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Thursday, May 31, 2018

On Pickens county council discussing closing of the Liberty library.

Dear Editor,
I read the story in the Pickens County Courier how the county council is discussing closing the Liberty library. This new county council inherited nearly $25 million in cash from the old council. Plus the county’s annual tax revenue is at a record. Reading the article, I wondered how can they be short of funds?

Looking deeper I pulled out the most recent financial audit of the county government. The libraries are funded by the 6.3 mills in property taxes we all pay. (See your tax bill, the line labeled Library.) Tax collections for the library budget are $3.1 million. The state pitches in $235,000 and library fees bring in $100,000. Total revenue for the library budget was $3.4 million (shattering the record).
Personnel costs are about $2.4 million, running the library buildings cost about $350,000 and other costs like supplies and contractual services add up to $350,000. Total expenses were $3.1 million.
The bottom line is the libraries were about $300,000 in the black last year, and the library account ended the year with a very healthy cash balance of $2 million. By the way, actual expenses came in about $400,000 less than budgeted expenditures. Another positive sign.

Again, I ask, what is the problem?

When I questioned the council leadership (both Roy Costner and Chris Bowers) on Facebook about this, posting the financial statements, and neither demonstrated a knowledge or understanding of these financial figures.

If there is indeed a financial problem with the library budget, it supports the point I made a few weeks ago. Why did the council vote to give the city of Easley $760,000 to help fund new parking lots and things like new landscaping for their Market Square?

In the past year or so we saw the shuttering of the Liberty Fire Department, the defunding of the Liberty Animal Shelter and now this discussion of closing the Liberty library. Our county leaders simply do not see what is coming down the pike -- growth the next 10 to 15 years for our county and Liberty in particular.

Greenville first sprawled east toward Greer, then south to Simpsonville and north to Travelers Rest. Greenville is now sprawling west into Easley, and that wave of growth is moving down Highway 93 toward Liberty as people are fleeing the crowds and higher priced real estate of Greenville, Powdersville and Easley.

Looking in the other direction, same thing. Clemson University continues to expand, now at 25,000 students on the way to 30,000 plus. Clemson sprawl is also barreling down Highway 93 toward Liberty. The residents in Liberty are wise to push back against this, and hopefully the council will reconsider.

The bototm line is, we tend to elect people who promise us the most, so the financial "skill" of most elected leaders is limited to creating lists of new things to spend money on. When they are faced with even the simplest financial challenges, they really don’t know what to do, and often the result is not good.

Alex Saitta

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Polling location changes ...

From the Pickens County Board Of Voter Registration....

Polling Place Changes:

The 124 East Pickens Voting Precinct has been permanently moved due to planned extensive renovations from The Mill Church (158 Woodrow St, Pickens, SC 29671) to the Conference Room inside the City of Pickens Maintenance Building (133 Railroad St, Pickens, SC 29671) for all future elections. 

The 119 Pumpkintown Voting Precinct has been temporarily moved due to renovations from the Oolenoy Baptist Church Fellowship Building  (200 Miracle Hill Rd, Pickens SC 29671) to the Ooolenoy Community Center  (5301 Dacusville Hwy, Pickens SC 29671) for the June 12, 2018 Primaries and any subsequent runoff election.  The precinct will return to the Oolenoy Baptist Church for the November 2018 General Election.

All voters in the affected precincts will be mailed new Voter Registration cards notifying them of the move beginning next week.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Let's Just NOT Talk About Sister City

