Huntington, Someone Has To Say It!

New book by David Williams available at Empire Books or Amazon
New book by David Williams available at Empire Books or Amazon
Still alive and well after decades of great hotdogs
Still alive and well after decades of great hotdogs | Source

Introduction

In the Summer of '76, my family and I moved from Cumberland, Md to the Huntington, WV area. My first sight of West Virginia was my mom waking me up in the back of our old Chrysler as we pulled into Frostop Hotdogs off of what was then known as 16th Street.

We lived in Proctorville, Ohio which then meant a trip across the 6th Street Bridge or the WestHuntingtonBridge because the bridge over into Proctorville was just a dream and an argument back then. Every weekend we would go shopping in Huntington or my friends and I would be dropped off in the thriving Downtown Huntington area to watch movies at The Camelot, Cinema, or Keith Albee. We would then run into Davidson Records, National Record Mart, Opus One, or Sight N Sounds and look at albums and 45 rpm singles. Nick's News was another popular destination. Downtown was thriving with many shopping choices.

When The Huntington Mall opened within a few years, we would go out and shop there but still go downtown. We heard grumbling that the mall was forced out of downtown and out to Barboursville because 'old money' wanted it that way. We also heard that an entrance/ exit to Interstate 64 was rejected for downtown. We did not know what all that meant and really did not care because we were just teenagers so like other Huntington residents we accepted what City Hall and others thought was best for us.

As years passed I hung out all over Huntington. I played basketball with my West Moreland friends out in Spring Valley. I swam at Olympic Pool with my Huntington High friends that I worked with at Big Bear. Later, I drank at several hangouts with Huntington East friends that I worked with when I moved from 1st Street Big Bear to 29th Street Big Bear.

The new bridge opened and my trip from Proctorville much quicker and eliminated the long traffic jam crossing the 6th Street Bridge. All though the 80's Downtown Huntington slowly began to wither. By the late 90's, it was looking grim. Banishing The Huntington Mall to Barboursville began to look like a bad idea. Restaurants and other businesses began to locate more frequently around The Huntington Mall in Barboursville and dining dollars and other dollars began to flow more frequently into Barboursville as consumers would shop and dine while out around the mall.

Downtown Huntington began looking like a ghost town with empty storefronts. The biggest attraction to Huntington was Cruise Avenue and that began a problem for local businesses because teenagers drove in circles around Downtown Huntington and that discouraged citizens from eating or shopping Downtown because of the traffic situation and the abundance of teenagers, many of whom were drinking. So many customers would go out and dine at the chain restaurants at the mall instead of the independent restaurants downtown.

Then in the 2000s, Pullman Square was born and Downtown Huntington began a resurgence. Downtown is not totally revitalized but it is re-energized and the potential for growth is exciting.

As I grew older and moved into Huntington and started to have to pay fees and taxes, I began to understand that someone needs to keep an eye on the local government. If the local government goes unwatched, then politicians serve their own interests through 'sweetheart deals' and corruption. I'm not saying that goes on now, but it has in Huntington before. There have been politicians who got elected to serve their best interests or local businessmen would sponsor politicians run for office because they knew that politician would look out for their best interests.

So I think by examining our past or just by living through Huntington's history, we begin to understand that if we want to keep tax and fees at bay and if we want our best interests served as citizens, then we need to become active in local government or at least keep a watchful eye on our elected officials.

We may elect them to do a job for us but too many times our trust in them have been squandered and it has stunted Huntington's growth and caused citizens to move to Barboursville or into Ohio. If we want to see Huntington reach its' optimum potential in our lifetime or even our children's' lifetimes, then we must take an active role in helping to manage our local government officials.

We tend to forget that we have the power to terminate politicians who do not do what they were elected to do or what they promised to do but voting them out of office.

Politicians in Huntington realize and count on the fact that local voters elect familiar names. This usually means that once a politician is voted into office then that means they have an easy ride because they will be continuously re-elected.

Our city tends to stagnate when we get bogged down with the same magistrates, politicians, and same ineffective names
election after election. Even if a person reaches a term limit they resurface in another position or they get an easy job like when Mayor Steve gave the ex-councilman, who I affectionately refer to as "The Hotdog Boy" a cushy job making 52,000.

The Peter Principle was a popular management theory in the 70's that suggested that people get promoted into positions that they don't necessarily have the skills for based on performance in positions where other skills were used. Those people performed mediocre or poorly and they reach their level of incompetence and never rise any farther and stay in the same positions performing average at best until they retire, quit, or are terminated.

The Alligator Jackson Principle suggests that Huntington politicians get voted into office based on their popularity and not necessarily based on their skills and talents and they get re-elected term after term because of their name and not their performance. These politicians will remain in office (another position if they reach term limit) until they retire or die and their performance will be average at best and Huntington will suffer due to their poor skills. Most politicians seem to get complacent and lazier as time goes by instead of becoming better at their jobs.

Huntington needs to have better turnout at elections, research the candidates better, and keep a watchful eye on our officials and demand more and better out of them just as they demand more money from us through fees and taxes so they have funding for their ideas.

The Internet has provided us with more tools to gather information and to track politician's performances. What is lacking now is that Average Joe doesn't seem to care. Huntington residents tend to live in a bubble and are not aware of what is going on around them. Historically, they have let the local media, mainly The Herald Dispatch tell them what is going on and the newspaper always tended to slant their coverage and try to inflict the paper's will on voters.

Now, we have talk radio with voices like Tom Roten and we have the Internet with sources like HuntingtonNews.net, various bloggers (like Alligator Jackson), and Facebook forums who can counter the newspaper's liberal slant on the news and give additional ideas and opinions.

Many people do not like what I have to say, but it needs to be said. There are many things that need to be said that are often ignored and until our city hears and accepts the truth we will waddle around in mediocrity.

So even though I'm opening myself up to scorn and ridicule, I'm going to say the things that need to be said. So love me or hate me, please give thought to what I say because Huntington's future depends on the bubble being popped and for all of us to have a say in which direction Huntington heads.


Not far from my home.  Taken from Cabell Huntington Hospital
Not far from my home. Taken from Cabell Huntington Hospital | Source

Enough Is Enough

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH



Mayor Steve finally did it! He (we) finished the first step of getting Huntington back on its’
feet by admitting our city has a drug problem! The Mayor and City Council
has relocated a half-million dollars to put ten new policemen on the streets to
help send heroin and other poisons back to Detroit or wherever the hell they come from.



Don’t get me wrong, because the policemen will help, but the
biggest positive sign in this action is that the mayor has shifted awareness to
the drug problem. Now, that we have our dirty little secret off our
chest, we can join hands and open up a can of good Ol’ Huntington Whip Ass on
this whole drug problem.



The community can come together and shove the dealers back to
Motown just like The Thundering Herd always came together in championship games
to shove defenses down the field.



