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Cleveland mayor, Bradley County tea party chief defend roles in flier dispute

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2012 at 7:18 AM

published Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
Cleveland mayor, Bradley County tea party chief defend roles in flier dispute
By Randall Higgins
http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/aug/15/mayor-tea-party-chief-defend-roles-in-flier/?local

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Mayor Tom Rowland says the city has no reason to apologize for asking for a police investigation into who was distributing fliers to south Cleveland homes in June.

The fliers, which stated the city was planning to use eminent domain to take more than 300 homes in the name of development, were untrue, Rowland said Monday.

It is the Tea Party of Bradley County that needs to apologize for upsetting families, some of whom have lived in their homes for two generations or more, he said.

“They were in tears,” Rowland said.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, a lively, but civil, debate took place between council members and members of the Tea Party of Bradley County. In the end, the only common ground was that no one will apologize.

Donny Harwood, president of the Tea Party of Bradley County, said his organization has no reason to apologize, either. At the time they were distributed, the fliers were true, according to the latest public information, he said. It is the city that needs to apologize for intimidating the group’s members and seeking to deny them their right to free speech, he said.

The call for an investigation aimed to “essentially hunt down, arrest and expose members of our tea party group as we made efforts to inform the community of horrendous plans for their community,” Harwood said.

“This flier contained truthful information based on the last known public meeting,” Harwood said. The “white paper” on which the flier was based later was changed, he said.

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“We haven’t stopped your free speech,” Rowland told Harwood.

“Have you passed any leaflets out to apologize to the 300 homeowners that this was not true?” he asked Harwood.

Rowland said the investigation was only to determine if laws were violated, and since none were the point is moot.

“If you are man enough, you will go down there and apologize,” he told Harwood.

“There is nothing for us to apologize about,” Harwood responded.

The group, he said, held a town hall meeting to seek explanations but only one councilman, Bill Estes, attended. Other council members, and Rowland, said they got the invitation after the meeting was held.

Tea party member Dan Rawls said that isn’t true because he sent the registered letters.

Councilman George Poe said he got a late invitation to a meeting to discuss something he had no intention of doing anyway.

“We couldn’t afford to buy 300 houses in the first place,” he said. “We have never talked about what we are accused of.”

If Harwood’s group was so alarmed, Poe said, they should have come to the council first with questions.

Rowland and Poe said they have not read the “white paper” from contracted consultants on which the flier was based. Harwood said the paper was handed out during a three-day public planning meeting at Bradley Square Mall.

Councilman Richard Banks, who said he has read the white paper, told tea party leaders they took the “300 homes” statement out of context. The original question was what would happen in the community if Whirlpool stayed in its old location, he said.

Consultants said that up to 300 homes might have to be seized through eminent domain to accommodate the company’s expansion there. But Whirlpool moved to its new Benton Pike site.

It was only a “what-if” discussion, Rowland said.

“There is nothing for us to explain, because there was nothing to it,” he said.

Contact staff writer Randall Higgins at rhiggins@timesfree press.com or 423-314-1029.

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Council, tea party leader argue over apology need

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2012 at 5:21 PM

Council, tea party leader argue over apology need
by DAVID DAVIS, Managing Editor
http://www.clevelandbanner.com/view/full_story/19800265/article-Council–tea-party-leader-argue-over-apology-need?instance=latest_articles

The Cleveland City Council became embroiled in a 40-minute argument Monday with Bradley County Tea Party President Donny Harwood over who should apologize for deceiving the public. In the end, neither side admitted wrongdoing.

Harwood approached the Council during the regular voting session regarding what he viewed as an action taken by the Council that impinged on party members’ freedom of speech.

The resulting exchange centered around a flier distributed in June by the local tea party and subsequent action taken by the Council on June 18.

“On June 18, I witnessed first-hand the Cleveland City Council and its Mayor Tom Rowland display behavior uncharacteristic of a free republic bound to the U.S., the state constitution and the city charter. With this most recent breach it is safe to say our first amendment rights are imperiled in Bradley County,” he said. “There is still egregious legislation on the books today that has yet to be reversed that limits our freedom of speech.

“Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland, with a unanimous resolution vote of 7-0 by this Council ordered an investigation using police force to essentially hunt down, arrest and expose members of my Tea Party group as we made efforts to inform the community of horrendous plans for their community, thus criminalizing our free speech.”

Rowland said Monday there was no resolution. It was simply a vote taken after he expressed his opinion at the June 18 Council meeting that whoever anonymously distributed the flier should be publicly identified.

The anonymous flier was in neighborhoods south of the old Whirlpool Plant in downtown Cleveland. It warned homeowners of the impending loss of their property rights, if they did not immediately act. The flier stated 300 homes were targeted for demolition and redevelopment.

“I think this is a very cruel hoax on the citizens of our community. This is sneaky. It’s deceitful. I don’t like it and I don’t like my citizens to be in fear,” the mayor said in June.

He said then it was a gray area as to whether or not an actual crime was committed by distributing fliers containing false information about the future of the area and “whoever wrote this should be exposed to the public and to those people who called Greg (Planning Director Greg Thomas) with fear in their hearts. They ought to know who wrote this.”

The Council voted 7-0 to request the city attorney, police and district attorney’s office to fully investigate the matter to determine if any laws were broken and try to uncover the source of the flier. The matter was investigated. It was determined no laws were broken and no further action was taken.

“I think this flier is very inciting and I don’t find anything, other than some terminology here and there, that’s even true,” Rowland said during the June meeting. “We formed the Southside Development Committee, but that would do nothing but increase values in that area by getting rid of the blight in our city and enhance the value of the property around it.”

Harwood said Monday the flier contained truthful and accurate information based on the last known public meeting where the information was provided.

“The white paper draft plan is the last known information available to the public in a public setting,” he said. Since that time, he said the plan was changed in a private setting.

Thomas said in a June 17 interview the white paper was written by a Knoxville-based planning consultant and it was handed out to the public in April during a three-day planning workshop at Bradley Square Mall. Thomas said that was the first time he saw the white paper and subsequently, he requested that section be deleted. There have been no public meetings since April.

“The bottom-line answer is the city is not going to run in and take anybody’s property,” he said in June.

Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce Vice President for Economic Development Doug Berry said in July references to 300 houses came when talks first began with Whirlpool about replacing its century-old manufacturing facilities. The company wanted to remain in the downtown area where there is historical linkage because it is a big issue for a company to break that attachment.

“When we first sat down with Whirlpool, they told us they needed to develop modern manufacturing facilities, that the inefficiencies of these historic plants were so great it was having a bottom-line effect on the company,” Berry said. “They told us they would prefer to do a rebuild in the area of their existing plant. Their first request of me, as a representative of this community, was to provide them a redevelopment option for them to put two half-million square foot buildings in this corridor.”

Berry said during the July MainStreet Cleveland luncheon that such a redevelopment project has never happened in Cleveland. Ultimately, keeping the plant in its historical location would require the use of eminent domain. Berry said he expressed his concern to the company, but agreed to analyze what it would take to put a million square feet in the neighborhood. In order to do that, he said it would require buying all of the property between Plant No. 3 and Ocoee Street, all the way to Plant No. 2.

“That’s 300 lots. That’s where the 300 number came from,” Berry said. “I then sat down with the company and explained that I did not think this was a viable option because this community has not been through the process and has no history of ever having used eminent domain as part of its economic development program. When you hear about the 300 homes that are going to be taken and bulldozed, that number actually has basis, but it’s not fact in the conclusion of those statements,” he told MainStreet members.

Rowland asked Harwood on Monday if he had apologized to the 300 homeowners.

“They were alarmed that their houses might be taken when that’s not a fact,” the mayor said.

Harwood said, “There is nothing for us to apologize for.”

Rowland said, “You should go back and apologize to those people whose lives you have upset. Would you do that or not? We have not stopped your free speech. You have passed leaflets out since then and during that time you haven’t been stopped. We wanted to know who was doing it so you would know what you are passing out is not true. There is nothing true about it. This Council has not voted on it and you know good and well where it started — when Whirlpool said what if we build down there, it was said you might have to buy 300 houses. Period. Where did Whirlpool move to? That was irresponsible —”

“Well, the information —,” Harwood said.

“Listen to me!” the mayor demanded. “The only people I’ve talked to were in tears because somebody put some kind of information out that has no facts to it at all and if you’re man enough, you’ll go down there and tell them that you were wrong.”

The remainder of the argument centered mainly around Harwood and Tea Party member Dan Rawls asking Council members why they did not appear at a Tea Party town hall meeting to discuss the issue. Councilman Bill Estes, who represents the 2nd District, was the only councilman who accepted the invitation.

In return, Councilman George Poe asked Harwood why he didn’t attend a Council meeting months ago if he had questions.

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

Eminent Domain once again topic of Cleveland City Council

In Government on July 27, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Eminent Domain is once again the huge elephant in the room at Mondays Cleveland Tennessee City Council Meeting.

After several minutes debating a study on the Ocoee/25th Street corridor construction project with City Mananger Janice Casteel the conversation went to the subject of eminent domain and the specifics of that process.

During the dialogue, as reported in the Chattanoogan, Councilman Banks said “We have to be conscious of the fact that when we vote on this project, that there is going to be imminent (eminent) domain proceedings. There will be lawsuits filed in court……”I think we need to be talking about other funding issues rather than this intersection project.”

The 25th street/Ocoee street Project, I have been told, will result in around 35 homes and businesses losing all or portions of their property. I have been informed by planners that this project will be 7 lanes wide, much like the road through the North Lee area and will be expensive. I asked would it be in the hundreds of millions and he said no that high but high.

First of all the eminent domain issue just last month was a crazy idea. The crack pot tea party types were spreading “false rumors and propaganda” about plans for Cleveland City. The Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Rowland, Editors at the local paper, Mayor Rowland, City and County Planners, 7 City Council members, McBride Dale and Clarion and countless other bureaucrats thought the subject was the worst thing they have ever been accused of. We have had our first amendment rights threatened because we passed out flyers saying the government was going to take your property by eminent domain, demolition and redevelopment and here they are casually doing the exact thing they reacted so strongly against just a month ago.

“False Propaganda” is what our mayor called this action a month ago and this week enacts eminent domain from his throne speaking volumes of a hidden agenda or hypocrisy on a high level. Just a month ago when his plan was uncovered it was outrageous, preposterous and scaring old people and the idea highly frowned upon.

Eminent Domain, rezoning, demolition and redevelopment, takings, outright purchases. Those are dirty words from the pits of hell and would never be uttered from our City government? Right?
Any man that would dare utter those words in my presence will burn in a hot and steamy lake of fire? Right?

Well, that was the sentiment from voices past, now the purveyors of all things unpopular, false, full of propaganda and hateful despicable lies is now the topic of City Council meetings as something that is inevitable.

I understand needing to hide these things. If the public grasps a great understanding of what is really going on in our local government they would not have a seat on our local city council seat for long and their long term legacy would be tarnished, forever linking the elite 8 to eminent domain and taking of the citizens property in such an egregious manner.

I think councilman banks said it best when he rebutted City Manager Janice Casteel with “We have to always be concious about how we appear to the public!”

Notice not one word was uttered that we must be careful or conscious to protect the citizens property rights! Their legacy, social standing in public, reputation will be tarnished are their true concerns, not your property rights! We can’t appear to want to take peoples property against their will, that would not be good, this is my humble opinion.

Councilman Poe in his defense did mention that he must go with the people he represents him on this one! Bravo! But what is going to be the end result of a 90 day study versus a 60 day study? How to take more of your property or at least take it in a more politically correct manner? I don’t know! One thing is for sure though and mark my words just as we have warned you for months now,

EMINENT DOMAIN WILL BE USED AS A VERY EFFECTIVE TOOL TO TAKE YOUR PROPERTY RIGHTS AWAY AND THE CITY AND COUNTY DEVELOPED!

Onward to the Central City Area!

The end!!!!!!

Yep, many are going to be affected by eminent domain, demolition and redevelopment. I guess it just matters as to which side of government you are on as to whether you can say it or not.

Compare these two articles. Both reporting on the same subject, only one mentions eminent domain, the other doesn’t! Why the bias? Why does it seem that the agenda is being hidden by the press? What is the benefit if the people are locked out of the process. I don’t get it!

Remember, my opinion is only mine and it doesn’t have to be yours!

http://www.clevelandbanner.com/view/full_story/19560052/article-TDOT-updates-city-on-Highway-60-Corridor?instance=homesecondleft

http://www.chattanoogan.com/2012/7/24/230864/Cleveland-Council-To-Vote-On-Cutting.aspx

Chamber of Commerce turns on spin cycle regarding “eminent domain” plans for downtown

In Agenda 21 on July 20, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Recently Mr. Doug Berry of the Local Chamber of Commerce was quoted in the local press that he was the one that came up with the 300 number while referring to lots, that were targeted for demolition and redevelopment and mentioned in a “propaganda flyer” that was passed out to residents within the target zone. That action drew the ire of the Chamber, the Mayor and City Council over allegations it was misleading and untruthful. Well you can decide for yourself what the white-paper drafted plan was talking about regardless of the spin that is placed upon it.

I asked my self what purpose would it serve for Mr Berry to take this on himself? Why would he say he was the originator of the “300 lots”, causing further controversy just to have controversy?

My opinion is he is placing this on himself to deflect from the elected officials that are involved. See he didn’t get elected by the people. He was hired to be the “hatchet man” much tbe way he was hired in Knoxville to do when they used eminent domain to build that downtown.

The most interesting thing I see about this is that Mr Berry, at least the three days I was there and during my participation in the SWOT analysis was not there or should I say, at least was not visible at the three day Charade, er, Charette.

The Consultants and planners while at the Charette made it sound and was able to provide “proof” that the 300 homes that would “be best served by demolition and redevelopment” was spawned from the SWOT Analysis and it was our input and our idea! I’m really confused. How could “we” have done it and Mr Berry claims he did it? You can see what is going on here! When I was in the military we call this FUBAR, I don’t need to fill it in I think you know what that means! The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing! There is so much cover up trying to hide the true plans for our county that they catch themselves in opposing stories! If Mr Berry is in fact the purveyor of the 300 homes then what worth is the SWOT anaysis. Does Mr Berry have more say so in the plan than the public! That seems the opposite of what the consultants are telling us at the public Charades! I thought “we” suggested that the 300 homes be best served by demolition and redevelopment? Shoot, now he goes and admits it was his idea! I’m sooooo confused!

It’s my opinion that by admitting it and somehow attaching it to him it’s better or somehow throws you off the scent of true intent. And then he says 300 lots, not 300 homes as in the white paper draft that was given at the last public meeting. Its spin folks! My head hurts!

He said and I paraphrase here, while that 300 home statement has basis, BUT, you clearly can see by the way I tell it that we were only talking about the property within the Whirlpool boundary! You know those old buildings and “lots”, not the silly 300 homes that people live in, eat, sleep and raise their children in! Not those silly people, why would I refer to that area as the one we had “drafted” and “planned” to bulldoze, after all if that was the plan, that would be 10 years off, haha! Those silly peasants! They are so annoying! He didn’t really say that but through his series of statements in the banner article I can entertain my inner child and somehow play out a comical sketch to somehow lessen the severity of the impact that our non elected bureaucrats are playing with our minds and our property! Are these actions to cover up a bold move by one too many bureaucrats with their hands in the pot. I don’t know you decide.

What vantage point does the Chamber of Commerce seek with all this double talk? To speak louder than the citizenry? To vilify those informing the public of their plans?

Let’s just spin it so the silly peasants sound as if they made the the whole thing up about the 300 homes and say it was just the whirlpool site and 300 lots! Sounds ingenious doesn’t it, except for one thing Mr Berry, all the info, drafted or suggested plans and past press statements you made say and project otherwise!

Let’s start with the white paper draft plan that no one seems to acknowledge or that it even exists And was handed out to the public and very clearly describes what the consultants, Mr Berry, the Chamber of Commerce and planners really planned to do with your property.

Excerpt from the drafted “White paper draft plan” that noone will admit to existing but is the last known plan released to the public.
 
Listen as I quote the information given out at the last charade public meeting and see if you believe this sounds like the activity Mr Berry speaks of (a benign 300 lot factory) will be confined within Whirlpool property?

“An area of particular concern consists of several blocks of “postage stamp” lots located directly south of the Whirlpool Complex, The area consists of small work force housing on small lots built during the 1920’s 30’s, and 40’s and are now in poor repair.”

“The roughly 300 units are valued at approximately $35,000 each and several landlords own 6 or more units. Due to age and value, the units as a whole are not well maintained.”

“Those attending the SWOT Analysis (not Doug Berry) concurred that this area would best be served by DEMOLITION AND REDEVELOPMENT!”

Note the detail of those statement above! Doesn’t sound like some broken down empty warehouse lot to me!

You know Mr Berry, why have controversy for the sake of controversy! Doesn’t make sense to me. The people that live in those 300 lots would alot rather hear that that “WAS” the plan, after much debate, we heard you and we heard you didn’t like this and we changed course because we care about you and your property rights! That is much more palatable than trying to tell them a double sided story that is full of holes.

I personally doubt any concerned citizens that supposedly formulated the SWOT analysis really said the area would be best served by demolition and redevelopment as the white paper draft concluded. Its that adage of believing if he said it then it must be true kinda thing.

The SWOT Analysis was designed to direct and limit your choices to the outcome that the city desired with the appearance that the community was behind it. The city has been trying to convince the city of Cleveland that the citizens are behind the plan. Take a look at this article in CDB.

http://www.clevelandbanner.com/view/full_story/18934474/article-Thomas–Planning-is-growth-tool?instance=homefirstleft 
 
I thought this plan was the work of Rick Russell (who popped up out of nowhere at the Charade and the banner include me in an article about the greenway of all things) and his firm, why is Mr. Berry now saying he is responsible for the 300 number? Did he contribute to other areas of the white-paper, or was this the only area?
 
It is now confirmed that eminent domain was on the table and still is. Mr. Berry says “it would be false of me to say we can redevelop there without acquiring some homes or commercial businesses. That’s a given if we want to replace these manufacturing jobs with more manufacturing jobs.” Now Mr. Berry admits eminent domain is a “given”, how else does the city acquire property or get the residents to clean up their property.

Maybe we can look at 890 Inman Street for an example which I believe is in the gateway to the city that Berry is so concerned about. The memo giving the owner of the property 60 days from 5/4/12 to demolish the structure.

If I owned the 2 junkyards mentioned in the white-paper that were identified as eyesores I would be more concerned than ever after Berry says “gateways and inner cities are important because they are they are the definitions of who and what a community is to the outside world.” He doesn’t stop there he continues, “we have to be careful at times on how we route people into Cleveland so people who are from out of town do get the right impression.”  So even if you don’t lose your property you may not be able to use it as you desire.

Mr. Berry has now given us an ultimatum, if you want more jobs, accept eminent domain, and now he admits homes and businesses are at risk and “that those are some tough decisions we have to be prepared to talk through and work through with the neighborhood.”
 
What jobs is he talking about replacing? I thought Whirlpool just relocated. Did they cut employees?
 
It seems the flyer’s that were distributed in the CCA were accurate and the city has been in cover up mode by changing the original white-paper, and when given the opportunity to hand out the new white-paper at a June 18 status update public meeting with residents from the central city area in attendance they failed to do so. Why is that, if the document was changed on May 31, why would the mayor and city council and others who were at that meeting not make it available to the residents of the central city area? Because it appears the White paper was changed to cover up the city’s true intentions! To demolish and redevelop!
 
It also appears and this again is my opinion, that the local press are in cover up mode also! Why? Why are we trying to hide something from the public that will in the end hurt the people of Bradley County? Why can’t a reporter even after hearing presented evidence of why the Mayor blasted his constituency, to report it. Because the truth somehow leaked out and now we go into spin cycle and deny it because it would not be politically expedient to every sitting elected official! That’s the true reason! In my opinion!
 
Is he lying? Is he covering up his true plans? Is he on spin cycle?you decide for your self! I personally believe that the plan to to move forward with Demolition and redevelopment will go forward as leaked and many people will be displaced from their homes! Just a hunch!

Mr. Berry says “I can’t lie to people!” Look at his statements made in public and captured in print and you make a determination if ge has lied to you!
 
“The following are excerpts from local press articles of Mr Berry displaying his true intentions for Cleveland and all of Bradley County!”

“Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce Vice President for Economic Development Doug Berry, who worked with Nance on several Knoxville projects, said the primary area in Cleveland is the 93-acre Whirlpool site.”

“One of the things we’ve struggled with is that this all started around Whirlpool’s decision, which would tend to put it at Inman Street moving south and kind of easterly,” he said. “If we get into redevelopment, we certainly need to look at stepping across (north of Inman Street).”

“Though how far to step north of Inman Street is debatable, Berry said there is a need to at least engage all the streetscape for the sake of cohesiveness

“In order to successfully develop the Whirlpool site, the BROADER AREA NEEDS TO BE CONSIDERED!!!”

