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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Any true conservatives out there?

A failure to advise of financial issues

From a Pickens County Courier article that expresses why the City Of Liberty is facing dire financial struggles:


Maybe the County Council and Pickens County School Board should see if they have been failed as well. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Summary of the May 2017 COTU Meeting ...

Last week's meeting was not well attended, but we had a visitor, Jeffrey West. West is a reporter from the Times Examiner. Mr. West's web site is He has some interesting content for you to study if you are so inclined.

Our discussion centered on the actions of our County Council, School board, and SC State government actions. The County Council is playing with fire. They are trying to say that a property owner has given "implicit approval" to the County government for the usage (by legal right of way) of road frontage and other places for the installation of water, sewer, roads, electrical service, cable, etc. The fifth amendment prescribes "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." There is no "implicit approval" mentioned in the fifth amendment. We are one government take over from going entirely communist. We must stand and fight right here. If you allow this, there won't be any piece of private property the government cannot seize at their will. 

Lets take a look at what has happened already this year. The County Council has taken $45 million dollars of our money by over-collection (OVER THE YEARS). I have recently recalculated this figure to millions more each year because of over-collection on bonds, as well as operating expenses. The School Board and municipalities are over-collecting in the same way. Just to refresh your minds on how this is done, let's say the School Board has $350 million in bonded debt. They say only 95% will be collectible (which is a false assumption because all taxes are collectible or the property is sold). They have $350 million dollars in revenue bonds and general obligation bonds to pay off, so they collect an extra 5% (100%-95%=5% or $16 million the first year). Even at 98% collectible it is $7 million extra each year). If they are over-collecting on operating expenses, the School Board is over-collecting on bonds too. This whole thing is a fiasco and shows how our government has degenerated.
The attitude of our School Board and County Council is to see how they can get around the Constitution, not how they can "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution" as their oath of office and their promises during their election sre clearly stated. They have approved money for Tri-County Tech which is against the SC Constitution Article 11 Section 3. Only 18% of the students at Tri-County are from Pickens and Pickens County is already doing Tri County Tech's original mission and spending 10's of millions in doing it. In my opinion Pickens County should not have to Constitutionally given anything to Tech.
SC Constitution:

Article XI SECTION 3. System of free public schools and other public institutions of learning.
The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free public schools open to all children in the State and shall establish, organize and support such other public institutions of learning, as may be desirable.

The above quoted section of the SC Constitution has no other meaning than, the STATE is responsible for education. This isn't a foreign concept. Other states, far ahead of South Carolina in the rankings, provide teacher pay and student funding at the state level and do so because their state constitution mandates it.

The County Attorney has not adequately answered our question on what happens to the 20% of protested taxes when it goes into the delinquent tax account rather than a protested account. How does this money get back into the calculation to make sure that the County does not gain from reassessment? In general, our County and School Board accounting procedures are terrible. Most of the collected taxes go into a general fund that does not allow the County treasurer to separate the funds by Constitutional mandate. For instance, those funds that are over-collected should be in a separate account so that an accurate determination can be made for them.

One last subject that was discussed last night was our program for home schoolers.We will be discussing more details on this program as time progresses.

Junius Smith
President, COTU

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

May 2017 COTU Meeting ...

Conservatives Of The Upstate will hold its May 2017 meeting ...

Thursday May 11, 2017 @ 6:30PM

Blue Ridge Bible Church
769 Belle Shoals Rd
Pickens SC 29671

Tomorrow (Thursday, May11,2017)) at 6:30 PM Conservatives of the Upstate will have its monthly meeting at the Blue Ridge Bible Church at 769 Belle Shoals Road. There will be a discussion of the County Council voting against the Constitution of the State of South Carolina and its consideration to voting against the US Constitution concerning property rights in Pickens County.

There will be a discussion of having a program concerning Home Schooling in Pickens County. 

Steve Haynie and Johnnelle Raines will lead this discussion. 

Our meeting will be held to one hour.

Other business of interest will be discussed also.

Junius Smith
President, Conservatives Of The Upstate 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Liberty Is About To Double Tax On Fire Fees ...

Looks like Liberty residents are about to see a $200+ increase in their taxes (and fees which are taxes by another name). An average 25% hike on water/sewer rates and greater than $150 in a new fire fee.

One interesting side note about the fire fee is City Council okayed a motion that it was fair to collect taxes for the fire portion of property taxes AND to impose A DOUBLE FEE from the county. No service will be given from city, but they will continue to collect the "taxes" for it. They should do a tax millage rollback to adjust for the fire fee. 

Might should face a legal challenge - from the County.

Read more here:

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

From the May 2017 Pickens County Council Meeting ...

Johnnelle Raines well-put speech from Monday night's Pickens County Council Meeting:

I am speaking on behalf of over 350 Conservatives of the Upstate tonight. We have not heard whether or not the Property Rights Resolution we sent to this council 2 months ago to consider signing is being taken seriously.

Sustainable Development which Ten at the Top and Upstate Forever keep promoting is not about protecting property rights. And it is not really about creating livable communities.

These non-governmental agencies many here applaud and put up on a pedestal are about government control to change our Constitutional protection to property to fit their political agenda.

Private property ownership is the reason the United States has been the richest, freest nation in the world.

Anyone with eyes can plainly see that as private property comes under attack through Sustainable Development via these NGO's that our country is also becoming less wealthy and less free!

It’s time that we had a government that treats property owners like OWNERS – not slaves to be pushed around at the planner’s whim. It’s time to treat property owners with respect and honor our inalienable rights God gave us.

 With each new resolution or decision you make to spend OUR money that is introduced and voted on.... Please give it the SCRAP test question as suggested by American Policy Center....

Does your decision increase the Size, Cost, Reach And Power of Government? If so, SCRAP it.

Make sure, first and foremost, that you are protecting the private property rights of Pickens County taxpayers and their tax money. This is the most effective action this body can take to stop Agenda 21 and reign in run away government. Please sign the Protection of Property Property Rights resolution.

Secondly, We have asked repeatedly the question about what happens to the protested taxes being placed into the delinquent taxes which skews the figures to your advantage when the formula is applied by the auditor. Your lawyer admitted to us in our meeting that this is not supposed to be happening and told us he would check on that. But yet NO ONE is answering our questioning of that procedure. Has this indeed been stopped or will that continue? We want to know.

And finally please stop over collecting our taxes and saying you haven't raised taxes in over 10 years. You have raised them by over collecting incrementally for decades and now you are claiming it is constitutional because it is a reasonable amount set aside for emergencies....What if I went to my boss and said, by the way, I want to over collect on my salary anywhere between 3% and 5% just in case I have an emergency in my budget... that's just employer would allow that! All of us here have to balance our budget...we don't get to over collect from our employer. YOU have to budget for emergencies...we the people shouldn't be denied the right of saving that over collected amount in our own savings accounts. And just because it's always been done this way doesn't mean it's right! Or just because the adjacent county to us does it doesn't make it right!

Please stop over collecting our money!

Johnnelle Raines

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Jails and inmates without crimes?

As you can read here, we didn't need a bigger jail, we needed a better judicial system and a less expensive choice - a dedicated judge to the jail and a public defender or two or pro bono incentives ...

The election of judges could also help. If they aren't moving people through for the right reasons, expediently - remove them from office.

Read more here: