Headlines – Mt. Juliet News and The Chronicle – August 29, 2007

Commissioners clash over Hagerty censure; call to rescind
    “Monday’s Mt. Juliet city Commission meeting again erupted in fireworks as District 3 Commissioner Ed Hagerty heatedly and methodically defended himself against his recent censure which he declared was ‘vindictive.'”
    “Mt. Juliet Mayor Linda Elam responded by calling Hagerty ‘a liar’ . . . ”

Developer wants city to buy his land for a rec park
Then he’ll develop old MJES site [Right. Oh, and the attorney for the developer is Tom White, the same attorney employed by Mayor Elam on behalf of her former employer, Commercial Realty Services. Quite cozy, no?]

MJHS’s safe passage issues resolved
[Linda Elam and Ray Justice have fixed everything and now promise that the road to the new high school will open next summer before the school does. Right.]

Editorial: MJ needs to look at a fire department of its own
[Apparently the fire trucks would get to the scene of a fire MUCH faster if only they were owned by the City. Or if they were housed in a building closer to where the fire breaks out. Perhaps we should just require 24 hours advance notice before allowing a fire to break out. There are some good reasons why the City might want to start its own fire department – unfortunately this editorial doesn’t cite any of them.]

But the best-headline-of-the-week award goes to The Chronicle:
Lies, complaints and allegations:
MJ city commission is in session

and, on the cover –  Elam: Hagerty is a liar
[its in the sidebar, and difficult to read because of the awful black-type-on-olive-green color scheme]  

You cannot make this stuff up.

– Publius

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25 Comments

Filed under ethics

25 responses to “Headlines – Mt. Juliet News and The Chronicle – August 29, 2007

  1. liberty

    I totally agree with you about the fire dept/MJNews. I wonder how she/they would suggest we pay for it… I know how about a property tax just like Lebanon has. It seems that is what “they” truly want and will thow out just about any reason — maybe one will stick. I am really getting tired of that refrain from the tax and spend crowd.

  2. Butch Huber

    Outside agitators, that’s what she called us. We are not “concerned citizens”, we are “Outside Agitators”. During the last commission meeting Mayor Elam was discussing the publicity and positive feedback over the fact that the commission was able to work together on the sign ordinance issue, and how that was a very good thing, but that there are some who want to keep the turmoil going. I am sure she used different words, but that was what she was talking about. Then she described those who want to keep the turmoil going. I believe, and I could be wrong, she said that there were a couple commissioners, and others “who were not elected to office”, and then there it was “Outside Agitators”. She called those of use who are not city employees and who are not elected to office…”Outside Agitators”.

    Those two words say it all. OUTSIDE AGGITATOR! That is the problem with our country, citizens are considered “outsiders”. Who works for Whom in this country. Public officials seem to believe that they are in charge of the citizenry. They have it wrong. Public officials are servants of the people. We are “their” bosses. Mayor Elam works for me (She works for you, too, but for emphasis and effect I will use the word “me” here). She is my public servant (Yours, too). She is politically servile to me (You, too). When politicians ask for your vote, they are supposed to be asking you to allow them the privilege of working for “you” and the are asking for you to bestow upon them the honor of serving “you” and serving “your” best interests. We don’t elect kings, Queens, Barons, Princes, Princesses, or Lords in this country….we elect servants.

    There are no outsiders in this country except those who are not legally allowed to be a part of the political process, such as aliens, legal and/or illegal. She sees people like me as being an “Outside Agitator”. Perhaps many other people see me as an “outside Agitator” as well. As a citizen, I hold as much interest in the operation of the city government as anyone else does…how could I be an outsider. As far as agitator, I am the one agitated. If the mayor would simply acknowledge she has done wrong, work to correct the wrongs the best she can, and then step down from office, I would no longer be agitated. However, she seems to want to continue to eliminate people from the city employment roles and attack her fellow commissioners, calling them liars and painting them as villains when they try to bring justice to the situation. Tell me again; “Who is the agitator?”

    Let me paint this another way. Let’s pretend that you are a shareholder in a business. You are one of approximately 7,000 shareholders (Equal to the approximate number of households in Mt. Juliet) who all have equal interest in the business. In that business you have a Chairman of the Board. Your company has long established rules and codes. Then one day, you find out that the Chairman of your company is also secretly working for one of your suppliers. The shareholders elect not to do anything about that situation for now. Then, you later find that the Chairman of your company has called one of your department heads trying to get him to alter a situation in your company in a way that would benefit the Chairman of your company’s supplier/employer’s business. You also discover that if that department head does as she asks, his action would harm a client of your company. You also find out about this “after” the fact that the Chairman is working for a supplier is written up in the news; where you learn of the arrangement for the first time.

    Then you find out that the Chairman of your company has called a meeting of many of your top level executives and some of their subordinates to attempt to force them to violate company rules to provide a benefit for yet another company. The benefit is that they will be able to begin doing business with your company even though they have not met the minimum requirements to do so. The Chairman knows fully well that she can’t legally do what she is asking, and in fact she is soliciting your other employees to break the rules “for” her. The reason she is attempting to get your employees to violate company rules is because the company seeking to do business with you has offered her a nice little incentive to do so.

    When the employees refuse to violate your rules, the Chairman begins to eliminate them one by one…starting with your company president. In our scenario, let’s say that she goes to your president and says, “it is time for you to go, the board of directors has lost faith in you, there are enough votes to remove you from office, so it would be better for you to resign, because if you don’t I am going to make sure that you get nothing on your way out the door and I am going to publicly embarrass you in the media. I will need your resignation in one hour! Let’s then say that she has negotiated, without your consent or knowledge, the president’s severance package.

    Now, let’s say that she then begins working on another employee. She encourages a subordinate of a department head to file a sexual harassment complaint against one of your department heads; A department head that pointed to the rules in the meeting where she was vehemently trying to get company employees to allow a company to do business with your company before they had met the requirements to do so. Let’s say that the Chairman of your company “encourages” you subordinate employee to file her sexual harassment complaint on the very day that your company is arbitrating or mediating a lawsuit against your company, so that the complaint can inflict the most damage to your department head.
    Then, the Chairman breaks company protocol, taking the matter out of the hands of the appropriate person within your company, and she persuades your Board of Directors to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate your department head; a special prosecutor who seems to have very strong allegiance to your chairman.

    The next thing you know, another of your department heads is fired for trumped up offenses. Oh, surprise, he is the person who defied your chairman the first time when she was trying to get a special favor for her supplier/employer. How did that happen?

    When you attempt to get the situation investigated, and remove her from her position in your company, she calls you an outside agitator! Amazing! You are a shareholder of the company trying to protect your interests, yet “you” are an outside agitator.

    You have invested money into the company, much the same as a citizen invests when they buy a home in a city. You buy company products to show support for your company, much like a citizen spends his or her money in the city to support the city. You have a vested interest in the success of the company, much the same as a citizen has a vested interest in the way the city is shaped and developed. You are depending on your stock to increase in value, much the way that a homeowner wants his or her home’s value to rise. You are interested in the way the employees of your company are treated, much the same as a citizen should be interested in how the employees of the government are treated. And you take an active role in ensuring that your interests are protected, much the way a citizen is responsible for making sure that government is held accountable for its actions. Yet, you are an “Outside Agitator”! Interesting, isn’t it?

