The Commission approved the Tourism Board 15-2, with Commissioners Ron French and Jim Folts voting no. Commissioners Burchfield, Lambert, Lewis and Murrell were absent. Only 3 Commissioners discussed it before voting on it.
It was really disingenuous what Commission Burkhalter did. He essentially said that it would be OK for the Commission and the Tourism Authority to commit fraud. By saying that the Commission has the power to reduce or eliminate the hotel tax, he is saying hey we (the Commission) have the power to let the Authority be reckless by starting projects that we the Commission can choose later not to fund. That is FRAUD! To start something that you have no intention of paying or later decide you don’t want to pay is nothing more than theft and fraud.
Who in their right mind would do business with the Authority after hearing the Commission can yank the magic carpet of tax money out from under them if you so choose? No person with any reasonable sense would do business with fraudulent standards like that. Instead, the only ones who will wind up doing business will be the good ole boys who know the tax payers are on the hook because of the tax money, while no one else will get a contract or conduct regular business relations with the fascist Authority. Only the good ole boys will even bother applying to do business after Commissioner Burkhalter’s statements that the Commission will openly commit fraud if it feels like it.
He got this fradulent nonsense from Bryan Daniels the President of Blount Partnership. Slothfulness and fraud as default positions should come as no surprise, considering the financial drain of the Economic Development Board. Despite the Pellissippi Place debacle, the hogs feeding at the tax payer trough want another $800,000 this year. They should be giving money back to the taxpayers, instead of taking more after their failed policies and “leadership”.
Carol Ross reminded me that Burkhalters statement was either a ruse or showed his ignorance of fulling examining the situation because cutting the hotel/motel tax revenue won’t cut off all funding. The Authority can still get money from other sources including grants (still your tax money).
An attorney from Bass, Berry and Simms, Mark Mamantov, was present at the Agenda meeting and the Commission meeting, but no questions were asked at the Agenda meeting. Here you can see Mr. Mamantov dozing off during the Agenda meeting, while the Commission failed to address the concerns of the citizens. You can listen to him response to questions at the Commission meeting below.
Most of the Commissioners showed their true colors. Apparently it’s better to do what the good ole boys want, rather than what the people want. Commissioner Burkhalter even made the facetious statement that this Tourism resolution was “popular”. I don’t wish to dwell solely on Burkhalter statements because in fairness he did at least try to justify why he was voting for this, even if his reasoning came across as dishonest. Frankly, most of the rest of the Commissioners aren’t even smart enough to try to justify their reasoning, or lack thereof, for supporting this and other resolutions.
Here are the comments of the citizens in opposition to the Smoky Mountain Tourism Board. Not one citizen spoke in favor of passing it. The one citizen who said he heard some compelling arguments for it, requested that the Commission address the concerns of citizens before voting on it.
No taxation without representation. Those words are a mantra to Americans. A war was fought over it among other things. It is a foundational principle of the American way of life to have elected representation for the taxes that we the people pay. The Smoky Mountain Tourism Authority creates a board with 70% unelected members. Why do you wish to violate this foundational principle that our founders fought and died for?
Currently you have the authority to spend this tax revenue. With a huge budget deficient coming up, which will require a massive tax increase, why would you waste 70% of the hotel tax revenue, when you can use it to prevent a property tax increase?
No one has bothered to explain to the people why this Tourism Authority is needed. What problem are you trying to correct? Or is this good ole boy politics?
Many of you are probably disgusted by Obama’s crony capitalism Solyndra scandal. Why would you do the same thing in Blount County by handing over 70% of the hotel tax revenue to private business owners who will be able to promote their own selfish interest?
This Commission is all Republican and Republicans claim to support free market principles. Yet, this Authority will allow private business owners to pick winners and loser in the tourism industry. Why not let the free market work? The government has no business running the tourism industry. The free market can and should.
Italian fascist corporatism provided the basis for a tyrannical government that we fought another war over, among other things.
In essence this Tourism authority has at least 2 elements that Americans have given their lives to stop. Through wars, Americans have defeated no taxation without representation and corporatism. Therefore, I ask you, why do you ignore American history and dump these same tyrannical policies in our back yard. Many of the people who died opposing no taxation without representation and government having the ability to run the economy through crony capitalism would consider this Tourism Authority to be un-American.
Mr. Chairman Blount County does have an Agenda 21 problem, but it’s not coming from the United Nations. It’s right here in this Courthouse. The Agenda of 21 Commissioners can install fascism in our own backyard. I urge you to defeat Blount County Agenda 21 by rejecting this dangerous un-American fascist Tourism Authority.
Note: 70% of the tax was already going to the previous Board, but my point is that private unaccountable business owners will now get it and use it for selfish interest, when this money could be used to stop a property tax increase.
Dee Ann Martini:
My name is Dee Ann Martini, and a resident ofBlountCounty, District 4.
I would like to respectively submit my comments on what I consider to be extremely important issues that will dramatically affect the future of the citizens inBlountCounty.
I would like to first thank Commissioners Peggy Lambert and Kenneth Melton for proposing Resolution No.12-05-006 entitled “Resolution Exposing United Nations Agenda 21”. I would also like to declare that I am in total agreement with this resolution, because every word of this resolution is the truth, and that it is a much abbreviated version of a gigantic global agenda. It has been insidiously veiled to represent “environmental” concerns, but has deeper roots that affect the liberties and Constitutional rights of American citizens that are supposed to be protected under oath by our elected representatives.
