Tag Archives: west virginia

Mark Caserta: Huntington recognized as the 2nd poorest place in West Virginia.

9 Nov

huntington-wv


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Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and editor for Free State Patriot

November 9, 2019


 

Population decline is arguably the most prominent metric for determining the socio-economic stability of any state or city across America. And Huntington, West Virginia, once again, is being recognized for all the wrong reasons.

Per recent United States census estimates, Huntington, the 2nd largest city (based on 2017 estimates) in West Virginia is losing its population at an alarming rate. I will go further to speculate that if this metric could somehow be modified to reflect the ratio of people who left our community who were contributors to our economy versus the incoming ones who incessantly “make withdrawals” on our economy, the attrition rate would reveal a much greater negative impact to our city.

According to recent estimates, Huntington started the decade with an estimated 49, 153 people. By 2018, the number had fallen six percent to 46, 048.

Based on data from the American Community Survey, the average size of a household was around 2.21 persons with a median “household” income of around $30,359.

The survey went on to rate the top ten poorest places in the Mountain State for 2019. It’s not surprising to those paying attention or being impacted by our depraved economy, that Huntington is near the top of the list. Very near.

The survey analyzed the most recent data from cities in West Virginia with a population of 5,000 or more people. They arrived at these cities as the poorest places in West Virginia.

  1. Keyser
  2. Huntington
  3. Morgantown
  4. Buckhannon
  5. Grafton
  6. Martinsburg
  7. Moundsville
  8. Parkersburg
  9. Bluefield
  10. Oak Hill

The facts of the survey were very telling, indeed. (The survey is available for viewing at 2013-2017 American Community Survey) The information gathered to declare Huntington as being one of the poorest places in West Virginia, indirectly points to our city as being one of the poorest places in America!

The study examined the poverty level, median household income adjusted for the cost of living and the unemployment rate, as they explain below.

“The “median household income adjusted for the cost of living” attempts to gauge how expensive it is to live in a place and how that impacts the quality of life. For example, a town might have fewer people living below the official poverty line, but the cost of living is so high they’d still feel poor.

The unemployment rate tries to capture the prospects for improvement in the city or town. If more people are employed, the brighter the future looks and vice versa.

After we collected the data for all 27 places with more than 5,000 people in West Virginia, we ranked each place from 1 to 27 for each of the criteria, with 1 being the poorest.”

We then averaged all the rankings for a place into a “Poor Score” with the place having the lowest overall Poor Score, Keyser, crowned the “Poorest Place In West Virginia For 2019”.

And Huntington receives a “silver” medal for being the 2nd poorest place in West Virginia. Doesn’t that make you proud!

It should make you angry! Under the direction of our current city leaders, we have experienced a social and economic decline like nothing I’ve seen in my lifetime!

At this point, I’m not certain which is happening more rapidly, the loss of economically productive people or the acquisition of people dependent upon our city and our tax dollars.

But I can say without hesitation, both are happening.   And that’s a recipe for disaster. And we appear to be working harder at attracting the dependent folks than we are at retaining those who contribute to a thriving economy.

In what world does that make sense? It seems the only business benefitting from this madness are those who receive government grants or subsidies to support their programs.

Yes, there is certainly a need for these sorts of supportive entities. But the rehab industry cannot and must not be considered a viable replacement for good, living wage paying jobs in manufacturing and infrastructure.

I’m convinced our city leaders are either clueless or unwilling in addressing the problem.

After all, they can simply vote themselves pay increases, while the poor remain poor and without hope.

Oh, you didn’t know? Why, yes! In October, Huntington City Council approved an ordinance to increase the mayor’s salary from $85,000 a year to $114,500 by 2021. That’s nearly a $30,000 increase in 2 years!

Additionally, Council members will be getting about $40 to $50 more each month.

I’m all for pay increases based on performance. But what have they done to deserve these increases? Most people producing their type of results wouldn’t be rewarded, they’d be terminated!

Look around you. It’s obvious our city leaders have been as feckless and ineffective in their duties. And unfortunately, as we continue to be recognized for all the wrong reasons, Huntington will continue to be avoided by businessmen and entrepreneurs like the plague.

