News Channel 5: Some Call Flag Proposal Waste of Money

MT. JULIET, Tenn.- A proposal by [city manager Randy Robertson] in Mt. Juliet may make drivers want to salute as they drive by. The city proposes putting up gigantic flags along Interstate 40. They want to be more patriotic and some people think the flags would give the city some identity. Click here for the rest of the story.

    – Publius

Picture is an artist’s rendering of what I-40 would look like with two huge U.S. flags at the Mt. Juliet exit. (NewsChannel5)



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20 responses to “News Channel 5: Some Call Flag Proposal Waste of Money

  1. Tennessee Jed

    I’m all for the idea. Think it would be wonderful.

    If General Robertson pays for it with that huge salary of his.

    Before he hits the road.

    Let’s do it. Now.

    It’s a grand old flag, its a high-flying flag……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

    Posturing. Period.

  2. Joe Fleenor

    I’m against it and see it as more of a marketing ploy to get people to come shop at Providence than as a showing of patriotism. I’d like to know how many retailers in Providence — **cough** Two Rivers Ford **cough** — put this idea in Mr. Randy’s head.

    Hasn’t MJ already exhausted their flag budget with their monstrosity in front of city hall?

  3. Chris Sorey

    Randy had to put something positive out. Anyone curious why he called Channel 5? Stick around, it’s about to get good!

  4. Bobby Franklin

    The only Commissioner I remember ever wanting to put a flag at the interstate was Jim Bradshaw. That suggestion never really gained any support from the other elected officials.

    It will take three votes to amend the budget to appropriate 60k to do this. It may be difficult to get those votes at the August 11th meeting since the new High School will have been open one week by then.

    I think the Commission will be too busy trying to place traffic jam blame to appropriate any flagpole money..

  5. Joe Fleenor

    It seems to me that the City Commission has no REAL plan for spending money. There’s a lot of spontaneity. This is a classic case of that spontaneity.

  6. Bobby Franklin


    In all fairness to the Commission – this was a proposal by City Manager Robertson. You do raise a good point though. The spending plan for the city each year is the budget. It is the single most important ordinance passed each year.

    The previous City Manager viewed staff requests for budget amendments as a symptom of bad financial planning – especially ones requested early in the budget year. Of course, there are justifiable reasons to amend the budget when unforeseen circumstances arise – but this budget is only 24 days old.

  7. Butch Huber

    I am not opposed to putting flags along the highway. I am very overtly and passionately patriotic, and I love to see our flag flying in prominent places as if we are trying to show it to the whole world. I don’t have any problem with the idea of erecting two massive flag poles at this interchange. I even think it is a great idea. As a matter of fact, I think it would be neat if there were some picnic tables (nice ones) around the base of it, kind of a like mini parks, with perhaps some monuments. Perhaps the monuments could list the names of those killed in the wars we are currently fighting. Perhaps we could have an Iraq war monument at one park and we could have an Afghanistan monument at the other park. Or perhaps we could make them parks to celebrate what is good about America. People who are driving through the Mt. Juliet area could pull off, get a burger to go from one of our fast food joints, pull over the park to eat their lunch, and enjoy their stay for the few minutes they share with the people of Mt. Juliet. I think that would be a wonderful idea. But I don’t think the government should spend a penny on it. Let Mr. Robertson pitch the idea to local business people and citizens for them to contribute the money to develop the project, rather than spend tax money on it.

    This is a prime example of what I am screaming about. Does the government “need” to do this? No. We would be just fine without this initiative. If Mr. Robertson wouldn’t have brought it up we probably would never have even thought of it. He gets inspired while on a trip, and next thing you know, government is trying to stick its hand in my pocket once again. Now, with around 8,000 homes in Mt. Juliet, my contribution to this single project might only come to $5 to $10 to erect it and perhaps another $.50 per year to maintain the area….but I don’t get a vote on the matter. Consider how many people of power in government there are, ones who can actually cause an expenditure on their “good ideas, and then multiply that number by $5 to $10 per year and you can quickly see why your taxes are so high.

