As I stood watching the endless line of bureaucrats file into the Cleveland Bradley Public Library with the familiar easel, rolled up maps, worn out suits and clip boards listening to the steady beat of size 12 leather hills tapping the library granite corridor floor like a desperate prisoner chiseling his way out of prison! Perhaps this was none of the above and it was simply the melodious thump of a well orchestrated drum line! I couldn’t help but sense a sinister coup was in full operation mode while unknowingly the ill-informed citizen lurks outside, quietly foiling their lonely existence. We were about to see the covert operation unfold right before our eyes. I was there and no one invited me!
I soon realized that the fate of our county was being handed to these bureaucrats of a greater scheme! One thing that was overwhelmingly missing from that long line of mostly self-appointed dignitaries was that there were only a few, if any “regular, Joe Schmo citizens” filing into the room!
They all say “well, I am a citizen too!”, “right?” Of course you are, but a citizen that has either been appointed to a board, a commission, a review panel or a growth panel yielding influence or persuasion about a multi billion dollar project no longer qualifies you as a “regular citizen” that is not connected to the steam roller that is running over the people and taking away their rights! Sorry, but that is how we roll! If you are on one of the many numerous boards or commissions that yield the opinion or vote, your presence in the room no longer qualified you as an unbiased citizen. I saw 3 and I was 1!
If not for a very alert informant, we could have missed this potential consensus party! Had the two other citizens not been informed when we were this would have been one big communal love fest orgy of planners and bureaucrats yielding their proverbial wands to each other for the ultimate compliment and certain approval!
Can you imagine how one-sided this meeting could have gone and been accepted if those darn citizens hadn’t gotten in the way and raised legitimate questions about property rights and our sovereignty? Whew!
I was a little hurt that I didn’t get a formal invite or email notification about this party! But hey, I’ve been left off invitation lists before! There was this one time while in DC Ronald Reagan left me off the guest list, never mind! Wasted trip, another blog! But you get the drift!
I am now the red-haired step child of the local leftist Socialistic, Democratic planning movement! You know, that guy with no date to the prom, sorta shy and not quite cute enough to score the prom queen, ok, lets save that for another blog too! I have been saying that alot lately! Maybe, I am under the spell of the planners in BC! Oh well, save that one………..for another…… Oh you know……..blog!
I guess when you invite a regular concerned citizen, you might get a few questions asked and God forbid that happen when consensus is trying to be obtained! How better to gain consensus than to make sure no citizens were at this perceived public meeting! Silly me! Maybe my expectations were too high! I consider myself a pretty alert and informed kinda guy! I was left out of the plans! I was left out! Wait! Dejavu! Prom all ov er again! You know that potential night with high expectations that is one unanswered proposal from wearing a tux, a bow tie and a silly grin with deteriorating lamb skin rotting away inside his wallet! They disguised this one well! They hid this one well!
They were almost successful pulling this meeting off without one uninvolved citizen that wouldn’t benefit from the implementation of this growth plan!
I strolled in behind the only other two citizens Karen and Dan and we sat among the modest crowd of Bradley County “Elite!” You know those people that only their momma could love! That was a joke! I can hear now ” and that Blogger called me ugly too!”
Meeting the other two citizens in the room was brief and we went to meeting the other “decision makers!” Lets see to look around the room. There is Commissioners Mel, Woods, Caywood, Rominger, Greg Dale and his associates, Mayor of Charleston, the usual group of Chamber of Commerce rulers, planners galore, old, young, past and present and in between, various suits with Clarion clipboards, Emily, chairmen of the planning commission, wives and girlfriends of those people, oh yeah and don’t forget the old grey haired lady on the front row that has the police on speed dial who happens to be on one of the planning commissions! (that’s another story for another blog) but you see the plan!
Notify every one but the people that will be affected by the plan who will ultimately be footing the bill with their hard earned tax dollars were in the room or so it seemed!
0915 approached and the crowd of 40 to 50 fully involved citizens filed to their seats! The intros were short and the slides were popping!
After a brief introduction by Greg Dale of consultants McBride Dale and Clarion he handed it off to his able bodied comrade, Emily!
The very first slide, reportedly, a compilation of the top desires of the different breakout tables from the last meeting on January 30th! You know, those things that concerned citizens would like to hear more about! Property rights, impending plan costs, not implementing the growth plan, new taxes! Those things that concerns the everyday struggling citizen!
Not having to drive your car everywhere, getting a bicycle and riding everywhere! More Greenways! Putting all of our house on a pin head and have your bank, grocery store dry cleaners and everything at the bottom of your high rise so we can cut down on Green house gases, electric outlets for electric car? Does this sound like something brought up by the concerned citizens of Bradley County! Give me a break!!! This is from a planners playbook and a cookie cutter recipe that is shown by our consultants all over the United States! There was no “new slide” made up for just Bradley County! I would bet and I bet there are slide presentations out there with the exact same things on it from the exact same consultant!
Quality of life?
The list went on and on! The crowd was complicit and the speaker lulling us into a deep sleep of acceptance, the planners drool was now pasted onto my shirt. The subliminal messages were streaming from the speaker system, the fresh scent of brewing coffee now lingered over the doughnuts in the back of the room. A complete whitewash, a steady current of blah blah blah was now all I could hear and the crowd of dignitaries were proud of the work their consultants had done on compiling the data!
