Saturday, February 8, 2014

Patti Heinemann Announces Her Platform

08 February 2014, Vol.1, No.3 > OP ED by County Commission Candidate Pattti Heinemann, Democrat / Northern District / Pocahontas County

(Part of The Crier Coalition of Internet News Services comprised of
The Pocahontas Commentator, The Pocahontas Crier,
Signal Fires of WV & Echoes from the Holl’r)

Candidate’s Statement - Patti Heinemann

                 I would like to introduce myself to you, the voters, and citizens of Pocahontas County as a candidate running for the office of County Commissioner in the upper northern district. I am a 62 year old Christian, the mother of 10 children, all of whom went on to college and are now married for a total of 25 grandchildren so far.  I have a Masters Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Communications with an emphasis on journalism. I must pointedly express that I hate politics; however, I have some very real concerns that never seem to be answered, as I am sure most of you have also.  I would like to address just a few of these concerns in terms most of us can understand and relate to.  I want to discuss these issues and reason together to find solutions we can all live with.  I pray Our Creator will guide each of us as we endeavor to sort through our issues and ideas for the betterment and benefit of us all.

First let us speak about the so-called ‘waste-storage’ project that’s been proposed for the Green Bank District.  My own back yard!  Waste management obviously has merit and deserves to be considered but it must be DONE CORRECTLY by Law – and with several stipulations.  Obviously no project like this can be inspected and approved by the owner/operator even if he holds a construction position with the state that allows him to self-inspect building projects. For the purposes of ethical behavior, he needs to recuse himself and have other state inspectors perform this necessary duty.  Also, after speaking with a company already performing cleansing and recycling of human waste located in Elkins, I found there are strict EPA regulations for such a project that include processing and filtering that are NOT included in the current proposal.  In fact the current proposal is to allow the sun to dry human waste stored in six large 50,000 gallon ‘open-pits’ & 100,000 gallon tanks and spread this human-sewage-waste on farm land as ‘fertilizer’ without compliance to any EPA regulations, without any oversight, and with ‘self-inspections’!  And we all know NOW how ‘self-inspections’ has become a horrible-disaster for nine counties in southwest West Virginia!

Laws are supposed to be made for the protection of each & every Citizen.  The EPA regulations are there for our protection and I feel strongly these regulations and procedures need to be followed by everyone.  We cannot ignore our common environmental protections, under the pretext of ‘jobs’, so that seven or eight persons can be employed at our expense, health & safety!  Especially in light of the fact over 300 persons who reside in the Green Bank area signed a petition against any such proposal!  Since Snowshoe & Silver Creek Resorts, owned by Intrawest & Fortress corporations, will be the primary beneficiaries of the septic-sewage-storage-service as currently proposed, and since Intrawest & Fortress already own approximately 12,000 to 15,000 acres, why is a septic-sewage-storage-project such as this being proposed for the middle of the Green Bank community, a mile or so south of the NRAO tourist attraction, in a commercial & residential area – instead of located within the thousands-of-acres already owned by Intrawest & Fortress?  Why doesn’t Donald Trump, head of Fortress, put this human-toxic-waste in HIS BACKYARD?  Does it not make sense that the location for this proposal be located out of site from our main source of income, our tourists and from the residents of the community homes, Senior Center & new medical clinic?  Are ‘eight jobs’ on publicly-owned-land really a valid or justifiable excuse in the face of 300 Citizen-signatures on a petition ‘Just Saying NO’?  The most important factor for this proposal is that ALL relevant studies such as the impact-studies of both the Federal & State EPA, the American Historical Society, and the Native American Organizations, etc., MUST be included in ANY decision for this proposal – not just the alleged ‘self-inspection’ of Allegheny Disposal, LLC!

Instead, our current county commissioners have abdicated & neglected their specific responsibilities and allowed a private-corporation calling itself ‘a quasi-government organization’, known as the ‘Greenbrier Valley Economic Development CORPORATION’  (GVEDC) to make all the decisions concerning all phases of so-called ‘economic-development’ for this county – including turning Green Bank into a human-sewage-storage site for Snowshoe & Silver Creek!  The SCHEME of the GVEDC is to take control of all county land held in common by each of us Citizens, to then obtain government grant-money to build buildings, as they did in Edray, and then RENT the buildings to businesses – AND TAKE ALL THE RENTAL FEES BACK TO GREENBRIER COUNTY for their pockets & next scheming – just as they have done at the former Howes Leather property!  Isn’t that exactly how the GVEDC wants to rebuild Marlinton?  Put all the property in the name of the GVEDC, let the GVEDC get grant-money from TAXPAYERS-FUNDS, then RENT all new stores back to the current property-owners so the GVEDC can control all funds!  The GVEDC even wants the $150,000.00 ‘development-grant’ money to study rebuilding Marlinton!  To add insult to injury, the GVEDC even charges our current county commission a ‘membership-fee’ in order to steal our land & county funds!  Why do we not have a county-run development authority for economic development with county interests in the agenda, instead of continually being ‘ripped-off’ by a so-called ‘quasi-government’ private corporation?

