Welcome back to Wrong Side of the Mountain, my column about what makes Boone County a good or bad place to live, depending on your perspective. 

I do my very best to stay out of party politics. I don’t go to any meetings, I generally avoid events that they hold because if I dare accidentally go cover one more than the other, I’ll be turned into a human piñata.

Furthermore, I feel that a local reporter should avoid party-related events anyway. We should be covering the campaigns and the issues that drive them, not the parties.

I could care less what your party is. I can’t put into words how little I care. Did I mention that I don’t care about your party? Well, I don’t.

Most of us are floating around out there in the middle somewhere on our own anyway. We’re issue-driven, not party.

With all of this said, a recent series of events made me throw up in my mouth a little.

Members of the Boone County Republican Party, led by Boone County Commission candidate Josh Barker, had planned to present Boone County Clerk Roger Toney, a Democrat, a “Citizen Award” of some type on Oct. 3 for his recent bravery in standing up to the county commission and their gaggle of administrators when Toney presented (to my eyes) the correct numbers for his budget that showed him approximately $900 short of meeting recent cuts handed down by our trio of elected leaders.

I’ve dissected a budget or thousand in my time, they’re not crippling to the mind to understand, despite what insurance premium-based distractions you throw into the middle of it. OK, I’m veering off of my point here. Can we reel this in?

How do I know all of this?

I know because I have text messages to prove it. I politely denied the opportunity to take a photo of this presentation and then again denied a request to have one sent to me for publication. I clearly, accurately and professionally expressed my thoughts on the premise of such an initiative.

I realize that 1975 politics are still at play in southern West Virginia. I’m privy to the fact that doing the dog and pony show tour of the county buying watermelon for football teams is part of that. I get it.

But, when you grandstand on the reputation and virtues of someone like Roger Toney, who may be the most reputable human being in this county, you’ve indeed gone too far.

It looks desperate. It looks condescending and perhaps more than a little disgusting.

Luckily, Roger got wind of this abomination and quickly put a stop to it before his family, some of which were contacted by Barker, made the trek to his office for some bogus display of appreciation topped with egregious amounts of self-promotion.

Not only would this have been embarrassing for a man with zero ego whatsoever, it would have made an awkward working environment even tougher to navigate for him.

As candidates, can we get back to tackling the issues and spend less time organizing banal and tepid grandstanding gestures of self-promotion?

I don’t care who you are. I don’t care who your connections are, and I don’t care if I lose my job for writing this. Someone has to call this out publicly.

There, I said what at least 75 percent of this county is thinking, regardless of their affiliations. I’m just the one who uses ink by the barrel.

Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at pperry@hdmediallc.com or at 304-307-2401.