TIME TO CHOOSE...
following email, addressed to Anita Tucker, editor of the Van Buren
County Democrat, originally made print (in part) in that publication
back in April, just before the primary election. It was written by a
fellow VBC citizen and I am republishing the full version here as it
seems clearly applicable to the choice voters are called on to make
at the polls Tuesday, November 4. 2008, remembering that honesty and
honor start at home, in our own back yard, and until we insist on
justice in our own communities we will never have it in
I realize this is tough as it is quite long – the gap between
getting our paper and your deadline is difficult. I do hope it makes
it, and if I could afford it would take out an ad to get it
published. The actions of these officials is beyond the pale – the
worst I’ve personally experienced living for 68 years in 6 states
and one foreign country. They MUST be held accountable…especially
for the unwarranted arrogance and disregard for liberty, not to
mention the gross mis/malfeasance and incompetence!
Regarding the issue of accounting in his department, and Sheriff
Bradley’s letter published last week, voters have been left with a
real dilemma and it would be helpful to concentrate on “just the
facts, Ma’am!” Even though many county residents, maybe even the
majority, value conformity and the status quo over dialogue and
advancement, I know readers are able to separate wheat (of which
there has been VERY little) from chaff, of which his letter
represents a veritable obliterating cloud. It seems public
officials, all the way up to president, can’t grasp that when they
own up, voters usually respond positively – when they ‘splain, dish,
spin and jive, well…not so much.
First let’s eliminate, for purposes of clarifying the original
issue, all the self-congratulatory commentary. (Examples: the
“constant compliments on his achievement” [some call that sucking
up], “that his staff has been [somehow, mysteriously] involved,”
that he is “blessed,” we have a fine county and smart, fine citizens
who he appreciates, his defense of employees and the “daily calls of
Let’s then eliminate the PR. (Examples: his reputation, solving
major crimes and drug arrests, cooperating with all the local
agencies and volunteers, being “driven to constantly better serving
[us],” “treating all citizens fairly and honestly”… One could
suggest this is included in the job description of a sheriff! Also
fascinating that on the same page as his letter was more news of the
historic and legendary $5 Million dollar marijuana
seizure…thankfully that amount didn’t pass through the Sheriff’s
Then we’ll eliminate the paranoia. (Examples: “some who are hiding
behind mistruths and deception,” people who “choose to attack him,”
those who “are against him who twist and mislead,“ “those who oppose
him with mistruths [a curious choice of words…], “those who oppose
him because of their own bad choices in life…” that he serves
“openly and honestly” – apparently implying others don’t? I suggest
he doth protest too much!
We probably do NOT want to eliminate his own statements which call
into question his competence. (Examples: he had to ask Prosecutor
Vaden “who he needed to speak with to get the facts,” his allegation
that the original committee “now realize they were wrong in falsely
accusing this department of stealing any money,” [this was NEVER
done; only the Sheriff (repeatedly) mentions theft! and I recently
checked with the committee; they stand by their original information
attempted to be presented to the Quorum Court in February and
March]. Most pathetically: “there has been a continuous effort since
2003 to correct this problem, but it is a very time-consuming
project” [HELLO – FIVE YEARS of continuous effort and NOT ONE SINGLE
RESULT?!!]… There is also the interesting aside that the County
Judge, who “Tossed out the Activist,” (Quorum Court meeting in
March) is also included in all of the legislative audit committee
reports as being noncompliant – who knew?!!
The original issue: Being out of compliance with both state law and
accepted accounting practices and no fixes in sight to the 3 years
available (or apparently 2006 & 2007) since his taking office OR the
several years of the same which he admittedly “inherited.” The facts
are that nothing he inherited has been corrected, and during his
terms in office they have grown substantially worse, as repeatedly
documented in the annual audit reports of the State Legislative
Auditor – in other words sloppy/nonexistent financial protocols and
controls. Anyone who doubts this FACT can simply access the reports
from any year they choose through 2005, and going back to 1999 – see
Another laughable component of this theatrical production was
Vaden’s suggestion that a letter from the auditor (dated 3/21/08 –
but referencing an item from 2004!) regarding money ($1,500) that
they admit has in fact “disappeared,” somehow trumps and renders
meaningless 3 (or 7) years of annual audit reports!! This is the old
“bait and switch” tactic used by con artists for centuries. The fact
is the legislative auditor’s responsibility is to “report certain
findings to the appropriate prosecuting attorney.” The referenced
letter states that it is “the only finding reported to your office.”
