Crying wolf?

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I suspect that some of you know the mysterious pundit-turned-public-prosecutor, Joe Sinsheimer, but I don't. All I know about him is what I've read and heard over the past year. For example, Joe was featured this week on the State of Things (WUNC radio), which was reported by the Dome Blog today.

Sinsheimer first showed up on my radar in relation to Jim Black. He was on the case early and relentlessly, a bulldog, so to speak. He's often sought out by the MSM reporters, perhaps because he has a way of forcing dialog and putting elected officials on the spot.

His next foray into Democratic house-cleaning involved Representative Wright, where he called early and often for investigations and action. He apparently sent a letter to Speaker Hackney and, for whatever reason, Hackney felt compelled to respond. (I'm jealous. Hackney never answers my letters.)

And now Joltin' Joe is on a new trail of corruption, as evidenced by his calling out Verla Insko. Here's the text of the letter he sent Verla, posted on Squeeze the Pulp.

As you know, your colleague Rep. Mary McAllister has been in the news recently for filing false campaign finance reports. The fact that Rep. McAllister filed false campaign finance reports is without dispute. The more serious question of whether she committed perjury when she filed those reports is now the subject of a State Board of Elections investigation. In addition, the Fayetteville Observer reported this past Sunday that Rep. McAllister may have violated state law by failing to disclose the full range of Operation Sickle Cell’s activities as well her board position in another non-profit on her state ethics form.

With that in mind, I am writing to inquire about your decision in May 2006 to co-sponsor House Bill 2479, legislation to appropriate five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) to Operation Sickle Cell, Inc., a Fayetteville-based nonprofit organization for which Rep. Mary McAllister currently serves as Executive Director. Specifically, I am asking on behalf of state taxpayers, how your name got associated with this corrupt legislation?

When you decided to co-sponsor the legislation last year were you aware that Rep. McAllister was receiving more than $115,000 in annual salary from Operation Sickle Cell for her part-time role as Executive Director of the organization? Why did you think it was appropriate that a member of the NC General Assembly ask her colleagues’ help in appropriating money back to a non-profit for which she was a salaried employee? Did this not appear to you as an example of a fellow legislator using her political office for personal gain?

When you decided to co-sponsor the legislation were you aware that Rep. McAllister’s son, Delvin McAllister, also was on the organization’s payroll as an “Administrative Assistant.” Were you aware that Operation Sickle Cell is paying Delvin McAllister a salary of $50,000 per year, which is more than the nonprofit is paying the public health nurses who are actually providing testing and other health care services in the community? When you decided to co-sponsor the legislation did you realize that Rep. McAllister and her son were being paid over 30 percent of Operation Sickle Cell’s annual budget in salary benefits?

When you decided to co-sponsor the legislation were you aware that Rep. McAllister was using property and equipment owned by Operation Sickle Cell Inc. for partisan political purposes?

When you decided to co-sponsor the legislation were you aware that Operation Sickle Cell board chair Rev. Aaron Johnson was forced to resign his position as state correction secretary in 1992 after allegations of widespread purchasing irregularities in his agency?

When you decided to co-sponsor the legislation, did you really believe this was the highest and best use of a half million dollars of taxpayer funds?

I understand these are tough and embarrassing questions but North Carolina taxpayers deserve answers. Over the last 18 months, you and the vast majority of your colleagues decided to bury your heads in the sand and argue that the corrupt and illegal activities of Speaker Black had little to do with your work in the legislature.

Unfortunately, as the recent state election board hearings on Rep. Wright’s activities revealed, the problems inside the House Democratic caucus are more widespread and more serious than we had all feared possible. Speaker Hackney took an important step last week by calling for Rep. Wright resignation, but it is time for the rest of the caucus to raise its voice and put an end to the self-dealing and corrupt legislative practices which seem all too common in the state House.

I hope today is the day you decide to lead. I await your reply and your proposals for how mistakes like HB 2479 can be avoided in the future.

I admire Joe's bulldoggedness, but I find his decision to single out Verla Insko on this issue (disclaimer, I know and admire Verla) to be misguided. Verla wasn't even a primary sponsor for this bill, and I suspect the answer to every question asked in the letter is "no." Should she have been aware of all these issues? That's hard to say. I like to think every representative is aware of every substantive consideration behind every bill they sign on to, but I know that's not the case. They're busy, they're overwhelmed by information, and they trust their colleagues to help them evaluate choices.

