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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Purpose Driven Constitution ...

South Carolina Unclaimed Property Search ...

A lot of people think this is a joke when the tv stations do a story on this each year, but I've found several "unclaimed accounts" for my family in the past.

Official South Carolina Unclaimed Property Search:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

We may be persistent … but we aren't like this



Let me just say that with all the bickering, it always seems that the "opposition" is much like Roseanne Barr was in this series of Twitter messages she recently posted. I have NEVER seen any Conservatives Of The Upstate, Tea Party member, or Christian say filth like this.

And before anyone goes and says, "Oh this is just Roseanne, she's the one that did that horrible version National Anthem a few years back." I say, I hear stuff like this all the time from the left!

Philip Smith
Conservatives Of The Upstate

Hate Tweet From Roseanne Barr Wishing Cancer On Chic-Fil-A Customers

Join the "Pickens Doodle Rails to Trails Just Say No" facebook page

Hi COTU members,

We have launched a new page on facebook for people to keep informed about our opposition to the "Rails to Trails" project to take over the historic Pickens Doodle Tracks and turn it into a bike/walk path like Swamp Rabbit Trail. I need your help in getting your facebook friends to go to this link below and click the "like" button. Our opponents already have well over 100 likes on their Pro Pickens Doodle Rails to Trails… I guess people love spending taxpayer dollars during economically challenging times. I will be speaking to County Council at their next meeting about COTU's opposition to this boondoggle. Please … share this link with your facebook friends and click the like button. 

If you don't do facebook … I understand...but if you know those who are on and they are like minded about being conservative and pro property rights … please tell them to go to this link and click like!

Thank You!

Johnnelle Raines
Conservatives Of The Upstate

If you have facebook, please join the "Pickens Doodle Rails to Trails Just Say No" facebook page. 

Learn the truth about this plan, learn how taxpayers are getting the runaround.

Monday, July 16, 2012

B.R. Skelton Not Only Wants The Election But $$$ Too, Of Course Wasn't It About That Anyway?

On Tuesday, we settle if Chairman Chad Connelly has the authority, on his own, to declare B.R. Skelton the winner of the primary election after the State GOP Executive Committee, the Election Commission, and the primary voters in House District 3 declared Ed Harris the nominee. The Greenville Tea Party wants all of the facts and background information in your hands.

B.R. Skelton is a long time Democratic Party activist and through his hard work he rose to the rank of Chairman of the Democratic Party of Pickens County. B.R. Skelton announced that he was going run for the State House as a Republican in House District 3. Ed Harris wanted to give the voters in District 3 the opportunity to vote for a Republican and a conservative. The local Tea Party organizations worked hard to help elect Ed Harris.

Ed Harris won the primary on Tuesday, June 12. He got more votes in the primary than B.R. Skelton. On Thursday, June 14, the Pickens County Election Commission certified Ed Harris as the winner of the primary. On Sunday, June 17, B.R. Skelton filed an election protest with the GOP State Executive Committee. B.R. Skelton alleged that Ed Harris did not file his Statement of Economic Interest with Pickens County Chairman Phillip Bowers at the time he filed his papers to run for the house seat.

A trial was held before the GOP State Executive Committee on Thursday, June 21. State law required the GOP State Executive Committee to hear the election protest on the first Thursday following the filing of the election protest. S.C. Code § 7-17-570. Remember this legal point, it will become important later on in this email. State law also requires the GOP Executive Committee to make a final determination ("shall determine all issues") and "to certify the results of the election." S.C. Code § 7-17-570. Also, state law forbids the Committee from adjourning or taking a break until a final decision and certification is reached by the Committee. S.C. Code § 7-17-570. So, for example, the Committee cannot decide to recess and come back the following week to hear more testimony from more witnesses. Now, you really need to remember this point because it is going to be a very important issue at your upcoming meeting.

On Thursday, June 21, the GOP Executive Committee met in Columbia. Pickens County Chairman Phillip Bowers was called as a witness and he testified that he was the person who received the candidate paperwork from Ed Harris. He testified that Ed Harris filed his Statement of Economic Interest when he filed the paperwork. Chairman Bowers is a good, Christian man and he has no reason to lie about something he witnessed first-hand. In addition, before he testified, he swore to tell the truth and he was under oath when he testified.

