COTU MEETINGS ARE HELD MONTHLY

* SEE SPECIAL MEETING NOTES & LOCATIONS IN POSTS BELOW *

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

High School Coach Suspended For Praying Files Federal Lawsuit...

A high school football coach in the state of Washington has filed a federal lawsuit against the school district that suspended him for praying at games with the team ...

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

December 2015 Meeting ...

Thursday December 10, 2015
6:30PM

There will be  a meeting of COTU at the Blue Ridge Bible Church,769 Belle Shoals Rd.  

We will discuss some interesting subjects.

Junius Smith
President of Conservatives of the Upstate

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A summary of the December 2015 County Council Meeting (12/7/15)

A summary of the December 2015 County Council Meeting / 12/7/15

Last night the Pickens County Council had their last public meeting before the Christmas Holidays.  

It was the pleasure of the Conservatives of the Upstate to wish each and every member of the Council a Merry Christmas and remind them of Jesus Christ's birth. 

Junius Smith presented Mrs. Patricia Watkins' Children's book featuring her doggy.  Was very professionally and interestingly done.

Junius Smith represented The Conservatives of the Upstate and he covered the following items:

1.  The performance of the County County  Council is far better than that of the School Board for the following reasons.  The School Board failed to follow law 12-43- 285 at the last meeting and even after being warned that they were breaking the law in spending some of the $789,000 dollars over collected  that should be refunded to the people, they voted to spend some of the money anyway on assistant principal pay raises.

2.  They refused to stop refinancing the revenue bonds that they do not own; thus violating a court order and the law concerning the limitation of borrowing by schools to 8% of the appraised property in the county.  SCAGO owns the bonds. and cannot transfer them or the money to the Board.

3.  The County Council just recently came out in favor of a non-admittance to unvetted Syrian refugees at the request of the Conservatives of the Upstate.  Johnnelle Raines led this discussion for COTU.  We all are proud of their foresight in light of the San Bernardino massacre.

4.  The County Council was praised for their swift action in eliminating the fire fee on vacant land.  They were reminded that the mobile home fee is still too high and were asked to lower this fee.

5. The Conservatives of the Upstate recommend that the Council study the following requests for action in 2016:

A.  Over-collection of taxes and their disposition.

B.  Refuse the $6.5 million demand by Tri-County Tech for the purpose of building a Student Union building because Pickens County has spent $10s of millions already on a career center which duplicates the Tri-County mission that they have practically abandoned. 

Article 11, section 3 SC Constitution says the state is responsible for school infrastructure not the counties.

C.  Reclassifying road front property

D.  Change Comprehensive Plan to a more free enterprise, capitalistic, plan.

E.  Fix the County Jail problem without building a completely new jail.  Lead a forum on the Judicial system which is broken and causing the jail to be over occupied.

F.  After requesting relief for the umpteenth time, sue the State of South Carolina for not funding the county properly.

G. Involve the Pickens County Auditor and Treasurer in the setting of millage and the over-collection as per 12-43-285.

H. Establish a system for monitoring the internet and instructing the Sheriff's office to follow up on dangerous items posted.

Then Pree Hamilton of the County Humane Society thanked Neil Smith for contributing $500 dollars for a computer and asked for any available funds.  Mrs Patricia Watkins and Junius Smith also made contributions.

The auditing of the County books revealed no major problems.

The League of Women Voters continued to insist that there is a problem with the funding of elections.  The Council insisted that there was not a problem.

The More Peaceful Side Of Islam Speaks ...

In this 2014 interview, a Shiite cleric gives an outline of how he would bring peace to the world ...

Note that the Shiite side of Islam is considered the more peaceful side. Focus on the media has been on Sunni Muslims because 100% of terrorists identity with Sunni precepts.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Charleston Senator Pre-files SC Gun Registration Bill ...

In the wake of the Charleston shooter, Dylan Roof ... Charleston Senator Marlon Kimpson (D) has prefiled the following bill to be considered by the SC legislature when they return to session in January ..,

A BILL TO AMEND CHAPTER 31, TITLE 23 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO FIREARMS, TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON WHO OWNS A FIREARM SHALL REGISTER THE FIREARM WITH THE STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT DIVISION; TO PROVIDE THAT THE STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT DIVISION SHALL MAINTAIN A LIST OF FIREARM SERIAL NUMBERS; TO PROVIDE THAT THE STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT DIVISION MUST PUBLISH A REPORT; TO PROVIDE FOR PENALTIES; AND TO DEFINE NECESSARY TERMS.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1. Chapter 31, Title 23 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

“Section 23-31-30. (A) For the purposes of this section, ‘firearm’ means a weapon which is designed to or readily may be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, or the frame or receiver of that weapon.

