Giles Free Speech Zone

The purpose of the "Giles Free Speech Zone" is to identify problems of concern to the people of Giles County, to discuss them in a gentlemanly and civil manner, while referring to the facts and giving evidence to back up whatever claims are made, making logical arguments that avoid any use of fallacy, and, hopefully, to come together in agreement, and find a positive solution to the problem at hand. Help make a difference! Email "" to suggest topics or make private comments.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Support For Windows XP Ended on April 2014

This information was taken straight from the Microsoft Official Website for Windows XP
What this means for you
If you continue to use Windows XP without XP support, your computer may still work but will become vulnerable to security risks and viruses. And as more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for more recent versions of Windows, a greater number of programs and devices like cameras and printers won’t work with Windows XP. Windows XP end of support help for business.
Why Windows XP support ended
Windows XP is 12 years old. It’s typical to end service for software as it gets older and technology evolves. Most of us have replaced cell phones and even our cars over the last 12 years – now it’s time to replace your Windows XP computer with a new PC. Or you can check to see if your Windows XP computer can run the new Windows. We’ve outlined your options and are here to support you as you make your next step.
Help protect your personal files
We want to help your personal files, photos, etc. stay secure. To help ensure they stay secure, you’ll need to either upgrade your Windows XP machine to the new Windows (which may not work, learn more) or get a new Windows PC. If you get a new Windows PC we’ll help you migrate your files, photos, and more for free.

Thanks to a poster for reminding me to post this. More information is available at  Microsoft Windows XP on the net.

Friday, April 11, 2014

April Meeting of "The Giles Patriots"

Last night , 10 April 2014, “The Giles Patriots” held their monthly meeting where we were thoroughly enlightened by two of the candidates seeking election to the position of Giles County Executive. All three candidates for the position had been invited well in advance  but as usual Mrs. Vanzant found reason for not attending. I have never been in a meeting or heard of a gathering, where questions would be asked, that she has attended and stayed for the questions.
I am very pleased to report that both Mr. Lindsey and Mr. Stowe did an excellent job in presenting themselves to the group of approximately fifty and both were outstanding in their responses to the several questions that were asked of them.
The main emphasis of both impressive candidates was their leadership and administration skills.  Both men are retired military, Mr. Lindsey from the army and Mr. Stowe from the Coast Guard. Both candidates have extensive leadership experience with Mr. Stowe having an edge by virtue of having graduated from the Coast Guard Academy, served in the White House, commanded two different ships then was commander of the largest base in the Pacific. Mr. Lindsey’s stronger abilities seem to have been involved with mostly administration, serving on the Inspector General’s team with a focus on nuclear, Biological and Chemical weaponry. He is currently writing grants and guidelines for small businesses in the Huntsville area. Both men would be excellent for the position of Giles County Executive.

I believe all present were very impressed by both candidates. Some did express disappointment that Mr. Lindsey left rather quickly after the meeting adjourned, while Mr. Stowe remained and was among the last to leave the building having stayed for informal discussions and questions.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Yet Another Crisis For County Government

With over a year since Microsoft announced they would end support for their XP Operating System, it was announced this morning in the County Legislative Meeting that no preparations have been made for this change that will take place on 8 April 2014.

At the present time it isn't even known how many computers the county has that still operate with the XP System. No plan has been made as to which computers can be upgraded with new operating systems or how many will be more feasible to replace. Currently there is not even an estimate as to the cost of this latest "crisis".

This is the way the county has operated under the County Executive's leadership moving from one crisis to the next without any plan to meet future problems in a more efficient manner. How much longer will this county suffer from such unprepared leadership?  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

These Are The Names Of Those Having Qualified For The Positions Listed








                 J. THOMAS (TOM) DuBOIS, JR  (R)



















Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Why Did The Economic Development Commission Spend Over $22,000.00 More Than Their Income

For the period of 4 December 2013 thru 21 January 2014, a period of less than two months, the Economic Development Commission reported that they had income of $47,433.33 while having expenses of $69,725.16 a difference of $22,291.37. 

It's not often that a new year could start over $22,000.00 in the hole and expect to stay in business but what's to worry about when you can just go and take more tax money or utility money and toss it in the pot to pay for such things as $8687 for the director's salary; $171.00 for internet; $1900.00 for health insurance; $392.00 for meals and entertaining; $500.00 for professional training; $521.00 for retirement or $253.00 for telephones. Keep in mind these are expenses for less than a two month period. 


Monday, February 17, 2014

Elections are upcoming what are your thoughts

This topic, hopefully, will allow folks to discuss some of their thoughts about the upcoming elections and allow the topic about school funding to be returned to that topic.  

Legalization of Marijuana Yes or No and Why?

A reader wrote:  I would like a topic discussing the legalization of marijuana, medical or otherwise. I understand this is controversial but with states making it legal I thought it would spark some lively opinions.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Should The County Borrow Ten Million Dollars For Proposed School Improvements?

At the County School Committee Meeting yesterday the proposal was presented for the county to have a bond issue of ten million dollars for twelve years. This would result in a payback of over twelve million dollars.

I don't believe there are many who have been in the school buildings that would disagree there is a great need for many repairs to those buildings. The problem is how to pay for such repairs. The county last year spent what was left of the hospital money, money that was bound by Legislative restrictions to be kept on deposit and only the interest used. So the committee was told that such an expenditure would require at least a twenty one cent increase to the tax rate. To Mrs Vanzant's credit she impressively stated to the committee that there was no way to know if twenty one cents would be enough since the tax penny has not had it's value established and the collections for the past year have been down.  The reality of the matter is that the increase would be more in the area of a twenty five cent property tax increase. The alternative would be a wheel tax.

It was stated by a commissioner that with this being an election year it would be hard to raise taxes especially this high. Does that mean such a tax increase would come only after the election, in September perhaps? 

The county simply can not afford such a debt considering the population is not increasing and a large number of people in the county are living under the poverty level or on fixed incomes. A huge tax loss will be experienced with the closing of Fafnir and some of the newer companies are operating on tax deferred programs.

