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Last updated: July 18. 2013 2:33PM - 478 Views
Ron Gregory
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The celebration of West Virginia’s statehood causes this “son” of West Virginia to temper my enthusiasm since I don’t believe the state was — or is — legally constituted. It takes a stretch of the imagination by The Charleston Gazette and like-minded folks to determine that government officials “followed the letter of the law” in creating the Mountain State. I don’t think they even followed the “spirit of the law.”


Obviously, that means The Gazette and their revisionist historians do not see any reason for the honest, democratic election of public officials. If anyone in Virginia voted to install Francis Pierpont as the governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, it must have been Abraham Lincoln only (I think he may NOT have lived in Virginia). And the United States constitution plainly says no new state can be created from the territory of an existing state without the concurrence of the legislatures of both states.


Does anyone really believe that Pierpont, headquartered in Wheeling and then Alexandria, was really the governor of Virginia? Does anyone actually believe that a state legislature convened by him had any legitimacy with the people of the commonwealth?


Under threat of guns, some in the mountains of Northwestern Virginia supported the union. Many still fought and died for Virginia and the Confederacy. Had the Confederacy won, no doubt Virginia would have returned to one state, including the so-called “mountain region.”


But to claim, somehow, that those who presided over West Virginia’s creation did it legitimately is a simple fabrication. I would love for Richmond to take us back.


Incidentally, it was pleasing to see a West Virginia Public Television documentary correctly observe that there was no “free voting” in the mountainous region of Virginia concerning the creation of a new state. Guns were held on our ancestors, if they were not off fighting for the Confederacy, and they were forced to vote to secede from Virginia.


That, apparently, is the type of “democracy” The Gazette favors.


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Pierpont often told Lincoln he was afraid to go into the territory over which he was alleged by the union to be governor. “Nobody there is with us,” he wrote Lincoln.


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And The Gazette, in a glowing tribute to those who they allege met the requirements of the law in creating West Virginia, mentioned that the original West Virginia constitution was returned to Wheeling for changes. Ask their editor exactly what those changes were and you will say, “so much for the open, all-inclusive mountaineers who wanted freedom and equality for all.” Again, the Public TV documentary told the truth about that as well. I was impressed.


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Sometimes, they just make it too easy. Last week, the governor’s office put out a call for the House of Delegates to convene to elect a new Speaker on Tuesday at noon. Copies of the call were emailed to the media. Also included in the call was an item by which the House was to set aside funds to pay for the special session.


The problem with that scenario is that the governor had already announced he was NOT calling the State Senate into special session. An appropriations bill must be passed by both legislative bodies. The House could not, legally, appropriate the funds to pay for their special session without senate concurrence.


So, a few minutes later, an “updated” call went out to the media, removing the item about funds for the special session.


But, amazingly, the “updated” call apparently never made it to the people it was intended for – the members of the House. Secretaries on both sides of the aisle confirmed Tuesday morning that they had received just one call and that had both items listed. Then, when the clerk read the communication from the governor, calling the session, it had BOTH items as well. The House, having some common sense, did not take up item number two.


They just keep lobbing it up and asking for someone — anyone — to spike it back across the net.


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Former Governor Arch A. Moore, Jr., thought by many to be the greatest governor the alleged state ever had, regretted few things during his public career. But one item he often mentioned was his support for the “Dying Newspaper Act” that essentially rescued The Charleston Gazette from potential bankruptcy and closure.


The Gazette was in terrible financial condition, always being out-circulated by the Daily Mail by at least two-to-one. Then, they found themselves without a working printing press on which to print the “Morning Sick Call,” as Moore later dubbed it.


Moore was among the chief advocates of an act in Congress that permitted the two to merge their production and advertising departments so the Daily Mail could save the town as a two-newspaper city. The Gazette was printed on the Daily Mail press.


Moore, now 90, often told me how he regretted his assistance. The Gazette made it a policy to criticize Moore throughout his public service. But, interestingly, the more they criticized, the more votes the ex-governor got in Kanawha County.


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Sometimes, they just make it too easy, Part Two. When Governor Earl Ray Tomblin was inaugurated and an after-event reception was held at the state Cultural Center, I found it interesting to examine the bottled water being served. The water was clearly labeled as coming from Pennsylvania. It struck me as odd that, with numerous water bottlers in the Mountain State (including some award-winners), an out-of-state firm was used for the West Virginia governor’s reception.


Then, the infamous 150th year anniversary of illegitimate statehood rolled around. Among the major expenditures was funding spent with Zambelli Fireworks, also from Pennsylvania. While I will concede that Zambelli does a good job, I also know from experience that there are numerous fireworks vendors in West Virginia who could have done the job just as well — undoubtedly for far less money as Zambelli is traditionally the highest bidder on contracts. It even appeared that the porta-potties that dotted the capitol lawn came from some out-of-state company. Again, how many local vendors are there?


Someone may tell me that one of these outfits has the “state contract” to provide these services (I doubt it). Still, with most of the funding for the event coming from supposedly private sources, why could THEY not have contracted with West Virginia companies to provide these services?


Mountaineers are always free — and the government proves it by using out-of-state vendors.


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Speaking of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, state Republicans are planning to hold their annual meeting at what we all know as the Earl Ray Tomblin Convention Center in Logan. But, during their event, GOP leaders have decided to rename it the Ronald Reagan Convention Center. The meeting will be held in July.


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Well, if you are reading this by our press date, you missed it. “It” was the first “Taste of West Virginia” event sponsored by West Virginia’s congressional delegation in Washington, D.C.


According to an announcement, “everyone” was invited to attend the event yesterday at the Hart Senate Office Building from 5 to 7 p.m. That’s as in Tuesday. The notice came out a bit late to really notify West Virginians that food and other items from the Mountain State would be on display at that time. No doubt, with sufficient notice, thousands of West Virginians would have driven to Washington for the two-hour show. I do have a friend who, if invited, would have had to attend. She “must go” when someone invites her.


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Proving Delegate Josh-ua Nelson was far ahead of his time, the congressional delegation also noted the recent award of favorite state food to West Virginia’s pepperoni roll. Nelson, the Boone County Republican (maybe the ONLY Boone County Republican – apologies to Larry Lyon and Donna Gosney), wanted to make the pepperoni roll the official state food. I roundly criticized that effort but apparently Nelson was far ahead of me in the game. That’s not really too difficult.


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And yes, I will still vote for Marco Rubio if he is the Republican nominee for president. It is amazing the litmus tests the tea partiers put everyone through to “prove” they are true conservatives. Rubio, and others, are trying to exercise some common sense in the immigration debate. Far be it from a wild-eyed right-winger to support that.


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A couple of other intriguing West Virginia facts. State propaganda continues to say, and speakers insist, that “West Virginia was the only state formed during the Civil War.” In fact, Nevada also became a state during the time, legally separating from the Utah Territory. And, even supportive historians will concede that “two-thirds” of what became West Virginia was not permitted to vote on secession from Virginia, since that territory was controlled by the Confederacy.


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Call or email me with tips, rumors, story ideas and comments. The email is listed above; the cell is 304-533-5185.





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