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

Of Bradley County Tn.

MARCH  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

Growth hurts -  it's time to speak out.

Small close-knit communities foster a sense of security and wellbeing. That is why they are so popular. It is comforting to recognize people you pass on the street. The same goes for local members of law enforcement or what used to be called the local police force - officers of the peace. Seeing a local policeman, especially if you knew his name gave one a feeling of safety only being a "local" could understand. As the community grows, relationships with other townsfolk become more distant and less personal. I guess this is the major downside to the ever important growth community leaders are always encouraging. The almighty dollar is the real reason growth is so important but unfortunately the community as a whole does not benefit from growth as much as our leaders sometimes do themselves.

As relationships between private individuals become more distant, it is interesting to note that the relationships between those that primarily benefit from growth, big business and government, become closer and more interlaced. Before you realize what is happening, community has been replaced by a "them and us" mentality, all the time trying to find new funding streams to support growth at the expense of the citizen and community spirit.

Back to local law enforcement. Cleveland and Bradley County still enjoy truly local police agencies. It is still possible to personally relate to our local peace officers. We tend to like it that way and it builds a safer community for all concerned; public and police. But as an example of change, remote policing provided by surveillance cameras does nothing to enhance this relationship, so what we are witnessing slowly eroding the community bond is I believe a distant product of uncontrolled growth. To prove that many times growth is the opposite to the panacea it is touted to be, consider what is happening to our once close-knit community. Them and us infighting is breaking out all over town. We are fighting over an airport, school funding, the proceeds from sale of Bradley Memorial Hospital, the revitalization of downtown Cleveland, election procedures, court control, fire departments, jail and police funding and a hundred other who-gets-what issues. The uncontrolled growth of our community is tearing the community spirit from our grasp and we are passively letting it happen. It doesn't have to be like that. As a community we should all pull together, what is good for one should be good for all.

There are those in our community so committed to rampant growth that they have become blinded by its rewards and oblivious to the damage being done. Quality of life is

Pete Edwards
Editor - Publisher

being lost not improved. True, we are building more public facilities and supposedly making them more citizen friendly and we do have more retail outlets and restaurants, but are they really the key to a better quality of life? The more public facilities we construct the more we have to pay to maintain and staff them, which places an added burden on the individual at tax time. The more people we encourage to settle here the more we are regulated and the more stressed social services become, which requires even more money to fix. Note that growth never eases the tax burden so why is it necessary or good?

It is my opinion that we have lost our balance and are staggering toward the same quality of life citizens in every major city in the nation are fleeing from. Wouldn't being highly selective in our growth policy be more prudent than dragging companies in simply because the money they spend or the business they do will benefit some special interest. What ever becomes of the high paying jobs they are supposed to create? Why do we need them?

As owner beneficiaries of this beautiful county we need to take personal responsibility for its future. To not rely on non-elected committees with their own selfish agendas to steer us on the right path. You may respond that we elect the people that appoint the committees so we get what we deserve. That is partially true but most of the problems tearing our community apart are caused by non-elected special interest groups and organizations pressurizing elected officials behind the scenes.

If one of our leaders tells you that rapid growth is necessary for the good of the community, ask him or her who exactly benefits and how. You may be surprised if he gives you an honest answer. The chances are he won't.

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

NOW we have insecurity

Like the Energizer battery a government job goes on and on and on. Former Bradley County Sheriff Dan Gilley seems to be endowed with Energizer qualities. It was announced last month that in spite of his humiliating vote of no confidence by the people of Bradley County, the Director of the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security, David Mitchell, decided to reward him with the job of Regional Advisor for Southeast Tennessee.

Lets recap on Gilley's track record as related to his trustworthiness while in office, to see if  Mitchell's choice for the job was in the best interest of the citizenry of Southeast Tennessee.

Could he be relied on to be truthful and open with the people of the region in the event of an emergency?

While in office as sheriff, it was impossible for Bradley County Commissioners to receive answers to many questions concerning a wide variety of  issues from budget and employment to use of drug fund money. This editor could get no information at all from him even though it is required by law. He was unapproachable. Gilley was caught lying about the number of employees required to staff the new Bradley County Justice Center, which almost cost the taxpayer millions of extra dollars. He suggested at a county budget retreat that there were plans in place to use the National Guard Armory building on Dalton Pike as an internment camp in the event of an emergency. What was more of a concern was that he seemed excited when he warned that the rights and freedoms guaranteed under the US Constitution would be rescinded and curfews would be imposed.

It is my opinion that as sheriff, Gilley was out of control and I can imagine how he would react given absolute power over the people of this area in the event of Marshall Law being declared.

How Mitchell could have exposed citizens to this kind of tyrannical thinking is beyond belief for a country which prides itself on the supreme authority of the Constitution and it is even more worrying that maybe Mitchell himself is of the same mindset.

Citizens of Bradley County and Southeast Tennessee.... don't say you have not been warned.

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


"What do you think" Continued

"What do you think?" Continued