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Monday, September 24, 2012

Pickens County Elections Commission Releases November Ballot

The following Candidates are going to be on the Novermber 06, 2012 Ballot.

Please be advised that you will only be eligible to vote for the individuals who are located within your voting district.

State Senate District 2

Larry A Martin, Republican

Rex Rice, Petition

State House of Representatives District 3

B. R. Skelton, Republican

Ed Harris, Petition

State House of Representatives District 4

David Davey Hiott, Republican

State House of Representatives District 5

Phil Owens, Republican

State House of Representatives District 10

Joshua Putnam, Republican


Rick Clark, Republican

Tim Morgan, Petition

Stan Whitten, Petition

County Council District 3

Randy Crenshaw, Republican

Kevin Link, Petition

County Council District 4

G. Neil Smith, Republican

County Council District 5

Jennifer H. Willis, Republican

Chris Bowers, Petition

County Council District 6

Tom Ponder, Republican


Brent Suddeth, Republican

Clerk of Court

Pat Welborn, Republican


Kandy C. Kelley, Republican


Dale M. Looper, Republican

School Board District 1

Herbert P. Cooper Jr, Nonpartisan

School Board District 3

Alex Saitta, Nonpartisan

School Board District 5

Judy Edwards, Nonpartisan

Valerie Ramsey, Nonpartisan

David Whittemore, Nonpartisan

Georges Creek Watershed District Commission

R Stewart Bauknight, Nonpartisan

John H Cutchin, Nonpartisan

Cynthia Wise, Nonpartisan

Brushy Creek Watershed District Commission

Adelaide M Gantt, Nonpartisan

Eric McConnell, Nonpartisan

Three & Twenty Watershed District Commission

J Mark Bishop, Nonpartisan

W H McAbee III, Nonpartisan

Phil Tripp, Nonpartisan

Leonard Allen Williams, Nonpartisan

Not making one "easy in poverty" ...

"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth, I traveled much and I observed in different countries that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course, became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."
~ Benjamin Franklin
....November 29, 1766

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dear Confused ...

Here's a comment received on ...
"I feel that the trail is just what we need. Support for the trail will grow. Maybe after the trail is made you will see as well. If not, I'm sorry you feel you are being under-minded."
COTU reply ...
I believe you're confused ...

I think all of us would "like" a nice trail.

We'd like one without using taxpayer money, without eroding private property rights, and one that will be a consensus among ALL county residents as a wise decision .

The issue is also priorities.

With Pickens getting 4+ new restaurants and a Walmart + all the economic activity it will bring ... We can't say that a trail will bring much, if any, economic activity.

Easley is even more bustling with economic activity at the current time.

We NEED roads paved, electrical lines buried, police protection, and most importantly ~ government who will put as little burden as possible on its citizens.

Last time I checked, I could walk out of my front door and have the whole earth as "my trail", we had great YMCA branches ~ 3 in Pickens County. We have two very walkable universities, we have accessible school and municipal rec facilities, we have gyms scattered throughout, and we have our body as our temple.

It is responsible to maintain your health.

It is a sacred contract between you and God ... not you and government.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Why are we trying to build bike trails?

Please let me answer the writer at The Pickens County Courier about the people who oppose the "Doodle Railroad Trail" and why.

Reference: Doodle Trail talks spark local debate/Pickens County Courier

The Conservatives of the Upstate did two surveys.

The first was a random sampling of walkers through the Pickens Jockey Lot. When we approached a walker, we had no idea where they lived. We only asked them if they were from Pickens County. Many were from Pickens AND Easley, but a consensus opinion was 93 out of 95 against the bike trail. These aren't "about 93" or "approximately 93". If we want to estimate, it's "nearly 98%" (97.8% to be exact).

In a second survey, (3) of our members conducted a survey of the property owners along the proposed trail. We visited 54 houses. 30 answered the door. 29 of the 30 were against the trail, and cited a loss of privacy and safety as two of their greatest concerns. (96.6%)

The residents along the trail asked the Conservatives of the Upstate for help as they were dumbfounded that their elected representatives seemed against them.
Many of our members are from the cities of Pickens and Easley. It is true that I personally am from the county, but I ask you to remember that at the August meeting of the County Council, the YMCA presented a survey that was totally biased having only polled some of the Y members. They had at least two people from Greenville County and one from out of state to testify. 
The Conservatives of the Upstate presented factual information about the "Swamp Rabbit Trail" in Greenville: areas of the trail are unsafe, it is dangerous, and the cost for upkeep/policing are astronomical millions!

In King County, Washington a man sued for $3.5 million and won the case saying he "hit a dip in the trail".