What about property rights? Sleepy heads and partially confused men turned to me as if I had just awakened them! What about our property rights? A huge component was missing on your compiled data? Tables 7, 8 and 9 were all very concerned about property rights and not a single mention of it on your slides? Eminent domain, tearing down buildings, new land use regulations, building codes, cost, new taxes, decreasing urban sprawl, firing the consultants, devising our own plan, promoting the free market. Those are the things we were concerned about and none of them got in the board! Why not?
Mr Dale speaks up and gently nudges the speaker back as she is more or less yelling and very confrontational at this point!
Property rights! We are concerned about property rights. We will be putting together more data with that information in it! I essence, he told me these were manufactured cookie cutter slides and we didn’t put them on a new slide because frankly we only want to show you what we want you to see and take your half million or more fee to blow smoke right up your behinds!
Every slide was presented as if it was the first time the room had heard it! The speaker became more and more agitated ad the presentation went on and the questions kept pouring in!
At one point, Mr Dale, said to the 3 citizens in the room “are you going to let this meeting go on or are you going to keep asking questions?” The immediate response was “uh NO, we have questions!” Commissioner Caywood, much like Commissioner Woods in the last meeting chimed in against the people asking legitimate questions, he pipes in and says and I paraphrase “I came here to learn about this, I have a family, a business and I’m giving of my time to be here so citizens with legit questions, shut the heck up!” he went on to sat “Majority rules in America, in a democracy!” Let me correct you here Mr Caywood, Majority does rule in a democracy, but we are a Republic and every vote counts! We are not yet a colony once again under the rule of kings, close but not yet! Commissioner Woods, was silent this round of tyranny and attempts at squashing our first amendment rights! Somebody must have read her the constitution, you know the part where we can challenge our government to make sure they don’t get too big for their britches! Restraint is a good fit Commissioner, shows maturity!
The spirited banter intensified and just as our founding fathers began to smile, just like clock work, the partially blonde/grey haired old lady, just as the last time steps out into the hallway and fires up her cell phone and calls for police backup because the three unwelcome guests were “gettin rowdy!” The full court press to squelch the voice of the people was on and the “people were bobbing and weaving to counter the proverbial punch of a government run amuck!
Two policemen follow her into the room and she sits beside the familiar man just as before with a Cheshire grin that could have taken on the trophy for her kennel! Success! Escort them out please! They have spoken and we all know commoners don’t dare speak in the presence of royalty! Bow to me young man and your two disobedient and irreverent scribes! Fetch my coat, I must relieve myself of these swine!
The funny thing about calling the police and she soon realized was, they are and have been on the side of the people. This is constitutionally what a sherrif and his deputies are sworn to do
Fortunately, at least most of them are here to serve and protect the peoples rights! They tell me as I sauntered to the back of the room, ” We are not going to arrest anyone that challenges or asks questions of an elected official or appointed board in a public meeting!” They think it is hilarious that our local government wants to squash it’s peoples rights! The Sherrifs in this town have made it no secret that they are here to serve and protect the people, not be a strong arm for the representatives of government or the selfish desires of an old woman! Whatever this woman is trying to do here, this is not Chicago or DC! We are well represented by our law officers and they are watching out for our well being!
Old lady do as you please, it is your right to be tyrannical , but remember in America at least for now, is not against the law! The Constitution still gives me the right to peacefully address my government and hold them accountable for their actions! So lay off the 911 calls for dignity sakes! It makes you look so pretentious and smug!
As I said clearly in the meeting, I respect the uniform and the position, but I do not fear standing up and speaking up in a public meeting!
Did I go to the same meeting? The meeting I went to was so bombarded with citizen concerns that they hardly had time to discuss any of the plans! Some of my high faluting friends tell me this is what you call a fix! Consensus! Where you stay on course regardless of the questions and concerns, then it looks like everyone is in agreement!
For real? Public facilities, bathrooms and a Tom Rowland Convention Center is the most pressing thing on the table? Really? We are paying these consultants to tell me the same thing they tell every community! In fact when I asked Greg Dale this question he said and again I’m paraphrasing, he said that many communities have the same concerns, thats why all these sound the same from community to community!
We have just called you out on your same old outdated slides and you want me to buy your spill and let you implement a growth plan that will tax me well into the next century and burden my great grand children! Are you kidding me?
The meeting came to a sudden halt and once again we were broken off into 3 groups and discussed bringing everyone into our Urban Growth boundary and decrease sprawl in the rural areas, give everybody a bike and tell them to walk on the greenway under the guidance of the EPA, HUD, UN and the
The meeting like the others did not meet consensus or even get close! The meeting from my observation was a failure! We have a plan for growth that is being poorly presented by consultants that are highly overpaid and have a very sinister under belly to them! We have reporters on this issue and we are collaborating some very disturbing trends!
What we have here is big government trying to get bigger! We have our taxes going up as a result! We have a few in government who are overreaching in their powers!
A citizenry that is being bypassed by a group of bureaucrats that feel they know better and are being briskly tugged by the almighty dollar in the form of multiple federal grants!
We are doomed and we have the deck stacked against us! The people’s voice in Bradley County is no longer! The republic and what it stands for is diminishing by the assistane of planners in a very finance rich environment that are using the crutches of government to fulfill their edicts from DC!
It is a sad day for our country! Our representative form of government is the ruling word in our world. The hell with the people! They are just in the way?
Our founding fathers laid out the framework, the people enforce the constitution and government resets it’s own set of rules and yet tyranny prevails!
I’ll save this next thought for another blog!