My Turn: A glimpse into the ugliness of politics - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My Turn: A glimpse into the ugliness of politics

We saw a little glimpse into that ugliness recently when one of our own State Senators, Bill Rabon, had to apologize to the Governor and members of the House after he criticized them during a recorded meeting with his constituents. We saw a little glimpse into that ugliness recently when one of our own State Senators, Bill Rabon, had to apologize to the Governor and members of the House after he criticized them during a recorded meeting with his constituents.

The work of our legislators is often equated with that of making sausage. Basically, it can be an ugly sight and one you don't want to watch.

We saw a little glimpse into that ugliness recently when one of our own State Senators, Bill Rabon, had to apologize to the Governor and members of the House after he criticized them during a recorded meeting with his constituents.

He used some off-color language. But beyond the choice of words, I was most disturbed by the bad politics at play here. After this recording was made public, leadership in the State Senate said they were killing a bill related to this meeting because of the recording.

What amazes me is those politicians didn't even try to hide their retaliatory politics. It was all out in the open.

We want transparency. But that's not in the spirit of what our leaders should be doing in Raleigh. Killing a bill just for retaliation is not good government and only fuels the flames of distrust already burning in most taxpayers.

That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at



Emailed comments from viewers:

You are tremendous!!!!    Smart, articulate and common sense all in one person.  God I wish there were more of you.  Terrific job.


I think I have been in agreement with you every time I've watched. You have common sense, which is something our elected officials seem to be short of. 

Why don't you run for Congress? I know I would vote for you. I'm sure many others feel as I do.


Great commentary…You didn't go so far as to cite the subject of the bill, as it is irrelevant to your point that spite has no place in deciding the merits of any proposed law.  This is not how mature, responsible individuals behave


Your recent commentary on the Bill Rabon "Puppy Gate" incident barely scratched the surface in defining the problem. I have observed Mr. Rabon over  several years both in person and through his comments in the media. His arrogance is exceeded only by his obvious distain for his constituents.  This is also a characteristic of his extremist cohorts in Raleigh. What you described as retaliatory politics is standard operating proceedure for that crowd. Is it any wonder that these radicals, who came to power only after an inexplicable change in historical voting patterns dating back a century or more, are obessed with preventing "voter fraud"?

Furthermore, the fact that Mr. Rabon and the rest of his extremist crowd is so infuriated that his scurilous comments were  recorded leaves no doubt in my mind that he has something nefarious to hide. One can only hope that the voters are paying attention and treat him accordingly in November.


Senator Apodaca called us animal extortionists and John Pannullo, President of the Republican Party for District 8 called us"special interests group with a grudge".  Let me tell you about this group of citizens that met with Senator Bill Rabon.  We volunteer in our community, in our churches, in our food pantries and in our local domestic violence facility.  We serve on museum boards, land conservancy board and recreation planning boards and work to make our community a better place.  We are veterinarians, who believe puppy mills are an underground industry that is out of control in NC.  We are citizens who have raised or are raising children who will continue to give to the world because it is the right thing to do.  The NC Senate leaders call us names because we have the audacity to release a tape recorded meeting with an elected official so the public can know the character of an elected official.   This is who we are and we are proud of it!

The most important thing to these citizens who met with Senator Bill Rabon is passage of Puppy Mill legislation.  We were told at a meeting in Southport recently that the "BILL IS DEAD BECAUSE I DON'T LIKE IT.  THE BILL IS  NOT GOING TO BE HEARD BY THE SENATE."

Now, the NC Senate says the bill will not be heard BECAUSE of the tape.   I suppose this is their way of making it sound like we are being "punished" for our actions.  It sounds like the NC Senate is more angry that the tape exists than they are with what is actually on the tape

The fact is, the punishment inflicted will be felt by thousands of innocent dogs in the more than 250 puppy mills in NC.  The animals in these mills wait day after day to be saved.  They shiver at night and cry with no one to hear them.  Alone, hungry, sick, scared and cold, they wait for the NC Senate to force their owner to provide only basic care.   Puppy mills are an underground industry that is out of control in NC.  A black market industry with a product to be sold.  There are sellers.  There are buyers.  There is cash paid for the product.  There is no tax paid on the cash transactions.  The product is registered with the AKC so AKC knows where the puppy mills are and actually gets money from each puppy registered.  Why would they ever want this cash flow to stop?  The production of this "product" is called a "breeder dog".  The "breeder" has no protection, no care, often little food or water, no shelter from severe weather, no veterinary care and little to know time spent out of a cage.  It is treated as a machine to produce those "cute little puppies" to be sold from the trunk of a car for hundreds of dollars that are collected in cash with no taxes paid.  Strange all this happens on the streets of our communities while local farmers must have a permit to sell me tomatoes and corn from his fields!