    (The Business Scenario I have outlined here is purely fictional, any similarity to real situations or real persons is purely accidental. )

    Butch Huber

  3. Butch Huber

    In October of this year, it will be two years since I made the recommendation to the city commission that they look into the possibility of establishing a land trust with the owners of the several properties located at the intersection of Mt. Juliet Road and Division. Under my plan the city could pay an engineering firm to conduct a study and develop plans for a joint municipal center/commerce center at that intersection. The Municipal center could be large enough to house the city government for the next fifty years or more, and it would help ensure that the commercial development that occurs at that intersection was in keeping with the plans for the town center project.

    To initially fund the project the city could float a bond, or take out a loan against existing infrastructure (Buildings they would no longer need after the construction of the municipal center.) They could set up the land trust in a way that the city pays the existing land owners the value of their land plus an incentive bonus for participating in the project. Then, once they had the land in the trust they could subdivide the land along Mt. Juliet Road and Division into building lots for retail outlets. The new wave in Retail is to build retail on the first level and office space on the second. (Sounds like the old downtown theme to me, except rather than apartments above retail you have offices.) The majority of the municipal center could be housed above the retail. A main complex could be housed toward the rear of the property. The city could easily make enough money off the project to pay for most of the municipal center part of the project. Any short fall could be made up for through rent on unused municipal office space. As the city grows, and needs more space, it can take over space that is being rented as the leases run out. Additionally, once the project is complete the city could sell off the current city buildings and apply the capital toward the bond.

    I am not saying that my plan would work, but they could at least explore the possibilities. Even if I am wrong, and it wouldn’t be free, wouldn’t paying only a half or a third of the cost be better than paying 100%?

    The city could also attract grant money for the project through the office of homeland security by developing a crisis command and control center at that location. There are also other grants available in the private world if you search hard enough. Endowments for the arts for instance.

    In my plan, the city would be able to house the entire government, or nearly the entire government, in one central location. Additionally, we would be able to develop a teen center, library, college classes, Senior center, sports and recreation center, cultural center, conference center, community center, and we could practically do it all at no end cost to the citizens!

    I know Harold Feener, not well, but I know him. I am friends with Stan, his brother, and with his family. If the city isn’t going to step up to the plate, I hope he or another friend of mine is able to take advantage of the opportunity there. However, if I am going to have to participate in paying for a municipal center if they fail to act, I sure wish they had the nerve to act.

    The city could easily pull this project off. It would sure be better than paying $20,000,000 for an aquatics center for the YMCA.

    Let me weigh this out…in one hand I get a free, or practically free, municipal center, including a senior center, teen center, cultural center, library, conference center, sports and recreation center, college classes, etc…a police station, fire station, and enough space to house the government for many years to come…and…in the other hand I get a $20,000,000 aquatics center that practically nobody in town wants to pay for out of tax money, but that the mayor is determined to build. I wonder which is the right choice for the city?

    They are talking about this idea like it is fresh. The idea has been in the city e-mails and on video recording for two years and they have done nothing with it. Its time for this city commission to wake up and make some aggressive moves for the future of the this city.

    To be fair, Ray Justice was the one who gave me the idea. He was pushing to get the city to purchase the land and hold it. He didn’t seem to have a complete thought, but his gut was telling him it was the smart thing to do. That got me thinking about the project and how it could help the city.

    Instead of negotiating severance packages and mediating lawsuits, the commission should be progressive and prepare this city for the future.

    Butch Huber

  4. Glen Linthicum

    I remember the idea well. I believe that you (Butch) put together a PowerPoint presentation for the Commission back then. Maybe Publius could post this presentation if you still have it. At the time, I remember that neither Ray nor I could get traction for this idea. If memory serves, the response was “The City should not be in the business of buying and selling real estate, leave that to a private investor.” I truly though your plan had merit. If there is anything, I can do to help let me know.

    Glen

  5. Butch Huber

    Glen,

    Thanks for the back-up. There are a lot of different ways to develop that property. There seems to be agreement that the city needs new office space and lots of it, and there seems to be agreement that a municipal center would be a good idea. I also believe that the city commission would like to see the municipal center be located somewhere close to the center of town. The question is, does the commission want to make the tax payer pay all the freight for the center, or would they like to leverage the city’s position in a way that helps the current land owners, including the county, and at the same time develop the municipal center at a fraction of the price we will have to pay if they don’t act?

    Butch Huber

  6. Apolitical Observer

    I am having trouble with this ‘land swap’. By purchasing land of questionable value from a developer and then turning around and granting the same developer development rights to what is potentially the most valuable piece of property in Mt. Juliet, we are doing exactly what many incorrectly accuse the Mayor of, which is letting developers dictate policy. This is how the city was run prior to Mr. Mack’s election as Mayor and we don’t need to return there.

    We don’t even reap any money on this swap, either the developer buys it from the county school board after we buy his remote undeveloped parcel or the taxpayers buy it outright (under Mr. Huber’s plan).

    Here are questions we should be asking:

    A) Do we need yet another sportspark in yet another area of District 1, when there are no parks in Districts 2 or 3 and Greenways and Linear Parks plans languish unfunded?

    B) Do we need this sportspark to be located in the most remote corner of the city, with the potentially astronomical costs of infrastructure, improvements and utilities to be borne by taxpayers who in some cases will live almost 20 miles away? Shouldn’t we look at the example of Mundy Park and it’s recurring costs and lack of local usage to learn we don’t need to make the same mistakes over and over with our meager parks funding ?

    C) Should we instead be concentrating on greenways, which provide safe transit for n0n-automobile travel, can be enjoyed by everyone, and are eligible for multiple grants from state, federal and private sources?

    D) D0 we need to place a city government complex on the major crossroads of the Town Center district, thus negating the opportunity to collect sales taxes from retail ventures on the property?

    Would it not make more sense to locate off the ‘square’, as even free-spending Lebanon has done?

    E) Do we really need to spend large sums on a municipal monument of any kind, whether it be a new ‘City Hall’, the MJYMCA , or yet another sports complex?

    One area where I agree strongly with Mr. Huber. We need to stop talking about the turmoil, as some potential mayoral candidates would like us to continue to do, and start talking about the future.

  7. Butch Huber

    Apolitical Observer,

    I agree with most of what you have said here, however, your understanding of my plan is incorrect. I am not suggesting that the taxpayer pay for the land, nor am I suggesting that we use what would be vital and valuable retail land to build a monument to the city.

    The city of Mt. Juliet can only grow so large, and then it is out of land. Over the next 20 years we will likely grow to 70 to 90 percent of full capacity as a city. During that time we will need to expand the size of the infrastructure of our governmental organization. Meaning we will need new and larger buildings to house our government. However, the city does not need all that space now and at some point it will have all the space it will ever need. Careful planning and proper action could save the city millions over the next 20 years. In fact, it could quite possibly make money if it plans appropriately.

