Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Standing up for Your Rights!

"The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing."John Adams

So friends!  How's your morning going?  Grab some brew and sit a spell. It's been a rollercoaster ride here in Lee County politics. 

I want to show you what standing up for your rights and privacy can do for you.  You see our county government made a very foolish decision to release an unchecked mass of emails to a blogger here in town that despises the GOP (that's no secret).  They didn't even bother to check what was released.  And the blogger has had possession of it for months!!  But mistakes have been admitted by officials and so on. 

Anyway this information is being misused for political ammo.    
Well, not only has a standing commissioner who is known for his staunch views been blasted by the blogger (seems forever) but now this blogger is  being targeted as well.  Yes, me.  I am a sender and recepient of data on that CD.  You decide friends if what I highlighted in purple under the next section doesn't sound like a threat of "run for an office and see what happens".   Absolutely does!   

From the other blogger's site
(Note:  He didn't name my blog in his comments therefore I won't name his!):

"Blogger Adopts Womack Approach To Keystroke Tracks
Posts are disappearing as the strongly opinionated Shelia Barber prepares for her campaign for a seat on the Lee County Board of Elections.

.........(some info has been deleted by FBC editor) .... Commissioner Womack has ordered county officials to eliminate his county government email address. He wants to have exclusive control of his emails giving him the unchecked ability to delete information that the public information law says belongs to the people. What Shelia Barber can't do is call back the email exchanges with Womack that could demolish her campaign ....."

Say what?Demolish what campaign? I never stated I was running  That's just the "blogger's" assumption. And just how could stating the obvious really hurt me?  And as for "disappearing posts", mishaps occur!  Just ask the county attorney's office! 
EDITOR'S NOTE:   A commenter just got me on this one - yes I did make a threat at one time to be a challenger to the RINO on the BOC.  They were made with all good intentions and in the heat of the moment but some things are not in place that I had hoped for.  And I have not publicly said in this season I was running.  But I must thank Anonymous for pointing that out.   

My readers know I don't need anyone to back me up or "call the shots".  My "tank" (thanks to the Commissioner for that term - I like it!) is full of enough examples of what is wrong with Lee County, NC, and Washington politics.  Don't get in my way of making the obscene obvious! You just might get run over. 

Whatever I write I stand by. Some things need to be said whether we like them or not. 
Anyway,  I had not viewed the other blog site before I went to the BOC meeting Monday night and demanded a copy of the cd!  Had I done that I would made sure I said "See I Told you so - the other blogger's intentions ARE politically motivated"! My original FOIA request stated such.

So about this letter. I received...  It states I had to pay for what they gave him for free!! Yep ..Straight from the desk of the county attorney comes a letter that 1) admits they had not reviewed the contents they released to the "blogger"; 2) they  didn't make backups; and 3) it would costs me $1150 in fees for them to go through 3000 emails.  Say what?  Oh no no no.  That should have been done before releasing the info to the blogger.  It's not my fault our county government screwed up! And I demand the same respect as any other citizen. 

I asked the BOC to overturn the decision and to not forget that one day they would be on my side of the fence.  That is "just an ordinary citizen".  And this could happen to them.

Our government cannot choose winners and losers.  In any aspect whether it be incentives or Freedom of Information Act requests.  But they do!  The letter stated NC General Statutes on FOIAs.  Let me point out that there is a federal guideline that says costs are to be incurred the first time.  And the first time is when due diligence is to occur and screening of information that will be released to the government.   And that subsequent requests cannot be charged the same!  (

Here are the comments from the two papers about this whole ordeal:

 Fayetteville Observer:

"Commissioners also voted unanimously to give county resident Sheila Barber a copy of the emails after county officials have removed nonpublic information.

Barber, who had written emails to Womack that were included in the release, asked why she was going to be charged $1,150 for information someone else received for free.

Clark got the emails before commissioners revised their policy to start charging for staff time removing nonpublic information. An N.C. Press Association lawyer has said the policy violates the state open meetings law. Commissioners are expected to discuss possible changes to the policy at their Feb. 20 meeting."