“The first time I looked at how to redevelop around Whirlpool and keep them there at that location, it was 113 properties we had to deal with,” he said. “When I thought in the context of what is an appropriate area geographically to create opportunity from a mixed-use perspective, it jumps to a minimum of about 330 properties.”

BCN side note: 330 properties! Not lots within the Whirlpool boundary!

“In Knoxville, the development corporation used a form of eminent domain to clear the titles. But Berry said he realizes Cleveland has never utilized eminent domain and has no interest in using that procedure as it is interpreted here.”

BCN side note: In fact eminent domain was used in the 40s and reportedly displaced one of our County Commissioners families. Also, at a meeting at the library, which of course didn’t get any press coverage but Mr Berry told me he had no problem with condemning a property and taking it if we couldnt find an heir or that person didn’t mow their grass! I quickly responded in that meeting that this is the reason I am here today protesting because of you saying stuff like that!

Nance said a form of eminent domain was used in Knoxville in a “FRIENDLY SENSE” because it provided tax incentives and other advantages for the property owners.

BCN side note: Their is nothing friendly about eminent domain!

http://www.clevelandbanner.com/view/full_story/16178609/article-Whirlpool-site-redevelopment-eyed?

Such a redevelopment project has never before been undertaken in Cleveland and ultimately, it would require the use of eminent domain. Berry expressed his concern to the company, but he agreed to analyze what it would take to put a million square feet in the neighborhood. In order to do that, it would require BUYING ALL OF THE PROPERTY between Plant No. 3 and Ocoee Street, all the way to Plant No. 2.

BCN note: Hereege tells you what he is going to do and it is exactly what we warned you he was going to do! He notes that a redevelopment project has never before been undertaken……AND IT WOULD REQUIRE THE USE OF EMINENT DOMAIN!!! How much clearer can it get? How do we give the Mayor, the Chamber, hired consultants and our planners a pass when we know what their ultimate plan is! All they are doing is attempting to villify the people who are telling you about it and they have a willing press to cover it up!

The difference between an outright purchase which will be their first move and eminent domain is whether you are willing to sell or not. Say no! I wanna keep my home and they take it!!!

Mr Berry continues “That’s 300 lots. That’s where the 300 number came from,” Berry said. “I then sat down with the company and explained that I did not think this was a viable option because this community has not been through the process and has no history of ever having used eminent domain as part of its economic development program.”

“When you hear about the 300 homes that are going to be taken and bulldozed, that number actually has basis, but it’s not fact in the conclusion of those statements.” He said some use might be found for the Hardwick Stove Plant (Whirlpool Plant No. 2) which is directly across from the Woolen Mill. That would be a tremendous project to anchor a VLOUNTARY redevelopment strategy. Plant No. 3 might have interim uses but it will be a demolition job. It will be a brownfield or a new vacant site for development. He expects the buildings that make up Plant No. 1 are worn out after 100 years of continuous manufacturing.

BCN note: Voluntary is key word!

“What do we need to do to successfully redevelop this with manufacturing or distribution or job centers? I CAN’T LIE TO THE PEOPLE! We will have to assemble some larger tracts from these core parcels, predominantly because of the way companies develop sites now,” he said. “It would be false of me to say we can redevelop there WITHOUT ACQUIRING some HOMES or COMMERCIAL BUSINESSES. That’s a given if we want to replace these manufacturing jobs with more manufacturing jobs.”

BCN note: Silly peasants! I can’t lie to you! He probably should have said “I must tell you the truth!” He is telling you he can’t redevelop the area without ACQUIRING HOMES AND COMMERCIAL BUSINESSES! What is different than what was in the so called “propaganda flyer!” The two junkyards are in his target too, just read the white paper draft before they can change it again!

http://www.clevelandbanner.com/view/full_story/19349438/article-Redevelopment-needs-talk–Doug-Berry?

“We started with Whirlpool’s decision,” said Doug Berry, the Chamber’s vice president for economic development. But Cleveland may want to look BEYOND the century-old plant site’s 113 acres to ADJACENT AREAS INCLUDING INMAN STREET, he said.”

Berry, in his former job as a Knoxville planner, worked with Nance on that city’s redevelopment projects.

A common funding technique in Knoxville has been TAX INCREMENT FINANCING, Nance said. That process uses anticipated tax revenue from increased property values to subsidize development.

BCN note: With TIF financing, they purchase or acquire your property at rock bottom prices, redevelop and resell you property to a select realtor it develops, value goes up and the difference used to fund the redevelopment of your old property! This will also shuttle money from the city coffers and away from the schools for 20 to 30 years! How you like those apples! “It’s for the kids right?”

“It is one way for the public to have a voice in the city’s development, he said. But the objective, Nance said, is for the market to drive the redevelopment, whether commercial or residential.”

“Knoxville ALSO has used its POWER of EMINENT DOMAIN to ACQUIRE some PROPERTIES!”

BCN note: Mr Nance used to and is seemingly still is working with Mr Berry! One question? Also? Did someone squeeze a duck in the room? Also meaning Knoxville and Cleveland? Perhaps a little slip on
backroom conversation! Just an observation!

While the use of EMINENT DOMAIN CAN BE CONTROVERSIAL in some cases in Knoxville it was the ONLY WAY to clear titles and get loans for redevelopment, Nance said. He cited one property with 150 HEIRS making it impossible to find a LENDER.

BCN note: Soooooo! The one piece of property in the example above had so many people that were heirs that it was impossible to get lending? Hmmmmm? Sooooo, so many people wanted to KEEP their property that it would have tied up the court system so long that there would be no chance in hades of expediantly resolving it so take it by eminent domain and wack those 150 heirs out of their inheritance. Now I get it!

“It can be done in a FRIENDLY (they sure like that friendly word) way with tax advantages to the owners,” Nance said.

http://www.tfponline.com/news/2011/oct/26/options-weighed-for-whirlpool-site-in-cleveland/

“Approach the comprehensive redevelopment task with an OPEN MIND and DETERMINED mindset remembering that DEMOLITION of EXISTING STRUCTURES and HISTORIC PRESERVATION can share in the COLLECTIVE GOOD of the community and area residents. To PRESERVE WHEN REASONABLE and to START OVER WHEN NEEDED are LEGITIMATE OPTIONS and WORKING PARTNERS!”

BCN Note: in other words, your Government and The Chamber of Commerce comb over your property, go eenie meenie money mo and select what homes and businesses dont cut the mustard then by you being a fantastic team player, you give up your home for the “collective good” and you take your little chunk of change and go somewhere to start over like a good little boy or girl!

“Any idea geared at redeveloping the Whirlpool site is worth debate but not all will be doable nor economically feasible. Most of the existing structures are old and many sit in a flood plain. But these should not be VIEWED AS LIMITATIONS but rather as OPPORTUNITIES!”

http://www.clevelandbanner.com/view/full_story/11559088/article-Time-to-start-planning?

Berry pointed out the industrial site is large enough that its redevelopment will IMPACT SURROUNDING AREAS; hence, the need for COMMUNITY INPUT!