Don’t you get it Huntington?
The city pulled together numerous times in the past to support our beloved
Marshall Thundering Herd and motivate them to win big games so we know that we
can become one. Of course, this is not a game to us because the future of
our city and the lives of many of our youth are at stake, but it is a game to
those who come down from The Motor City to cash in on the demand for drugs.



Sound the marching bands Huntington!
Bring on the sexy cheerleaders! It’s fourth and forty but Coach Mayor
Steve is not going to punt! He has un-handcuffed the police department
and has put Police Chief Jim Johnson in shotgun formation. Well…actually,
the analogy works better if we are the defense because the Detroit Drug Dealers ARE driving
downfield. Mayor Steve is ready to blitz those demons and drive them back
down the field.



See, Huntington, it’s easier if we think of this as a game because then it is really nothing
different than what we have done in the past. We have seen the big games
before and we won! We cheered our boys onto victory. We CAN do this
again. It is just different uniforms that we are backing.



We can even do more than just be spectators. We can play a role in the victory. See, Huntington, we are talking about more than just beating an opponent; we are talking about
changing culture.



Culture has led us to this point in time and that is why it is happening all over the country. Blame culture. Blame rap music. Blame MTV. The last twenty years has been about finding a
better drug. Party, party, party!



Society let it continue because we all love to party because, if you are partying then theoretically you are happy, right?



Marijuana never hurt anyone did it? C’mon Washington and Colorado, lets lead the charge in legalizing marijuana and let’s make some tax dollars
while we pass the dutchie!



Don’t leave me, Huntington, because we are still in the middle of this move to push the drug dealers out of
town: but this is the sort of thinking that has led to where we are at
now. Hey, I really don’t have anything against legalizing weed. I
think it will bring back Pink Floyd, The Doors, and other great music and maybe
we can hear these songs blaring out of cars instead some of the crap the kids
are playing today, BUT….



I always drive people crazy when I get on this rant because
people will come running up to me wanting to fight me because they say pot is
not a gateway drug. It may not be a gateway drug for some but it is for
others.



I was young once. I liked to party and have a good
time. I not only wanted beer but I wanted more beer and I wanted it
colder and my music louder. After a while, I wanted my beer stronger so I
bought ice beer. Suddenly, I wanted to go higher than the week before so
I bought whiskey! Heck even, hard rock became not loud enough for me so I
amped up to heavy metal. I put my Journey and REO Speedwagon albums away
and upped the irons to Iron Maiden. Like AC/DC yelled: Have a drink
on me!



There is always a better party after you feel like the party you
are at becomes a little old. This is why the gateway theory makes so much
sense. Most people tire of the same old drug and want to take it a little
higher.



Yeah, yeah, yeah… I hear you stoners out there yelling at me that
you have been smoke weed since ’76 and you have never tried anything
stronger. You resisted cocaine in the glory days of disco and you passed
when the dutchie was laced with cracked in the 90’s. I’m happy for you
and stoned West Virginians, I’m sure somewhere
up above Bob Denver (Gilligan) just lit a joint in your honor.



Most people do go past the gates of their current party and
graduate to stronger drugs. This is partially how we got to where we are
right now. Stoners followed gates until they got to the point where they
have no idea of where they hell they are. They went off looking for a
better party and ended up somewhere that they never thought the gates would
take them. Once you pass through those gates, it is a horrible trip back,
that’s if you can even find your way back.



Many followed the gates of beer to the gates of pot…then the
gates of nerve pills or light painkillers. Many tired of Percocets and
then stumbled on up to the gate of OxyContin. Well... when law enforcement
basically shut down the supply for oxies they inadvertently created the demand
for heroin. As we all know, our friends from Detroit were more than happy to supply the
product.



Heroin, as I have heard, is the ultimate buzz. I don’t know
how many times I have heard of people just wanting to try heroin out of
curiosity or just do it because they craved the buzz. Geez…heroin is not
a recreational drug, it is a poison!



Someone trying heroin because they want to party and feel buzzed
is like a rat that keeps picking at the cheese in the mouse trap. They
may nibble it and get a good taste for a while but sooner or later that trap is
going to spring! I know of people who were just going to party with their
new friend heroin until the gate closed and they were loaded onto an ambulance.



So, anyway… culture has made partying socially acceptable and has
made the quest for a bigger and better party vogue. Lil’ Wayne never came out and said, “Let’s all shoot up some heroin, kids!” But, his devils and demons like his
life-threatening battle with Sizzurp may not have made him the perfect role
model for our youth.



So let’s get back to the big game and let’s watch Coach Mayor
Steve from the sidelines and he sets up his strategy. First he stops for
a photo opportunity and then he paces the sideline. He doesn’t like the
fact that The Detroit Drug Dealers are slamming the drugs down his throat as
they are driving down the field but once he accepts the fact that they are
heading to out end zone, he is smart enough to change his strategy.



Many citizens are saying how are ten police officers going to
chase out hundreds of drug dealers and discourage the thousands more that way
to open business in Moneyton?



Here is the beauty of the whole strategy Huntington! His awareness and
identification of the problem that is inflicted on us is going to empower
us. Huntington has always been the ultimate twelfth man. We have empowered The Herd to
overcome tougher opponents. We can do this again.



Huntington, can you not see what you have already done? It was your voices that fell
upon the ears of our photogenic mayor and upon the ears of City Councilmen like
Rick Simmons. Simmons heard your voices and so did other council
men. They heard you say loud and clear, “THIS MUST STOP. NO MORE
DRUGS!”



There you go Huntingtonians, the first step was to be
heard. Ex- Mayor Wolfe tried to use smoke and mirrors to say we were not
in the midst of a drug epidemic. He was in deep denial. His denial
was shattered when not only did he get beat on Election Day but there was a
double murder on Election Day when two drug dealers were killed.



Up to that stunning murder and the less predictable loss at the
ballot box by Wolfe, Wolfe was spinning that crime was down and that Huntington was the safest it had been since the ‘80’s!



I was appalled. I had been writing every day about how bad
drugs were spreading and about how heroin was here in Huntington and this idiot
was going around gloating about how he was doing a great job protecting us from
evil.



I was even very disappointed with Mayor Steve’s effort until
recently. He tried to ignore until, quite simply, you wouldn’t allow him
to ignore it anymore. He was content building his dream team of his
buddies until he heard you say loud and clear: “THIS MUST STOP. NO MORE
DRUGS!”



All it took was him to hear your loud and persistent request to
stop this and now here we are. We sometimes tend to forget that the mayor
works for us. He is not a king. He is a leader… or well, should
be. He hasn’t been much of one up until not but now, he is here at the
podium ready to lead the charge.



Mayor Steve said something like this the other night: “If
you are a drug dealer in Huntington
you better get the hell out because we are coming for you.”



I loved that he stood up and said this. He finally is
becoming the leader I thought he could become when I supported him in the
election.


