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Monday, July 21, 2014

Durbin Parade Video


Friday, July 18, 2014

Saturday at 10:00 Corporate Facism

The county commissioners, David Fleming,  Jamie Walker, and Bill Beard will be voting on whether to establish a new government in Pocahontas County consist of a quasi-political body dominated by Snowshoe with 4 or 7 eligible votes.  This new government will be limited to those who "own" land at Snowshoe and could include citizens of foreign nations.  These citizens will form their own private police force with the power to utilize deadly force.  All persons owning land regardless of size at Snowshoe will be subject to the tax decisions by this new corporate body.

The real entity is Donald Trump!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Leyzorek Petition

Editor's Note:  If you read the Pocahontas Times, you only get a small bit of the story.  There are many issues that have not been resolved and it is expected that this issue will proceed to the federal courts.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Frank Deberry Speaks Out on the RAD

Dear Snowshoe Property Owner, 

This week’s information e-mail regarding the RAD process is focused on addressing some of the rumors that have come about regarding the impacts of the RAD. As the actual public meeting dates to discuss the RAD with the County Commission approach (These are Monday, July 7th at 5:30PM and Saturday, July 19th at 10:00AM – both held at the County Courthouse in Marlinton, WV…I hope you can attend) several more people have reached out to me wanting to learn more about the details of the RAD. In addition, we discussed the RAD at the State of the Shoe presentation at Homeowner’s Weekend at the end of May. 

During this time, a number of rumors have been brought to my attention. Some have come about simply due to misinterpretations of the proposal while others are the result of information being intentionally twisted, and in some cases invented, to portray ill will on Snowshoe’s part. Regardless of the source, I thought it best to take some time and address the key rumors that have been brought to my attention. Some of these rumors have INDEED been spread in a letter written by one individual and distributed to certain homeowners in which the author bends and ignores the truth while also using incendiary language in an attempt to frighten homeowners and prompt an immediate protest response before the reader has taken the time to seek out the full story. Several supporters have asked that I address the issues raised in the letter in order to restore truth to the conversation. 

Call this letter “What the RAD is NOT.” The letter is indeed long – for that I apologize – but the information is important. For this reason, I’d suggest that if your eyes grow weary while reading, maybe you let it stay in your in-box for a while and read it in short bites J. 

Rumor : That Snowshoe’s ultimate goal behind the RAD is to collateralize your property in order to finance new construction projects for our benefit. 
Answer: Completely false: 
· It would be impossible and illegal for the RAD to use your property as security or collateral for any funding. While the RAD does have the ability to borrow or to sell bonds to finance projects, the RAD does not own your property, it cannot take your property, it cannot foreclose on your property, it cannot grant permission for a lending body to foreclose on your property. 
· IF the Board were to propose a special assessment to fund a project by 6 of 7 vote, thus requiring homeowner board-member support AND if only the homeowners supported the project either by petition or referendum vote), then the property ownersbeing benefited by that project would indeed be required to pay the assessment, and the RAD could indeed place a lien on your property until that assessment is paid. 
o This is the exact protection put in place to support the Mountain Top Assessment payments. The difference between the two is that MTA assessments are annual, mandatory, and at the discretion of Snowshoe; whereas RAD special assessments must be supported by homeowners, and would only be used for special projects deemed necessary by the board and approved by the homeowners. 
· While in the letter reference above, the author states that “The real source of income” for the RAD will be homeowner assessments, I would remind you that while this statement was indeed made – it’s simply NOT TRUE. I’ve stated throughout the process that the primary (and only consistent) form of income for the RAD is in the Resort Service Fee, which will add more than half-a-million dollars towards servicing the currently MTA-type functions with zero increase in the cost of homeownership. This addition of funding is capable of supporting today’s infrastructure for the foreseeable future with no need whatsoever for special assessments. 
· As a final note – no RAD funding can be used to finance a project or service for the direct profit-making benefit of any member or group of members. These are public service projects and services only. 
· For more information on how the finances of the RAD are intended to work, please refer to the communication sent on May 13th. A link to this communication, can be found here: “Resort Area District revenue generating authorities” 