Another issue concerning Snowshoe & Silver Creek is the  state legislative plans to ALLOW COUNTY COMMISSIONS TO CREATE a ‘Resort Area District’ (RAD) for Intrawest & Fortress whereby they can charge additional property ‘fees’ upon homeowners besides the property taxes already paid to the state & county! In this manner, Intrawest & Fortress can dump its current $1.5 BILLION DEBT upon RAD property-owners!  They will also police the RAD themselves with ‘Rangers’ including their own jails, fines & rules, much like the old idea of a ‘WORK CAMP’ company store!  All property & businesses within the RAD would be under the control of Intrawest & Fortress – just imagine Donald Trump telling you what to do with your property!  BUT let me ask, what happened to all these company-run operations in the past?  Were the loggers in Cass not similar in fact to ‘slaves’ owned by the logging company; or the coal miners struggling to exist at the turn of the century working for the owners of the coal mines until the United Mine Workers Union set them free!  Our Forefathers fought and died in the ‘Coal Field Wars’ at places like Blair Mountain to rid us all of corrupt-places like this, yet Intrawest & Fortress wants the ‘company-store’ back again!  Perhaps they’ve taken lessons from the GVEDC in order to keep all Mountaineers in the ‘Poverty Preservation Society’ (PPS) for everyone but themselves!

The fact is, according to our own state legislature, the Intrawest & Fortress DEBT now exceeds $1.5 BILLION as a direct & proximate result of the losses suffered from the 2010 Winter Olympics!  And that DEBT includes unpaid taxes to the state & county!  Now if you or I owed taxes to the state & county, we’d either have to pay, or after a prescribed amount of time the property would be sold at a tax-sale!  Legally, after a certain amount of months, generally 12 months, one can redeem their property by paying back the buyer at the tax-sale the back-taxes plus interest, and the owner must continue to keep their property taxes current.  Should this not also apply to a corporate business?  Even one as big as Intrawest & Fortress?  Who really cares if Donald Trump has to declare bankruptcy again, he’s done it before!  Yes, it’s true Snowshoe & Silver Creek employs many people from Pocahontas, Randolph, and Greenbrier Counties and thus these counties benefit from those jobs – but a $1.5 BILLION DEBT! Why not have the state take over this property, establish a public-corporation, delegate it to this county to operate & manage, and split the income 60/40, to the state & county respectively, as done with many other state parks?  It would be greatly beneficial for all!

This idea would also help protect the county property-owners from any ‘tax equalization scheme’! What is ‘tax equalization’?  This means since property-owners in and around Snowshoe & Silver Creek pay a higher purchase cost per/acre, they also pay a higher property tax!  But if they asked for ‘tax equalization’, they could ask the county to lower their per/acre tax-rate while forcing a rise in property taxes for everyone else, whether in Durbin, Green Bank, Marlinton, and Hillsboro or everywhere throughout the county!  Yet the whole idea of the state having a ‘severance-tax’ for all natural resources exploited, is for the very purpose of keeping property-taxes low, while allowing public schools to be funded!  With the current low-wages paid in this county, it would be an extreme hardship if property-taxes were to be raised for any reason in any manner!   That’s why I believe that since the  county commission has the authority by State Law to create a ‘Resort Area District’ (RAD) to permit the RAD to undertake capital projects, such as a new sewage-treatment-facility – that the county commission INSURE a ‘checks & balances’ within any Charter establishing a RAD, so that no one is unfairly taken advantage of, while the RAD is permitted to regulate & govern itself, including zoning, WITHOUT affecting the rest of the county by drawing a line-in-the-sand between the RAD and the rest of the county!  Otherwise, draw a line in the sand & let Snowshoe & Silver Creek ‘incorporate’ as a municipality like Durbin & Marlinton.  Or, better yet, let the State of West Virginia either take over operations or delegate those operations to the county government to administer accordingly as a public-corporation!