    Let’s see, one President, one Vice President, 435 U.S. Representatives, 100 U.S. Senators, One Governor, One Lt. Governor, 33 State Senators, 99 State Representatives, One County Executive, 25 County Commissioners, 5 City Commissioners, and 1 city Manager comes to a total of 703 people of power who can direct influence how government spends our money. If each of those people were to come up just one little pet project each year that costs us just $5 to $10 per pet project, you and I get to spend $3,515 to $7,030 more in taxes each year than we needed to! Thats up to $7,030 extra each year so they can have their pet projects. Mr. Robertson is just a city manager in a very small city in a state with a relatively low population trying to get a couple flags erected. We, in Mt. Juliet, are a dot on the map. Imagine what it costs us when you consider how they play the game of politics in places like New York and California to get the federal government to pay for state and local projects. I mean, there are some world class politicians in those places.

    My numbers also don’t include the real influencers, like lobbyists and people of means.

    What starts out at a neat little idea in a small little town really begins to add up when you take it to the national scale, doesn’t it. Would you kick in $5 to $10 to have the flag poles? I would, I like the idea. The problem is, it doesn’t stop there. We were taught as children, “if you don’t have enough for everyone, you can’t have it either”. (Socialism! Embedded in our brains from kindergarten!!! It never made sense to me; “why do I have to give everyone a piece of my candy so that I can eat one. I bought it, I earned the money, I didn’t buy it for them…I bought it for me. Did they bring something for me? No. So “why” do I “have” to give them anything?” Tell them to get a job and buy their own candy!” Socialism!!!) What does that have to do with anything? Do you think that doesn’t play at the heart of those making the decisions? If we allow Mr. Robertson to have “his” pet project, we have to let “everyone” have “their” pet project, Right? Isn’t that how we were raised? It wouldn’t be fair to let one person of power have a pet project and then not let every person of power have their pet project. Meanwhile, you and I have a house and cars to pay for, we have food to put on the table, we have clothes and books, and fuel and insurance and electric, and gas, and everything else we need to survive to pay for “and” we get to pay for their pet projects.

    You come up with one good idea and influence your person of power to make it happen, and I come up with my good idea and influence my person of power to make it happen and we too can both get in on the action. Next thing you know, we have a nation that is completely overtaxed and overburdened. Then we sit back and ask ourselves, how did we get here? I can tell you…it is your kindergarten teacher’s fault!!!!! Kindergarten teachers across this nation are to blame for all of our financial problems!!! They taught us that the only way we can enjoy the fruit of our labor is if we are willing to provide equal enjoyment to everyone around us!!! They are to blame! Perhaps that is why I am not a liberal….I didn’t go to kindergarten!

  8. Butch Huber

    Folks, the real story is in health insurance. The city is keeping something from us. I have requested all correspondence regarding health insurance costs, but they are dragging their feet in providing that information to me. They are using a ‘sealed competitive proposal” excuse for not providing the information to me, however, there is plenty of other correspondence that is not a sealed competitive bid that they are not producing, nor are they giving a reason “why”, which is a violation of state laws. Go figure this government breaking laws.

    It appears, from looking at the city’s budget, and based on other tidbits of information that I have obtained, that the city has had an increase of around 38% in health care costs this year. The question is “why”. The typical increase each year has been closer to 10% to 12% average each year, now, in one year it goes up 38%? What gives?

    Oh, the cost of this increase? I would guess it to be about….millions! How do I figure that? Well, if my hunch is right, and the increase is due to a blunder, and not due to a necessary increase because of market conditions, and if this blunder (if one occurred) causes a permanent increase in expenditures that can’t be cured, it will cause an increase in costs for years to come, which will run into the millions. (Mr. Robertson appears to have forced city employees to pay as much as 71% of those costs through employees having to now pay for part of their health insurance. {For those technical types: The city would have had an increase of at least 10% under normal circumstances, so you have to subtract that from the 38%. It appears that the city has an increase in costs within its budget of 18 %. The other 18% I believe is being made up for by the employees. So, if you subtract the 10% that the city would have normally paid from the 38%, you end up with a new increase of 28%. The city is paying for 8% of that cost in the new budget. That leaves 20% unpaid by the government. If you divide 20% by 28% it comes to about 71%. )

    Since they don’t want me to see what is going on, I tend to believe my suspicions are correct. I was right about the budget numbers. I was right about the oath of office. I was right about the bond issue. I was right about pretty much everything I have taken them to task over. In fact, I don’t remember ever being wrong about anything I have taken them to task over. I believe I am batting 1,000 up till now. I am not yet saying that there has in fact been a blunder, but the likelihood that there has is really, really high. If that proves to be true, shouldn’t we know the facts? $60,000 flag poles are a major expense, but they would be a one time expense (not counting maintenance costs)…this medical insurance issue may be permanent.