If I were an elected official who had been guilty of nothing other than being too busy to keep up with everything, my response to this type of challenge would be "up yours." Which is why I'll never be an elected official again. But the truth is, this particular kind of pushiness goes one step too far, in my opinion. It makes Joe look like he's grandstanding, and runs the risk of discrediting him on other issues. It's a bit like crying wolf - and we all know how that story goes.

All that said, I'm hoping others, including Mr. Sinsheimer himself, will help me better understand this whole turn of events. I generally view Joe as an ally, and I'd like to see him remain as effective as possible. And I'd say the same about Verla Insko.

Am I off base here?


Comments

I think

Joe wants to see all Democrats above reproach. I also respect Verla Insko, not because I know her personally, but by reputation. I hope that she clears all of this up, and I hope that in the future no representative or senator in this state will be open to any ethical questions.

Draft Brad Miller-- NC Sen ActBlue

"Keep the Faith"

I agree with that . . .

but my point is different. You've already concluded that there is something ethical for Verla to "clean up" and I think that's bullshit.

Joe's throwing a firebomb at Verla here . . . and she wasn't even a primary sponsor. He's ignoring the handful of others on this issue, people who actually should have had more intimate knowledge. If he really wants to get to the bottom of it, there are others who should be at the front of the line when it comes to questioning.

good point

I reread the letter, and that is a very good point.

My apologies to Rep Insko.

Draft Brad Miller-- NC Sen ActBlue

"Keep the Faith"

No worries or apologies needed

It was really instructive to see your reaction, because I suspect that would be the reaction most people have - and I believe it was the response intended by the letter in the first place.

Imagine how people who don't pay attention to this stuff must be reacting! That's the main point I was trying to make.

You're a good man, BlueSouth.

Where's Art Joe?

Am I off base here?*A

Nope! When I see Joe go after Art Pope and connect the dots, than he will be your real allie.

Ask yourself! When some so-called progressives or liberal democrats never attack Art Pope and his thugs, than something is terrible wrong.

If not for Blue NC exposing the Pope machine, 99.9% of the Democrats in this State would have never known what a threat the Pope machine is to our liberty.

My problem with this.

Is that we've created a legislature of rich white men or otherwise retired businessmen and educators. If you are interested in serving your state, you better be independently wealthy or retired, because what other job will allow you take off half a year (or more) and receive almost no pay?
So, the representative works for a Sickle Cell foundation...did he ever consider that maybe that is WHY she is involved in politics? Maybe that is WHY she is in the legislature at all, because of sickle cell?

One man with courage makes a majority.
- Andrew Jackson

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

It's very likely

that is what got her politically active in the first place, and I'm sure she has made the lives of many sufferers of Sickle Cell better from her efforts.

But that doesn't change the fact that coauthoring legislation that uses taxpayer monies to fund the organization that pays her (and her son's) salaries is a monumental conflict of interest. If Macallister doesn't recognize this, it calls into question her judgment on other issues, including the fair dispersal of the remaining funds and resources under her charge.

You can't compromise ethics in pursuit of a greater good, because pretty soon you can no longer tell the difference between good or bad anymore.

But that's McAllister.

Not Insko.

Right, but as I stated

before:

If, as Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, Verla Insko facilitated this conflict of interest, she was in the wrong, and needs to take some steps.

My understanding of this case (which isn't very deep) is that this bill was sent to this Committee without a main floor vote? If this is true, it's even more important for the Committee to give it a hard look, and the Chairperson has got to be the one to either initiate the debate or at least make sure it happens.

Someone on this thread mentioned the sheer volume of bills that are dealt with as the session wanes. If the schedule makes it impossible to perform due diligence, then the schedule needs to be fixed, period. If people know they can get questionable legislation through the system at the last minute, they will do it.

Every bill

is assigned to committee without a vote.

If the Schedule is the problem we shouldnt be blaming someone who doesnt make the schedule.

Draft Brad Miller-- NC Sen ActBlue

"Keep the Faith"

This is one of

the areas my understanding of state government is a little thin.

In the U.S. Congress, bills don't make it to Appropriations until they've passed the floor vote and (I think) been signed by the Executive. Then the monies are appropriated, often with even more debate amongst Committee members on specifics.

