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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Meeting Notes From The October 2013 Pickens County School Board Meeting

Meeting Notes From The October 2013 Pickens County School Board Meeting ...

Public Input:

• Phillip Bowers, Six Mile, chair of Pickens GOP spoke that he is in favor of a 2nd Middle School in Easley by means of a sale of Gettys to Legacy Charter School = no cost to taxpayer

• Michelle Wiles, Pickens, vice chair Pickens GOP seconded the idea of a sale of Gettys to Legacy.

• Johnnelle Raines, Pickens stressed to the board that Common Core standards were bad and that they can and should make a resolution against it

• Philip Smith, Liberty, expressed concerns over a speaker at last month's school board meeting that suggested a lynch mob follow trustee Ben Trotter home. Smith stressed that the speaker was a vengeful person and tries to ruin the life of anyone that gets in his path.

Smith also pointed out that according to the Pickens School Board "about section" of the School District website - three trustees maintained Easley addresses and that an additional "at large" seat or redistricted board would most likely come from Easley - making 4 of 7 members have an Easley address. Completely unfair to rest of the voters.

• A preacher stood up to give a prayer for his three minutes.

• ___________ Bearden, Pickens, appealed to the board for something to be done at Pickens Middle about his daughter getting beat up and bullied. The matter brought tears to some eyes. Bearden ended with a legal action statement.

• Weldon Clark, Liberty, affirmed Bowers and Wiles statements.


• SDPC superintendent Kelley Pew was given a raise from $500 to $750 a month for travel expenses. Saitta & Gillespie opposed. Motion passed 3-2. Saitta noted inflated figures for Federal mileage standard. Shelton noted it's not just gas, it's wear & tear on car.

(Note: Pew makes $120K plus benefits a year! It's almost certain she takes mileage off her taxes!)

• Clark Accountant Firm gave the annual financial report and the district received the highest rating possible.

• The district has 19.7 million in the bank. Which is good.

• Concerns: booster clubs, PTAs not keeping proper receipt records "ultimately although separate legal organizations, these entities are tied to the school district and their actions would result in consequences for the school district."

Concern was also expressed over booster clubs and school fundraising orgs not properly maintaining 501c3 charity status/records/taxes

• Healthcare and significantly risings costs of retirees are a major concern for any government body heading into 2015 - especially school districts. Current trend is unsustainable.

• Trustee Judy Edwards spoke out against the sale of Gettys - saying "we'll need the property someday"

• Trustee Alex Saitta spoke in favor of the sale of Gettys to Legacy charter saying "they are coming anyway, we might as well make some money off them" ... "Maybe we can find a way to partner with them."

• Trustee Jimmy Gillespie thanked the Clark Accounting Firm for their hard work and noted to the board and public that they "warn us if anything is going wrong and keep us in line"

• Trustee Jim Shelton said that he was in favor of selling Gettys but not lowering the asking price.

Executive session lasted until 7:30PM meeting lasted until 9:30PM - most attendees were there for 3.5 hours!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Scientists Refusing To Accept Logical Studies On "Climate Change"

Nebraska researchers from the Climate Assessment & Response Committee say they refuse to be used as political pawns citing,
'The problem is that the bill behind the study specifically calls for us to look at 'cyclical' climate change. In so doing, it completely leaves out human contributions to global warming.'
This is after, of course, global warming advocates had to change their name to "climate change advocates" because some areas were actually getting colder on the planet and no longer fit the global warming moniker.

Why we don't need another school board member

Why we don't need another school board member
by Philip Smith

On Tuesday October 22, I attended the delegation meeting on the Hiott-Skelton bills to add another school board member.

The delegation consisted of Senator Larry Martin and Representatives Owens, Hiott, and Skelton. Senator Thomas Alexander was not present.

The arguments presented by the delegates and by the speakers from the public, stated two reasons for adding an additional member to the school board:
• 38% of the students in Pickens County attend school in the Easley District, and supposedly the majority of their parents feel that they are not fairly represented, and

• An uneven number is supposedly needed on the board in order to avoid tie votes.
The first reason, that the parents are not fairly represented, is conspicuously false, as there is only one school board and, as Pickens County Councilman Neil Smith pointed out, all residents in Pickens County are represented by a school board member. It was also pointed out at the September 2013 school board meeting that the Liberty Area Board member, Ben Trotter, often fielded calls from all over the district and Easley Board Member Judy Edwards even went as far as saying, "Ben often helps me with calling back parents in my district."

Furthermore, School Board Member Jim Shelton's district is close to 70% Easley and only 30% Dacusville. Combined with Edwards comments - Easley seems the most represented with two and a half members!

Eleven speakers supported the bills, and several of them were not even from the Easley district! If only 3% of the parents in the Easley District desired this bill, at least 190 parents should have shown up.

The second issue is a non-issue that has only happened once according to School Board minutes.

Senator Larry Martin expressed that an at large member may be illegal, yet the League Of Women voters had four speakers and the NAACP also joined in to advocate an at large seat. An at large seat (and really ANY ELECTION) is unfair to minorities because they are poorly represented by both number and socio-economics in the county.

