Why is the Blount Partnership proudly supporting Amendment 2?

The Blount Partnership is proudly supporting Amendment 2, which attempts to legalizes the illegal judicial selection process that has violated the Tennessee Constitution since 1972.  This year the taxpayers of Blount County were forced to provide $848,021 to COST CENTER 58120: INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT for “CONTRACTS FOR DEVELOPMENT” (see page 125).

Earlier this year, I asked what the taxpayers get for this one line in the budget.  When I met with the Director of Finance and Budgets, Randy Vineyard, in September, I asked for a list of contractual obligations associated with the Industrial Development Board (IDB) and/or the Blount Partnership that we are obligated to pay.  To date, I haven’t received an answer.  Vineyard didn’t seem to know much about the County’s relationship with the Blount Partnership or IDB.

Twice I have spoke with Brian Daniels about my desire to learn more about the Blount Partnership and IDB, but my requests have been deferred and then never materialize.  I still don’t know what entity receives the $848,021 of taxpayer money.

With no transparency in this costly one line item in the County budget one can only hope that the Blount Partnership, and/or the associated entities receiving tax dollars isn’t/aren’t using any taxpayer money to promote Amendment 2.  Even if taxpayer money isn’t being used to support Amendment 2, any quasi-governmental entity receiving taxpayer money should stay out elections.

Vote NO on Amendment 2 because politicians need to change, not the State Constitution.

 

“We’ve never incarcerated anyone because everyone always complies”

Lenoir City  Those are the words of Lenoir City revenue agent Don White. Steven Powell of WVLT covered the story of Karen Holloway of Lenoir City and her imprisonment for not keeping her yard maintained. Judge Terry Vann sentenced her to five days in prison, then after a little sunshine was shed on the story, cut it to six hours. The City is claiming this is a 12-year problem to justify their actions. The citation shown in the video is dated July 28, 2014 and it is claimed a lot of yard work has been done since then. The citation states that she was warned on June 13 that her property was in violation of “the City of Lenoir City’s Propert (sic) Maintenance Code.” Out of curiosity, I located the property to see what it looked like in recent Google street views. The picture to the left was captured in March of 2014, just three months before the citation. Not well manicured, but certainly not Sanford and Son either.

Lenoir city 2Here’s the only other image available, from September 2007. Notice the cut grass. I guess those shrubs in front of the porch are just too offensive. Where is the “12-year” ongoing problem? Notice the second news report said neighbors “never even really paid any attention to it, never really even noticed it”. So just exactly who is the ‘brother offended’ here?

The news coverage only featured revenue agent Don White, but neglects to mention the codes enforcement officer Rondel Branam who issued the citation. A little research reveals that Rondel has only been on the job with Lenoir City about a year. This was after the Mike and Debbie Johnson family sued Lenoir City and Wardley Homes LLC for $500,000 in a claim related to faulty construction that was alleged to have been concealed by the contractor and not reported by the paid code enforcement inspectors of Lenoir City:

“Beth Collins, assistant codes inspector with Lenoir City, confirmed in August 2013 that former inspector Leslie Johnson — no relation to the Johnson couple — nor the interim inspector, David Denton, had kept formal inspection records. Previous inspectors were keeping inspection notes on the back of property folders.

Lenoir City has since begun the practice of keeping inspection records and added Rondel Branam as its full-time codes enforcement inspector in September. Branam previously served in that capacity with the city of Loudon.” (emphasis mine)

Interesting. I guess the same inspectors must have kept really meticulous records of their “property maintenance code” citations though – for at least the last 12 years….right?

To add to the frustration, I tried to imagine myself being a resident of Lenoir City and wondering what else I could be imprisoned for related to landscape maintenance and tried to find this “Propert (sic) Maintenance Code”. After all, Ted Hall said “It’s interesting, you know the ordinances are there, you know the laws are there…”. I have searched the city website and tried the pages that might intuitively make sense: Codes EnforcementCity Documents, but to no avail. Only a selection of amendments are there. Has the city made a serious error here in imprisoning Mrs. Holloway and hidden their related code documents that might reveal that, or do they just inform residents of the code one citation at a time?

Vote NO on 2 – Why can’t we just obey the law instead?

by Eric Holcombe

Following is a letter to the editor I composed in opposition to the avalanche of attorney editorials the Kingsport Times News has produced in support of continuing to let trial lawyers give a list of attorneys to the governor to select our judges from – rather than letting the people elect them according to our supreme law. It didn’t even garner a phone call to verify the authorship. I wonder why?