The school buildings need repairs but part of the money will be for administration buildings on East Hill and the bus garage and with a lowered student population is there really that great a need for the number of schools currently in use?   

Lost Tax Monies At Milky Way

Yesterday at the Financial Management Committee a proposal was offered by the owner of the Milky Way Farm that would have provided the county with a tremendous boost to tax revenues.

Currently, as a result of the previous bankruptcy, the owner of the farm has thirty two undeveloped lots in a proposed subdivision. In this subdivision there is an existing house on one lot and four lots now owned by the county from non payment of taxes. The county is required to sell their lots for not less than the amount the county is owed, approximately $40,000. 

The roads and lot boundaries have been laid out and all the lots are available for purchase. The problem is that the road is not paved and until the road is paved, all are in agreement on this, the lots have little value especially when compared to their potential with a paved road. The majority owner of the property offered to pave the road at no expense to the county if the county would continue to tax the property at the current rate until the properties are sold and the owner recoups the cost of the road. This is the very same policy used to build most factories and develop industrial properties. With this proposal everyone wins. The severe building restrictions are changed to allow more affordable houses and the lots become far more attractive to buyers and realtors.  The county gains value on their four lots and the future tax value is increased greatly. 

The alternative offered by the owner of the farm is to forget the road paving and regroup the lots into one parcel to raise hay on. This would cut the tax liability to the county from thousands of dollars per year to a couple of hundred. 

So what was the recommendation by the Committee  to delay a decision and have the county attorney research whether the owner of the property can restore it to a hay field, if he can change the restrictions in place even as the majority owner of the lots. 


Tuesday, January 07, 2014

No Interlocal Agreement For Operation Of Abernathy Field Airport

Why is there no inter-local agreement for the operation of Abernathy Airport?

Why has the county been required to pay half the bills but have no say in any of it's operations?

It seems like with the EDC/IDB, the airport has told the county to give us your money but don't bother us about how we spend it. 

It's past time for the county to simply stop funding programs they don't understand, have any control over or drains the coffers without any defined benefits to the citizens of the county. 

This also should go for the tax increase given the city to pay for the Sam Davis Park Rebuilding. There is no accounting for what the excess income from this tax is being spent on but one thing is certain the schools are not benefiting from this extra tax. 

City Suspends Rule of Law

The Pulaski Board of Mayor and Aldermen met Monday for a work session and decided that they were not bound by the rule of law. 
Inspite of the State Attorney General's Opinion that communities have no authority to adopt ordinances that require doctor's prescription for medicines containing pseudoephedrine and are in fact in violation of state law when they do, the Council decided they were above the law and would continue with their illegal requirements. 

With the attitude that they are above the law isn't the council actually setting the example for others to violate those laws they disapprove of? If the leaders have no respect for the law why should others, isn't that the very reason we have such a problem with criminals, the lack of respect for the law? 

The City Attorney stated that he believes the state legislature will address the issue in its upcoming session and that would decide the issue once and for all but unless the board repeals the ordinance, it will remain in effect until the state legislature overturns it.
 Now here's the problem, how about if someone decides "well, I believe the legislature will legalize Marijuana in it's next session so until then I will sell, use and ignore the law because I want too."  Perhaps someone will say, "I believe the legislature will do away with speed limits in the state so until then I can drive at any speed I choose."

The way the law works is not on the belief that something will be done at a later date therefore that law can be ignored until then, no until the law is changed or repealed it remains in effect and the same requirements to follow it are supposed to be the on every responsible person. 

The City Council, regardless of their motivations, is wrong on this matter and are setting a terrible example for all the people to see. Any drug store that follows this illegal action should be boycotted. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

School Board, Superintendent, New Hand Book, Resignations, Calendar, Etc.

I have been asked by a number of callers to please post a new topic dealing with the School Board and some of the things that are happening I have listed below many of the subjects that have been suggested, some I am aware of and some I have no knowledge of.

These topics are posted for general discussion.
School Board staying at Opryland Hotel for a "get away" at taxpayer expense.
Arrogant bullying by School Board members Don Story.
New Calendar with Fall Break removed and a week out for Thanksgiving instead.
School Board Member Homeschooling their child.
Proposed Ten Million Dollar debt to repair school roofs.
Resignations of such long time employees as Donna Abernathy, Ron Shirey and Shelia Middlestadt, etc.
Low morale of bus drivers and teachers.

As I stated previously these are not my topics but some of the one requested by mostly school employees who fear retaliation if their identity were to be known.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Big Thanks Go Out To Home Depot And Their Employees

If you happen to be around the historic Giles County Courthouse or, even better, intentionally go there and  take a look at the newly painted benches.

Home Depot sponsored and provided all the materials while many of their employees volunteered their time and energy to paint them. This was all done without any publicity or cost to the county.

Thanks Home Depot and the employees who made this project happen. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Over Two Months To Get An Appointment?

Why does it take over two months to make an appointment with the City Attorney and City Manager?

In the November County Legislative Meeting on Monday the County Attorney stated that she had been trying for over two months to set up a meeting with the City Attorney and City Manager in order to discuss the situation of Airport funding. It seems that what was thought to be an interlocal agreement never was agreed to by the city but the requirements for the county to pay large amounts for the airport each year just goes on and on without any input from the county. There is no airport committee where county officials are members and no financial accounting to the county for expenditures. Some might say, "that ain't no way to run a railroad" and many are now openly stating that it isn't any way to run an airport either.    

"Because I Am A Giles County Commissioner I May Have A Conflict Of Interest..."

