When you look at county party politics, there’s always a lot going on which leave’s one scratching their head and wondering “why?”
Why would anyone want to be elected to run a local party (or any other elected position)? I believe there are two reasons someone wants such; (1) They truly have a desire to serve others, or (2) They truly have a desire to serve themselves.
Over the last eight years, after a small group lost control over the Spartanburg County Republican Party they have been constantly taking shots at all who have since served. The attacks and rhetoric have remained the same even though the people serving have changed out quite a bit. This reminds me of a saying:
If you meet a jerk every now and again it’s one thing, but if you meet a jerk every morning, a jerk every afternoon, and a jerk every evening, then you are the jerk.
Rick Beltram held the position of Spartanburg County Chairman for a decade, losing in a landslide in 2009. In many ways, Beltram was a good chairman; he was very active politically and did a good job handling the press, but it was the things he wasn’t so good at which brought an end to his service. During the 2009 reorg, he refused to share information with anyone he thought might oppose him – an accusation he, and those associated with him levied at each of the three administrations that have since served.
Other accusations made in regards to our last three administrations have been in regards to party funds and fundraising, so let’s have a look at Beltram’s regime:
Collections of Bronze Elephant never totaled over $3,880 in one year. The only Bronze Elephant member list we could find in the records was from 2006 and at that time there were 75 members.
Reimbursements total almost $24,000 for the years covered in the records we have and a total of $7,342.35 of that was paid to Rick Beltram, not including the $175/month paid to him in “rent.”
For years, the AT&T bill was close to $300 per month, which left most to assume that the party was subsidizing the payment for Rick Beltram’s office as well.
Beltram’s administration appeared to have “planning” meetings at least twice a month which included a payment of at least $100 to places like Fatz, Aloha Restaurant, IHOP, etc.
Beltram’s administration paid over $50,000 to venues like the Marriott, Summit Pointe, Carolina Country Club, etc, yet Rick Beltram has stated that administrations which followed him should hold events at cheaper places.
Most of the credits in the check register during the Beltram Administration are just labeled “deposit” so we couldn’t discern what most were, but regardless, in most years there was only a balance of about $4,000 left in the bank. When LaDonna Ryggs was elected to Chairman in 2009 the balance was only $2,043.
1/1/2005 – “Starting use of Campaign Account for All Expenses” (this was written in the check register).
2/18/05 – Transfer $8,000 to “operating account.”
1/2/08 – Fresh Market Jelly Beans for $144.22
I’ve always like Billy Joel’s music and it’s been on my mind a bit lately. Stuff such as this album cover:
Since the Spartanburg County Party was completely turned over in 2009, the positions have been filled with a steady string of people who have wanted to do the right thing by others; none attempting to make a career out of it, just doing their duty and moving on. It has never mattered since, who was has been there running things, the same stones have been thrown by the same small group of Beltram’s minions, which continues to have me thinking about Billy Joel: