The Political Agitator response: Whew! Now this letter is damn good! I say it gets 2 ! ! Damnit now!
The following is from my friend George Fisher facebook page. Thanks for sharing. I was planning on attending and videoing the show down however since I am not a SEC member and will not be serving as proxy for anyone. I will stay in Edgecombe County and video a funeral for co-worker’s dad. However the real funeral will be taking place at this meeting. LMBAO!
Franklin The open letter to former Gov Jim Hunt from William Franklin. Apparently, this letter sparked Hunt/Keever to hit the panic button on the SEC Chair election. (full content below)
William A. Franklin
January 31, 2015
Subject: An Open Letter to Governor James B. Hunt Regarding the North Carolina Democratic Party and How We Move Forward in North Carolina
Dear Governor Hunt:
I am Lieutenant Colonel William A. Franklin, US Army, Retired. I am a long time admirer of yours.
First let me thank and applaud you for the many generous and invaluable contributions you have made to North Carolina over the years and to its citizens of many generations. You embody a long civic tradition of serving your fellow man and woman.
Like you I am a native Tar Heel who grew up admiring the work of Governor Kerr Scott.
I went on to serve our state and country as an officer in the Army during Vietnam and later in the Pentagon on the Army Staff until I retired in 1983. I served 3 times in Vietnam with Special Forces and special operations. I retired as a Lieutenant Colonel to North Carolina in 1983. I have worked in industry as a program manager and executive. And I have also worked hard for the NC Democratic Party and its auxiliaries such as the Senior Democrats as well.
To quote you from Julian M. Pleasants new book “The Political Career of W. Kerr Scott”: “If not for Kerr Scott I would never have run for governor. My family viewed Scott as our political savior…He improved our roads, our schools, and our health care. He was our champion, and I hoped in my political career to be like him.”
And today that is what we need: Democrats to have vision and strength like Governor Scott who fought for the little guy and had the fortitude to appoint UNC President Frank Porter Graham to serve the rest of Senator Broughton’s term who had died in office.
But the party and its leadership have drifted and flailed about ultimately culminating in a failed plan for 2010, which resulted in the election failure of 2010 followed by missed opportunity of 2012, resulting in a decade in the wilderness. We have failed miserably! Do you disagree with evidence?
This ongoing situation has only been exacerbated over the past two years in which I have watched with increasing incredulity as you seem to have distanced yourself from “the North Carolina Democratic Party” and the many people who comprise its precincts, county organizations, auxiliaries and statewide supporters.
In 2013 you publicly communicated to people who had long supported and donated to Democrats that they should no longer give to or support the NC Democratic Party (NCDP), resulting in decline in NCDP donations. You have personally been quite generous with the party and consistently supported the “Passport Patron” program and the Sanford/Hunt/Frye dinner—so it seems rather odd that on one hand you would personally support the NCDP yet implicitly and/or explicitly encourage others to avoid giving to the party— the picture coming into focus.
Part of the fault may lie in your innovation of the Hunt “county keys”, which functioned over the years as your own parallel political organization and forerunner to what the President did with Obama for America “OFA”, yet that cannot be the whole story. (If one traces your connections to the alumni of the program they benefitted from, with Senator Hagan being a most successful alumnus. Few today know that she worked for you and not the Democratic Party in Guilford County back in the 1990’s so this may explain her recent decisions regarding avoiding the State Party for Wake County which may have contributed to her loss.)
Naturally you and others may feel that my conclusions are in error, but in the “chatter” circuit starting in 2013 it was made plain by many of your surrogates that you had no confidence in the elected NCDP Chair Randy Voller, and although the subsequent audits and facts proved otherwise, you and others apparently did not trust him with the control of party money, a sentiment expressed publicly by State Auditor Beth Wood. Severe calumny of Voller followed! Not offers of help, just rank persecution.
Furthermore, a dissident group that many associate with you needlessly vilified Randy Voller with vituperation in the press, social media and blog-o-sphere so that it affected his professional, personal and political life. To conduct a campaign with such malice against a fellow Democrat, no matter how progressive and open minded, echoes the shameful 1950 US Senate primary and runoff between Willis Smith and Frank Porter Graham.
I do not elevate Mr. Voller to the lofty heights of Mr. Graham–I merely point out that our party has been down this dark path before—much to its chagrin— and as a man who personally experienced the negative energy of Mr. Helms in the 1984 Senate race and witnessed its reanimation in 1990 and 1996, I would expect that you would guide/lead surrogates to hear the better angels within their hearts before encouraging dark forces on and in our party.
Again, I am open to alternative evidence, but I am unaware of any real discussion that showed that you favored Chairman Voller, other than perfunctory greetings. I also believe that you eventually encouraged a number of dissident Democrats to avoid donating to the NCDP, including some who were trying actively to overthrow Voller as Chair. Ironically, this dissident faction includes some, like Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and State Auditor Beth Wood, who previously attacked the former leader, Chairman David Parker in 2012 for what I believe were bad personal reasons. It appears that Secretary of State Marshall wanted the substantial amount of “Tax Check Off” funds and wanted to access them to benefit their races. Who really knows, but the wreckage is there for all to see and some of the evidence points to a conspiracy of a few who want to control the many. Perhaps we should call them: “The Hunt Faction of the NCDP”.
The group apparently includes officers and former officers such as Nina Szlosberg-Landis (who quit in a huff when called on the carpet by the executive council for her actions), YD’s like Mayor Andy Ball and Zack Hawkins and perhaps current first Vice Chair and front runner to be the next chair: Patsy Keever. Of course you can claim deniability, but after she departed from NCDP officership, Nina called my County Chair and offered your services to him for candidates, etc, but not in general nor in relation to the Party.
Parallel operation? New County Keys? Who knows—only you can answer these questions, but the comparisons are obvious – bypass the Party.
North Carolina Auditor Beth Wood must have responded when she maligned Chairman Voller and demanded her $500 Passport Patron contribution back from the party in February of 2014. I reacted by donating $1000 immediately to NCDP, as I should. Was Auditor Wood acting alone, or by some script? Her erroneous and perhaps libelous statements to the press implied that money in the NCDP would be abused and even stolen (by Voller). It appeared that what she was really doing was using the power of her elected office to place a put on the party. The REAL MESSAGE was: “I am THE AUDITOR–do not challenge me.” This action by her provided cover for Senator Hagan to move her campaign to Wake County and attacked Voller. I am told she did not audit the NCDP nor review the party’s books or its compliance department. Instead she appeared to at best rely on anecdotal stories spun from disgruntled employees and/or contractors and at worst unadulterated gossip.
With audits now complete and signed off for fiscal years 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and with 2014 on the way, it is plain that the party has lost funds due to the elimination of tax check off. But it made changes suggested by the auditors and employees; and adopted a set of guidelines put forth by the executive council that has improved management practices and ensured improvement of management practices in all area. Chair Voller made a habit of perpetually improving things and best practices.
In addition, after all of these past audits by independent professionals have been finally cleared and all old complaints with the FEC have been handled we have a picture that shows that (1) the Party’s books are clean of most of the debt Voller inherited with some legacy debt carryover regarding old legal invoices, (2) the party has become leaner, meaner and more efficient with its resources and (3) monies were raised by the NCDP staff and leadership during the past two years, which your faction loudly claimed the NCDP could not do. (A cursory look at the revenues for the past year show the party pulled in almost $6,300,000 and spent nearly $7,000,000 last year with the approximate breakdown of the revenue being $2,100,000+ for the NCDP, $2,200,000+ for the House Caucus and $1,900,000+ for the Senate Caucus.)
So what was the purpose of the ploy pulled by Auditor Wood? The facts reveal that her implication that Voller was a thief was simply untrue, so what other force could have coerced her stunt? Again, perhaps connections from the DSCC to Hagan’s campaign manager Preston Elliot.