So finally Mayor Steve has assembled his dream team complete with The Hot Dog Boy making over 50 grand as Assistant To The Public Works director, superboy ex- Herald Dispatch writer Bryan Chambers as Communication Director cashing in on another 50 grand, and other chums and cronies like the fire chief. Hey, there’s an idea…eliminate a few unnecessary jobs and hire more police. Okay, I’m sorry. I’m trying to change. The Mayor is trying to change our city for the positive so I’ll play nice.



The stage is set. You can help the blitz, Huntington, by getting behind our
police. We all see the traffic in our neighborhoods of people running up
and buying drugs. Report it. Give the people the finger as they
drive by. Shake your heads as you walk by the dealers’ houses and let
them know you know what they are doing.



The key to ending the epidemic is by changing culture. We
have to change the culture back to where it is not cool to do drugs.
Maybe it is not necessary to shun the druggies but then again maybe it
is. It is necessary to do whatever it takes to change the culture.
With some addicts, it may just be enough to approach them and put your arm
around them and tell them that you know they have a problem and that you are
there to help them anyway you can.



A community can help in many ways. We can help our troubled
neighbors and right time is the time to do that before the war starts.
With Mayor Steve making the proclamation that not only are we going to fight
but win, now is the time before the war starts to reach out to troubled addicts
and encourage them to seek out many of the resources that are out there for
them to seek help. Now is the time for them to wave the white flag and go
to The Healing Place, River Park, or other places in Huntington that treat addiction.



We can help here by cheerleading them. Stand by someone who
is fighting their biggest battle in life. If you think Mayor Steve and
The Huntington Police Department are fighting the battle of their lives, their
fight pales in comparison to someone who is fighting addiction. Heroin is
the hardest grasp to break.



Experts say that once addicts cross through the gates to heroin
that the only gates left are Heaven’s Gates or The Gates of Hell.



I’ve seen people try to break the grip of heroin. I had a
good friend Stephen Ray Hardiman. He was a wonderful man. He helped
me in time of need. He helped me fix water pumps that were busted and did
not charge me at all. He gave me rides when my car was broke down.



I failed Steve. I was not there when he fought the demons
of addiction. I knew he shot up heroin. I wrote blogs and blogs and
even a book about how the drugs were feasting on Huntington. I did not discourage my
friend from shooting poison up into his arm.



I did see him last November at Pinecrest when I went to an
interview at Prestera. He was getting help…no thanks to me. I
talked to him for a while and he was doing well. He looked good and
sounded positive.



After he graduated the program, he went to Florida for a while to continue his
fight. He made the smart move because when you are fighting addiction you
cannot be in a culture that encourages use or associate with fellow
users. He stayed in Florida
for a few months until he thought he was strong enough to face his friends that
used.



On July 3, 2014, Stephen Ray Hardiman lost his fight with
addiction. He used heroin for the last time.



Another good man gone. Heroin has a way of pulling back
addicts for its’ final revenge. Just when it looks like the addict has
escaped itS’ grasps it makes one last fatal lunge at the addict.



Steve said he just wanted a little bit to feel a little
better. He thought he was strong and he may not even of done has much has
he has done in the past but in the end it was too much. His tolerance was
lowered by not doing drugs for several months. It looked like Steve was going
to be victorious against addiction but addiction found it’s way to win.



That story is an example of why we are in such an uphill
battle. It looked like Steve had won. He beat the drug for several
months. He sought help. He got help. He did what he was
supposed to. Game over, right?



In a moment of weakness, he gave in and we lost Steve Hardiman, a
good man. That is why we are important.



There are two faces of this war. We have the drug dealers
and the drug buyers. The users are criminals too and must be
stopped. But, they are fellow Huntington
residents and friends, neighbors, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters.



We do not want to lock them up. But, to save them and
ourselves we may have to. It’s like a zombie invasion, you have to make
tough decisions. Now is the time for amnesty. Now is the time for
users to get help BEFORE they get caught. In order to stop the epidemic
we have to punish all that are caught and that goes for the users as well as
the dealers. We have to stop the demand as well as the supply.



So if you know a troubled soul like my friend Steve, do not fail
them like I failed Steve. Encourage them, reach out to them, be there
when they need you. Encourage them to seek help and then be there with
them through the fight. Encourage them to call you in a moment of
weakness. This is the most humane way we can fight our drug
epidemic.



As much as we can help by informing the police of drug activity,
we can also help by encouraging addicts and just by being there for them in
their time of darkness.



Huntington has always been there to pull our friends out of the darkness. Whenever Huntington is struck by
tragedy, the community has always demonstrated its' heart and came together. The Marshall University Football Team Plane Crash on November
14, 1970 that claimed 75 lives bonded Huntingtonians forever. The
Phoenix-like rise of Marshall's football over the years has been ignited by the spark from the heart of the community.



The community leaped to help when a horrendous fire
took nine lives at The Emmons Jr. Apartment Building on January 13,
2007. On May 22, 2005, four teenage victims С Donte Ward, 19, of
Huntington; Eddrick Clark, 18, of South Point, Ohio; Michael Dillon, 17, of
Huntington; and Megan Poston, 16, of Barboursville С are gunned down and killed
at 4:30 a.m. near 1410 Charleston Ave. in Huntington. Huntington again came together and grieved.



When the Morris Building caught on fire on July 27, 2014 and many
residents lost their homes all of their possessions and two businesses closed
causing many employees to be out of work, Huntington again sprang into action
as thousands of dollars were raised within hours and many concerned citizens
were there in the following days to help those who were left without places to
stay or anywhere to work.



Huntington always comes together in a crisis situation. What I have always loved
about Huntington is the compassion its' residents display when our city is hit by tragedy.
The residents quickly band together and help the victims and their families. We
do not let our neighbors stand alone in the darkness.



Huntington is in the midst of a drug epidemic that rattles Huntington
down to its' core values. The drug epidemic has filled our streets with
addicts and turned them into hookers and thieves.



I worked at Big Bear on First
Street for over eight years. It was a proud neighborhood. Now, residents of that area are afraid to let their
children play outside because of the hookers and the men that come to troll the
neighborhood looking to pick up hookers. Food Fair, the store that
occupies the building where Big Bear was, keeps its' restroom doors locked
because someone overdosed on heroin in the rest room and passed out.
Other stores in the area keeps their rest room doors locked too because junkies
use the rest rooms to shoot up heroin if the rest rooms are not locked.



This prostitute problem is disgusting. The Beautify
Huntington movement needs to at least teach these girls how to dress so they
are not so disgusting. They are either too fat with their fat oozing out
from their slinky clothing or they look like Olive Oyl's long-lost sister
because they are ate up with meth. The hookers whose mug shots I've seen
in the paper look like they are wearing Halloween masks.



