I want everyone reading this and every single Blount County voter to remember July 21, 2011. This is the day that the Blount County commission decided it will allow you to practice your Freedom of Speech. What a wonderful gesture! Aren’t we so lucky to have a commission that is dedicated to permitting us to exercise our God-given Rights? The big issue at July’s commission meeting concerned a couple of additions to the rules about citizen input. The major rule change stated, “Actions which disrupt or delay the orderly transaction of business are prohibited, including but not limited to…public applause or other interruption except that applause and public support is appropriate during the consent calendar portion of the meeting when citizens or organizations are recognized…any persons violating this rule are subject to removal…at the sound discretion of the Chairman.” So essentially if you’re a good citizen, you’ll do what the government says and only participate in “Government-Approved” applause. If not, out you go! Several citizens stood and spoke in opposition to this specific rule change. And when it came time to vote, the commissioners remained silent. Therefore the rule change failed for the lack of a motion.
Keep in mind, however, that even though this motion failed, that at the Agenda meeting the previous week, thirten of the commissioners voted “Yes” to send this to the full commission. The commissioners who thought that the exercise of your Free Speech should be voted on were: Burkhalter, Caylor, Farmer, Harrison, Hasty, Helton, Kirby, Lail, Lambert, Lewis, Melton, Moon, and Wright. Commissioners French and Samples abstained (Why not vote “No”?). While this vote isn’t included in calculating their grades this month, it should be noted that these commissioners are enemies of your Rights.
Remember this post from back in January? Back then 19 of 21 commissioners found your applause “offensive” (Folts and Murrell were the only ones to speak up in opposition). Despite the lack of this rule passing, it is clear the Blount County government holds nothing but contempt for anyone who speaks out against them and their actions.
In other business the first agenda items involved, you guessed it, more spending! Last month the Commission approved a $162 Million budget along with a property tax increase. Well, this month one of the items was to give the Highway Department a $1 Million advance on the anticipated revenue generated by the Republican tax increase (All voted “yes”, Highway Department employee Harrison abstained). They just can’t WAIT to spend your money! And when they do get it, they just can’t seem to get enough! How do I know? The next items involved spending $2,794.56/yr. on more copiers for the Circuit Court and Highway Departments (Folts voted “No”). Shouldn’t these items have been included in the budgets that were just passed?
During last year’s campaign season I heard some candidates refer to themselves as being fiscally responsible. It’s just unfortunate that those candidates weren’t elected.
Here is the grading scale:
A – Participated in the discussion and voted to uphold the libertarian values of fiscal responsibility and/or personal liberty
B – Did not participate, but voted to uphold libertarian values
C – Participated in the discussion and voted against libertarian values
F – Did not particpate and voted against libertarian values
Here are the grades for July: Folts: B, All others: F (Caylor was absent)