So that letter and $0.50 will buy you a copy of the Van Buren
County Democrat… They are not accountable for the issues they report
on, and in fact their letters state they are: “…provided to assist
in the efficient operation of the county.” They include conclusions,
such as “This resulted in a lack of proper accounting and budgetary
controls [by the County Judge] over County receipts and
disbursements” as well as recommendations, such as “Cash receipt and
disbursement journals should be maintained [by the County Sheriff]
in order to accurately account for and disburse funds.”
There is NO indication that there has been any response
consistent with “efficient operation of the county” by either the
judge or the sheriff. To the contrary these items repeat/escalate
So we’re back to the fact that the Sheriff’s Department, in spite
of Vaden’s & Bradley’s various (and contradictory) “explanations,”
has in fact been (quoting the legislative audit reports)
noncompliant with state law and accepted accounting practices.
(continued, at right, above)
here for print & share PDF poster of above
(continued from below, at left)
What can we expect in the future? According to Bradley
himself: he will “in time do his very best to correct it.”
Not that it will get corrected, mind you, just that he’ll do his
best. Wow – impressive.
So we are to conclude that he hasn’t done so to-date but will
soon, AND his efforts so far have produced exactly NOTHING!
In addition, instead of addressing the FACTS, Bradley continues
his tactic of “shooting the messenger” by repeatedly attacking the
motivations and character of members of The Committee for Honest Law
Enforcement. Among other things he suggests that they “have made bad
choices.” Since this is true of every person in Van Buren County
over the age of 2, we can also dismiss that as having no relevance.
Should you believe that the original information provided by the
committee is in fact “mistruth,” you can read the reports yourself
state legislative auditor’s website You’ll need to
click on Counties, on the left, then enter Van Buren and click on
For those without internet access, here are summary commentary and
tally taken directly from these reports:
2003 – “Noncompliance with state law and inadequate control
procedures were noted”:
County Judge – 3 citations totaling $220,732
County Sheriff – 1 citation totaling $142,100
Treasurer, Tax Collector and County and Circuit Clerk: in
substantial compliance with Arkansas fiscal and financial laws.
2004 - “Noncompliance with state law and accepted accounting
“The County Judge again…” – 2 citations totaling $11,822,935 (mostly
“The County Sheriff again failed to properly maintain cash receipt
($552,698) and disbursement ($648,427) journals…These conditions
resulted in the inability of the agency to properly account for cash
Treasurer, Tax Collector and County and Circuit Clerk: in
2005 – “Noncompliance with state law and accepted accounting
“The County Judge again…” – 2 citations totaling $142,611
“The County Sheriff again…: – 6 citations totaling $541,129
Treasurer, Tax Collector and County and Circuit Clerk: in
2006 should be available soon, hopefully before the election.
[Note: The 2006 report was
published May 8, 2008 and again cites Bramlett and Bradley with
noncompliance -- If you or I were in 'noncompliance' with the law,
we would be called 'law breakers' or 'criminals'. We would have to
pay a fine or go to jail and in some instances be barred from voting
or holding public office.
I ask voters: Where are the “mistruths” here? I am not “hiding, or
attacking, against, out to get, or opposed to” Sheriff Bradley –
I’ve never met the man, and also have never been a member of
but it seems all of us should join it – and VOTE!!
I am a 20-year resident of Morganton who is fed up with this
fiasco and the actions of these “leaders,” aren’t you?
Finally neither you, nor I, nor Sheriff Bradley, Judge Bramlett or
Prosecutor Vaden know who all of the members of the committee are. I
do know the Chair,
Chris Beems, and have for over 18 years.
We have worked closely in the past planning and facilitating
national and regional conferences in Arkansas (at the Ozark Folk
Center) and Louisiana, among many other civic activities. There is
no more focused and committed citizen I have ever met, and she has
raised 4 exemplary children (2 now adults) in this county.
The characterizations leveled at her by these 3 “leaders” as well
as some of the JP’s are outrageous and are not “mistruths,” – they
are LIES, as are statements made by various members of the
courthouse staff who have described her (and the committee) as
“criminals” and “druggies.”