Huntington needs to play hardball with these 'working women'. Many have been
arrested so many times that they are on first name basis with the police.
In fact, rumors say that some Huntington Policemen even pick up some of these
girls. I hope not, because I like The HPD, I think they do an efficient
job, and I really hope they have better taste than to associate with the girls
I've seen parading up and down 6th Avenue.



These girls need to be put out of business permanently. I
believe that the third offense is supposed to be treated as a felony but it
seems that many of these girls have been busted more than three times.
Our children deserve more than being kept inside because hookers have control
of our streets.



Again, one of the reasons I love Huntington is because of Huntington's
big heart and readiness to jump in and help out when the situation calls for
action. Well, the drug, hooker, and burglary situations call for action.



Another reason I love Huntington is because it is a morally strong area. Our city streets have a church on
every other corner, although it is true that the other corner may be a bar, but
it is a college town. We have a very active religious community. We
have very strong community action groups who care about our citizens and
particularly the children of our community. These groups need to get
active in helping to create a local culture that makes breaking and entering,
dealing drugs, doing drugs, and prostituting socially unacceptable.



People have been minding their business and looking the other way
for too long. For years "the whole snitches get snitches" theme
was dominant across the country, but it's time now for communities like ours to
say "enough is enough." Detroit
drug dealers are hard-core murders but they are not tied to one gang. They
are independent so we outnumber them. If they were all united it would be
a fair fight but we need to band together and run them out of community.



The number one issue that I hear when I mention drug dealers is
that there is a demand for drugs or they wouldn't be here. I do think we
have to take away the demand but I believe it is easier to do away with the
supply first. If we band together and help police shut down the drug
dealers then addicts will not have as much drugs to buy. Then, we can treat
the drug addicts and thus lower the demand.



Addicts will only get help when they want to and they will want
help if there are not any drugs around, then they will want help. Once,
they are wanting help then we can help then and that will take care of the
demand. There are many skilled professionals and places that can help
addicts. Again, Huntington
can band together and help cure those that are addicted.



The important thing is that we are all on the same page.....the
police, the courts, and the public. I call for the religious community to
be leaders in this movement. I do not expect them to be out attacking
drug dealers or even healing the addicts. There are a lot of churches in
this community and if they can help mold the culture. I'm talking about
spreading literature speaking against drugs, hosting rallies against drugs,
praying for Huntington's
victory over the drug addiction, and generally making it socially unacceptable
to be a drug dealer or addict.



Once, drug dealers see that we are grouping together they will be
afraid to deal in our neighborhoods. They already look over their
shoulders more now than ever because of the increased arrests over the last
year and for them to realize that people really are out to get them may make a
few close up shop.



This theory worked a few years ago in Manchester, Ky.
The city was overrun with drugs. Church leaders got together and decided
that they were tired of the drug culture and simply put a stop to it.
They reported activity and let the dealers know that they were being
watched. This action was captured in a documentary called
"Appalachian Dawn."



The church community is the obvious choice to start the movement
because they are strong moral people who desire a family-oriented culture like Huntington used to
have. The religious community vastly outnumbers the drug community.
Now, I'm not talking about a physical war, I'm just talking about changing
culture. This can happen by forming action groups, by police patrol cars passing
in front of residences and maybe pausing a few minutes in front of suspected
drug houses without doing anything, speeches to high schools, and public
service announcements.



Other less violent methods like letters sent to houses saying
"we know you deal drugs and our neighborhood would like you to leave
before we get the police involved." Hard looks at visitors who pull
up in front of houses and leave quickly also is more effective than ignoring
the heavy traffic.



Increased lighting around houses can discourage the thieves that
have been ripping through our neighborhoods. Neighbors being aware of strange
vehicles present in the neighborhood can help as well.







Huntington, we can do this. We are a caring, team-oriented community that comes
together when we have to...well, we have to now...we got this!











The old Huntington marina
The old Huntington marina | Source
Huntington gave new breath to Proctorville when this bridge was built
Huntington gave new breath to Proctorville when this bridge was built | Source

The Huntington Watchgator

THE HUNTINGTON WATCHGATOR

People ask me why I bitch all of the time about Huntington politics and why I'm so negative about our city if I love it so much. I consider myself The Huntington Watchgator. Someone has to keep an open eye over what is going on in our city and to not be afraid to say something about it. I've been called "The Poor Man’s Tom McAllister". Yeah, I realize that's another term for calling me a nut, and not even a particularly smart nut if I'm below Tom, but hey, I'm thick skinned.

Look at the scandals that have rocked Mingo County and all of the other areas in West Virginia and then maybe you can understand why I try to keep an eye on what goes on in our town. It's not safe to have blind faith in anything these days and that goes double for politics.

I have a Master's Degree from Marshall University in Training and Development and I was trained to be a troubleshooter. The program trained me to use systems management to find lapses in systems and I employ systems management to find gaps in our political system... and there are many.

It has always been my creed to stand up for those who cannot or maybe just plain will not stand up for themselves. I'm not afraid to call a drug dealer a drug dealer, an addict an addict, or a bad politician a bad politician.

Sometimes there are legal boundaries that can keep you from making accusations that you cannot prove, but there are ways to verify accusations.

Do I believe that there are crooked politicians in Huntington? Well, I do believe that many politicians get into politics for the wrong reasons. Many businessmen get into local politics to use their positions to sweetheart deals to benefit their business interests. Many get into politics for different reasons like they enjoy a certain amount of control. Some get into politics because they like the salary the position has.

The best politician is one who gets into politics to do what most positions are supposed to do and that is serve the people who elected them. Once elected a politician is supposedly a public servant to the voters who elected him. They do not suddenly become entitled, like they think they are, to do whatever benefits them or their friends.

The shame of the whole political process is that we, the voters, have the power to fire bad politicians by voting them out of office. Unfortunately, the trend today is that people vote for familiar names. This means that once a person is in that it is hard to get them out of office. Not only are politicians are aware of it but they are proud of it and they count on that to further their political career. If someone really wanted to help out our city, they would not expect to receive top pay.

I'm not trying to imply that we should starve our employees but I disagree that Huntington should pay top dollar for employees. One of the perks for working for the city is to help and empower the city you live in. It is not logical to expect to make as much money from the city as you would working in the private sector. It is a shame to lose good city employees but there are always good employees below them can be trained to do the job.

One example is the current open police chief position that Jim Johnson is currently filling in an interim role. Mr. Johnson deserves to replace Skip Holbrook. Holbrook got experience and left for more money and Mr Johnson should have the chance to work his way into Holbrook's old job. Johnson's would need to learn and that would be a trade-off for him to work at the existing salary. Eventually, he would learn after a few years and would leave Huntington for a better position. In turn, another deserving Huntington policeman would get a chance to further his career. This is sort of a circle of life for smaller cities. Change is good every now and then and the chance to receive a promotion at some point of your career is a motivator for excellent performance. It is important for a chief to be a good trainer and develop his employees. If he is doing such a great job then his right hand man should be well trained enough to step and take the
reins.

