- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Recent editorials from West Virginia newspapers:


May 9

Charleston Daily Mail on the results of the 2018 primary election:

Old-timers may remember the command their mother may have given them at the dining room table. “Dinner is on your plate. Like it or not, you’ve got to eat it.”

That may sound a little harsh to some, but as we wake up Wednesday morning to the 2018 primary election results, the message is the same.

The voters have spoken. In our representative democracy, we all have to live with their decisions - at least until the General Election on Nov. 6.

Absent massive proof of election irregularities, the election stands and the winners names will appear on the ballot in November. Individually, we may be thrilled with the winners, or we may feel despair, but we have to respect the decisions of the voters. There will be plenty of second guessing and blaming one group or another, but none of that will change the results.

Some will blame the rate of voter turnout, which even in good elections, is abhorrently low in the U.S. But the people who didn’t vote did make their choice by not voting. They abdicated power to others.

“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice,” wrote Neil Peart, lyricist for the rock band Rush in the 1980 release of “Freewill.”

Individually, we don’t get to pick the leaders and representatives of our government. But each of us who chooses to use our voice does have a say. It’s the combined electorate, the voice of the community that decides our government direction.

It’s not a perfect system, by any means, but it beats a ruling power, dictator or an elite few picking our leaders for us.

“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government,” Winston Churchill said in the British House of Commons in 1947, “except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

Hear. Hear. If you voted, thank you for your participation in our democracy.

Online: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/


May 9

Bluefield Daily Telegraph on state officials reporting April revenue numbers that show an acceleration of economic activity:

State officials in West Virginia are reporting an acceleration of economic activity. April revenue numbers were more than $24 million ahead of estimates and 6,900 new jobs were added by the private sector during the month. Fitch Ratings also changed the state’s outlook from negative to stable. In short, the state’s economic recovery is gaining steam. And ongoing efforts by state lawmakers to create a business-friendly environment in the Mountain State are helping.

Governor Jim Justice announced the April revenue numbers last week during a news conference with Chief of Staff Mike Hall, Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy, and Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow.

Highlights of April’s numbers include:

. Collections were $535.3 million, which was $23.7 million above estimates. Collections are 99.9 percent of year-to-date estimates and $146 million higher than last year.

. Personal income tax collections exceeded estimates by more than $13 million because of a 10.4 percent gain in withholding tax collections. Collections were 6.5 percent ahead of last year.

. Corporate net income tax exceeded April estimates by $4.6 million. Year-to-date collections were $1.8 million above estimates and 0.4 percent ahead of last year.

. Severance tax collections exceeded estimates by more than $5 million in April. Collections were 21.8 percent ahead of last year.

. Consumer sales tax collections were 3.6 percent ahead of last year.

. State Road Fund collections were $22.4 million above estimate and 19.2 percent ahead of last year.

Justice, who criticized the press during the news conference, said news media outlets should be “jumping up and down” over the “great numbers.”

While we will remain seated for now (we see no reason to jump), we do acknowledge that the April revenue numbers are a welcomed sign of a strengthening state economy. It is good news, and a reminder that West Virginia is moving in the right direction.

Online: http://www.bdtonline.com/


May 9

The Dominion Post on families of miners killed in the 1968 Farmington No. 9 mine explosion seeking to have a wrongful-death lawsuit reinstated:

Many historic 50th anniversaries still lie in wait this year.

Some have already passed, like the Tet Offensive and Martin Luther King’s assassination.

But many more are yet to come that mark 1968 as one of the most tumultuous years in American history.

Memories of one such event in 1968, which often doesn’t appear on its timelines, will never be forgotten in local and state history. Though some may think mine disasters in West Virginia are too common to be listed among historic events, we never will, especially this one.

On Nov. 20, 1968, the Farmington No. 9 mine, in Marion County, exploded, killing 78 men, 19 of whom are still entombed there.

Though mine disasters rarely generate a response from Congress, much like today’s mass shootings, what happened next in the aftermath of this one was different.

Congress passed the Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, which increased federal mine inspections and toughened safety standards.

The reason we address this mine disaster now is a hearing was scheduled Wednesday on it before a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia.

Many of the families of the 78 miners who died are asking that court to reinstate a lawsuit they filed in 2014.

A federal judge in Clarksburg ruled in April 2017 the lawsuit was filed too late, because of a two-year limitation period on filing such wrongful-death lawsuits.

Attorneys for the families of the miners are arguing that limitation should be extended because of what they contend was concealment of the facts.

Such facts as a memo attesting the mine’s chief electrician disabled an alarm on a ventilation fan used to flush methane from the mine and other documentation.

No violations were ever issued, no fines levied and no action ever taken against the mine owner. State and federal reports on Farmington No. 9 also were never issued.

The families accuse the company of fraudulently concealing facts that would have allowed them to file a wrongful-death lawsuit long ago.

We are not weighing in for or against the merits of these families’ case, in what must still be an emotional issue.

Still, these families deserve the benefit of a trial that would allow a panel of judges or a jury to decide who, if anyone, was accountable for this disaster.

The lawsuit was seeking $110,000 for each of the victims’ families in 2014, as well as punitive damages and interest.

Nearly 50 years later, why not allow justice to take its course and provide these families closure?

Much of what happened in 1968 - at this mine and elsewhere - will always revive old arguments and reopen old wounds.

Be that as it may, efforts to veil any alleged wrongdoing that happened then will not be healed by time alone.

Online: https://www.dominionpost.com/

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