I am also aware the committee attempted to communicate with both
Bradley and Vaden, in writing, well before any of this public fiasco
unfolded, and were totally ignored by these arrogant, unprofessional
and unaccountable “public servants.”
These officials have egregiously violated the
public’s trust and need to be held accountable. All citizens of our
county should be outraged by this situation, and if YOU are not,
then please ask yourself if you are part of the problem.
~LW, Van Buren County Arkansas
name withheld due to fear of retaliation, original
email on file
FREE MIKE KELLEY
DATELINE 100408 ~ BY
ROBERT KOEHLER (condensed)
The ground feels a little soft, but we’re going to stand it.
Premise one: Having a fair election — all votes counted, all who
are eligible and want to vote allowed to vote — is far, far more
important, even in 2008, than who wins.
Premise two: Fair elections are not a given. They never have
been, but things are worse now than ever before because of a perfect
storm, you might say, of factors that have converged in the new
millennium: officialdom’s seduction by unsafe, high-tech voting
systems; the seizure of power by a party of ruthless true believers
who feel entitled to rule and will do anything to win; a polite,
confused opposition party that won’t make a stink about raw
injustice; and an arrogantly complacent media embedded in the
political and economic status quo.
The result: Benjamin Franklin’s worst nightmare.
“Well, Doctor, what have we got — a Republic or a Monarchy?”
“A Republic, if you can keep it.”
Franklin uttered those words in answer to a citizen’s query as he
left the final session of the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
Without an intense degree of citizen involvement at the
structural level — down there amid the gears and cogs of universal
enfranchisement — our government will soon default to something far
simpler: one that is of, by and for whoever seizes power.
|Glaring danger signals:
It all comes down to the first few words of Dorothy Fadiman’s
about-to-be-released documentary, “Stealing America: Vote by Vote,”
spoken by investigative journalist Greg Palast: “The nasty little
secret of American democracy is that not all the votes get counted”
and David Earnhardt’s “Uncounted: The New Math of American
Both movies focus on the disquieting irregularities of the 2004 and
subsequent elections, creating a context for the possibility of
election fraud that transcends Chicken Little and reminds viewers of
our nation’s long history of citizen struggle and vigilance.
encourage citizen ownership of transparent, participatory democracy.
The vision here, coiled in each word, is of a nation full of
election monitors, demanding answers, standing tough.
“This really is the serious business of our lives,” said Ion Sancho,
election supervisor of Leon County, Fla. “My goal is waking people
up. My tactic is to put myself in the middle of the road and say” —
to anyone who would suppress or interfere with the vote — “hey,
you’re going to have to hit me.”
These are just words unless you sign on with your life. ~~~
Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based
journalist, an editor at Tribune Media Services and a nationally
ABOUT OUR ECONOMY...
I got an email today proposing that
instead of bailing out Wall Street we citizens should give ourselves
a "We Deserve It" dividend. I love the idea and wholeheartedly
endorse it. Only problem, the math in the email was wrong.
Still, a lot of what that email said made solid sense, thus I
share the gist of what was sent to me, with corrected $$$ figures:
Our population is about
301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child, which means
there are roughly 140million 'working families'. Divide that number
into the $700billion asked for the Wall Street Bail Out and you get
roughly $5000 per family.
Seems that would help catch-up a lot of deliquent mortgages,
pay off some credit card debt, maybe even put a few dollars in the
bank for a 'rainy day' or make a down-payment on a more
As for AIG - liquidate it. Sell off its parts. Let the private
sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up. We (the working
families) deserve it and the golden parachute folks at AIG don't.
FREE MIKE KELLEY
ON THE SAME SUBJECT...
Another email (accurately) proposed:
Wall Street has actually convinced a lot of us that what's good
for the Dow Jones Average is good for us real people. But for
DECADES bankers have raked in billions while ordinary Americans
watched their wages drop, jobs outsourced, health insurance rates
skyrocket, and have lost their homes.
We need our government to actively work for US in fixing this mess,
so let's tell Congress it's time to start over and pass a New Deal
for Main Street. That means:
Putting real regulations back on runaway financial
corporations, and taking an ownership stake in exchange for any
Providing mortgage relief so ordinary Americans stop losing
Putting millions to work by investing in new green jobs and
Investing in a health care plan to cover everyone
Send your Representatives a message endorsing this strategy