with some sort of technicality that would nullify the selection of Mackey, so that he and his 4 cohorts aren't forced to make the decision themselves and come off looking like either schmucks (if Mackey is confirmed) or racists (if Mackey is not confirmed).

Of course, this is still boiling down to a race issue as far as many blacks are concerned. Anything that Parks and Company do to prevent Mackey from becoming sheriff is the actions of racists, as far as a lot of blacks are concerned. Parks' biggest problem is that the Mackey situation is an either/or situation; either he becomes sheriff, or he doesn't.

The most telling quote, for me: 'Pendergraph, reached at his new job in Washington, said he's disappointed voters didn’t choose his chief deputy. "I would have assumed 13 years as sheriff would have meant something," he said.'

Apparently not.

Time to make some more popcorn...

Peach said...

Welcome to Atlanta! The elder sibling we all aspire to be.

comeonpeople said...

I am disgusted by the attention paid to Mr. Mackey's bankruptcy. He became bankrupt due to educational debt, which is become an overwhelming burden for many people in this country.

Educational attainment is one of the great equalizers in this country and one that we as a state and country support. I do not blame him for pursuing his educational goals despite the debt he amassed.

Henry Ford went bankrupt several times before revolutionizing the car production industry.

aquila6 said...

I am disgusted by the attention paid to Mr. Mackey's bankruptcy. He became bankrupt due to educational debt, which is become an overwhelming burden for many people in this country.

Uh huh. He went to law school and charged his tuition to credit cards. Then he declared bankruptcy. To any rational observer, it looks as though he intended to dodge that school debt from the beginning.

Besides, the bankruptcy is important because it will in all likelihood prevent him from obtaining the bond which all sheriffs in NC must have, according to NC law. No bond, can't be sheriff. It's that simple.

And no one forced him to incur that debt. He chose to take it on.

Nemo said...

JAT, the reason they never found the Observer articles about the CMPD issue was because the article listed his full legal name of Nikita and preliminary searches of the Observer archives (for Nick) did not yield results.
What is truly sad is the amount of support he is receiving despite his constantly flow of fatal flaws. The denial of his bail and the evidence of election and bankruptcy fraud are only adding to his shady reputation.
If a miracle happens and he is chosen to be the new sheriff I think that the African-American population should be sad. He would make a terrible "first black Sheriff" and sour the entire county on experience. That would do more damage to the cause than anything else. This is not a matter of "racist" policies keeping out a minority, this is a matter of a terrible candidate trying to use his race as leverage to get a job he is unqualified for.

Anonymous said...

We know its the rocking chair closet homo top tapping teen page airport restroom loving GOPervs bitching crying and whining because thats what they do best as we saw with Mackey and the unforgettable Bill Clinton yrs and then Daddy rigs an election for some elitist known bi-sexual silver spoon pampered spoiled rotten fratbrat who cut and run from playing football in elitist private high school and college to be a cheerleader girlyboy to avoid getting hurt or dirty, the story of his sorry drugged boozed out draft dodger life who has doubled the national debt to 10 trillion while putting America through 2 bogus wars and almost a 3rd but got caught with the Iran lies while oil has zoomed 500% a barrel since 2001. Mission Accomplished.

Why not Harvey Gantt for Sheriff?

Anonymous said...

This whole thing is just Democrats acting like Democrats...look at the previous "anonymous" comment slandering the President for another classic example of the Democrats of 2007.