Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Well, it seems County Councilman Bob Call has gotten himself into yet another pickle.  AND, he has done so by simply opening his mouth and doing what he does best.

In case you missed it, there was a BC Budget Workshop held on Tuesday, May 22, 2012.  County Councilman Call participated.  During a recess, Mr. Call engaged in conversation with some attendees.  One lady in this group of three mentioned that she had seen the "RINO" signs that had been erected next to all of Mr. Call's campaign signs.  Mr. Call chuckled and explained that, originally, he was very upset about the signs but, "Voters were so mad about these attacks that he raised $5000 in campaign contributions on the previous day, Monday, alone." Now, he said he was rather happy about the signs.

In Brian Hick's column in the Post & Courier dated May 23, 2012,  Mr. Call was quoted repeating his May 22nd assertion verbatim.

Here's where we get to the "pickle" part.  SC Election Law states that ALL candidates whose names appear on the ballot of any election must file a "pre-election" report with the Ethics Commission.  This report must list ALL financial activity of the campaign to date.  This report MUST be filed no more than 20 days, and no less than 15 days BEFORE the day of said election.  Yesterday was the deadline to file this report prior to the Republican Primary to be held on June 12, 2012.  Mr. Call IS on the ballot.

Would anyone care to venture a guess as to whether Mr. Call has filed this report?  Did Mr. Call tell the truth about the $5000?  Is this election important enough to DD for him to dig Mr. Call out of this self-imposed hole?  Will the SC Ethics Commission break with tradition and actually impose a fine on Mr. Call?  When Mr. Call reads this post, will his report suddenly appear online?  Will the supposed $5000 in donations be included on his report?  Will Lassie get Timmy out of the well?  Tune in for our next exciting episode.

UPDATE:  Question 1:  Mr. Call did NOT file by the deadline.  Question 2:  Judging from his tardy report to Ethics, he didn't receive any contributions on Monday, May 21, 2012.  Question 3: Considering the fact that most of Mr. Call's major "donors" work for the company heavily invested in the Supervisor's pet project, YES.  Question 4:  Somehow, for Mr. Call, the Ethics Commission has granted a 5 day grace period.  Too bad they didn't choose to grant that dispensation for a number of Conservatives who were fined for the exact same thing in the recent past. Question 5:  It only took him 5 hours after this post to file.  Question 6:  NO.  Question 7:  Of course!!!

Friday, May 18, 2012


GE&P has had a very interesting week.  We have been in contact with an upstate lawyer who has been doing a bit of research on the voting machines used in SC.  Some of the information he has garnered is quite disturbing.  We will attempt to consolidate the information we have gathered into language that is easy to understand for you and us both.

Our SC voting machines are the exact make and model that several other states have discontinued using because they lack a high degree of security.  According to numerous articles by noted experts in the field, there is no way to assure that this model machine, which does not have a printed back-up system, always provides accurate tallies of votes.  These experts' main concern is with the programming of the cartridges that control the actions of the voting machines.  Allow us to give you a bit more information on these cartridges.

These cartridges contain the information that tells the voting machine what to do.  These instructions are programmed into the cartridges in one of two ways.  The State Election Commission can (1) opt to send the cartridges back to the manufacturer with the information necessary for programming or (2) hire local contractors to program the cartridges on site.  The SC Election Commission has opted for the second choice because it is less expensive.  Option (1) is very secure and there has never been a case of fraudulent programming when this method has been used.  On the other hand, in states where these machines were formally used, there have been cases of fraudulent programming when independent contractors were utilized.  From the evidence provided to me, this election fraud was very easy, though expensive,  to accomplish.

The cartridges should be programmed as follows:

  • If a person votes for candidate A, the machine records one vote for candidate A.
  • Likewise, if a person votes for Candidate B, the machine records one vote for candidate B.
Historically, if there is election fraud involved with these machines, some interested party contacts one of the private contractors who were hired to program the cartridges and pays this person to use a different program.  From one account we read of what actually happened in one of these other states, the machines were given instructions by the fraudulently programmed cartridges as follows:
  • Assume the fix is in to get candidate B elected.
  • If a person votes for candidate A, the machine records the first such vote properly for candidate A.
  • When the second person votes for candidate A, the machine records that vote as cast for candidate B.
  • When the third person votes for candidate A, the machine records that vote  properly for Candidate A.
  • Every vote for Candidate B is recorded properly.
  • It would be easy to figure out how this election would turn out.
Supporters of these machines contend such tampering is impossible as the machines are tested for accuracy the day before the election and the day after the election.  The fact of the matter is that, being as a time-clock is added to the programming of each cartridge to assure they will only record votes between the hours that the polls are open,  it would not be impossible for these cartridges to, also, be programmed to tell the machines to do one thing the days before and after election day and something entirely different ON election day. This is the reason these other states got rid of these machines because this is exactly what happened to them.