Don’t be fooled by a sharp-tongued, political orator in 2020. Vote to return the Jewell City to greatness, before we pass the point of no return.

 

 

 

 

Mark Caserta: Drag Queen Story Hour: Promoting more than “acceptance”

17 Mar

drag queen story hour

Drag Queen Story Hour working to expand its reading


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Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and editor for Free State Patriot

March 17, 2019


 

Drag queens across America and around the world are reading to our children at libraries, schools, bookstores, museums, summer camps, afterschool programs, and other community spaces.

These “gender confused” individuals claim to be “spreading a message of acceptance”.

I submit they are intentionally targeting our young, impressionable kids with the progressive goal of redefining the Biblical definition of a man and a woman and God’s plan of creation.

Additionally, I firmly believe this will be an avenue for sex predators to prey upon our children under the guise of “acceptance”. In fact, I’ve no doubt, it’s already happening.

You may recall, in December 2018, a group known as “Huntington Pride” sponsored Drag Queen Story Time in the city of Huntington, WV. The event, planned to be held at Pullman Square, aligned with our mayor’s message of “tolerance” and “inclusiveness”.

I failed to notice any outrage or dissension at city hall over the event, so I must presume this event had their blessing. Seems like a unique way to celebrate the Christmas season, doesn’t it? Perhaps the timing intentionally represented a somewhat “different” message than the actual reason for the season. I have my suspicions.

This local event was advertised on the group’s Facebook page:

Join Jade & Giselle for a story hour for all ages. Cookies and Hot Chocolate provided. ‘Tango Makes Three’ and ‘Jacob’s New Dress’ celebrate acceptance and inclusion in a way that makes sense to kids and adults alike and read by two of Huntington’s finest drag entertainers. Please join us! 

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You may be unaware of what Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is all about.

Well, the group’s website candidly explains, “DQSH is just what it sounds like—drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.”

Oh, but as with most liberal-slanted initiatives, DQSH has become so much more. It’s now reading — riddled with unintended consequences.

As reported last week by KHOU Channel 11 in Houston, TX, a Houston Public Library allowed a registered child sex offender to read to kids at a Drag Queen Storytime event.

A media spokesperson for the library confirmed one of the program’s drag queens, Tatiana Mala Nina, whose original name is Alberto Garza, a 32-year-old child sex offender, was near young children and allowed to read to them.

In 2008, Garza was convicted of assaulting an 8-year-old boy.

In a statement, the Houston Public Library admits they didn’t do a background check on Garza and said Garza will not be involved in any future library programs.

If, indeed, the DQSH members are simply promoting acceptance of the LGBTQ lifestyle, why advertise (what one can only assume to be “training” to be a drag queen) by offering a “Drag Queen Makeup Tutorial for Teens on their website?

If you desire to check out the group’s website for yourself, go ahead. It’s https://www.dragqueenstoryhour.org/

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Let me be frank. (no pun intended).

While I don’t condone this lifestyle, I couldn’t care less if these “men” want to play dress up and put on makeup. I’ll simply use the phrase Christians often hear from the left, “Don’t push your belief system on me!”

Progressives will read this column and swear it’s written from hatred. Nothing could be further from the truth. God commands us to love one another. But He also commands obedience to His Word.

Shame on any administration, including Huntington, WV, that would allow this abomination to occur within city limits. It’s dereliction of duty to the people at the highest level and certainly not in our city’s best interest.

How long will it be before we see men dressed as women entering women’s restrooms, claiming to identify as female? You’re foolishly naïve if you don’t believe this will be used as a ploy to exploit the innocent among us.

How would you feel if a man entered a restroom with your young daughter and you were prohibited by law to deal with it? That’s exactly the LGBTQ vision — No boundaries, with total acceptance and inclusion.

After all, we can trust everyone, right?

Finally, it may interest local readers to know Huntington is among a distinguished group of cities such as, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in allowing DQSH events.

Doesn’t that make you proud, Huntington?

 

 

Free State Patriot: Will Democrats return to the tactics of bullying and intimidation?