How many legislators voted on this bill?

bill history

the bill history is here

This bill was one of a few hundred filed and given to the appropriations subcommittee to either make a part of the budget or not. All bills in the NC Legislature are put into a committee right after filing. If you go down to the state house you can watch as it is done.

Draft Brad Miller-- NC Sen ActBlue

"Keep the Faith"

You're not off base.

And the letter sounds like a cross-examination, meant for public consumption. It's not designed to bring anything to Rep, insko's attention. It's designed to whip the reader into a frenzy over the perceived collusion and corruption.

My advice to Sinsheimer: If you are going to investigate, investigate. If you're going to foam at the mouth, you need to take a step back, because the foam is getting on some folks who are really doing the People's work. Step off until you've got real facts, dude. And when you do, introduce them in a court of law. Don't do this. It's just - tacky. And Republicanistic.

Someone who knows him should ask JS directly

why he decided to tee off on Verla Insko, of all people. I have never heard any suggestion from anyone that she is other than a stand-up, honest, outspoken progressive who would have genuine concern for public health issues like this one. Is JS implying that she had some particular reason to know that the McAllister bill was not legit? If so, he should have come out with it. Is he just going after an individual with a good reputation for the pure shock value, simply because she was signed on as one of several co-sponsors of legislation? If so, that's irresponsible. And you're right, it's the kind of tactics that we have come to associate with the far right. Not a good move for a genuine reformer.

Dan Besse

I don't know Insko, but

I damn sure think the people spending our money ought to have a checklist of questions answered before they support or sign bills involving taxpayer funds to support organizarions of any kind.

A good start would be:
Is there anyone in the legislature, or any relative of a member of the legislature, on the payroll and how much do they earn? I don't think that's too much to ask, and being unaware would not be a really acceptable excuse...not to me anyhow.

Sinsheimer ought ot keep his letters private unless he doesn't get a response...and he could be considerably less accusatory and simply straightforward
SE NC Dems

Stan Bozarth

I DO know Verla Insko and I DO know how much these lawmakers do

This just makes me sick. Joe Sinsheimer just lost alot of creditability in my eyes.

Verla works her butt off for her constituents and for the rest of the state. These lawmakers mostly do this work as a service, their assistants make more money than they do.

Verla was willing to take the heat of being a co-sponsor to our Public Confidence in Elections Law, a law that citizens wanted but some election officials, part of the SBOE, and county commissioners did not want. This was after 4,400 votes were lost in Carteret County, 11,000 were counted twice in Craven, 22,000 were subtracted in Guilford, Mecklenburg had about 5,000 extra votes, and the Commissioner of Agriculture contest was undecided. That law required tremendous support and shepherding by Verla, and her wisdom, advice and FAIRNESS ensured that we ended up with a bill that included input from all sectors, including our opponents.

Have you EVER read the lawmakers daily calender? If not, go to www.ncleg.net and sign up to receive the schedule for the House and for the Senate. I have trouble just reading through the schedule, I can only imagine reading through the bills.

If Verla is to have TIME to READ the bills she is asked to vote on, then she sure won't have time to fill out a checklist on her colleagues.

Before casting any stones, you might invite yourself to go to the General Assembly and see what their days are like.

Additionally, you can drive to and from Orange County to Wake County each day, to make it more "authentic".

bazaar

The whole controversy concerning the cosponsors of House Bill 2479 in 2005 needs to be put in perspective. The bill was filed on May 23, 2006, just a day before the 2006 bill filing deadline. Having watched the process for 35+ years, I can say that the process of getting cosponsors is often like an Oriental bazaar, one of the primary sponsors comes by the members desks during a noisy session getting signatures, especially near deadlines the member may have dozens of bills other members are asking them to sign on to all at once. Does this process lead to thoughtful contemplation? Many times, not. On May 23, 2006, 96 bills were filed in the House, while May 24 saw 208 bills filed. Rep. Insko signed on to nine bills on May 23, with a variety of other members, and another nine on the final day. During the 2005-2006 session, Insko’s name appeared as a primary sponsor or cosponsor on at least 255 bills, McAllister on 115. McAllister and Insko appear as sponsors on the same bills 34 times in 2005-2006. Common sponsors are quite common, McAllister and Glazier were on 90 bills together, McAllister and Lucas 95 bills, and McAllister and Luebke 44 bills. Insko had a lot of bills sponsored along with other members, for example she and Luebke’s names were on 145 bills together. The letter from Joe Sinsheimer twists a legislative process into guilt by association.

