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.







It is Red Sky at

Morning Village People

by JC Bowman

In the Bible, (Matthew XVI: 2-3,) Jesus said, "When in evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: For the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today; for the sky is red and lowering."

I wanted to stay away from this topic for as long as possible, but apparently the 2008 Presidential election is already in full swing. The Democrats are awaiting the coronation of Queen Hillary I to continue the Clinton dynasty. Republicans are still yearning for the right candidate to rally around. Sure some Democrats will tell you that Hillary must dispatch of Edwards and Obama but that is a mere formality. In which America does one own a $5.5 million dollar home in the middle of the country Mr. Edwards? As long as there are Muslim terrorists running free Barack "Hussein" Obama will not win in America. It's the name, not the race my civil libertarian friends. I would look at Bill Richardson as VP material on the Democratic side. So, the Republicans should have the most interesting race. While the name Bush will not appear on the top of the ticket, I could see the right scenario where former Florida Governor Jeb Bush could be a VP nominee. Of all the candidates running Jeb is the one with the proven ability to cut taxes and control deficits, he is vastly popular in Florida and Texas and bilingual. He has the backbone to tell special interests that the free lunch is over.

The national level defeats at the midterm-election were caused by out-of-control government spending by the Republican led congress. The message of limited government and fiscal restraint has not lost its appeal to the American voter, nor is it likely to anytime soon. Our government--on every level--needs to be committed to fiscal discipline, and it is important to balance the budget--whether it is at the kitchen table or at any level of government. People will argue that the deficit we now face is caused by national emergency, war and recession. Maybe so, but nationally Republicans clearly did not exert wise stewardship. Ideas are generally a dime a dozen and usually worth what they cost. Newt Gingrich the architect of the 1994 Republican resurgence critically proclaimed his own party: "You have a Republican Party that resents ideas." Sadly I think he was right.

Fortunately, the Democrats offer up little more on the national level but fear and tax increases. They have yet to come to terms with the fact that when government entities take more of that slice of the tax pie they leave less for taxpayers to sustain themselves. It is especially true of residents on fixed

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.



incomes. The policies of the Democrat party nationally will impact the Democrat party locally. The situation local taxpayers' face-- potential property tax increase and strained family budgets -- is symbolic of what other states and cities may face in the future. But so long as the politicians can put future generations of taxpayers on the hook for the cost, when they are long out of office, they will keep doing so. Regardless of their position on the Iraqi war, the Democrats abandonment of the military will come back to haunt them. Other than the words "I am against the war," I have yet to see a coherent plan put forth by any of the possible 2008 Democratic candidates.

Comic P.J. O'Rourke once said: "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." It's a bad idea. To make a point, it is worth remembering that government spends money like sailors on shore leave. A statement that is blatantly unfair to sailors. Sailors earn and spend their own money, not ours. And when their pockets are empty, they do without until they get paid again.

You can expect the federal reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) to be a contentious issue for the next election cycle. Both parties use children, education, and other things for their own political gain and I do not like it from either party. The two ideological camps are bitterly divided. Conservatives believe the law infringes into state education responsibilities. Liberals assert the government has never spent enough money to pay for the law's requirements. The truth is neither states nor the feds have kept their part of the bargain. There needs to be more common sense approach to education, and more people need to emerge to point out the ridiculous fads and stupid ideas that seem to come from the education field often without rigorous analysis.

Too often groups with vested interests in the public school monopoly have enormous influence over policy and parents are left out of the equation. The federal government has learned what

states and local governments already knew, they are not well-equipped to force school districts to do things they do not want to do. There needs to be more overlap between the standards-based reform movement and the market-based reform movement. Conservatives need to hold to their guns on not allowing schools to lower standards and what seems most obvious we must move from identifying failing schools to identifying failing teachers. This issue could end up being a major battle in the 2008 election.

Speaking of education, do you remember those old black and white movies where the village people marched on the castle with pitchforks and torches? I thought I might actually see this with the surprising ban instituted on blue jeans by the Bradley County School Board. I have rarely heard such venom spewed, my ears are still in shock. Some free advice to the local school board, based on emails I have received it is an issue you may want to revisit. Listen to your employers not your employees on this issue. At a time when funding is of critical concern, it was at best horrible timing on your part. At the heart of any political issue, never forget that politics are local. The toughest decisions are not those made at the political table, but rather the kitchen table. We know that we will need new schools, pothole-free roads and bigger pipes to carry our water and waste. Those and a host of other worthwhile improvements are necessary to help maintain our community's quality of life. But it seems to many as if there's a lot of unnecessary you-know-what rolling downhill at the same time with this dress code. Choose your battles carefully, consider a course correction to avoid even rougher weather ahead. If the school board members were sailors, this could be the equivalent of a red sky at morning.

In the last few months it was easy to pile on the local Republican Party. It was an unfocused party that was thriving on in-fighting and back-stabbing. But as quickly as the problems manifested themselves, the issues that divided members are vanishing. To people, including myself, that pointed a finger at party leadership for the problem, we must also acknowledge the quick turn around and response to right the ship. The next steps include the Precinct Delegated Convention which will meet on Saturday, March 10, 2007 at 2:00 pm at the Bradley County Courthouse Commission Room. Party reformers can take pride in the fact that there is an establishment of a Code of Ethics and revised bylaws for the party. It was a bloodless coup, and with the exception of a few bruised ego's, these changes were done with the encouragement and support of Chairman Jonathan Cantrell and executive member John Stanbery.

Local elected leaders Dewayne Bunch, Eric Watson, Mel Griffith, Ed Elkins, Louie Alford, Lisa Stanbery, Jim Smith, Jeff Yarber, Gayla Miller, and Raymond Swafford took time to help delegates at the most recent Precinct Convention. The Bylaws Committee which comprised of David Benton, J.C. Haun, Lindsey Hathcock, Lita Esquinance, Hubert Conley and Milan Blake should also be commended. I also would salute Peggy Meyer, President of the Bradley County Republican Women (which meets on the 3rd Thursday of each month at the Holiday Inn Mountain Top at Noon). There has been no word of change on the local Democrat Party. However, they should take note of the change in the local Republican Party, which got younger, brought in a more diversification, more inclusive leadership team and positioned itself for the next several election cycles, while still respecting the principles and people who built the local party.

Remember to wear a pinch of green on St. Patrick's Day and keep your consumption of Guinness limited. If we have any luck someone will dye Mouse Creek green and Lee University will dye its fountain green. Then for one day at least we can avoid the red in the sky.

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