Will Nov. 7 involve happy endings?

by Ogi Overman

With elections just around the corner, I have a few questions I’d like answered before I step into the booth and cast my electronic ballot. While a few of my queries are directed at specific candidates, most are generic in nature, more along the lines of food for thought with a dash of advice thrown in just for good measure.

• What better place to start than the disaster waiting to happen known as electronic balloting. I foresee contested elections in congressional districts all across the country, possibly enough so that the leadership of the House may not be determined for months. The fact that Diebold, the manufacturer of most of the machines, is a large Republican contributor should be enough to send up red flags, but it will probably be Robin Williams’ new movie that raises eyebrows. Maybe this is Rove’s Plan B, since the GOP base has eroded out from under him and his king-making juggernaut has run off the tracks. Maybe this is why there seems to be no real sense of urgency from the White House, given their dismal poll numbers.

And locally, do we really want a repeat of the Trudy Wade/John Parks fiasco, only much worse? What is the problem with a paper trail, a hack-proof backup plan, a failsafe mechanism to ensure that the person with the most votes actually gets elected?

• Other than voting to change US House leadership, the only compelling race locally is not a race but a referendum. Greensboro voters are going to be asked to approve 11 items totaling over $115 million. Rather than give blanket support, I am looking very closely at several of these items and wondering if they really belong on a bond referendum.

My rule of thumb, generally, is to take the Mr. Spock approach – “The good of the whole outweighs the good of the one” – but I’m having trouble seeing how, say, a natatorium benefits the whole community. Plus, I have a real problem with this whole concept of buying up land so that businesses wishing to relocate here will have ready-made infrastructure. I’ll delve into this in depth soon, but my feeling is that the city should be buying up land not to be developed. (The county voters approved $10 million for that purpose in 2004.) By giving developers and politicians – which far too often around here are one and the same – a louder voice than conservationists over our land-use policies is penny wise and pound foolish. Your grandchildren will pay dearly for your short-sightedness. Granted, it’s hard to separate economic development from land-use policy, but in terms of luring new business to the area, the place to start is better schools. To say we’re running out of land smacks of scare tactics to me.

• What’s up with Brad Miller? Who, besides Jim Longworth, whizzed in his Post Toasties? I’ve liked the guy ever since I saw him at an ACLU fundraiser in which the keynote speaker was Molly Ivins. I can understand why he would not want to be in the same room with Vernon Robinson, but attacking the media is not just tacky, it’s right-wing tacky. Jeez, Brad, that comes across as an Agnewian sign of desperation, a tactic that’s lately been resuscitated by The Duh, his goons, hatchetmen and sycophants. That said, good luck on Nov. 7.

• How’s this for a Machiavellian twist? I’ve always liked Howard Coble personally, and I swear I couldn’t tell you the name of the Democrat opposing him, but I’ll be voting for the guy, whoever he is. It’s the good-of-the-whole argument again, and if one Republican has to be sacrificed for the good of the nation, then I’ll be pulling the proverbial lever for good ol’ whatshisname. Sorry Howard, but the only way the truth about the shamelessness, deceit, malfeasance and incompetence of this administration can be revealed is for the House Democrats to gain subpoena power.

• Speaking of subpoenas, back when District Court Judge Stuart Albright was the DA and I was the editor of ESP Magazine, his office called me in to testify against three massage parlors that he was trying to shut down. Even though I had no hands-on experience with them, I’m sure the prosecutor didn’t want this case to slip through his fingers. Because all three (and all the rest of them) were good advertisers with ESP, I was reluctant to do so but had no choice. During the trial, I recall thinking that it seemed to take an inordinate number of undercover officers making an inordinate number of visits to these businesses in order to establish the fact that they were doing something illegal.

My question to Mr. Albright, then and now, is this: How many happy endings does it take to figure it out?

Ogi may be reached at, heard Tuesdays at 9:30 am on “The Dusty Dunn Show” on WGOS 1070 AM, and seen on “Triad Today” Fridays at 6:30 am on ABC 45 and Sundays at 10 pm on WMY 48.