Have you ever wondered why the people who are supposed to be in charge and setting the example seem to show the least amount of concern for procedures and requirements?  It's embarrassing to hear commissioners who are charged with such great responsibilities read a statement that makes absolutely no sense. I understand that this is not completely their doing since the statement is supplied by the County Executive and she should carry the majority of the blame for such irresponsibility but shouldn't commissioners examine what it is that they are reading and require that it be appropriate? Why does it seem so difficult for people to question the County Executive especially when she is so obviously wrong? Now it may seem a small matter to many but when the small things are neglected don't the larger things soon follow, "for the want of a nail a battle was lost". Perhaps that is why such things such as a non existent interlocal agreement with the city on the airport doesn't get questioned for years and years they just keep on paying and paying.
Why does it take two months for the county attorney to get an appointment with the City Manager, is he that busy, I doubt it's a problem he has as much as a problem with the time challenged County Attorney based on the record of her slowness in dealing with the by-pass/interstate development.
Here is what the county commissioners read when there is a question of a conflict of interest. "Because I am a Giles County Commissioner I may have a conflict etc." Do some automatically have a conflict because they are commissioners?  That is what they are reading, "Because I am a Giles County Commissioner I may have a conflict..." The conflict is not because they are a Commissioner but because they are employees of the county or the school system or a close relative is an employee of the county or school system. It seems rather hard to believe that voting on the amount of money that goes directly or indirectly into one's pocket would not be a conflict of interest and simply saying that it isn't would carry any weight but it does seem that the least that could be done is that the appropriate words would be read in the declaration of any non conflict declarations.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Huge Ad Shows Arrogance Of One Denomination

There was a very large, full page ad, in the 22 October issue of the Pulaski Citizen that spoke to the issue of unity among churches. While I see unity as a very valuable, desirable goal, I, like the writer do not see unity at all cost as feasible or even reasonable. I certainly would not seek unity with one on such an arrogant level as presented in that ad.  
This statement in particular is most troubling, arrogant and totally misleading; “No matter what we might “think” or “wish”- ONLY those in the Lord’s  ONE CHURCH are those who are in fellowship with God. Those who are in a church which was started by man, with doctrines of man, engage in practices created by man are NOT the Lord’s church.” With this comment the writer clearly alienates and condemns every other Christian who does not think exactly as does he. 
The comment , “those in a church started by man are not in the Lord’s Church” is so misleading it’s almost laughable especially when it comes from someone who is a member of a church with exactly that history.  The ad was identified as having been placed by the churches of Christ and it is to those who posted the ad that I address my comments.
As a Christ follower I absolutely believe that to be obedient one must be part of a church family that belongs to Christ, if it doesn’t then it’s no different from any other social club. The problem lies in determining which church actually belongs to Christ. I contend that the church family that is obedient to Christ is the true Church and has little to do with the name that has been placed above the door.  The name people chose for their place to gather and worship is more to define their manner of worship rather than the fact they do worship.  To refer to oneself as a Methodist, a Baptist, a Pentecostal, etc. is to simply say we follow these practices in our worship expressions based on our understanding of God’s Word to us.  Of course there are some basic things that can not be compromised or negotiated that binds all Christians together but if one group chooses to use real wine in observance of the Lord’s Supper and another chooses Welch’s grape juice that should not be a basis for condemning that group.  
Every church has been started by a man or woman and every church worship style is defined by man.     
Members of the church of Christ don’t generally like referring to themselves as a new church but facts show their creation started near the beginning of the 19th century.  While I admire their efforts to connect to the church originally established on Pentecost, 30 A.D. I am shocked at their continual efforts to rewrite their history.
Understand it is not necessarily the doctrine of the church of Christ, my beliefs are much the same, but the arrogant attitude that is often portrayed by some members and leadership that is so objectionable.
Alexander Campbell is the man more than any other credited with establishing what’s known as the church of Christ.
Campbell (1788 – 1866) was born in Ireland was a Bible teacher, minister, and leader in a church planting movement of independent congregations during the Restoration Movement, or "Stone-Campbell Movement." Campbell edited and published two journals. The first was the “Christian Baptist”, the second was “The Millennial Harbinger”. It was largely through these publications that his influence was felt. He wrote several books, including "The Christian System". Campbell compiled and published a translation of the New Testament under the title "The Living Oracles".
Campbell maintained such things as the office of “pastor” was unbiblical and that there was no Scriptural authority for the existence of denominational agencies and mission boards. He also argued the creeds and confessions of the Protestant churches should be abolished, and that the Bible alone should be used to distinguish truth from error. He also  drew a sharp distinction between the Old Testament and the New, and believed that the New Testament alone should be used to establish the doctrine and practices of the church and it was obviously his understanding that should be used to determine that meaning.  
Most of Campbell’s followers were not new converts, but persons drawn away from the Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists churches.
According to Campbell his main purpose was to attack and discredit all established creeds, and all existing ecclesiastical organizations, so as to clear the way for what he conceived to be a purely “biblical” faith and fellowship. In this he went so far as to rejected even the ancient ecumenical creeds. When his followers asked if he agreed with the Trinitarian doctrine of the Nicene Creed, he dismissed it as “Calvinistic.”
Campbell’s theology was largely influenced by the secular philosophical so-called “Enlightenment” movement of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In particular, the influence of the empiricist theory of knowledge developed by John Locke is clearly dominant in his teachings regarding the nature of faith
One of the more visible practices that is unsupported by the Bible is the requirement for a cappella singing. Personally I have no objection to A Cappella singing, it's rather enjoyable but the idea that you can’t worship God with musical instruments is ludicrous when you consider that the Old Testament describes musical instruments in the worship and the New Testament describes musical instruments in heaven.

Worship as you choose but don’t condemn everyone who doesn’t see eye to eye with you, if they are wrong let God take care of it until then isn’t there enough problems tending to our own business to be so involved with other people’s business?   

Friday, October 25, 2013

Letter From MTAS Legal Consultant States Actions Of City Council Are Beyond Their Authority

MTAS is the Municipal Technical Assistance Service established by the state to help municipalities and to which those municipalities must pay membership dues. 

