Local County government has been dominated as long anyone can remember by people who claim to be conservative Republicans. A machine has existed with the help of Republican party officials. These people have preached thou shalt vote Republican, but this August election has shown that many of those people don’t practice what they preach when the people they don’t like win Republican primary races.
Peggy Lambert, Republican National Committeewoman, criticized the eventual winner of the May Republican primary for Juvenile Judge, Kenlyn Foster, for not being Republican enough. Lambert says she’s backing Foster in the general election saying, “I always support the Republican ticket.” Evidence shows otherwise. Lambert donated $150 to Gerald Kirby’s general election write-in campaign (page 10 of 53). Kirby lost the May Republican primary to Jamie Daly by 23 votes. He launched a write-in campaign to try to take the seat back and spent $4552.80 in less than 1 month for a race that many spend less than $1,000 to win (page 1 of 53).
Several party officials and Republican office holders spent time hanging out under the write-in Kirby tent, including Republican National Committeewoman Peggy Lambert, State Committeewoman Susan Mills, Republican State Representative Bob Ramsey, Republican Circuit Court Judge David Duggan (his wife Kari served as Treasure of the Republican Women’s Club Blount County) and current Male Vice Chairman Rob Goddard. There were several other Republican officials who chose to visit the write-in Kirby tent. Most of them did not speak to the Republican primary winners who were also at the Courthouse talking with voters.
Exclusion and favoritism is nothing new. All 21 of Blount County’s Commissioners are Republican, but for about a year the Blount County Republican Party chose to exclude Commissioner Jim Folts from it’s website. When Tona Monroe, a delegate for Ron Paul, was asked by the Ron Paul campaign to speak to the Blount County Republican Party about Paul’s presidential candidacy the Chairman Susan Mills called and asked for the campaign to send someone else to speak. Several people were prohibited from attending a Republican meeting in Feburary 2013.
The Blount County Republican Party gave Gary Farmer $5,000 (page 3 of 55) for the general election, presumably because he has a Democratic opponent. That’s a lot of money for a Commission race. Why weren’t other Republican nominees given similar amounts? Kirby spent over $4,500 in July on his write-in campaign. Where’s the Party money to help Daly, the Republican winner?
4 years ago several independent candidates ran for County Commission and the Republican Women’s Club donated to all the Republican nominees who had independent challengers (pages 7-9 of 59). It doesn’t appear that any money was given to the Republican winners of the May primary, who face write-in challengers even though a write-in challenge is an independent challenge. The Women’s Club invited several candidates to speak at it’s July meeting, including Susan Mills who is unopposed in her race for State Executive Committeewoman, but did not invite Jamie Daly and Karen Miller who won their primaries and are facing write-in candidates. The favoritism and actions of Party officials and their friends during early voting leads one to conclude that those controlling the Republican party in Blount County aren’t happy with the outcome of the May 6th primary election.
Gee, this comes as a big surprise. State legislators get triple what their actual pay is. The State legislature must have been watching Commissioners Gary Farmer, Kenneth Melton and Bob Ramsey who voted to triple their pay without having Commissioner pay raises on the Commission agenda. Bob Ramsey got promoted to the State legislature in all his glorious stupidity.
It’s time to throw out career politicians Gary Farmer and Kenneth Melton. If you live in Commission District 4, please vote for Neal Hutchens and if you live in District 10 (Louisville) write-in Larry Henry for Seat B.
Current County Commissioners who voted to disband the Ethics Committee in June 2009.
Tonya Burchfield -defeated in primary by Archie Archer
Gary Farmer -defeated Linda King in primary – now facing Neal Hutchens in the general election
Brad Harrison -defeated in primary by Mike Akard
Scott Helton -running for School Board
Gerald Kirby -defeated in primary by Jamie Daly – running as a write-in
Holden Lail -defeated in primary by Tom Cole-
Peggy Lambert -didn’t seek election – is Republican National Committeewoman
Mike Lewis -defeated Douglas Benton in primary
Kenneth Melton -defeated Larry Henry in the primary by 6 votes – now facing Larry Henry as a write-in in the general
Steve Samples -defeated Sean Thompson in the primary
5 are off the Commission for good. One is seeking a School Board seat. We’re stuck with 2 for four more years (Lewis and Samples). The voters can send 3 more home for good (Gary Farmer, Gerald Kirby and Kenneth Melton).
“Oak Ridge National Laboratory has cancelled plans for a “Southern Accent Reduction” class because of objections from lab staff members, some of whom said they were offended by the training opportunity.”
“Carolyn Ward of ORNL’s Learning and Development Services said the lab simply offered the class in response to an employee request. “We try to provide whatever requests we have,” she said.”