With a Democratic State Auditor muddying the waters, the Hagan campaign and its coordinated effort ForwardNC could easily move campaign operations to Wake County with Wood’s providing cover for a destructive ploy, which did not work. This one year ago and we have yet to get an explanation.
Why did Auditor Wood and other staff representing the Council of State interfere with internal NCDP personnel decisions? Who coordinated that effort? From what I understand there was a meeting on Friday, February 7, 2014 at the Goodwin House that was attended by Council of Review Chair, John Brooks, 13th Congressional District Chairman, Jesse Goslen, First Vice Chair, Patsy Keever, Treasurer Muriel Offerman and Beth Wood et al. Who called the Auditor and why did she threaten the chairman if he did not do as she instructed him? Obviously she was there on a mission and later made good on her threats, but who promoted it?
In any case, this covered Kay Hagan in the move of her campaign from the NCDP to Wake County – something we knew then and now know even better was a direct act against the NCDP. I cannot imagine that you had anything to do with Auditor Wood’s attack, but it is indicative of what happens when factions of the party initiate uncontrolled suspect operations. Even now, as we approach the election of a new Chair, the same old suspects are savaging Chairman Voller with all the old lies and innuendoes—which begs the question: Why? What is the purpose? And why are you, our elder statesman, not calming the waters? Why the attacks on Chair Voller, to include in the press?
The aforesaid and other similar actions against the NCDP by these dissidents over the last two years has cost North Carolina Democrats elections at a number of levels, harmed the Democratic brand, and cost us money as it was being denied the Party.
Donations were diverted from the NCDP, which by your own recent admission amounted to some $3 million dollars finding a home other than the NCDP. (This was mentioned in a N&O story.) As funds were diverted from the NCDP it was greatly diminished and only through the superhuman efforts of its staff and some leaders and hordes of volunteers did it accomplish its mission. (Some have opined that it was able to do more than the past three or four administrations of the NCDP, but it is without dispute that what the party did was done efficiently, economically and with great efficacy—particularly for the statewide judge races.)
Further, it did its job honestly and transparently. Had your group helped raise money for the NCDP instead of shunning it for the most part, it could have done a much better job with Chairman Randy Voller managing/directing it through the ED and executive council—and helped more down ballot candidates win elections.
How much did you and your faction raise for candidates, and how might we honestly track it, as Democrats? How much did Nina Szlosberg-Landis raise? She did not fulfil the promises made early in the term and blamed Chairman Voller. And the Council of State? Is anyone else privy to the 2013-2014 machinations of the Hunt Faction of the Party? I have heard that Jay Rieff is helping direct the money but who else is? Were there contributions to candidates? And of those supported, who won and who lost? We may find perchance that you and your faction really did not raise that much money and the efficacy of your parallel and hidden efforts were negligible and if that is truly the case, then the arguments for a Chair who only raises money collapses. If it is not working and not winning why keep investing in the strategy? The ROI of an investor in your operation for 2010, 2012 and 2014 should not be very good.
In fact, we need to elect/select chairs for their managerial and entrepreneurial backgrounds. They must manage a potential constituency of perhaps 2.7 million Democrats who are geographically and culturally dispersed across 100 counties and major geographic and political subdivisions of North Carolina.
Their ideology should not play, and we should pay the Chair a salary, like the GOP. (The Senior Democrats approved such as resolution in 2013.) We need a workhorse like Randy Voller, whose services for two years were free but scorned by your people. We do not need the grandnephew of some politician, the loser of a previous election placed within the NCDP as chair as a gift or favor or other such plots and machinations that gave us David Young, undermined David Parker, and tried to politically assassinate Randy Voller. For some pushing the chair to be an absentee landlord is normal operating procedure, but remember that this is how we crashed in 2010 and in the past have allowed the consultants from DC and NC to capture Goodwin House to secure sole source contracts. (I am not against contractors or consultants as I had to manage many in my time as an officer in the Army and in corporate life. I believe that we should watch/monitor the revolving door with the party and attempt to separate the good contractors/consultants from the lesser lights, something for which David Parker paid a price, needlessly.)
