Thursday, January 12, 2017

A TOWN TORN ASUNDER


[NOTE: The Martinsburg Journal, specifically reporter Jeff McCoy, covered this highly divisive issue fairly.  However, earlier this week, perhaps under pressure, McCoy was reassigned and this letter was never published.  Once again outside developers are undermining our community and civic culture. Here are some of McCoy’s articles for background:




Harpers Ferry is at war with itself.  Not since the Civil War has the community been so divided.

Neighbors no longer speak to each other.  Threats of physical violence spring up on social media.  Public hearings degenerate into tears and shouting.  Armed police keep order at meetings.  Petitions and counter petitions circulate.  One lawsuit is now before the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.  An injunction has just been filed in the Circuit Court.

What is going on?

Harpers Ferry is at a crossroads. Harpers Ferry is consistently listed as one of the most historic and scenic small towns in America.  Over 300,000 tourists, and numerous movie production companies, bring revenue to the town every year.  Even with this success, the area is missing a core element that symbolized it as a tourist mecca for decades.

The Hilltop House Hotel was a defining presence in Harpers Ferry since Thomas S. Lovett, an African American businessman and hotelier, constructed the hotel in 1888. The Hotel’s breathtaking views, great food, and service became a magnet for America’s elite. It was the Presidential summer retreat before Camp David. Alexander Graham Bell, Mark Twain, Carl Sandburg, and Pearl S. Buck were among the notables who stayed at the Hotel. In 1946, Hilltop House hosted the preliminary meetings which led the establishment of UNESCO.

Those glory days are long gone.  A series of owners let the Hotel deteriorate until it became a decrepit reflection of its storied past.  In 2007, SWaN Investors purchased the hotel and its adjoining properties, promising to restore the facility. 

What has happened since SWaN’s arrival depends on one’s perspective.  Is SWaN a savior or a nefarious “Harold Hill” preying on citizens’ naiveté turning the “Music Man” plot into a horror story?

Harpers Ferry’s historic district is protected by layers of town ordinances complying with West Virginia Law and guidelines from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the President’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.  This regulatory environment is intended to maintain the architectural integrity. Townspeople must submit detailed forms and drawings, sometime waiting up to two years to alter a rain gutter or doorway. 

Larger projects, and new construction, must fit into Harpers Ferry’s comprehensive plan.  For projects not fitting, the town has the ability to issue a “Conditional Use Permit” that grants specific waivers in the face of a compelling community interest.

This is where the current civil war began.  SWaN refused to follow the town’s ordinances. SWaN refused to go through the Conditional Use Permit process.  SWaN demanded that a new “overlay district” be created, providing them the flexibility to do build what they wanted as big as they wanted. 

Town officials, desperate for a new Hilltop House complex, bent to SWaN’s every whim.  Local citizens raised concerns: will SWaN actually build a hotel or flip the property to a buyer who could build a casino, luxury condos, or something else on the site?  SWaN did little to calm the fears, requesting that requirements for a business plan, and even the requirement for a hotel, be stripped from the draft overlay ordinance.

Town officials went further.  Instead of asking SWaN for proffers, town officials promised SWaN public resources like expanded water and free police protection.  The town has not issued citations for the eighty police incidents on derelict SWaN properties, while townspeople are cited for unmowed lawns.

This unequal treatment has raised concerns that something else is going on.  It is public record that SWaN’s owners have wined and dined town officials.  Rumors swirl of other favors or pay-offs.  Private meetings occur with SWaN.  Townspeople’s public comments are limited to 2-3 minutes while SWaN representatives are given unlimited time.

As the Harpers Ferry’s civil war begins its ninth year many wheels are turning.  2017 may see prosecutions over town finances, court rulings to enforce the rule of law, a voter revolt against the town government, and SWaN leaving.  SWaN’s supporters, which include the town’s elected officials, are hoping the new year brings them victory with the sounds of dynamite blowing-up the overlay district, clearing the way for a 450 car underground parking ramp, and a massive building project.


[Scot Faulkner has been a resident of the Harpers Ferry area since 1987].

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

TRUMPING THE MILITARY WAY



Revolutionary change is waging war on the status quo.  It is about victory in the initial assault and winning heart and minds to institutionalize the new order.

Throughout history, military geniuses have articulated the philosophy of victory.  Their proven approaches to winning resonate through the ages and beyond the battlefield.  They can guide Trump’s “commanders” as they take to the field.

Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” is the most timeless of guides for those battling in military, political, or business environments. 

Trump has already mastered one of Sun Tzu’s maxims: “As the voice cannot be heard in battle, drums and bells are used.  As troops cannot see each other clearly in battle, flags and banners are used.”  Through social media, and turns of phrase, Trump has sent out vivid signals of what is to come and what must be done.  As President, Trump will need to continue his messaging to keep his troops focused on the outcomes most important to Making America Great Again.  He is implementing the most ancient of rules in the most cutting edge ways.

Sun Tzu also explained, “Thus a victorious army wins its victories before seeking battle”.  Preparation is everything.  That is what Trump and his Transition are doing.  January 20, 2017 is a day for celebration, but also a day for action.  Trump can do what Reagan famously did – delay the post-swearing-in Congressional Luncheon to sign Executive Orders.  Given the volume of Executive Orders needed to end the Obama era and begin the Trump era, the most newsworthy ones could be signed in the Capitol, leaving others to be signed at the White House between the parade and the balls. 

General Ulysses S. Grant and Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter showed the world that the best way to achieve victory was overwhelming your opponent. On April 16, 1863, Porter’s naval fleet ran the gauntlet of Confederate guns along the Vicksburg bluff. Risking the entire Union Fleet on the Mississippi River in one bold act assured victory.  Confederate batteries could not fire fast enough to hit every vessel.  The speed and surprise of the flotilla rendered the enemy ineffective. 

President Trump must move swiftly and broadly to change Washington.  One reform or one piece of legislation at a time gives the forces of the status quo time to mount an effective opposition.  The so-called mainstream media can only report so many stories a day.  Democrats in Congress can only make so many speeches a day. Trump must strike fast and hard and overwhelm the Establishment. 

General Douglas McArthur, and Admirals Chester W. Nimitz and Bill “Bull” Halsey Jr., proved that you do not have to fight every enemy confronting you.  They won World War II in the Pacific by leap frogging Japanese strongholds, isolating them and letting them whither through lack of supplies. 

President Trump should be inspired by how America won the Pacific War.  The Executive Branch is vast.  Many have likened previous reform and budget cutting efforts to “attacking Antarctica with an ice pick”.  Trump and his team need to find key “islands” to assault and leave protected “sacred cows” or programs and personnel to wither.

On August 5, 1864, Rear Admiral David G. Farragut led the Union fleet in attacking and ultimately capturing the key Southern port of Mobile, Alabama.  The Confederates attempted to divert and disperse the Union fleet by launching small torpedo boats into his fleet.  Farragut famously ordered his commanders to “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”  The timeless rule is to not let intermittent issues get in the way of your primary mission.

Trump’s Administration will confront bureaucratic “torpedoes” from the first day onwards.  The most effective way government agencies and programs survive change is to draw incoming political appointees into longstanding tactical squabbles over turf, resources, and ego. 

The career establishment prays that newly confirmed Presidential Appointees will plunge into tactical morasses.  Once pulled in, the original mission is lost.  Valuable political capital, and revolutionary zeal, vanishes before the new Administration realizes it. 


President-Elect Donald Trump values military prowess in his appointments.  These military best practices will also be valued as he changes Washington, DC.

Friday, November 25, 2016

TRUMPING GOVERNMENT



President-Elect Trump can revolutionize governing as he revolutionized campaigning.

Trump is uniquely positioned as the first nonmilitary, nongovernment, person to ever be elected President.  His mandate for change will overwhelm those wanting an ever expanding and dysfunctional government to prevail. 

The Washington Establishment defends the status quo by asserting: “we have always done it this way”; “you can never run government like a business”; “we are unique”; “we have already cut what can be cut”, and “cutting anything will harm Americans”.

Trump is already doing things his way, breaking new ground as he goes.  The media and the Establishment were against Trump since he announced his candidacy and were consistently wrong about everything relating to Trump and the 2016 elections.  They are now foolishly attempting to second guess Trump, hold him to some arbitrary transition schedule, and giving him unsolicited advice.

These unrelenting, but always wrong, voices ignore that President-Elect Ronald Reagan named his core cabinet on or after December 10, 1980, thirty-six days past his landslide election.  They also refuse to mention that none of Trump’s appointments can be confirmed until the new 115th Congress convenes on January 3, 2017. The first Senate confirmation hearings cannot take place until that first day of the new Congress.  Trump can take his time and get things right from the start.

