May 10, 2022
I have been surprised at how many people thought District Attorney Ted Bell still lived in Rutherfordton. I guess it’s not surprising since his children still attend Thomas Jefferson in Mooresboro but in fact he now lives in Marion and has for the past three years.
When he first came here he moved to Forest Hills in Rutherfordton from Birmingham, Alabama. He had a very nice house that his family purchased for $375,000. In 2008 he became an assistant district attorney in District 29A. In 2015, seven years later, Ted Bell became the District Attorney for 29A.
In 2019 he sold his house in Rutherfordton for $385,000 and purchased a 4+-acre property in Marion (same town as his friend Judge Randy Pool) for close to a million dollars. The MLS online pictures of the home are beautiful. It has 4 bedrooms, 4.5+ baths, and 5,116 square feet with a pool and three-car garage with workshop.
He has done well for himself since moving here and that is what we would wish for anyone. However, that is not always the case for a lot of people who live in his district. It is hard to see how he can relate to the general population of people in his district with his income and standard of living.
It is possible to see where he would not understand the difficulty of people who are trying to pay court fines when they are making minimum wage. These people can’t afford lawyers and any unexpected expense can totally disrupt their lives. These people once entered into the “system” have no real chance of getting out of it. The “system” requires money and money is the one thing most of these people do not have.
Most lawyers, judges, and officials who live in million dollar homes do not understand how even a $200.00 fine can disrupt a family’s life. There are currently no programs for indigent offenders to “work off” a fine. They either come up with the money or go to jail. This means often times that rent cannot be paid putting them in danger of homelessness.
Ted Bell constantly talks about community engagement being part of his D.A. duties. How can you be engaged in the community without trying to find a way to help people in these situations? This affects not only the people involved but their families as well. Ted Bell says he “protects the children.” Well who is protecting these children when their family becomes homeless or their electricity is cut off or they are hungry because their parent paid their court fines or worse yet lost their job and went to jail.
Ted Bell has been in office for seven years and has never made any effort to address these issues. People with money get lawyers, pay their fines, and get on with their lives. It is understandable how they really do not realize the situations others not as affluent as they are in, but Ted Bell sees this every day. People, who do not have the money to pay fines, do not have jobs that allow them to take time off for personal issues, do not have family to help. Instead of helping them he is the one who increases the difficulties they face.
These people matter. A person’s importance is not necessarily related to the amount of disposable income they have. It seems that Ted Bell only relates to those of his same socio-economic status. He seems to protect his “friends” while ignoring others. This is not the way it should be.
A District Attorney should represent the people he is elected to serve regardless of their economic status. All should be treated equally under the law and provisions should be made to help people work off their fines who do not have funds available to cover them.
Ted Bell recently sent out a mailer saying he is protecting children in Rutherford and McDowell Counties by giving longer sentences to child predators. On it he names three cases. If he is truly concerned about protecting children why is he supporting programs that take their parents away from them, deny them a home, and potentially place them in foster care becoming wards of the state?
Next Tuesday we have an opportunity to change the “status quo.” This primary election will decide the District Attorney’s race. As much as Ted Bell can afford a million dollar property the majority of us cannot afford his policies to continue. We need empathy, understanding, transparency, and a willingness to look beyond self. That is not something we have ever seen with Ted Bell in his seven years in office.
The golden rule says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Remember how Ted Bell interpreted this by protecting Judge Randy Pool. Vote for change, vote for helping people in our communities to help themselves. Vote for what is really best at protecting our children…. transparency.
Early voting is going on through this week with the final day of primary voting being Tuesday May 17th. All unaffiliated voters can vote in the Republican primary. Take back your communities. Vote!