BCN note: In other words when we take your property we want you to know about it! Wait a minute, didn’t the flyer provide an avenue to let you know what they were planning? Didn’t the Mayor and the City Council form a resolution in city chambers to hunt down, expose and arrest those that were seeking community input! They don’t want your input, they want a Tom Rowland Convention to replace your home? No, then read this:

Councilman Banks suggests a Tom Rowland Convention Center and a couple of buildings for planners!
http://www.clevelandbanner.com/view/full_story/11400314/article-Whirlpool-site-redevelopment-talks-eyed?

“Over the next couple of years, Whirlpool leaders will have two focuses in Cleveland. One will be construction, and completion, of the new factory. The second will be a close involvement with the community in REDEVELOPING the existing site, Berry said.

“They (Whirlpool) will need to be involved to understand community expectations,” he offered. “ … Ultimately, the community and the company will have to come to terms with what we’ve got and WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO WITH IT!”

http://www.clevelandbanner.com/view/full_story/9584992/article-City-to-seek-grant-for-redevelopment-of-Whirlpool-site?

I think it is pretty clear they, everyone is covering up what they plan to do downtown around the ole whirlpool site! The Chamber of Commerce with it’s grand plan of what they want to do with your property is pretty clear! No matter what spin they throw at you, the deed is done and no matter of resistance will stop them! It is now up to you to stand for your property rights and defend your self against an intimately aligned organization of the UNITED NATIONS! The Chamber is the number one consultation status with the UNITED NATIONS and perhaps their true colors are showing!

Tyrannical acts of Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland creates fears for law abiding, tax paying citizens

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Definition of tyranny:

1 : oppressive power ; especially : oppressive power exerted by government

2 a : a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler; especially : one characteristic of an ancient Greek city-state b : the office, authority, and administration of a tyrant

3 : a rigorous condition imposed by some outside agency or force <living under the tyranny of the mind

4 : a tyrannical act

Last evening on Channel 9 out of Chattanooga Tennessee, Cleveland Tennessee Mayor Tom Rowland was featured in a scathing news report that was aimed at the citizens of Cleveland/Bradley County that were reportedly handing out flyers in a community in the downtown Cleveland area speaking out against the Mayor and his band of clones that are going to redevelop the downtown area using the EPAs Brownfield development using HB 1554 and TIF financing to take away our property rights.

I’ll add a scary voice here, but he was quoted on the news cast as saying they, whomever they are, “are being very careful to not put the flyers in the mailboxes!” scary laugh, hooo haaaaaah haaaaaah!!!! Eluding to the fact that if we find out they put a flyer in a mailbox, we will snatch them from their family and put them in a federal prison for years, and we can probably do it through the Department of Homeland Security, since I am head of the local office, scary laugh again! The unquoted parts were mine and not his but can you see that this man is assuming he has more power than he really does?

The Mayors tyrannical activity speaks volumes of the county and cities efforts to squash the citizens from speaking out about a wayward government with way too much power. Enough power to presumably cause a citizen to go underground, to flee from his or her government, to cause family anguish due to fear of reprisals, causing his or her family to be tormented by his words causing citizens to second guess any activity for fear of retaliation or reprisals. This is a sad day for Cleveland Tennessee, and Bradley County!

The Mayor from a bully pulpit, on a regional TV news stage exerting the effort to stop a normal, tax paying citizen from exercising his/her first amendment rights. This is shameful and should be condemned.

No longer are we under the kookiness of a King George, his oppression was done away with long ago, yet we have a modern day King Tom oppressing the people in the same way through fear and intimidation.

The mayor spoke of federal charges and encouraged the citizens to call in and report this anonymous person who dares speak out against King Tom, leading many to believe there is a manhunt for this purveyor of truthful flyers complete with statements about King Toms plans for his downtown Kingdom.

I have been approached by several involved in the “federally” offensive flyer handout scandal and they have made the decision to lay low and are truly fearful for their safety! A government designed and led this way should at the very least be questioned as unethical! This is BS, hogwash or any other word that I can print!

Our elected mayor calling on citizens to be arrested for speaking up and forcing them to be on the lamb, so to speak and cause their family great suffering is tyranny at its strongest! Shame on the mayor for his actions. Illegal activity, hogwash!!!

In a recent conversation, after several attempts of this reporter/blogger to contact the police department, Sherrif Snyder, a police officer, the mayor himself I finally reached the Asst District attorney Steven Hatchett who was willing to go on record as saying that the act of handing out flyers in a community is "not illegal and is protected by free speech even if the information being handed out is disputed!" Mr Hatchett went on to say that the first Tea Party was handing out flyer years ago and it was not illegal then either! He dd go onto say that although the act of handing out a flyer is not illegal, there are some constraints such as no littering, inciting a riot, obstructing traffic or when possibly a ordinance is broken but was safe to say that the act of passing out the flyer is not illegal. The rule to free speech is the exception that it must pass constitutional muster! Mr Hatchett was very professional and helpful throughout the short interview. The overwhelming feeling I got from him is no matter who you are or what your title is, the rights of the people under the constitution is still intact and still protects them.

Mr Mayor, all elected officials blow the dust off the ole constitution that you may have on your bookshelf and I advise you to read it!

This is the only document that at present date is keeping the citizen in Cleveland, Tennessee free from a tyrannical run away government!

Its the difference between keeping us free and making us felons. Many have tried to enslave the people but the one constant is that the constitution protects the people and tyrannical governments. For now, as long as it remains intact, the Mayor nor anyone in this town can tell us what to do and that our government truly has no jurisdiction over the people and our Sovereignty!

Conservation Easements are a trap, think twice, then run!

In Agenda 21, Farmers on May 16, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Property grab any way you look at is still a property grab! Bradley County is being inundated by these conservation easements by many Land Trusts in our area.

Think twice, then run in the other direction when someone dangles the bait out in front of you like a carrot! This is bad mojo and is just another of the attempts by our federal government to take your property and your rights to this property!

When you theoretically sign your property over to this land trust company in perpetuity (forever) your property is essentially of no value to anyone except the true owners of your property, the land trust and the federal government if they decide that property is valuable to them and they want it!

You can’t even water your lawn without their ok or plant flowers or ride your jeep around on the property! Your adjoining neighbor could actually violate the terms of your conservation agreement and you would be held liable! You still pay all the bills such as property taxes, upkeep and repair but you are no longer the owner. You have become a serf on your own property and are now going to be there forever for generations to come. You have just passed slavery to every generation in your future. They will tell you it still belongs to you and that you still have all the rights, well that is not completely true!

Yes, you can tweak the contract and say for example, I want to put a flower garden down by the lake and this info will get passed to the powers that be and if you are lucky you may get to do that. But the property is no longer yours. You are now indebted for the rest of your life to the land trust and the federal government. Not and enviable position to be in.

So What Is Left Of Your
Property Rights?