5 Mar

wv capitol

State Capitol Building. Designed by renowned architect Cass Gilbert, the West Virginia State Capitol sits along the Kanawha River in Charleston.


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By Doug Smith and Mark Caserta of Free State Patriot

March 3, 2019


 

Is there some sort of “rite of passage” that occurs following the election of politicians which converts them into spineless “representatives” of the people, unable to see beyond winning their next election?

Now, I know some well-meaning politicians, (not many) who attempt to stay focused on their campaign promises and work diligently toward delivering for their constituents.

Contrary to the liberal media, Donald J. Trump is one of them. His “archaic” approach to living up to one’s pledges and working hard for those who elected him to office, has certainly becoming a “pipe dream” for voters in today’s modern era.

But liberal Democrats are the very worst.

Positioned as the predominate party in the state of West Virginia since the early 1930’s, their reign helped perpetually cripple our state and move us to the cellar in nearly every metric regarding jobs, the economy, education, you name it, West Virginia falls on the lower side of the grading curve.

In many regards, progressive Democrats were arguably successful in their mission in our state. Their ideology of capturing the poor and uneducated in their liberal nets of government sustenance has provided them a predictable voter base year after year.

And they did it all in the interest of “compassion” and “benevolence”. Hogwash!

They did it for power.

Liberal Democrats live by the old proverb which says, “If you want to go fast – go alone. If you want to go far – go together”. They’ve adhered to that philosophy for decades.

They don’t go it alone, and they don’t eat their own!

In the face of battle or controversy, they circle the wagons and unload everything in their arsenal to protect their progressive, self-centered ideology of fabricated compassion for the “downtrodden” and “disenfranchised” among us.

It’s the equivalent of liberals keeping West Virginians “barefoot and pregnant” and in the kitchen and bedroom where they belong.

And don’t worry, you can abort your baby more easily than buying cold medication. And true to form, Democrats will keep the food stamps coming – just don’t get a job and become self-sufficient or they’ll drop you faster than The Ten Commandments on the courthouse lawn!

Just remember to vote for the hand that feeds you.

Republicans in Washington just aren’t that smart. I’ve can’t recall seeing such a group of feckless politicians wavering in the winds of discontent, like those on Capitol Hill.

It’s as though the ability to wield power on behalf of their constituents is an incomprehensible concept to them!

They flounder worse than Barack Obama not speaking from a teleprompter!

And believe me when I tell you Democrats are smiling on the sidelines, watching the GOP implode. Right now, the dissention among Republicans in Washington, is simply a gift to the Democrats, who remain cohesive, even in their reckless abandon.

Speaking of a gift of dissension, Republicans offered up a huge one last week at our State Capitol.

What the liberal media called an “anti-Muslim” display, resulted in a legislative aide seeking medical attention, another resigning and an “out of control” House Democrat kicking a door open to the House Chamber during prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Dems are so gracious in their approach.

Reportedly, a poster with an image of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, set off a firestorm, angering House Minority Whip Mike Caputo, D-Marion, to forcefully enter the chamber, injuring an aide.

Of course, the liberal media, ever on the attack of conservatives, escalated the news to a national forefront, predictably portraying the GOP as racist Islamophobes and Democrats as “Knights in shining armor”.

“I’m the one who kicked the door open,” Caputo said. “That’s how angry I was. I went over to that poster and I said it was a racist poster … . Yeah I kicked that door open; I’ll own it.”

I can’t help but wonder if Caputo would have forced the door open with the same reckless anger if it were an anti-Christian poster on the other side? Apparently, He and his liberal colleagues put on quite the show for the media.

But here’s the fly in the buttermilk.

Rather than members of the GOP presenting a united front and posturing offensively, they apparently chose to cower in the shadows, fearing retribution of the mainstream media.

Understand, this tactic of bullying and intimidation isn’t a new stratagem for the left.

Throughout the 1840’s and forward, Southern Democrats in the Congress increasingly used bullying tactics, threats, intimidation, and even physical violence to stifle debate, limit amendments, and shut down any attempts at limiting or threatening their current “sacred cow”: Slavery.