June 3, 2013
Re: Ability of city to regulate sales of products containing ephedrine
The question has been raised of whether a city may regulate the sale of ephedrine, by requiring a prescription in order to purchase the over the counter drug. Products containing ephedrine are being purchased in large quantities by persons operating illegal methamphetamine labs.
Ephedrine is a non-prescription, over the counter drug which is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Title 21 of the United States Code “National Uniformity for Nonprescription Drugs,” contains the following language, which preempts any local regulation of non-prescription drug products:
no State or political subdivision of a State may establish or continue in effect any requirement--
(1) that relates to the regulation of a drug that is not subject to the requirements of section 353(b)(1) or 353(f)(1)(A) of this title[this refers to the section governing prescription drugs]; and
(2) that is different from or in addition to, or that is otherwise not identical with, a requirement under this chapter, the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 (15 U.S.C. 1471 et seq.), or the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (15 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.).
21 U.S.C.A. § 379r (West)[emphasis added]
This language means that a city may not impose any regulations on sales of non-prescription drugs, or at least no regulations that differ from the federal regulations imposed by the FDA.
If you review the further language of 21 U.S.C.A. § 379, you will note that a political subdivision may make application to the Secretary of the FDA for permission to impose additional regulations. The Secretary may grant the application if three conditions in subsection (b)(1) are met. Although public health and safety is a concern for which this subsection states such permission may be granted, the measure cannot have an adverse impact on interstate commerce. 21CFR§379(b)(1). I have searched the Federal Register for any record of a successful application for exception to the operation of this regulation, and found nothing. This leads me to conclude that exception to this regulation is rarely, if ever, granted.
In my opinion, cities may not impose any additional regulations on the sale of products containing ephedrine, and may not require that persons buying products containing ephedrine have prescriptions. If a city is willing to invest a lot of time and money, an application may be made to the Secretary of the FDA for permission to pass an ordinance containing such a regulation, but I
am very doubtful that such an attempt will be successful.
I hope this information is helpful. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions or need further assistance.
Thank you for consulting with MTAS.
Melissa A. Ashburn

Legal Consultant

Why is it so hard for city/county officials to just follow the law?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Another Huge Lawsuit Filed IN Connection With Actions Of EDB/IDC

This time the lawsuit is directed at a very prestigious law firm that has resulted from the actions of the leadership of the Industrial Development Group.  Filed on 11 October 2013 it charges malpractice and conflict of interest. 

Pseudoephedrine Ordinance Passes City Council

The Pulaski Board of Mayor and Aldermen have decided to make the sale of pseudoephedrine available by prescription only.  They have made an amendment to restrict the sale of pseudoephedrine in both pill and liquid gel form. 
Before becoming law, a public hearing must be held.  I believe that public meeting is scheduled for 13 November but I am not completely certain of that date.
While I strongly oppose the making and sell of Meth or any other drug I have to ask where did the City Council come up with the legal authority to interfere with the sale of legally available drugs?  Why, instead of making it harder on the illegal drug dealers have they decided to make it harder and more expensive on the average law abiding citizen?   

Has there been an opinion from the state that conflicts with other opinions delivered from the same office that states such an act is not within the jurisdiction of the city authority? Has the city now become so influential that they can direct interstate commerce, decide which medical products can compete on the open market , can the city really afford another senseless lawsuit, do we really think a large drug company that stands to lose millions of dollars if this becomes acceptable will not fight it? 

PES Power Board Raises Rates

If PES Raising Rates by 2.57 % beginning 1 October was the end of the story there would be no point for me to comment. The fact is that's not the end of the story. Electrical rates have been going up for several years now not just by a regular rate increase but by add ons such as adjustments for fuel cost, ashe clean up, etc. Some of these increases have resulted from legitimate expenses but some have resulted from outrageous salaries and plain mismanagement and incompetency much at the TVA level. 

PES is also asking for 2.5 million in new debt for a substation that was bid in at $861,292 leaving over a million and a half for “site preparation” . The Highway department can pave a mile of road for less than that, so what is required for a site to be “prepared”. 

If what the PES plans to pay for remodeling bathrooms at a warehouse $68,800.00 budgeted and a bid of $74,125.00 bid to do the job I have to ask where do you get golden fixtures in this day and time? $74,125.00 to remodel bathrooms in a warehouse, a whole house with two bathrooms can be built for less than that. Perhaps that is the reason PES is asking the city to double it’s outrageous $200,000.00 a year billing fees to $400,000.00. Oh yes, I know TVA required PES to do a “cost of service adjustment” but how does that translate into a 100% increase. Surely the wiser heads at City Hall will reject this outrage and set up their own billing for gas, garbage, sewage and water. Two people and a couple of computers maybe? It seems with the exit of Wes Kelley the PES has drifted back into their old wasteful ways and perhaps it’s time for another community meeting to get them back on track again. The citizens of the county are being bombarded with more expense on every level while the jobs picture continues to erode for them. As a retirement community it seems we are quickly being overcome with more outgo than income.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Frozen Water Pipes in August????

I wonder how many folks realize we just had a severe winter freeze that moved through the valley? It was so severe that it caused frozen pipes to burst, according to the WKSR website and news reported by the station. Oh, you didn't realize that we had a freeze? Well, maybe the severe temperature drop was experienced in only one area of the county? It was reported that a frozen pipe burst in the spec. building on Long Street that resulted in damage and need for a new pressure valve that would cost about $1,500.00 dollars. There was no report as to whether the insurance would cover and part of the cost.

Oh, did I mention this just happens to be the only report of a frozen pipe in the county since last winter and it also just happens to be the building at the center of a very, very large lawsuit? Yes, that’s right the lawsuit where money that was paid for property in the South Industrial Park is being diverted from paying off that mortgage to paying attorney fees. AMAZING, ISN'T IT!   

Monday, September 09, 2013

Lies And Arrogant Children Pushing Attack On Syria

This is the most disgustingly disingenuous president and administration in my life time. The use of chemical weapons is a terrible, horrible thing, no question about that but the use of chemicals IN Syria has not been factually proven to be the work of one side or the other and that is a fact. The outrage about chemical weapons is a red herring to allow us to become involved in this civil war. Look, Syria has not signed any treaties prohibiting the use of chemical agents against enemy combatants so Syria has not violated any international treaties as has been claimed. Stop the lies. The idea that American soldiers have not been subjected to chemical weapons since WWI is just plain bull. The US used napalm in both Korea and Viet Nam, twenty million gallons of agent orange was used in Viet Nam, tens of thousands of American Veterans have died or still suffer from its effects.