Trump is crafting his own way of governing.  His only requirement is to seamlessly transition to power.  Think of a relay race where one runner is completing their segment while the other is beginning theirs.  Ideally, both runners achieve stride for stride coordination until one passes the baton to the other.  America’s civic culture is tested and proven strong every time this peaceful hand-off occurs between opposing parties.

Once the “baton is in hand” President Trump will end the Obama era.  Ronald Reagan took time, immediately after his Inaugural Address, to sign Executive Orders ending the Carter era. Trump should move this decisively.

Realigning and mobilizing the Executive Branch to achieve his top priorities will be the first test of Trump’s ability to lead. 

Trump must instill a “sense of urgency”. November 8 was a massive Taser blast to the heart of the Washington Establishment.  They remain stunned, dazed, and confused.  Trump must move swiftly to achieve his goals before the Establishment awakes. 

Revolution’s worst enemy is delay.  Trump is an intuitive thinker and doer. He must act aggressively on his instincts and not let over analysis paralyze his cause.

The federal government is ridiculously huge.  Its size and growth are unnecessary.  In its first 129 years, America became a world power, the leader in technology innovation, and an industrial juggernaut, with only six Cabinet Departments.  All Cabinet Departments, except Treasury, fit into the Old Executive Office Building until World War I.  The door knobs in the building still display the Departmental seals.

Rethinking the role of government can be Trump’s greatest contribution to America.  Private initiative makes America great, so government should only exist when an overwhelmingly compelling case can be made.  Even then, incentives and sanctions through regulation, taxes, or fees, should be exhausted before a new government program is created.  Except for Coolidge and Reagan to varying degrees, no incoming President has ever conducted such a fundamental review.

Much of what sent America over the fiscal cliff were the actions of President Lyndon Baines Johnson in the 1960s. LBJ cynically established the modern welfare state to entrap large swathes of the electorate in an ever expanding federal leviathan. LBJ’s “great society” programs drove millions into voting for Democrats and drove America trillions into debt.

Trump knows government growth can be reversed. Personnel and costs can be dramatically cut.  Agencies can be abolished, like the Civil Aeronautics Board.

Under President Reagan, the General Services Administration invoked a hiring freeze and radical reorganization that reduced employment from 34,000 to 12,000 in three years.  Costs plummeted while the quality and responsiveness of services skyrocketed.  Under Speaker Gingrich, all non-parliamentary and non-security operations were consolidated within a new Chief Administrative Officer. Aggressive outsourcing and business based operations cut employment in half.  Once again, costs plummeted while quality and responsiveness of services skyrocketed.

As President Trump reshapes the Federal Government he needs to take to heart the immortal words of two of America’s most successful Presidents.  Calvin Coolidge directed his appointees to “Trim wherever you can”.  Ronald Reagan had a sign on his desk that inspired his team, “It CAN be done".

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

DEADLY OBAMACARE



[GUEST CONTRIBUTOR - PAUL BURKE]

Obamacare causes 8,000 deaths per year, because of penalties it puts on hospitals The penalties started in October 2012. Death rates from heart failure have risen ever since, because hospital treatment for heart failure has fallen.

Obamacare fines hospitals when they treat Medicare patients for heart failure, if the patients need another hospital stay within a month. Hospitals need to avoid the fines, so now they treat 20,000 fewer patients for heart failure, compared to four years ago, before the penalties.

Do patients survive the loss of treatment?

No. CDC says death rates from heart failure rose after 2012, though these deaths had fallen every year from 2000 to 2012. Higher death rates in 2013 and 2014 mean 7,200 and 9,600 more people died from heart failure in these years than would have died if the 2012 death rate had continued.
http://cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db231.pdf

The term "heart failure" is also called "congestive heart failure" or cardiomyopathy. It refers to weak pumping because of muscle deterioration, stiffness, leaking valves, etc. It is not the same as a heart attack or heart stopping. It is a major cause of death in the US.

These are the latest national figures, but five earlier studies from 2010-2014 also showed that hospitals which had fewer re-hospitalizations had more deaths, especially among heart failure patients.
http://globe1234.info/medicare/category/research

Medicare said in August 2012, "We are committed to monitoring the measures and assessing unintended consequences over time, such as the inappropriate shifting of care, increased patient morbidity and mortality, and other negative unintended consequences for patients." They have not reported any of these monitoring results in 4 years.
http://federalregister.gov/d/2012-19079/p-1799

Re-hospitalization penalties give hospitals an incentive to treat fewer seniors. Medicare even gives hospitals an online tool to predict re-hospitalization risk for each potential patient.

