It’s Over – Thank Goodness…..

But the ramifications of last night’s voting are just beginning. Before I get to that though I’ll mention that as we covered the Singing River Pension meltdown, it became very clear from talking with the locals in Ocean Springs that the Connie Moran show had worn out its welcome in Ocean Springs thus last night’s election results there does not surprise.

The Johnny DuPree show also wore out its welcome in Hattiesburg – Slabbed has some good Pine Belt area political contacts but we’ve not been following Hub City politics closely beyond the financial meltdown at the Municipal School District, which voters evidently blamed (correctly I’ll add) on DuPree, who was trounced by Toby Barker. The circus that was the Plukey Bolton trial also couldn’t helped DuPree’s public image. Neither did Martaze Hammond.

Meantime down in the Bay:

Two more Bay St. Louis councilmen ousted as Favre elected mayor ~ Wes Muller

And with the threat of continued political prosecutions gone with Mayor Fillingame’s primary defeat, Poolman made it clear he is retiring from politics:

“My ultimate goal was to defeat Les Fillingame,” Harding said in a statement issued after Tuesday’s race. “With Favre’s leadership, Bay St. Louis will once again become ‘A Place Apart’” The city’s official slogan is “A Place Apart.”

Content with the situation, Harding even held a Favre campaign sign while riding a unicycle down city streets before the polls closed on Tuesday.

“I’m going back to what I do best,” the swimming pool contractor said. “It’s hot, and you need a pool.”

Now for a few ramifications as there are many. Continue reading “It’s Over – Thank Goodness…..”

Analysis: Defeated Fillingame Campaign Pivots to Help Hancock GOP backed City Council Candidates

Monday a week ago the Hancock County GOP held a meeting at the home of a local member. The meeting was very well attended and it’s aftermath immediately caused a stir locally and by 8AM on Tuesday the 23rd Slabbed had already received the first reports of this extraordinary gathering and by close of business Wednesday Slabbed had heard directly from a couple of local GOP party members that were in attendance. Comments alluding to it were left on this website, culminating in this post from last week.

Fresh off working for Mayor Fillingame’s campaign, local political operative Rhonda Gamble was there at the meeting and it was her presentation that had tongues wagging. To understand what she was offering to the Wards 4, 5 and 6 GOP nominees for the Bay City Council let’s visit with a national story from last week which ran in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

How Alleged Russian Hacker Teamed Up With Florida GOP Operative ~ Alexandra Berzon and Rob Barry

Later, going through what the hacker sent as someone who “actually knows what some of these documents mean,” the GOP consultant said he “realized it was a lot more than even Guccifer knew that he had.”

The episode shows how the hacker’s activities extended to exposing Democrats’ get-out-the vote strategies in swing states and informing a Trump ally of hacked data during the national campaign.

DCCC documents sent to Mr. Nevins analyzed specific Florida districts, showing how many people were dependable Democratic voters, how many were likely Democratic voters but needed a nudge, how many were frequent voters but not committed, and how many were core Republican voters—the kind of data strategists use in planning ad buys and other tactics.

The Journal reviewed these documents as well as Democratic voter analyses also sent to Mr. Nevins about congressional districts in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

In Bay St Louis we are not talking about hacking or other cyber crimes. But the information the Fillingame campaign, via Ms. Gamble, shared at that meeting was exactly the kind of voter intel that costs time and money to develop in lists of what I’d term Chronic voters, Nudge Voters and “Don’t waste your time potential voters”. One source in attendance described the information being shared by the Fillingame campaign as super high quality. The same sources all indicated that it was also announced that Miss Gamble would henceforth be taking point for the GOP Candidate’s campaigns in the Wards 4, 5 and 6 races. Continue reading “Analysis: Defeated Fillingame Campaign Pivots to Help Hancock GOP backed City Council Candidates”

“We can whip the horse’s eyes….”

