Only the full website address works when linking on social media. Please use


*You can scroll beyond the COTU Twtter feed to read more in depth articles and see a decade + of COTU archived posts in the right side column

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 ...

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


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.

(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