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Monday, October 26, 2020

Pickens County Council wants to overhaul the way we pay our fire fees

Rather than fire fees being determined by what fire district you live in, your fire fees will most likely be calculated and determined by the square footage of the house.


How will this change affect YOUR payment?


We don’t know … County Council can not (or will not) tell us.


They want to make the change without even giving us specifics on how our fire fee amount will be affected!


They want to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.


Where have we heard that before?


If the County Council wants to move forward with this plan, they need to be able to tell citizens exactly how their fire fees will change and how much it will cost.

It’s like somebody wanting to borrow your car but won’t tell you where they are driving it or when they’ll be back... 


Text the keyword FEE to 52886 and send all County Councilmen a message: “How will these changes in this ordinance affect my personal fire fees? Will they go up or down? By how much? I want answers before you make the change!”

Johnnelle Raines

Pickens County Citizen

Conservatives of the Upstate Leadership Team

Sunday, April 12, 2020

An Easter Message While Practicing Liberty

I think Trump is now handling the Covid 19 (aka Corona Virus) well. He wasn’t at first.

This said, I wish leaders would get on TV - instead of saying “happy togetherness” messages - tell everybody (remind them) of what liberty truly means. 

Define it. 

Give an example of what to do.

I want a leader somewhere to say, “I’m asking you, I’m begging you to stay home as best you can.”

Liberty is hard to keep.

It means you do what you want to as long as you don’t directly OR indirectly harm another. It is the truest definition of loving your brother.

Then, I want a leader to say something that isn’t popular:

“I’ll take your liberty away from you if you don’t follow stay at home orders issued by your local governments and for that I’m truly saddened if that comes to be.”

I like that orders are being left to states and local governments in the USA. We have a pretty strict lockdown in my city, but I’d say less than 20% are following it.

I went to the local home improvement store with a mask and gloves yesterday. I had needs for a new home I just purchased and moved into. My wife and I decided to do a container garden as a source of food during this. (We garden anyway but decided to save $$ and just do buckets on our back porch this year.) I got that and some important things I needed. At the store, maybe 10% were wearing masks or gloves. The store was crowded. Most people were just walking in the store and not buying essentials. The store had social distancing marks at checkout and were only allowing a dozen at a time in certain areas. The intercom would come on every five minutes and remind shoppers of getting through this together and to practice social distancing. It disturbed me greatly - I mean saddened me almost to the point of tears that so many were not taking this seriously and not practicing their liberty. 

I have found that the one concept the founding fathers of the USA 🇺🇸 wanted was “liberty” - so much so that George Washington’s 1st order as President was to create our monetary system. To make each piece of money legal & tender to spend, the money/coin has to have the word “Liberty” on it. (It used to apply to stamps too.)

Everyone that signed the constitution loved it!
 (It was Benjamin Franklin’s idea.)

Although I am sad we don’t have gutsy leaders asking for the near impossible - I am more sad that leaders are stopping church parking lot services or stopping people at random to ask them if they are doing something essential. I am sad that businesses have been “determined essential or non-essential” by the government.

If I had a private business that required foot traffic - I’d be livid right now if I was told I had to shut down - even if I figured out a way to serve my customers safely.

Now, on a slightly different note. 

I’m taking this just as serious as if this were the plague. I don’t want it. I don’t want my family to get it. I don’t want to show others that I’m not trying my best to practice my own “liberty”. I’m an “out and about person”. I love being out and about. I go to flea markets and thrift stores A LOT -to buy unique things, things for my hobbies, and things to resale. I’m voluntarily giving that up.

↑ that said. I don’t think this thing is “that horrible”. It’s proven to me that:

1) This was bio-engineered in China - likely as a test run for something else.

2) This is also being socially engineered by China and most of the press is falling for it. I have seen a very reliable source detail how it has an unnatural structure that cannot occur in nature. 

3) Most of the information being disseminated about this is flat out wrong.

4) The lockdowns I think are going to end up killing even more due to suicide and possibly starvation.

5) This said. ↑ I think this is very serious but so is every flu season. The flu kills 100s of 1000s every year. Because of stay at home and social distancing - the flu is behind on its annual death toll this year.

6) It is a fact that WHO has directed hospitals to report anyone positive with Covid19 that dies, as a death FROM Covid 19. I think a majority of us have it at this point and I think just like some strains of the flu, most of us are naturally immune, had it and didn’t know it and or seen pneumonia and died.