With a hat tip to June 2006 post at Althouse about the song behind the post title, I was both surprised and amused at the uproar a two year old post caused when it was put back out on Twitter yesterday and then shared to Facebook by Rachael Ramsey. I thought about that old post yesterday after being told about the Hancock County GOP meeting. To get a nuance for what is happening and why people are talking, we need to visit with ol’ Blue Eyes and the comment she left yesterday:

Look at the Republican and Democratic Parties. The Candidates choose a party and are forced to give them money when they apply but the parties decide who they support. It is a sham. The head of the local Republican Party supported Les who appointed him to a position. The democrats didn’t want to support all of the candidates in their party for various petty reasons.

They sound like the Chamber of Commerce. Show your support for us and we will pick and choose who we support!

Is it possible the same forces control the apparatus of both the Hancock GOP and the Hancock Democrats? When it comes to the Bay I personally keep my mind open to that possibility probability. The Limo pic from 2015 is one reason why.

That which we now see unfolding is the political battle being fought for the City Council. Conventional wisdom holds there is a big anti-incumbent sentiment. While it is true Councilwoman McDonald lost in the primary, Councilman Reed won in Ward 3 and is re-elected. With 4 ward seats and at large left to be decided, the stakes are high.

All eyes on the Bay Council races in the upcoming general election

Here is the lineup via Cassandra Favre:

Ward One: Incumbent Doug Seal (I) and George Williams (R).
Ward Two: Carol Strohmetz (D) and Gene Hoffman (R).
Ward Three: Jeffrey Reed will not face a challenger in the general election.
Ward Four: Larry Smith (R) and Tad Black (D).
Ward Five: Incumbent Joey Boudin (D) and Buddy Zimmerman (R).
Ward Six: Incumbent Lonnie Falgout (I) and Josh DeSalvo (R).

And then in the Council at large race is a triple threat match between Mike Weems (D), Susan Vegelia (I) and Gary Knoblock (R). That race will certainly be decided by a plurality rather than majority.

The electoral battle between Hizzoner and Mike Favre was not just between them as individuals. Hizzoner wanted a friendlier City Council. Being the current Councilman at Large, Favre begged to differ. That said of the list above I see up to 3 candidates that would have been considered Hizzoner friendly that were certainly encouraged to run by Hizzoner or his political operatives. If the Favre campaign has any coat tails (I personally think it does), he will have a chance to use some of his influence in the upcoming general election on June 6.

One more thing about the Council races, the voters for both At Large and in Ward 2 have good slates of candidates to choose from while the overall candidate quality varies in the rest of the races (some way more than others). That is not to say there aren’t good candidates in those other races because there are and it will be up to the voters to separate the wheat from the chaff over the next three weeks.

It takes a community……..

First, identify a particular issue or concern that really gets your attention. Find at least one other person that feels the same way you do and help each other. Do your homework on the details of the issue (the devil is in the details) and state your opinion on line or in person to decision makers.

Second, remember knowledge is power, there’s strength in numbers (wherever two or more are gathered…) and last its your government as much as its anybody else’s.

I knew a fellow who spent 30 years with the CIA. He’s now very active on peace oriented issues. He generally doesn’t talk about his activities. The only thing he told me was “find six people you trust”.

What Tom Callaghan was describing locally are citizens groups like the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government, which is bound together under the ideal that your local government should be transparent, accountable and equally important run within the framework of state law. The SRHS retirees group are another example. And when people get together, even in smallish numbers it can have a proportionally out-sized impact.

Mr. Sam was out in Ward 6 distributing fliers. Ron in Ward 1 was out knocking doors spreading the Favre Campaign’s message. It was Rachael that made sure her supporters turned out for Mike Favre. Continue reading “It takes a community……..”

Guest Post | Bay St Louis Can’t Take Much More of the Mayor’s “Proven Leadership”

I feel compelled to comment on Mayor Fillingame’s latest “political theme” ad recently published in the Seacoast Echo: “PROVEN LEADERSHIP!”

Actually, Mr. Fillingame has certainly proven his “ability to lead”. The results are in……….

It has been “proven” that with no notice to city employees, he failed to pay their insurance premiums, leaving them in the lurch regarding medical expenses.