I just watched the last Pickens County Council Meeting Video of May 14th here is the link on Facebook as they had not posted it on their main web page at the time I wrote this letter to the editor: Chairman Roy Costner discusses Sister City at approximately the 1:09:38 mark in the video.
Chairman Costner recommended they “NOT talk about Sister City" anymore and should pull it out of the budget and not fund this idea.
Watching the video made it clear to me the Chairman is advocating to still pursue a connection with Karlsrhue through other means.
Costner seems to think there are only “7 people “ who object to the Sister City program initiative and that those 7 are just throwing stones and being judgmental. He furthermore states that the majority of the Karlsrhue citizens attend church more than Pickens County citizens do and we shouldn't be worried about the unvetted Syrian Muslim refugee problem they have or the fact the majority of their citizens are liberal minded. My research shows that Germany is far from being church going...
I don't know about you, but I know liberals who go to church every Sunday...just because you go to church on Sunday doesn't mean you are a Conservative and have Conservative family values. Is it just that Costner doesn't understand the threat of liberalism ideology on our county ...or is it he's fine with our students "exchanging ideas" with liberals and being in an unsafe environment with Islamic refugees when they travel to Karlsrhue for cultural exchange? I am not sure which. But please know that the idea of student exchanges is NOT DEAD with this council. They just aren't going to "talk about it" with the public any more according to the video.
The number one job of government is to protect its citizenry and keep them safe. Sending students over to Germany right now is NOT being safety minded...
Stay vigilant my friends as they will be meeting behind closed doors calling it economic development and “not talking” about Sister City and hoping you forget what they are up to. In other words... they are taking Sister City out of budget and not fund it and not talk about it...however they will continue to pursue the idea of it in other ways. 
Reminds me of a previous council who ignored the will of the people on building new schools and made it happen via the “Greenville Plan”. 

Written by 
Johnnelle Raines 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Figuring out fake news ...

Why do democrats now want to combat “fake news”?

After reading a thread from Easley Rep. Neal Collins - who has many admitted democrats posting in the forum - he has people convinced in the false premises of ...

1) This country is a representative democracy

(It is a strict constitutional republic, and many founding documents state such.)

so therefore ...

2) The legislature should appoint more positions rather than the people voting for them

(The constitution of the State of South Carolina has to be changed in order to change an office from elected to appointed. Changing our constitution should be the furthest action from any legislator’s mind.)

so therefore ...

3) Many of our education problems could be solved if lobbying were more prominent rather than campaigning and debating.

(An appointed superintendent will always go with the process rather than the solution.)

The solution is, we need a superintendent who will respond and be accountable to the people - remove CBE, remove ESSA, reduce credit hours and allow anything above 16 hours to apply to tech/trade school credit, do not accept federal funding, combine school districts into county wide districts (creating slimmer, more efficient admin), pay teachers at a state level (pay grade should be merit and tenure - district level pay creates a false notion of competition), bring back stricter discipline policies (not corporal punishment just stricter)

An appointed superintendent will do none of that or try none of that.

Don’t we want less government, more say so, fair ethical participation?

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

May 2018 COTU meeting agenda …

Conservatives of the Upstate
Agenda for May 8, 2018 Meeting

to be held at Silver Bay Restaurant6:30pm

1. Call to Order and Welcome
2. Prayer
3. Pledge
4. Pass around contact information notebook
5. Treasury Report
6. Minutes from April meeting

7. Report on Azalea Festival Booth success 
8. Report on FOIA request on Sister City
9. Report on needing people to step up and help candidates in the June Rep. primary
10.  Introduction of Speakers for tonight Alan Quinn and Philip Healy 15 minutes each
11.  Questions for Speaker
12.  Prayer and Adjourn

Next membership meeting with speaker will be in June to be announced 

For updates please monitor www.conservativesoftheupstate web site as well as Concerned Voters of Pickens County the Whole Truth Facebook page***

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

May 2018 County Council Meeting ...

Please attend and speak up about the significant tax increase being voted on.

Elected judges needed in SC ...

Some of you may not know, but I live in Chattanooga Tennessee and I own a home in Liberty. 

My father (founder of COTU) and my brother both own farms in Six Mile respectively. I have many friends in Pickens County that I advocate for by voice and writing almost daily. I was campaign manager on some very successful County and Federal campaigns in SC.

Having dealt with and been cheated by a horrible judicial system in SC, I made it a mission to seek a solution. That solution is electing judges at all positions. 

Some say this politicizes a position that should be unbiased. To that I say, would you rather not know how they might rule before you place them in a position of power? Would you rather the judiciary be appointed by a corrupt legislature that will rubber stamp any illegal tax or property grab or unconstitutional spending?

At least if you elect a judge, you have recourse for their bad decisions. 

Yes, I feel they should not be partisan, but I do feel you should know with what they identify with - conservative or progressive principals. If we knew before hand, we could hold them accountable. When they ok a surplus to go to pet projects or a fifth top coat on a Charleston road - we can “remind” voters on Election Day.

Yesterday, I helped a personally vetted circuit court judge be elected by holding signs for 3 hours during lunch. He was elected.

Let’s do this in SC! 

Written by
Philip Smith