Hospitals can avoid penalties by any mix of the following:
·         Avoid admitting the sickest Medicare patients with heart failure ("There's not much we can do for you. Treatments are risky. You're better off at home.")
·         Treat as many as possible of the least sick outside of hospitals
·         Improve subsequent care for those admitted, to reduce re-hospitalizations
It is easier to give less care than to improve it, though hospitals certainly are doing both. And the result we see is that death rates have started to rise.

The figures here count hospital admissions in July 2008-June 2011, compared to July 2012-June 2015. These are the oldest and newest comparable data available. Medicare released the older data in a comparable form in May 2013.
http://globe1234.com

Re-hospitalization penalties are large. Hospitals get $6,000 for treating a Medicare heart failure patient, but pay a $27,000 penalty for each re-hospitalization within 30 days, above the national average rate. So every hospital tries to be below the average, driving the average down and the risk of penalties up every year. There are also minimal adjustments for the mix of patients each hospital serves.

Penalties total $71 million this year, down from $76 million last year, because hospitals treat fewer Medicare patients for heart failure. The only way hospitals as a group can reduce their penalties is by treating fewer patients. And they do.

The penalties apply to patients treated under Medicare Part B. Hospitals which face the re-hospitalization penalties now admit 5% fewer Part B patients for heart failure than four years ago, even though the total number of seniors covered by Part B increased 12% in the same period.

There are also penalties for re-hospitalizing patients after coronary bypasses. The penalty is $188,000 for each one above the national average rate; penalties began October 2017. Penalties after elective hip and knee replacements are $239,000 and began October 2014. The penalty calculations are written into Obamacare. It is too early to see if the number of people treated has fallen, but the American College of Surgeons warned Medicare that treatment would be cut: "the potential that these hospitals will decrease their care for such patients, thereby creating an access issue."

One state is exempt from the penalties: Maryland, where Medicare has its headquarters, and where many of its retirees live.

Medicare penalizes all unplanned re-hospitalizations, even if they are unrelated to the original care. The law only lets Medicare penalize readmissions related to the initial care, but Medicare found that law, "difficult to implement." So they decided not to follow the law. Obeying the law would help, but penalties would still discourage treatment of frail seniors, who have above-average risks. The law and the penalties themselves are wrong.
http://federalregister.gov/d/2013-18956/p-2129

In 67 metro areas, Medicare has a second way to discourage hip and knee replacements, especially for the frailest patients who may need them most: hospitals must pay nearly all medical expenses for 90 days after treatment, though they have almost no control over these costs. After coronary bypasses next year, hospitals will similarly have to pay for 90 days of costs. Fewer hip and knee replacements and coronary bypasses, when Medicare patients need them, condemn seniors to reduced activity and faster decline.


Medicare and Social Security do save money when patients die sooner, but that is not how the country wants to save money. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

TRUMPING WASHINGTON



The Washington Establishment is betting on Trump faltering.  Trump can triumph by not letting any of them subvert from within.

The well proven maxim, people equals policy, should be Trump’s driving force.  Trump can gain inspiration and insight from Reagan’s earlier victory over the Establishment.  These lessons can assure Trump’s tenure achieves historic change.

The Reagan Revolution almost did not occur because the Republican Establishment did everything it could to co-opt it.  Reagan’s transition planning team was hijacked by technocrats who had no understanding or desire for revolution.  Legions of moderate Republicans, who fought Goldwater in the 1960s and Reagan in the 1970s, poured into Reagan’s transition teams in the weeks following the 1980 election.  Former Ford appointees, derisively called “retreads”, filled the short lists for government executive positions.

It took the aggressive intervention of Reagan’s Kitchen Cabinet to clean house and get his revolution back on track.  Reagan’s closest friends, including Joe Coors and Bill Wilson, arrived in Washington, DC in early December 1980 and personally took charge of the transition.  Their clarity of purpose and unwavering devotion to Reagan and his agenda, assured that Americans got the change they so clearly wanted.

President-Elect Trump has not waited until early December.  Trump’s Veterans’ Day Transition realignment was bold and effective. His top associates, family members, and key operatives are now the rocket boosters to propel the Trump Administration into a sustainable orbit.