Northerners were increasingly incensed at the Southern Democrats bullying tactics, feeling that it robbed them of representation in the Congress, and gave Southerners a double advantage, in that they already had representation for their slaves, who could not vote, under the 3/5 Compromise. Northerners in Congress often stayed silent for fear of being challenged to a duel, or direct violence.

Indeed, in the 30 years prior to the Civil War, there were over 70 cases of direct violence between members of Congress.

Sound familiar? Is history doomed to repeat itself, beginning in the state of West Virginia?

The nation already suspects the Mountain State is filled with uneducated hillbillies, who cling to their “God” and “Guns”. Are we now revealing our true, racist colors?

No wonder these mountain people voted for their hero, Donald Trump!

Caputo and his liberal minions did absolutely nothing but embarrass themselves, our great state and the Democrat Party with this shameless display of workplace violence.

But, isn’t workplace violence grounds for termination?

You see, we understand Democrats not having a moral compass. We expect that. It’s not prerequisite to their platform. They will make whatever change is necessary to remain in power, even if it means re-writing or re-living history.

But if Republicans don’t learn how to control their majority status and leverage it to legislate on behalf of the people, it won’t be long before we hand this state, “lock, stock and barrel”, back to the Democrats.

Free State Patriot has nothing but respect for our local, Cabell County GOP management. We know them to be God-fearing, trustworthy individuals. They are true conservatives. We need more like them on the field of play.

But we must unite as a party, with a singular goal of delivering to our constituents. We will never be able to stand successfully against the Democrat machine otherwise.

The GOP must learn how to present a unified message with consistency. Only then can we effectively evaluate the need, plan the action and manage the results for the American people.

Let’s begin our own “progressive” approach to rebuilding the conservative foundation in West Virginia.

Let’s learn from history – not relive it.

 

 

 

Mark Caserta: Huntington, WV. is becoming a sanctuary for everything bad in the U.S.

29 Dec

crime

(City-Data.com shows Huntington, WV. crime index higher than 97.2% of other U.S. cities)


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Mark Caserta is an opinion columnist and editor of Free State Patriot

December 29, 2018


It’s imperative to remember “fake news”, or “news designed to influence, rather than inform,” is real.  And it’s alive and well in Huntington, WV.

Now, fake news targeting political differences is one thing. But, when “fake news” begins to compromise the safety of citizens…it’s time to hold media accountable.

It became a “red flag” when various local news media began reporting certain aspects of crime were down in Huntington. Any intellectually honest person with a pulse and a TV, radio or mobile device can certainly see the apparent level of criminal activity within the city of Huntington does not support those conclusions.

Those engaged individuals would be the first to challenge the validity of these media claims. Free State Patriot, Huntington City Watch and concerned citizens decided to investigate the actual numbers.

First, understand, numbers can be manipulated. When dealing with double or even triple digits, percentages are easily impacted and skewed to influence rather than inform.

Some percentages may show a decrease, but when dealing with double or even triple digits, percentages are easily impacted. For example, if a city had 20 homicides in 2017, and incurred 3 less in 2018, the media could accurately report homicides were down 15 percent.

But for all intents and purposes, is there really much difference between 20 and 17 lives taken in a year? “15 percent” is just ambiguous enough to sound more impactful for the story and support a desired agenda. It simply cannot be construed as a trend, as some would have you believe.

Many engaged citizens are very concerned that our local media, both print and television, are in the back pocket of the local deep state and want you to believe our city leaders have Huntington headed in the right direction.

I submit nothing could be further from the truth.

Having lived in this area my entire life, I know we’ve prided ourselves in the Tri-State as having comparatively low crime rates compared to cities across the country. Contrary to reports, those days have passed us by. I’m going to offer some specific numbers relative to Huntington, WV. as compared to national averages.

According to City-Data.com, a website that tracks all things “crime-related” across the nation, Huntington, West Virginia has achieved, yet, another dubious recognition.

It has become one of the most dangerous cities in the country. In fact, per the website, Huntington’s crime index is higher than 97.2 percent of other cities in our nation!

There are currently 177 registered sex offenders living in Huntington, as of December 29, 2018. That’s a ratio of one sex offender per every 273 citizens.