Several witnesses testified at the trial. After all of the testimony, on Thursday, June 21, the GOP Executive Committee unanimously certified Ed Harris the winner of the primary and held that he properly filed his paperwork. This decision becomes a final certification or judgment unless it is reversed by the S.C. Supreme Court.

B.R. Skelton then filed a petition to the S.C. Supreme Court and asked the Supreme Court to review the decision of the GOP Executive Committee. The Supreme Court does not have to hear election disputes and it can simply do nothing and allow the decision of the GOP Executive Committee to be the final certification in the case. However, just a few days after filing the petition, B.R. Skelton decided to voluntarily dismiss his petition for review. Maybe he dismissed the appeal because he realized that he had no evidence to support his claims? The Supreme Court then dismissed the petition since B.R. Skelton had abandoned the appeal. Why is this important? Since the Supreme Court never reviewed the matter, and because no Decision was made by the Supreme Court, the decision of the GOP Executive Committee becomes the final judgment. The final judgment is Ed Harris is the certified winner of the primary because he properly filed his paperwork plus he received the most votes!

Once a judgment becomes final, it cannot be undone -- by anyone. However, we now have a very public problem because of Chairman Connelly. In August, Chairman Connelly is required by state law to send in the names of the primary winners to the state election commission. A few days after the certification became final, Chairman Connelly stated in the newspapers that he was going to list B.R. Skelton as the primary winner on the paperwork he was sending to the State Election Commission. Chairman Connelly's comment was in direct violation of the decision of the Executive Committee.

Also, since Ed Harris has already been certified as the winner of the primary under the state election laws, if Chairman Connelly sends paperwork to the State Election Commission saying B.R. Skelton was the winner, you will have two men claiming to be the nominee.

What can you do? First, let's talk about what you cannot do. You cannot declare B.R. Skelton the nominee. The GOP Executive Committee was required to certify a candidate on Thursday, June 21. Remember, state law states that the Committee is not allowed to take a recess or adjourn or decide the issue on a later day. State law requires the Committee to "determine all issues" and "certify the results of the election." Nothing can be left for a later day. Ed Harris was declared and certified the winner at the conclusion of the trial. Once the Executive Committee was dismissed on June 21, no further testimony or deliberations are allowed under the election laws. Since the Supreme Court did not review the case, the decision of the GOP is final and permanent. If the Executive Committee or Chairman Connelly declare B.R. Skelton the winner, then the GOP has violated the election laws. If further evidence is received by the Committee after June 21, or if there are any further deliberations after June 21, then the GOP has violated the election laws. We are not Democrats. We must honor the rule of law.

Here are the options: First, you can do nothing. Ed Harris is already the certified winner. The problem is that Chairman Connelly has publicly said that he is going to list B.R. Skelton as the winner on the paperwork sent to the state election commission in August. This will cause a crisis.

Your second option? Pass a resolution instructing Chairman Connelly to abide by the final decision of the GOP Executive Committee certifying Ed Harris as the winner.

Now for the REAL STORY that explains what is going on at GOP headquarters. You see, when B.R. Skelton dropped his appeal to the Supreme Court, he hired attorney James Smith, a radical Democrat and "progressive" member of House of Representatives (D-Columbia) to sue the GOP, Pickens County Chairman Phillip Bowers and Ed Harris for money damages. The lawsuit was filed by B.R. Skelton in Richland County and it alleges that our GOP family members are committing a civil fraud by certifying Ed Harris the winner of the primary. YES, YOU READ IT RIGHT -- B.R. Skelton wants the GOP leadership and Pickens County Chairman Phillip Bowers to pay B.R. Skelton money because B.R. Skelton lost the primary.

The B.R. Skelton lawsuit against the GOP is frivolous. However, it had the intended result. After the GOP got sued for money damages, Chad Connelly announced that he was going to certify B.R. Skelton the winner. Now, the Tea Party certainly understands that nobody wants to be sued by a money hungry, Democrat lawyer, but Chairman Connelly cannot change the results of an election to appease the Democrats.

Where is the damage if Chairman Connelly acquiesces to this threat? The Republican Party's integrity is compromised; the primary voters and volunteers are dismissed as irreverent. Free men in South Carolina are played by the permanent political class that holds on to power at all costs and using any means.