The challenge for Mayor Steve should be to find good people and stay within an operable budget. Paying 52,000 for Bryan Chambers to be Communications Director is a waste when he could have found someone to do it cheaper and give someone an opportunity. I always felt that Mayor Steve gave Chambers the job and the increase in pay (the position was budgeted in the 30's) as a reward for giving Mayor Steve favorable press while Chambers worked for The Herald-Dispatch and covered local politics.

I realize that it is important to have a staff that a mayor is comfortable working with but Mayor Steve's moves smack of cronyism. He replaced a capable fire chief, Randy Ellis, with an old political ally Carl Eastham. Mayor Steve never gave Mr. Ellis a chance. Randy was doing a good job and deserved the chance to continue his promotion. Fortunately for Randy, it is rumored that he did not get a pay cut, which means that Huntington taxpayers are paying for two chiefs.

Of course, Mayor Steve cannot control who is on City Council. He was lucky though because he has a mostly Democrat council. This is not necessarily good for our city to have just one party in office. In order for the city to be best served, there needs to be debate and discussion. Too often, the council is unanimous in their decisions. Mayor Steve comes up with an idea and it is kicked through too easy. Rick Simmons does gage what his district wants and he does invite input from the people who elected him. Mostly, the rest of council just does what Mayor Steve wants.

If not for Simmons, the city would have been stuck with the first draft of the rain tax which the mayor himself later admitted that it needed to be fixed. Simmons listened to his district and fought and defeated. the proposed tax. Of course, the tax later came back and was passed but at least there were some critical changes to it.

Hopefully, there will be some Republicans voted onto the council in 2016 to establish a balance of ideas and a balance of power. I certainly like to see one member voted out of council. This member has been accused of assaulting his wife. He violated two restraining orders and was placed on home confinement. Instead of stepping down like a real man, this man decided to wear his ankle bracelet to a council meeting. Mayor Steve should have called for his resignation on moral grounds but instead encouraged the man to attend because he knew he would vote in favor of the rain tax and Mayor Steve wanted his vote.

Politics is a nasty game but these are the people that are deciding the priorities and policies that keep your family safe.

I do have to admit that there are times when Huntington politics does amuse me. I found it rather entertaining when Tom McAllister and David Ball almost went outside to settle their differences. It is hard to fault David Ball because McAllister can be rather annoying but if everybody annoyed by Tom went outside with him then our jail would be filled with McAllister fighters. Tom is just one of those people you just have to look at him and smile and to tell him to remember to take his meds.


Tom made City Council meetings exciting when he was on council but thankfully he lost this time around. It's a lot better that our council meetings are covered by the news instead of by The Comedy Channel. A little bit of Tom can be fun but too much of him can be annoying. I think Tom can be right at time but the way he presents his point makes his point suddenly unimportant. In fact, if he is on his side you kind of wish he wasn't on your side after a few minutes of his raving.

I've heard Tom McAllister on the Tom Roten Show and he makes more sense on radio. I guess when he gets in front of an audience and loses control and thinks everything is about him.

Now, Tom Roten is another case. I like Tom Roten. I really do find him to be a straight-shooter. I've been on his show a few times and met him. He is a very nice man with strong morals and family values. He may get a little wound up every now and then but he is on radio and last time I checked radio was still entertainment.

Tom tries and does make valid points but he is more than a newspaper... he is a personality. He would be boring if he wasn't colorful. He does make several people mad but those people disagree with him so they wouldn’t like him anyway. He is not a newscaster. He is not broadcasting the news. He is a radio host who is paid to air his views and he does. He just tries to make them a little entertaining.

Back to David Ball, I think that David Ball tries too hard to be the mayor's yes man. He needs to be more like Rick Simmons and listen to the people that voted him in. In a perfect world, David Ball would have trouble getting re-elected but that won't happen because people vote for familiar names so he's almost a lock for re-election. But, the man does what he wants or what Mayor Steve says. He's more like Mayor Steve’s’ sidekick than a public servant. He doesn't listen to what the people want. He doesn't even ask the people. Mayor Steve and Ball came into office with an agenda and that's what they are following. I think they are more interested in forming some sort of political machine with their buddies then just doing what is best for Huntington.

When Mayor Steve’s administration went thundering into office, David Ball was like Marco The Marshall bull let lose in The Marshall Bookstore, he was slamming into everything. He posted the following about Tom Roten in an effort to get Roten off of the air because Roten’s views are different than Ball’s:

"Many inquiries have been made about my comments at the Huntington City Council meeting Monday. Below is the text of my comments and I stand behind them firmly:

Later in this meeting we will be discussing part of the new and exciting vision that the Mayor and many of us have for our city. It is indeed a wonderful time to live in Huntington. However, on Thursday, Aug.8, that vision along with the good name and welcoming nature of Huntingtonians came under attack. Not with guns or bombs but an attack so pervasive in nature I felt compelled to bring it to this forum so that every attempt can be made to rid Huntington of this vicious enemy.....and it’s name is HATE.

Radio Station WVHU, A Clear Channel Communications Station has a morning radio talk show, The Tom Roten Show whose host, Mr Roten, showed a total lack of class and morality while spreading his vile hate laced rhetoric. While speaking about the ongoing trial of accused murderer Maj. Hassan at Ft Hood, Mr Roten’s hateful comments and disrespect of all Muslims incited his callers into tirades of hate. He claims morality and patriotism but shows a total disrespect for our rule of law and the true principles on which this country was founded. He says, “this Muslim radical doesn’t deserve a trial. He should be taken to a public square and shot with a BULLET DiPPED IN PIGS BLOOD!” The next speaker added, “and his body wrapped in a pig’s skin”. Ladies and gentlemen, this is simply not tolerable and will not be accepted as such by this Councilman.

Clear Channel Communications has partnered with the city and many other organizations to do good things for Huntington and its citizens and I would hope that good relationship can continue, but before that can happen I must ask the executives of Clear Channel to publicly let the citizens of Huntington know if they support this message of hate, bigotry and intolerance and, if they don’t, what their plan is to eliminate this show and its hate filled message from their rotation.

I find it compulsory as a Christian, a Huntingtonian and now your public servant to stand up against all hate and to you, this is my pledge."



Another politician or government employee that amuses me is Chris Tatum. I'm not quite sure what he does do but I think he is County Manager or something like that.

I posted on facebook about a story or complaint that someone passed on to me because they hoped I would get something done. My source, who I maintain is a reliable source, told me that a courthouse maintenance man was using poison peanuts to kill squirrels because there were too many squirrels at the court houses. The source said one squirrel was found on the grounds with his neck broken from falling out of a tree.

