What good are they?
The Bradley County Chapter of Keep America Beautiful has the support of almost a hundred local businesses but they say they need more money otherwise they can't continue their education program. Keep America Beautiful is a private not-for-profit company dedicated to... well, keeping America beautiful and this editor is sure some of its chapters do a fine job for the communities they serve but what about our chapter?
It is unclear what function they serve that is not already being provided by local government. It is good that they have the support of so many private businesses and it is good that they want to keep America beautiful but they are one of those entities that metamorph into a quasi-government agency needing public funds to pay the bills. This editor believes in fiscal responsible government, preferably one that is kept as small and efficient as possible. It makes sense for the community's business owners to encourage and support a clean and tidy environment to attract a growth in popularity for the area. And it makes sense for local government to encourage this form of self help to keep taxes low and focused. But this editor fails to see the advantage when Keep America Beautiful duplicates what is already available in the public sector and requires tax dollars to do it.
The county employ an environmental officer and public works department that are responsible to keep the streets and neighborhoods presentable and courts to punish transgressors of litter laws. The county finances hazardous waste collection and employs teachers to instill good citizenship including protecting the environment. What can Keep America Beautiful do that is not already being done?
It is this editor's opinion that KAB should be funded entirely by the private sector and not supported by tax dollars. If they supply a useful service they should have no trouble attracting funding but if not, they should go the way of any other company failing its customers.
KAB is not the only quasi-government agency sucking from the public pig, Bradley County taxpayers are supporting companies that serve little purpose other than to supply cozy jobs for the friends and relatives of Cleveland's elite. It's time to end this unnecessary waste.
That's what I think, what do you think?
It must be a joke
Finally Sheriff Dan Gilley has formally announced that he is a candidate for re-election subject to the republican primary. It seems ages since Tim Gobble revealed his intention to run against Gilley. Charles Carrol is also a republican candidate as is Chris Watson the only democrat so far. At the time of this writing both Carrol and Watson have not yet handed in their petitions.
This editor is not a fan of Dan Gilley as regulars to my columns already know. It wasn't always that way but the Sheriff lives in his own secret world, so divorced from reality that he believes he can hoodwink the public indefinitely.
I was reading the list of accomplishments in Gilley's political announcement and on the face of it it seemed to reflect the achievements of a Caesar of law enforcement. To an outsider, it would appear that Gilley was the perfect candidate for Sheriff but to someone who has watched his actual performance over the years the whole script seemed far from reality.
He says that he achieved numerous high academic honors, which is probably true but all of them were received during his tenure in law enforcement, mostly as Sheriff. It is unlikely any sheriff would ever get a failing grade in any educational field, so the results have to be taken at face value but don't really mean much. If he sat through the course he was sure to pass. Also, it was the taxpayer that footed the bill and likely paid him to do it. His practical achievements are also many but here again all were achieved by spending enormous amounts of money. None of them seem to involve the fugal approach. He says he has managed the department finances well. He says he has worked under budget and even repaid large amounts into the general fund. Obviously the budget he is talking about is not the same one heard at the courthouse. The Bradley Commission Finance Committee continually recommends shuffling money from one Sheriff's line item to another - hardly the actions of a fiscally stable department.
Dan Gilley has been a sheriff too long. His contact with reality is blurred. He has surrounded himself with obedient yes-men and begun to believe his own spin. Dan Gilley was at one time a good law enforcement officer and molded a department that a county could be proud of but somewhere along the way he ceased to be a cop and became a politician. He is a smart politician but not smart enough to fool all the people all the time.
Of Gilley's political opponents, it is apparent Tim Gobble has the best chance to beat him. Not that any of them wouldn't do a better job, but Gobble seems to have tremendous support. How good a sheriff will Gobble make? I was disappointed at the way he handled himself while a member of the secret service - he seemed too easily bullied. But having said that, he appears to be an honest and upright citizen and the people of Bradley County can't complain at that.
Sheriff Dan Gilley is a wily opponent and a seasoned politician who always seems to have a strategy able to overcome any obstacle. Has he maneuvered his own men to run to ensure he keeps control if he loses to Gobble? Could Watson be in the race in case Gobble should win the primary so that Gilley still has a second shot at retaining some of the power? Could Gobble himself be in leagues with Gilley? I don't know the answers to these questions but we will all know in a few months.
What do you think?
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