More honesty from Justice would go far

November 25, 2018

There’s no question in my mind that Gov. Jim Justice wants to be the beloved governor of his home state. He wants everyone to agree he’s doing a great job. Press conference after press conference is held trying to generate positive comment.

But among the items preventing universal love for the governor is secrecy and the refusal to be open and honest.

An example played out in state court earlier this week as an independent nonprofit law center tried to force the administration to make public its now-infamous China Energy deal.

It’s safe to say that if anyone ever sees documentation on this supposedly $83 billion windfall, it won’t be because the administration wanted him or her to.

The law firm sued West Virginia University over China deal details. WVU, as I have explained is typical with West Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act, refused to cooperate. It is the defendant.

You may recall that this is the deal that made national headlines. Former Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher supposedly engineered it. But the administration has steadfastly refused to allow anyone to even see the memorandum of understanding.

Maybe if the governor would open up and just tell the truth, the “love level” would go up dramatically.

The judge took the matter under advisement, as usual, where it may rest out the remainder of its natural life.

OK, so we weren’t quite done with the Ojeda presidential bid last week.

I do not hate Sen. Richard Ojeda, but I know facts are facts. He was given the “opportunity” to resign as Junior ROTC manager at Chapmanville Regional High School after two Logan County school board members told him it was either that or be fired.

Among the reasons Ojeda was pushed from CRHS was his failure to properly file reimbursement, costing county taxpayers thousands. Are these really presidential qualifications? The documentation is in a file at the Logan board office.

No matter what he says to the contrary, he has to be classified 100 percent mentally or physically disabled to get the homestead exemption. Yet he does push-ups and runs in parades.

School administrators in Logan say he was seldom on the job, and I have copies of faxes he sent on school time on school equipment seeking information about his 2016 state Senate opponent, Art Kirkendoll.

Apparently the voters “got it” when it came to Ojeda and the 2018 election. He even lost his home county.

But national socialistic TV hosts don’t want to “get it,” so they will ignore any faults he has.

There’s no credible Republican in the state who would challenge Gov. Justice in 2020. A huge number of Democrats will file, though.

It’s not that Justice is so adored in the GOP, but nobody can stick with his financial resources.

Republicans must determine, again, who the House of Delegates speaker is. It appears the selection is between Delegate Roger Hanshaw of Clay County, chosen as speaker before election, and Eric Nelson of Kanawha County, who gave him a close challenge then.

I expect the two will work out something and Hanshaw will remain speaker.

There’s enough dissension between Cabell District 16′s new GOP delegates to be noticed, by the way.

New member John Mandt made it clear on social media that he is not necessarily following the drumbeat of fellow Republican Daniel Linville on the speaker issue.

Mandt is definitely opinionated and will not take a secondary position to anyone. It may be fun watching these two for the next couple of years.

Mayor-elect Amy Goodwin came away from the Charleston election with an easy win over Republican J.B. Akers.

Controversy arose regarding Goodwin’s position on the drug-related needle program. It will be interesting to see what she does with that. With the opioid epidemic still going strong in Huntington, city leaders will surely be watching as Goodwin tries to combat it in the capital city.

Speculation centered last week on whether Justice will now appoint Dan Greear to the Supreme Court vacancy of Allen Loughry.

Greear just got smashed in his bid to be elected a Kanawha Circuit judge. But Justice had appointed him to that position.

Hopefully, all readers are having blessed and happy Thanksgiving weekend. Thank you for your support and for being here each week.

Contact Ron Gregory at 304-533-5185 or ronjgregory@gmail.com.

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