The Permanent House Rules for the 2007 Session did make a few reforms in the bill sponsoring process. To reduce the bazaar, Rule 59 now allows members to cosponsor bills electronically, reviewing them online from their PC, and checking a box to be added as a cosponsor.

I know Joe

Joe is a good guy. He truly believes in the Democratic Party. If Joe is telling you something for the first time, he is not crying wolf. It is the tip of the ice-berg.

He does not act without overwhelming evidence. Evidence is publicly available for those who choose to see.

The Democratic Party leadership is diffuse and poorly configured to see what is visible or to act on transgressions. There are few conduits for internal self correction.

Verla Insko is not a "target". Verla Insko is an instrument of change.

People tell me they wish Joe would shut up. I wish the Party would listen up. These letters go public to ensure that they don't end up in the round file. This stuff doesn't go away when ignored. It eventually shows up a few weeks before election day.

Greg

Verla Insko is not a "target". Verla Insko is an instrument of change.

I appreciate your comments and what you've said lines up with my understanding of Joe. That's why I reluctantly wrote this post - because that understanding doesn't fit with the tone and tenor of this letter. And more to the point, it doesn't make sense to me that Verla would be singled out.

If that's part of a strategy to force a confrontation, so be it. But I still ask the question: Why not force it with lots of other people simultaneously? Does Verla know she's "an instrument of change"?

If I had gotten this letter, I'd feel totally like a target and would be inclined to shoot back.

A

PS I know I've taken plenty of shots at good Dems too . . . so I'm not challenging the principle of holding elected officials accountable at all. In fact, Joe's letter is already having at least one of the desired effects - it's putting this issue out for public discussion (at least in our little piece of the public).

One more thing

I forgot my main point: This letter sounds as though Joe has some prior knowledge that Verla knew about the shadiness of this issue in advance of supporting the legislation. Is that true? Or is it simply that he thinks she (and presumably everyone) should have more clarity about the background on bills they line up behind than Verla apparently did?

McAllister

I was out of town last week when the letter was delivered. This was in my inbox:

Rep. Insko was one of 13 House Democrats to co-sponsor the legislation despite the fact that it was an obvious conflict-of-interest for Rep. McAllister. (The other co-sponsors were McAllister, Dickson, Lucas, Adams, B. Allen, Coleman, Faison, Harrison, Jones, Pierce, Wainwright, and Wright).

I decided to send this letter to Rep. Insko because her dual role as a member of the Committee on Health and as chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services gave her decision to co-sponsor this legislation special importance.

It sheds light on why Verla was singled out. It's not a letter I would have written. No matter how such a letter could have been crafted better it would still leave her looking like a deer in the headlights. The original letter had the following line emphasized:

Specifically, I am asking on behalf of state taxpayers, how your name got associated with this corrupt legislation?

That question is like "When did you stop beating your wife?" There is no right answer.

I could disagree that the legislation itself was corrupt. McAllister should never have filed it. The bill, called Sickle Cell Funds didn't go anywhere except Appropriations. The original sponsors were McAllister, Dickson, Glazier, and Lucas . Glazier's name dropped off the bill's second edition. The primary sponsors are listed as McAllister, Dickson, and Lucas.

This is all that the bill said:

An ACT to Appropriate Funds for Sickle Cell Services in Cumberland County and Surrounding Areas.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. There is appropriated from the General Fund to Operation Sickle Cell, Incorporated, a nonprofit organization, the sum of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) for the 2006-2007 fiscal year. These funds shall be used for case management services for sickle cell patients in Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, and Robeson counties.

Bills like this proliferated last year because Jim Black insisted that such funding requests be made publicly in order to receive debate. This was a response to criticism that favors were buried in other bills or discretionary funds. It resulted in a flood of bills. Similar bills were filed for other non-profits but most Representatives with connections to non-profits did not attach their own names to them as McAllister did. Before the bill was filed McAllister was in the news for receiving excess contributions from Jim Black.

With thousands of bills and several editions it is not humanly possible for Representatives to read them all. I guess if you co-sponsor a bill you look at the title and scan the text and trust staff or other sponsors, especially if they are co-sponsoring one of your own bills.