(B)(1) A person who owns a firearm within this State shall register the firearm’s serial number and the person’s contact information with SLED within thirty days of purchase.

(2) Any change of contact information must be communicated in writing to SLED within ten days of the change.

(C) A person who owns a firearm that does not have a serial number shall bring the firearm to SLED headquarters to have it registered in a manner determined by SLED.

(D) SLED must maintain a list of all firearm serial numbers and the names and contact information for each person to whom the firearm is registered. SLED may release the list of firearm serial numbers or verify the status of the serial number only if the request is made by a law enforcement agency to aid in an official investigation, or if the list is required to be released pursuant to a subpoena or court order. SLED may charge a fee not to exceed its costs in releasing the information under this subsection. Except as otherwise provided in the subsection, a person in possession of a list of firearm serial numbers obtained from SLED must destroy the list.

(E) During the first quarter of each calendar year, SLED must publish a report of the information regarding the previous calendar year. The report must include a breakdown of the information by county.

(F) A person who fails to register the firearm’s serial number in accordance with this section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.”

SECTION 2. A person who owns a firearm as of the effective date of this act shall have one year from the effective date of this act to register his firearm with SLED. During the first year after the effective date of this act, the penalty provision contained in this act shall be suspended for violations by a person who owned a firearm prior to the effective date of this act. In lieu of the penalties for those people, warnings shall be issued for violations. The warnings must include information related to registration requirements and the manner in which the owner of a firearm must register the firearm. SLED shall undertake an educational campaign to inform the public of the registration requirements contained in this act.

SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.


* Credit: Spartanburg Tea Party

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Pastor Jailed Over Holiday For Handing Out Informational Flier In Front Of Court House

Former pastor, Keith Wood, was arrested for simply handing out brochures about jury rights on a public sidewalk in front of a courthouse. 

The court set a $150,000 bond to try to force Mr. Wood to be in jail over Thanksgiving away from his family and refused to appoint him a court-appointed attorney.

The judicial system is more of a mess than than the political system.

Read more:

And Pickens County just finished buying a whole bunch of Chrome OS laptops ...


Respected digital rights advocate, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) files federal complaint stating Google is intentionally data mining student info with low cost alternative "Chrome OS" laptops ...


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hiott Bill To Destroy Mobile Pet Vaccs Ressurected In SC Senate ...

From The State:

SC Bill Would Cage Animal Health Care Shelters Say 


This bill was originally designed by Pickens/Liberty Area Representative Davey Hiott- meant to squash our local Pet Vacc - that not only helps citizens financially but brings a lot of business in Pickens County ...

Contact Pickens County Senator Larry Martin to express your concerns about this bill ...

Columbia Office Phone: 

Home Address
P.O. Box 247
Pickens 29671

Home Phone: (864) 878-6105
Mobile Phone: (864) 306-2126

Or attend The Pickens County Legislative Delegation Meeting to express your concerns in person.

Thursday, January 7, 2016. 5:30PM

Clemson City Hall Council Chambers

Friday, November 27, 2015

You'd be jailed for stealing $10,000. Then why aren't our elected officials jailed for stealing hundreds of thousands, millions, or billions?

Have you given any thought to the fact that the South Carolina Department Of Revenue over-collected $1.16 billion dollars this year and yet the schools in the counties are underfunded?

In fact, Pickens County Schools were under-funded by at least $10 million dollars. Had we gotten this money all our educational needs would have been met.  The panacea that Henry Wilson and Phillip Bowers spoke of could have become a reality.  Do you realize that $1.16 Billion dollars is $1,160 million that should go back to the counties and if it doesn't, it's the same as stealing from the people of this state.  Did our County Council and School Board sue to get our money?  No! Why then?  We can't have conflict between politicians!  We can't have trouble in the Martin, Collins, Clary and Hiott & Friends teepee of consensus.  

No one has the guts to stand up for the people.

Do you realize that when the School Board over-collected $789,000 in the first three months of the current fiscal year, and that the people of Pickens County who have been over-charged, are due this money back.  12-43-285 instructs the County Treasurer to set up a separate account so that this money can be refunded or credited at the next year tax billing.  If the School Board over-collected, then so did the County Council, and the cities.  

Why don't they follow the law?

It's because we don't make them.  If you stole this much money, you would be in our jail with all the unfortunate convicts (or unconvicts-- those that await a trial--some violating the Constitution by not getting a reasonably quick trial).

