Where is the Blount Partnership/Chamber of Commerce when you need them? Bryan Daniels was busy killing a resolution asking our federal legislators to provide regulatory relief for existing businesses. Listen to local Alcoa businessman and County Commissioner Mike Akard explain the horrible situation he faced because of EPA regulations. Your Mayor Ed Mitchell and the face of industrial development/recruitment worked to kill this simple request for regulatory relief that could help native local businessmen like Mike Akard.
Bryan Daniels’ salary should be cut and the money used to fund pay raises for the Sheriff’s deputies.
This fell upon the deaf ears of 11 commissioners. The resolution originally passed 11-10. Commissioner Shawn Carter flipped and voted not to override the Mayor’s veto. We should be looking out for existing businesses and spend less time giving special deals to foreign owned companies.
The May Commission meeting started with one of the most despicable acts toward the citizenry of Blount County that I’ve ever witnessed. Chairman Jerome Moon ordered the citizens who were standing to clear the room while allowing uniformed armed officers to line the wall.
Citizens have historically lined the walls of county government meetings. You can pull up archived meetings from previous years to see citizens standing along the walls without being ordered to leave.
Furthermore a member of the press, Harry Grothjahn of Truth Radio, was not allowed to enter the commission meeting room except for the 3 minutes that he spoke about items on the commission agenda.
Fire codes are the excuse but if they are so important why can government employees stand along the wall in large number? No distinction was made by Chairman Moon as to off duty uniformed officers and on duty uniformed officers.
Furthermore, the citizens are smart enough to know whether they want to stand in a room or leave. Laws are used by those in authority to suppress those that they don’t agree with. The people have long stood against the walls of public building rooms. Using the fire codes to suppress free speech is the latest tool of the political machine and should not be tolerated.
Conveniently this occurred at a meeting where discussion about a new pay scale for county employees was on the agenda. The uniformed officers were able to clap for those advocating adoption of a new pay scale from an incomplete study, while the citizens opposing having their taxes raised, who weren’t able to obtain seats, were relegated to standing outside in the hallway.
One of my constituents said to me what are they (the commission) there for? It seems that some have forgotten that they are there for the people of Blount County.
This video only shows the second time that Jerome Moon ordered citizens out of the room. The first time he told them that they could stand out in the hallway while the Sheriff’s deputies could stand along the wall. Moon’s first statement was likely made prior to the meeting starting and is therefore not available as a part of the commission meeting video.
Keith Miller’s Comment on Items on the Agenda
Regular Commission Meeting
May 21, 2015
I would like to voice my support for the passage of item F-2. This is the vote to override the Mayor’s veto of the will of the people of Blount County. That will having been expressed by the elected representatives of the people and not by fat cats who seek to suppress the will of the people for personal gain.
During the last election cycle I recall the county establishment asserting that Blount County politics and Washington politics were not the same. I beg to differ. Washington politics is characterized by an arrogant chief executive who is happy to by-pass the legislature to bring hoards of illegals over the border. Washington politics is also characterized by a legislature that refuses bring the chief executive to heel by cutting off the funding for this alien invasion.
So what have we here in Blount County? Our County Mayor attempts to overturn the results of the 94 thousand dollar jail study with an absurd lawsuit, he appointed a committee to change ambulance companies which had meetings that were for all practical purposes secret, he and his finance director fast tracked a total of 900 thousand dollars in capital fund expenditures through a predominately lapdog commission…money which morphed into the problematic Kronos project. Not only that but he seconded a motion to send to the commission the infamous Evergreen compensation study which embodies all the ridiculous nature of Obamacare in that you must vote on it before you can read it since it is not yet finished.
By the way, still on the subject of skull duggery through secrecy, I spoke to Lamar Alexanders office today and they confirmed that a reading of the Trans Pacific Partnership Treaty, now before the Senate, is only available by appointment and if notes are taken they may not be shared with anyone.
Commissioners, this is your chance, in this little microcosmic equivalent of Washington DC to symbolically reject the attitudes of the boot-lickers in the US Congress, to raise a righteous fist against an out-of -control executive, to stand up for the people of Blount County and strike down the mayor’s veto by voting yes on item F-2.
Troy Ball’s Comment on Items on the Agenda
Regular Commission Meeting
May 21, 2015
I will be speaking on Item F-2.
I want to thank the eleven statesmen on this commission who voted to communicate with our legislators the longstanding problem of heavy handed mandate. You stood for the property owners of Blount County and I thank you.
For those of you who have been told that this resolution somehow jeopardizes recruitment, consider what the costs to businesses already in operation are by allowing the EPA to continue expanding. The Competitive Enterprise Institute estimates that complying with EPA regulations costs the U.S. economy $353 billion per year. We need regulatory relief for existing businesses.
Problems with the EPA mandating control over local and state waters doesn’t stop with stormwater regulations. Currently the EPA is trying to expand its control to virtually all water through rulemaking authority without congressional authorization. If the EPA succeeds in circumventing congress, it will make the unfunded stormwater regulations look like cupcakes and rainbows.
While the Mayor vetoed the resolution asking congress to stop EPA expansion, our Republican representatives in the US House of Representatives have been busy working to stop EPA expansion over water under state, local and private ownership. All of Tennessee’s 7 Republican Representative have cosponsored H.R. 594. The House of Representatives just passed legislation, that according to John Duncan’s office goes further than H.R. 594. The legislation mandates the EPA to include state and local election officials in the discussion of EPA rulemaking authority regarding what constitutes waters of the United States.
You may be wondering why it is necessary to override the Mayor’s veto if congress is acting on the matter. According to Duncan’s office there is no companion bill in the United States Senate. We need to ask our federal Senators to get busy in the Senate protecting against a rogue agency.