To get back to the original issue: I think the point of the letter was to put pressure on McAllister but I'm not sure what Verla Insko can actually do. She should make a short reasonable statement or she could take the opportunity to thoughtfully articulate some of the problems built into a legislative process that expects part-time legislators to work full time with a public that expects them to work over-time, PACs eager to pay them and, lobbyists eager to lighten their load by writing legislation for us.

Adam's Off Ox

I don't know any of these legislators from Adam's Off Ox -

but Verla Insko's reputation has always been stellar - so (?)

Why this? Why now? Why her? or is it someone she knows or should have known?

The main point of the letter is directed thus:

were you aware that Rep. McAllister was receiving more than $115,000 in annual salary from Operation Sickle Cell for her part-time role as Executive Director of the organization?

When you decided to co-sponsor the legislation were you aware that Operation Sickle Cell board chair Rev. Aaron Johnson was forced to resign his position as state correction secretary in 1992 after allegations of widespread purchasing irregularities in his agency?

When you decided to co-sponsor the legislation were you aware that Rep. McAllister’s son, Delvin McAllister, also was on the organization’s payroll as an “Administrative Assistant.” Were you aware that Operation Sickle Cell is paying Delvin McAllister a salary of $50,000 per year, which is more than the nonprofit is paying the public health nurses who are actually providing testing and other health care services

What did HB 2479 do?

I await your reply and your proposals for how mistakes like HB 2479 can be avoided in the future.

If Verla Insko does not sit on the board of this organization, how would she know what these people are paid?

(And where can I get a job like that? $50,000 would last me for years!)

Seriously.

(And where can I get a job like that? $50,000 would last me for years!)

And that's for the administrative assistant! I'm the Executive Director of a non-profit agency. I don't make that much a year, and I don't have an administrative assistant!

I don't know the history

of these folks, but after the Fayetteville Observer's article detailing MacAllister's conflict of interest (a month ago), if there aren't any actions being taken (or pending) in the GA to address this issue, maybe it is time to step on some toes.

I also have to say, at least as far as long-term legislators are concerned, I would find it very hard to believe members are not aware of what others do for a living. MacAllister has been with Operation Sickle Cell for 35 years, and she's been a State legislator for a big chunk of that time. Do I need to add anything to that?

If, as Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, Verla Insko facilitated this conflict of interest, she was in the wrong, and needs to take some steps.

Somebody upthread mentioned the pain in the ass of part-time legislators traveling to Raleigh. How about this: most of them get a little over $1,000 per month from taxpayers to make this trip and serve. MacAllister gets almost $10,000 per month from taxpayers to do the same thing.

Good points.

The Dome has been all over this, and it looks like there are plenty of investigation work underway. Maybe Joe was smart to push this as hard as he did . . . but something still doesn't seem quite right.

That said, you're points are very well taken.

I need to amend

the following statement, because it's not accurate:

MacAllister gets almost $10,000 per month from taxpayers to do the same thing.

She gets most of that money to manage the Foundation, which would merely be a sweet job if a) it was privately funded or b) she wasn't an elected official who was involved in the "Publicly funded" process.

Frankly, I'm pretty damned disgusted with the whole subject, and I'm afraid this kind of thing is more prevalent than anyone wants to believe or accept. It's bad enough that Black was slinging around thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to buy support (that's right, I said it) for his bent leadership, but if the General Assembly can't or won't take steps to purge their ranks of conflicts of interest, and we (concerned citizens) must rely on the media to do it for them, I'm not sure if I even want to get more deeply involved in State politics.

I know that last part makes little sense, but it made me feel better saying it. :)

Got it

I know that last part makes little sense, but it made me feel better saying it. :)

I feel that way, oh, about twice a day. But we both know the answer is more involvement, not less. That's why I'm a fan of Joe Sinsheimer. Even though I'm still uncertain about this particular letter, I am 1000% behind his drive to clean up North Carolina politics.

That's why Art Pope has been on may *hit list for so long. The contamination of corporate money in politics is something I just can't stomach. And he's the worst offender, to my knowledge. I fully expect it to be a big-time problem in the next election cycle.

It's a Must if it's a No-Go by the Leg. Itself

It's bad enough that Black was slinging around thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to buy support (that's right, I said it) for his bent leadership, but if the General Assembly can't or won't take steps to purge their ranks of conflicts of interest, and we (concerned citizens) must rely on the media to do it for them, I'm not sure if I even want to get more deeply involved in State politics.