There must be unstated reasons for those bills to have been introduced. The only certainty about this bill is that it would increase government.

With bills like this, why would we desire MORE government, as opposed to less?

Philip Smith
Conservatives Of The Upstate, webmaster

Friday, October 25, 2013

At October 2013 Delegation Meeting To Gain Public Input From Taxpayers Of Pickens County, Hiott Says He Doesn't Have To Keep Constituents Informed

Some notes regarding the Tuesday October 22, 2013 Pickens County Delegation meeting to receive public input on the addition of a 7th school board trustee to the School District of Pickens County …

A few years ago ...

1. Pickens County Senator Larry Martin put through a bill to eliminate the two at large seats on the school board.

2. At the time it arrived on SC Governor Mark Sanford's desk, Junius Smith called his office. The Governor's representative told Mr. Smith that the Governor had no reason to sign it because no one from Pickens County had called his office requesting it be made law.

3. Junius Smith personally arranged for more than 100 people to call in one hour.

4. A representative from the Governor's office finally called Mr. Smith back and told him that our calls were blocking the Governor's business and that he would sign the bill if the calls stopped. Mr. Smith agreed.

The reason we had asked Governor Sanford to sign the bill was because the school board in place at the time used the "Greenville Plan" to put Pickens County taxpayers under the highest tax burden in the history of the County.

The debt now stands at $378 million+ of Greenville Plan debt plus another $32 million+ in legal 8% bonded indebtedness. Taxes are due to go up next year to meet the increasing existing debt. We cannot allow another school board member, designed SOLELY to gain enough votes to vote in ANOTHER $35 million for a new school.

Easley is going to spend millions on a bicycle trail and maybe it would be more prudent to spend that money on another school for their children.

Our Legislative Representative, David Hiott, was asked a simple question by Junius Smith and again by Philip Smith,
"Why were we not informed properly by the delegation of their meeting held on Wednesday September 18, 2013 discuss this issue?"
No PUBLISHED notice was made by ANY news organization concerning this meeting.

The meeting was held in the morning on a Wednesday (when arguably most are at work or at the Pickens County Flea market in this county.)

After Philip asked the same question, Representative Hiott reacted violently and nonprofessionally, and yelled at Philip that he had "… no intention of calling him every time that he decided to do something." Representative Hiott forgets that it is his job to keep the people informed of his plans for our county, that the seat he occupies in the legislature belongs to the people not him.

Philip is a member of the press; editor and writer for The Liberty Monitor, and both Junius and Philip are his constituents from two different areas.

After the meeting, Philip asked Hiott for an apology. Hiott angrily pointed towards his secretary and said, "Come over here! I'll prove to you we gave notice."

Hiott asked his secretary, "Didn't you notify the press about this meeting?"

The secretary confirmed she had not notified the press properly in order for publication and public notice of the event. Hiott continued to spout off angrily.

 Mr. Hiott should resign his office and let someone who cares about his constituents have the seat.

Junius Smith
President, Conservatives Of The Upstate

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A 12 Step Recovery Plan For Our Leaders

12 Step Recovery Plan For Our Leaders
submitted by Johnelle Raines

Our elected leaders have once again caved in and increased the debt ceiling. We are nearly 17 trillion dollars in debt, but yet our leaders do not have the will power to stand their ground and say enough is enough, we have to stop spending and get our debt under control. I think we can officially say our leaders are “SPENDOHOLICS”. This compulsive, uncontrolled desire to spend taxpayer's money to the detriment of our children's future is irresponsible and honestly downright criminal. When a leader continues to ignore the consequences of their spending behavior on the American citizens...I'd say they have an addictive personality problem which I call Spendoholism. Our leaders need to begin the 12 step program immediately. Please send the following 12 steps to your Representative, your Senator, and to Obama:

Admit you are powerless over spending other people's money and your life is unmanageable.

Come to believe there is a God who is greater than you and can restore your sanity.

Make a decision to turn your will and life over the care of God.

Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself.

Admit to God, yourself, and the taxpayers the exact nature of your wrongs.

Become entirely ready for God to remove all your defects of character.

Humbly ask God to remove your shortcomings.

Make a list of all taxpayers you have harmed and be willing to make amends to them all.

Make a direct amends to the taxpayers wherever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.

Continue to take a personal inventory and when you are wrong promptly admit it.

Seek through prayer to improve your contact with God praying for knowledge of His will for you and the power to carry that out.

Having had this spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, carry this message to other spendoholics and practice these principles in all your affairs.

Maybe, just maybe this will wake them up and serve as an intervention...

Submitted by: 
Johnnelle Raines

Do you want to be liked or accomplish something?

"If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time and you would achieve nothing."

~ Margaret Thatcher

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Pickens County School District Town Hall Meeting

From The School District Of Pickens County:
You’re invited to a town hall meeting with our superintendent, Dr. Kelly Pew. She’s looking forward to talking with parents and community members about the state of the district. Topics will include goals, instructional initiatives, the future of our schools and more. Each meeting will include an open-mic session for you to ask Dr. Pew, Pickens County Superintendent, questions.