There is one advantage that Trump in 2016 has over Reagan in 1980 - the Washington Republican Establishment openly and vehemently opposed Trump throughout his campaign.  The usual post-nomination unity was hindered by the “never Trump” forces.  Many anti-Trump Republicans openly boasted about voting against him in countless social media posts on Election Day. 

This disloyalty and outright sabotage must be remembered.  It clears the field for new blood to serve Trump.  It is far easier to “drain the swamp” when the K Street crocodiles have exposed themselves. 

Those who knifed Trump in the back are waiting for the day he “comes to his senses” and sells out his “Deplorables”.  Many observers are smugly musing that Trump will have to scale back his revolution and make peace with the Establishment.  Otherwise, they declare, Trump will not have enough capable people to run the Executive Branch. 

Trump can once again prove his detractors fools.  The private sector has a vast array of corporate change agents. These top executives have successfully run enterprises larger than most federal agencies.  Those who profitably navigated the post-2008 economic collapse are “battle” seasoned and proven innovators.  Those who remained profitable in the face of global competition have mastered the upheavals of the 21st Century.  Many will heed Trump’s call to join his crusade to Make America Great Again.

Trump can tap Republican governors who have turned around the governments and economies of their states.  Their dramatic successes have earned them re-election or assured a Republican succeeded them.

The Republican governors were successful because they unflinchingly fulfilled their campaign pledges, and kept their focus on bettering the economic wellbeing of their citizens. They were also successful because they hired highly effective lieutenants to run their state agencies.   These successful change agents bring a record of vanquishing public sector inertia.  They can be paired with private sector leaders to become an unbeatable team for “Trumping” the Federal Government.

Many rallied to Trump within weeks of his announcing his candidacy.  These included policy experts and strategic thinkers who helped in the Reagan and Gingrich revolutions.  Reagan alumni stood firm with Trump by courageously endorsing him while enduring ostracism from the Washington “powers that be”.  Hundreds of retired military and national security leaders, many of whom helped win the Cold War, stepped forward to offer Trump timely and critical support.

Trump’s “Deplorables” are counting on him winning for them and America.

Monday, November 7, 2016

TRUMPING THE ISSUES



The fundamental question of this election is do we really want Obama’s third term?  Do we really want a President who will push Obama’s agenda even further to the left?

In 2008, America was facing a terrible economic downturn.  Does anyone really believe that Obama’s trillion dollar “shovel ready” public works, gave America anything close to a real recovery?  Does anyone really think the unemployment numbers are more relevant than the record number of Americans no longer in the workforce?  Does anyone really believe that America’s anemic recovery is the new normal?  Hillary supporters are people who think they and their fellow citizens are economically better off today than 2008. Trump’s message is that America must end the regulations and taxes that have crushed its economy.

In 2008, Americans enjoyed one of the best healthcare systems in the world.  Does anyone really like their current health plan?  Do Americans like paying ever higher premiums and higher deductibles?  Are Americans ready for a completely national healthcare system like Canada or England? 

In 2008, America was the world leader.  Do Americans like the fact that Russia is challenging the U.S., and poses more of a threat, now than at any time since the USSR fell in 1991?  Are Americans willing to watch China consolidate its hegemony in Asia?  Are Americans willing to remain silent as China peels away U.S. allies, like the Philippines, while extending its reach throughout Africa and Central America?

In 2008, the Middle East was dangerous, but at least the major extremist forces were contained.  Are Americans willing to overlook Obama’s refusal to help liberal democratic forces in Iran (the Green Revolution) in 2009 in order to promote Iranian ascendancy ever since?  Are Americans passively accepting that the “Arab Spring” brought peace and freedom to the region?  Are Americans willing to applaud Hillary for her tearing apart Libya, Syria, and Iraq during her time as Secretary of State? Are Jewish Americans really willing to let Hillary continue undermining Israel, the only true democracy in the region? 

In 2016, America is facing a world that is slipping back into 17th and 18th Century trade wars.  The promise of a “flat earth” without policy, technology, or logistical barriers to moving goods, services, and resources has been exploited by China and other state run economies.  America is adrift in how to compete in this “back to the future” trade environment.  Americans are grappling with how to earn a living when robots at home and sweat shop labor abroad obliterate opportunities. 

In 2016, Americans are facing dual invasions that will ultimately destroy our culture and country.  One is illegal immigrants who increase crime and burden social services. The media has been highly successful in deleting “illegal” from any discussion of immigration in order to cast Trump and his supporters as racists or 19th Century “know nothings”. The other invasion is Islamic militants who want to supplant America’s Constitutional freedoms with Sharia law. 