I'm not sure if I even want to get more deeply involved in State politics.

Sure You do. It's fun and you know it.

I don't object to the investigations.

I object to the inappropriate, unprofessional tone of the letter.

Well, yeah ...

but you know some folks weren't raised right.

Apparently not.

I don't want "us" to sound like "them". I want Democrats to be above Rovian ugliness - and the last thing we need is a Sinsheimerian McCarthy-esque witch hunt. The language he used in the letter is inflammatory and, in my opinion, unprofessional. It sounds like screenplay; you can tell he wanted it published.

Gloryhounds are everywhere, in both parties, and even good men are susceptible to wanting the spotlight and being enamoured with the sound (or sight) of their own words. Again, in my opinion, Sinsheimer owes an apology to both Insko, and the public, for his inflammatory conduct.

Let me stress:this is my opinion. I am not against investigating any corruption. I am against creating an atmosphere of fear and persecution. That is the tactic of the folks with the (R) after their name. We should not become that which we despise.

I Agree - Absolutely

We should give these guys:

Gloryhounds

Lessons from

these people

scroll down to History. :)

From Joe Sinsheimer

I received this message from Joe today:

James,

On a recent posting on Blue NC, you posed the question of why I sent Rep. Verla Insko a letter in regard to Operation Sickle Cell. I thought I would take a few minutes to explain:

I sent the letter because I want to spark a public debate about the propriety of state legislators trying to appropriate taxpayer dollars back to nonprofits for which they serve as salaried employees. I also wanted to highlight the issue of earmarking state funds for a specific non-profit because as we know there is very little background investigation or oversight of these groups.

As way of background, I first met Verla Insko in 1984/1985 and believe she is a hard working and honest legislator as well as one of the few reliable progressives in an institution that is lacking genuine progressive voices. That said, Rep. Insko, like a lot of her Democratic colleagues, has largely has been AWOL on the ethics front over the last two years. I wanted to communicate to Rep. Insko and other progressive legislators that if they don’t hold their colleagues to higher ethical standards, the reputation of the entire institution will suffer and jeopardize progressives’ chances at the ballot box in 2008.

Who focus on Rep. Insko? Well, Rep. Insko and Rep. McAllister have served together in the state House for the last dozen years, with many years on the same committees. I have a hard time believing that Rep. Insko did not know that Mary McAllister was Executive Director of Operation Sickle Cell when she decided to co-sponsor McAllister’s bill to appropriate $500,000 directly to the group. I simply don’t believe that it is appropriate for a lawmaker to appropriate money back to their own employer and I wanted to challenge Rep. Insko on this point.

I know that my campaign to clean up the state house has ruffled many Democratic feathers over the last twenty months. I have done so because I believe that there are at least a half dozen Democratic lawmakers that have broken the law and helped created a pay-for-play culture within the organization that has consistently thwarted progressive initiatives. I welcome the discussion of my goals and tactics on Blue NC and will concede that I am not always as artful and skilled in diplomacy as I or others might wish. But I have learned over the years that being “polite” rarely results in reform.

I do, however, object to one word in your original post—the word “mysterious.” I don’t think there has been anything “mysterious” about my efforts over the last 20 months. In November 2005, I stood up in public and announced that I believed Jim Black had broken the law and that he must go. I didn’t hide behind a political action committee or an anonymous blog/website but rather said I was willing to stake my name and reputation on a public campaign to remove Jim Black as Speaker.

I know there are many Democrats who want me to rejoin the fight against the right-wing ideologues who want to drag our state backward. Please know I plan to rejoin that fight soon but in the meantime there is more work to do on the ethics front.

Joe Sinsheimer

I appreciate Joe's response and I totally get where he's coming from. And the truth is, if Verla weren't a friend, I might have reacted differently to the whole business.

Joe's right about insisting that we hold our own to a higher standard . . . and he's right to push this issue. Every day we're seeing the consequences of ethical ambiguity. We lose our standing to raise holy hell when we're not above reproach ourselves.

I especially appreciated this comment from Joe:

I welcome the discussion of my goals and tactics on Blue NC and will concede that I am not always as artful and skilled in diplomacy as I or others might wish. But I have learned over the years that being “polite” rarely results in reform.

I've learned the same thing. Being polite is a waste of time when you're a citizen activist.

So thank you, Joe, for pushing this. It's out in the open now and I look forward to the big debate on the McAllister issue . . . and on any others that need our attention.

