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Friday, March 15, 2013

An Update On The Success Of Conservatives Of The Upstate Concerning The Doodle Trail

While we would rather our local governments listen to reason rather than 
greed or "green" agendas … we feel we have fought the hard fight. What is about to ensue will be a stamp of Liberty and Constitutional assurance on this gross abuse of political muscle and eminent domain.
In a recent meeting with homeowners along the proposed Doodle Trail, The Conservatives Of The Upstate announced that we had secured legal representation for more than 90 land owners.

An attorney will seek just compensation under the 5th Amendment to The United States Constitution:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The issue at stake is whether the City of Pickens, City of Easley, and Pickens County have the necessary funds or fiscal responsibility to build the trail in the first place ~ considering the perilous economic times we are in. Conservatives Of The Upstate feels that taking grant money from a Federal Government that is bankrupt into the trillions of dollars BEYOND what is necessary for society to function normally, is close to criminal.

We also feel that deteriorating infrastructure and LOWERING tax burdens and inflation due to errant government economic policy are far more important at this time than the building of a trail that is an uncertain economic sinkhole and potentially unforeseen environmental disaster.

Some history of action by The Conservatives Of The Upstate on the matter :

The YMCA, in connection with Upstate Forever ( a self labelled Agenda 21 NGO ), influenced Y members to take part in a lopsided and intentionally deceiving survey about the potential benefit of a trail along the abandoned "Doodle Train Track" that stretches roughly 8.5 miles from Pickens, SC through to Easley, SC.

After the completion of this survey, Upstate Forever made various presentations to local governments and made statements by email and letter to various federal agencies.

Moving forward with the project … The entities involved in the conversion of the Doodle Line Railroad track to a walking and biking trail planned to seize the land. The property owners along the trail had significant reversionary owner rights to the property from the abandoned track.

No poll of the landowners was conducted. No input from taxpayers was garnered. No substantial environmental studies of the track had been conducted. No significant safety studies had been conducted.

Only fictitious usage and economic impact figures from unrelated, unproven projects such as the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville were given by proponents of the trail.

Conservatives Of The Upstate did have some facts about the comparison projects though:
• The Swamp Rabbit Trail has proven to be a safety issue with opportunity to specifically target and mug a wealthier by demographic citizen. 
• The Swamp Rabbit Trail has exceeded almost every project cost estimate in every category - construction, litigation, liability, and safety. 
When it came time to route the Swamp Rabbit Trail through politicians and "favored citizens" property in the Parkins Mill Area, the project was redrawn to route the trail AROUND them. 
• Similar rails to trails projects around the country have had multiple legal, environmental, and safety issues. There is plenty of case law to back up an opposition to these rail to trail conversions. 
• Usually these projects take all the credit for nearly all economic activity without any regard to NORMAL (without the trail) progress or development - such as the new Walmart locations in Pickens and Easley.
Without regard to the economical or social data of the residents and landowners along the track, on August 19, 2011 … A notice of the proposed trail was published in The Greenville News. The notice was considered legal because of the nature of public notice in a widely read printed paper.

The issue that Conservatives Of The Upstate took with this notice is that no one along the trail reads, subscribes, or relates to The Greenville News which is considered a Greenville County paper with a liberal bias.

Conservatives Of The Upstate went into action …
• We conducted two walking surveys along the trail line of homeowners. Of the 30 that were polled, 29 did not want it. 
• We conducted a Pickens Flea Market study, asking ONLY Pickens County residents about the proposed trail … 93 of 95 (all Pickens County residents) said they didn't want it. 
• We started a facebook action page to disseminate information regarding the trail and our collective opposition to it. 
• We attended Pickens County Council meetings and had multiple members speak in opposition against the proposed track conversion.  
• We asked and succeeded with Pickens County Council not to fund the trails with County funds. 
• We gathered 87 Doodle Track property owner signatures on a petition of grievances to The City of Pickens and City of Easley mayor and City Councils. 
• We attended Easley and Pickens City council meetings.
• We invited or hosted Easley and Pickens City government officials to participate in our meetings. 
• We held a meeting with attorneys, with 71 in attendance, to discuss the matters concerning the trail. 
• Members of Conservatives Of The Upstate wrote multiple editorials on the matter which were published in local papers ~ bringing awareness to the issue. 
• We dedicated multiple monthly Conservatives Of The Upstate meetings to the issue. 
• We discussed realistic issues with the project such as fencing and privacy, reversionary ownership rights, just compensation, liability, environmental and safety concerns, and realistic costs for policing, signage, construction, due diligence, and taxpayer burdens.
Conservatives Of The Upstate has these final observations of the issue:

• Visual appearance of site contamination (although unconfirmed)

• There are still concerns over police jurisdiction as the trail meanders through the county and outside the city limits - meaning that possibly three separate law enforcement agencies, and therefore high cost, will be involved.

• DHEC is in a contradictory position because they have already cleared the site without a truly in depth testing or impartial second opinion.

• There is an appearance of stunted growth vegetation and forestation along the track.

• Upstate Forever, in a letter to The Federal Surface Transportation Board stated, "We encourage government to do whatever is necessary" to get this project approved and funded. This statement is irresponsible as it has the insinuation that possible expedience, rather than safety, constitutional duty, and financial responsibility should be priority.

Conservatives Of The Upstate is proud to have stood up for what is right - in all ways. We conducted ourselves professionally, calmly, morally, and ethically sound. We will continue to do so!


Conservatives Of The Upstate

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