Finally, in 2016, Americans are fed-up with the arrogant unaccountable political elite whose only agenda is to line its own pockets and those of its cronies.  Americans want a real revolution that ends the reign of those who thumb their noses at the law. 

Trump asserts that immigration is a privilege not a right.  Those who America welcomes should be people who will enthusiastically embrace our hard won civic values and bring skills that will revitalize America’s economy.


Trump will drain Washington, DC’s swamp and usher in ethical and accountable government.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

CLERK AT THE CROSSROADS


[Published in the Martinsburg Journal on October 24, 2016]

Two of the fundamental requirements for democracy are the integrity of the vote and the integrity of the public record.

Both are in jeopardy in Jefferson County.  Starting with early voting on October 26, and Election Day on November 8, our county has the opportunity to preserve our democracy or watch it vanish before our eyes.

In 2004, Jennifer Maghan defeated Scott Coyle.  It was a classic battle between the court house “in crowd” versus a broad coalition of reformers and citizen activists.

John Ott had been Clerk for 24+ years.  In his final years, he had allowed the Clerk’s office to fall into corruption and dysfunction. 

Prior to Jennifer’s tenure, our votes were stolen, padded, and altered.
-       Voter registration rolls altered to allow phantom votes for favored candidates.
-       Vote count altered to help favored candidates.
-       Public was barred from monitoring vote count.
-       Ballots removed or added to help favored candidates. 
-       Ballot boxes unsealed and resealed.

Activists documented illegal access to ballot boxes.  Uncaring County Commissioners and ambivalent state officials ignored a mountain of evidence, including photos.

In one election, 150 uncounted ballots were “found” at 2:00 in the morning. The vote count for the anti “in crowd” candidate was reported as going down!  The votes were accurately recounted (50 went to the reform candidate) only because the activists monitoring the ballots began shouting in the Court House and alerting the media.

Many public records were also fraudulent:

-       Land titles and other documents backdated, fabricated, and altered to cover illegal acts.  Many of these were entered into court cases as evidence.
-       Land titles and other public documents “lost” when needed, especially when required for evidence in court cases.
-       Land titles “misfiled” or renamed to frustrate public access, and hide actions.
-       Title and land transfer fees not charged to “in crowd” – depriving our county of millions in revenue.
-       Land transactions were hidden from the public.  “Do not publish” stickers were placed on certain transactions to stop them from being forwarded to the Spirit of Jefferson. The “favored few” were able to hide their land purchases, allowing them to amass holdings prior to major subdivision applications.
-       After hour’s access was only for the “in crowd”.       

During these dark years, only dedicated local activists, at great personal and financial cost, were able to expose the truth and occasionally stop illegal acts.

In addition to these illegalities, the Clerk’s staff was universally unhelpful and officious to the public, except to the “in crowd”. 

The public was shut out of information as nothing was online. The public could only access public records during office hours, except the “favored few”.

How our tax dollars were spent was also hidden and falsified.
-       Financial operations were never independently audited.
-       Clerk’s office covered for malfeasance and help hide secret accounts.
-       The public could not access the county’s financial records.

In 2004, against the odds and being outspent 10-1, Jennifer Maghan shocked the “in crowd” with a 500 vote victory margin.  Jennifer immediately launched a dramatic and swift reform effort.  The “in crowd” demonized her and tried to stop her at every step.  Jennifer never wavered in her commitment to make things right.  She was re-elected by a landslide in 2010.  Her success revolutionized everything and made Jefferson County a state and regional leader in digital documents and public access. 

Jennifer’s honesty cost the “in crowd” millions dollars as they had to pay their transfer fee obligations and endure proper public scrutiny of their real estate dealings. 

The “in crowd” is now desperate to retake control of the Clerk’s office.  They have waited twelve years to bring back the corruption and favoritism of the old days.

Herb Snyder is part of this “in crowd”.  Snyder’s brother, Lee Snyder, and his business partners, were some of the primary beneficiaries of the old regime.  A Snyder run Clerk’s Office will reverse Jennifer’s reforms.  A Snyder run Clerk’s Office will shut out the public.  

Jacki Shadle worked on Jennifer’s Clerk Team.  Jacki is our only hope for preserving Jennifer’s hard won culture of honesty and openness. https://www.facebook.com/jackishadleforcountyclerk/