Rumor : That Snowshoe has intentionally ‘stacked the deck’ to ensure permanent control of the Board of Directors 
Answer: False: 
· This issue has been addressed several times in public, and only after having been extensively discussed amongst the RAD Organizing Committee. The law provides for 7 board members: 
o 2 Appointed by the Resort Operator (Snowshoe Mountain, Inc.) – The Resort Operator is a permanent, keystone, and full-time constituent dedicated to our community’s long-term success. The weight of the two positions here is indeed intentional given that the Resort Operator’s full-time focus is on the success of the Resort – that’s all we focus on, all the time. 
o 3 Elected by the owners of improved property (homeowners) – The largest, by number, constituent of the Resort is the homeowner. As such, the largest number of seats are dedicated to this class of voter. 
o 1 Elected by the owners of unimproved property (developers and owners of lots) – The ‘developers’ of any resort project have a tremendous impact on the future of that resort. They also have a unique perspective of the needs of that Resort. At this time, the amount of developable property is still huge within our Resort. I fully acknowledge, and always have, that Snowshoe currently holds enough of this property to control the voting for this seat. Any single entity that has such an impact upon the future of the Resort should indeed have the means to ensure that these interests are represented. It’s also important to realize that Snowshoe today is a mountain-resort operating company, not a real estate developer. While we will seek to partner together with developers who have projects that we believe will enhance the overall Resort experience (The Corduroy Inn for example), we’ve acknowledged that our wheelhouse is in operating great ski resorts, not home-building. Only time will tell who will own the majority of developable land at any given point in the future; but whomever that is, they need to have a seat at the table. 
o 1 Elected by the owners of commercial property – Much like the developer perspective, the owners of stores and restaurants have a critical impact and unique perspective within the Resort, and for all the same reasons, they need a seat at the table. Again, Snowshoe currently owns 24 of the 45 commercial properties at the Resort and as such does control the voting for this seat at this time, but it only takes one sale of commercial assets by Snowshoe, or one significant additional commercial project to tip that balance. In fact, I fully expect (but cannot say for certain) that in the not-so-distant future, Snowshoe will go from majority owner to ‘super-minority’ owner, and that this seat will much more competitive. PLEASE remember that the RAD is intended to serve for decades to come, and in forming the law, we have to take the long-term future into consideration. 
· So, while the board was in NO WAY formed to ensure that Snowshoe controls it, we know that for now we do….which brings us to the protections; both for property owners and for Snowshoe – which aren’t shared by the author of the letter or by those spreading the rumors: 
o The support of 6 of 7 board members are required before a budget can be passed 
o The support of 6 of 7 board members are required before a Resort Service Fee can be passed 
o The support of 6 of 7 board members are required (in addition to passive support of 75% of those to be assessed and/or active support of 51% of the same ) before a special assessment can be levied 
o The support of 6 of 7 board members are required (in addition to passive support of 75% of those to be assessed and/or active support of 51% of the same) before the RAD can borrow any money. 
o Yes – with this scenario Snowshoe could block any of the above-mention actions – AND the same is true for property owners – it’s balanced. 

Rumor : That a Resort Area District Ranger program has been proposed / That it will be a ‘corporate police force’. 
Anwser: The concept of a possible Ranger program is indeed part of the RAD proposal. With that said, the author of the above-mentioned letter mentioned so-badly misconstrues the intent of the Ranger program in hopes of scaring the reader into believing that Snowshoe hopes to become Boss-Hog within the community (COMPLETE with our own Sherriff Roscoe P. Coltrane) that the inflammatory portrayal of the concept would be humorous if it weren’t meant to destroy such an important undertaking. Here is the truth. As with all of the statements being made in all of my communicatons on the RAD, this truth can be verified by anyone who sat on the organizing committee. 
· Our community, given it’s extremely rural nature, can be at any given time more than an hour away from certified law-enforcement response. 
· Despite years of effort, we have been unable to convince the County to enhance law-enforcement consistently within our area. 
· Our public SAFETY officers (armed private security) have on several occasions placed themselves directly in harm’s way to save lives and property, but they are not law-enforcement officers, and neither they nor Snowshoe have the legal and liability protections afforded to a government supported law enforcement force. 
· When you’re not here in the spring, summer, or fall – they are, and they’re patrolling your properties with very little back-up available in the case of trouble. 
· The concept of District Rangers already exists for a similar purpose at the Hatfield-McCoy Recreational Area. 
· The Ranger Program – if instituted – would be offered the same liability protections that are afforded any public law-enforcement agency; which is not the case today. 
· While supported by many, the Ranger program is only one option. The additional funds brought in by the resort service fees could be used to contract additional County, or more likely State Police presence here at the Mountain. 
· I fully expect that many owners will have an opinion on how to best address the need for additional law-enforcement on the Mountain. That is the very basic beauty of the RAD – you the homeowner will get to choose board members who will take on this issue and find solutions. 