 

Article 6 Section 3 of the Tennessee State Constitution states: “The judges of the Supreme Court shall be elected by the qualified voters of the state.” These judges have not been elected in Tennessee since 1972, when the so-called “Tennessee Plan” was put into practice by the state legislature allowing the Judicial branch of government to be “selected” by the Executive branch rather than elected by the voters as required by our Constitution. This practice is unconstitutional and therefore illegal. The proposed constitutional Amendment #2 would create a similar selection process including the legislative branch with the executive branch in the process for selecting judges – eliminating the voter’s currently violated constitutional right to elect the judicial branch. Various legislator/attorneys argue that they have the “legislative authority” to determine whom the qualified voters of the state are and it is not the registered voters of the state, but the legislators themselves (and this is agreed to by the illegally-selected judges and their appointed attorney general). The legislator/attorneys’ proposed amendment also states that the planned judicial “retention elections” are open to the “qualified voters of the state”. I presume that if they continue to hold their current definition of whom is qualified (only themselves), that the voters are then completely removed from the process. The other argument made by proponents is that contested elections of judges would require campaigns and the judicial candidates would be “corrupted” by them. Therefore, we should give up the right to vote to people who also campaigned in elections (but somehow are immune to corruption) to select judges for us. It doesn’t take an attorney to see the loss of checks and balances and the ease of corrupting one executive or a few legislators rather than millions of voters that Amendment 2 would bring.

Responsible spending and fixed rate finacing are the solutions to Co. debt, not raising taxes

A big thanks to Nancy McEntee for her letter to the editor about the County debt. It’s always wonderful to see citizens take an interest in important issues.

http://www.thedailytimes.com/opinion/your_voice/regularly-published-figures-surprise-reader/article_349bb33a-e6f6-5653-a646-cf989f181f48.html

There’s no need to raise taxes any further to pay down the debt. The local option sales tax was already increased. Responsible spending and fixed rate financing are the solutions, not draining your wallets.

Last Tuesday the Blount County Commission voted in favor of seeking fixed rate financing with no balloon payment for the Series E-3-B debt. This is a turning point in the County debt that will result in saving millions on interest costs and achieve some stability in a market that could become volatile. It’s one of the major reasons that I ran and I am ecstatic to be off to such a good start.

When They Came for Me…

“In May, Houston’s City Council passed an ordinance that extended anti-discrimination laws to gay and transgender residents.”

Now if you preach against homosexuality in Houston, you could be in trouble: “…City attorneys issued subpoenas last month…seeking, among other communications, “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to [the Equal Rights Ordinance], the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.” The subpoenas were issued to pastors and religious leaders who have been vocal in opposing the ordinance…”

More here.

When they came for the Muslims, I didn’t speak up because I am not a Muslim.
When they came for the drug users, I didn’t speak up because I am not a drug user.
When they came for the homosexuals, I didn’t speak up because I am not a homosexual.
Then they came for me, but there was no one left to speak for me.

The Real Status of Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq

Bam… Ron Paul nails it in one paragraph

“The Taliban government of 2001 in Afghanistan did not attack the United States. Al-Qaeda did. But the 2003 US attack on Iraq under false pretenses removed a leader who had fought ruthlessly against al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist fighters. The result was that the al-Qaeda we were supposed to be fighting in Afghanistan flourished in post-invasion Iraq, along with other even more brutal groups. Will our government ever learn that invasion and occupation are not the solution, but rather the problem? No new status of forces agreement can change that basic fact.”

Read the article here: http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2014/october/05/the-real-status-of-forces-in-afghanistan-and-iraq.aspx

The Highway Dept. has disposed of a Scooby Doo Mystery Machine Van

See page 36.  I can’t imagine why the Highway Department would need a Scooby Doo Mystery Machine Van, but apparently it’s no longer needed because it has been sold on GovDeals.  The vehicle was a 1987 model and was approximately 9 years old when the County purchased it on 9/19/1996 from the City of Alcoa.  I can’t imagine why the City of Alcoa would have needed this either.  If you can shed some light on what this was and why the Blount County Highway Department needed a Scooby Doo Mystery Machine Van, please post here.

Source: http://www.toonswallpapers.com/user-content/uploads/wall/o/10/Scooby-Doo-Mini-Van-1440×900-Wallpaper-ToonsWallpapers.com-.jpg

 

Audit the Fed Bill Passes, May Die in Senate

From The Daily Beast:

“In announcing the results of the successful House vote to finally take a look at the inner workings of the Fed, Rep. Paul Broun, the Republican sponsor of the bill, said that it’s passage had brought “us one step closer towards bringing much-needed transparency to our nation’s monetary policy.”

“Yeah, not so much. Despite such a lopsided vote in the House, the measure will die in the Senate. It wasn’t voted on before the pre-election recess, and Majority Leader Harry Reid will refuse to bring the matter up for a vote before the current congressional term expires in January. Irony alert: Reid himself co-sponsored bills in the ’90s calling for Fed audits.”

“Reid hasn’t explained exactly why he won’t allow a vote on the bill, which has 30 co-sponsors. He’s keeping his reasons secret, which means that the Fed’s secrets are safe for at least a little while longer. And that trust in government will keep shrinking, just like the value of a dollar has over the life of the Federal Reserve.”