Here’s a request for y’all (or is that you-uns?): Quit wasting our tax dollars on stupid stuff.
“Bureaucrats love to throw fancy technology at schools and expect it to magically improve students’ learning outcomes. That’s easier than hiring, training, and fairly compensating good teachers, right?”
“By the time Jerry Crocamo, a computer network engineer, arrived in Hoboken’s school system in 2011, every seventh, eighth, and ninth grader had a laptop. Each year a new crop of seventh graders were outfitted. Crocamo’s small tech staff was quickly overwhelmed with repairs.”
“We had “half a dozen kids in a day, on a regular basis, bringing laptops down, going ‘my books fell on top of it, somebody sat on it, I dropped it,’ ” said Crocamo.”
“Screens cracked. Batteries died. Keys popped off. Viruses attacked. Crocamo found that teenagers with laptops are still . . . teenagers.”
““We bought laptops that had reinforced hard-shell cases so that we could try to offset some of the damage these kids were going to do,” said Crocamo. “I was pretty impressed with some of the damage they did anyway. Some of the laptops would come back to us completely destroyed.””
Isn’t this why the taxes were just raised in Blount County?
May the good lord have mercy on the poor souls suffering torture.
On page 35 of this June 2011 Commission packet you will find the property tax rate for Blount County for fiscal years (FY) 1991-2011. The $2.21 that you see for FY12 on this chart is what was needed during that year to pay for the original proposed budget. The Commission chose to raise the rate to $2.15, from $2.04 the previous year. It has remained at $2.15 since the rate increase for FY12, which was voted on in June 2011.
While the $2.15 rate is the same for FY 2015 as it was for FY 2004, the rate has gone up and down during that time. The lowest rate was FY 2011 at $2.04 because of the State mandated certified rate that requires the tax rate to be adjusted to make the tax revenue level the same as it was with the old rate after the whole County has been reappraised. This usually means that the rate will go down because most home values have gone up, in addition to new homes that were built. The highest rate was $2.43 in FY’s 2005 and 2006. It is a true statement that the rate is the same as it was 11 years ago, but it hasn’t been a steady rate and the County is collecting more property tax revenue because home values have increased. Most people are paying higher property taxes than they were 10 years ago.
It’s been a brutal first week of early voting at the polls. Gerald Kirby, who lost his primary for County Commissioner Seat 10B to Jamie Daly, managed to get a monopoly permit for the whole grassy area, in front of the parking lot, except for a small piece to the side. The property belongs to the County, but a permit from the City of Maryville is required because the City maintains the side walks. The City should not give a permit to one candidate, at the exclusion of all others.
Kirby, and/or his supporters, repeatedly called the cops on anyone who put a chair and umbrella in the area, even though there was plenty of room. The cops repeatedly showed up and were apologetic and respectful telling everyone that Kirby had a monopoly and if they’d just move to the tiny patch of grass left, they could set their umbrellas up there.
There are a couple of other tiny grassy areas that the campaign volunteers set up on after a couple of days, when they learned that Kirby did not have a permit for those small areas. Sam Duck had a permit for the same area as Kirby in the May primary, but he didn’t call the cops on anyone. The problems didn’t stop with the monopoly permit.
Libby Breeding, Administrator of Elections, blew-up at two volunteers standing at Everett. An undercover detective, in an unmarked car, was sent to spy on the volunteers at Everett. After a volunteer handed the undercover detective literature and spoke briefly to him, the detective asked the volunteer if that was all he had been doing. The detective told the volunteer he was a detective, who was sent to see what the volunteers were doing and that he couldn’t see anything wrong with what the volunteer was doing. Unfortunately it didn’t stop there.
The next day a woman complained saying she was being harassed by a volunteer, but the volunteer never talked to the woman. Several people have commented that Blount County elections are starting to resemble Chicago style politics. Thankfully some of the harassment inflicted upon the volunteers may stop after a State election official told Libby Breeding that the volunteers were within their rights to campaign and to leave them alone.
Another interesting development is the support of Republican Party officers for Kirby who lost the Republican primary. There were four winners of Republican primary elections for County Commission at the Courthouse on Friday and one write-in candidate. Susan Mills, the former Chairman of the Blount County Republican Party, is the 2nd district State Executive Committeewoman for the Republican Party of Tennessee and is unopposed on the ballot. She spent her time standing under the write-in candidate’s tent (Kirby). Kenneth Melton was also under the Kirby tent. Susan Mills left without speaking to the other 3 Republican candidates for County Commission who were all close by. Those three ladies are Jamie Daly, Karen Miller and Tona Monroe.
What’s the position of Republican Party of Blount County? Does the Party support it’s nominees for office or not? Party leaders and numerous Republican elected officials spent the first week of early voting hanging out under the Kirby write-in tent.