I appreciated Commissioner Lambert’s statement I heard recently over the local radio station WBCR, when she said that the United Nation’s Agenda 21 was the scariest thing she has ever seen in her lifetime, and that I agree with her sentiments. If you truly study the United Nations Agenda 21 proposals, it’s all in black and white, and you will come to the same conclusion.
A brief analysis according to Freedom Advocates against Agenda 21 states that public policy throughoutAmericais implementing the global political-economic program referred to as a Sustainable Development.
Unfortunately, the majority of Americans, and many of our elected leaders do not know or understand the integrated policy and philosophy of Sustainable Development.
In summary, Sustainable Development seeks to implement:
(1) The step by step abolition of private property, primarily through the implementation of the Wildlands Project and Smart Growth (which we see developing under the PLAN ET- A “current” regional AGENDA 21 project in E.TN.)
(2) Education of youth to prepare them for global citizenship.
(3) Control and ultimate reduction of human population.
Under Sustainable Development, the recognition of the Unalienable Right to one’s life, liberty and property is lost. This war on freedom is a Global to Local one.
I can inform you that the Stop Agenda 21 programs are being confronted in cities acrossAmericaand that so far, 600 cities that implemented Agenda 21 programs have been overturned because they are unconstitutional.
For more information you can go to freedomadvocates.org.
I am respectively asking for all commissioners to seriously consider their responsibilities to represent the constitutional rights of their constituents, and vote yes to pass the “Resolution Exposing United Nations Agenda 21”.
The second serious issue I would like to comment on is the Resolution No. 12-05-008 – A Resolution to approve a Private Act relating to Hotel-Motel Taxes and a Tourism Board, and approving the creation of a Tourism Development Authority.
I believe that this resolution appropriates “conflicts of interest” as usual, and opportunities for government waste of tax revenue in the hands of unelected representatives in establishing a “Tourism Development Authority”. It is stated in Item 4 of the “resolution” that “The Board of CountyCommissioners, along with each of the other governments creating the Authority, indicates its willingness to appropriate sufficient funds, if necessary, to provide for the initial administration of the Authority. The last sentence states in bold letters: NO SUCH FUNDS SHALL BE NECESSARY IN THIS CASE.
Item 4 provides a “loophole” to implement these funds somewhere down the road on this issue, and there’s no guarantee that tax revenues will not be used if the situation is deemed necessary by the “Authority” by special request – as we all know, loopholes are implemented in laws for this very purpose.
It is my opinion that this elected body of commissioners owe their constituents a more responsible form of accountability without abuse of powers over the tax revenues of this county, including their tax dollars.
The Tourism Authority Act is the “mother load” of opportunities for conflict of interest via political cronyism inBlountCountyaccording to everything I have read within the State legislative bill that was created for this very purpose.
Absolute power corrupts, and greed is the seed of corruption. Through this resolution, the Blount Count Commissioners are relinquishing their representative governing powers to an unelected “tourism board of directors” to handle tax revenues. I believe this is a BIG mistake.
I feel that they should not be involved in the tourism consumer base ofBlountCounty, and that it should be a separate entity to collect tax revenues only. This is what representative government is all about. Elected civil authorities should not be involved with consumer business on this level.
I am asking for a “NO” VOTE on this resolution. It’s going to come back to haunt you. You need only to look no further than your own backyard with Knox Countyand their recent issues of financial abuse within their Tourism Board.
“Where will I go, what will I do?” “Frankly my dear I don’t give a darn!” The closing from the movie Gone With the Wind may well be the words spoken as the Tourism Authority takes property fromBlountCounty property owners in the future.
This is not without precedence inBlountCountyas we look at the Maryville Building Authority and the Tennessee Valley Authority. These two Authorities have in fact used eminent domain to acquire property for monetary gain.
The Tourism Agency continues to say that it already exists and nothing will change except that the board will expand.
Let’s see if this is really true. Do they currently have eminent domain? NO! They will. That’s change 1
Can they currently borrow money? NO! The county must currently borrow it for them. They will acquire this power – Change 2
Can they issue bonds? NO! That power is gained. – Change 3
Can they accept government grants without permission? NO! They get this privilege, too Change 4
Currently you approve the agency’s budget – you will have no control over the Authority’s budget – Change 5
Will this commission have oversight for the actions and activities of the Authority as you now do with the Tourism Board? NO Change 6
The current Agency’s records are available to the public; with the Authority this will not be the case – change 7
That’s 7 changes in addition to the Board changes – there are more –
Projects are not required to be connected with tourism, so I question why its name even includes tourism except as a distracter
The One Million dollars in debt is being used as a lure – very tempting, yes – it is possible to reel many of you in. But this is less than ½ of 1 % of the county’s total debt – and what are you giving up in exchange for it?
If you vote yes on this resolution tonight, remember this fact throughout your life: In a symbolic sense you have agreed to accept 30 pieces of silver in exchange for the slavery of the people of Blount County.
After the Commission meeting, Brett Dirr and Kim Tipton spoke to Commissioner Tab Burkhalter about the Tourism Authority. The next morning, Brett wrote Commissioner Burkhalter. His email is below. Burkhalters response will be posted shortly.