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

Of Bradley County Tn.

MAY  2007

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






Editorial for THE PEOPLE

What do you think?

editorial for The People

By Pete Edwards

The signs of leadership

A couple of years ago civic leaders were outraged about the unsightliness of commercial and other signs being erected in Cleveland. All of a sudden the powers-that-be wanted new laws to restrict signage. The sheep on the Bradley Commission enacted similar laws which banned almost any large sign without a permit. They even tried to banish small temporary signs.

The idea. the community was assured, was to stop the area looking trashy - a laudable cause no doubt.

A 7th District County Commissioners at that time was William (Bill) Varnell who also had been a member of the Bradley County Regional Planning Commission. He said he was embarrassed by the signs on the walls of the Fireworks Outlet at Exit 20 off I-75 (this was before there were two outlets there.) He was a proponent of also regulating the size of signs painted on the outside walls of private buildings.

Soon we had strict sign ordinances and planning laws.

Remember, that was a few years ago. Now what do we see? Cleveland and Bradley County has become the Billboard Capital of Tennessee. If you are nimble you may be able to leap from one to another without touching the ground until you reach the county line there are so many.

Do you think ordinary land owners can cash in on this lucrative use of space by erecting billboards as an income generating asset? No-no-no... this is Cleveland and ordinary people are not permitted to profit from their property ownership as witnessed by the number of billboard applications that are routinely turned down.

Well, who does own all those billboards sprouting up everywhere you may ask?

I have no idea but I would wager that the sign regulations were enacted all those years back to keep a lucrative scheme in the hands of a few well connected people.

And where are YOUR planners? Sucking up to the good ol boys of course

That's what I think. What do you think?

Pete Edwards
Editor - Publisher


It is my belief that government - local, state and federal are spending too much money and if they approached spending the same way successful businesses do, they could function adequately to fulfill their role of supplying essential services with much less. But as we all know, your hard earned money has little value to the tax and spend crowd. Notice I didn't say the "liberal" tax and spend crowd because conservative leaders seem just as frivolous with your money.

Although, come to think about it, there is one such leader who deserves the liberal tax and spend label - Bob Taylor, Superintendent / Director of Schools for Bradley County. This man is a money hog, sucking up tax dollars like everyone else breaths air. He is so arrogant about his spending that he is famous for his remark to the County Commission; "even if you give me what I am asking for, I will be back for more." And sure enough, back he comes as soon as the loot is frittered away.

I am sure Mr. Taylor will disagree with my assessment of his spending tendencies, and so he should if he is being true to the word liberal. Liberals always believe that despite failure the spending is justified so long as it is not their money.

I believe Mr. Taylor is trying to scam the taxpayer by using per pupil funding figures as a basis for increased funding, and he knows it. One thing Mr. Taylor is not - and that's stupid. To relieve the taxpayer of more money he needs a pitch, just like any scam artist. He can't pitch identifiable results in student test or graduation scores for moneys already spent because local education has not improved commensurate with the increased spending of the past. Mr. Taylor would have you believe that the money is needed for the children's education but never promises better results. He promises what can be bought for the extra money - teachers, computers, classrooms - but never is mentioned actual identifiable educational results. He is leader of the Bradley County Schools and is ultimately responsible for the results. Mr. Taylor is more of a scam artist than an educator because he knows his pitch is to gain more money, not improve the learning of our children.

If he can't teach our children with the money he already has, then let him step down and let someone else do the job. I am sure there would be no shortage of qualified applicants.

That's what I think. What do you think?

Wellness Steps.

I went on a diet after Christmas. I love all things chocolate and I had the thighs and belly to prove it. I was at least 20 pound overweight, slow, tired all the time and miserable (apart from when I was eating) Finally, after 10 or 12 weeks I was where I wanted to be but not without some pain and a lot of determination.  So it saddens me to comment on a worthy cause  - that of the community weight loss program, Wellness Steps.

Being the author of "What do you think?" sometimes leaves  me with the unenviable task of criticizing one of the few taxpayer funded programs which could actually benefit ordinary people. But I see some problems with Wellness Steps that I feel need to be mentioned. First, I have a problem with public money being used on a program that is being organized by a private businessman that is in the same business, without the program being put out for bids. A business cannot be successful if its services are given away free.

Maurice Saliba is president of Wellness Steps which is likely to receive funding from the proceeds from the sale of Bradley Memorial Hospital and other government health initiatives. Saliba is also owner of the Spectrum weight loss center, a private business in Cleveland.

This should raise red flags for local leaders especially County Mayor, D. Gary Davis, who has lent his reputation to the program.

But there is something more worrying about the program. In a press release in the Cleveland Daily Banner on April 4, Saliba seems to be padding the figures (not human figures) on the success of the first phase of the program. Saliba says that the program awarded certificates of completion to 54 graduates who lost a total of 2003 pounds, the size of a small car, with the most loss going to a lady who lost 41 pounds. If the total weight loss of 2003 pound is divided by 54 it gives an average loss per person of 37.1 pound, an unlikely figure if the top weight loss was 41 pound.

I am sure Saliba will have a plausible explanation for the anomaly.

The point is that for a taxpayer funded program to be judged on its merit, the data released on its success has to be accurate and not presented for appearance purposes to ensure continuance of the program.

Saliba's figures do nothing to add credibility to an otherwise potentially beneficial program.

That's what I think. What do you think?