Sanford Herald (must have paid access): Sanford Herald - Blogger questions board on ethics procedures

"Officials also agreed to release the contents of Clark's lengthy public records request free of charge to local Republican Sheila Barber, a possible commission and Lee Board of Education candidate copied in some of the controversial emails.

Barber, who also pens a politically-charged blog, blasted county staff Monday for releasing the emails, calling herself an "innocent bystander" whose privacy could have been violated in the process. She also demanded that leaders release the documents to her after noting that she was to be charged $1,050 for their issue following a recent request.

Clark's initial request was free because it took place before a now-amended county policy that establishes payment for staff work needed to meet such extensive record inquests.

"I do not care what it takes because I feel like I have been compromised and violated," Barber said. "I will get this information, somehow, some way."

Cheers to all of the commissioners for doing what is right.  Cheers to the County Manager as well.  

About the other blogger -   He made quite a few things obvious.  He did the GOP a favor even at my expense and Commissioner Womack's.  See, there's always a positive to every negative!

Friends know your rights.  Fight for them.  I do believe that petitioning your government is a duty of a citizen.  We have a duty to watch what is going on, to pay attention, and to demand accountability and fairness!  Do not sit back and just say "oh well"!  I could have easily done that in this case.  I mean I don't have $1150 hanging around.  Do you?

Here's another positive: I know exactly where my place is in Lee County politics...Being on the outside has great advantages. I am not sworn to rules and bylaws and secrecy. I know I'll continue to be a non-stop target for the bitter angry citizen with nothing better to do than to harass elected CONSERVATIVES!  I know I  make my comments about the left but I don't harass them like that other blogger does the conservatives! They are in their position due to the voters that put them there whether I like it or not.  That, my friends, is one of the hardest things to do!

Note to self: Must remember to click my heels 3 times and say to myself , "A certain person in A certain school system was hired by those elected by the voters to do such. I must respect the office even if I don't agree with the person!"

However, there is no reason for me or any of you to sit by and let them run over us! 

Oh well, mama said a lot of things to me.  Such as,  "What goes around comes around." 

Friends Please!!! Stand up for your rights and your country.  Keep your government accountable.  They work for you.  Not the other way around as many believe.

Quoting Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side" when she says to SJ and Micheal:
"Have a good day.  Learn something!"

Yep.  Learn something that will keep you free!


Anonymous said...

"I never stated I was running." - Sheila Barber in a Feb. 8, 2012 blog post.

"I stand by what I say." - Sheila Barber in a Feb. 8, 2012 blog post.

"Oh, I forgot. Doc (Oldham), I should introduce myself to you. Hi, meet your 2012 challenger. That is, if you have the audacity to stick around and face the voters the next time." - Sheila Barber in a May 5, 2010 letter to the Sanford Herald.

Sheila Barber said...

Thank you!

I will definitely clarify that in the post - as in RECENTLY.

My comments before were in the heat of moment and were made with the idea that certain things would have been in place. Some are not.

I have not filed. That's where I came from.

Good catch Anonymous!

Sheila Barber said...

I do wish I knew the identity of Anonymous above. I would treat him/her to something special for reminding me!

Randall Lee Yow said...

Mrs Barber,

You make a good point about one day they might be an ordinary citizen seeking information. It is possible that the fee structure for information requests could be used as a powerful tool for incumbents to fight off challengers to their seats. Many people seeking office often requests budgets, proposals, and e-mails of their political opponents. Being able to tag on a high fee might limit elected politicians challengers. I hope the BOC rethinks the fee idea since several well regarded sources have stated that they beleive it is illegal.

-Randall Lee Yow

Anonymous said...

It was me. What's my prize?

Sheila said...

Who is "me"?

My email is on the front of the blog.

Anonymous said...

Don't mind that guy anyway, it was actually me.

Anonymous said...

Over here! I'm that guy!

Anonymous said...

Don't listen to those knuckleheads. The TRUE anonymous was I, Anonymous. And I'll take you up on that offer, Ms. Barber - dress comfortably. I'm in the mood for love.

Sheila said...

HA HA HA HA Love it!!

Anonymous said...

Stop trying to take my prize. I earned it, fair and square. Dig it?

Anonymous said...

Stop messing with my gal pal. She's peachy keen and you're nothing but a square. Hands off Horshack!

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