Again, I take this seriously. I just think that as in World War II era Germany - governments love to come along and say how much they can help if you give them temporary powers. Anything temporary sets a precedent for something they can do again.

I’ll sum this up by saying Happy Easter. 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.”

Jesus  died on the cross. Was dead. He rose again to give humanity the gift of his love, free us from sin, be the example, and gave us the guidance to love others through the Holy Spirit.

God is such a leader that I ask for. In Revelation, God reveals that he is the leader that says, “I sent Jesus and the Holy Spirit  to guide you in your liberty, but there will be a day that I will end it because you wouldn’t listen.” 

Please listen to the voice of liberty in your head. It is the Holy Spirit. Please be the example that Jesus was. He was the personification of sacrifice for liberty.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

February 2020 Meeting

Hello Conservatives!


Our monthly meeting is soon! It's coming up this Tuesday, February 11th, 7pm at the Pizza Inn, Pickens located on Ann Street in the Ingles Shopping strip mall. 

We will have special guests from Freedom Action Network, Dave Schwartz and Seth Powell as well as the likelihood of RINO HUNT's leader Harry Kibler on hand. Here are the links to their Facebook pages:

And of course our Facebook Page is here:

And our COTU web page link is

We want to encourage you to attend this meeting as we will be discussing how we need to NIP IT IN THE BUD... this tax hike proposal options our County Council are considering ARE RIDICULOUS...If you haven't already... 

PLEASE TEXT THE WORD KILL TO 52886 which will automatically send an email to ALL our county councilmen to tell them heck no! We are taxed enough already.

When Pickens County Council and the administrator Ken Roper want to brag on having a low millage rate... and claim they lowered our taxes last year... when in reality it was a reassessment year and most of our property taxes on homes went up...and by law they must readjust the millage...but I submit that they didn't adjust the millage enough and will be overcollecting and thus will have more money to put in their so called "emergency" funds...

love it when Alex Saitta puts them in their place! 

Alex gets comment award of the day... 

Alex posted on Facebook the following comment.... 

“ I went back to 2012 and looked at the annual financial audits of the county government. Below I listed the revenue to the general fund and the annual growth rate the past 8 years. 

2012: $36.2 million
2013: $37.1 million (+2.4%)
2014: $37.9 million (+2.1%)
2015: $38.7 million (+2.1%)
2016: $41.2 million (6.4%)
2017: $41.2 million (0%)
2018: $43.1 million (4.6%)
2019: $46.2 million (7.1%) 

Due to the increase in national economic activity the past 2 or 3 years, revenue growth is accelerating on its own. It is not impressive that you have not raised tax millage rate given all the money that is naturally coming in. 

Where is this money going? Why are you looking to raise tax rates when so much money is coming it now? 

Gosh, going to 8% on the sales tax, 10% on restaurants? New York City has a rate of 8.875%. 

I have a better idea. How about better manage all the money that is coming in. You all promised tax increases as a last resort, not a first option.”


Come to our meeting and bring a like minded friend or family member!

See you there!

COTU Leadership Team,

Johnnelle Raines, Steve Haynie, JoAnn Brewer, Travis Gardner

Thursday, February 6, 2020



WE the people who are members of various grassroots Christian Conservative groups are being vilified and called the bad guys by the mainstream media, the Democrats, and the RINOs  as of lately.

WE are being portrayed as white supremacists. terrorists, scrooges, islamaphobes, bigots, conspiracy theorists, anti-education, anti-government people and mouthpieces of hatred that are causing divisiveness in our country.

WE true Christian Conservatives are none of the above.

WE just want our elected officials to follow in our Founding Fathers footsteps and respect the Constitution they swore to protect and defend. And WE want to be one nation under GOD!

Folks, the real bad guys are the ones who want more of YOUR taxes and want YOU to believe WE are the bad guys.

THEY are the ones who are all on board with social justice and equal outcomes but not equal input.
THEY are the ones who are fine with Common Core cookie cutter standards.
THEY are the ones who are against Trump's Making America Great Again.
THEY are the ones against building a wall to protect our citizenry.
THEY are the ones against Trump's agenda to protect us from Islamic Terrorists.
THEY are the ones who are fine with promoting sin, abortion, and deviant lifestyles.
THEY are the ones who are elitist who think only Government elected officials know best.
THEY are the ones who are actively promoting socialism which leads to communism.
THEY are the ones who are fine with corruption in government.
THEY are the ones fine with ANTIFA threats, violence and rioting.
THEY get paid by George Soros to infiltrate and cause our Constitutional Republic to fail.