In 2007, Senator Martin wrote me an email and said this needed to be fixed, but it hasn't been.  I have personally told all political entities in this County both present and past 38 years that this problem needs to be fixed.  Instead they have found more ways to rip you off.

Junius Smith
President Conservatives of the Upstate

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A summary of the November 2015 Pickens County School Board Meeting ...

During the Public Forum, I presented the School Board with the information that SC law 12-43-285 prevents them from spending the over-collection of $789,000 in money obtained during the first three months of this fiscal year. I emphasized that it was not against the law to collect the money by mistake, but was against the law to keep the money.  

The school board is on target to over-collect $3.2 million this year.  I told them of 5 ways that over-collection could occur: by under-estimating the value of a mill, by putting the protested taxes in the delinquent tax fund and not immediately counting them, giving the board more room to increase their budget, by under-estimating the value of a mill right after reassessment, by setting collectibility at less than 100% when all taxes are either collected or the property is sold and the actual figure is probably 103% or more due to penalties and fees.  

Board Trustee, Phillip Bowers retorted that he wished people would stop beating up the school board when the  County Auditor was responsible.  Alex Saitta re-explained all these law breaking procedures to the Board who had no intention of following the law.  Henry Wilson castigated anyone other than the Board as being part of a fringe, loud, trouble making group, and that he was not going to even listen to their talk anymore, but was going to concentrate on the 95% in the middle.  I have no idea where he got his figures, but we had 2100 signatures on our last petition and 352 members of The Conservatives of the Upstate and the whole of the Pickens County Taxpayers Association in agreement with the majority of positions taken by COTU.  Also, I do not know where Dr. Wilson studied statistics but 95% covers more than two standard deviations on each side of the middle. In tougher words he was shooting a pie in the sky with his remarks.

The Board was informed that Tri County Tech was asking for $6.5 million and that every government entity wanted more money and that they needed to stop.  The Board went into executive session and voted for rich people in education to get $80,000 and $50,000 for good measure.  Pickens County Schools has spent tens of millions on the Career Center and is doing the original mission of The Tech schools in training people for the trades and to work in industry.  Tri County Tech has morphed into a junior college for Clemson and a way that students at Clemson have a way of avoiding incompetent and unfair professors.

Junius Smith informed the Board that they did not own most of the Construction Bonds and could not own them because of the 8% rule in the constitution.  The money that they accrue from the refinance has to go to SCAGO who owns the bonds.

Junius Smith
President, Conservatives of the Upstate.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

November 2015 School Board Meeting ...

The Pickens County School Board will meet at the Administrative Bldg on Griffin Rd at 6PM Monday November 23, 2015. They will discuss how to spend $789,000 that does not belong to them according to law 12-43-285. This money either has to be refunded or credited to the tax payers.  The money was obtained from asking for too many mills and is the amount for only three months of the fiscal year.  I have an email from Larry Martin dated in 2007 telling me that this problem should have already been corrected.  

They will probably tell us about refinancing the school bonds that they do not own.  

Please come and support the Conservatives of the Upstate in this matter.

Junius Smith
Conservatives of the Upstate

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Saudi Government Has Space For 3 Million Refugees But Has Taken In ...

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/saudi-arabia-100000-empty-tents-ac-3-million-people-refugees/


Syrian Refugee Reference Points ...

• Two of the Paris terrorists had faked Syrian passports. They were supposedly brought in from several of the refugee resettlements into Europe.

• The problem with someone from a third world country is they have no verifiable past. Some may have only interacted with >10 people in their lifetime.

^ That's very close to impossible in the USA.

• ISIS means Islamic State In Syria

There is no such organization as ISIL

ISIL means Islamic State Iraq Levant

This is made up media / politically correct term

ISIS has claimed the attack on Paris

• 97% of the refugees by United Nations assessment are Suni Muslim / ALL terrorists have been / are Suni


• Islam says follow Quran 4:89. 
 (Kill non believers)

Shiites are the "good Muslims" that don't adhere to the violent part of Islam and in fact - portray it as an outdated maxim.

Shiites account for 3% of all refugees.

6 million Muslims live in France 

6 million in Germany

+/- 3% are Shiite

What we are teaching them is to run in the face of a fight. The USA wasn't formed by fleeing - it was instilled with patriotism because we stayed and took a stand.

• The Quran Surah 4:157 says that Christians are liars because they believe Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead.

We cannot be neighbors with someone who, before even a handshake or eye contact, believes we are liars.