Sure it's terrible that people were killed by chemical weapons but would they be less dead if they had been shot in the head? Sure it is an outrage that people were possibly gassed by their own government. Here's the dirty little secret our government doesn't want us to know or think about; We, this nation, signed the international treaties prohibiting the use of chemical agents as weapons but we have used some of those prohibited chemical agents against our own people right here in the United States. What is commonly referred to as tear gas is banned by international treaty from use on a battlefield but is used regularly by police forces and the FBI. Remember how the FBI pumped occupied buildings full of tear gas, a highly flammable chemical, at Waco? Remember how 49 men and women and 27 children died as a result of that action, an action that would have been an international crime had it taken place on a battlefield instead of in Texas.

There must be clear trustworthy heads and concise proofs in order to justify an attack on a sovereign nation that presents no immediate danger to this country. There must be a clear cut plan of objectives before such an attack and there must be a commitment by completely involved leadership for such an attack. Death is simply far too serious to be considered on the basis of lies and phony outrage.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Is It Legal, Is It Ethical, Is It Reasonable?

The EDC/IDB because of some very questionable decisions and actions are named in a multi-million dollar lawsuit. Of course the city and county taxpayers are the ones who will ultimately pay the price for some of these very arrogant decisions. You can read about that in the following post. 

The question is with the EDC, the IDB, the city and eventually the county all having separate attorneys who is paying the very high attorney fees? Well it seems at least for the IDC a very unique way of finding the money for such expenses has been found without alerting the public or even the County Legislative Body to the fact.  

Here's a very nice scenario a local banker representing the IDB loans money to that group. Property is sold but instead of the money being used to pay off the asset that was sold it is actually used to pay attorney fees leaving the county and city taxpayer to continue paying the mortgage on the sold property. Wow, that's like selling your house and instead of paying the mortgage holder you take all the money and buy a new car and expensive vacation then tell the mortgage holder that you're filing bankruptcy. Basically you take the money intended  for one thing and spend it on another then let someone else pay. That certainly seems to be the way IDC has chosen to operate. 

According to the minutes of a City Work Session dated 20 May 2013 with Aldermen Jeff Hatfield, Charles Jenkins, James Gentry, Pat Miles present along with City Attorney Andy Hoover, City Administrator Terry Harrison and Mayor Pat Ford.

This statement appears in those minutes; 
“Mayor Ford has spoken with Mark Hayes, IDB Rep, regarding the use of money from the sale of land from Integrity. This money is being used to pay for attorney fees relative to litigations with Wilson Stevenson. Mr. Hayes was advised by the banks to bring this to the City’s attention.”

If this is not one of the most underhanded tricks played on the taxpayer it certainly is high on the list. 
While I don't expect anything other than the usual blank stare and curled lip from the County Executive I do expect more from the County Legislative Body. 
My question is when will they act (certainly some have tried to stop this kind of madness but have met nothing but the frustration of stonewalls) and put a stop to this madness. 

Why Are Non-Elected, Unaccountable To Taxpayers Being Allowed To Put The County In Financial Jeopardy?

Why are some non-elected people, who mostly answer to no one, being allowed to make decisions that put both the city and county in financial jeopardy? Why should the citizens of the county and city have to pay huge amounts of tax dollars because of the bad, even stupid decisions made by these unelected, unaccountable appointees?
At the 27 August County Budget Committee it was announced that the county was now obligated to make over ten thousand dollars in past due payments for a speculation building. This is only half the amount past due as the city is committed to pay half.  It was also stated that over seven thousand dollars a month would be required from the city and county to make payments on this property.  That apparently does not include the additional cost of insurance (wonder who carries that policy) and maintenance (grass cutting, utilities etc).      
Now, isn’t it reasonable that the county and city pay the bills on a spec building they authorized to be built? Certainly, if they actually authorized the building, they should pay the bills. This is the same building that was illegally held by the EDC (Economic Development Committee) from 2007 to 2011 when they were forced to turn the building over to the IDB (Industrial Development Board).
Now here’s the rub. This building was leased and occupied until November of 2012 without a single monthly payment being missed. In fact over a million dollars was spent by the lease holder making the building suitable for his use. Twelve employees had been hired and eleven more were planned for. It seemed that the county had a very good tenant providing  good jobs; so what happened?  Keep in mind that no payments were missed or late and no violations of the lease had taken place and that the person who had leased the building practically begged everyone from the mayor to the problem makers not to force him out.  None the less the appointed elites terminated the lease and forced the man to close his business and leave town. A multi-million dollar lawsuit has now been filed and the courts will eventually decide the matter and who ends up with the egg on their collective faces.  This lawsuit has resulted in both the IDB and EDC each hiring separate attorneys in spite of the fact that the City Attorney,  last year had drawn up papers that would have allowed the buy- out of the lease without a lawsuit but the arrogance of small town minds refused.
Now all those Mr. Hayes, Mr. Rackley, Mr. Speer, Mayor Ford and others that may have been involved in these decisions are standing free and clear of any personal obligations while the taxpayers once again are left holding a very large bag full of IOU’s.   

Wonder why they waited until after the budget was approved to announce that these new expenses would have to be paid from the budget, could it possibly have been because the EDC and IDB and its leadership was already being criticized for excessive spending and less than above board dealings.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Big Change In School Board Policy; Efforts To Stifle Citizen Input At Meetings.

I must say that I am extremely disappointed that the new Director of schools has chosen to limit citizen input at School Board Meetings.
According to the newspaper The Director now requires anyone wishing to speak to fill out a form with a brief summary of their comments prior to the meeting. While this may, on the surface sounds like a reasonable idea it is not a new one. If the board or Director was intending to use this prior information too prepare a response I would be more in favor of it but they do not, instead they intend to contact the speaker within 24 or 48 hours with a response.  If they can’t even decide whether to make contact within two days or four days what’s the point? The major problem however exist in the fact that to submit a request prior to the meeting as to what your comments will be requires that you know what will be discussed at the meeting. Very few people have developed the ability to actually foretell the future and thus will not be able to predict the Boards actions and therefore will not be able to write prior to the Board Meeting what they wish to question.  I fear this is nothing more than just another nefarious attempt to prevent any citizen input at School Board Meetings. Why is the current system so objectionable, is it simply the reality that some Board members are terrified of being revealed as less than honorable, truthful, intelligent or controlled?

I hope the Director will reconsider this policy and continue to allow the three minutes at the end of the meetings to be used by those citizens who wish to be heard on current matters. 

5.3 % Increase In County Insurance Premiums To Be Paid By The County?

When the County Commission’s Budget and Insurance Committee met to discuss county employees insurance I wonder how many realized they would leave the room having approved a 5.3 percent pay increase for those county workers? I realize that 5.3 % isn't the actual amount of money they will receive in their paycheck but it is the amount they will not have to pay out of their paycheck for insurance.

It never ceases to amaze me that when they chose to, the county authorities can just pull $42,000.00 out of some secret hat, of course at other times there are other even larger amounts to be pulled out of that hat. Now to make this and even great feat of magic this $42,000.00 is to be used from the “Janitorial Fund” but wait, just what janitorial fund are we talking about?  There was a move to contract the janitorial services out to a company in Alabama that was supposed to save the county over a $100,000.00 a year and from that there would certainly have been enough money to cover the $42,000.00 in recurring spending for salaries, but there's a fly in the buttermilk. The contract with the janitorial services in Alabama was cancelled by Mrs. Vanzant, no real explanation was given (I suspect it involved some very unhappy janitors and their supporters who have helped Mrs Vanzant get elected and will be needed again when she seeks re-election). With that contract cancelled janitorial personnel were re-hired and the full expense for the service had to be re-introduced into the budget, so where did the $42,000.00 for insurance actually come from? A magic hat or just the same kind of old fashioned manipulation that has dragged this county down for 200 years?
Now here’s a question I wish someone would answer for me, why are so much of a county employee’s insurance being paid for by the county to begin with? Most counties require their employees to pay at least 25% of their premiums Giles County requires they pay less than 10%.

When you consider that we continue to lose population and that the population still here continues to lose income how do you justify spending more and more?  Our property tax rates are among the highest in the state, our services are among the lowest but we continue on without a plan or direction just jumping from one crisis to another.

The hospital money is now gone and several commissioners are drooling over the idea of a wheel tax and even more property taxes. We just had a large phantom property tax increase levied by the tax assessors revaluing property upwards. If you don’t believe that then ask the tax assessor if they will take in more money this year than last year.

So, back to the 5.3% pay increase for county employees. We may ask ourselves do the county employees deserve a 5.3% pay increase. I’m sure that some do and some deserve much more than that but then there are some who have ridden the system for years with doing little more than swatting a fly while at work. There is no such thing as a forty hour work week for courthouse employees. Facts bear out that county workers with their benefits are far better compensated on average than are citizens in non- county jobs. I would ask and challenge the newspaper and radio station to release information on just how many people in the county pay as little as $50.00 as their share of medical insurance. Even those living on Social Security are paying more each month for Medicare than are our county employees. It’s not about what the workers deserve, just as with the fast food workers striking for $15.00 an hour, it’s about what the county can afford and the taxpayers of the county are at their limit as to what they can pay.  It’s past time Commissioners and the County Executive realize they do not represent only the county employees but the citizenry as a whole and keep that in mind when voting.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

George Zimmerman - Trayvon Martin

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lawsuit Filed For Over Eight Million Dollars Against The EDC and IDB

When The Industrial Development Board And The Economic Development Commission Get Sued Why Are The Citizens Kept In The Dark Even While They Are Paying The Bills?

The Industrial Development Board Of The City Of Pulaski And Giles County, Tennessee; And The Giles County Economic Development Commission Have Been Named As Defendants In A Lawsuit Filed By Outpost Solar, LLC For Over Eight Million Dollars.
It seems that there are many questions that need to be asked but very few answers being given by those in authority. The newspaper has had most all the information about this lawsuit for some time but for some reason have chosen not to publish the story or ask the questions citizens deserve the answers to.

1. What happened to Outpost Solar and why were they forced out of business in Giles County?

2. Why is Outpost Solar, LLC suing the Industrial Development Board and the Economic Development Board for over eight million dollars?

3. Why has nothing about this large lawsuit been in the local papers?

4. How much are the legal fees and where is the money coming from to pay the very large legal bills in this suit?

5. Is there a line item in the budget where the expense for this suit is clearly shown?

6. Why is City Hall so quiet about this matter?

7. Did Jim Greene Sr. conspire with Dan Speer to purchase a building sell, all the contents then get a grant for the full cost of the building?  

8. Is the grant Mr. Greene received being reclaimed the way the one Don Parr received is when Mr. Greene has failed to hire the required number of employees. Surely it could not be a personal matter?  

9. Are payments due on a loan with 1st National Bank routinely missed then penalties paid with nothing to the principal? Could there possible be too much conflict of interests between the Boards and the Bank?

