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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

"It is when people forget 
God, that tyrants 
forge their chains."
- Patrick Henry

Monday, August 28, 2017

United RINOs?

United Supporting Us RINOs Pickens
(or U.S.U.R.P. for short)
by Johnnelle Raines

Easley SC Representative Neal Collins is upset about the fact many of us true conservatives are criticizing his brain child, “Pickens United.” 

He posted this question on his Facebook page,
“Who knew an article highlighting new communication and cooperation in Pickens County between cities/county/state would draw criticism?”
He then went on to list what he sees as “accomplishments” of Pickens United.

I can answer his question and provide logical reasons as to why his list of “accomplishments” can come into question ...

WE THE PEOPLE not only will, but must criticize communication and cooperation of the city/county/state when we recognize that this “cooperation and communication” is between like minded RINO's and closet progressives that are making government bigger, taxing us more, and putting us further in debt.

Let's take a look at what Rep. Collins brags on as “accomplishments”:
1. He brags that Pickens United is “saving money at every opportunity”

Is County Council putting the taxpayer of Pickens County in debt for $32 million saving money? 

Is a ballooned budget from 25 million to 32 million for the new jail, saving money?

Is the School Board increasing millage 2 mils saving money? 

Did the School Board close two of our rural schools and then use our tax dollars to reopen them for "re-purposing" really saving money? 

Is the State voting to increase our gas tax really saving money?
2. He brags on Pickens United doing things “in a transparent manner"

Is my having to spend $100 of my own money to FOIA request information about our tax dollars being spent really “transparent?' Is my having to wait over a month to get information that they should be eager to be forthcoming about, really transparent?
He brags on Pickens United having townhalls. The first meeting didn't even allow public input. It took me complaining about this on Facebook and to Piockens Senator Rex Rice to get that fixed.

3. He brags on communicating with the Easley Chamber of Commerce. 

Isn't the Easley Chamber recommending spending excess $$ on the Doodle Trail, all while the City of Easley got caught for defrauding the school district to the tune of millions in the "TIF District scandal" and didn't The City of Easley get sued for violating peaceful free speech demonstrations?

4. He brags on Pickens United applying for Infrastructure Bank money to fix road projects. 

Don't WE THE PEOPLE have to put in more of our tax dollars - to the tune of a 13% match - when we already pay State & County taxes to keep our roads in good condition?
5. He brags on Pickens United for helping to pass county ordinance #535 which better defines how to allocate recreational funding of our tax dollars.
Didn't they also establish another layer of un-elected bureaucracy who recommends who the winners and losers are?
6. He brags on Pickens United supporting Pickens County rejoining Upstate Alliance

Isn't Upstate Alliance another un-elected public/private NGO partnership group who are unaccountable  and cost the taxpayer more money to belong to. 

Isn't this one of the dangers Agenda 21 warns us about? Isn't bringing more jobs to our county the responsibility of our county council whom we elect and pay to do that?
7. He brags on filling 75 government jobs.

Aren't we supposed to be eliminating government jobs and tightening government spending? 

Didn't Collins spearhead a 7th school board member that had near zero support outside of his circle - costing the school district and county over $35,000 initially and more than $5000 annually?

8. He brags on Pickens United helping facilitate seed money for Holly Springs

Wasn't Holly Springs Elementary one of our Blue Ribbon elementary schools - actually accomplishing great things for children's education in our rural community, then his Pickens United friends just inexplicably closed it?

 9. He brags on Pickens United supporting the reduction of the cost per day to house an inmate in our jail.

Didn't they support putting YOU the taxpayer in debt to the tune of $32 million for a new jail while they already had $23 million saved up for that project, but yet aren't going to use it so that they can pay for other pet projects that they haven't identified yet?

10. He brags on Pickens United supporting bailing out a poorly financial managed city of Liberty.

Why are we rewarding poor fiscal responsibility?

11. He brags on Pickens United supporting giving YOUR county tax dollars to build Tri- County Tech a Student Center.

Isn't the STATE responsible for that ... isn't that double taxation? 

Also of note, of the three counties, Pickens County accounts for less than 20% of the student population, yet was on the hook for a full third of the cost.
12. He brags on Pickens United facilitating a county operated animal adoption facility.

Isn't that going to force a non-profit Humane Society out of business? A non- profit the county residents and council have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into.

13. He brags on Pickens United facilitating hiring another government employee ... “Public Information Officer”

They just recently let one go even though she had a good job performance appraisal to hire a “new” one , and when I sent a recent FOIA request they referred my request to their lawyer and the “new” Public Information Officer hasn't even responded to my request. Sounds like they needed a mouthpiece.
14. He brags on Pickens United facilitating the county to consolidate outstanding bonds for lower interest rates.

They don't even know for sure what the interest rate will be yet. They did not hold proper hearings for the new bonded indebtedness. Bar none. The jail should have been put to a vote.
15. He brags on Pickens United facilitating partnering with SWU to host the Eclipse event and it was “free” to the public.

Our county council already paid a private college (SWU) our hard earned dollars to build a track and tennis courts and set precedence for any private school requesting our money to promote their school's building projects.
16. He brags on Pickens United facilitating the county and city to build the Pickens Doodle parks.

Didn't they have to condemn some people's private property to do that and isn't the Pickens Doodle lessening people's right to privacy on their personal property ... those split rail fences don't protect people's private property...who are they kidding?

17. He brags on Pickens United not raising our taxes.

(well except the School Board's 2 mil) 

What about all the over-collecting going on that the county council and school board claim is “savings?” 

Rep. Neal Collins and Pickens United may be optimistic for our county's future ... but WE THE TRUE CONSERVATIVES of Pickens are not when we have over taxation and over spending and debt mounting.
Johnnelle Raines 
Pickens SC

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Summary Of The August 2017 Pickens County Council Meeting ...