• The Quran says in order to be faithful you must adhere to the word (Quran 3:56)

• Quran 2:191-193 says kill all who disagree

The Old Testament is historical and contextual. No Christian can justify modern warfare in a civilized society with the New Testament. Borders are decided. Religious truths are known. Information is widespread.

The Quran is open ended and justifies lying cheating killing of innocents. 

We are all sinners. Our biggest sin is not believing in Jesus Christ or blaspheming his holy name. Muslims perceive their biggest sin as allowing us to exist.

• To any news source saying this doesn't affect South Carolina because no refugees have arrived yet, read this story from April 2015 before this was news:



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Notary Services ...

People often need a Notary, but most aren't aware that Notaries are bound to certain allowable fees.  Unless travel is involved, a MAXIMUM $5 fee can be charged for each notarial act in South Carolina.

Visit: scsos.com to learn more about notaries.

A Summary Of The November 2015 Pickens County Council Meeting ...

Last night's meeting with the County Council went as follows:

Junius Smith, Conservatives Of The Upstate President, thanked council for being at the forefront of the Syrian refugee resettlement issue and listening to the petition of the people to deny any funding or the acceptance of the issue.

1.  Paulette Murphree talked about the excessive cost of fire fees.  Her main points were as follows: the fire fees on mobile homes are the same as a five thousand square foot house,  that it takes less equipment to work a fire, that the mobile home is usually destroyed when the fire fighters get there, and the $100-150 charge will put mobile home owners out of business.

The Council's main point was that no one had put out a complaint until last night.  This was answered by Mrs. Murphree that no one minded paying a $25 fee over the years, but $100 or over was too high.  She also said that one of the Council members had a negative attitude and that she would have nothing else to say. The Council member changed his approach at that point and the meeting continued.

Deana McAnulty also spoke on the topic of mobile home fire fees ~ stating that she rents 9 affordable mobile homes and that the fire fees would cost her $900 a year.

2.  Junius Smith, President of the Conservatives of the Upstate talked about 5 issues: Excessive fire fees of $100-150 on mobile homes, The fact that the Council has to approve any increase or monetary expenditure by a local fire board, that there have been multiple trips to the same fire and counted as more than one fire. Smith cautioned the Council that they were not getting all the facts before approving the items a fire board wants and that when a fire fee was $25 citizens didn't mind paying.  

Mr. Smith also brought up other points like the the school board had over-collected $789,000 during the first three months of the fiscal year which means that the county and cities had over-collected because they use the same worth of a mill.   There is a slight difference in collectability of taxes between the county and school board.  They all need to refund the money under 12-43-285 or break the law.

3.  Smith talked about Tri-County Tech -asking the County for $6.5 milllion dollars to build a building which is illegal under the SC Constitution Article 11, Section 3.  He also reminded the Council that Tri-County Tech was originally set up to train workers for industry and not be a junior college for Clemson University.  It also should be noted that Pickens County has spent 10s of millions on building, equipping, and staffing a school exactly like Tri-County Tech was supposed to be doing in the form of the Career & Technology Center.

4. Mr. Smith pointed out that the Six Mile water district was making property owners that rent to others responsible for collecting water bills.  While the County Council is not responsible for water, this was another example of government pushing responsibility back on property owners and not reducing payments.

5.  Mr. Smith ended his talk by pointing out that he, his son, Neil Smith and others had been castigated by a web site called "anonymous" and that he could not get help from anyone in Pickens County to nail down the threats and libel that the person who put this up on the internet.  He said that the system of justice in Pickens County was not justice any more, but based on procedure only. 

6.  Pree Hamilton, President of the Board  along with the Director for the Humane Society of Pickens County said that they were putting on a comedy show on December 5th in order to raise money for the care of the animals.  She also asked the Council for money for a new computer for the shelter.  Neil Smith, Council Member, volunteered a check for $500.00 to pay for for the computer. The Royal Order of Police donated $2500 to the shelter to help them run the operation.

7.  Ellenor Hare talked about money for the elections.  The Council assured her that there would be enough money to hold all the elections.  Better communications were recommended by Ms. Hare.

Junius Smith
President Conservatives of the Upstate

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Six Mile Water District Plan To Pin Water Bills On Property Owners Could Kill Mobile Home Rentals County Wide

Six Mile Water District Plan To Pin Water Bills On Property Owners Could Kill Mobile Home Rentals County Wide

Mixed with unfair fire fees where a mobile dollar home pays as much as a million home outside city limits, landlords across the county will face raising rent on affordable housing.

Many mobile homes, apartments, and rental homes in the county could face raised rental prices if "this experiment" from the Six Mile Water District is successful.