To make election fraud even harder to detect or prove when these machines are being used, there is no paper print out of the individual votes generated.  The only audit possible (for the machines) is to look at the paper strip that contains the tallies and that is useless if you are trying to verify that each vote has been recorded properly.

You may be thinking of an easy solution to this potential problem; if you suspect election fraud, why not simply have the local Election Commission hire a programming specialist and have him/her review the programming on the cartridge for accuracy?  Well, you see, that's impossible.  The access codes to the cartridges, necessary to review the programming, are considered "proprietary information" of the manufacturer and, therefore, not available to anyone except the fellow doing the original programming. ( the same fellow who could potentially be bribed to fraudulently program the thing to start with)

Before you get so disillusioned that you decide to stay home on election day, these other states found a solution to remedy this kind of election theft.  The way they eventually proved election fraud consisted of a lot of hard work but it definitely provided them with positive results that led to the replacement of their voting machines.  

Any private citizen has the right to obtain a list of every person who cast a vote in any election.  This list does not indicate for whom each person voted, BUT, that does not prevent anyone from asking each voter that question.  Also, simple forms can be generated to serve as affidavits to verify the vote of each person who participates in this audit.  

A group of concerned citizens in these other states we have referred to, did just that.  After a questionable election result, they joined forces and audited several precincts at random.  They obtained the voter list and they questioned each voter on the list.  Surprisingly, in one case, they received amazing cooperation (89%) when they explained that they suspected election fraud.  Each affidavit was signed by the voter and notarized on the spot.  This process took only about a week as the effort had a huge number of volunteers.  When the process was finished, the recorded votes on the affidavits did not reflect the tally from the voting machines and all he!! broke lose.  The rest is history.  Should it become necessary, BC can do the same thing.  

Berkeley County has a primary election coming up on June 12.  One of the races in this election will take place in a very small District consisting of only a small number of voting precincts.  WOULDN'T THAT BE A SIMPLE AUDIT, THAT IS, IF IT SHOULD BECOME NECESSARY?

Monday, May 14, 2012


To GE&P, as a political observer, one of the most exasperating practices of the Left would have to be  inconsistency of word verses deed.  A politician is free to say they are for or against anything under the sun but, when their voting record is in direct conflict with their words, we are obliged to ask at least a few questions.

Today, we will glean our examples of political duplicity from statements made by one of the candidates vying for the County Council District 3 seat, incumbent, Bob Call.  We will site statements made by Mr. Call in both a P&C article dated 5/14/12 and in one of his recent campaign mailings.  Then, we will note his actual voting record on each issue.


The first statement with which we take issue comes from Mr. Call's latest mail-out.  Mr. Call claims that he "works with like-minded conservatives on Council" and describes himself as a "Conservative Republican".  It is quite true that Mr. Call works with and votes with like-minded members of Council but that number certainly does NOT include the 4 Conservatives on Council. The present make-up of Council has two voting blocks; (1) the Conservatives, Mr. Fish, Mr. Callanan, Mr. Farley, and Mrs. Davis, and (2) the Supervisor's coalition, consisting of Mr. Pinckney, Mr. Steve Davis, Mr. Schurlknight, and Mr. Call.   Without exception, on every controversial issue, Mr. Call votes with the Supervisor's coalition and against the Conservatives.  Mr. Call NEVER joins the 4 Conservatives in support of any issue.

These voting blocks were first evident during the reorganization of Council in January, 2011 when Mr. Call led the charge to change Council Rules and consistently voted with the Democrats to strip away any and all power from the Conservative Republicans.  It is only necessary for you to attend one Council meeting to understand the results of Mr. Call's efforts.  This coalition is so well known that it was discussed in the 5/14/12 P&C article. We suppose no one should be surprised that Mr. Call consistently sides with the Democrats because it is a fact that the first time he ran for this County Council seat, he ran as a Democrat and lost.


At every opportunity, Mr. Call brags that he has been instrumental in establishing the "first balanced budget in Berkeley County in over 12.......15.........16 years", according to which number makes him the most comfortable on that particular occasion.  Well, the fact is that Berkeley County government is  required, by law, to have a balanced budget.  This law has always been observed.  Mr. Call and the Davis administration have done no more toward achieving a balanced budget than was done in the 16 years of the former administration.


After making this false claim about the budget in his campaign mail-out, Mr. Call goes on to tout the vastly improved condition of Berkeley County's financial situation since he got involved.  Let's look at that situation a bit closer.  After the Davis administration was in control for only two short years, the credit rating of Berkeley County dropped like a rock due to the fact that Mr. Davis squandered the lion's share of the Fund Balance he inherited from the previous administration.  It has taken years for this rating to begin to creep back upwards.