Transparency is good . . . and I, for one, am here to help.

You don't clean house

by smearing poo on the walls.

I caught his little dig about hiding behind anonymous web sites or blogs. Cute.

Admire his lofty goals if you like, but his methods - at least this time - are repugnant. I like the word lcloud and/or Unique used - gloryhound. It seems to fit Joe in this case.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Heh.

I caught his little dig about hiding behind anonymous web sites or blogs. Cute

Heh.

At least not all of us. I made a concious decision to use my real name as my "handle" on this site. The "L" stands for Linda - but you can call me Ms. Cloud. :) I stand by every thing I post - and if I make a mistake, I own it.

So come on, Joe. Post. Answer all of your critics.

a growing number of us

have no real anonymity. That is what distinguishes BlueNC from other sites which allow anonymous comments.

Draft Brad Miller-- NC Sen ActBlue

"Keep the Faith"

so he is USING Rep Insko

There are many ways to address this issue than to attack do this. This is wrong on so many levels.

It appears to me that Verla has been used as a means to an ends, by Joe Sensheimer.

If you want something done about corruption, go after the representative who wrote the legislation.

I can see Verla's position, not thinking "is my colleague trying to screw me/us over?" and the other issue " how can you vote against helping children with Sickle Cell anemia?" She's damned if she does, and damned if she doesn't.

Frankly, I can guess that Verla would be surprised at McAllister's salary, and it is very unlikely that she had access to that information.

As I've said . . .

I have mixed feelings about this. I adore Verla Insko and I mostly agree with your comments.

I also am pretty disgusted with the whole damn legislature right now. I know that doesn't justify going after Verla the way Joe did . . . and I've said as much . . . but I also understand his frustration.

As a person who no one would accuse of being politically correct, I catch hell from all sides. I've toned down some of my hot-headedness recently, but I honestly don't know if that's a good thing or not. I've often declared that my job is to make others seem reasonable by comparison. Maybe Joe's job is to make ME look reasonable by comparison. That would be quite an accomplishment.

In any case, judging from his letter, Joe seems to recognize that he stepped over the line (or at least right up to it) on this instance and maybe all this discussion will have some long-term value. In the meantime, there's a ton of ethical guidelines that should be reexamined, improved and enforced as we move forward with an eye toward more transparency.

Is that one of those oxymoronic things?

ethical ambiguity

Oxi-clean, I can do -
Oxymoron - the dictionary is my friend.

Either you have high standards or you don't.
Lowest common denominator is great in math, in politics, not so much.

This weekend helped me decide

to go ahead and change my political affiliation, which is something I've been mulling over (lazily) for almost two decades. That's right, I am currently a registered Republican, but that is going to change real soon.

The GOP has devolved into an autocratic entity, slamming the doors on FOIA and bringing fiscal irresponsibility to a level I didn't believe possible. False morality has eclipsed ethical considerations, and...you know what? I could go on for days, so I'll just say "Thanks" for giving me hope that good government is possible.

All that being said, I have a few preachy things to say, and will then submit to the caning: ethics is not always a tangible thing, that you can hold in your hand and show people. It's often right there, hovering between knowledge and conscience, waiting for you to acknowledge its existence. Paying attention to it often makes your life more difficult, except when it comes time to look in the mirror.

Those who have been elected to Public office have a responsibility to themselves and their constituents to pay attention to what this little voice is saying. Ignore it for too long and you may find yourself breaking every mirror in the house.

Congratulations . . . and welcome to the People's Party

I don't mean to sound like a Commie, but there's no question we're working harder for the people - ALL the people - and that we will continue to do so as long as I'm breathing.

It was great to meet you yesterday . . . I'm sorry we didn't get to finish that discussion about novels!

Maybe next time.

You got it, pal.

I never got around to stealing your secret of avoiding writer's block. ;)

I'm sure there's more to say on this subject, but I can't think of anything. :(

Woo Hooooo

Welcome to the Party!

OK...well....I would have NEVER guessed you are a Republican. My dear hubby is one too and I haven't been able to get him to change his affiliation. I refuse to give up, though.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Welcome to the folks who put the people and the country...

before politics and self.

No, we are not the only ones, but you will find many of us live here in the Democratic party.

I hope you stay. We need you.

Marshall Adame
2014 U.S. Congress Candidate NC-03