It should be noted that The Six Mile Water District is the only water department to implement this at this time, but several other districts in Pickens County are watching and will be taking up measures over the next few months.

Please express your concerns about this issue at your next city or county council meeting.

Endangering Public Liberty ...

“There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.”  
                            ~ John Adams

The Real War On Christmas ...

This Is NOT the War on Christmas, But I’ll Show You What Is…

There’s a real war on Christmas, but it’s much harder to look at than a Starbucks cup. 

starbucjs

There is a real war on Christmas.

But it has nothing to do with Starbucks.

I’ll explain.

If you’re one of the Christians “outraged” about the war on Christmas you have been duped. Deceived. Tricked… Into thinking a company that takes snowmen and ornaments off of their cups or keeps their employees from saying “Merry Christmas” is throwing down the gauntlet on Jesus.

The over-hyped story about the war on Christmas is really a war on Christian intelligence. And, to be honest, I don’t think many of you are falling for it. Most of it’s just media noise.

The real war on Christmas, which I’ll share in just a minute, is much darker than any coffee Starbucks serves up.

One quick rant: We should never expect a mainstream, non-Christian company to uphold “our” beliefs and convictions about Jesus. Starbucks is not the church and they can do whatever they want with their cups. Besides, they never had the baby Jesus or the cross on their cups—we’re talking about Snowmen. Trees. Ornaments. Snow flakes.

These symbols might mean a lot to us, but they are not Christian.

I repeat. These symbols are not Christian.

Every year the controversy about mainstream companies assaulting our right to say Merry Christmas gets stirred up and social media goes crazy with well-meaning Christians posting knee-jerk responses.

It’s ridiculous. I’ll prove it to you.

There are Christians in prison in Iran right now. People Like Pastor Saeed Abedini who have given their life for the gospel and endured extreme persecution—with no end in sight.

saeed

There are Christians in Afghanistan who worship together—risking their lives in the midst of religious extremists.

pers2

There are teenagers in Sudan who are staking their claim for Jesus at the risk of torture, banishment and death.

sudan

This is the real war on Christmas.

The one that we like to look away from because it’s horrible, dark, gruesome and evil.

These are acts of war—focused on the actual person of Jesus and his followers.

If we could bend all of this energy away from cups and holiday greetings and open up our eyes to see the real battle—remember, the one where Satan seeks to devour us? Just think about the impact we could have on the mission of Christ?

It would be astounding.

If we could bypass all of these silly arguments and get serious about Christmas—and what it really means for the world, we would never cry out about pithy slogans or decorations. We would, instead, cry out for the world to know Jesus and for our brothers and sisters in prison—and suffering from persecution—to find freedom and relief through the very power of God.

We have the Holy Spirit within us. The same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead and claimed victory over death and sin forever.

This Holy Spirit does not suffer silly arguments and neither should we.

This Holy Spirit is ready to be unleashed like wind all over the world when the Church prays holy prayers filled with expectancy, power and confidence in the strength of God and his listening ears.

Who cares what happens with cups and ornaments or holiday greetings? Let’s care about what happens to people. Real people. Our real brothers and sisters who are experiencing the war on Christmas like you and I have never imagined.

Would Jesus jump on social media in outrage over Starbucks’ cups–or any other media story about a company keeping their seasons greetings generic? I think it’s silly to think so. Not just silly, I’ll say it—it’s foolish.

Don’t fall for it. Don’t get sucked in.

Instead, let’s take our collective strength—and our social media real estate—and shoot up prayers and encouragement to the imprisoned, the persecuted and the faithful.

It’s so much easier to debate the color of cups or the petty religious micro-persecutions we see in America—and call that a war—than it is to fix our gaze on real persecution and all the darkness surrounding it.

Let’s never forget about the real war on Christmas.

Jesus come quickly.

By Brian Orme, founding editor of ChurchLeaders.com & Faithit.com 

Lawsuit Alleges Oconee County School Board "Rubber Stamps" Superintendent ...

Groups in Pickens County want the School Board to "rubber stamp" any idea the superintendent comes up with. The problem is ... The school board is elected by the people to represent the people's interest in our schools; whereas the superintendent often represents special interest groups or lobby efforts and is unelected (at least in Pickens County) ...

Visit the link below for the full story ...



Wednesday, November 11, 2015

South Carolina Receives "D-" Grade In Disclosure & Judiciary From Watchdog Group

State of South Carolina Gets Grade Of D- For Public Disclosure, Mostly Due To Municipal & School District Complaints

In a report by the Center for Public Integrity, looking at government accountability and transparency in all 50 states, South Carolina gets a grade of “D-“ and ranks 36th overall. South Carolina got grades of “F” on public access to information, political financing, legislative accountability, judicial accountability, and ethics enforcement agencies.

