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Posts Tagged ‘Charette’

Tea Party confronts Cleveland City Council on first amendment

In Government on August 14, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Press release
Delivered to Cleveland Tennessee City Council
August 13, 2012

Tea Party of Bradley County
Cleveland, Tennessee

Mayor Tom Rowland and City Council,

On June 18th, 2012 I witnessed first hand the Cleveland City Council and it’s Mayor Tom Rowland display behavior uncharacteristic of a free Republic bound to the US, the State Constitution and the Cleveland Charter.

With this most recent breech, it is safe to say that our 1st Amendment rights are in peril in Bradley County, Tennessee. There is still an egregious resolution on the books that has yet to be reversed that limits our freedom of speech.

Cleveland, Tennessee City Mayor Tom Rowland, with a unanimous resolution vote of 7 to 0 by his council, ordered an investigation using police force to hunt down, arrest and expose members of my group as we made efforts to inform the community of horrendous plans for their community, thus criminalizing free speech. Thankfully the local Sherrif and the 10th judicial District Attorney saw this as what it was, an expression of free speech, thus curtailing a manhunt, further public humiliation and a possible federal prison sentence.

The Mayor and Council took offense to a flyer that was passed out to the community surrounding the old Whirlpool site warning of the demolition and redevelopment of 300 plus homes in south Cleveland. This flyer contained truthful and accurate information based on the last known public meeting where that information was provided. The White paper draft plan is the last known information that has been made available to the public in a public setting. Since much public outcry and protest of these proposed actions a revised edition of that plan has been revealed in what can be best construed as a change made in private setting.

Only after approximately 7 days of public humiliation was this latest information provided. The latest information was reportedly released after strong community concern and protest and the white paper was supposedly changed. This change then reflected the negation of the previous proposed draft that called for demolition and redevelopment of 300 plus homes in the downtown area. The latest adoption of this plan has not been made known to the public except when the press inquired about the original draft plan.

Since this time, the Tea Party of Bradley County held a town hall meeting. The Mayor and 7 council members were invited by certified mail. Only one councilman Bill Estes and one County Planner bothered to show up to confront approximately 150 civilians, a great portion residents from the Southside of Cleveland concerned about their livelihood and the security of their private property.

This would have afforded a great opportunity for this Mayor and his council to address their concerns and put them at ease. Instead with the exception of one city councilman, this governing body missed a fantastic opportunity to answer the citizens question they represent. This missed opportunity tells of the disconnect this body has with the people they represent.

I am convinced that this initial offering of information was only a shot across the bow of what is coming to our community, specifically the downtown area. Since this time we have heard further debate of eminent domain, demolition and development at the Ocoee/25th street exchange and on highway 60 around and through the Georgetown community, where many acres of private property will be taken by proposed growth plans. The exact action where just a few weeks prior this body condemned, reprimanded and investigated citizens of this county for informing the community about. With this doublespeak and deception I am convinced eminent domain will be a major implementation tool to revamp the downtown area and the county as the BCC 2035 Joint Strategic plan is further implemented. The Chambers Doug Berry has said it is a given, I draw from this comment that eminent domain will be used to develop our city and county. With this most recent resolution the Mayor and his council have successfully criminalized free speech in Bradley County.

This move by Mayor Tom Rowland created much fear and caused several to hide in fear of retaliation. Since the Mayors press conference basically calling this action illegal, mean spirited and untruthful has caused a great pummeling by the local media, the Chamber of Commerce, locally elected officials and planners on many citizens of Cleveland Tennessee. While siding with Mayor Rowland this group has relentlessy worked to discredit and tarnish the reputations of many within our group with lies and falsehoods further adding to the endless attacks upon it’s citizens and criminalizing our actions.

The Mayor and his Council with one swift vote has caused great harm to the citizens of this community. This action should embarrass this administration as efforts were made vigorously to squelch our first amendment rights. The attacks have been consistent and have even led to further allegations of potential wrong doing on the part of the Tea Party.

The damage and embarrassment this administration has done to this community can probably never be undone but this Mayor and City council by rescinding this resolution and replacing it with a new confirmation may start the healing process. I am asking that this governing body make the needed changes within the next 2 weeks of this date calling for a revision and replacement of the aforementioned resolution and a confirmation that our free speech rights will remain intact in perpetuity.

We must not let this action go unchecked because of the seriousness of it’s content for it’s citizens. No Mayor or representative of government at any level should have the power to stifle and quash free speech and plant fear into the hearts of its citizens at his will simply for exercising their God given constitutional rights to assemble, speak and redress our government.

Let me remind you that this is no game and you cannot simply throw your constituency to the wolves as a sacrificial lamb for your own selfish reasons. The lives you intend to destroy from this pulpit are not willing to continue to take your repeated lashing at their integrity. Playing with people’s lives at the risk of political expediency is a dangerous game and leaves many potentially hurt within the path of tyrannical behavior.

Our forefathers wrote the constitution to prevent the actions that the Mayor and his council have taken. No form of government should be so mighty and powerful to think it does not have to answer to the people or to the constitution that protects us all. No Mayor or his council should ever appear from behind our constitutional cover and lash out toward the people you represent while swinging a swath of destruction that has no boundaries.

We are asking Mayor Rowland and his council to publicly apologize and strike down his freedom eliminating resolution and replace it with another resolution proclaiming that our liberties and freedoms are restored and respected by a government that is clearly out of touch with it’s citizens.

Our actions to retain an attorney was decided upon after a thorough evaluation of the seriousness of the charges that were levied against Cleveland and Bradley County Citizens. The continuous attacks by our government and others have had a temporary and long lasting effect on the movement of our Tea Party and has caused many to “hide” from fear of misaligned exposure and criminalization. According to recent information provided this is not the first action by this council to squelch free speech, a pattern of abuse of power is now presenting itself.

We must shed light on this runaway government and end it’s frightening tactics. We must end the tyranny today, for those that may choose to live in Bradley County tomorrow.

Liberty must outlast tyranny, the attacks of a few should never be accepted as the political norm and the law of the land, placing the Constitution as an afterthought. It’s people must continue to fight regardless of the attempts to take away those rights and on occasion must stand to reclaim those rights given to us by God almighty.

Sincerely,
Donny Harwood
President 
Tea Party of Bradley County

Here is an article by the Chattanoogan that refers to the hiring of our attorney Stuart James to fight this resolution or vote.

http://www.chattanoogan.com/2012/8/6/231744/Bradley-County-Tea-Party-Employs-Stuart.aspx

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73 percent of Charette attendees strongly disagree with Bradley County Comprehensive Plan

In Agenda 21, Government on April 28, 2012 at 12:10 PM

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!

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