02/03/13 — Smells like ... Looks like partisanship is back and with a vengeance.

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Smells like ... Looks like partisanship is back and with a vengeance.

There is a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall ... and, unfortunately, we have heard it before.

No, it is not the famous goodnight scene from "The Sound of Music."

It is the same old, same old partisan bickering that suggests that once again, we have politicians in power in Wayne County who just don't get it.

After complaining for years -- and rightly so -- that Republican ideas, leadership and contributions were ignored and dismissed by the Democratically controlled county commission, and then promising they would never do the same thing, the newly elected Republican bloc has proceeded to do exactly that.

From bumping off long-term members of boards to put themselves or their like-minded fellows into seats of influence, to sniffing around for ways to cut off questions, answers and up front conversations about county business, the new guard seems to have forgotten those calls to listen to all ideas and to be inclusive rather than exclusive.

And then there is another interesting development. One of the new members of the board of commissioners, the chairman, seems to have appointed himself "head of the county" and the spokesperson for the others.

Well, how about that?

If we had known that, we could have saved ourselves the salaries of the four other commissioners and been in even better fiscal shape.

Aside from the obvious problem that we did not elect Chairman Steve Keen to be head of the county and to direct the day-to-day operations of our county, there is that little problem that we also did not give him free reign to operate without accountability or responsibility.

And unfortunately, that means listening to someone else's idea or opinion once in a while -- not just those who agree with you -- and understanding just what it means to be required to adhere to the rules of open government.

There is a sad sort of call from many local Republicans these days. It is a manipulation of what is a legitimate criticism of mainstream media today.

The assumption is that a conservative or a Republican cannot get a fair shake in any form of media.

Well, gentlemen, that is not true, at least not locally.

But what this paper will not allow to happen is for any party to get a pass when it is behaving on the borderline of ugly partisanship, cronyism and trying to wiggle past the rules of open government and the public's right to know.

And if you are behaving like hypocrites, we will point that out, too.

The reason we will not just sit back and watch is because we know that this new philosophy is only one step away from secrecy (remember how some of you were so incensed by that when you were making your campaign ads) and taking the public out of the loop.

We know. We have asked to interview the chairman on his plans for the future of the county -- to no avail. More on that later.

We have tried to politely point to an example of someone who is living by his campaign speeches -- new Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

We have suggested you follow his model and realize that not every decision that was made before you arrived is the opposite of what should be done.

We have even suggested that you be leaders and crusaders for open and honest government and live up to the principles of the party you represent.

We have challenged you to be better than those who have gone before you.

And, we still hope, you will take up that mantle and be the leaders we hoped you would be and remember that there is no "mandate" that allows anyone to run roughshod over other people's rights to responsibly participate in their government.

If you want proof, just listen to your national counterparts and their message to President Barack Obama.

But if you choose the other way, we will continue to point out your actions to the public and to ask the questions -- even if you won't answer them -- and to hold you accountable for every vote, every proposal that is loosely based in fact and every appointment that does not suggest that Wayne County will get the very best.

After all, somebody has to stand up.

And we are ready to do just that.

Published in Editorials on February 3, 2013 12:08 AM