“South Carolina has some basic problems,” says John Crangle, state director for the government watchdog group Common Cause. “One is a conflict of interest problem, where a lot of public officials of this state are part-timers and they’re using their public office as an opportunity to make money on the side."

The state’s lowest ranking, 44th, comes in public access to information. The state gets a “zero” for the public’s ability to get information in a timely manner and reasonable effort.

An example of that may be a school board that doesn’t publicize how it chooses a new superintendent, and then stonewalls a citizen who tries to get more information about the candidates. “If their stonewalling isn’t effective, then they’ll come back and try to charge you more than the law allows to look for the records and make them available, to dissuade you from making your request,” Jay Bender, a Freedom Of Information Act lawyer and proponent says.

Judges are not elected in South Carolina as well. The report indicates this doesn't give the citizens recourse against an irresponsible judiciary or cronyism.

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2015/11/09/18517/south-carolina-gets-d-grade-2015-state-integrity-investigation

November 2015 Meeting ...

There will be a meeting of the Conservatives of the Upstate tomorrow night at the Blue Ridge Bible Church at 769 Belle Shoals Rd at 6:30 PM.  We will discuss the mobile home fire fee, the over-collecting of taxes and other important topics.  If you want to be informed on County and School Board business, you need to come to this meeting.  We will also talk about the County Council meeting on next Monday night.  Our Conservative group gives you standing if you want to speak at the meeting.

Junius Smith President
Conservatives of the Upstate

Thank You Veterans ...


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Fire Fee Punishes Mobile Home Owners / Renters

Mobile Home Owners, 

If you live in Pickens County, do you know that you pay the same Fire Fee in your property taxes on a mobile home as someone who lives in a 5,000 sq. ft. home?  Billy Gibson, the fire chief for Pickens, quoted only a few weeks ago, “…I don’t like the flat rate fee for mobile home owners either.  It doesn’t take nearly the resources a 5,000 sq. ft. home would.”  So why in the world are they charging these ridiculous rates?  To give you an example of the questionable fee, someone with a mobile home valued at $2500 would pay $132 in yearly taxes, of which $100 solely in the fire fee.  Over 300% of your property taxes are in fire fees.  

The council knows this is an issue.  It is a legitimate argument and we need to voice our opinion at the next county council meeting.  If you happen to be one of these mobile home owners, regardless if you rent it out or use as a primary residence, please attend the next county council meeting which will be held at the Pickens County Administration Facility at 222 McDaniel Ave. on Monday, November 16 at 6:30 p.m.     

This council recently rescinded a fire fee placed on all vacant lots after the community complained.  If enough property owners voice their opinion in opposition, the council members would have to address.   

Thank you for your time! 

Deana McAnulty
Conservatives Of The Upstate 

Conservatives,

Some of you may feel this is not your problem because you don't live in or own a mobile home.  But let me refresh your memory about some of the things that are going on in our government.  The fire fee on vacant lots of land was the beginning of government take over of all farm land.  The large fee on mobile homes will lead to small renters losing their businesses.  The water company in Six Mile has just sent out a notice to property owners that if they rent their properties out they will have to be responsible for collecting water bills from the renter.  The school district has just notified the public that they have over-collected upwards of $770,000 because of "growth of the tax base" and they are trying to figure out how to spend the money which legally belongs to the tax payers and by law. 12-43-285; which states must be returned to the tax payers.  This would mean that the millage rate was set too high in the first place or % collectability was wrongly anticipated or both.  So I ask you which one of these are your problem.  

Please come to the County Council  Meeting on November 16 and help us tell the County Council we want them to do something about all these problems.

Junius Smith
President Conservatives of the Upstate

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Eminant Domain; A new bill may sound familiar to Pickens County Residents ...

If we go back a year, we might remember Pickens County Legislative Delegation Representative, Davey Hiott had proposed something similar ...

Summarized from The SC Policy Council:

A Senate Judiciary subcommittee met on the State House grounds on Tuesday October 20, 2015 to consider a bill that would give eminent domain powers to a private company.

Eminent domain is the government’s power to take private land for monetary compensation. Originally eminent domain was only supposed to be used for clearly outlined “public purposes” – the building of a highway, for example – but the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo decision of 2005 has allowed state and local governments to take land for all sorts of reasons. Even under the best circumstances, eminent domain power can easily lead to gross violations of citizens’ right to own property. The Doodle Trail in Pickens County can be your local example.