In order to accomplish this upswing, Mr. Davis, ultimately with the assistance of Mr. Call:

  • Has illegally taken $10 MILLION from the Fund Balance of BCW&SA and transferred a portion of it to rebuild the depleted Fund Balance. 
  • They have had to "appropriate" the $3 MILLION annual FILOT funds from Mount Holly that were, originally, earmarked to repay a Santee Cooper loan.  After the repayment was complete, these funds were supposed to be divided with the School System.  Mr. Call, by his supporting votes,  has helped the Supervisor deprive the School System of any portion of these funds.  
  • With Mr. Call's support, this administration continues to confiscate 29% of the property tax relief that was intended to relieve the tax burden on Berkeley County property owners. Mr. Call stated in his campaign letter that "By law, twenty-nine percent of those funds are to be used at the discretion of the county".  If you read the text, you will see that it really says "MAY BE USED". The choice to take this 29% or to let it remain to the benefit of the taxpayers is entirely that of the Supervisor and his supporters on County Council of which Mr. Call is one. 
  • After reassessment, the county usually reduces millage in accordance with the increase in assessed property values.  Last reassessment, the Supervisor, with the support of his voting block which includes Mr. Call, decided to decrease millage by only one mill.  This resulted in higher property tax bills for most.

It is necessary to remind folks that this property tax relief comes as a result of a Local Option Sales Tax or LOST.  There were two failed attempts to pass this LOST. Only after County Council signed a pledge to apply the full 100% of the revenue collected to property tax relief did the measure pass on the third attempt.  When present Council members who voted to take the tax relief away were criticized for going back on the pledge of Council, several members of Mr. Davis' coalition, including Mr. Call,  said they didn't feel bound by the pledge since they were not on Council at the time.

The first time any consideration was given to taking the 29% was in the fall of 2007.  At that time, Supervisor Davis suggested using the funds to pay for improvements to the detention center.  When the funds were actually taken, Mr. Davis used the excuse that Berkeley County had to have matching funds in order that we would not lose a state grant connected with the Jedburg project.  Most members of Council supported this action because the Supervisor promised he would only take the money for one year.  Years later, it was stated that the funds from the 29% were being used as a guarantee against funds we were getting from the State Infrastructure Bank.  Now, according to Mr. Call, these funds are being used to establish a Capital Improvement Fund so the County can purchase equipment instead of leasing it.  If you'll recall, this is the same kind of equipment that was involved in the 2010 deal in which BC purchased 2008 equipment at 2010 prices and no one ever found out where the money that reflected the difference in price went. 


In his campaign mail-out, Mr. Call stresses that Berkeley County and future employers need well educated people to man their workforces. He lists the innovations toward this end by the Berkeley County School System as if he had anything to do with it.  Mr. Call, however, does not mention the fact that he often cast the deciding vote to deprive the School System of their fair share of operating revenue from the Mount Holly FILOT.  Also, Mr. Call doesn't mention that he voted for the new Multi-County Parks FILOT distribution formula which decreases the share of funds allotted to the schools. Even using the old formula, the Supervisor, with the support of Mr. Call, shorted the School System over $8 MILLION over the last three years.  


It is difficult to take seriously any of Mr. Call's statements, whether in the P&C article of 5/14/12 or in his mail-out, pertaining to Economic Development or to believe that Mr. Call has the vaguest clue as to how to accomplish the same.  His own vague statements raise red flags. While trying to defend his accomplishments he touts:

  • "complex, integrated system of suppliers and transportation we have built". 
  • The Boeing Dreamliner assembly plant...located just one mile outside our county's borders
  • "Green Energy Programs" ...will become revenue producers and could eventually attract related industries.  (Since their inception, these programs have, in fact, drained tax revenue. )
Concern over Mr. Call's disingenuous statements is exacerbated when you consider other statements he has made on the record;

  • Mr. Call thinks it's a good idea for Berkeley County government to operate at a profit.
  • Mr. Call thinks you, the taxpayer, should buy him an Ipad.
  • Mr. Call is pro-choice.
  • Mr. Call made racist remarks in a P&C article.
We fully anticipate that Mr. Call will describe this blog as a smear piece, however, every statement made by GE&P is supported by official documentation.  Check the record before you pull the lever.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Now that Berkeley County has a new Ordinance governing the distribution of the FILOT funds derived from the Multi-County Parks, Supervisor Davis is grinning from ear to ear.  ALERT:  WHEN THIS SUPERVISOR IS HAPPY, WATCH YOUR POCKETBOOKS.  This Ordinance solves a huge problem for the Supervisor, though.  Now, he is no longer in violation of the old Ordinance.  As usual, there is a "BUT".