Written by Johnnelle Raines:

Reflections on attending the Pickens County Council meeting last night follows ...
(opinions are all mine) ... and are based on my perceptions...  

County Council Meeting on August 14th 2017 was a definite eye opener. 

Public Forum : 

Speaker Pree Hamilton spoke on the need for County Council to help out the Humane Society or else they would probably have to fold and read aloud a written piece about the value of dogs. She went over her time limit and said she was going to use the other lady's time that was scheduled to speak on behalf of the Humane Center...(this set precedence... {So I think if any of our COTU want to speak longer than 3 minutes allowed we need to keep this in mind!) Roy Costner wanted a copy of the written piece about dogs...

Speaker spoke about the upcoming event in the newly renamed Performing Arts Center on the 17th and invited everyone to this event ( RSVP to 864-898-2485) He also spoke about the upcoming Solar Eclipse event to take place at SWU 

And I spoke to them about following the Republican Platform of lower taxes, over collecting taxes and calling it reasonable and not running up debt and property rights

My husband and I both attended and it was very interesting to be able to hear his thoughts on what took place. Sometimes I wonder if my perceptions are just mine but when you have someone else go and then ask them first to tell you what their perceptions are and they line up with yours...well it's validating for sure.

I was disappointed more people didn't show up to speak against the Council raising the ceiling on borrowing money from 25 million to 32 million. And there was no explanation as to WHY they went up the amount.  The Public hearing and second reading was held and only Dan Winchester of PCTA and myself voiced any concerns on behalf of our members in Pickens County Taxpayer Association and Conservatives of the Upstate. I realize that we represent at least a thousand members in our county but I would have thought more citizens would have shown up and spoke...”apathy” is what is causing our County Council to be so progressive and it is quite evident they think YOU don't care that they are putting YOU in debt for 20 to 30 years and raising millage on property taxes.

What was troubling to me is when the Finance Director was asked to answer what the millage rate increase would be and the interest rate he couldn't answer...he said that was uncertain and would depend on the economy at the time; but his goal was to close on this loan by the end of the year. I don't know about you but if I am going to borrow money I want to know what the interest rate is right now and how long the payments are going to take place and if I can afford to pay it back.  There is a great deal of uncertainty in our economy with our Congress fighting Trump at every turn and unrest in North Korea and the Middle I don't think it is wise to run up such huge debt on the local citizenry.

Roy Costner wanted to make it known that we should be happy because they “found” a way to “save” us a million dollars on refinancing an existing debt... LOL... that's like saying my husband decided to  refinance our truck and saved us a bunch of money but yet turned around and borrowed  30 times as much money to buy us a lake home on Keowee that we can't afford.

Wes Hendricks also wanted to make a point about the fact that by spending OUR money on a private college's (SWU) track and tennis court that our ROI was huge...why just look at all the money this Solar Event is going to bring into our county by hosting this once in a lifetime event....

Chris Bowers didn't seem to be concerned about passing on Ordinance 534 First reading of amending the building codes to “further safeguard citizens”...but Trey Whitehurst was!  Trey recognized that the wording was not clear as to WHO exactly has the right to come on to your property and declare your property a safety hazard...and well … THEY ALL SHOULD BE CONCERNED about this wording! That's exactly why COTU presented the Private Property Right Resolution to the council! Chris Bowers seems to think that because they haven't overstepped their authority on bulldozing someone's house down without due process before it won't happen in the future? SMH...saying well a miscarriage of justice on private property hasn't ever happened before is not a reason to NOT make sure it doesn't happen in the future!

Council decided to designate the way past month of April 2017  as FAIR HOUSING MONTH... why you ask? Because they need to make sure they can access YOUR Federal tax dollars for a grant if need be.

Gerald Wilson introduced a new employee, I failed to write down her name. She is a former Television anchor/reporter for local TV station and I have requested more information on her job description and guess is she will be like the John Eby of the School Board ...but I will know more when Council gets back to me on her job description.

Dan Winchester got up during public hearing time over the borrowing for the jail and asked some very relevant questions ….none of which were Roy Costner said he didn't want to get into a debate with council versus one man...but promised Mr. Winchester they would get his questions answered eventually. I have asked Mr. Winchester to send me his speech so I can post it on Facebook.

Well that's pretty much the highlights...wish you were there! MORE PEOPLE NEED TO BECOME ACTIVE IN being a WATCHDOG of what our elected officials are doing with OUR MONEY!

The Trade Off ...


Trade off:

For every Confederate monument that comes down, so does a Union monument.

For instance:

New York City spent nearly $1 million in 2010, refurbishing a CONFIRMED arsonist and rapist's statue. William Tecumseh Sherman ordered his troops to burn Atlanta, shoot women and children, and "have their way" with them.

General George Armstrong Custer is quoted for saying, "The target practice on the Southerner will assist me greatly  when, after the war, we move to rid this land of the blight of the savage red man."

^ Sure, interpret the treatment of the black man how you like. Slavery was not a proud moment in history, but by removing Confederate general statues and not Union statutes what are we saying? Honor the arsonists, rapists and homicidal maniacs. Don't honor the people who owned slaves.

Confederate General Patrick Cleburne said it best ... 
[Lest we fight, and win] the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by all the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision."

Monday, August 7, 2017

August 2017 COTU Meeting ...

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

Thursday August 10, 2017 @ 6:30PM

Blue Ridge Bible Church
769 Belle Shoals Rd
Pickens SC 29671

Thursday, June 8, 2017at 6:30 PM Conservatives of the Upstate will have its monthly meeting at the Blue Ridge Bible Church at 769 Belle Shoals Road. 

Our meeting will be held to one hour.

Junius Smith
President, Conservatives Of The Upstate