    The city currently has assets that it does not need, and probably will not ever use, land that could otherwise be used in a productive manner by the free market. That property could be sold to finance part of the plan that I propose. The rest of the plan could be substantially, or fully funded, through the increase the city would realize inside my plan. The city is the only entity poised or capable of doing what I propose, and it could be argued, that once the commissioners understand my proposal, they would have a moral obligation to use my plan. It just makes sense.

    Anyone who knows anything about real estate knows that it is better to buy today what real estate you will need in the future, if that property can be obtained in a fiscally responsible manner. Land is not going to go down in value, it is going to only go up over the next 20 years. Now is the time to acquire land to provide for the growth of the government.

    The perception is that I am saying that we should build a municipal center along Division or Mt. Juliet Road; taking up otherwise productive retail land. That perception is incorrect. My plan allows for as much, or nearly as much, retail on that corner as would otherwise happen, perhaps even more. Additionally, my plan would likely reduce the impact the government has on productive land.

    I am all for parks and recreation centers, however, I believe there is a better way to obtain them than through government organizations building them. I believe that the community should build them, not through taxes, but through donations. I also believe that developers should build adequate park and recreation plans into their developments. I don’t think that should be mandated by the city, but should instead be mandated by consumer demand. I don’t know if it is true or not, but I recently heard that the soccer association, upon hearing that they would no longer be able to use the land on curd road, began searching for suitable land to play soccer on. I heard that every time they found a piece of land, the city made a volitional maneuver to block their effort. I was told that the city caused such problems the soccer association had to go to the county for help, and that is why the soccer teams play at the elementary school…because it is county property and the city could not get in the way. I asked “why” the city would do such a thing. I don’t want to tell you what I was told at this point, but the accusation was very serious. I don’t want government involved in any area of my life that it doesn’t absolutely have to be involved in. For too long this country has slowly, inch-by-inch, allowed big brother more and more control. Today, government officials all too often feel that they are the best hope for humanity, and therefore they have a right to intrude upon the lives of the citizens. So, no, I don’t want to have the government in control of my recreation. However, the city belongs to us, therefore there would be nothing wrong with the city contributing any windfall profit is enjoys from an endeavor to such worthwhile and important aspects of society.

    Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it isn’t worth looking into. My plan for that town center area would be a valuable addition to the city, would solve some problems the city is facing, and would improve the appeal of the city and add charm and character. It would save taxpayers enormous sums of money. And it would be done at no real cost to the taxpayer, would not reduce the total footprint of available retail land, and would improve the city.
    Some people want to pooh-pooh my plan without even knowing what my plan entails. Is that intelligent behavior?

    Someone please tell me what is wrong with building what is going to ultimately going to be built anyway, but building it in a way that will improve the city, save taxpayers money and provide for things the city needs. I don’t see the downside of my plan.

    Butch Huber

  8. raytears

    We could start stopping the turmoil by focusing on the city instead of these attacks on the mayor. EVERYONE
    in this community is SICK AND TIRED of bickering
    every monday meeting. I speak to you huber, you gather some good ideas and then you get with your buddies and go after the mayor again and again. So people lost their jobs mainly your buddies. Get over it. You say you care about the public, then they say enough is enough and you don’t listen. Look You seem to be an intelligent person. what is this hatred going to do. Already Mt Juliet is a laughing stock in the eyes of ALL OTHER counties. I speak to builders and businesses an they are starting to question moving here. You GOT TO start being aware of your surroundings. RESPECT THE OFFICE. AGAIN I SAY PEOPLE IN THIS COMMUNITY ARE SICK AND TIRED OF THE DRAMA. But I guess you will do it again this monday nite, because again you are not listening to the people. PROVE ME WRONG TAKE THE HIGH ROAD PLEASE.

  9. Butch Huber

    John R.;
    The public that I speak to are very concerned about the behavior of the mayor and they are glad that I am pressing my cause. Builders and businesses are not the thermometer of justice. I would rather not see one more house built in this city or one more business opened than to turn my head to the injustices being inflicted upon city employees by the mayor. Your argument is weak.

    This is a matter of right and wrong. Just because you are friends with the mayor doesn’t make “you” any more right than my “friends” getting fired and being forced to resign or retire makes “me” right. I am friends with many more people in city government who are very glad to see me going after truth and justice in this issue. What you are saying is no different than telling the chief of police that you don’t want him to arrest criminals because you are tired of seeing it on the news. That is absurd!

    The mayor violated the law again last night by e-mailing a letter to the other commissioners asking them to dismiss my complaint and Mr. Griffin’s complaint. That is a clear violation of the state’s sunshine law. According to your philosophy, I should allow the mayor to violate law after law because you don’t want to hear about it anymore. There is no foundation underpinning your position.

    Here is a question for you: if you want me to look the other way when I am absolutely convinced that the mayor has violated many laws, shouldn’t the entire legal system be shut down? Here is another question: how is it fair and just that political leaders can violate the law at will and not be prosecuted, yet ordinary people go to jail? How can you possibly reconcile that position in your mind? It simply is not logical! Let’s face it John R., you are a friend of the mayor and she could do practically anything and you would be on this website telling me to look the other way! I can’t take you seriously because your position is completely irrational.

    Whereas you will defend the mayor no matter what, I have contended that my friends have to stand and account for their actions when they are accused of wrongdoing. I am not playing favorites, I am seeking truth. It doesn’t concern me that my friends are under scrutiny because I know that my friends are honorable and they wouldn’t knowingly violate the law..(Except perhaps the speed limit…sorry Chief Floyd, some of my friends have a heavy foot.) I have confidence that my friends would stand up under scrutiny, and if they don’t, they have to suffer the consequences for their actions. They don’t get a pass just because they are my friends. I would visit them in jail, I would help their family, I would do whatever I could for them, and I would hate to see them going through their turmoil, but in the end, they would have to stand and take their punishment. Why can’t you be the same way? Why don’t you want to see the injustices drug out into the light? There is no question that wrongs have been perpetrated…the only question is “what is it going to take to bring the perpetrators to justice”.

    This thing has just gotten started. Tonight’s commission meeting was only part one of many parts; It was a formality. This is not over by a long shot. If you read my complaint, you will find that I predicted the outcome of tonight’s commission meeting…even the handling of my complaint was improper. That means that I must file yet another complaint!

    I cannot be ignored and I can not be marginalized.

    I have been in a similar situation before, it just gets worse and worse before it gets better…but it does get better. I stood under that injustice and suffered greatly for taking my stand, and I am making my stand in this issue as well. Popular opinion doesn’t dictate law…law dictates law. I am not swayed in the least by popular public opinion. You might as well save your breath.

    Butch Huber

  10. liberty

    I have a question and I maybe sorry for getting in the middle of this… If you are so certain that the law is on your side, and obviously no one is going to press forward with this, why don’t you file it in court? A formal filing with a court date and lawyers on both sides could settle this. Then it would be over and we could quit spending monies that we don’t really have on all of these investigations.

  11. Butch Huber

    Liberty,
    Thanks for your input. I agree that the city shouldn’t be spending money on investigations. But the “cause” of the investigations is the behavior of the mayor and those surrounding her. What you are suggesting is that I hire an attorney at my own expense to settle issues that are supposed to be handled by the government.

    There would still be discovery, there would still be investigation, the problem doesn’t stop just because there is a claim in court.