Conservation Easements Are a Trap

Activities on or use of the property not
consistent with the purpose of the easement are
prohibited under a conservation easement
agreement. The following are some examples of
prohibited activities:

.
1. No soil, trash, liquid or solid waste,
hazardous materials, or pollutants defined by
federal or state law shall be dumped or placed
on the property;
.
2. Activities or uses that will be detrimental
to drainage, flood control, water conservation,
erosion control, soil conservation, or fish and
wildlife habitat conservation;
.
3. Activities or uses detrimental to the
structural integrity or physical appearance of
any portions of the property having historical,
archaeological or cultural significance;
.
4. Planting of invasive exotic plants listed by
the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, and the
grantor shall control invasive exotic plants
on the property; (Forever at the owner’s or
their heir’s expense regardless of cause or
situation.)
.
5. Commercial or industrial activity, or
ingress or egress across or upon the property in
conjunction with any commercial or industrial
activity, except as may be required for the
exercise of the grantor’s reserved rights;
.
6. New construction or placing of buildings,
mobile homes, signs, billboards or other
structures on the property;
.
7. Creation of new roads or jeep trails;
.
8. No more intense agricultural use of the
property than currently exists on the property, if
any, and no conversion of non-agricultural areas
to agricultural use;
.
9. Activities that adversely impact threatened
or endangered species;
.
10. Any subdivision of the land.”3
(All of the above-as interpreted by the
easement holder or anyone, or any group who
purchases said easement in the future.)

1. The right to observe, maintain,
photograph, fish, hunt, introduce and stock
native fish or wildlife on the property, to use
the property for non-commercial hiking,
camping, and horseback riding, in compliance
with federal, state and local laws concerning
such activities;
2. The right to conduct prescribed burning on
the property, provided that the grantor obtain
and comply with the appropriate
authorization from the regulatory agency
having jurisdiction over this activity;
3. The right to harvest timber or other forest
products in accordance with an approved
forest management plan;
4. The right to mortgage the property;
(Common sense dictates that a parcel of land
with clouded property rights is worthless.)
5. The right to use, maintain, repair, and
reconstruct, but not relocate or enlarge, all
existing structures, fences, roads, ponds,
drainage ditches and other facilities on the
property.
As you can see, the terms of these
easements are intentionally written in a very
vague way, subject to interpretation by the
easement holder or the courts.
But the responsibility and expense to maintain
the property as the easement holder demands is
very specific and is “forever.”

The land owners and their heirs, become
mere surfs, slaves to their own property and
subject to the wishes of the easement holder-
they are caught in the Conservation Easement
Trap.

Don’t Let This Happen To YOU!

1. http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/wq/lpn/uniform.htm
2. Old Lyme, Connecticut http://www.oldlymect.
gov/Pages/OldLymeCT_BComm/Easement%20Monitoring-OL.pdf
3. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FR149
Presented by the Alliance for Citizens Rights
http://www.alabamapropertyrights.org -www.keepourrights.org

As you read this, hundreds of
well meaning land owners are losing
their homes, their land, and their
children’s inheritance because they
fell for the false promises made to
them by government agencies and
environmental groups. Thousands
more face a similar fate!

Most of these endangered
property owners believed that they
were preserving their land for future
generations. Some believed it was a
way to help their children survive in
the farming or ranching business by
getting badly needed operating cash
in these troubled times.

All loved their land and their
way of life and dreamed of saving
them both from destruction. But now
their land and their dreams are
being brutally taken from them.

They are caught in the
“Conservation Easement
Trap.”

Those who believe that they will be
allowed to continue living on the land or
get a tax write-off or a “tax credit” (which
they can sell to others to generate cash)
are easy targets for this massive, well
planned land grab scheme. This scheme is
designed to steal the rights to your land,
deprive you of its use, and eventually
transfer title to either a government agency
or an environmental group.

As an example: In Colorado right now
hundreds of land owners who used an
easement plan sanctioned by both the
state and Federal governments, are being
threatened with losing everything they own.

You see, once the state of Colorado
realized how much revenue they would
lose because of these land trusts, they
found a way to back out of the deal. When
Colorado backed out, this gave the IRS an
excuse to disallow all tax deductions given
to land owners and also disallow all tax
credits sold on these easements.

The taxes, penalties, and fines
accessed by the IRS amount to more than
the present value of the land. Plus,
individuals who bought “tax credits” from
the land owners are suing to recover their
losses.

With title to the land so clouded, no
individual will buy it, no bank will loan on it,
and it has no economic value to anyone
except the government or the
environmental group who hold the
easement. The IRS will either take the land
or sell it at auction to satisfy the tax debt.

By law, the title holder CANNOT have a
conservation easement on his own land.
Therefore, should the easement holder
also gain title to the land-the easement
automatically goes away!

In the end, the land owners will have lost
everything and the easement holder will
have gained clear, un-encumbered title to
this very valuable property.

The Uniform Conservation Act was created
in 1981 and recommended for use by all states
by the National Conference of Commissioners
on Uniform State Laws.

A conservation easement is an encumbrance sometimes including a transfer of usage rights (easement) — which creates a legally
enforceable land preservation agreement
between a landowner and a government agency
(municipality, county, state, federal) or a
qualified land protection organization (often
called a “land trust”), for the purposes of
conservation. It restricts real estate
development, commercial and industrial uses,
and certain other activities on a property to a
mutually agreed upon level. The property
remains the private property of the landowner.
The decision to place a conservation
easement on a property is strictly a voluntary
one where the easement is sold or donated. The
restrictions of the easement, once set in place,
“run with the land” and are binding on all future
owners of the property (in other words, the
restrictions are perpetual). The restrictions are
spelled out in a legal document that is recorded
in the local land records and the easement
becomes a part of the chain of title for the
property. Thus, a potential buyer of the
property would limit his offer to the value of the
few remaining property rights.

Violations

The following is common policy for
governments (local & state) that enacted the
model Conservation Easement Act:

“An easement violation may be
discovered through a visit or by
casual observation or reported by a
third party. The violation may have
been caused by the property owner, an
adjacent property owner or a third
party trespasser.”

(Consider carefully the last sentence – an
action by a neighbor or a trespasser could be
declared a “violation” with you as the
responsible party.)
Serious violations, the policy concludes,
prohibit construction or subdivision, (dividing
your property i.e. to give a lot to a child)
excavation, and timbering without an approved
forest management plan. All of the forgoing
“require a swift and definitive response.”
Rights Granted to the Grantee (easement
holder) MAY include but is not limited to the
following”
“1.The right to preserve and protect the
conservation values of the property;
2. The right to enter the property at reasonable
times in order to monitor compliance with the
agreement;
3. The right to prevent any activity on or use of
the property that is not consistent with the
purpose or provisions of the easement and to
require the restoration of areas or features of
the property that may be damaged by
inconsistent activity or use at the grantor’s
(owner’s) cost;
4.The right of first refusal to purchase the
property in fee if the grantor proposes to sell
the property to a third party other than a lineal
descendant, and the right to purchase the
property from the estate or trust of the grantor
(void if easement is a charitable donation for no
consideration);
5. The right to be indemnified by grantor for
any and all liability, loss, damage, expense,
judgment or claim arising out of any
negligence, willful action or activity resulting
from the grantor’s use of the property or use of
the property by the grantor’s agents, guests,
lessees, or invitees.”3 (The easement holder has
no liability, it all falls on the property owner.)

Source of info: Bear Witness Central, visit the blog site, very interesting and informative!

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!