The fact that in 2016, the violent crime rate in Huntington was exactly “double” that of the U.S. average should be extremely concerning for all of us.

The following are criminal statistics per 100,000 in population and have been mathematically adjusted to align with our current, reported city population:

    • Murders per 100,000 population – Huntington 6.2 vs. U.S. 5.7
    • Rapes per 100,000 population – Huntington 68 vs. U.S. 32
    • Robberies per 100,000 population – Huntington 258 vs. U.S. 110
    • Assaults per 100,000 population – Huntington 447 vs. U.S. 266
    • Thefts per 100,000 population – Huntington 3084 vs. U.S. 1869
    • Auto thefts per 100,000 population – Huntington 237 vs. U.S. 254
    • Arson per 100,000 population – Huntington 41.2 vs. U.S. 15.2
    • City-data.com crime index – Huntington 559 vs. U.S. 236

Read more: http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Huntington-West-Virginia.html#ixzz5b61qKjuw

Now, the role of mayor can vary significantly depending on the city in which they were elected. In the city of Huntington, the mayor and the city council work together on developing and approving legislation within the boundaries of our city charter. Both entities have their prescribed veto power and generally share responsibility of city business.

So, if you were responsible for a city facing this mounting criminal presence, how would you address it? How important would the peace and prosperity of your constituents be? How inclined would you be to reduce law enforcement simply to accommodate a budget?

Who is worthy to decide it was worth putting our citizens at risk?

Well, in 2017, as reported in a January, WSAZ News Channel 3 news release, Huntington Mayor Steve Williams authorized reductions reducing police department staffing by 17 officers and fire department staffing by seven. In a statement in the release by Mayor Williams, the cuts were made to reduce the city’s budget deficit which was apparently poorly managed.

“We have made every effort to save as many jobs as possible and continue providing essential services,” Williams said. “These actions will not resolve all of our budget issues. We know we will be managing our way out of this for the next 18 months with the primary objective of avoiding further reductions in force. Our residents expect and deserve world-class service, and as we continue to address these financial constraints, we will implement procedures to ensure this cannot happen again.”

“The fact is when we came down through the end of the fiscal year and knew that some things were tight, we asked for budgets as we were preparing for the coming year,” Mayor Steve Williams said Thursday on First Look at Four. “and the next thing, we look at where we are right now, and that’s when the overages in each department became extremely clear. This should’ve been seen sooner. This is nobody’s fault but mine.”

At the time, WSAZ spoke with members of the police and fire departments.

“For the first time in 23 years, this mayor came in and handed our chief a budget,” said Sgt. Brian Lucas, the president of the local Fraternal Order of Police. “Not a number to form a budget around – he said here’s your budget. That budget included 111 officers, but he only allowed enough money for 102 and we were mandated to hire up to 113 at one point.”

“This is just a horrible decision on the mayor’s part,” said Lucas. “I’m not a numbers guy, but there has to be a better way. I think this situation’s been totally mismanaged and he’s absolutely laid it on the backs of employees at this point, throwing those cuts out there and he’s putting the citizens at risk.”

And putting the citizens of Huntington at risk is EXACTLY what has happened.

We now face an overwhelming crisis of crime to the degree I’ve not witnessed in my lifetime in the area. Our crime rate is even much higher than any of our nearest cities, some exponentially! And adding “insult to injury” we have a local media that is attempting to convince us our city is headed in the right direction.

Is that the Huntington, WV you want for your family? Are we going to support local media that apparently has more concern for the perceived success of this administration than it does your safety?

We are 6 months away from the end of “18 month” period during which Mayor Williams said, “we would be managing our way out of this…” We should demand an increase in our city’s police presence, certainly by then or even sooner!

I highly recommend everyone visit Huntington City Watch on Facebook and submit your application for membership. It currently has over 20,000 members in a city hovering around 40,000 members. As we all know, there is strength in numbers.  It’s truly a great way to see through the fake news.

The city of Huntington is becoming a sanctuary for all that’s bad in our nation.

Intentionally?  You decide.  Nevertheless, it’s true.

Get informed, engaged and involved – before it’s too late.

 

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