Last updated: July 14. 2014 3:37PM - 2021 Views

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By Ron Gregory


The sentencing of Michael Sparks, the former Mingo County prosecutor, did not draw nearly the crowd that appeared when ex-Judge Michael Thornsbury was sentenced. Sparks, who many argue is a decent man who landed in the wrong spot, was not nearly as apologetic as Thornsbury appeared to be.

In fact, Sparks and his attorney appeared to be reaching for the high ground to commend the ex-prosecutor for his role in helping federal officials in the prosecution of other corrupt Mingo politicians.

As one wag asked, however, how many times can the Team Mingo crowd get time off for tattling on each other?

… Williamson’s new mayor, who appeared as part of the defense in Thornsbury’s case, was on hand for Sparks’ sentencing but did not seem to be as deeply involved.

The strangest picture that could have come out of the sentencing, if cameras were allowed, might have been the numerous times prosecutors conferred with Sparks and/or his counsel. It really appeared odd, even to veteran courtroom observers.

… Although the 2014 election cycle is not complete (except, perhaps, in Mingo County, where the nuns have declared there are no Republicans running), plans are already being formed for 2015 and 2016.

An intriguing 2015 candidacy being discussed would be that of Democrat Delegate Meshea L. Poore for mayor of Charleston. Poore, who represents Kanawha County’s District 37, including much of the downtown Charleston area, gave attorney Nick Casey a real run for his money in the recent Democrat primary for Congress. Nobody expected Poore to run Casey, a well-known attorney and past party state chairman, as close as she did.

Poore would bring an interesting dynamic to the contest, particularly if incumbent Republican Danny Jones seeks re-election.

Jones, extremely popular with Charleston voters, would be the clear favorite but Poore would surely make a race of it.

Meanwhile, an account has been created on social media to urge former U.S. Sen. Carte Goodwin to run for attorney general in 2016. Presumably, Goodwin, who was appointed when Sen. Robert C. Byrd died, would be challenging incumbent Republican Patrick Morrisey.

… Why, a reader asks, did it take two uniformed sheriff’s deputies to guard railroad maintenance workers at the Matewan-Buskirk crossing a few weeks back? Who knows? Maybe they were guarding each other.

… Cry baby loser Richard Ojeda and his supporters, including Chris Stratton, appear to think anyone who disagrees with them is either paid off or stupid. Frankly, I am neither one. To suggest that state Sen. Art Kirkendoll could “buy” my support is an insult to me, Kirkendoll and good journalism everywhere. Yet, Ojeda and Stratton appear to believe such nonsense.

I watch photos on social media showing Ojeda in uniform “working with” and “training” young people. If he is “teaching” them to be cynical and believe all officeholders are crooks, that is a great disservice to West Virginia and the nation at large.

I guarantee one and all that I would criticize Kirkendoll if he deserved it. He doesn’t deserve it.

My great friends, Logan County Commissioners Danny Ellis and Danny Godby called to see if I am letting Ojeda and Stratton’s criticisms get to me. In a word, “no.” But it is always good to hear from old friends.

… While Republicans pine for a majority in the state Legislature, I cannot imagine that incumbent Boone Delegate Joshua Nelson will be re-elected. And, if he were to be, would he actually serve a term for a change?

… What is the connection between Monongalia state Sen. Bob Beach’s new “senate vehicle” mentioned here last week and Logan County coal mining? Maybe we’ll find out soon as we begin to “connect the dots.”

… The state Ethics Commission, one member of which violated the ethics laws by naming a party in a complaint, still has not figured out if Democrat mailings at election time were a violation of law. In one case, state GOP operative Rob Cornelius was able to show that the Democrat incumbent used historic voter lists to direct his piece. Doesn’t sound too ethical to me.

… The celebrity at Thursday’s “public” swearing-in of Mingo County’s new circuit judge was none other than Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper. Carper, whose Judicial Vacancy Advisory Commission, recommends names for appointment by the governor, was the object of attention by many of those on hand. Several said they had only “seen you on television,” and asked to have their pictures taken with “the Commish.”

Your comments, story ideas, rumors and allegations that I am bought and paid for are always welcome. Use my email listed or call my cell, 304-533-5185.

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