Frankly the Mayor looks foolish having vetoed something that all of Tennessee’s Republican Representatives are taking very seriously. Congress knows the EPA is a problem. You know the EPA is a problem. Apparently the Mayor doesn’t.
11 of you stood strong as statesmen. You can do it again by overriding the Mayor’s veto. The rest of you have the opportunity to be statesmen by joining the 11 in saying enough to bureaucratic over reach.
On the Commission agenda this month is a resolution (Item F7) to authorize the Mayor to apply for a liter grant from the State of Tennessee. That sounds good. I certainly am all for work programs to get inmates out of jail and back into society faster and for cleaning up the trash on the sides of our roads. However, in looking at the supporting documentation provided with the grant application, there is a provision that is alarming and deserves further research and discussion.
Page 566 of the Commission packet says:
Environmental Issues: An Environmental Court is envisioned for Blount County. KBB (Keep Blount Beautiful) Members lead this campaign by speaking with the members of the community about the need. Budget constraints continue to be problematic for the issue.
With the recent stormwater regulations controversy about property rights violations, I have to wonder what exactly the mission for the Environmental Court will be. Will the goal be to start dragging people into court for unintentionally planting a tree in a utility easement and slapping a hefty fine on the property owner? Will the goal to be to start dragging people into court for planting too many of one type of tree on their property? The idea isn’t so far fetched when you consider the the head of Keep Blount Beautiful just left to work for a stormwater association.
Who decided that this was a vision for Blount County and whether we should be giving tax money to a non-profit company (KBB) to promote the idea of establishing an environmental court? The work program for Blount County Tennessee Department of Transportation Litter Grant says that this vision was submitted by Beverly Collins on May 7, 2014.
That’s the problem with these grants. The commission authorizes applying for the grants and then bureaucrats gets to write the grants, goals and spend the money without any commission oversight. It doesn’t make for good government.
Writing in The Wall Street Journal on April 22, Kenneth C. Hill, Director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority, said “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) set off a firestorm when he advised states not to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. Yet that advice isn’t as radical as his detractors make it sound. As a state public utilities commissioner who deals with the effects of federal regulations on a regular basis, I also recommend that states not comply.”
David Tulis of Nooganomics.com provides an article by Dr. Homero Rivas II, a TN physician who has “opted-out” of the health-insurance-by-government-force Obamacare system:
“American medicine is being squeezed into an ever-tighter corner in its voluntary self-incarceration in the modern welfare-warfare state. Doctors are concocting a jail break. One way they are crowbarring their way back to professional liberty is to refuse to take third-party reimbursements either from insurance companies or government cartels such as Medicare or Medicaid.”
Dr. Rivas provides an easy-to-understand picture of the difficulties your health care provider (not insurer) faces and how your services are now being controlled by a for-profit third party whose business is now mandated by the federal government.
This same scenario exists for the public school system under Gates/Pearson/Commie Core. The solution for the local school to regain their liberty is also the same.
This week the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the NSA’s metadata collection program was not authorized in US law. The PATRIOT Act, under which the program began, was too vague, the court found. But the truth is the Act was intended to be vague so that the government could interpret it in the broadest possible way.
But this is really more of a technicality, because illegality and unconstitutionality are really two very different things. Even if Congress had explicitly authorized the government to collect our phone records, that law would still be unconstitutional because the Constitution does not grant government the power to access our personal information without a valid search warrant.
Even though the court found the NSA program illegal, it did not demand that the government stop collecting our information in this manner. Instead, the court kicked the ball back in Congress’ court, as these provisions of the PATRIOT Act are set to expire at the end of the month and the Appeals Court decided to let Congress decide how to re-authorize this spying program.
Unfortunately, this is where there is not much to cheer. If past practice is any lesson, Congress will wait until the spying program is about to expire and then in a panic try to frighten Americans into accepting more intrusions on their privacy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already put forth a new bill as a stop-gap measure to allow time for a fuller debate on the issue. His stop-gap? A five year re-authorization with no changes to the current program!
The main reform bill being floated, the FREEDOM Act, is little better. Pretending to be a step in the right direction, the FREEDOM Act may actually be worse for our privacy and liberties than the PATRIOT Act!
One silver lining in the court decision is that it should exonerate Ed Snowden, who risked it all to expose what the courts have now found was illegal US government activity. That is the definition of a whistleblower. Shouldn’t he be welcomed back home as a hero instead of being threatened with treason charges? We shouldn’t hold our breath!
This week Snowden addressed a conference in Melbourne, Australia, informing citizens that the Australian government watches all its citizens “all the time.” Australia’s program allows the government to “collect everyone’s communications in advance of criminal suspicion,” he told the conference. That means the government is no longer in the business of prosecuting crimes, but instead is collecting information in case crimes someday occur.
How is it that the Australian government can collect and track “pre-crime” information on its citizens? Last month Australia passed a law requiring telecommunications companies to retain metadata information on their customers for two years.
Why do Australia’s oppressive laws matter to us? Because the NSA “reform” legislation before Congress, the FREEDOM Act, does exactly what the Australian law does: it mandates that US telecommunications companies retain their customers’ metadata information so that the NSA can access the information as it wishes.
Some argue that this metadata information is harmless and that civil libertarians are over-reacting. But, as Ed Snowden told the Melbourne conference, “under these mandatory metadata laws you can immediately see who journalists are contacting, from which you can derive who their sources are.”
This one example of what happens when the government forces corporations to assist it in spying on the people should be a red flag. How can an independent media exist in the US if the government knows exactly whom journalists contact for information? It would be the end of any future whistleblowers.
The only reform of the PATRIOT Act is a total repeal. Accept nothing less.