Issue : That the RAD, once created, can never be undone. 
Answer: Complicated, but with solutions available. It is true, that much like many other public corporations, there are no mechanisms placed in the legislation to dissolve a Resort Area District. If indeed the members of the RAD for an unforeseen reason down the road deemed the RAD to no longer be a benefit, there are no means by which it can be terminated. As mentioned, this is true with several types of public corporations within the State. With that said, and while admittedly not as clean, there are several options available that would protect the members from suffering unwanted provision of services or assessment of fees by the RAD. 
· By the very nature of the RAD, it starts from nothing and only operates on what it generates. If the Board were to eliminate the Resort Service Fee and terminate all services, it would essentially BECOME defunct. The simplest truth is that owners could elect three board members committed to defunding the operating budget beyond existing commitments. (Due to the protections set up to protect each class of membership, the threat of gridlock is more real than any threat that one class could bully around another) 
· Through the by-laws, or possibly even through amendment of the petition, a petition and voting process can be devised that would allow members to force a wind-down of the RAD. In such a case (as in dissolution), the RAD would be required to serve out any existing contractual obligations, but the board could be mandated to cease any operations beyond these; at which time the Board would be focused on either addressing the concerns raised and rebuilding support, or it would remain defunct and having no further impact on the members. 
· If all else failed, members of the RAD could petition the courts to dissolve the RAD. It’s been done with other public corporations and could be done here. 

In summary, I know that the many issues at hand are complicated. If you have questions I do encourage you to seek answers. If after having done so you find yourself unable to support the RAD I can respect that decision. But rumors such as those above are harmful; not because they project differing opinions, but because of instead of posing questions to seek answers they claim as fact positions that simply are not factual. In the case of the letter distributed, they’re also harmful because they purport to know as fact motivations by Snowshoe that are simply in opposition to our true motivations, and because they speak with such inflammatory, conspiratorial, and fright-mongering language that they distract from the true facts. 

There is no malice in the RAD – only a desire to improve our community without raising Mountain Top Assessments and through increased community involvement. I would think we would all support that. 

LAST, BUT IMPORTANT WORDS: In the public notice that you received in the mail, it is stated that you are not required to take action. This is true; however your action or inaction do impact the process. You are also offered the opportunity to support or protest the RAD, even in advance of the public hearings. 
· A submittal of protest on the counts toward a tally of opposition – if 25% of owners protest, the RAD concept dies in the Courthouse. 
Once you cast a protest notice, it is final unless later rescinded in writing. 
· A submittal of support is symbolic – there are no quotas for support, but by casting a support notice, you let the Commissioners know that there is support for the idea in the community. 

Obviously I hope that I’ve done my job in providing you with a clear picture of the issues, of my positions, and of the questions yet to be answered; and that you will submit a support notice and give the Commissioners no doubt that we want them to approve the concept. Please don’t give more power to the vocal minority (which at this points is fewer than 10% of property owners) than is due. If you are unable to support the concept based on what you now know, I urge you to attend one or both of the public meetings. If you are unable to attend the first meeting on the 7th, it will be made available on the web sometime shortly after the meeting is held. I’m sure that the issues at hand will be raised, questioned, and debated. I hope it will provide you with the information you need to make a decision. 

As always, please call or write if you have questions, 

Miracle on Snowshoe Drive

Editor's Note:  

Last Week's Times listed the Snowshoe RAD as likely dead in the water,  but miracle of miracles it has been resurrected!!!

One week later we have a full-fledged resurrection!!!

Judge Says He can be Fair and Unbiased

About Me

A local archivist who specializes in all things Pocahontas County