The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







The Naked City

By J.C. Bowman

"Let It Be…. Naked" by the Beatles was just released.  It was a version stripped of all the special effect additions added by producer Phil Spector  (before the murder charge) in the midst of the break up of the greatest rock band in music history (sorry Rolling Stones fans).  The album is great, but so was the previous version.  I certainly recommend adding it to any collection.
Beatles fans such as myself ponder over what could have been or should have been, but alas was never meant to be.  Mark David Chapman did more than end John Lennon's life, he forever put an end to speculation of a glorious rock reunion that would come to a location near us, with ticket prices convenient enough that average Joes such as ourselves could afford. Yeah right, that is another pipe dream, like a girl with kaleidoscope eyes in strawberry fields. 

Imagine if you will forty years ago, and since I just turned the big 4-0, that is quite an imagination, what would Americans have changed?  I am guessing JFK supporters would have had him skip the tour of Texas.  Although I have often wondered, and no one has explained to me why Vice-President Johnson was conveniently in Dallas at the same time.  And why was he not on the parade route? Yet he was quickly on the plane to be sworn into office?  I must be sounding like Oliver Stone by now. 

I am also guessing if that event had failed to occur, would we have seen President Kennedy in a foreshadowing of the Clinton years?  The press would have eventually blown the veil of secrecy that cloaked Camelot.  Drugs, Sex and Hollywood make for too good of a story not to be told. 

Where would we be on Civil Rights?  JFK's death gave Congress the willingness to drive some of the necessary legislation on this issue. Robert Kennedy championed a lot of this in his brother's name.  Robert Kennedy seemed to understand the times so much more than many politicians of his day.  But absent a dead president would civil rights progress have been made?  Would RFK'S message have found an audience?  I honestly do not know.  It is likely Teddy Kennedy would not have remained in the public eye after his bridge incident, without these tragic events either. 

Lyndon Johnson was a mean, cold-hearted individual.  I am sure he could be charming to some, but his general approach was probably just short of Genghis Kahn. After reading several biographies of him, particularly Means to Ascent, I come away with a feeling that he would have sold anybody out for a quarter including members of his own family.  To civil rights leaders of

J C Bowman

-J. C. Bowman, a native of Cleveland, is a well informed and outspoken conservative educator.  He is Director for the Center for Education Innovation at Florida State University. Prior to this, he served as the Director for the Florida Department of Education Choice Office and as the Chief Policy Analyst of the Education Policy Unit for Florida Governor Jeb Bush.


the era, they would have been shocked to discover that their movements were well documented by the J. Edgar Hoover led FBI under orders of LBJ.  That is a miniseries CBS should make.

Watergate, likely would have also never happened without the paranoid Richard Nixon at the helm. Republicans would have been looking for a hero, and Nixon would not have been seen as someone who could unite a nation after a second term President Kennedy administration sex scandal. Goldwater would not have been that man, and it was too early for Reagan. 

Think of other things that might have been erased or not erased: Jimmy Carter, the Cold War, Beirut, political assassinations, national tragedies, communism, leisure suits and disco.  Unlike record companies we cannot go back and re-do things simply because of the way they turned out in the day.  The good, the bad and the ugly are all stark reminders of who we are as a people and why we really need each other. 

I visited my family the other day here in Cleveland, the longer I am away the less it feels like home.  It is a sad testament in many ways to me.  I grew up here and I love this community.  Talking with other friends in similar situations I discovered their perceptions are eerily comparable.  When we get ready to retire, we might move back to Cleveland, but we are not in a hurry.  It seems like It's a Wonderful Life, with the Jimmy Stewart character trapped in Potterville to some of my friends.   

On a correlated note it is time the elected community leaders also consider giving home owning taxpayers over 65, who have retired or unemployed some type of a break on their property taxes.  Senior citizens, particularly widows and widowers, should not have to sell their homes to pay property taxes or medical bills. 

The view of Cleveland, among many in my peer group (and we do keep in contact), is that it has limited potential in our chosen career paths, industry is not thriving and too many politicians seemingly have a small town mentality.  Too many leaders are more interested in a little power than in the little people they are elected to serve.  One friend commented about an elected official, "you mean they are still alive?" 

A comment that keeps echoing in my mind Mayor Rowland: what is a conflict of interest?  How can the city of Cleveland pay Steve Bivens to lobby when he is an elected official in the county? It may be perfectly above board, but it does not seem ethical to me. Heck, if you are a lobbyist and you live in a place why would you not help it out for free?   

I do not mean this is not an awesome place to live or portray Cleveland negatively, but the truth is too many productive citizens must leave Cleveland to realize their dreams and potential. It doesn't help when there seems to be a lack of strategic planning and little dialogue among government leaders.  I could also throw in the bit about Sunday being the most segregated day of the week, but folks probably already know that as well.     

I read comments by a former local NAACP leader that blasted President Bush and the Republican Party for so-called failure to be sensitive to Civil Rights issues.  I certainly do not pretend that there are not real issues, but I feel like his letter would have been more effective if directed at local school boards, police officials or local government leaders for failure to hire or recruit qualified minorities. 

Tennessee is the 5th most populous state for African American citizens percentage wise, the proximity to Atlanta, Chattanooga, Knoxville or Nashville makes it inexcusable for local leaders to not be able to recruit an African American to lead our police force, head our hospital or be a principal in a county school.  Mr. Bivens serves on the school board and represents the city as a lobbyist.  There are two African American members on the city council.  He faces re-election and his district has a large minority population.  When we strip the facts away, maybe after forty-years or even the last twenty-years we have not made the progress we thought we had.  We should not "Let That Be." 

Join us next month as my cousin Johnny Eldredge adds his own lucid thoughts and opinions to the Public Square.  Here's hoping a big bag of Christmas goodies finds it's way to your house this holiday season and let's wish 2004 is the year we all see Peace on Earth!  God Bless the Troops.  And God forgive the Dixie Chicks.