The Chair is a full time job and failing to treat it as such is flat out irresponsible. The Republicans skunked us in 2010 with professionals, but unfortunately for many around the party, any “old pol” will do as our chair. I assume you favor honesty, proficiency and efficiency over political sloth, lies and favor doling. I hope you verify that with a strong public statement to that effect.
So pardon me for being so direct, but we need to further professionalize the NCDP quickly and within the next six months. Randy Voller removed himself from the race for chair to promote healing, unification and the real discussion of ideas, but it will all be for naught if the Hunt Faction insists on good ol’ girls and good ol’ boys to make a few older “pols” happy. In this vein I think of Patsy Keever as a cheerleading successor if you will to Nina Szlosberg-Landis, with the same consorts as the other officers (Hawkins and Ball). We saw how well that worked.
Governor, trust the people for a change. They could smell trouble with Senator Hagan before it arrived. They knew about problems long before her campaign fumbled with the party’s base. Of course their campaign were talked up because they “lost the least” among the DSCC “chicken little” crowd who shunned President Obama. (Don’t believe me, check out the DSCC’s new deputy director, Preston Elliot and his communications hire Sadie Wiener. Or ask why his deputy director, Justin Myers, who talked Patsy Keever into signing the coordinated campaign’s “shame” letters is still on stand-by in North Carolina. And we want her for chair – poor judgment.). Fact is: We lost and not for lack of money.
Why did you give a 2013 donation of $1000 to Republican Representative Justin Burr ? To many he is the personification of the GOP and Teaparty evil. What common cause did you find with him? His noxious Teaparty agenda is not negotiable. Perhaps this move transcended simple minded bi-partisan quid pro quo operations, but for most Democrats who look at his voting record and statements this was a head scratcher.
I am being very direct; however, you may be surprised by how many Democrats and like minded Unaffiliated voters would appreciate answers to these questions—they simply will not “say so” as directly as I am doing in this missive.
Finally, I will remind you that in 2012, I wrote widely about the attempt by the Council of State to unfairly unseat Chairman David Parker. The attempt was made on May 13, 2012 in Greensboro at the SEC meeting, but it failed and he was retained. I was correct in my suspicions. Parker was asked for the Tax Check Off money, directly, and rejected it. We cannot tolerate these shenanigans.
Apparently the lessons learned from that first coup attempt were to better hide the conniving and damaging shenanigans of a group of greedy and unprincipled people, which now unfortunately appear to include some Young Democrats being taught work against the public good. You may find the direct and indirect damage from subverting donors may include a longer term rejection of the NC Democratic Party in terms of donations by qualified donors and a de-coupling of principled activists than you expected. But then, what did you expect when you undertook to starve the Party of funds?
I congratulate you and your friends for a bad job well done.
Meanwhile the discourse among activists on the next chair centers on trivial and unimportant matters headed into the next SEC meeting as opposed to real ideas and vision. And, only I have put out a serious job description, which on its face asks for someone with senior executive abilities and track record – which we do not have here on hand, the Chairmanship otherwise being an empty and powerless vessel.
I seriously request you respond to the members of the SEC on the issues I raised.
You connect back to Bert Bennett and Terry Sanford, you helped craft the original plan of organization, you worked to pick up the YD mantle of support from Charlie Smith, Luke Hyde and Dewey Sheffield and you were elected five times to statewide office as a Democrat in the Old North State. You need to loudly call for peace and the direct and unmitigated funding of the NCDP, its caucuses and auxiliaries and county parties. And offer a real and sincere thanks to Randolph Voller who persevered despite the calumny to which he was unfairly subjected.
Absence of your answers or leadership will speak more eloquently and poignantly than you think.
William A. Franklin
Lieutenant Colonel William A. Franklin, USA, Retired
A North Carolina Democrat
SEC Member, NCDP