These things tend to happen when a new administration takes over.

The winds of change are blowing through City Halls across the coast. When measured against the speed of the changes in Pascagoula, the Bay has seen far less but then last night I received the names of some city employees that had either lost their jobs or were demoted. The much maligned Building Department is the place that has Mayor Mike Favre’s attention.

We purposely did not mention any names on Twitter and outside of the two public figures in Charles Oliver and CAO Jerry Beaugez, I’d ask you good folks commenting to exercise some discretion with artful comments appreciated. As for the Building Department employee terminated earlier this week, it was not Mr. Oliver.

The winds of change are blowing over at the Bay-Waveland School District but that is another post.

Where does the time go….

Its been nice to get away for a couple of weeks. That said some significant things have happened including the Hancock County beat losing Wes Muller. Tonight is Inauguration for the City of Bay St Louis. Worthy of note is incoming Ward 4 City Councilman Larry Smith showing Hancock County Alliance Chair Lana Noonan a text message that he purportedly received from Patricia Keating a week or so ago at a Hancock County Board of Supervisor meeting before threatening her with bad karma. I get the feeling that watching the City Council for the next 4 years may just be fun in a train wreck sorta way. We’ll see.

I’ll be checking in over the next few days with a few things – to set things up I highly recommend starting here.

Meantime have a safe and fun extended holiday weekend y’all.

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”

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……..”

Bay 2017 Primary Elections Part 2: Rachael Ramsey, Kingmaker

All you gotta do is look at the numbers to see that those who voted for Rachael Ramsey have the power to make the biggest difference in the coming Mayoral runoff election.

Conventional wisdom would hold that Hizzoner, being an incumbent and a known quantity, reached his maximum potential vote share last Tuesday night. The key in a runoff is continued turnout for those that voted the first time around plus maybe expanding the electorate with those that didn’t bother going to the polls in the primary.

Ms. Ramsey’s endorsement could well be the difference in two weeks thus all eyes are on the former Candidate.

How the Fillingame Machine Manipulates Elections…. (Updated 2X)

This morning, Lana Noonan of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government nabbed the following work notes from County Enforcement Officer Tommy Kidd, which are attached to the minutes of Hancock County Solid Waste Authority. The promise of a job was evidently enough to get former Ward 6 GOP candidate Hunter Adam to drop out of the Ward 6 GOP race, clearing the field for Josh Desalvo in his challenge against Ward 6 incumbent Councilman Lonnie Falgout:

Source: Minutes of the Hancock County Solid Waste Authority
Source: Minutes of the Hancock County Solid Waste Authority

File this one under your county tax dollars at work for Hizzoner.

Update: Since this post was first published Lana Noonan of the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government made another trip to the solid waste authority to examine the County Enforcement Officer’s work logs. You wonder what was going through the minds of those that sit on the authority’s Board approving payment for attending Christmas parties and a Bay City Council meeting on the future of the Bay PD. Is Waveland Alderman Jeremy Burke an active member of the solid waste authority’s board or just a waste taking up space there? Same goes for Waveland Mayor Mike Smith. You gotta wonder exactly what those guys were thinking. Continue reading “How the Fillingame Machine Manipulates Elections…. (Updated 2X)”

Bay 2017 Primary Elections Part 1: Interesting Numbers

I put together a spreadsheet with the Mayoral vote totals broken down by votes cast in person and the absentee ballots. Then I calculated “common size” vote shares.

BSL Democrat Primary Mayoral Vote[5.2.17]

What are the chances the absentees would so radically diverge from the in person results?

Additional background here.

PSA: Bay St Louis Primary Election Polling Places

Polls open at 7 a.m. tomorrow and close at 7 p.m.

In Bay St. Louis, there are six polling places:

• Ward One: Bay High School, 750 Blue Meadow Road.
• Ward Two: The Bay St. Louis Library, 312 Highway 90.
• Ward Three: The Senior Citizen’s center at 601 Bookter Street.
• Ward Four: Christ Episcopal Church 912 South Beach Blvd.
• Ward Five: The American Legion at 645 Green Meadow Road.
• Ward Six: The Bay St. Louis Fire Station at 9998, Highway 603.

(H/T Mayor Rachael on Facebook)

Hizzoner under Investigation: The Misdemeanors that simply won’t go away

And last night Wes Muller dropped the latest from Sheriff Ricky Adam:

Did more than 700 improper checks come from Bay St. Louis City Hall?

You betcha they did as this also implicates a couple of former City Clerks. As Wes points out in the story none of this is exactly new information having been pointed out in the 2014 Fiscal year audit and the State Auditor’s Office Performance Review of same. Hizzoner of course is having none of it and pretty much says the seasoned professionals at both Wright Ward Hatten & Guel and the performance audit division of the State Auditor’s Office are full of it.

Nevertheless, the mayor said the fact the auditor’s office disputed itself on one issue puts everything else into question.

When asked why the investigation is expanding if he has proof no checks were improperly issued, the mayor said it’s possible the sheriff and his investigators favor his opponent.

The State Auditor changing the draft of their Performance review is hardly contradictory and such is why a draft is a called draft. Getting it right before a final report is issued is usually known as professionalism in locales other than A Place Apart, a concept that has been missing from the financial side of City Hall for many years. In any event this is what the State Auditor had to say about problems in the claims payable process since Hizzoner brought it up: Continue reading “Hizzoner under Investigation: The Misdemeanors that simply won’t go away”