There are many more questions to be asked but nine should be enough for the moment. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Topic About Changes In The School System Suggested By A Poster

This topic was suggested by a poster:

 Anonymous said...
With all the changes going on in the school system it would seem to me you would be inclined to make a thread so they could be discussed. I would like to see others opinions about the changes, since the school system is an intregal part of Giles County.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 6:19:00 AM

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Memo From David Rackley Lobbying To Stay As Head Of EDC

This is a memo from Mr. Rackley lobbying to stay on the EDC Board. It was sent out today from Mr. Rackley's office. As most people may know by now, Mr. Rackley's term on the EDC expires on 30 June 2013. For eight years he has been on the EDC serving the last four as Chairman supervising the person who originally appointed him to the EDC. According to the memo Mr. Rackley seeks another four year term and in all likelihood would be the Chairman once again if re-appointed.  
When Mr. Rackley's was nominated at this weeks City Council Meeting the Mayor very wisely tabled the motioned with more discussion and decisions to be made later.  Mr. Rackley has now sent out this memo seeking the Mayor and City Council be contacted to support his reappointed to the EDC.
Some questions that I have are when will Mr. Rackley answer the questions already asked about unusual financial dealings of the EDC? Has Mr. Rackley decided that he should make the EDC his permanent possession, I thought that Mr. Speer had the lock on that? 
In the eight years that Mr. Rackley has been on the EDC what exactly has the county and city received in return for the unknown amount of money they have spent?
I urge all citizens to contact the Mayor and let him know that eight years is enough. That the EDC needs members that are more approachable by the community and responsive to the taxpayers. I urge all citizens to very politely urge Mayor Ford to not reappoint Mr. Rackley or anyone else to a third term on the EDC. 
This will be the only way to ever get a qualified professional business recruiter for Giles County and its Cities.

Requested Post From Mr. David Rackley

Below is the e-mail Mr. Rackley sent to me that he reported as being unable to post it on the blog. There was also a video but was such poor quality that nothing could be done with it. I believe that the point of the video was to show his efforts in trying to post this statement on the blog. Since there was no sound and the recording showed nothing but a blurred image I hope this will be acceptable. The video remains on You Tube if you want to look at it.
As I have stated numerous times if you have a topic that you want please send it to me and I will gladly post it. Individuals can not post a topic from their computer but can post comments including any scanned material they choose.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ideas For Industries And Businesses To Be Recruited For Giles County.

It occurs to me that the people of Giles County would have a great understanding and knowledge of some industries and businesses they might suggest or would like to see recruited for this county.This is an opportunity to make suggestions that hopefully will lead to some followup and successful recruitment.

Recently Connecticut passed some very extreme laws about gun ownership that has made Colt Firearms and others to consider moving out of the state. Have any contacts been made with them?

The old Red Foods store continues to set empty and seems like would be a perfect setup for an Aldi's Food store to supply high quality food stuff at greatly discounted prices. What attempts have been made to bring an Aldi here?

There are a number of companies trying to get out of California and some other union choked states where they can no longer make a profit, have they been connected?

How many different mid-priced chain restaurants have been contacted? I don't mean by an ad in a magazine but the franchise holders in a phone call or face to face.

What are some other suggestions you would like to post?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

New Blog seeks To Gain Access To IP Addresses?

Posted below is the response Mr. Rackley has posted on his new blog titled "Giles free speech blog"
notice that his blog is only one word different from mine.
Mr. Rackley claims that he started his new blog because he could not post this response on the 
Being an accomplished computer person who supposedly makes a living on his computer skills it seems extremely unbelievable that Mr. Rackley could not scan, cut and paste or type this same information on here as he did on his blog. It seems like it would take the exact same number of keystrokes on either blog. 
As a frequent reader of this blog Mr. Rackley would be well aware that he could have simply asked, and his request would have been granted, to have a tread dedicated to his subject. 
My belief is that Mr. Rackley chose to set up his new blog with a similar name so that he could learn the IP Addresses of those who would visit his blog and then with his connections at PES he would be able to identify the owners of those IP Addresses without having to obtain a court order. I would suggest that anyone seeking information from Mr. Rackley's blog access it from a computer at the library in order to protect their idenity.
One other thing that should be of great interest is when you read this "response" from Mr. Rackley notice the complete lack of any specific documentation to support his fanciful claims. 
I have no problem expressing appreciation to Mr. Rackley for his contributions to the county, I have no ax to grind with him, I don't know him well enough to like or dislike him on a personal level, to me the entire issue is the waste and extravagant spending of taxpayer money by the EDC and its director and the attitude shown toward those who would seek an openness about this organization that answers to no county or city entity. 

Perhaps someone could explain the difference in Mr. Rackley's statement "we cut our expenses" and the statement "we cut our budget"? As for his claim that "at this time last year we reviewed the 2011-2012 in detail with the County Commission and I felt we cleared up anything that was misunderstood by them" 
It wasn't misunderstandings that needed to be explained but the total request that continue to grow each year. The reason there was any effort to explain anything to the Commissioners was because they threatened to cut EDC last year. One big falsehood told at that meeting was that the County HAD to fully fund the EDC request, WRONG. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Looks Like The Capitol Brands Deal Has Fallen Through

It a sad thing I report but the Capitol Brands folks have informed the EDC that their project has hit a dead end. They could not come up with the needed 25 million dollars needed and thus the project is finished.

As a strong supporter of the waste water treatment facility at the interstate/Bypass I had been very hopeful that this project would be a great asset to the county, while this is a huge set back I hope that it will not be an end to the development of the long overdue development of this area and the vast potential it hold with the completion of the waste water project.    

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Now That I Have Responded To Mr. Rackley Perhaps He Will Respond To Me?

I have a few questions I hope you will be kind enough to respond to Mr. Rackley, since you made the commitment to answer any questions about the EDC.

1. Why did the Mr. Speer take two hundred dollars from the EDC funds supplied by taxpayers and give as donations to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts? This is not a question of their value only about the appropriateness of funneling taxpayer money to charitable organizations. Check numbers  4573 & 4583.

2. Is it not a conflict of interest to engage in a financial transaction, where you personally benefit, with the very committee you are chairman of. Are you the Rackley Technologies Inc. that check number 4360 was made out to for $180.00?

3. Is it not a conflict of interest for the committee to be buying insurance from the wife of the Director?

4.Why was a Payroll System by Intuit purchased for $574.00 with the Chase Credit Card in September when there are only two employees.?

5. Why is the August 2011 Board Meeting, where the lunch cost $303.60,  listed separate from the other Board Meetings meals?

6. Why did Mr. Speer make a $1,000.00 taxpayer donation to the Songwriters event, then publicly take credit for the donation while personally receiving special seating and acknowledgements?

I'll offer my appreciation for your attention and response in advance, thank you.  