Minnesota man thrown in jail for not siding his house, following code enforcement essential

In Agenda 21 on April 12, 2012 at 2:11 PM

A Minnesota man was arrested and thrown in jail after failing to complete the siding on his home.

http://www.theblaze.com/news/real-news-from-the-blaze/

Property rights? The encroachment on your property now has an avenue for disruption! Codes enforcement! Annexation! Eminent Domain! PUD regulations! Zoning! International code enforcement! Environmental laws! All are now being used as tools to take or tell you what to do with your property rights!

I spent another glorious morning with the Comprehensive Growth Planners last week! I was pleased to see that at least they had put some goals and wording about property rights! No final goals but at least a start!

I sat across from one of the Non Governmental Organization (NGO) appointees, a self appointed leader of this expensive and expansive growth plan! I will not quote him directly as not to misquote and their were plenty of witnesses to this short debate!

He spoke up when the plan was being looked at and we started discussing HB 1554 and Brownfield development which was brought to us by our 24 th District State Representative!

A great portion of this bill is to enforce codes, levy new taxes, benefit a few and use eminent domain to basically clear out about 90 acres for downtown development while restoring older buildings at the inconvenience of home owners!

This gentlemen interjected, unprovoked and said I have no problem going on to your property and mowing your yard if it needs it! He also went on to say he took a small lot from a little ole lady in the Knoxville area who abandoned her property and their were whore houses and a red light district around it! I had no problem with taking that property! Wow! I said!

This is everything I see wrong with this plan and have been verbal about for years regarding this plan!

After a little more debate and many failed attempts to get the “meeting back on track” he says ok, then I rescind the last statement and let’s act like I never said it!

Readers, we are no different than this man and his family I am reporting below! Our property rights are in jeopardy and the stage is being set to treat you the very same way in Bradley County! Get ready! It’s coming! After you read this, walk around the property and see what they could throw you in jail for! Some of you could be spending a long time in there!

Mitch Faber spent two days in jail before a judge released him for electronic home monitoring. (Image source: KSTP-TV)

A Minnesota man was arrested and thrown in jail — all because city officials said he had not properly put up siding on his house.

Officials in Burnsville, Minn. cited Mitch Faber with “having an unfinished exterior” when, nearly four years after he started it, his home’s stucco project was not complete, Fox News reported.

Faber told Minneapolis ABC affiliate KSTP-TV he always intended to finish the project, but that he ran into financial trouble when the economy took a turn.

His first encounter with the city happened in 2007 when he got a letter saying the siding needed to be finished.

“We were in the process of finishing,” Faber told the station. “This wasn’t something that we were trying to avoid doing.”

There were two more letters in 2009 and another in 2010, which required Faber to appear in court. That’s when, he told KSTP, he was instructed in no uncertain terms: Finish the siding or go to jail.

In order to comply, Faber and his wife spent $12,000 to put a stucco facade over their house’s plywood exterior. It wasn’t enough: Last November, Faber was arrested after city inspectors concluded the work wasn’t up to code.

According to a statement on the city’s Facebook page — posted after the story made local headlines — a judge issued a bench warrant for Faber’s arrest after the inspectors determined the work was not complete. He was arrested during a routine traffic stop.

“I’m walking around in a green and white jump suit, I had to shower in front of a sheriff, I was shackled, my wrists were handcuffed to my waist — for siding,” Faber told KSTP.

After two days, a judge released Faber but still required him to submit to electronic home monitoring.

In a statement to KSTP, Burnsville communications coordinator Marty Doll said the city provided Faber “ample opportunity (nearly four years) to remedy the situation before issuing a citation…the city’s practice is to only issue citations for property maintenance issues (such as this one) as a last resort.”

Still, he defended the city’s actions, albeit admitting the situation is “unfortunate.”

“Code enforcement is an important part of making sure all neighbors can take pride in their neighborhoods,” he said in a statement to Fox News. “The city agrees it unfortunate that this situation was not able to be resolved in typical fashion.”

Conservation Easements (CE’s): Read the fine print before you sign

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2012 at 7:58 AM

Bradley Countians beware of the latest tool to grab your land by Conservation Easement! A plan that at any given time could turn on you and rip your property rights away from you in a minute! Sure, as they say it is all voluntary and its all up to the property owner to do what they want with their own property! The individual should have the right! Right?

Just as the property owner does indeed have the right, the trickery is in the vagueness in the wording of the contract that can come back and bite that person in the backside a few years down the road!

Think about it? Why do you need a Land Trust to have control of your property? Why is their this big push by these private entities acting as government officials to claim the rights to your land? Can’t the owner simply keep his or her property rights and simply tell his heirs what they want to do with their land by deed! After all you can’t touch my land anyway without my approval! Its the money and the small tax break you may get! Isn’t it funny that so little money can make you give up the farm for a false security which is man made and can never be regained once lost! Read on and let me know what you think! Pleasure me with some good conversation about this! Enjoy!

The PPJ Gazette
by W.R. McAfee, Sr.
________________________________________________

”A normal easement by a landowner usually grants a right to someone to do something on the landowner’s property; but a conservation easement gives away the landowner’s rights to do something on his or her own property.
Land trusts and environmental groups regularly use conservation easements to take control of private property.”
_________________________________________________
Read the fine print before you sign

A basic Constitutional tenet of private property ownership in America is the landowner’s right to determine the use and disposition of his or her land. This ownership gives the property owner the right to occupy, use, lease, sell, develop, and deny public access to his or her land.

Today, landowners can lose these rights simply by signing a ‘standard’ or ‘model’ conservation easement (CE) offered by ‘nonprofit-environmental-friendly’ land trusts, NGO environmental organizations, or government agencies unless the easement has been worded to protect the landowner’s rights.

The growing number of land trusts

In the early 1950s, there were some 50 land trusts in the U.S.  Today, there are more than 1,700.  Among the largest are the:
Nature Conservancy (TNC),
American Farmland Trust (AFT),
Conservation Fund, and
Trust for Public Land.

Land trusts exist to remove private property from production
They do this by acquiring ranch, farm, forest, or other private land either through donation, purchase, or by acquiring CEs to property as well as water.  They act as unofficial arms of government agencies—third party intermediaries or ‘land agents’—and routinely flip (sell) donated as well as purchased land and CEs to these government agencies.  When they do, they’re paid with tax dollars which, in turn, are used to purchase more private property.

In 1994, the Government Accounting Office reported approximately 61 percent of the Trust for Public Land’s operating revenue was gained from the sale of donated land.

In 2001, the U.S. Forest Service and TNC signed a five-year ‘memorandum of understanding’ to ‘protect the land’ from things like ‘invasive species’ which, according to some eastern congressmen, includes cattle that graze federal land even though their owners pay the government a per unit (head) fee to graze it.

