Conservatives Of The Upstate meets the 2nd Thursday of each month @ 6:30PM.

Blue Ridge Bible Church
769 Belle Shoals Rd
Pickens SC 29671



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Monday, August 28, 2017

United RINOs?

United Supporting Us RINOs Pickens
(or U.S.U.R.P. for short)
by Johnnelle Raines

Easley SC Representative Neal Collins is upset about the fact many of us true conservatives are criticizing his brain child, “Pickens United.” 

He posted this question on his Facebook page,
“Who knew an article highlighting new communication and cooperation in Pickens County between cities/county/state would draw criticism?”
He then went on to list what he sees as “accomplishments” of Pickens United.

I can answer his question and provide logical reasons as to why his list of “accomplishments” can come into question ...

WE THE PEOPLE not only will, but must criticize communication and cooperation of the city/county/state when we recognize that this “cooperation and communication” is between like minded RINO's and closet progressives that are making government bigger, taxing us more, and putting us further in debt.

Let's take a look at what Rep. Collins brags on as “accomplishments”:
1. He brags that Pickens United is “saving money at every opportunity”

Is County Council putting the taxpayer of Pickens County in debt for $32 million saving money? 

Is a ballooned budget from 25 million to 32 million for the new jail, saving money?

Is the School Board increasing millage 2 mils saving money? 

Did the School Board close two of our rural schools and then use our tax dollars to reopen them for "re-purposing" really saving money? 

Is the State voting to increase our gas tax really saving money?
2. He brags on Pickens United doing things “in a transparent manner"

Is my having to spend $100 of my own money to FOIA request information about our tax dollars being spent really “transparent?' Is my having to wait over a month to get information that they should be eager to be forthcoming about, really transparent?
He brags on Pickens United having townhalls. The first meeting didn't even allow public input. It took me complaining about this on Facebook and to Piockens Senator Rex Rice to get that fixed.

3. He brags on communicating with the Easley Chamber of Commerce. 

Isn't the Easley Chamber recommending spending excess $$ on the Doodle Trail, all while the City of Easley got caught for defrauding the school district to the tune of millions in the "TIF District scandal" and didn't The City of Easley get sued for violating peaceful free speech demonstrations?

4. He brags on Pickens United applying for Infrastructure Bank money to fix road projects. 

Don't WE THE PEOPLE have to put in more of our tax dollars - to the tune of a 13% match - when we already pay State & County taxes to keep our roads in good condition?
5. He brags on Pickens United for helping to pass county ordinance #535 which better defines how to allocate recreational funding of our tax dollars.
Didn't they also establish another layer of un-elected bureaucracy who recommends who the winners and losers are?
6. He brags on Pickens United supporting Pickens County rejoining Upstate Alliance

Isn't Upstate Alliance another un-elected public/private NGO partnership group who are unaccountable  and cost the taxpayer more money to belong to. 

Isn't this one of the dangers Agenda 21 warns us about? Isn't bringing more jobs to our county the responsibility of our county council whom we elect and pay to do that?
 
7. He brags on filling 75 government jobs.

Aren't we supposed to be eliminating government jobs and tightening government spending? 

Didn't Collins spearhead a 7th school board member that had near zero support outside of his circle - costing the school district and county over $35,000 initially and more than $5000 annually?

8. He brags on Pickens United helping facilitate seed money for Holly Springs

Wasn't Holly Springs Elementary one of our Blue Ribbon elementary schools - actually accomplishing great things for children's education in our rural community, then his Pickens United friends just inexplicably closed it?

 9. He brags on Pickens United supporting the reduction of the cost per day to house an inmate in our jail.

Didn't they support putting YOU the taxpayer in debt to the tune of $32 million for a new jail while they already had $23 million saved up for that project, but yet aren't going to use it so that they can pay for other pet projects that they haven't identified yet?

10. He brags on Pickens United supporting bailing out a poorly financial managed city of Liberty.

Why are we rewarding poor fiscal responsibility?

11. He brags on Pickens United supporting giving YOUR county tax dollars to build Tri- County Tech a Student Center.

Isn't the STATE responsible for that ... isn't that double taxation? 

Also of note, of the three counties, Pickens County accounts for less than 20% of the student population, yet was on the hook for a full third of the cost.
12. He brags on Pickens United facilitating a county operated animal adoption facility.

Isn't that going to force a non-profit Humane Society out of business? A non- profit the county residents and council have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into.

13. He brags on Pickens United facilitating hiring another government employee ... “Public Information Officer”

They just recently let one go even though she had a good job performance appraisal to hire a “new” one , and when I sent a recent FOIA request they referred my request to their lawyer and the “new” Public Information Officer hasn't even responded to my request. Sounds like they needed a mouthpiece.
14. He brags on Pickens United facilitating the county to consolidate outstanding bonds for lower interest rates.

They don't even know for sure what the interest rate will be yet. They did not hold proper hearings for the new bonded indebtedness. Bar none. The jail should have been put to a vote.
15. He brags on Pickens United facilitating partnering with SWU to host the Eclipse event and it was “free” to the public.

Our county council already paid a private college (SWU) our hard earned dollars to build a track and tennis courts and set precedence for any private school requesting our money to promote their school's building projects.
16. He brags on Pickens United facilitating the county and city to build the Pickens Doodle parks.

Didn't they have to condemn some people's private property to do that and isn't the Pickens Doodle lessening people's right to privacy on their personal property ... those split rail fences don't protect people's private property...who are they kidding?

17. He brags on Pickens United not raising our taxes.

(well except the School Board's 2 mil) 

What about all the over-collecting going on that the county council and school board claim is “savings?” 

Rep. Neal Collins and Pickens United may be optimistic for our county's future ... but WE THE TRUE CONSERVATIVES of Pickens are not when we have over taxation and over spending and debt mounting.
Johnnelle Raines 
Pickens SC

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