A group of citizens met with the Senator who has blocked the bill, Senator Bill Rabon.  These same citizens were speechless when they left the room after a lesson in "politics 101".  The Senator does not like the bill and will punish those in the NC House who presented the bill using the power and control  of his position on the finance committee for NC.  That committee controls the financing of other bills that are presented.  The NC Senate has called us extortionist and called our tactics "disgusting".  You decide who is the extortionist and who is disgusting!   

Senator Rabon has publicly apologized to the Governor and the NC House for words spoken "in a heated moment".  He has not apologized to meeting attendees for the rant.  His claims that the tape was "leaked" is supposed to make up for the words on the tape.  It was ok for him to say this to a group of citizens but not ok for us to tell others he said it.  I suppose we did not know the rules of "politics 101 folks", Rabon's own words!  You decide if the fact that the tape exists is disgusting or the words on the tape itself.

Senator Rabon is not sorry for what he said.  To him, what he said was empowering.  He IS sorry his words were released though.  The character of a politician is important.  This tape reveals  volumes about the character of Senator Bill Rabon.   He spoke proudly of his power, his control and his importance.  You will notice that he never once mentioned the word respected when describing himself. 

I implore the N C Senate to pass this bill.  A bill that more than 85% of the people of this state want to see passed.  A bill that the NC House voted for.  A bill that has the support of the Governor of NC.  There are good people in our Raleigh Government and they do not deserve for PUPPYGATE to be the word people will remember about their time in public office. 


How very sad that innocent dogs are the pawns in this  NC political battle.  The dogs wait in more than 250 puppy mills in NC..  They wait in cages, in filth, hungry, cold, sick and frightened.  They wait for us to do something to change these conditions.  We are the voice for those who have none and we will not be silenced by our own elected officials, our public servants!

And to think,  nearly 4 years ago, we elected a veterinarian to the position of Senator for District 8 to address this very issue!  Senator Bill Rabon tells us " this issue is near and dear to his heart", yet he has spent nearly 4 years as our Senator with not a single bill presented to address the puppy mill issue.  Puppy mills  did not just happen in NC.  As surrounding states, VA, W VA, TN and SC passed regulation, the puppy mills in these states merely moved to NC.  We have no legislation to protect the dogs in these mills.

Law enforcement in NC can only file charges to protect dogs when their treatment reaches the abuse level. HB 930 could prevent the abuse from occurring.  Abuse charges are merely dismissed by our judges as seen with in the 2013 Brunswick County case of Springer, dismissed by Judge Jolly of Brunswick County.  By that time the conditions in a puppy mill reach the level of abuse,  it is too late for many of the dogs.  This legislation would simply regulate basic care for these dogs to prevent their condition from reaching the abuse level.  Basic care is food, water, shelter, daily exercise out of a cage and basic veterinary care.  Puppy mills are an underground industry that is out of control in our state.

  •  The future of HB930, the puppy mill bill, lies in the hands of the NC Senate.
  •  85% of citizens polled in NC want the puppy mill bill to be passed.
  •  The NC House passed the puppy mill bill  in 2013.
  •  The NC Governor and his wife endorsed the puppy mill bill in 2013.
  •  HB930 is more than halfway to becoming a law in NC.  It is currently blocked by the NC Senate.
  •  NC has had 15 puppy mill busts, affecting 1,600 dogs,  in the same time that Virginia had none, SC had 2, Tennessee had NONE and even West Virginia had 1.
  •  It is estimated that NC has 250 active puppy mills.
  •  The 15 busts we have already had cost thousands of dollars.  A cost  passed along to taxpayers and  citizens who donate to nonprofit organizations to help the animals affected.
  •  The money to clean up this mess in NC could be used in a multitude of ways to improve our state.
  •  No matter what the NC Senate says, HB930 addresses COMMERCIAL DOG BREEDING FACILITIES.  There is no mention of pigs, cows, horses or chickens.  The word here is DOGS!

It should not take a rocket scientist to analyze these facts.  Why is the NC Senate leadership fighting this legislation?  They block HB930 to send a message to citizens who spoke out.  The NC Senate is willing to condemn thousands of dogs to horrific punishment and spend your tax dollars  to clean up the mess, just to make a point of who is more powerful, the public servant or the voter!

 Voters of NC will speak out in November.  Maybe then we will learn who works for who in NC.   

We need the help of our local media outlets – please help us by continuing to provide coverage of this topic in your newscasts and opinion sections.  Together, we can change the minds of elected officials when they know we won't back down on this issue.


Thank you for your segment concerning the Bill Rabon meeting with several constituents concerning the Puppy Mill Bill.  It is appalling to me that a veterinarian would try to kill this bill. I know someone who was at the meeting and she said it was unbelievable how Bill Rabon spoke to them.  The reason has to be about money. Thanks for bringing this before the public.

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