    I will tell you my goal. I want to be as transparent as possible. I want to go through all proper channels to get an investigation into the events going on in the city. I actually care that my government is not functioning properly. I want you to see first hand whether justice can be served when we are dealing with public officials.

    Let’s say that you are convinced that Jim Bradshaw (Whom I would not suspect of wrongdoing; I have a lot less respect for him because he dismissed my complaint because he thinks we need to stop the battle and move on and not because he felt my complaint has no merit, but I would not suspect him of wrong doing.) had done something you believe was wrong. Something that you believe was unacceptable and illegal. Now let’s say that his actions had an impact on that lives of the employees of the city, or, in case you don’t care about the city employees…let’s say it had an impact on a group of people you do care about. Now, let’s say that you feel compelled to do something about it. You go to the commission and ask them to set the situation straight. They ignore you. You point out the law to them…they ignore you. You inform them that if they don’t fix the situation you will be forced to file a complaint…they ignore you. You file a complaint with the governor, he sends it to the TBI, who says that there is little they can do, not because your claim has no merit, but because your district attorney will not prosecute the case because it is political. You let the commission know that you are collecting evidence to submit a formal complaint that can’t be ignored and ask them to fix the situation…they ignore you. You watch as more and more people are harmed by Jim, and you ask that the commission fix the problem…and you are ignored. You meet with two of the commissioners and find that they feel something should be done and they agree that there are problems, but they say that they are powerless because they don’t have a third vote to do something, (Again, not because there isn’t something wrong, but because the Mayor Elam and Will Sellers “won’t” vote to investigate her in the matter”) Then you take the time and you draft a 29 page complaint detailing the offenses, pointing to the evidence, which is mostly a matter of public record, and you explain your position in minute detail, only to receive a letter from the city attorney saying that there is nothing in your complaint that is actionable under 8-47-103, that your complaint is incomplete and inaccurate, and that criminal complaints are not within her jurisdiction. You go to the commission meeting where they will discuss your complaint, and you watch as a skilled attorney (In our scenario we will have to pretend that Jim is a skilled attorney) beats up the only two commissioners who want to do what you believe to be the right thing. You watch as your complaint is improperly handled by the commission. You watch as Will Sellers uses the city attorney’s letter to you as a basis for his decision to dismiss when the city attorney’s letter to you only states that there is nothing actionable under 8-47-103. Her incorrect finding that there is nothing that is actionable under 8-47-103 only means that “she” doesn’t find anything in your complaint that is grounds for “her” to institute proceedings for ouster from office. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t find anything that has merit and that the commission has to decide what to do. They held the discussion without the attorney being present and without handling it under the guidelines of an ethics complaint, which it was and which you asked the commission to treat it as, and they want the matter to disappear. The District Attorney General, even if he will investigate, won’t be involved in the civil part of the issues, so now you have to take even yet another route to get the civil issues handled. Here is the question…wouldn’t you want the government to straighten up and act right?

    You see, no body of authority has said that nothing illegal has occurred. In fact, some who are in authority has said that they feel there is evidence that suggests something illegal “has” occurred. I want you to know that there are people in your government that agree with me that there have been wrongs committed. They know it and have said so to me personally. The issue isn’t whether something illegal has occurred, the issue is that those charged with correcting the issue won’t do anything about it or can’t do something about it because they can’t get a third vote to investigate.

    Remember how the mayor hung Hatton Wright out to dry? Remember that he was exonerated of all charges after a complete and thorough investigation? Remember how Laurie Everett made sure that the complaint against him was prominently displayed in the Lebanon Democrat and the Mt. Juliet News? Remember that Laurie Everett and the mayor are good friends? Remember how Hatton is still being beaten up because of what he “didn’t do”?

    There really needs to be an investigation into what is going on here. So, what I am doing is I am giving everyone who is charged with doing something about this issue an opportunity to do their job. I will document everything that occurs or doesn’t occur. If there is no investigation into this matter I will eventually attempt to gather enough other citizens to file what is called a petition by relator citizens. That will cause an investigation unless of course there is yet another slick-trick that can stop an investigation. At some point the “real” media will become interested. If I can’t get anything done to correct the problem, I will develop a dossier that I will take to the state legislature and ask for congressional oversight in the matter.

    Unless someone can show me that I am wrong, and I am willing to listen to anyone who wants to sit down and go through the facts with me, I intend to take this thing through every stage and through every level.
    You should “want” me to do this. In fact, you should “help” me do this. I am not doing anything wrong, I am doing everything right. I asked the commission to look into what I suspected. They didn’t. I cautioned them that I would file a complaint…they ignored me. I filed one complaint with the governor, who sent it to the TBI, where I believe it died (Not because there wasn’t something to my complaint, but because they said that if the district attorney wouldn’t prosecute there is no reason to investigate.). I pointed out to the commission each offense as they occurred, they ignored me. It is not okay to do something illegal because you can’t get it done any other way…and that is what is happening in our city government. The mayor has done things that I believe are illegal. I believe she has done things illegally because she couldn’t get them done legally or because she believed she couldn’t get them done legally.

    The problems with this city will not be solved by looking the other way. They simply won’t. We have tried that for many years, it hasn’t worked so far and it won’t work. The only way that the issue will be solved is for there to be a complete and thorough investigation into the issues. Perhaps we need to actually dissolve our current government and replace it with a new government. There is the real possibility that our governmental structure needs to change to adapt to the growth of the city. Perhaps we need to switch to a mayor/alderman form of government, or perhaps we need home-rule type changes that can institute a totally new form of government that is not currently an option for the city under the TCA.

    No matter which way you look at what is going on in the city, whether you are for what I am doing or against it, whether you support Linda, Ray, Ed, Will, or Jim, whether you are a democrat or republican, liberal or conservative, old or young, native or newcomer, man or woman, you can’t possibly think that everything is okay with the city and that we can expect nothing but good things from the city commission from now on.

    To those who just want this thing to blow over, I want to ask you a question. I want you to think about the city commission for as far back as you can remember. I want you to think about everything that has gone on, and not just this current round of issues. When you picture that in your mind I want you to think about this saying..”If you always do, what you have always done, you will always get, what you have always gotten.” I will say it again for effect…”If you always do, what you have always done, you will always get, what you have always gotten.” What do you think will change if I quit? Do you really think things will get better? The commission was applauded for coming together for the sign ordinance issue, what seemed to be missed is that it was such an “event”. Our commission worked together to solve “ONE” issue and it was celebrated. That should tell the whole story. The issues that divide this city need to be handled and resolved, not ignored.

    Public officials need to know that, if they violate the law, they will be prosecuted. That is only one of many planks that will be needed to develop a stable platform under our city government, but it is an important plank.

