The overwhelming message from the recent Charette at the Bradley Square Mall in Cleveland Tennessee was the citizens of Cleveland and Bradley County Tennessee do not want this comprehensive plan or hire consultants from out of town for hundreds of thousands of dollars of our tax dollars who will leave our community with heavy new land use regulations that will infringe on our property rights and substantially increase our tax base and utility bills to fund it!
As a matter of fact 73 percent of all that attended the three day Charette disagreed or strongly disagreed with the plan that McBride, Dale and Clarion have devised at the behest of many citizen objections!
The results: Compiled from a review of surveys provided by planners at the Charette. (Video was taken of the surveys and complied in another setting!)
Northern Corridor- 85.7% disagree/strongly disagree
Central Corridor- 70.1% disagree/strongly disagree
Southern Corridor- 63.5% disagree/strongly disagree
Growth and Strategies- 56.5% disagree/strongly disagree
Summary- 73.1% of Bradley County/Cleveland residents in attendance disagree/strongly disagree with the BCC Strategic Growth/Comprehensive Plan
“I was very proud to see so many citizens of Bradley County show up in force to speak out against the terribly expensive and overreaching BCC Comprehensive Growth Plan” said Donny Harwood, Tea Party of Bradley County founder and organizer, while attending the Charette.
Many “regular citizens” among them, concerned, tax paying and voting Tea Party types also filed into the Charette! Many were upset for different reasons. The construction and plans around exit 20, the encroaching business parks being built around their homes, road supervisors saying your fence and trees need to come down, many in the McDonald area, hwy 60 business owners who will lose property, people upset a fence has to go around a creek so cattle can’t walk through it, people who dont want to be annexed or rezoned or dont want a commercial business in their back yards, citizens fined by the EPA, resounding constant chatter regarding property rights and the businesses getting chosen and given tax breaks the “regular” business person doesn’t get, the cost of the project and a whole slew of other concerns permeated the mall.
My observation was the planners were overwhelmed with the negative response and were left attempting to explain away the reason the results, questionnaires and comment cards came back overwhelmingly negative on members of the tea party. We are citizens too, we just happen to be involved, engaged and vocal about our discontent with this plan! There was no gerrymandering and no agenda was set forth! We happen to know what is going on and you ask for public input and you got it, that’s all! There were also many employees on the city/county payrolls that filled out a few ballots too or you may not have gotten even 23% to agree with you on the plan!
Consultant Greg Dale was overheard saying he didn’t have time to tally the results of the public input portion of the Charette but quickly changed his tone to say he was joking when he found out that many around him wanted to see the results and were disappointed the results were not tallied for public view. He went on to say he has never seen such a negative response where so many in the community didn’t even want a plan!
Although I was there the majority of the time to oversee the Charette I met many for the first time and was very glad to see so many respond that were not in the Tea Party! I think it is a testament to our county that so many “grassroots” people are becoming involved in our local governments affairs!
We are no longer living in a time when we can ignore what our planners via our locally elected officials are doing. Our community has come alive and we are seeing what is happening and we are no longer going to take haphazard plans laying down. We live in a different time and our current environment calls for the citizens to act in a different way! We can no longer be silent as our local governments do as they please often overlooking the will of the people. Making enemies of your concerned citizens is easy. Listening to them, absorbing what they are saying, responding and thanking God every day that you have “watchmen on the wall” is the difficult part that very few practice!
It was overheard and reported to me that one of the planners was going to say that the Tea Party was stacking the surveys to look negative! My response to that accusation is if the response was overwhelmingly positive they would have had no problem reporting those findings! This is also tyranny folks, fear and intimidation from your government with repercussion for your actions! This is the sad part inside our Republic!
The accusation that the Tea Party stacked the votes is actually a compliment and a testament to the reason that tea parties were formed! Just as they were formed to protest a tax on tea from India, so be it we protest when a group of consultants and planners in coordination with their local government propose billions of dollars in cost to the taxpayer and a disrespect for their property rights!
The bottom line is the citizens, albeit some in the Tea Party, which is their well defined role, projected a positive affect on it’s community by speaking up and out about this grossly expensive and expansive growth plan delivered by out of town consultants for over a half a million dollars!
One thing that the planners, consultants and elected officials forget is that those “awful” tea party types are citizens too who are engaged, cast votes and just happen to speak up and show up when asked to for public input. This is called patriotism! This is the direct result of a Republic intact, not a socialist wanna be community where everyone listens to whatever the government says and the people agreeably nod!
The “politicians” of Bradley County should be proud of it’s patriotic people who show up when asked instead of villifying the ones who exercise their God given rights to direct their government when they step out of line. Any attempt to “make the Tea Party look bad” will be a direct push to stop a free people from freely addressing a grieveance of their government.
The Comprehensive Growth plan is not a popular one, but the overriding determining factor, regardless of the will of the people is the perceived “relief” our community gets when you bombard it with federal grants and the likes. We have seen over and over again that “spending our way out of debt” is not the answer! Smaller government, less taxes, the free market and higher accountability is the answer.
Any attempts at this point to squelch the voice of the people looks socialistic, communistic or perhaps Marxist! The best move is to stand with the people! The people are fully within their constitutional boundary to limit the size of their government and the influence they have on our daily lives.
The battle being waged should not be on the people but on the bureaucracy we call our standing government. History will stand in favor of the people, bureaucrats inside the government will fade like a silent whisper.
For now, step outside your tightly wrapped box and see that the people have spoken loudly! Try as you may but our voices will not succumb to tyrannical role players inside a rusty machine!