That same year, government officials at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, made available to the TNC several million dollars to acquire water rights from private property owners around the base through the use of conservation easements.
Primary recipients of land trust acquisitions are the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Government already owns almost half the land in America.
Why land trusts are used to acquire land for the government
Government agencies are prohibited by the Constitution from buying land within a state unless the sale is approved by that state’s legislature—a pesky, time-consuming process that usually has to withstand legislative scrutiny and public debate as the Founders intended. Article I, §8, 01.07 of the Constitution states that:
[Congress is authorized] “…To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of Particular States (emphasis added), and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be (emphasis added), for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards and other needful Buildings…”

Once fed agencies gain control of private property, they have difficulty maintaining it.  The reason being the money to purchase the land comes to them unearned in the form of tax dollars.  In April 2002, the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General estimated the agency had an $8-11 billion dollar maintenance backlog affecting land and facilities it already owned.

Lester Thurow gave a good explanation why this happens in 1986 when he wrote:
“… government ownership of production fails because it cannot answer the   question:  Who should stay up all night with a sick cow?

“In America, it’s the owner. In a socialist country, the answer isn’t clear and is often—no one.”
Land trusts operate with few restrictions
Land trusts are under few restrictions when it comes to landowner transactions. They:
Buy targeted land (a ranch, farm, or private property location) for federal agencies when it becomes available; then hold the land until the agency that wants it has the tax dollars to buy it.
Provide what appears to sellers an alternative to having to deal directly with government agencies.
Are not required to buy a real estate license or provide full disclosure of their transactions.

Can be less than forthcoming about their agenda when signing up  ‘willing sellers’; often conducting their ‘real estate transactions’ in a manner that best suits their causes and goals.
Are generally accountable only to their boards.
Mostly are immune from civil and criminal litigation due to hold harmless clauses in their ‘standard’ or ‘model’ CE agreements.
Congress won’t check these land trusts.

Conservation Easements take private property rights away from landowners

A normal easement by a landowner usually grants a right to someone to do something on the landowner’s property; but a conservation easement gives away the landowner’s rights to do something on his or her own property.

Land trusts and environmental groups regularly use conservation easements to take control of private property.

Read the fine print before you sign a CE

If a landowner is seeking a CE to reduce taxes on a part of his or her property, then he or she must make sure the easement agreement meets the required IRS codes.
To meet IRS requirements for a tax deduction, the CE must include the following:
Be granted in perpetuity (forever) to a government agency or ‘nonprofit’ land trust or organization,
Prohibit all surface mining on the easement, including oil and gas exploration, and
Allow public access onto the easement if the leaseholder—the party with whom the landowner signs the easement agreement—so specifies.

Beware the ‘standard’ or ‘model’ CE

‘Standard’ or ‘model’ CEs offered by government agencies, land trusts, and environmental organizations to landowners as a means to reduce taxes can later lead to problems if landowners sign the agreement without fully understanding its contents. For example:

Their children and their heirs are bound forever by what’s written into the CE.
They can’t build, drill, or put a road on the CE without the leaseholder’s permission.
They can’t lease or sell the CE to another party.
They can’t develop the CE.
They’re still responsible for taxes on the CE.
They’re still responsible for the upkeep, maintenance, improvement, and financial support for the CE.
Leaseholders can enforce CE requirements
Many landowners don’t realize the recipient of their CE—their leaseholder—becomes the fulltime landlord and dominant partner over their easement land after a ‘standard’ or ‘model’ CE is signed.  Plus, the leaseholder can enforce the requirements of the CE on the landowner and has the authority to:
Review and approve the landowner’s activities on the CE,
Monitor the landowner’s ongoing use of the CE and visit the property any time to ensure all CE restrictions are being met, and
Legally enforce the CE’s restrictions on the landowner if the leaseholder feels they aren’t being met.
CEs affect the value of private land
The value of CE land—other than that realized through a reduced tax rate on the CE property—drops dramatically once the CE is signed.
It becomes difficult—if not impossible—to borrow against CE land because avenues for foreclosure are extremely limited for the lender if there’s a default on the loan.
Title insurance on CE land becomes difficult to obtain.
Developers are hesitant to buy land attached or adjacent to a CE
A landowner’s CE can be conveyed
The easement holder—the party or organization with whom a ‘standard’ or ‘model’ CE is signed—can convey a landowner’s easement to a third party without the landowner’s permission.
The landowner has no control over the boards that govern either the actions of his or her easement holder, or the third party group to whom the CE is conveyed by the assignee.
Vague terms in a CE can be costly

Lease holder boards can and often do interpret vague, general terms and wording in  ‘standard’ or ‘model’ CE agreements in ways that help their (environmental) organizations meet goals and agendas; thus putting the landowner at the mercy of the officials who govern his or her CE.

An example of a vague, general term is the phrase “…no use inconsistent with the conservation purpose of this easement…”
This harmless-sounding statement purposely leaves the door open for leaseholder boards to change the interpretation of what’s allowable on a landowner’s CE, and can put his or her heirs in court with the leaseholder.

Litigation can be expensive

Litigation resulting from ‘standard’ or ‘model’ CEs can be costly for landowners in face-offs with organizations like the Trust for Public Land or TNC who stay flush with tax dollars from:
Land sold to government agencies,
Tax deductible donations from multi-national and Fortune 500 corporations, and
Donations from wealthy individuals and endowed charitable trusts friendly to environmentalists.
Extensive litigation usually follows, but if the CE wasn’t worded to protect the landowner to begin with—and it has been signed—then he or she usually is out of luck.
Other situations can arise after a ‘standard’ or ‘model’ CE is signed.
For example, a state highway department may want to condemn a portion of the CE for a new road right-of-way.  When they do, they normally pay the lower value of the land that resulted after the CE was signed.

Then, once the road is in, the landowner cannot—unless it’s written into his or her CE—put in a business, franchise, or gas station alongside the new road because the standard easement rules will still apply to the remaining land.

Advice for landowners considering CEs

Get good, solid legal advice from an experienced real estate transaction lawyer.
Draft the CE in specific, limited terms that will protect your rights.
List the terms and length of the easement.
Draft the easement so that you are the dominant estate partner in the agreement.
Write into your CE a no assignment provision.  In other words, the organization with which you’re signing the CE must have your permission before they assign your easement to a third party.
Strike any hold harmless language or clauses in the CE that the organization wanting the CE seeks. For example, The Nature Conservancy and other land trusts often want you to indemnify them in the CE with language or clauses. Don’t!

Get good accounting advice as well.

If a landowner feels it is in his or her best interest to sign land over to an organization, then the landowner should:
Get good accounting advice and make sure the CE meets the required IRS codes and regulations for a tax deduction before the agreement is signed.  The landowner—not the recipient of the CE—is responsible for this.
Pick a good organization with whom to sign a CE.  Environmental groups and land trusts are not landowner friendly.
There are other ways to reduce your property and estate taxes. Find a good, experienced, estate tax attorney, sit down with him or her, and explore your alternatives.
Finally, a landowner needs to look at two layers within his or her CE.
Will your CE partner accept your terms for the easement?
Will the IRS accept your CE and allow you the deductions if reduced taxes on your property is one of your goals?
If the answer to either of these questions is no, then a landowner needs to re-examine the CE he or she is about to sign.
References
* Information compiled from notes taken at a 2004 presentation on Conservation Easements by attorney Paul M. Terrill, III, of Hazen & Terrill, P.C., Austin, Texas, at the Stewards of the Range annual conference and meeting, Reno, Nevada, and from GAO

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