    Butch Huber

  12. RJ

    Hi all,

    I don’t normally respond to this web site but I do feel some of the input is interesting. In regard to the ethics complaint concerning the Mayor Elam…it doesn’t matter whether it is a contract or not. She signed a piece of paper she had no authority to sign, just as Ed Hagerty was censured for, and it was OK for her, not for Ed. For Commissioner Bradshaw, or anybody else, to suggest its anything but wrong is nuts. As for the idea of the park at the end of York Road…stop looking for the conspiracy, it’s not there. The reason I have suggested this property is for several reasons, the largest being we can purchase 78 acres and it immediately turns into 144 acres of usable property. The part about Mr. Feener is secondary. As for the question of “why in District 1?” It’s because District 1 is about the only place left with any area not developed to the hilt with rooftops everywhere, and by the way, we don’t want or need a bunch more rooftops. Just like other places such as Gallatin, the park is best placed where there is least impact on traffic flows. Lebanon Road is five lanes and the small country road would not allow for high speeds and reckless driving. In regards to Mr. Huber’s complaint against the Mayor…there is little we can do without three votes and you saw what happened on Monday night. I do not disagree with him but I have talked to the DA who stated he does not want to get involved in local political squabbles but suggested if there is citizenry who wants to pursue court action there is a vehicle available for that to happen. As for the fire department. I just read the little snide remark about “Apparently the fire trucks would get to the scene of a fire MUCH faster if only they were owned by the City. Or if they were housed in a building closer to where the fire breaks out. Perhaps we should just require 24 hours advance notice before allowing a fire to break out.” My response is the city’s fire department would not be out on Holloway Road off of 231 south fighting a brush fire if they were owned by the city. The response time by WEMA to the Mt. Juliet Christian Academy was only acceptable because Mt. Juliet police officers were on the scene to assist the one little truck that was left in this part of the county. Thats why I proposed public safety officers (police officers cross trained as first responding firefighters) to assist WEMA. By the way, where was the Mayor’s CERT team? It doesn’t matter if the county will not or can not provide fire service. Do we wait for them to fix the problem or do we become proactive and make sure the issues are addressed before we lose the life of a resident? Lets don’t “stubborn ourselves to death” on this issue. And finally, since I’ve obviously been dragged into responding to everything in one fell swoop…Linda Elam hasn’t fixed anything in regards to the Eastern connector or the reverse L to the school. I haven’t fixed everything but I can promise I’m working on it as hard and fast as I can. The ROW issue held us up and now we’re moving forward. Someone please tell me what else might happen to facilitate this issue. I’m looking for answers. My son will be going to this school. Do you think I want him or his friends driving on a substandard road? This is not political for me but I’m sure someone will try and say it is. I am pulling out all stops to get this done. As much as one commissioner might do within the confines of the law. That one’s for you, Butch. (just kidding) Butch Huber actually urged me to respond to this site and now I have. The tone of the responses will determine any further responses.
    -Ray Justice

  13. Publius

    Commissioner Justice:

    Welcome. Your comments are appreciated.

    Perhaps the lines on the fire protection editorial were a little snide, but the editorial didn’t make a very good case for why Mt. Juliet should have its own fire department. As noted in the post though, there ARE reasons why Mt. Juliet might want start its own fire department. One of those reasons might be if the county is unable or unwilling to provide an adequate level of protection.

    I had not heard that any of the Mt. Juliet WEMA equipment was deployed over on Hwy 231 south of Lebanon at the time of the MJCA fire. That was not mentioned in the newspaper stories. Do you have any more details?

    -Publius

  14. Butch Huber

    Commissioner Justice,

    Welcome to the party. I appreciate your taking the time to post. It is refreshing to hear from commissioners on this site. Your presence, and Commissioner Hagerty’s presence here lends credibility that we are not just a cabal, trying to overthrow the government.

    I agree that we need to look into the fire protection issues, but I also think that we need to ensure that we are not paying the county property taxes for services that they don’t provide us. There has to be a solution. Perhaps a quasi-county/city fire protection program through which the county provides part of the funding for our fire-protection and we pay the remaining portion. They would have access to fire trucks, equipment and personnel for county fire protection, but we would have first dibs if there were two fires.

    As far as my complaint is concerned…all I can say is stand-by. Thanks for verifying that the District Attorney’s position is that he doesn’t want to get involved. I will appeal to him, but I don’t expect much.

    Folks, while I am a little cautious, I believe we need to give Ray’s plan for York road a chance. We need to look into the whole matter. The property that Ray is talking about is located on the lake. The area around it will be built up very quickly after sewer is run up there, which means there be a proper road built to it, in fact, we could look into building the road there in the first place and perhaps putting an impact fee on homes built along the road in the future (if that is legal). I would have like to have seen an amusement park go up on that property, but a park would be nice as well. Remember, all of this is coming from someone (me) who doesn’t think the city should be spending money on parks until the government infrastructure is built. So, here comes part two of my post. Harold Feener is only looking at the property where the old elementary school is sitting. If you will look at the overlay map, you will see that there is a lot of unused property behind that school and there is the Everett Property next door and there is property that is owned by the Jones Brothers just down the road. All of that property, could be assessed to determine current value. Then, with the owner’s participation, it could all be put into a land trust that the city owns or controls. The city, rather than taking that property through eminent domain, could offer them current value+ for their participation in the project. Once the property is in a land trust it could be divided into building lots on which mixed commercial/residential buildings could be constructed. The back portion of the land could be used for a municipal center with access onto both Division and Mt Juliet Roads. The entire, or nearly the entire, city government could be housed at this site without taking up ideal retail sites along Mt. Juliet Road and Division. The land owners would get more money this way than if they sold their land outright or if it were taken through eminent domain. Harold Feener could be the lead developer on the project and would make money from developing the municipal center. He would be able to sell his land to the city. The city gets a park out of the deal. We would be able to get a nice road to a park in an ideal setting. The city would profit from the land sale, and from selling no longer needed buildings (like the current city hall building). The city could possibly work with the county to build a joint project there in which the county has an interest as well. The city could build a building big enough to house the government for the forever, and then rent the unused space until it is needed. Above the retail there could be offices, and above that there could be residential condos. That area could really be a cozy, eclectic destination spot that is located right across from the train station. We could run shuttles from the station to the other shopping areas making Mt. Juliet a real interesting place to shop and play. We could put a cultural center, including a senior center, college classes, meeting rooms, art center, etc in the municipal building. There could be a small park setting in the center. We could open it up to walking trails to what will become class “a” office space down east division so that people working in those offices will walk to the center for lunch. What I am proposing is a plan that would make our town center extend from division all the way to old Lebanon dirt road. The Everett property extends across Mt. Juliet Road and down into a flood plan…we could use that area for additional parking with an underpass or over pass going across Mt. Juliet Road.

    Folks, if we can spend $20,000,000 to give a gift to the YMCA, we can afford to do this project that would save us many millions of dollars, now and in the future.

    I am not saying that we shouldn’t look into Ed’s plan or Linda’s plan, I am saying that we should take a serious look at all plans.

    I also believe you should pay close attention to Ray Justice, he is right, or partially right in most of what he is saying. He has good instincts. He and I have had our battles, but I have to be fair in everything. Ray has some good ol’ common horse sense.

    As for those who think that I just hate the mayor and that is the reason I am going after her…you could have said the same about me regarding Ray and Ed, too. If they do something in the future that I feel is wrong, you will be saying it again. You are wrong about how I feel about the mayor. I can’t stand her as mayor, but I she and I have been friendly in the past, and just like Ray, Ed and I, we can be friendly in the future. But while she is pretending to have done nothing wrong, I will have to continue to pursue justice.