The people supporting The Swamp Rabbit Trail i.e., Mayor Knox White and officials from Upstate Forever had protested it going into their neighborhoods (Gower Estates and Parkins Mill Road) and got it moved. Cars, mopeds, and motorcycles have been seen on the trail.

Walkers have made numerous claims the Bikers are not courteous and vice versa.

Greenville has a multi-million budget for next year alone.

Travelers Rest has had to add two policemen at great cost.

Upstate Forever, a mostly Greenville Organization, and a professor at Furman University had a meeting on economic impact of the trail, but didn't invite us to the meeting. We saw it in the paper as it was taking place.

When grant money from the Federal government is used, all citizens have the right to protest. I remind you that the feds are over $16 trillion in debt, the state is underfunded on pensions by $23 billion, the county owes $400 million for school buildings, and the cities owe $10's of millions .

Why are we trying to build bike trails?

Junius Smith 
President / Chairman of the Board, Conservatives of the Upstate 

That Time Is Now!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pickens GOP Endorses Harris ...

Press Release September 20, 2012 ...

Pickens County Republican Party

On Tuesday September 18, 2012 at a regular meeting of the Pickens County Republican Party held at The Rosewood Center in Liberty, SC, a motion was made to officially endorse Mr. Ed Harris for S.C. House District 3.

The motion overwhelmingly passed 29 to 1.

Mr. Harris won the Republican Primary on June 12, 2012 but was subsequently sued by the loser, Representative B.R Skelton, to overturn the will of the voters. Mr. Skelton took a page out of the Democrat playbook- if you can’t win at the ballot box- then go to court. Skelton even used a Democrat lawyer who is also a member of the S.C. House.

Mr. Harris, along with Pickens County Republican Party chairman, Phillip Bowers, both testified that Harris properly filed and a South Carolina circuit judge ruled that Bowers and Harris acted in good faith.

Nevertheless, Harris was removed from the ballot by the state Republican Party Chairman.

Harris was able to get over 1700 signatures, nearly twice the amount required, and will be on the general election ballot in November. The Pickens County Republican Party believes that, since Mr. Harris was legitimately selected as the GOP nominee, he should receive the full support of the party.

~ Pickens County Republican Party

* Conservatives Of The Upstate was honored to assist Harris with obtaining a large number of his petition signatures.

Taxpayers don't have a right to be in opposition to big spending?

In a recent Pickens County Courier article, the following was stated …
"There has been a lot of vocal opposition to the rail-to-trail project by local groups like the Conservatives of the Upstate, but Brackett says that she has received positive feedback from the people and businesses in Pickens. 
Simons, like Brackett in Pickens, has had a positive response in Easley. 
Both city administrators pointed out that several people who have vocally opposed the project don’t even live in Easley or Pickens, where the proposed Doodle Line trail will connect."
So, if we get the point here … you have to LIVE somewhere to be opposed gross misuse of taxpayer money and severe abuse of private property property rights?

To clarify, the majority of Conservatives Of The Upstate members are in Pickens and Easley AND we ARE ALL taxpayers that are a part of the county!

Furthermore, at the last two County Council meetings, vocal opposition has been made from landowners along the trail … you can't get any closer than that!

Conservatives Of The Upstate is for wise, CONSERVATIVE use of taxpayer funds and expressly for private property rights as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

To read the full article:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Virginia Legislature looks to put penalties on state & local governments that usurp private property rights


A constitutional amendment to further strengthen Virginia’s private property rights …

The House Judiciary committee in the Virginia State Legislature approved HR 1433, the “Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2011" in January of this year ...

According to a press release from one of the measure’s co-sponsors, Rep. Bob Goodlatte:
…prevent [state and local] governments from taking property from one private entity and giving it to another private entity. When abuses occur, this legislation will prohibit localities and states from receiving federal economic assistance on all economic development projects, not just those upon which abuses occur, for two years for each violation.
While this legislation cracks down hard on private-private transfers, it would not prohibit the use of eminent domain for traditional, purely public purposes.

Other State legislatures, and even the Federal House Of Representatives are considering such bills. 

They're Only Your Rights When "WE" Say Their Your Rights

In a public meeting for River Falls Fire Dept, Greenville County Councilman Joe Dill said.

 "Yes, we are working on extending the Swamp Rabbit Trail north through Marietta SC."

When asked about private property rights, Councilman Dill said,

"They have the right to sell their land if they want to."

When asked, "What if they don't want to sell."

Dill had no answer.


Tonight on WYFF, the NBC News affiliate for the SC Upstate, residents near Pelham Rd in Greenville are opposing the building of a CVS.

The same opposed a new Walmart.

The interesting part is ... a number of the people in the audience and speaking out against the issue are the same bike trail / "green use" crowd.