WE Christian Conservative grassroots groups fight tax hikes on behalf of all the people living in America who are below the poverty line and the others who are just barely above that line and teeter tottering on having to go on welfare.

WE are not anti-education at all.

We are for quality classical education standards and parental rights to direct their child's education.

WE want our tax dollars managed properly.

WE want transparency and not lies from our elected leaders.

WE are not terrorists and don't help fund them.

WE have not threatened to blow up any buildings or kill anyone.

WE are not scrooges; we are very giving people from all walks of life that genuinely care about people in need.

WE care about our county and its hard working families who are struggling to make ends meet and are living pay check to pay check.

WE want children to have a quality education but we don’t agree that throwing more money at the problem will solve it. We don't want our small rural school closed!

WE care about children and grandchildren being kicked out of their homes because their parents or grandparents can no longer afford to pay their property taxes.

WE care about deviant behavior being pushed on underage children in the name of tolerance.

WE are the little man’s voice.

WE give of our own free time and our own hard earned dollars to make sure all citizens have a voice not just the “elite.”

Why are WE doing this?

Because WE know the hard working citizens of our country are too busy working two jobs to speak up.

WE know families are too busy making sure their child does their Common Core homework to attend School Board meetings.

WE know families are too busy worrying about how they are going to pay their medical bills and medical insurance premiums to write letters to the editor.

WE know families are too busy worrying about those bald tires on their car to call their local School Board members.

WE know families are too busy scraping up pennies to go buy a gallon of milk and they can’t afford the gas to drive to our meetings.

WE know families are too busy worrying about the fact they may be the 307th foreclosure in their county and can’t help us go out in the cold weather to get signatures on a petition.

Folks… the reality is that any tax increase on “some” people may not be a problem at all.

However, many people are struggling to make ends meet, a tax increase will have a huge effect on their budget.

The Democrats and RINO's are the ones with a huge perception problem…they “feel” everyone can afford a tax hike.

WE the Christian Conservative Grassroots groups are all about protecting YOU the taxpayer!

WE know the reality of people living day to day.

WE don’t have a REALITY problem.

WE understand people are TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY and are at the breaking point!

So the next time you hear the main stream media criticize us Christian Conservative Grassroots groups.

Just know ...WE are not the bad guys…they are!

Ask yourself, “How can someone fighting for truth, justice and the American way be a bad guy?

Please consider joining our group in Pickens County SC named Conservatives of the can read about us at or you can find us by searching on Facebook and Twitter.

If you don't live in the Pickens County area, then join a local grassroots group in your county...or start one up! We can make a difference...don't let anyone tell you that you can't.

Our Conservatives of the Upstate next meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 11th at 7pm at the Pizza Inn located on Ann Street in Pickens...hope to see you then! 

Written by Johnnelle Raines
COTU Leadership Team

Monday, January 20, 2020

"Injustice anywhere 
is a threat to
 justice everywhere."

~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

Closing Primaries Still Won’t Stop The RINO Charge

I’m thinking that closing our primaries in SC still won’t fix the problem of RINO’s in the Republican Party...these RINO’s have a huge following of what they prefer to be called...”moderates” or “centrists” These people are abundantly found in Greenville, Easley and Clemson and are showing up in Pickens, Six Mike, Central, Liberty as well. Why is that? I will tell you why...the failure of our church leaders and our public schools who refuse to stand up for Conservative Christian values and beliefs. AND the refusal of true Conservative Christians to “get involved” in politics. As well as their following being better organized and sending in operatives to stir up the community with their false narratives.

These centrist, moderates, RINO’s, Progressives...whatever you want to label them are nothing more than “ Fence Sitters” who depending on which way the wind blows or money flows will fall to the left or fall to the right...which reminds me of Revelation 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee”

It is time for people with a spine...people who actually have unwavering principles of God, Family, Constitution, and Pride in American Sovereignty to rise up and demand our elected employees NOT be fence sitters! Fire them if they are! I know which side of the fence I am on...I know that I am not lukewarm...

It is a known fact the majority of our Pickens Legislative Delegation, our County Council, and our School Board need to be fired for their centrist views. But until YOU help educate your church members and family and friends on who these fence sitters are nothing will change.

