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.







The More I See,
The Less I Know

by JC Bowman

The more I see the less I know. The more I like to let it go. I cannot escape the words of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, for there is a lot of truth in music. I had some nice comments from last month's article, but I need to make one quick clarification and I guess I cannot let it go: Chris Weir what are you thinking? In politics you will not be found "beneath the cover of another perfect wonder where it is so white as snow." Politics is a full throttle contact sport, and Chris will need to answer questions about his business dealings, bankruptcy, his living arrangement and his role in the media. He is welcome to respond in The People News. I won't speak for him.

I wrote that I would like to see Chris Weir in elected office. I was hoping he might challenge Troy Weathers for the school board position (where we desperately need a change) or perhaps seek to run for the county commission. I certainly think his timing announcing for office 3 ½ years away was premature for seeking any office, especially a job filled by a capable leader. When I was a teacher I remember Chris as a student, and I offer him some free advice from someone older with no axe to grind: Chris, you are way over your head seeking the office of county mayor. Unless it is an audible voice of God with a burning bush involved you may want to rethink your political desires. Think school board Chris, think school board.

For all the bickering I see that goes on in local government, mainly personality clashes, I think we are fortunate we have the Bradley County Commission. I think they are fairly well representative of the people they serve. They seem more in tune with the community mindset, and they seem to listen to people better than other elected bodies. There seems to be a historical connection to the past, as well as people who keep an eye on the future. The Education Committee of the Bradley Commission is better qualified than the elected members of the Bradley Board of Education. We are often too swift with a kick to the pants of elected leaders and often too slow to pat people on the back. The more I see of this elected body, the more I know Bradley County is in good hands.

For the first time in a longtime I feel good about state politics locally. Kevin Brooks has done an excellent job as a freshman state legislator in the 24th District. Kevin has his priorities right, and he is grounded in what matter most: faith and family. Yet he does not display his faith arrogantly or in your face. He is not judgmental like James Dobson or Pat Robertson. His faith is

J C Bowman

-J. C. Bowman, a native of Cleveland, is a well informed and outspoken conservative educator. Is a freelance public policy analyst who resides in Cleveland, TN. Prior to this, he was Director for the Center for Education Innovation at Florida State University.  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.



what makes the man and what undergirds him as he serves us. I have noticed a true servant's heart in Kevin. He is not superficial. I heard a comment from James Dobson saying Fred Thompson "was not a Christian" despite Thompson's lifelong membership in the Church of Christ and his steadfast claim to be Christian. Which makes me ask, Dr. Dobson who appointed you God? Brennan Manning in his book The Ragamuffin Gospel makes a key point: we are often too judgmental.

It reminds me of the story of a sinner who was kicked out of church. He took his complaint to God. "Dear God" he prayed, "they will not let me into church because I am a sinner." "What are you complaining about?" replied God. "They won't let me in either." Dr. Dobson, like so many others really need to let go and let God be God.

I appreciate the work that my Christian brothers and sisters have done throughout the years. But it seems, at least for some leaders, as they get older they do great damage that undermines their previous credibility and the credibility of other Christian leaders today. It is not just the Jerry Falwell's or Pat Robertson's either. I merely need to look at the old Office Max Building here in Cleveland. I wonder which of the Seven Wonders of the World we are building and who is it for? Does it honor God or does it honor man? Can we do both? It has been said you cannot take it with you when you die. Some people may not have heard that before. Matthew 6:20 reminds us: "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal."

Speaking of people who have made an impact locally, I would like to extend my condolences to the family of Crawford Conway, the school board member who recently passed away. Crawford Conway was a man with whom you could disagree and then break bread with. He was a Gentleman in the finest southern tradition. I know that there will be a scramble over to replace him on the Bradley County School Board and a fight will likely occur, but you cannot replace

Crawford Conway the man. Our community was made better because of individuals like Crawford, whose life work was helping children.

Finally, on the subject of helping children, my fellow columnist Linda Moore has unearthed the receipts of the Bradley County School Board. Apparently they like to eat out on our dime--a lot. School Board members should not come on bended knee pleading for additional dollars, until they cut the fat--literally and fiscally. Rumor has it she is looking into the Cleveland School Board as well. With the advent of the Internet and new local media, forums and instant access for taxpayers, the politicians of today need to be cautious, diligent and transparent. Your sins will be unearthed. The free buffet lunch is fast becoming a thing of the past.

My heart also goes out to the young men and women at Virginia Tech who were victimized by a crazed mass murderer. We are all partial to our favorite school, college or university. However, after April 16, 2007 we all became honorary Hokies. Collectively we all just wonder in amazement why someone would inflict such pain on so many people for no apparent reason. It is true, the more I see, the less I know.

--J. C. Bowman is a public policy analyst who resides in Cleveland, TN..
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