In order to take our America back, we must stop caving in to the Democrat's threat of lawsuits and do what is right. No one should give into fear and threats where liberty and justice is on the line.

There are Democrats in the S.C. Republican Party! To stop more Democrats from joining the Republican Party, there must be candidate certification of the state and county executive committeemen. We must not allow party officers or the threat of laws suits to control duly elected executive committeemen! Republican Party integrity is already damaged by Jake Knotts and his lawsuit.

The Greenville Tea Party believes that your decision on Tuesday should be based on the law and the facts, not threats from a Democrat lawyer and House member. Stand up for our citizens! Stand up for what is right!

God Bless America,

Bill Rhodes, P.E.
Founder of the Greenville Tea Party

Conservatives Of The Upstate To Show Acclaimed Documentary " Crying Wolf"

Conservatives of the Upstate will be showing the acclaimed documentary, "Crying Wolf" a Jeffrey D. King film on Thursday evening 6:30PM August 9, 2012.

The event will be held at …

Blue Ridge Bible Church
769 Belle Shoals Road
Pickens, SC 29671

This event is open to the public free of charge.

The documentary is an informative education into the environmental agenda concerning money, power, and government control over the rights, property, and livelihoods of thousands of Americans.

Through watching this film we will find out who is really crying wolf!

For more information contact Johnnelle Raines (cell) 704-860-0648.

Pickens County GOP Speaks Out "B.R. Ballotgate"


Pickens County Republican Party, In case you have not heard, we have been sued by Rep. B.R Skelton. Through his lawyer, who is a Democrat colleague in the S.C. House, a conspiracy theory has been contrived that I and Ed Harris, the winner of the June primary, improperly placed Harris on the ballot. That is not true. Mr. Harris has no say whatsoever about who is on the ballot.

As you know, Mr. Harris was on the ballot, we had an election, and Mr. Harris won. Normally that would be the end of the story. I have been involved in dozens of primaries and the losers always conduct themselves as Statesmen and accept the will of the voters. Unfortunately, that is not the case this time. We have elections for a reason, but it seems that instead of election by voters, we are entering the age of election by lawsuit.

The heart of the matter is a poorly written law that in one place requires filing paper economic interest forms, but in another section requires electronic filing. Shortly after the filing period closed in March, a complaint was filed in the S.C. Supreme Court asking them to decide which was proper. The court decided that candidates must have a paper copy when they filed with the county chairman. Some had the paper copy and others did not.

The reason this year has been so confusing is that political parties were given filing instructions from state agencies based on the electronic filing requirement, but the Supreme Court, after the filing period closed, decided we should have also been instructed to see paper copies upon filing. Again, it goes back to poor lawmaking, not incompetence of candidates or political parties.

The court also said current office holders were exempted from the requirement because they have an economic interest form on file. The court did not address the law that states forms must be from the preceding year. Most office holders do not meet that requirement; so actually, candidates like Mr. Harris were more in compliance with state law than most incumbents. But I won’t get in to that since it is a matter for future lawsuits.

Several weeks ago the SCGOP Executive Committee met and agreed that Mr. Harris should be the nominee and rejected Mr. Skelton’s protest. Mr. Skelton subsequently filed a lawsuit in circuit and Supreme Court claiming Mr. Harris was improperly filed. Last week, in order to avoid the Supreme Court, the SCGOP decided Mr. Harris should not be the nominee since the paper copy he had when he filed no longer exists. It is important to note that there is no requirement to retain the paper copy. State law is clear that the only legitimate filing is the electronic version.

As for what is next, there is a meeting of the SCGOP Executive Committee on Tuesday to discuss whether Mr. Harris can remain the nominee or be removed by the state GOP. There are so many other details that I really do not have room for here, but if you want more information just call. I can tell you that Mr. Harris is pursuing a couple of options to remain the nominee.

If you want more information contact him at or 864-654-1742.

You may also want to contact Mr. Skelton at or 864-868-3495.


Phillip Bowers 
Pickens County GOP

Conservatives Of The Upstate Petition Drive A Success!


On July 11, 2012 Conservatives of the Upstate held an "OPERATION LOST VOTE" event at the Pickens Flea Market on Hwy 183 in Pickens. It was a huge success! 

