The biggest issue in January’s Blount County Commission meeting wasn’t the increased spending (of which there was about $360,000), but it was Chairman Melton’s hard-line stance on citizen input. In the past Chairman Steve Samples had allowed other commissioners to yield extra time to those who went over the 3-minute limit. However Chairman Melton no longer allows this, and used the threat of force to remove anyone who did and anyone WHO CLAPPED OR APPLAUDED FOR THOSE WHO DID SPEAK!!! Chairman Folts objected to Chairman Melton’s statement and when the entire commission was asked if anyone else objected, only Commissioner Murrell added hers. Ladies and gentlemen, this means that 19 of 21 Republican commissioners find your support of your fellow citizens as offensive (including Steve Samples)!!!

Citizen Troy Ball asked the Chairman if it was still acceptable to applaud for the Proclamations. The Chairman responded that it was fine to clap for these but not for citizens. During the “Items Not On The Agenda”, citizen Samuel Duck stood to speak and made the point that it is absurd that we can clap for the things that the government approves but have to keep silent for things the government doesn’t. Mr. Duck went on to read an example from 1 Kings about oppressive taxation. When his three minutes expired, Chairman Melton banged his gavel and told Mr. Duck his time was up. When Mr. Duck continued to read, security moved in and escorted Mr. Duck out of the auditorium.

After all the citizen input, Commissioner Murrell spoke up and asked the question, “Is this how you would treat these citizens if you saw them on the street?” This is an excellent question. These government officials see themselves as better than the rest of us. This is why they insist on spending our money and controlling our lives. The next question is: What are you going to do about it?

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