Finally I want to discuss legal responsibilities of city, county, and state offices.  Federal law prescribes regulations concerning public office to create ‘checks & balances’ and to prevent corruption and unethical behavior for all those in public office.  One of these is that all government agencies not only submit a yearly budget but also to have audits of public funds.  Our county has not been audited for about 20 years and the Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority (PCSWA) has NEVER been audited. WHY?  The PCSWA has been in the process of suing almost 800 people so far for a ‘fixed’ solid waste fee not paid.  Now keep in mind the state allows at least six different ways to lawfully dispose of solid waste but the PCSWA only allows the two that makes them money!  WHY?  If someone owns property here and in Charleston, and comes here, say four times yearly, they pay solid waste fees in Kanawha County, and therefore these people should be allowed to take their small amount of solid waste back to Charleston with them whereby they dispose of it properly and quite legally. Yet our PCSWA expects these property-owners to pay twice, once in Kanawha and again here in Pocahontas.  Since most owners do not do so, the PCSWA has unlawfully been suing them!  Then there are many people in the county who are conscientious and believe in recycling and do so by gathering their recyclable solid waste and either take it to Greenbrier or Randolph where those counties do offer recycling, or folks can take recyclable items to dealers who pay for glass, tin, aluminum & all types of metals, etc.  According to state law this IS lawful disposal, yet the PCSWA is suing these people as well.  Then there are those who are on low & fixed income and use the open free day per month and they also are being sued.  Personally, I think the county should absolutely be making money for the disposal of solid waste as required by state law since the law requires recycling, but did you know that even when you separate and place recyclables in their respective ‘green boxes’, that the truck picking up these ‘green boxes’ actually takes & dumps these ‘green boxes’ into the open-dump-landfill contrary to state law?  This is the reason why the PCSWA recently had to rent more land for another series of cells at the landfill – it’s called ‘urban-sprawl’ and it’s against existing state law! 

Also the PCSWA has obtained ‘grants’ for the specific purpose of ‘recycling’, yet these funds and equipment has gone to a PRIVATELY OWNED recycling company for them to make money instead of those funds going to offset the cost of operating the open-dump-landfill – again working against existing state law! 

Another issue, state law permits only a certain number of sheriff’s deputies based on the number of citizens in the county. Although our actual population is now is a little over 8,300, the sheriff wants to include all the tourists who rent homes and visit Snowshoe & Silver Creek  and  elsewhere as part of the ‘population of the county’, and rightly so, to provide enough sheriff officers to patrol this county. YET the Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority (PCSWA) uses a little known loop-hole that allows them to not have recycling based on a population less than 10,000.  And it’s a fact, is it not, that about 3500 homes are being forced to pay the PCSWA a ‘fixed-fee’ – contrary to all other counties in this state – while the businesses of this county are allowed to pay per/ton at the landfill scales!  So why should the property-home-owners of this county be forced to pay 76% of the landfill cost while only contributing 23% of the solid waste – while businesses like Snowshoe & Silver Creek only pay 25% of the landfill costs while contributing to 75% of the landfill solid waste?

These are just a few of the issues of concern that I am sure effects all citizens.  I am also aware many people are uninformed as to these facts.  This is why I am writing to you now.  I am Patti Heinemann and I am running for County Commissioner for the Northern District. Answers to these questions, and reasonable solutions amenable to ALL of us, and not just a ‘favored few’ is my personal agenda.  While it is MY Campaign, it is YOUR concerns!  If you have issues you feel have not yet addressed, I would love to hear from you at your earliest of convenience.  Thank you for your consideration & support…

Patricia A. (Patti) Heinemann, Green Bank

P.S. > Now that the county has new 9/11 addresses assigned, the LAW requires that we change our voter registration cards to reflect our new legal addresses before the next election cycle in 2016.  Please make sure you either appear in person or mail in a new voter registration form to change your address on your voter registration card.  If you need a new voter registration form…kindly contact me!   Thanking you, again…Patti

The Pocahontas Crier is an independent Internet News Service that has so far endorsed two candidates for County Commission, one a Republican & the other a Democrat – in addition to providing in depth news reporting on important issues directly effecting the Citizens of Pocahontas County!

IF YOU are registered to vote as a Republican, you can vote for Norman Lee Alderman in the Primary Election on 13 May 2014 – or IF YOU are registered to vote as a Democrat, you can vote for Patti Heinemann in the primary election on 13 May 2014 – but if you are not registered to vote, then you must register to vote on or before 22 April 2014 – and if you are registered to vote, but with no party affiliation, then you MUST REQUEST LOUD & CLEAR either a Republican or Democrat ballot on Primary Day  & since Norman is unopposed, he recommends that you requests a Democrat ballot to vote for Patti so that this county can again have an Honest & Just commission!

Send comments & suggestions to: The Pocahontas Crier at  & if you wish to financially assist, kindly send

all campaign contributions to: The United Campaign for County Commission (UCCC), c/o Citizens for Common Sense Alternatives (CCSA), a registered Political Action Committee, 7837 Wesley Chapel Road, Green Bank, West Virginia 24944-9063 Phone: 1.304.456.4565 or 3282 (also fax)

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