I do understand that is a strong allegation and one that would arouse animal lovers. But Mr. Tatum blindly stood by his staff and attacked me on my page saying I was irresponsible and it was quite possible that I was the one down at the courthouse poisoning squirrels.

It is commendable in a way that he stands by his staff but the source carried so much credibility that County Commissioner Bob Bailey and Magistrate Johnny McAllister were angry and ordered an investigation. I'm sure Squirrelgate will never make the papers but I'm sure it happened.

I find Tatum's behavior particularly squirrelly. He immediately said it was not possible without checking into the complaint. He lashed out at me and continued to lash out over many paragraphs. I just don’t see anyone making up that kind of story. I feel like at times during the posts he was threatening me...although I definitely was not scared.

The next day Tatum posted three pictures of predators on his facebook page and suggested the reason why there hasn't been squirrels at the courthouse lawn is because predators have been sighted. One picture showed a picture of a predator and Chris pointed out that the predator had squirrel meat in his mouth. Mr. Tatum made it sound like the pictures were new but the pictures were clearly old because some of the trees were bare and some had fall leaves on them.


One thing I want to make clear is that I was a Steve Williams supporter. I wrote blogs praising him as he ran against Wolfe. I strongly feel that Mayor Wolfe misrepresented himself in the election. Steve said time after time that there would not be any new taxes. Democrats ate George Bush alive over the "read my lips, no new taxes" comment but they think Mr. Williams is wonderful.

We know that Mayor Steve was the driving force behind the rain tax. It's funny though because before he got elected Steve told me that he was a big fan of the old Reganomics principle The Laffer Curve. The Laffer Curve asserts that if you raise taxes then people will quit spending so that there will be less revenue brought in to the government in the long run.

When you get down to it, though, all new Huntington mayors seem to like to tax regardless if they are Democrat or Republican. They come into office with big plans and then realize they need some sort of new revenue to get the plans established.

My evil side does tend to get the best of me sometimes and I do tend to be mischievous. Last year, I wrote a story for a fake newspaper called The Diggerer which runs fake stories about West Virginia. It is owned by my friend Todd Carpenter.

I ran a story saying that Mayor Steve was intensifying his Beautify Huntington campaign by outlawing West Virginia colors from Huntington's city limits. A WVU football website believed the story and printed it and Huntington went nuttier than Chris Tatum tracking down a squirrelgate source. The Mayor’s office got slammed with over 30 calls protesting Mayor Steve's move.

Finally, after much aggravation Mayor Steve issued a statement. Later, an article on www.huntingtonnews.net covered the event and said that the Mayors statement was read by over 30,000 people. As always, Mayor Steve turned it into a photo opportunity and took a picture of him eating a blue and gold cupcake. He also said in the article that David "Alligator Jackson" Williams was a great writer.

No Squirrels Chris!!!!
No Squirrels Chris!!!! | Source
A rainy day in downtown Huntington
A rainy day in downtown Huntington | Source

Challenges Facing Huntington


There are several challenges awaiting Huntington in the near future. Obviously, the first challenge is to drive the current criminal element out of town. Stopping the drug epidemic would lower robberies and break-ins in the Tri-State area.


Lowering the demand for drugs by making sure more addicts receive treatment would help stop the epidemic. Lowering the supply off drugs by shoving the drug dealers back up to Michigan would also cease the problem. Whichever we go after first, the supply or the demand, we must do it together. It must start from the top with leadership from our Mayor (which he is now starting to provide) and involve tireless effort from The Huntington Police Department (The HPD has performed well in fighting drugs), the courts (they have dropped the ball by plea bargaining and letting offenders off easy), and the citizens of Huntington must do their part by making drug users and drug dealers feel uncomfortable. The culture must change.
Once the drug problem is solved, we will see a reduction in robberies, break-ins, and prostitution. Huntington must scrape the scum off of the surface so our good qualities will be more evident in attracting tourist and businesses to our city.

Another major challenge is to make the city more affordable to our residents. The cost of living keeps increasing and the city keeps increasing taxes and fees. The rain tax or rainwater fee was just added. Every new administration comes in and piles on to the cost of living problem. It seems like the new administrations want to accomplish goals but they need to finance those goals so they find someway for the public to help.



The sanitation fee was added a few years ago and it has turned into a major expense for our residents. It is essentially a water tax. It is not based on sewage like in Ohio. It is based on the amount of water that a household uses. If there is a water leak and your water bill is higher, then your sanitation bills is high too. I have a water bill of around $170 and a sanitation bill of around $60.


The user fee increased under Mayor Wolfe and Wolfie attempted to have it replaced with a higher tax that was shot down. There is problems in Huntington that need fixed like the storm water problem but I believe right now the biggest priority is helping our families. Our families are struggling. Our elderly are struggling. Our small businesses are struggling. Something needs to be done to assist our families.

I am not talking about any type of direct aid, I am just talking about taking it easy on the taxes and fees and let our families keep some of their hard earned money. Each tax increase or new fee is a dip into the pockets of our families.

I really feel like a major challenge that goes hand in hand with the plight of families that I just discussed is the need to keep local government under control. Mayor Steve has been on a non-stop quest to grow government since he has been in office. He has created new positions and even brought back The Assistant to The Public Works Director position which had been previously deleted.

Even The Communications Director job called for a salary of $30,000, as it was approved by City Council but the Mayor upped it to $52,000. He has given other raises and created other jobs. Now, I’m not saying that the employees aren’t hardworking and do not deserve raises; but every raise they get is a pay cut to me because that’s more money I pay out of my paycheck. If I’m getting hit then the struggling families and elderly of the area are getting hit as well. Many of them cannot afford any more money coming out of their checks.
I think Huntington needs a hiring freeze in order to reduce overhead. I do not see where any of these positions are creating jobs or bringing in revenue, they just appear to be an expense.

The Mayor announced at the end of the last budget year that Huntington was in the black by a huge amount. He spent the money on raises and new positions and then suddenly, we had this storm water sewage problem that just appeared. If he would not have spent all of the surplus money then he may have been able to use it to help out with clearing the sewers on Fifth Avenue so the street did not turn into a lake when it rain. He knew the sewers were a problem but he chose not to deal with it until after the surplus was gone and he created the new positions he wanted. He was afraid if he announced the expense of the sewer project he would not get to build his dream team.

Obviously, the need for more jobs will always be a priority for Huntington and other cities, but Huntington needs to focus on helping small businesses and making it easier for businesses to be open than trying to hit the homerun ball that would bring in hundreds at one pop.


Now, don’t get me wrong, I love big business. As a college town, we are set up to be a haven for small business. Our college market creates the need for niche marketing. Our college students are a diverse crowd with many different needs and wants and that paves the way for small businesses to roll in and meet the demand for niche items.


