Richardson bashes liberal policies

Published 4:30 am Friday, March 14, 2003

By By BILL SANDIFER, Special to the Daily News
At its March meeting Thursday, the Beaufort County Republican Men's Club got an opening pep talk from Beaufort County Commissioner Hood Richardson, president of the club, who touched on a host of conservative hot-button issues.
Recapping the period since the county board became majority Republican, Richardson said the board had had "a lot of fun."
"We chased a lot of rabbits in a lot or directions," he said. He admonished members, however, not to lose sight of the board's mission, which, he said, is "small government, less government, lower taxes, less welfare."
Richardson said he's concerned about crime and will seek the option of having drug investigators accompany Department of Social Services' workers on client calls where drug use is suspected.
Richardson also said he will seek the county board's help in impounding the next round of drug money seizures, so Sheriff Alan Jordan can't buy any more "shiny cars."
Jordan earlier this year barely won approval from the Beaufort County commissioners to purchase a four-wheel-drive vehicle to replace an old vehicle in his office's fleet. State law allowed him to use funds from drug seizures for that purpose, though the commissioners had to approve the transaction through the county's budget.
Richardson Thursday night also claimed that the relative financial handicap he said Republicans experienced in the last election cost the party majority control of the state Legislature, adding Democrats had "bought the election."
Once again, he urged Republicans to keep their money at home by donating to local candidates.
Richardson characterized recent local election gains as a different matter, however.
"That is a political revolution in Beaufort County based upon the way business was done in the past," he said, adding that county Republicans put state Sen. Marc Basnight, D-Dare, and state Rep. Arthur Williams III, D-Beaufort, on notice that traditional Democratic methods of government have come to an end.
"We're the only county in Eastern North Carolina who is bringing them to account, and you can thank your Republican commissioners for that," said Richardson.
With the pep talk done, Richardson took care of some club housekeeping by endorsing incumbent Republican chairman Hope Van Dorp for re-election. He also endorsed Tim Melton for vice chairman of the Beaufort County Republican Party.
As Van Dorp spoke, Lee Foreman and Ron Toppin, also seeking the positions of chairman and vice chairman, respectively, listened.
When Melton was asked if he is a "Lee-ite or a Hood-ite," he responded, "I'm my own person."
Acknowledging the talents of Foreman and Richardson, Melton said, "Both these guys, if they were part of NASCAR, would be a winning team."
Referring to the fact the two men have had a parting of ways, Melton added, "I hope you can settle your differences."
At the end of the meeting, neither Foreman nor Toppin had been given a chance to speak to club members.
On another note: Responding to comments made by Martin County commissioners Chairman Mort Hurst Wednesday night regarding Beaufort County commissioners' failure to approve Tideland Mental Health's local business plan, Richardson said, "The state has decided mental health units have become welfare units." He said the state revamped decisions on who would be served because of a controversy in Pitt County that "has gone on in secret."
Richardson said he had succeeded in "smoking them out," referring to a comment by Tideland's area director, Lynda Watkins, that she would continue to provide services through Tideland's $2 million reserve fund.
When that fund runs out, Richardson said, "It's gonna be another cry and beg to get tax money. … They're trying to snooker us, so they can get more tax money."
The Beaufort County Home, said Richardson, is another area the board will look into.
"We have millionaires who stay in the county home," he said. "I'm tired of the county home losing money and millionaires being subsidized by taxpayers," he said, asserting the home loses between $200,00 and $500,000 a year.
On another issue, Richardson said the board will work to see that the Warren Field Airport Commission is "shaken up."
On national politics, Richardson suggested "sealing the borders."
"You're supposed to let people in so they can go collect welfare and let us pay for it," he added sarcastically.
Summing up, he said, "It's the liberals that are ruining us everywhere we look." He suggested federal immigration policy revert to that of the 1950s, a period when, according to Richardson, immigrants could enter the country only if the head of the family had a job.