The Pinehurst Hot Mess: A voter guide

The big question for local voters right now is:  Do I appreciate hot messes?”   If the answer is ‘Yes, I do,”  there is a slate of candidates awaiting your approval. 

Pinehurst voters have been subjected to a reign of terror these last four years by aggressively totalitarian fanatics  mostly exported from points northeast of here.  Property rights and  personal freedoms have come under attack. ‘Get off my lawn!’ and ‘Let them sue!’ have become the battle-cries of the ruling lunatic fringe.

Neighbors have been pitted against neighbors. Vigilantism has even reared its ugly head. If you dare to speak up or even question the agenda of the ruling lunatic fringe, your guts will be stomped upon. 

Pinehurst has at least two very serious issues on the table that not many people are discussing:  (1) an overworked, under-staffed police department and (2) a chaotic traffic situation.  

Instead, the ruling junta — powered by something insidious called The Friday Group – has decided to demonize vacation rental properties and the tourists that rent them.  The rental properties have been declared – by the mayor and his cronies on council –  noise nuisances and havens for all kinds of criminal mischief.  Never mind that the local cops have noooooooooo evidence to suggest that rental properties and their guests are any more of a problem than year-round residents. But who needs facts when you are bullying your way into power and trying to stay there?  

The ruling crowd has spent so much time on their rental property witch hunt that they nearly missed a deadline on obtaining money to address traffic circle issues.

Gutless incumbent mayor John Strickland has foregone reelection — eager to avoid being held accountable for the mess he has made.  His antics, and those of mayor pro tem Pat Pizzella and village manager Jeff Sanborn, have seriously antagonized and nearly ruined the village’s working relationship with other Moore County communities, the county government, and the state legislature.

There’s an opportunity between now and November 7 to fix the mess created by Strickland, Pizzella, and the Friday Group mob.

The mayor’s race.  Do not get fooled again by ‘Parachute Pat’ Pizzella.  The Friday Group imported him into Pinehurst from DC in March 2021 — just in time to register to vote and file for the November 2021 council race. Pizzella got elected thanks in large part to the Friday Group’s mischief and Strickland’s use of village resources to sabotage the reelection effort of one incumbent council member.

Pizzella likes to talk about all of his bureaucratic jobs in Washington, mostly at smaller agencies of questionable constitutionality. He doesn’t like to talk about how he bounced back and forth between the federal bureaucracy and the lobbying world — peddling his influence with former coworkers and work associates to private clients.  

Pizzella also doesn’t like to talk about his close working relationship with one Jack Abramoff — arguably THE ‘poster boy’ for DC corruption – who went to jail for passing out bribes like Halloween candy.   Media reports at the time suggest that Pizzella’s relationship with Abramoff killed his chances at becoming US Labor Secretary. 

Pizzella also got tagged with working for a shell company tied to the Russian government. 

During his time on the village council, Pizzella has been spearheading attacks on the rights of landowners who rent their property — even openly suggesting that the opinions and rights of those who don’t live here year-round don’t matter.

The ol’ Short-Term Rental ordinance got altered once word came down that a flurry of lawsuits – possibly including one from CCNC — might be coming.  The ordinance currently in place – thanks to Pizzella, Strickland, and the Friday Group – is unenforceable and will draw all kinds of litigation once anyone attempts to enforce it.  The politicians got their PR victory to sooth their cronies.  Village workers got a hot potato dropped in their laps.

Little to nothing has been done to enforce the ordinance.  That has provoked the Pizzella Fan Club to take to the streets with a little vigilante justice.  The police department has been swamped with telephoned, baseless complaints about tourists renting houses throughout the village.   (Complaints have included “noise” from kids playing in a swimming pool and “noise” from folks using a hot tub at around 6 PM.)

Activists have stormed into gated backyards to berate tourists staying there.  Activists have heckled tourists as they pull in and out of their driveways.  One male tourist, who decided to go to his car shirtless early one Sunday morning, got photographed and posted on social media.

You can only imagine the horror stories these tourists take home with them about these crazy Pinehurst people.  The Strickland-Pizzella mob has already demonized anyone trying to bring business to Pinehurst. So, tourism is all we have left.  Now, they’re trying to crush that. 

Pizzella has brow-beaten village staff into studies on ordinances regulating exterior residential lighting.  During that debate, it was suggested that village cops walk around with devices to measure light brightness.  *Like they have nothing else better to do. *

Pizzella has also demanded that the village post video cameras downtown and have its employees devote time to counting trucks.  Apparently, some of his friends complained to him that there were too many trucks – including UPS and FedEx – blocking the roads in the business district.

Pizzella IS quite the opportunist.  Not long after he made his mayoral intentions clear, Pizzella decided to pound on his chest and declare himself a fiscal conservative.  The tax rate needed to be cut further he said.  Where was this ‘Mr. Fiscal Responsibility’ when the truck-counting project and the ‘exterior-lighting’ witch-hunt were going down?

‘Parachute Pat’ IS that guy who shows up at every HOA meeting and makes everyone miserable with his complaints.  He and his cronies – Strickland, BARB, and John Taylor — are seeking to make the next four years in Pinehurst the most hellish HOA experience possible. 

Voting for someone because they are sooooooo much fun at cocktail parties is what gets us into messes like we have now in village government.

For Council.  There are four choices — incumbent Lydia Boesch, former council member Clare Berggren, BARB Ficklin, and John. Taylor.

BARB and John Taylor are founding members of the ‘Get off My Lawn!’ caucus. They were recruited by the folks who gave us John Strickland, Pat Pizzella and the late Jane Hogeman.

BARB is registered as an Unaffiliated voter.  The last time she had to choose a party ballot, she picked DEMOCRAT.  She’s running ads talking about how much she cares about Pinehurst.  But, according to elections records, she hasn’t voted in a village election since 2007.  She apparently doesn’t care THAT MUCH. 

BARB and Taylor are both parroting the talking points about rental properties being the death of us all. To them, it doesn’t matter that it’s all based on lies and the ordinance that was passed is unenforceable.  They’re going with the story that’s been pounded into their head at all those silly downtown cocktail parties, and they’re sticking with them.

Lydia Boesch has been – along with councilman Jeff Morgan – one of the few voices of sanity in village government in recent years.  Clare Berggren — who has been much more low-key campaigning this time around — had an incredibly sane and reasonable voting record during her previous tenure on council.

If you want to put an end to the madness that has been creating local turmoil and embarrassing the village nationwide, you need to vote for Boesch AND Berggren for Village Council.  ANY OTHER combination will guarantee disaster that will make the on-going mess EVEN HOTTER.