Interesting that they are claiming property rights when it comes to commercial development, but if it's "green" they could care less about property rights.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I Fully Stand Behind Something That's Dangerous?

The following is a video of a Greenville County Council Meeting …

This SAME person Gary B. was at the Pickens County Council meeting in August speaking positively about the proposed Doodle Trail, yet he's seen here as a supporter/rider of The Swamp Rabbit Trail, but speaking about how dangerous it is?


Have you ever heard the term "railroaded"?

It means to rush through a situation rapidly so as not to reveal the true meaning of something. When the folks along the Doodle Railroad were asked to sign a right of way along their property, they did so to allow supplies to reach the mills that provided jobs for the local economy. They gave the right of way willingly so they could help the community. There was no talk of what would happen to the right of way if the railroad ever went out of business. Most of these property owners were not educated in the law and I am sure the railroad people of the time never planned to usurp all the land owner's privacy by "railroading" the current owners.

There's a story in the Bible that reminds me of what is going on …
Naboth had a vineyard that he had received as an inheritance. King Ahab coveted it and offered to buy it from Naboth, but he refused. It made Ahab very sad, and upon seeing him in his grief, his wife Jezebel decided to get it for Ahab. So she spread rumors about Naboth, and the angry people stoned him to death  ...
… kind of like some of the supporters of the Doodle did to our President. All the players are here: The City of Easley and Pickens, Upstate Forever, the land owners, and those profane supporters that have made their voices heard. These owners never knew what hit them as the bullies didn't include them in any of the surveys done by the YMCA and others. Yet, the Conservatives of the Upstate interviewed 95 Pickens citizens at the Pickens Flea Market(93 of 95 against), 30 home owners ( 29 of 30 against) along the trail, and 52 owners that signed a petition against the trail.
So far, all the owners have been ignored by all their levels of government even though mountains of negative evidence and high cost on the Swamp Rabbit trail has been supplied to them. One supporter of the trail even made a facebook comment that he walked along the trail, and spied into the owners yards with binoculars, and urinated in their yards. Speaks volumes about the type of people that might walk or ride along the trail, doesn't it?.

Things didn't work too good for Jezebel and Ahab in the end either.

Junius Smith
President & Chairman of the Board COTU

Friday, September 14, 2012

Some Facts About COTU ...


Conservatives of the Upstate: 

1. Our original name was Conservatives of Pickens County and was changed to allow members from other counties.

2. We have had 4 presidents: Jim McDonald, Junius Smith, David Merck, and Johnnelle Raines. Junius Smith now serves as Acting President

3. We meet at the Blue Ridge Bible Church @769 Belle Shoals Road every second Thursday of the month.

4. We have had numerous successful projects:
A. We challenged the legality of the huge school construction, better known as the Greenville Plan. This required two trips to Columbia where we had a long session with the Governor and another with a large law firm in Columbia. Taking part in these trips were FM Caddell, Melvin Watson, Junius Smith, Carol Smith, and Jim McDonald. The Governor agreed with us but Senator Larry Martin refused to get us an audience with the Attorney General as recommended by the Governor. Later our information was used to get 7 school districts a free pass from paying for their new schools. Now we are paying for those schools through our sales tax.

B. We challenged the over collection of revenue by the County and won their consent to stop the practice.

C. We worked individually for various candidates and were successful in getting the school board reduced to 6 elected members in conjunction with the Pickens County Tax Payers. On the day the Governor was to sign we organized a telephone barrage to the Governor and he signed the bill.

D. We worked individually to get three conservatives on the school board and were successful in helping Jimmy Gillespie and Ben Trotter get elected. This was the first time in a long time that conservatives at least had a tie in votes concerning school district taxation and spending.

E. We helped candidates get on the County Council and we helped some get off. We worked individually with candidates for Congress.

F. We held work shops on Agenda 21, and identified an Organization in Greenville, Upstate Forever, that was trying to push the Comprehensive Plan on us.

G. We helped Saluda River Roots when nobody else would. and brought it to the forefront of the County Council.

H. We held debates for Congress and County Council and allowed questions from the audience without being screened by the officers.

I . We helped candidates that were illegally thrown off the ballot in Pickens County to get back on by getting signatures at the Pickens County Flee Market. Rex Rice told me that it was the best event in their behalf.

J. We have filled the County Council chambers for special meetings numerous times.

K. We have helped the folks in Pickens and Oconee Counties to protect their property. Johnnelle Raines and I passed out flyers and interviewed folks about the bike trail between Pickens and Easley. Kathy Nix, Mrs. Wise, and Johnnelle Raines went door to door to survey the property owners. 

L. Kathy Murphy Nix and David Merck organized the Tea Party meetings downtown Pickens.

M. We were the first among the Conservatives in the upstate region of South Carolina to have a website on the internet.

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