The campus is very close to Downtown Huntington and there are many spare storefronts downtown that can be used to provide merchandise and services to college students. It is imperative that we make it easier for new businesses so we can pump new revenue into this town. I know that the 1% sales tax was responsible for the surplus and much revenue for our city, but it does put businesses around campus at a disadvantage as they already struggle to compete with the big box dealer’s prices that lurk right outside city limits. Customers already flock to Wal-Mart because of the cheaper prices plus Wal-Mart does not charge the extra 1%.


The infrastructure of Huntington is getting older and much repairs need to roads and buildings. Trying to repair an aging structure is going to be difficult without more fees and taxes. Repairing the infrastructure without further hardship on our families will be a difficult challenge.
There are many battles ahead for Huntington and much hinges on The Election in 2016. Obviously no one person has the answers for these problems and no one philosophy is going to result in a quick fix. Huntington votes need to elect a mix of Republicans and Democrats this time around so there will be more debating and exchanging of ideas instead of one person coming up with an idea or agenda and the others fall inline.
I also believe that the courts have stagnated. I think there are using jail and prison overcrowding to set drug users and drug dealers free to keep costs down as much as possible and to keep revenues up. If a person posts bond and then never shows up in court than the money goes to the court. I think to get out of this drug epidemic we need to provide a solid deterrent or just lock the animals up in cages for the safety of our public.


There are entirely too many repeat offenders running around. There are many people with literally dozens of arrests who have no intentions of following the law. They get caught, do short sentences or plea bargain their way out of it and are back out on the street to wreck more havoc. Jail has become a quick timeout. By the time they have been arrest multiple times it should be evident that our citizens need to be protected from them.
Our prosecutor’s need to help make our streets safe. The police are busting their asses to protect our town by removing criminals from the streets but it’s become a game of catch and release. It’s a constant circle of a criminal arrested, spending a brief time out due to plea bargaining to reduce costs, and then he’s back out on the street without being rehabilitated or learning a thing and then the circle continues.

Huntington's hope lies in the good hearts of its' residents
Huntington's hope lies in the good hearts of its' residents | Source
Hope is always in the air in Huntington
Hope is always in the air in Huntington | Source
Rainbow over Huntington, hope is alive!
Rainbow over Huntington, hope is alive! | Source

Hope For Our Home

HOPE FOR OUR HOME

Hang in with me a bit, folks, I know the first couple of chapters have been a rocky ride filled with complaining but that is not the way I see Huntington. I love this community and there is plenty of good in this city.

I tend to see the bad but I want Huntington to be great. Mayor Steve and his cronies see a Huntington that is similar to Columbus, Cincinnati, and Louisville. While it’s a wonderful dream, it may just be that – a dream.

The Huntington I grew up in was great and with just a little work we can be that again. Scraping off the drugs and prostitutes from the surface is a great start. Once this filth is removed we can see the greatness of Huntington.

A strong Huntington requires a strong core or downtown. Much time, energy, and money has been invested into revitalizing downtown.

The success of Pullman Square, the growth of Marshall University, the emergence of The Shops at Heritage Station, the addition of new businesses along 4th Avenue along with efforts by such groups as Savor Huntington, Create Huntington, Downtown Business Partners, and other groups have helped strengthen Downtown Huntington.



Now, what Downtown Huntington needs to become the busy business hub it was in the 60s and 70s is more shoppers. The reasons citizens should patronize local businesses should be quite obvious. When money is spent within city limits the sales tax goes back into the city of Huntington to make it a stronger city. The businesses also pay B+0 taxes that strengthen the city as well. The city also has a 1% tax which sends revenue to Huntington when something is purchased downtown.

When businesses are successful they are more likely to expand and add more jobs and more companies will see the profitably and come into the area bringing more jobs and more tax revenue.

Local specialty shops add product diversity, local flavor, and pull shoppers in from other areas to buy products they cannot buy anywhere else. Stores like The Bottle and Wedge, The Wild Ramp, and The River and Rail help fill niches that big box stores and malls do not address.

Local business is a key to success in a city like Huntington. Huntington is generally recognized as a college town. The students that come to Huntington to go to school present opportunities for small business. The students crave entertainment, dining, and many have niche interests.

The more activities that our downtown offers, the more likely we will be able to bring more people to live in Huntington and to retain some of our talented youth who often leave our area to go to cities that offer more things to do.

The key to Huntington's growth is the strength of its’ downtown. The more Downtown Huntington prospers the more Huntington prospers as a whole.


So please remember the fine assortment of dining options of Downtown Huntington when eating out. Also remember the wide range of products offered downtown before heading to big box stores located outside of city limits.

When I wrote my last book “Huntington Through The Years: 70’s and 80’s” I realized that local businesses that were no longer around like Dwight’s and Big Bear held most of my best memories. The new businesses around Huntington will host most of the best memories of our youth. When our children and grandchildren look fondly back on their days in Huntington they will recall their adventures in Downtown Huntington.

Empire books offers a huge assortment of books and also gives local authors a place to sell.

Hard work, time, and energy has been invested into making Downtown Huntington an attractive shopping district. The necessary ingredient missing now is more shoppers, let's take pride in our community and essentially help ourselves.

So part of the trick in keeping Huntington alive and growing is to remove the bums from downtown and to remove the drugs from our street. If we erase these blotches then Huntington will be an attractive tourist attraction and home for new businesses.

Huntington in the 70’s and 80’s was a great place to raise a family. We have to get back to those core values. There is hope!

Huntington brought back the Regatta this year. It was not the grand event it was in the 80’s and 90’s, but it doesn’t have to be. The Regatta outgrew itself trying to bring in big name bands like REO Speedwagon and 38 Special. I think they need to grow the Regatta a little but keep it relatively simple.

The idea should be to celebrate our beautiful Riverfront. The HarrisRiverfrontPark is indeed beautiful. The boat races are an entertaining way for our citizens to come down to the river and enjoy Downtown Huntington.

It does not have to about big and grand but just getting people out and mingle. The Hotdog Festival and Chili Fest are others ways that our community can come downtown and celebrate Pullman Square.

Of course, nothing brings the community together like Marshall Football and this year will be a year for Thundering Herd fans to celebrate and talk about for many years.

Marshall is possibly looking at an undefeated season in football, hosting the conference championship, and a Heisman hopeful (Rakeem Cato). If everything goes as planned, The Herd could be hosting the CUSA football championship at the Joan, and hosting PennState in basketball at the Cam on the same day (Dec. 6).

The HuntingtonSkatePark at HarrisRiverfrontPark is moving closer to reality. Lots of effort has gone into the planning of this park and it will provide exercise and entertainment for our youth.

The Ohio River, a great source of commerce
The Ohio River, a great source of commerce | Source
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Facts Of Huntington



There are several statements that Huntington needs to accept as fact so we can learn from them and either expand on them if they are positive or change if they are negative. Some of these people may not accept but it does not mean they are not true.