  9. Man of the People!

    I remember when Jim Bradshaw brought up the flag by the Interstate idea and everyone more or less ignored him.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but two 150-foot flagpoles would be in violation of the city’s new sign ordinance. Maybe they should put large flags on the sides of the two new Police cars 60k would buy.

  10. Chris Sorey

    The flag issue was smoke screen set up to put a positive spin on the city before the bad news comes out. In case you haven’t heard what the bad news is, go to or and read it for yourself.

  11. Living down below 40

    Interested article/story about the drywall. Question is why are they only focusing on one neighborhood and not other new large “building” neighborhood like Willoughby Station. Sounds a little political to me, is someone running for commissioner in a district that doesn’t cover Providence? If so, why are they so suddenly interested in the building practice in the soon to be largest neighborhood in MJ

  12. Common Sense

    Willoughby Station is effected by this as well, and certain people/staff at city hall know that to be true. They chose not to make that public for some reason or another. It will come out in due time.

    Political? Was anyone named? Did anyone gain from the coverage? Not that I saw, so if you make it public, you might turn it into a political situation. Hopefully this will remain what it is, an issue that the city was told about, did not try to correct, and then when the media came in they scrambled to cover their tracks and fix it.

    I think the focus should remain on the safety issues, and not the politics that some believe exposed this.

  13. Butch Huber

    Common Sense,

    I believe it was you who broke the story to the press, and you are running for public office, so the question is fair. However, I believe you have done a great service to the community by exposing this issue. I think this is likely to spill over into a much bigger story in the next few days.

    You and I certainly don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, in fact, we don’t see eye-to-eye on much of anything, but I appreciate the fact that you were able to get no less than three television stations to cover this story. That is good work.


  14. Common Sense

    The city was given the addresses first, and two weeks later they said they had investigated it and found no issues with the homes. They were given every chance in the world to take care of this issue in house.

    You are right, this story is just starting to unfold, and what will air tonight will blow your mind.

  15. Living down below 40

    That is a fair answer common sense and butch. Another question is that if people are focusing so much on the “residential” fire code out their, wheres the coverage about the non-existant fire code on commercial structures. With their not being a Fire Marshal, Fire Inspector in the county why hasn’t anyone asked that question as to why commercial buildings aren’t being inspected on a yearly basis?

    I do appreciate your efforts to look into the code issue Common Sense, but your only hitting the tip of the iceberg here when it comes to this issue keep up the investigation.

    Also, when all the stories are focusing on the largest and most marketed neighborhood in Mt. Juliet it does appear to be political. In some eyes anyway.

  16. Lori Ruotolo

    I noticed in the NBC article that the code only applies to houses built after June of 2006.

  17. Common Sense

    Sorry for the appearance of this being political, but that could be said for almost anything. Check the Chronicle in the morning and it will list Willoughby Station as well.

    Robertson is quoted in the Chronicle from the news conference that the concerned citizen gave city officials documents with inaccuracies and that apparently they didn’t respond quickly enough so the concerned citizen approached a television news channel.

    I gave them nothing more than addresses. What documents? What letter that everyone keeps talking about? Mr. Robertson has not been truthful about this issue, and only called TBI in on July 14th according to his statement in the commission meeting on Monday night. Guess when Beres gave him the addresses of the homes he visited? The same day! I have an email from Marlin Keel dated July 3rd, in which he states he did site visits and that Branham measured the thickness and no violations were found. Site visits? He also says that it appears to be a difference of opinion.

    This is only the tip of the iceberg as has been said before, and yes, it flows over into the commercial side of things as well. The problem is that only so much can be done at one particular time, and now that the issue is out, we can work on the other side of this. Yes, I have that evidence as well, but how much info can you take in at once, watching TV or reading the paper. It is overwhelming.

    After the tapes air tonight, Mr. Robertson will have some difficult decisions to make.

  18. Common Sense

    Sorry, Beres gave him the addresses on the 15th. Either way, they only called TBI to get the appearance, and they never sent a letter to TBI, which is what it takes to start an investigation.

  19. Unknown soldier

    I wonder what other tapes are out there?

  20. Living down below 40

    Based on those tapes last night, I’m sure it won’t take long to figure out who was the “informant” in the group is since theres only 4 inspectors. Should be interesting to see.

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