Johnnelle Raines
Pickens SC

Sunday, January 19, 2020

McMaster to decide on SC refugee intake

Bnext Tuesday Governor McMaster is going to make a decision on whether or not South Carolina will accept more refugees. 

Remember that around 2016 there were big public meetings in Spartanburg and Pickens Counties with hundreds of people showing up trying to figure out what to do. Conservatives of the Upstate convinced Pickens County Council to let the state know that the
county could not afford to have refugees resettled in our county. 

Nikki Haley did nothing for us. She just talked about writing a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry saying we did not want refugees instead of taking her signature off of the authorization to bring them in. We were never able to get a copy of the new authorization for the VolAgs to bring them in. 

McMaster is in the news over this. Make it a hot issue for him. 

Remember, we cannot verify who the Middle Eastern refugees are or where they are really from. They get to come over and do what they want. The Voluntary Agencies that bring them here are getting paid for it. Your safety versus their profit... they decide, not you. 
Then call Governor McMaster and tell him to say we do not want more refugees to be resettled in South Carolina. 

When I made my call today I was told that they are getting a lot of phone calls. But which side is winning the call in battle? 

Here is the contact information for the Governor's office.  

The Honorable Henry McMaster
State House
1100 Gervais Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29201

Official Contact Page:

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Happy New Year / Schedule

Happy New Year Members!

Our first meeting of 2020 will be held at Pizza Inn located at Shopping Center where Ingles Grocery is located. We will meet promptly at 7pm. We will meet in the back room. Feel free to come early and take advantage of their delicious buffet...or eat while we meet!

There will be no speaker for this meeting as this will be a planning meeting for deciding on goals and priorities for the upcoming year to keep Pickens County the most conservative county in SC. So come prepared to add to the discussion! 

We will be taking up a voluntary donation at this meeting. We don't have dues...but we are planning on using funds this year to educate the voters on the issues at hand, which may include...a billboard in a highly visible area, bulk mail outs, and yard signs. This will be purely voluntary donations and are not tax deductible. 

The Pickens Legislative Delegation meeting at which all of our locally elected SC Columbia legislators ( Sen. Rex Rice, Sen. Thomas Alexander, Representatives David Hiott, Neal Collins, Gary Clary , and Westley Cox) will be in attendance will take place on Monday, January 6, 2020 at 5:30 at the Pickens County Performing Arts Center located at 3125 W. Main Street, Liberty, SC 29657. PLEASE share your concerns for the upcoming year. They work for YOU...You are allowed 3 minutes to speak to them. Below are some suggested topics you are encouraged to speak to them about:

Abortion( Right to Life) ,Public Education Reform, Changing State Board of Education to elected positions, Abolishing the Education Oversight Committee, Taxes, Roads, 2nd Amendment (Red Flag Laws) ,Free Speech, Cronyism, Corruption, Judicial System, Islamic immigration, Drag Queen Story Hour in our Public Libraries, Any legislation you think needs to be repealed or any legislation you think is needed. 

Sadly, our County Council is also meeting on the same night. One would think they could have changed that meeting to accomodate people who wanted to attend both...I thought they were "UNITED" and wanted transparency and cooperation with our SC Columbia elected... guess not. Attached is the County Council agenda for that meeting. Please pick whichever meeting you think suits your needs. But please attend one!

School District of Pickens County Board meeting also provides an opportunity for you to speak about any concerns you have about the public school education you are paying for with your taxes. Their next meeting is Monday, January 27 at 6pm at their central offices board meeting room.

I encourage you to become active in your local government this year, attend meetings, voice your concerns to your elected EMPLOYEES...yes ...they work for you and need YOUR input! Yes your taxes and how they are used is important!

2020 is here and it's time to become active and not be apathetic to what your elected employees are doing.

It's an election year and we need candidates to run against our present 4 County Councilmen as well as our Pickens County Legislative members. There will be a huge turnout to vote due to President Trump being on the ballot this year. We need people who agree with Trump's agenda to Keep America Great ...we DON'T need any Never Trumpers representing Pickens County! 

Please prayerfully consider running for an office and encourage anyone you know who is a True Conservative Christian to run.

Filing deadline to be a candidate in the 2020 election is at the end of March.

Hoping to see you Tuesday January 14th at 7pm at the Pizza Inn in Pickens!

Let's get energized and motivated to keep Pickens Conservative!

COTU Leadership Team