Most folks think this new Ordinance dictates that the FILOT revenue derived from Mount Holly will, automatically, be included in the Multi-County Parks "pot" to be distributed among the taxing entities according to millage.  Do you really think so?

As of December 2011, the Mount Holly FILOT funds only had the 1% for Williamsburg and the 5% for Economic Development taken out before Mr. Davis put it where ever, sometimes toward the Fund Balance and sometimes directly into the General Fund.  Neither the School System nor any other taxing entity got one thin dime.  These funds amounted to over $3 MILLION a year.

But, Mr. Davis's conscience is clear.  He rationalizes, "We have not taken a dime from the school district. Google came and bought in Mount Holly and that was a great thing for us. (shouldn't "us" include the School System?)  If we hadn't had Mount Holly, we wouldn't have Google, and the money wouldn't have been there in the first place, so they can't say that they lost any money."

As we actively restrain ourselves from shouting, "BS" allow us to provide a few facts.  First of all, not only did Mr. Davis NOT have anything to do with building Mount Holly, he didn't have one thing to do with bringing Google to Berkeley County. All of these efforts and the resulting successes were, solely, due to the former Supervisor, Jim Rozier and his right-hand-man, John Scarborough.  The FILOT from Mount Holly was originally earmarked to pay back money Santee Cooper loaned to the County to construct Mount Holly Park.  Upon the repayment of this debt, this FILOT revenue was supposed to go into the Multi-County Parks "pot" to be distributed to the taxing entities according to millage.  This action would have resulted in the School System getting their fair share of the Mount Holly FILOT.  Mr. Davis changed all this when he instituted his infamous money shell game by stealing W&S's $10 MILLION and paying off the remaining $4.7 MILLION debt to Santee Cooper.  (By the way, can anyone tell you where the remainder of the $10 MILLION went after Mr. Davis paid the Cypress Garden's (which BC owns)debt to BC government?) We thought not.  Secondly, if we used Mr. Davis' logic(?), wouldn't his statement, therefore, apply to all the FILOT funds derived from all the businesses in the Multi-County Parks?

Getting back to the new Ordinance, if the P&C is correct about the new distribution formula, the School System should be into fits.  According to the newspaper account:

  • 1% will continue to go to Williamsburg, 
  • 5% will continue to go to Economic Development, 
  • an additional $500,000 will be deducted (off the top)for the repayment of the $10 MILLION theft from W&S's Fund Balance, (hasn't that been coming out of Davis' share of the Google money?) and
  •  an additional $2 MILLION will be deducted (off the top)for the Sheep Island Project.
  • The remaining money will be distributed in the same percentages as county taxes, meaning the schools will get about 80%, or about $500,000 per year.  

If this 5th item is correct, we are totally confused.  Half a Million dollars to the schools?  As of last December, they were getting almost $6 MILLION from the Multi-County Parks FILOT.  Does item 5 refer to the Mount Holly FILOT money?  That can't be right either.  The Mount Holly FILOT money as of last December was $3 MILLION and 80% of that is certainly more than $500,000.

If you don't add in the Mount Holly FILOT funds to the Multi-County Parks, the School System's share will, automatically, be much smaller due to the additional deductions BUT that's the rub. Dan Davis has assured everyone that he intends to, now, include the Mount Holly FILOT funds in the Multi-County Parks "pot". (AND, we all know we can always take the Supervisor at his word.) Since it is a verifiable fact that the Mount Holly FILOT funds have been illegally excluded from the Multi-County Parks "pot" for several years, is anyone naive enough to think the Supervisor will pass up the chance to not only keep the Mount Holly FILOT but take the $2.5 MILLION from the Multi-County Parks as authorized by this new Ordinance?  Grow up.

We must add that the behavior of the School System during this debacle cannot be ignored or justified.  The silence coming from that sector was deafening.  Had the School System expended half the energy toward defending this source of income that it did toward getting the Supervisor elected to his first term, the results could have been more to their favor. But fear not, according to the word around town, the School System has a Plan B.  They are going to put a $250 MILLION School Bond Referendum on the ballot this November. This maneuver should raise a red flag to the taxpayers.  The law forbids the Schools acquiring debt above a certain percentage of assets.  Since this $250 MILLION would put them above that level, their only avenue for acquiring more debt is through a positive action of the BC voters.

GE&P is well aware that there is a difference between Operational Funds and Building Funds BUT the School System cannot believe the taxpayers will happily approve this Bond Issue after the officials of the School System, both elected and appointed, stood by silently as the Supervisor raided one of their main sources of operating revenue. Had they publicly raised a stink and solicited the support of the voters, they could have made it political suicide for the Supervisor to not only continue to take the Mount Holly money but to take even more from their share of the Multi-County Parks FILOT revenue. But, it's too late now, Boys.  Don't expect the taxpayers to dig any deeper into our pockets.  There's nothing left to shell out.