 Candidates who were ruled ineligible to be on the primary ballot in June were there meeting citizens and collecting the signatures they require to be placed on the November 6, 2012 elections. 

Candidates in attendance were candidates, Rex Rice, Ed Harris, Stan Whitten, and Kevin Link.

Petitions for Tim Morgan were also made available even though he was not one of the candidates who had been ruled ineligible. 

It is important to note that on November 6, 2012 the public be made aware if they wish to vote for these candidates they SHOULD NOT vote a straight Republican ticket. These candidates will be running as Independents or as write in candidates. 

 Thank you to all the workers who were there. This was a great showing of how freedom works in South Carolina and how WE THE PEOPLE at the grassroots level will organize to keep our rights to vote for the candidate of our choice alive! 

 (The picture attached shows from left to right...Rex Rice (SC Senate candidate), Ed Harris (SC House candidate),David Merck (Conservative of the Upstate member), Johnnelle Raines (Conservatives of the Upstate President), and a patriotic citizen signing petitions. 

Johnnelle Raines 
Conservatives of the Upstate President

Friday, July 13, 2012

The only guardian of liberty ...

"The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty."  
~ James Madison 

 James Madison was the 4th President of The United States and one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Photo Id Required Of Journalists Attending Attorney General Eric Holder's Meeting On The Peril Of "Voter ID Requirements"

You can't make this up!

Apparently press passes weren't enough at a recent conference concerning what U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder thinks are the perils of "Voter ID" laws.

Read the full story here:

Meeting Tonight ...


Our monthly meeting is tonight …

Please come and share in the fight to restore American freedom and see how you, through peaceful, thoughtful fellowship can help in the cause.

Here is a look at our new emblem ...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Drive For Petition Candidates


COTU members,

We will setting up a table at booth # 189 under the shed in "the new section" at The Pickens Flea Market on Wednesday July 11, 2012 to help candidates who need signatures to get on the November ballot.

We will also have available voter registration paperwork.

It is also a great opportunity to hand out membership information for our group.

I plan on being at the table from daylight till around noon.

You would only need to be there part of that time to help me.

Any amount of time will be greatly appreciated...even if it's just 20 minutes!

I have all the petitions, info etc just call me and tell me what time you can volunteer to help me out!


Johnnelle Raines
Conservatives Of The Upstate, Vice President

How To Get In Contact ...


Pickens County School Board:

web site:

District 1: Dr. Herbert Cooper
phone # 864-654-1517

District 2: Mr. Jimmy Gillespie
phone #: 864-639-4544

District 3: CHAIRMAN Mr. Alex Saitta
phone # 864-878-1961

District 4: Mr. Ben Trotter
phone # 864-380-5488

District 5: Mrs. Judy Edwards
phone # 864-859-7338

District 6: Mr. Jim Shelton
phone # 864-630-0726

US Congress
web site:

Senator: Lindsey Graham

Washington, D.C. Office:
290 Russell Senate Office Building,
District of Columbia 20510-4001
Phone:(202) 224-5972
Fax:(202) 224-3808

Greenville Office:
130 South Main Street, Suite 700
Greenville, South Carolina 29601
Phone:(864) 250-1417
Fax:(864) 250-4322

3rd District House Of Represenatives: Jeff Duncan

Washington, D.C. Office:
116 Cannon House Office Building,
District of Columbia 20515-4003
Phone:(202) 225-5301
Fax:(202) 225-3216

Anderson Office:
303 West Beltline Blvd
Anderson, SC 29625
Phone: 864-224-7401
FAX: 864-225-7049

Pickens County Council

web site:

District 1: Jeff Martin
phone# 864-654-7518

District 2: Trey Whitehurst
phone# 864-639-6035

District 3: Randy Crenshaw
476 Mile Creek Rd.
Pickens, S.C. 29671

District 4: Neil Smith
phone # 864-878-6026

District 5: Jennifer Willis
phone # 864-859-6096

District 6: Tom Ponder
phone# 864-430-1386

Pickens County SC State Legislator Delegation

Delegation Office
West End Hall, Room 205, 201 South Fifth Street, Easley, SC 29640
Phone: 864-850-7070

To Email your SC Legislators:


When you go to the above web site, you can directly email your Pickens County Delegation Senators and Representatives

At the bottom of the site you can click on 3 choices:

• find legislator

• legislators vote record

• contact legislator


Thomas C, Alexander
(Republican, District 1, Oconee County & Pickens County)
150 Cleveland Drive, Walhalla, 29691
Columbia office phone: 803-212-6220
Walhalla office phone: 864-638-2988
Walhalla home phone: 864-638-2153

Larry A. Martin
(Republican, District 2, Pickens County)
P. O. Box 247, Pickens 29671
Columbia office phone: 803-212-6340
Office phone: 864-306-2126
Pickens home phone: 864-878-6105


David R. Hiott
(Republican, District 4, Pickens County)
Columbia office phone: 803-734-3323
Pickens office phone: 864-878-9832
Home phone: 864-878-3497

Phillip D. 'Phil' Owens, III
(District 5, Pickens County)
Columbia office phone: 803-734-3237
Office phone: 850-7070
Home phone: 864-306-2909

Bill Sandifer
(District 2, Oconee & Pickens Counties)
Columbia office phone: 803-734-3109
Seneca office phone: 864-885-2240
Seneca home phone: 864-882-1225

B. R. Skelton
(District 3, Pickens County)
Columbia office phone: 803-734-3036
Six Mile home phone: 864-868-3495

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

They're Outta My Money, I Know That ...

Operation Lost Vote Special Event

A special event that will be held Saturday, July 7, 2012 in the parking lot and grassy area next to Easley First Wesleyan Church 104 W 6th Ave. Easley, SC 29640 The event begins at 9:30AM and Shealy will speak to the crowd at 10 am. During the event, petition candidates will be collecting the signatures they need to appear on the November ballots. The Pickens County Petition candidates, according to the Operation Lost Vote website, are Rex Rice for Senate, Stan Whitten for Sheriff and Chris Bowers for Pickens County Council. But there could be others, and if so, they're welcome to attend.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Op Ed: "The Problems With Our Criminal Justice System"

The Problems With Our Criminal Justice System
by Johnnelle Raines 

What ever happened to the belief that it is our God given right to protect our life and property? Today the government defines when, where and how we can defend ourselves. Have you noticed how lately our criminal justice system is more concerned about protecting the rights of the criminals than they are about protecting the law abiding citizen? The main stream media, our public schools, commercials, and movies have brainwashed us into thinking we should "walk a mile" in the criminal shoes before judging them. We need to be more compassionate...more tolerant...we need to realize they probably had a rough childhood. I for one am sick of hearing how we should "tolerate" evil. Why do we need to find out why the criminal committed the act? He broke the law! He deserves punishment to fit the crime. Why do we want to hear an excuse? When your child misbehaves at home, have you realized you usually ask, "Why did you do that?". It is not important why...they did something wrong...just punish the act! When you ask why someone broke the law or the rule you are encouraging them to think of good answer that will justify their wrongdoing! Lawyers focus on trying to find a "way" out for their client. The focus is on winning not on the truth of what happened. If the lawyer can just come up with a good "reason" why their client committed the act they can play on the judge or jury's sympathy and "win" a lesser punishment. The victims of the crimes are not getting the justice they deserve. The punishment should always fit the crime! For far too long our criminal justice system is focusing on the non-violent offenders when they should be focusing heavily on gang members and drug cartels.

Remember the saying, "Crime doesn't pay?" Well in reality it does. If we didn't have crime...we wouldn't need the police, bail bondsmen, lawyers, judges, etc. Crime is a big business and many a person makes their living off of it! The police, bail bondsmen, lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats and judges really don't have a dog in this fight. They need criminals so they get their paycheck monthly! They don't want crime to decrease! So it will be up to WE THE PEOPLE to demand better justice for the victims of crimes! How you might ask? By not shirking your duty when you get that notice in the mail to serve on jury duty! That is the way our nation's founding fathers provided to insure that you, not the politicians, judges, lawyers, etc rule this nation. Remember one fact...the only power the politicians, judges, lawyers, etc have over you is your ignorance. Don't try to get out of jury proud to serve. Remember the power of one lone juror. Educate yourself on the Constitution and make use of your power by serving on the jury. Remember this quote, "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I should do and, with the help of God, I will do." Everett Hale.

Johnnelle Raines
Board Member Pickens County Taxpayer Association
Vice President Conservatives of the Upstate