That leads us to the bill now in the General Assembly. It was crafted in response to efforts by energy corporation Kinder Morgan to build a pipeline for petroleum products. The pipeline would originate in Belton, South Carolina and terminate in Jacksonville, Florida. The corporation believes it already has eminent domain powers under existing South Carolina law, but the Attorney General’s Office says it does not. The bill has the potential to resolve this conflict in favor of the corporation.

The state constitution reads that eminent domain shall not be used to condemn private property, unless the taking is for a public use – projects such as roads and parks. But nowhere in the constitution or code is “public use” defined, leaving it open for public officials to interpret more or less as they wish.

The constitution also allows eminent domain to be used as a remedy for “blight.” Not only is the term “blight” expansively defined; the constitution allows land condemned for "blight" to be put to private use.

State law already grants eminent domain powers to privately owned utilities – telephone companies, electric lighting and power companies, water supply companies, pipeline companies, and canal companies.

Rather than repairing the damage done by the U.S. Supreme Court a decade ago, South Carolina lawmakers may be poised to chip away at South Carolinians’ property rights even further. Handing out eminent domain rights to private companies would do exactly that.



Wednesday, October 21, 2015

An Overview Of The October 2015 Pickens County Council Meeting ...

I want to thank the people who responded to our call for attendance at Monday night's County Council meeting.  The most gratifying thing to me is that I could identify a direct relation to my telephone calls and emails and to at least 40 Pickens people.  I give the County Council credit for admitting their mistake in the way the fire fees were presented to the people.  At the same time, they left the door of possibility open for this problem again.  The farmers of this county will not accept any, I repeat any, sort of fee or tax on farm land.  Some of the County Council members don't realize the importance of being able to bank tracts of land in agriculture.  Trees, grassland etc. produce oxygen for the atmosphere and for our breathing.  Cattle, vegetables, and fruits and lumber products are produced for the health and very lives of the people.  Without these things there would be no need for a fire department.  However, we all realize the value of first-responders who protect our homes and perform valuable other services.  This county owes a tremendous debt to the volunteer firemen who for so long have provided services.  

Now we are faced with a growing demand for full time employees and expensive equipment that the people of Pickens County cannot afford.  There are some folks on fire boards and the public that are swayed by trumped up analysis of brush fires. In 2007-2008, I was provided computer documents that showed that some of the fire departments were trying to convince people that brush fires constituted 40% of the total fires in Pickens County.  Upon analyzing them myself, I found such things as the same fire was recorded two, three, four times. A member of the Fire Board told me this problem was created by a volunteer chief that wanted to be full time and get a state retirement.  The chief even went so far as to stage a brush fire at a County Council meeting where all the firemen rushed from the meeting to a raging fire.  The fire was supervised by some firemen. Yet, the County Council saw fit to thrust a fire fee in 2015 of high proportions on the farmers of this county without looking at the evidence of 2007-2008.  They have ignored the fact that the forestry department is responsible for these fires.  They have allowed the fire districts to raise the fees on everyone ~ especially mobile home owners.  As everyone should know, fire districts cannot raise fees without the approval of the County Council. According to state law and multiple Supreme Court decisions; an unelected body cannot raise taxes or fees; an elected body must approve all their actions as far as taxes and fees are concerned.  So if you want something done about this problem, a citizen must go to County Council.  They are responsible. 

Then enter Johnnelle Raines with a plea for the County Council to stop the importing of unvetted (no background check) Syrian refugees into Pickens County.  Johnnelle spent many hours researching this problem, posted all her reasons on the internet, and sent them to the County Council.  She presented a referendum to the County Council through the Conservatives Of The Upstate approved by Junius Smith, President.  The County Council approved the plea of Mrs. Raines who is a board member of the Conservatives of the Upstate.  The Council remarked that they were not against refugees, but that we had many aliens already in Pickens County that needed attention.  We praise Johnnelle for here diligent efforts.

Junius Smith 
President of Conservatives of the Upstate

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pickens County Legislative Delegation Spotted At Liberal Leaning Event ...

According to FITSnews, Pickens County legislative delegation members were spotted recently at a liberal socialite's luncheon ...

http://www.fitsnews.com/2015/10/13/polluters-ball

It should also be noted that Collins recently traveled to Turkey to be courted by the Atlantic Institute ... Where he spent considerable time "understanding Muslim culture and political bonding".

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The October 2015 COTU Meeting ...


Come to our meeting on Thursday October 8, 2015 at the Blue Ridge Bible Church at 769 Belle Shoals Rd ... Where we wilI talk about your latest tax notice - amongst a few other topics.