It has been “proven” that he misappropriated the citizens’ utility payments (Seacoast Echo, Oct. 12, 2013) and then stuck those same citizens with an illegal loan to cover up his actions. (Nov. 25, 2013, Council minutes and 2014 Audit)

It has been “proven” that in 2011, he illegally “unrestricted” the Department of Justice Police Fund, forcing the DOJ to demand that these funds must be repaid. This forced the DOJ to make the determination that in the future, those funds are to be spent exclusively by the Police Chief, after the approval of the DOJ and the City Council only. (2014 Audit and Department of Justice Report)

It has been “proven” that he continues to insist on a Building Department with uncertified management, who apply the building code selectively to citizens. (City Council minutes, chock full of citizen complaints)

It has been “proven” that during his term of office, the city has been faced with over 20 lawsuits. (Documents from City Clerk, prepared by City Attorney) Continue reading “Guest Post | Bay St Louis Can’t Take Much More of the Mayor’s “Proven Leadership””

Guest Post | Why Les Fillingame has got to go: The Ballad of Detective Sergeant Joe Kepfer

To The Residents of Bay St. Louis:

In the very near future you are going to have to decide which direction you want your city to go in. You have the choice of continuing with the policies and errors of the “proven leadership” of Mayor Fillingame or choosing new leadership that will hopefully lead your city back into prosperity with lower taxes, better services and prompt attention when you have need of those services.

Mayor Fillingame insists his administration has been one of leadership and responsibility, but that bears closer inspection. In the past five years he’s “lost” tremendous amounts of money the city is now responsible for replacing, been involved in numerous law suits that you, the tax payer are responsible for through your taxes, failed to pay the city’s debts on time and soiled the city’s reputation.

It was his choice to remove Chief Tom Burleson from his position as the city’s police chief and replace him with Michael De Nardo, a person who was known to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana to be someone not of good character and failed to have an in depth background investigation conducted before elevating him to that position. In fact De Nardo was fired from that agency for numerous and repeated violations of the Sheriff’s policies and other misconduct. So here we are in 2017 after the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office has conducted an investigation into the financial business of the city which again does not speak well of Mr. Fillingame or Mr. De Nardo.

That investigation revealed that De Nardo had been involved in the theft of several thousands of dollars through payroll fraud by submitting false payroll records on behalf of Patricia De Nardo, his wife, knowing she had not worked the number of hours claimed nor, in fact, had she even been in the State of Mississippi during many of those times. Further investigation revealed that De Nardo was also involved in the theft of police equipment and guns that had been confiscated and secured in the city’s evidence vault.

Mr. Fillingame is responsible in that he either condoned or failed to stop it and simply signed off on those financial records and that no accurate inventory was being kept of either city equipment or evidence maintained by the police department. Now he may say he didn’t know or realize what was being done, but he should have since he’s required to approve every expenditure including the payroll. It is his responsibility to double check anything he’s signing off on. Continue reading “Guest Post | Why Les Fillingame has got to go: The Ballad of Detective Sergeant Joe Kepfer”

Comment bumps: Nunn Yabidnez

Those of you not reading Nunn’s comments are missing out. When the man speaks of the opposition organizing, he is talking about a model that has proven results.

Back in 2015 with the Singing River pension meltdown dominating the news there was also state and county elections. I was invited by the SRHS retirees group along with other select members of the media to a meeting that organized the opposition in the 2015 Jackson County election, both to observe and as a member of the media who was seen as sympathetic to their cause (which we were). Out of that meeting came a strategy for targeting certain incumbent supervisors for defeat as well as supporting other candidates that promised to help advance the retirees cause.

At the time of that meeting I already had this post conceptualized. Without going into details we let the retirees know we had some material coming that would be explosive, it would be up to them to make sure word got out when the time came. I would invite you good folks from the Bay to read the comments to the post I linked because Nunn is talking about Citizen activism like this: Continue reading “Comment bumps: Nunn Yabidnez”