    This whole thing can go away if she would like. Here is what it will take. She must make a formal public apology for the things she has done wrong and for things she has mishandled. She must make amends with those she has harmed. The city must put things right again and come to terms with those who have been harmed. The city needs to determine if her actions, once confessed, rise to a level where she should no longer be a public official or if her censure is enough punishment for her actions. Then, and only then, will I be able to let this drop.

    Butch Huber

    Butch Huber

  15. Apolitical Observer

    It would be nice to have the land out at the end of York Road. Perhaps Mr. Feenor, whose participation is hardly secondary on this issue as he seems to be dictating policy, could donate it to the city. In the interim, we need to build greenways and linear parks where there are actually adjacent (paved) roads to get to them, destinations to add value to their use and people to walk on them. And I have to point out this is perhaps the first time I have heard the D1 commissioner speak against unrestricted rooftops, and I find this encouraging.

    I think it would be entirely appropriate to have a city fire department if county taxes were reduced accordingly. We don’t want to be double-dipped as Lebanon is. Lebanon is provably one of the least efficiently run cities in Tennessee, whereas at the end of last year Mt. Juliet was rated one of the most efficient in the same survey.

    Remember that our much-criticized mayor took a lead role to broker a compromise when county commissioners (including good ol’ boy cronies who supposedly ‘represent’ us here) voted to take away our fire service. And that she helped secure a fire station site within Providence. No matter to me if the fire trucks say ‘Mt. Juliet’ or ‘Wilson County’ on them as long as we don’t pay twice for one fire department. But with so much of the western portion of the county outside of the city limits, a “Mt. Juliet FD” is not yet practical and would only complicate the issue of providing service in this part of the county.

    I appreciate the D1 commissioner’s work on behalf of the Curd Road section near the the high school, especially if he was able to persuade political friends on the county commission to change their ‘no’ votes. And I appreciate that he has reversed his longtime opposition to the Eastern Bypass as it will provide an opportunity for jobs and help define the city. His recent support of it is certainly valued.

  16. Apolitical Observer

    Butch, I am surprised to hear you imply I don’t understand what you’re saying when your response to me contradicts your own words. Did you not write “I made the recommendation to the City Commission that they look into the possibility of establishing a land trust with the owners of several properties located AT THE INTERSECTION OF MT JULIET RD AND DIVISION ST. Under my plan the city could pay an engineering firm to conduct a study and develop plans for a joint municipal/commerce center AT THAT INTERSECTION.” You then respond to me “The perception is that I am saying that we should build a municipal center along Division or Mt. Juliet Road, taking up otherwiase productive retail land. That perception is incorrect”.

    Uh, OK….so we are talking about city offices where department heads could walk downstairs to drop off their dry-cleaning or grab a sandwich? Please define your plan a little more thoroughly, as currently described it sounds at best like a mirror of Mr. Feenor’s plan to rent office space to the city if we buy his remote outpost and at worst half-baked.

    And don’t assume that everyone who disagrees with you is an idiot, eventually that will be your downfall.

  17. Butch Huber

    Apolitical Observer,

    Just because you don’t agree with me doesn’t make you’re an idiot, not having an open mind to other options would make you an idiot, but not agreeing with me doesn’t. Just because I say, what I say, with passion and conviction and with a belief that I am right, doesn’t mean that you are an idiot if you disagree. If I have made you feel like an idiot, I apologize.

    Harold Feener is talking about buying “just” the old elementary site to build his project. I am talking about the elementary site, the unused portion of the Ferrell property, the unused portion of the John Deal property, the Bell property, the Everett Property, and the Bob Jones property. The owners of the property where Sun Trust (first bank?), keller williams (lineberry?), and whitts (Jones land management?) now sit might want to throw in with the project as well, they would benefit if they did. (I may be wrong about some of the occupants of the buildings, it has been a while since I proposed this plan and some tenents have changed around since then.)

    In all, that would give us about 45 to 50 acres to build on, not just the 11 at the elementary property. much of that land would otherwise go unused, or would be used in an inefficient manner. It is the property that would be unused or inefficiently used on which I suggest that we build a municipal center. There would be direct access to the municipal center from division (across what is now the Bell Property) and there would be direct access from Mt. Juliet Rd (across what is now Bob Jones Property.) If you notice, on the Everett property, there is a section along Mt. Juliet that is in the flood plane. That property can be used as a main entrance to the parking area that would be behind the retail shopping buildings that would line Mt. Juliet and division and that would be in front of the Municipal center. That makes use of otherwise unusable property. Parking behind the retail, rather than beside and behind the retail, will enable us to place more retail establishments along Mt. Juliet Road.

    The buildings that line Mt. Juliet road could be built with a retro/modern main street appeal; with the first floor being shopping and restaurants, the second floor being offices, and perhaps even a third floor with loft style condo suites for young couples without children or young single executive types. My plan would put as much, or more retail in that area than any other plan could put there, and we still end up with a municipal center in the center of town. The municipal center should be built on a scale that would allow it to house the government permanently. That would mean that we would have to build it on multiple levels, or build it in a way that would allow us to add floors later…either way works. If we build it to the level we will need in the future, we could rent out any unused property until we need it. (This additional rent could pay for any loans we would need, if any, to build the municipal center. That way our city offices would cost us zero dollars.) This does not put the city into land speculation because we know that we will need space and we are just making fiscally responsible measures for the good of the city. If the city started building a lot of office buildings that it would never need, just to collect rent checks, I would have a problem, but this project just makes sense to me.

    If you are really that worried about using otherwise valuable retail land for a municipal center, the first level of the municipal center could be used for retail shopping and the Municipal center could go on higher floors. That way you couldn’t accuse me of saying one thing and then saying another.

    Parking is an issue for all shopping centers. This plan has a built in answer. Most shopping centers don’t max out their parking, meaning all spaces taken, except during special seasons or special events. My plan has a section of property that lies in a flood plane. I don’t know of any reason that we couldn’t use that property for overflow parking, and just provide a walk over or tunnel for pedestrians to get across Mt. Juliet Road.

    For those who are really, really concerned about retail at division and Mt. Juliet, you have to also consider how much retail there will be going in on Lebanon Road. The city can only handle so much retail, there is ample land for retail growth. Let’s be real about retail land.

    I believe that a quaint, eclectic shopping district in the center of town, with offices above and loft apartments above that, and a municipal center/cultural center is a great idea and would be a great addition to the city. While I am open to the possibility that I am wrong, you might want to slice out a big chunk of time if you are going to try to convince me I am wrong about this project.

    Just like any deal maker, the person or entity that puts the deal together should be financially rewarded for their vision and idea. In this case, the city would be the deal maker, and in fact probably is the only entity that could make the deal work because of its power. The city could just eminent domain the entire area, but I don’t suggest that as the first or even tenth option. But if I were one of those land owners, and I knew that the city was going to put this project together whether or not I agreed, I would position myself to take full advantage of their plan, meaning I would go along with the plan, put my land in the land trust, and enjoy the increased value in my land that comes from the project.