Monday, October 5, 2015

RESOLUTION OF THE CONSERVATIVES OF THE UPSTATE RESOLUTION ASSERTING NON-APPROVAL OF PARTICIPATION IN THE REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT PROJECT


RESOLUTION OF THE CONSERVATIVES OF THE UPSTATE
RESOLUTION ASSERTING NON-APPROVAL OF PARTICIPATION IN THE REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT PROJECT
The Protection of Health, Safety, and Welfare of the Citizens of Pickens County

WHEREAS the issue of resettlement of refugees from the Middle East is a matter of the most urgent concern, as it involves vital issues of national security, terrorism, public health, public safety, religious freedom, and immigration, and WHEREAS these issues are of such great public importance that refugee resettlements should occur only after the issues involved are fully and publicly discussed, and after the will of the people of South Carolina is clearly established through legislative action.

WHEREFORE IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED: 
(1) That we call upon all public officials, governmental, and non-governmental agencies to immediately cease and desist from all placement of refugees anywhere within the state of South Carolina, and to take all action necessary to ensure that neither state, federal, nor non-governmental agencies proceed with refugee resettlement until the people of South Carolina have spoken through their established legislative processes to establish a state public policy on any and all refugee resettlement, and
 (2) That that we hereby ask for a public and immediate order from the Governor of South Carolina directing the South Carolina DSS to cease and desist from all refugee resettlement activities until the Legislature convenes and passages legislation approving a state public policy on any and all refugee resettlement, and
 (3) That we ask that each of our state representatives and senators from  Pickens County immediately issue a letter to the Governor and the Director of the DSS stating this same request, and 
(4) That the President of Conservatives of the Upstate shall within twenty-four hours submit this resolution by email to the Governor, the Director of the DSS, and to each senator and legislator of Pickens County, to the Lutheran Family Services In the Carolinas and the President  shall further publish on the internet web page and/or Face book group of this organization a copy of this resolution, a copy of the letter of transmittal addressed to each recipient, and an ongoing status report, to be updated no less than weekly, showing which recipients have responded and how they have so responded.
PASSED AND ADOPTED THIS 5th DAY OF October, 2015, By The Conservatives of the Upstate
Signed by:
Junius Smith
President Conservatives of the Upstate

Friday, September 25, 2015

Court says SC legislation must act on "minimally adequate education" clause ...


From The State Newspaper ...

S.C. lawmakers have until February to draft legislation to improve the state’s rural schools.
That deadline was issued Thursday by the S.C. Supreme Court, less than a year after the state’s highest court ruled South Carolina is not meeting its constitutional obligation to provide a quality education to children in low-income schools.

In a 3-2 order issued Thursday, the court gave Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, and the leaders of the GOP-controlled House and Senate a Feb. 1 deadline to develop a plan – including legislation – to improve those schools.

Last year, the court ordered the state and school districts to work together to come up with an improvement plan. However, Carl Epps, an attorney representing the school districts that sued the state in 1993, said the two sides needed a time-line from the court to help move along the process.

Read more:

http://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/the-buzz/article36469272.html

It will be interesting to see what the legislature does about " minimally adequate education".  This is a phrase coined by the Supreme Court and is not a law of the state of South Carolina.  The Constitution of this State concerning education is covered in Article 11 Section 3 making the State responsible for education funding from buildings, teachers salaries and benefits, and all operational expenses.  This cannot be changed without a vote of the people to change the Constitution.  The courts cannot demand that the constitution be changed by the legislature because that in itself is unconstitutional.

Junius Smith

P.S. All the legislation that has been passed since 1950 is illegal such as the Education Finance Act and has passed a lot education finance to the counties. The politicians are daring us to sue on Constitutional grounds spending our hard earned money while they will use our money to fight us. The Pickens County School Board has usurped the responsibilities of the State and has cost the people of this county a fortune.







Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/the-buzz/article36469272.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Register to vote ...

It's National Voter Registration Day ...

Please register to vote and have a voice ...

https://info.scvotes.sc.gov/eng/ovr/start.aspx

Register online today!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Conservatives Of The Upstate Update ...

Dear Conservatives,

There will not be a meeting this Thursday as regularly scheduled.  We are concentrating on the scheduled GOP meeting that will take place at 7 pm at the Rosewood 
Center in Liberty on September 17, 2015.  If you care about your freedom and Conservative beliefs, you will come to this meeting or make room for "moderates" to take over by some type of under handed method as they did at the county convention.

We have politicians who do not care about the party platform and do not follow the same.  We have to deal with this type of attitude.

Junius Smith
President