Headlines from the Chronicle and the Mt. Juliet News Jan 23, 2008

from The Chronicle:

Citizens shut out by City Hall

Public Records requests get no response
“If you’re seeking ‘public information’ from Mt. Juliet City Hall you might receive it – eventually – but as many Mt. Juliet residents are finding, you might not get any response at all.”
[the City Manager apparently lost his temper with a citizen and became quite hostile over a public record request. He demanded that the citizen explain his reasons for requesting the records in a meeting with the City Manager, the City Attorney, and the City Finance Director.
BIG unanswered question:
What records were being requested?]

Longtime biz owner sues City
[over the sign ordinance]

Commissioners say quiet zone meeting was open
[but it wasn’t! Inside headline: Quiet Zone meeting considered closed.  The City Manager asked residents to leave the meeting, because he “did not invite them.” The meeting included representatives from the N&E Railroad, the RTA, and included at least one City Commissioner. Vice Mayor Hagerty had sent the citizens to the meeting, but they were turned away by the City Manager]

from the Mt. Juliet News:

City commissioners impatient with ‘friendly condemnation’ for safe passage right-of-way
One wants to settle up or propose widening existing road

“Burned recently by bills they did not expect, at least three city commissioners are afraid unsettled right-of-way costs associated with the legal process may also ‘bite them in the behind.'”

S&S Industries rises from the ashes
Company opens new facility one year after tragic fire

‘Unforseen’ debts could affect decision on right-of-way
[We’re glad they put ‘unforeseen’ in quotes. How could the cost of an agreement with TDOT, signed by the Mayor, be ‘unforeseen?’]

-Publius

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1 Comment

Filed under Open Meetings Law, Public Records, Quiet Zone

One response to “Headlines from the Chronicle and the Mt. Juliet News Jan 23, 2008

  1. Butch Huber

    Closed government is not a benign issue where nobody is harmed, but rather a malignant cancer that devours our rights and tramples on citizens as those who would spin their nefarious plot take advantage of first one and then the other. Without open government public officials can do just about anything they want. Without open government their power-base will continue to grow until individual rights are no longer a reality.

    Ours is a nation of people who are governed by consent. As Lincoln put it, a government of the people, by the people, for the people. Yet, today, most appointed and elected officials don’t view things that way. I will give you an example, Imagine that you own a business or that you are in charge of an organization. There is information that you want from your company or organization, information that you clearly have a right to access. You go to the person who is supposed to be forthcoming with the information only to be rebuffed. Instead of handing you the information you are instead asked “who you are with and what you want the information for”. When you answer the question, instead of receiving the information you seek, you are left by yourself while the person you request the information from visits with the company attorney and the president of the company. Then, rather than politely obliging your request, the president of the company blurts out in front of the other employees that he is “tired of this” and that he is going to “put an end to this right now”! Rather than you getting the information you request, you are asked to visit with the president of the company and the company attorney in a conference room where for one half hour you are grilled to determine why you want the information you seek and what you plan to do with it once you receive it. Keep in mind, these people work for you, not the other way around. Now, imagine if you owned that company and those people worked for you….how long would they have a job? They wouldn’t work for me very long.

    Government officials abusing their power is the main underlying problem in government today. Politicians seeking to be elected pander for our votes, and those seeking to be appointed to public office seek our vote of confidence, then, once they are in office they act like “they” are “our” bosses. It is time for this to stop. Mr. Robertson clearly has forgotten who works for whom in this situation!

    Mayor Elam went on a rant about how Hatton Wright embarrassed her in an illegally called meeting where she apparently tried to force city employees to violate the law for a developer. She demanded a public apology from Hatton Wright, and when that public apology was not forthcoming the mayor vehemently attacked the city manager and others. As a result of her not getting her apology former city manager Rob Shearer is no longer city manager, Bobby Franklin is no longer city planner, and Hatton Wright is no longer the public works director. Don’t believe me, read for yourself, the facts are all there for public view, and thanks to radiofreemj, it is all right here for your viewing pleasure so you won’t have to go through waterboarding in order to obtain it.

    Folks, do you think perhaps Mr. Sorey is owed an apology? This one is obvious.

    For what it is worth, Mr. Sorey, I am sorry they put you through this debacle. I hope you received the information you sought.

    Look at the political field in the race for President, can you honestly say that this is the best of the best? I can’t. I look at the candidates and I am bewildered, is this the best this nation has to offer! Paleeease!
    No, we don’t have the best of the best because our political machine and our media have beaten down so many who would aspire to public office were it not for the games.
    If we are ever to have a effective and truly civil civil government the road to recovery has to start somewhere. We as individuals would have a difficult time changing the federal government all at one time, but there are some 85,000 political entities out there across the nation that we can access. In order for us to change government we have to hold them accountable for their actions. City-by-city, State-by-State we as citizens can make a difference. It would take millions of citizens to really affect change in our federal government, but a small handful of citizens in each town can make a lot of small changes that add up to real, substantial, lasting change in our country. The process has to start somewhere, if not here, then where; if not now, then when; if not us, than who?

    Call your commissioner and express your displeasure with the way Mr. Sorey has been treated in this issue and demand that the city manager and the city attorney apologize for their actions in a public forum, Demand that they begin acting as though they really do work for us and not the other way around.

    It is time for us to return power to the people. We as citizens should be regarded by public officials with respect and dignity, after all, they asked to be our servants…didn’t they? A person who decides to take a job with the government owes it to the public to do their very best and to be respectful…this is how I served when I was in the military…I gave my best and I remembered who I worked for (and I am not referring to my chain of command)…I expect the same from local government officials.

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