    The city could have all the land values of all the properties assessed, and offer the current land owners current value, plus a premium, for their participation in the project. Keller Williams, Sun trust (is it sun trust now?) and Whitts would all be able to put stores in that new center, so they wouldn’t lose a thing.

    The city would certainly enjoy an increase over and above the current value of the land plus the premium, at least enough to pay for its portion of the land, and it most likely wouldn’t have to pay for its portion of the parking lot. It is even possible that the city could build the building on the profits, but even if it couldn’t, selling its current assets would enable it to build a good part of the project.

    If it turns out that the property on York Road is not suitable for a city park, perhaps Harold Feener and the city could combine those properties and create a subdivision that would encompass both properties. That land would sell for a fortune. Lake front properties would sell for a million dollars per acre! I am not suggesting that the city get into the land development business. The land on York Road is already city property, and I am sure that the city could legally negotiate a deal with a land developer that would allow the city to enjoy the increase on that property without having to get into the land development business. If it is a good site for a park, the city could get a park out of the deal. If we run sewer up to that property the dog pound could also go up there. That would solve another problem. (It has to go somewhere, and next to a park will give it some exposure without upsetting too many people…I think.)

    I sat in the last commission meeting as citizen after citizen went to the microphone speaking out against development. I heard them speak of traffic congestion and other matters. I have been neutral on development issues in this city all along. I could take it or leave it. But it is becoming apparent that we need to look at the possibility that we need to apply the brakes just a tad bit in this city. Developers should be our friends, not our enemies, but friends consider your feelings…don’t they? Until we have adequate thoroughfares though the city, we may need to look for ways to slow growth in some areas of the city. I am not a proponent of the city limiting someones rightful enjoyment of making a profit off their land, but I am also not a proponent of unbridled growth for the sake of growth.

    This city has some internal problems that we need to address and clear up, and then we need to focus on putting together a master growth plan that everyone can live with. One that will direct growth in a sensible manner, but that will not punish landowners and developers. Until we settle the internal problems, there will never be a consensus on how the city should grow. Perhaps it is time for some at large commissioners, who owe their allegiance to the city at large and not just one district. Perhaps the citizens should have more say in the process as well.

    There are some exciting possibilities for this city. I am suggesting that the city get out of the proverbial box and start thinking about innovative alternatives rather than being stuck in a paradigm that mandates that government must pay full price for everything.

    You said:
    Uh, OK….so we are talking about city offices where department heads could walk downstairs to drop off their dry-cleaning or grab a sandwich?

    I say:
    What is wrong with that?

    You say:
    Please define your plan a little more thoroughly, as currently described it sounds at best like a mirror of Mr. Feenor’s plan to rent office space to the city if we buy his remote outpost and at worst half-baked.

    I say:
    If anything, Harold Feener’s plan is a scaled down version of “my” plan; remember who had the plan first. Or is my plan an expanded version of Ray Justice’s plan? I guess it could be, he “is” the one who got me thinking about it.

    I also say…IT IS HALF-BAKED! If it was fully baked “I” would be making the profit! As it is, I am handing the idea to the city as a “possible” answer to a growing need, and if I am right, it is a gift to the city. What is wrong with that?

    You say:
    And don’t assume that everyone who disagrees with you is an idiot, eventually that will be your downfall.

    I say:
    It is the man who goes about life with a closed mind, and closed eyes and ears, who is the idiot. Just because you don’t agree with me, or don’t have the vision to see the possibilities, doesn’t mean I am wrong.

    Folks, I know where Apolitical Observer is coming from, I have dealt with this issue all my life. People mistake my confidence for arrogance. I don’t think I am better than anyone else…I just believe, “what” I believe, with passion…sometimes that comes across wrong. I believe that a person who won’t take a stong stand for what he believes is a fool. I certainly don’t mean to make someone feel less of himself, that is unforgivable…unless they really deserve it.

    And as far as my downfall, what exactly are you talking about when you say “downfall”? What exactly do you think I am trying to achieve?

    Butch Huber

  18. Apolitical Observer

    Credibility

  19. Butch Huber

    Apolitical Observer,

    Interesting response, one not expected, actually surprising in fact. I figured to hear you say that I am running for mayor or some other non-sense. Your response is actually much deeper than anticipated. I’m impressed. I will contemplate your response and do some soul searching. Perhaps I am seeking “Credibility”, I don’t think I am, but I guess you could be right. I suppose there are subconscious under-currents that could be at work, but why would I need “Credibility”. I have nothing on a personal level that I feel I need to prove to you, or anyone else for that matter, but I realize that most people need to be validated at some level. Perhaps you are right, I don’t think you are, but I will leave the door open that you could be right.
    However, if my postings are a way of seeking credibility, then what are your postings about? Are you also seeking credibility? And if you are, “why”?

    Butch Huber

  20. Butch Huber

    Correction to my post on Sept 14, 2007 10:33.

    I was under the misconception that the piece of land that the city owns on York Road was actually “on the Lake”. The reason for my error was because I was once looking at a map of that area and someone at city hall, I can’t recall now who, pointed out a piece of property and said that the city owned that property. The property that the city owns appears not to be that property, but rather a much smaller piece of property (Smaller than the one I thought was city property) that only has a creek or small inlet along it. Just wanted to set the record straight. The value of that property obviously is not as great as I previously believed. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t still possibilities up there, but not nearly what I had envisioned before.

    I think that it would be a good idea to have the land assessed by a few reputable firms. That would give us a much clearer idea of its true value as it sits right now.

    Butch Huber

  21. Apolitical Observer

    Butch,

    I too was surprised by a thoughtful response, I expected a diatribe. I have no issues with my credibility although maybe others might.

    My postings are about my opinions on city government, as yours are. Two things you might
    consider if in fact you are seeking credibility on city issues are consistency and a bigger historical perspective.

    An example of the first imo is supporting smaller convervative government on one hand and endorsing massive capital projects on the other. There is no difference between what you like and the mayor’s YMCA proposal, other than what you endorse is what you want to see.

    On the second, as a ‘longtime’ resident you don’t seem to realize just how bad things were here before the 2000 elections. Perhaps Publius can give you more details. In a more recent vein, you seem to be competing with Laurie Everett for the job of publicity director for the mayoral campaign of the commissioner you fought so bitterly four years ago. This fight being over the same issues you are unendingly thumping the mayor about today.

    After you sort through those ideas (and I’m not saying ‘agree with them’), maybe you SHOULD think about running for mayor. You obviously have a vision and a concern. Or you could continue to be an armchair blogger like me.

    BTW I agree that York Road land needs to be appraised, probably by someone outside Wilson County. I think the proposal has limited merit and should be put behind other parks projects that are far more relevant for the community. But if we proceed, we don’t want to make a mistake AND spend too much on it. We’ve been down that road already with Mundy Park.

    Next time you’re shopping at Providence (pick a nice day) you might drive by Mundy Park and then along the greenway that follows Providence Trail and Providence Parkway. This suggestion for everyone reading this. Would be interested in your perceptions.

  22. Butch Huber

    To anyone who reads my postings, I want to thank you. Even if you don’t agree with my position, thank you for taking the time to read my postings.

    This posting is going to sound a little different though.

    I am going to ask you to pray.

