Two snippets from June happenings need to be mentioned - the first is the promotion of Bill Baxter to Chairman of the TVA Board of Directors. Baxter was first appointed to the board and then to acting chairman by President Bush after being endorsed by the US Congress on the advice of local Congressmen. Let me tell you what I know of Bill Baxter from personal experience, then you decide if he is the right man for the job. Back in the mid 90's, local property speculators were trying to get county-wide zoning enacted in Bradley County to limit the availability of commercial property, thus enhancing the price of commercial land they already owned. They used orchestrated scare tactics to get isolated public support and did deals with then County Executive Donna Hubbard and later County Executive (County Mayor) D. Gary Davis to push zoning through. I, and a number of other concerned citizens formed an organization called the Bradley County Property Rights Association to collect signatures to oppose inequitable property restrictions in the form of zoning. This was before The People News was conceived. The Bradley County Regional Planning Commission at that time was stacked with members associated with land development and three members who worked in planning, two of them state planners. It was plain at the time that residents of the county were overwhelmingly opposed to the zoning of their property but local government, county planners, the TVA and the state of Tennessee wanted private property controls. It was plain that other communities in Tennessee were also being forced into land use controls against their will and it was my task to find those communities so we could band together and have our voice heard. Remember, this was before the internet as we know it now. Bill Baxter was at that time Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, so I called him to find out what opposition to zoning there was in other counties. His reaction was not positive, in fact his attitude was one of the most arrogant I had encountered. He told me that his office was not there for the benefit of citizens groups, and we were going to have zoning whether we liked it or not and besides he was far too busy and his work too important to speak to me, and he hung up the phone. After the rebuttal I remember thinking this was one Tennessee official who did not believe in open government, government for the people or the people's right to be heard as guaranteed in the US Constitution. Then, years later Baxter is rewarded by a conservative president who is supposed to support all these ideals and promoted with a six figure salary. Baxter is now the main conduit for public information for one of the nation's major nuclear facilities. I believe my experience of Baxter was the genuine view of a man that cannot be trusted with the public's confidence and that eventually President Bush will live to regret the trust he placed in him.
And another person that can't be trusted is Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland. Mayor Rowland has just been awarded high honors for his work on the Homeland Security Council of which he is a member. The problem is that Rowland has been caught lying to the people of Bradley County. He never apologized for his misdeed so presumably he accepts misleading the citizens as part of his job. The incident happened during the earlier stages of the push for a new airport. Rowland continually assured that money for the airport was promised and it wouldn't cost local money. At a public meeting a citizen confronted Rowland with the truth - that he had proof that no money was available and Rowland hurriedly left the room, never to mention it again. If this man cannot be trusted to tell the truth about airport funding how can he be trusted with homeland security?
What do you think?
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