10. THERE ARE TOO MANY REPEAT OFFENDERS ON THE STREETS OF HUNTINGTON

Many will not have a problem with this statement and may even agree. The problem is that if you admit this is true then you have to admit that there is something wrong with
the legal system. It shows that the police are doing their job but it also shows that the legal system is either overworked or lazy and just plea bargains way too much or does not dole out stern enough punishments. There are too many people like Charles and Keith Runyon, Jeremy and Joshua Harless, The Van Overs of Southern Ohio, The Fergusons of West Virginia; too many people that have over 50 offenses and are still habitual criminals and pose a threat to the public. If you have over 50 offenses, no matter how minor, it shows that you cannot 'play well with other children' and you have a serious attitude problem and your freedom just makes other people's lives miserable.

After twenty arrests, you'd have to think that a person is not going to learn and will just continue to be a pain in the public's ass so they might as well be separated from the public in order to save the public any grief. If you don't get it by twenty arrests, it's a safe bet you never will get it and you will certainly never respect the law or other people's rights. The local government understandably looks for ways to relieve the burden from the prison system and to lower the expense of housing criminals but they should not being doing it with people they know will be right back in the back of the police car the next month. Usually this kind of behavior goes on until it's too late and someone gets seriously hurt or killed.

9. HUNTINGTON IS SUFFERING FROM A DRUG EPIDEMIC

Very few people will now say that Huntington does not have a drug problem. A main reason why the problem reached epidemic proportions is because so many people were in denial or just plain ignored the problem. In the 2012 mayoral election, Ex-Mayor Wolfe proudly campaigned that the city was safer than any time since the '80's and spun statistics to back up his claim.

Even earlier in 2014, many public officials would not address the drug epidemic, finally Mayor Steve stood up and brought the city together to fight the problem and hired more police officers to combat the epidemic. Even though this is a tremendous help, we still need more places to help fight addiction. There are some fine addiction centers helping but the need is so vast that many addicts have trouble or cannot afford to get help. Not only do we need more places to help treat addiction but we need more
funding.

8. A MAJOR ASSET, THE OHIO RIVER, IS NOT UTILIZED WELL ENOUGH

We are very fortunate in the Tri-State area to be blessed with The Ohio River. The Ohio River is a major source of transporting products like oil, chemicals, and coal.


The Ohio River should be more of an entertainment hub. Plans have been developed in the past and then scrapped to develop marinas, aquariums, and nice shopping centers that are located on the river with the intentions of bringing in tourism and just celebrating the beauty of the river in our community. The Regatta was big in the 80's and 90's but was stopped for awhile because of mismanagement and too grand of a vision. Meanwhile, Ashland continued to find success with their celebrations. The Regatta returned to Huntington in 2014 and needs to be a regular event.

River boat gambling may be an issue that West Virginia may want to eventually consider to attract tourism, more business, and collect taxes without taking them from local hardworking families.

The truth is if you look at the part of Huntington that has the potential for the most growth it would probably be the river.

7. HUNTINGTON HAS BEEN HURT FROM PAST MISTAKES

Obviously, Huntington's government made mistakes that the city is still paying for now. Letting the mall slip away to Barboursville and the enter and exit ramps to Interstate 64 not be built downtown has hurt Huntington repeatedly over the years.

Think of the taxes that Huntington would have collected if the mall were built downtown. 'Old money' has been the common reason many point to why Huntington does not have The Huntington Mall within city
limits.

Old Huntington also set up many pensions for city employees that presented trouble for Huntington in the last few years as it is faced with more pensions to pay than it can afford. Old Huntington also never perfected the infrastructure mainly the sewer system that is now becoming a major problem: which leads to the next statement.

6. SEVERAL POLITICIANS NEED TO BE REPLACED IN THE NEXT ELECTION

Many politicians have literally stayed at the party too long and this goes for magistrates as well as others including the former bar owner who is always there for his former patrons especially the female criminals that go in front of him. You cannot expect change if you do not change the integral parts of the system. There are too many incompetent officials winning elects because of their name. Even if they know their job well because of their experience they lack the hunger to bring change needed and some just have questionable ethics and work ethic.

5. DOWNTOWN IS STILL THE HUB OF HUNTINGTON AND HAS GROWTH POTENTIAL

Everyone appears to realize the importance of Downtown but shoppers. Indie businesses could help the tax revenue for the city and help lower unemployment. Maybe if the police patrolled downtown more frequently and did something about the panhandling going on down there and the suspicious characters that trickle down from the mission or the homeless from the riverbanks that loiter there then shoppers would feel safer.

4. HUNTINGTON'S BEST ASSET IS ITS' PEOPLE

Huntingtononians have heart. They help one another. We are the hub of the mental health activity and especially Autism in Huntington. True, the workers are paid but they have incredible patience and heart to deal with the challenges of the mentally ill. Huntington boasts a state hospital (Mildred Bateman Hospital), a mental health hospital River Park and multiple companies who work with the mentally handicapped like Autism Services Center, Starlight, ResCare, Unlimited Possibilties, Prestera, Mulberry Street, PAIS, and a few more companies.

Huntington comes together whenever a part of the community is in trouble. With the kind of teamwork that the people of Huntington have exhibited there is very little that our city cannot accomplish when standing behind the right leader or leaders.

3. HUNTINGTONS INFASTRUCTURE IS IN NEED OF REPAIR

Huntington's infastructure is aging rapidly and the sewer system, public buildings, and other parts of Huntington need much work. These problems are very important but there simply is not any money to fix them. Some of these problems should qualify for federal assistance or federal grants. There is not any
easy answers for this problem but it does not make it any less true. Unfortunately, the citizens are overtaxed and it is hard for them to get by right now so it makes the solution to this problem that much more elusive.

2. HUNTINGTON CITIZENS ARE OVERTAXED AND STRUGGLING There are just too many fees and taxes that are inflicted on Huntington's residents. A major appealing factor for those to move to Huntington has always been Huntington's affordable cost of living but all of the fees and taxes drive the cost of living up.

The major challenge right now is to fix the aging infastructure of Huntington without driving up or creating more taxes and fees. Each new administration seems to come into office with an agenda and they fund the agenda through new taxes and fees. Our families simply can no longer afford that because there are just too many of them. The infastructure improvements are going to have to come from federal funding and grants.

  1. HUNTINGTON IS A COLLEGETOWN

Marshall University is the lifeblood of Huntington. It is our pride and drives our small businesses. There are many small business that survive because of the diverse culture of Marshall's students. Marshall is close to Downtown Huntington so it is fueling Downtown Huntington's comeback.

MarshallUniversity also provides the teachers, doctors, and other professionals that ignite this town.

Without Marshall this time would not have the service industry and much revenue we that we do now.

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Alligator Jackson 2 years ago from Huntington, WV Author

All pictures were taken by me and I wrote the cartoons which were drawn by Doug Lawrence

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