    The first prayer that I ask for is a prayer for Linda Elam…not for “Mayor” Elam…but for Linda Elam. Linda Elam is a real person with real feelings. She is flesh and blood just like the rest of us. Linda Elam is not my enemy…at least I am not hers. I don’t know how she is feeling right now, but I can guess that she is angry, hurt, and frustrated. Perhaps she is a little sad, perhaps very sad. I sincerely ask that you pray for her to be comforted and that she find peace in all of the turmoil. I ask that you pray that God provide her with wisdom and strength and courage. I also ask that you pray that God touch her heart in ways she has never been touched and that He would guide her in His truth. I ask that you pray that God would find a way to fully reconcile this situation without any harm coming to Linda Elam. Contrary to how it may seem, I don’t want to see harm come to her…I just want the problems that have occurred to be rectified and that the city government act appropriately. I have to push the issues much harder than I would like because I am being ignored and the issues that I point out are not being handled. So while it may “seem” that I want revenge of some sort, what I actually seek is rectification and reconciliation.

    The second prayer I ask for is for me and my family…especially my family. My family never asked to be involved in this situation. Please pray for a hedge of protection over my family that no harm would come to them and that they find a place of comfort in all that is going on. I ask that you pray for strength and courage and wisdom for me. I ask that you pray that God reveal the truth to me and that I am able to discern it without prejudice on my part. I ask that you pray that God guard me and protect me as well. When I stand at the microphone I speak with as much strength and conviction as I am able, but what you probably don’t know is that my legs shake terribly. Not because I am afraid of the commission, but because I have a firm grasp of the gravity of the situation. This thing I have been involved with is a very serious matter. I believe that abuses have occurred, and I believe that those abuses must be dealt with directly and appropriately. Please pray that God let me examine my own heart in this matter, and if I am wrong, that he would reveal that to me and allow me to make peace for my actions. I ask that you pray that He show me the right path.

    Next, please pray for the city. The city of Mt. Juliet has been called the laughing stock of the surrounding cities and counties. That was the case long before I started dealing with any of this, so I didn’t cause it. I have no idea why this city has had so many problems, but it is time for those problems to stop. I don’t know what the answers are, but I know that hiding the truth is not the answer. Please pray that the whole truth be brought out into the light for all to see and so that we as a community can deal with the problems and hopefully find restoration and reconciliation.

    I ask that you pray for the city employees. They have been going through a lot. There is great turmoil going on within the city government, and people have been hurt. I ask that you pray that God would put a hedge of protection over all the employees of the city. Please pray that he would guard them from further harm and that they would be able to find a way to do their jobs without being affected by what is going on politically.

    But most of all, please pray for peace in this city. Please pray for God’s grace and mercy for each and everyone of us.

    I humbly ask for your prayers and I ask for your encouragement. I also seek your help. It is very hard to stand alone. Many people have said that they appreciate what I am doing, and I am glad they appreciate me, but what I need is help. I need good people to stand with me and help me. I need your encouragement.

    Butch Huber

  23. Butch Huber

    I just saw the posting by Apolitical observer from Sept 16, at 10:56.

    Apolitical Observer, you are correct that I don’t know just how bad things were here before the 2000 elections. I came into the scene here a couple years later when Commissioners Justice, Hagerty and Bradshaw were trying to fire Rob the first time. I went to the commission meeting for moral support for a friend (Rob) and to find out what the issues were. That night touched off a series of events that has brought me into the fray.

    Apolitical Observer, you are obviously a friend and supporter of Linda Elam, but this is not a personality contest. This is about right and wrong. The way things “used” to be does not justify the the way things “are”. No matter how bad it was, violating the law is still violating the law…and it doesn’t matter who is doing the violating. That doesn’t mean that there can’t be grace, and it doesn’t mean that there can’t be mercy, but it does mean that people who take it upon themselves to violate the law must be brought to account for their actions.

    Apolitical observer, you really seem to be protective of the Mayor. Let me ask you: If I showed you irrefutable evidence that she had committed a crime, a crime that hurt others, would you still take the position that she has done nothing wrong and that I should leave her alone?

    I am not running for mayor or commissioner, that is out of the question. I don’t have to be “just” an armchair blogger, either. I can do what is my duty and right as a citizen and make my voice and opinion heard. I believe that I can do more good as a citizen than I can as a local elected official…so that is exactly what I will do.

    I believe we do need new leaders in local office, but if none step up and all there is in the race is Ray Justice and Linda Elam, I would run Ray’s campaign if he asked me. Not because I think he is such a great candidate, but because Linda has abused her authority, has hurt others who possess less power, she is a bully, she is mean and nasty politically, and she has no sense of what is right and wrong. That having been said, if she were to step down from office and she were to call me and say that she needed some help on a personal level…I would certainly help her. I think you have to separate the issues from the person.

    As far as being consistent, you feel I am inconsistent, and I guess I can understand how you would arrive at that place, but if you were to step back and take a broader picture you would find that I am more of a facilitator and I am more inclined to arbitrate a matter than to dictate, although you might not think so with my strong personality. So when you think I am waffling on a matter, perhaps what you are really seeing is an acknowledgement or recognition that I can’t have it all my way (although “my way” is exactly what I want).

    Ray is right or partially right about most of the things he says. I don’t think anyone can deny that.

    Butch

  24. Apolitical Observer

    I have posted elsewhere dealing with some of the issues in this last post. And now I’ll be ‘on vacation’ from RFMJ for awhile.

  25. Butch Huber

    I was finally able to read about what happened at the last commission meeting. I know that there are a lot of people who have the opinion that the complaints just need to stop, and they want to blame the messenger and say that the complaint has no merit because of the motivation of the complaint. While I agree that people should not be using the system for retribution, the mayor should not be skirting the law or violating the law to get what she wants either.

    So, there are obviously two camps. There are those who are happy when the commission censures commissioners who they dislike and who are okay with public officials violating the law when it effects the end result they desire, and then there are those of us who believe that all public officials should be held accountable for their actions and that they should not be above the law even if what they are doing would bring about desirable results.

    There are those who want to kill the messenger, and then there are those who look past the messenger and who read the message.

    Ed Haggerty was censured for signing a letter he should not have signed. The letter he signed had no legal authority because Ed Haggerty has no authority over personnel matters. It is no legally no different than if you or I signed it. Yet he was censured for signing that letter. The mayor signed a letter she shouldn’t have signed. The letter she signed had legal authority because it was also signed by the city manager. I spoke to Rob Shearer about this issue. I believe he said that the city attorney told him that it would be legal for him to sign that letter.

    WIll Sellers didn’t say that the letter wasn’t a contract. Remember, he said that he had spoken to the city attorney and other attorney’s and then he determined that the issue should be taken care of in a court of law.

    That doesn’t settle the issue the commission was to vote on. The issue the city was to vote on was whether or not the city mayor had exceeded her authority in the same manner as Ed Haggerty had exceeded his authority when he signed a letter he shouldn’t have signed.

    Obviously, Will doesn’t have the will to do the right thing. Perhaps we need to remember this in the future when he is asking for our votes.

    This city is so biased and unbalanced in its approach to application of law it is embarrassing.

    Butch Huber

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