On Ferguson and Bill James

To the people of District 6: Tired of Bill James? Say so

Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners District 6 hugs the county’s southern border, from the bottom of Steele Creek in the west to Clear Creek in the east, encompassing Pineville, Matthews, Ballantyne, and Providence. For the past 18 years, this area’s representative on the county’s governing board has been Bill James, who in recent days has had these and other things to say on Twitter and Facebook about the continued unrest in Ferguson, Missouri (unedited):

“Blacks riot, loot and destroy in #Ferguson Again – bring back #militarizedpolice to restore order.”

“Gov Nixon, demo, wants to sing kumbaya with blacks & getting nowhere fast. Disease of wuss ism #ferguson To fix this takes guns and guts”

#ferguson erupts as Blacks return to rioting and looting. So much for the ‘kinder and gentler’ State Trooper. He was put in charge after liberals and black leaders complained about the Ferguson police chief’s insensitivity.

Coddle rioters and you get more rioting and violence and property damage … the militarization of the police is necessary and a show of force is required in such circumstances.”

None of this is surprising. This is authentic Bill James, he of “moral sewer” infamy. There’s no episode of racial tension he can’t or won’t exploit, no authoritarian boot he won’t lick. I neither know nor care whether he really means it or just pretends to because he thinks his constituents want to hear it, and I’m not sure which is worse. Point is, Bill James is a known commodity.

The people I’m curious about are those who live in District 6, who keep electing James to office, again and again. Where do they stand, exactly?

There’s some indication that at least some of them are getting tired of James’ nonsense. After he ran unopposed in 2004 and 2008, he actually faced serious competition in 2012—first from Ed Driggs in the Republican primary. James won, but with only 52 percent of the vote, and Driggs is now on the Charlotte City Council. In the general, James beat Democrat Connie Green-Johnson with 57 percent, an astoundingly low figure for a Republican in a bright-red sector of the county.

Green-Johnson spoke clearly about why she was running: “The gentleman who sits in this District 6 seat has become an affront to just about everyone in the community with his personal views,” she told The Charlotte Weekly. “I am just appalled that we would even have someone in any election acting and saying the horrible things he says.”

Clearly, at least a significant minority in the district are appalled, too, whenever James opens his mouth. James has a right to speak his mind, and so do they, and now’s a good time for them to speak up.

Categories: Poking the Hornet’s Nest