You can even email your questions beforehand!

Send them to

November 5, 2013 6:30PM  
Daniel High School Auditorium

January 9, 2014 - 6:30PM 
New Gettys Middle School Auditorium

Cities Of Pickens & Easley To Host Doodle Trail "Workshop"

The City of Easley and the City of Pickens will hold a public workshop focusing on the Doodle Rail Trail Feasibility Study on Thursday, November 14, 2013 from 5:30PM -7:30PM.

The workshop will be held in the multi-purpose room at the YMCA in Pickens.

Public input will be sought for the project.

For more information, contact

Easley City Hall
(864) 855-7900


Pickens City Hall
(864) 878-6421

The "Hiott- Skelton" Bills To Add A Pickens County School Board Member

Representatives Davey Hiott and BR Skelton filed two bills in May of 2013 to restructure the Pickens County School Board (Hiott-Skelton bills H4258 and H4165) As you know, in 2007, H3782 deleted the at-large seats. A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 6:00PM.

Pickens County Career & Technical Center
990 Chastain Road
Liberty, SC 29657

At this hearing, the delegation (Larry Martin, Phil Owens, Davey Hiott, and BR Skelton) will hear from the public as to whether Hiott-Skelton should pass.

The "logic" for Hiott-Skelton is that the six member board does not function properly because it has an even number of members. That "logic" is meritless. There have been only a handful of split votes and those were worked out amicable either in the same meeting or subsequent meetings. The other purported reason for Hiott-Skelton is that Easley is not equally represented on the board. That argument is meritless as well. Law requires all districts to be approximately the same (number of voters). The six single-member district model has worked very well for the school board, and has also worked well for County Council for years.

Any at large seat favors Easley.

You are encouraged to attend the hearing on the 22nd and voice your opinion.

One final and very IMPORTANT note, we need to daily monitor what our representatives do when in Columbia. H4258 could have passed with little to no public input were it not for some who opposed that tactic. Hiott-Skelton actually tried this deceitful maneuver on May 30th, but were unable to slip it through. You can read all about their maneuvering in House Journals for May 30th and June 4th. If this is such a good thing, why did Hiott-Skelton file two separate bills and try to avoid public scrutiny?

Greenville County: 1% Sales Tax For Roads or Bike Lanes?

A new 1% local option sales tax proposed was proposed by Greenville County Council on Tuesday October 1, 2013. It was said the money would be for "the capital improvement of County roads".

Roads sound great, but Greenville County roads are in good shape. The potholes are in State Roads. This 1% tax will not fix State roads. It will however fund more bike lanes and narrow our already over crowded streets.

1% Tax Resolution is attached...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Reading The Affordable Healthcare Act ...

The Truth About the Health Care Bill
Michael Connelly, Retired Constitutional Attorney

I have read the entire text of proposed House Bill 3200: The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009. I studied it with particular emphasis from my area of expertise, constitutional law. I was frankly concerned that parts of the proposed law that were being discussed might be unconstitutional.

What I found was far worse than what I had heard or expected.

To begin with, much of what has been said about the law and its implications is in fact true, despite what the Democrats and the media are saying. The law does provide for rationing of health care, particularly where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are involved, free health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion services, and probably forced participation in abortions by members of the medical profession.

The Bill will also eventually force private insurance companies out of business,and put everyone into a government run system. All decisions about personal health care will ultimately be made by federal bureaucrats, and most of them will not be health care professionals. Hospital admissions, payments to physicians, and allocations of necessary medical devices will be strictly controlled by the government.

I have concluded that this legislation really has no intention of providing affordable health care choices. Instead it is a convenient cover for the most massive transfer of power to the Executive Branch of government that has ever occurred,or even been contemplated. If this law or a similar one is adopted, major portions of the Constitution of the United States will effectively have been destroyed.

I defy anyone to read the text of the U.S. Constitution and find any authority granted to the members of Congress to regulate health care.

If you decide not to have healthcare insurance, or if you have private insurance that is not deemed acceptable to the Health Choices Administrator appointed by Obama, there will be a tax imposed on you. It is called a tax instead of a fine because of the intent to avoid application of the due process clause of the 5th Amendment. However , that doesn't work because since there is nothing in the law that allows you to contest or appeal the imposition of the tax, it is definitely depriving someone of property without the due process of law.

The 9th Amendment that provides: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people;

The 10th Amendment states: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are preserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Under the provisions of this piece of Congressional handiwork neither the people nor the states are going to have any rights or powers at all in many areas that once were theirs to control.

I could write many more pages about this legislation, but I think you get the idea. This is not about health care; it is about seizing power and limiting rights. Article 6 of the Constitution requires the members of both houses of Congress to "be bound by oath or affirmation to support the Constitution." If I was a member of Congress I would not be able to vote for this legislation or anything like it, without feeling I was violating that sacred oath or affirmation. If I voted for it anyway, I would hope the American people would hold me accountable.

For those who might doubt the nature of this threat, I suggest they consult the source, the U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights. There you can see exactly what we are about to have taken from us.

Michael Connelly
Carrollton, Texas