The Second Part Of Mr. Rackley's Rant

Mr. Rackley goes on in the second part of his rant with the following;

Mr. Rackley, “If there is a commissioner reading this that feels I "insulted the intelligence of every person in the room" as you stated. Please accept my apology. My frustration was directed solely at Mr. Barrett and his false statements that he has posted regarding EDC budget.”

My Response: When you stand before a group of people and tell them you have reduced your budget by over $5,000.00 then turn around in the very next sentence and state that you want them to give you $5,000.00 more than last year what would you call that Mr. Rackley. To me and a number of others it was an insult. It was basically saying you people aren't smart enough to know that if I had really reduced my budget by $5,000.00 I would be asking for $5,000.00 less instead of more. I would also remind Mr. Rackley at the point of his presentation I had not said a word to him or about his proposal. I would suspect his “frustration” stems more from being caught in a fabrication and called on it by Commissioners than anything to do with me, I just happened to be what he apparently considered a safe target.

Mr. Rackley, “Mr. Barrett,last year, when you attacked me and accused me of accessing a voting machine while being non-certified and your blog turned to attack me personally, I emailed and mailed you request to remove these non-related comments. You refused to do so. Now they have again turned personal and attacking my family for no apparent reason. I respectfully ask you to remove these comments.”

My Response: Sir you are not state certified nor have you ever been state certified to open a voting machine. You have a certification as an Election Commissioner but that has nothing to do with opening a voting machine and that is the reason I suspect the State Election Authority ordered you to not open any voting machines. The Election Commission is required to pay a non- resident, uninvolved, independent person to handle any problems with the machines that require opening them.
As for comments on this blog I have stated and restated the guidelines for posting. Personally I find it reprehensible that people, especially anonymous people make personal attacks against private citizens but that is the nature of the beast. If there is to be free speech it must include opposing views. I would remind Mr. Rackley that no one on this blog has been subjected to more cowardly attacks, abuse, lies, rumors and gossip than I have including attacks on my non-involved family members and underage  granddaughter. I have not personally read an attack on your family members nor have I personally attacked you. It seems that you believe anyone holding an opposing view from you and willing to express that view is attacking you, that is simply not true and perhaps you should grow a bit tougher skin if you are planning to continue along your current path.  

Mr. Rackley, “I have no faith that you will do this based on our previous conversation. Therefore, I will state that I have met with an attorney regarding this. Your former opposing counsel. While he told me I had a solid case against you, the problem was you had no assets to acquire. His exact words to me were, "I would have to charge you approximately $10,000 to obtain a judgment. And while his assets are in his wife's name, until he dies or divorces you have nothing and I would hate to take your money just for that, but I will".

My Response, It seems odd that my “former opposing counsel” would know anything about my finances. It would be even less likely that any attorney I have ever retained would be willing to discuss them with you. While it is a very expensive endeavor to bring a lawsuit against another person I would suggest that the real overriding obstacle that has stopped others and I believe will stop you is the fact that you must be examined under oath not only in your interrogatories but also in the depositions and finally on the witness stand. There is also the matter of having all your records subpoenaed and then proving that I have actually damaged you in some way.  So you do what you want but understand I have not published a single word that I cannot back up with published proof.  I will not be bullied.

Claim Number Seven By Mr Rackley

Mr. Rackley states in his seventh claim, "7) "Lavish" Health Insurance Plan - Dan's insurance agent is Elaine Hickman. It is with Blue Cross Blue Shield. His deductible is $1000. It provides NO Dental, NO Vision, NO Life Insurance, No Disability. In my opinion this is far from "lavish".

As you can see taxpayers have been paying more than $900.00 a month on average for this "bare bones" insurance, that has now gone to over a thousand dollars per month. How does this compare with the county and city workers in terms of cost and benefits? Oh, that's right Mr. Speer is neither a county or city employee and is thus able to chose the plan he wants through his wife's insurance agency. Granted there my be another agent who is involved but as you can see at least one check is made out directly to Brenda Speer.

Another questionable expense is the "extra Contribution" to Lincoln Financial Services, Perhaps Mr. Rackley would like to explain that expense in order for folks not to jump to any conclusions about a retirement fund paid for by taxpayers.   

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Item Six In Mr. Rackley's List Of Claims

Mr. Rackley states his 6th item as “6) EDC Lunches - $8 per person is a small amount to pay for each VOLUNTEER member monthly. For most of us that is ALL we get, a free meal, and yes providing a meal does encourage our members to attend regularly. We have discussed cutting this and a motion was made to continue providing this and it passed with one member voting against.”
Several issues arise from this statement, 1st if the cost is only $8.00 per “VOLUNTEER member monthly” just how many members are involved because according to the records the costs based on the checks written are as follows:
7/31/2011  - Check Number 4374  - July Board – 154.00            
10/3/2011 – Check Number 4417 - Sept. Board - $165.00
11/10/2011 – Check Number 4470 - Lighthouse G - $80.00   
11/10/2011 – Check Number 4470  - Oct. Ex. C  - $176.00        
 12/16/2011 – Check Number 4499 - Nov. Board - $154.00
2/1/2012 – Check  Number 4531 - Jan Board - $176.00              
3/1/2012 – Check Number 4549 - Feb. Board - $176.00
4/1/2012 – Check Number 4587 – March Board - $176.00
Now if the EDC Board is made up of volunteers and restricted from any compensation for their services how is it they justify these meals at taxpayer expense totaling in the thousands of dollars each year?
Mr. Rackley claims that the meals are an encouragement for the volunteers to attend the meetings.  If the volunteers have to be fed as an encouragement to attend the meetings that leaves me with the question why have a Board made up of less than the most enthusiastic of members and if an $8.00 meal can induce members can they really be looking out for the community?    
Mr. Rackley also claims in item 6 that the issue of meals was discussed and the Board voted to continue the free meals. Well, it seems to me that if a Board member can be swayed to attend meetings by a meal they would certainly not vote to discontinue the benefit which obviously has become a compensation in violation of their By Laws.