Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30, 2015 City Council Holds "Special" Meeting For One Item: To Increase City Administrator Tony Cox's Compensation Package Again

Below is a video of City Council in a "special" called meeting on November 24 voting to increase City Administrator Tony Cox's contract compensation package yet again.

The Council met on November 17 (one week before the special called meeting) and is scheduled to meet in regular session again on December 1 (one week after the special called meeting).

Apparently, someone decided there was an emergency at City Hall that required that council run a newspaper ad so it could meet in special session at 11:00 AM on November 24 for 12 minutes with its attorney present and with no public comments ----to talk about the "urgent situation" involving revisions to Cox's contract. And these revisions won't take effect until January 1, 2016. 

Sort of odd how this urgent situation arose and someone decided consideration of the proposed salary and benefit increase absolutely could NOT wait 7 days for council's next regular meeting day (December 1) and time (5 PM) when the public that foots the bill could be present and when the regular agenda would provide an opportunity for public comments.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Nov 29, 2015 Solid Waste Board Asks DA To Seek Restitution from Ronnie Brady

The Hamblen County/Morristown Solid Waste Board was asleep at the wheel for the 3-plus years during which its Director Ronnie Brady stole nearly $225,000 from the Hamblen County/Morristown Solid Waste Authority.

Brady was indicted after a special investigative audit was completed by the State Comptroller's Office. Click here for a prior post with links to the State Investigative Audit. Tracing the money that Brady took back to its source, the money came out of the pockets of the taxpayers and residents of Morristown and of Hamblen County as the City and County paid monthly garbage disposal/tipping fees to the Solid Waste Authority and Brady, in turn, siphoned a lot of these taxpayer dollars/public funds for his own use.
Recently, the Board voted to ask DA Dan Armstrong to request that Brady make restitution to the Hamblen County/Morristown Solid Waste Authority for the insurance deductible and extra audit expenses that the Authority incurred when the theft was finally discovered. Here is the SWB on November 20, 2015, voting to seek restitution for extra audit services and the insurance "deductible." There are rumors afloat that this restitution is part of a plea deal that has been offered to Brady. It remains to be seen if DA Armstrong plans to let someone steal nearly $225,000 in public funds and only have to make restitution for an audit and an insurance "deductible."


The Board's former chairman Stancil Ford was an "in-law" of Brady up until Stancil's divorce years ago. Ford and the rest of the Board apparently had such great faith in Brady that they didn't bother to make sure that all payroll and other checks that Brady was writing on the City/County Solid Waste Board checkbook were legitimate.

For years, while the SWB did nothing, Brady helped himself to an extra $190,000+ in payroll checks AND paid some of his car repair and credit card expenses (including a trip to Disneyworld) with public funds. Brady apparently felt that his $80,000+ salary along with car allowance and insurance benefits was not "enough." The SWB's former auditor Craine-Thompson-Jones didn't catch the theft until after several years had passed and Brady had helped himself to nearly a quarter million dollars --or more-- of public money!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November 11, 2015 Veterans Day

vetsday HONOR VETS with wreath and flag.gif
In honor and in remembrance of all who have served the United States of America in the armed forces at home and abroad...

In honor of all who currently serve the United States of America in the armed forces at home and abroad...

Americans owe a special debt to veterans of all branches of the armed forces. Our freedom has been bought and maintained with their sweat, blood, and devotion to duty.

Many have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Freedom is not free.

The American Soldier

It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who gives us freedom.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

July 12, 2015 Former MPD Officer Michael Hurt Charged with Theft and Official Misconduct

The Tennessee Watchdog has an article about allegations and an investigative audit by the State Comptroller alleging that MPD Officer Michael Hurt pocketed and used public money for his own personal use.

From the Watchdog:

"In Morristown, Tennessee, police seized cars and demanded cash, which a police sergeant allegedly kept for himself — $6,000 in all, a state Comptroller’s report says.

According to the audit, a Hamblen County grand jury indicted Hurt on charges of two counts of theft over $1,000, one count of theft over $500 and one count of official misconduct.

District Attorney Dan Armstrong told Tennessee Watchdog on Wednesday he had no comment beyond what was in Wilson’s report.

Hurt, the report went on, 'altered records, failed to record or receipt the majority of the cash and made a false entry in police department records in an apparent attempt to conceal his activities.'"

Click here for the full Watchdog article.

The Comptroller's Audit/Special Investigation on this matter was released on July 8, 2015. 

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

July 8, 2015 Brittain Proposes 20-cent Property Tax Hike to County Budget Committee

All the talk about conservatism in county government was just that---talk, meaningless babble.

At yesterday's budget meeting, County Mayor Bill Brittain pulled out the old shell game--moving taxpayer/public money from one pile to another and then from another to another.

Since this shell game and exercise in money-shifting accomplished nothing, Brittain then proposed a 20-cent property tax "solution." A10-cent hike for the General Fund (sheriff, courts, mayor's office, county clerk, Cherokee Park, etc) and a 10-cent hike for the Highway/Road Department (paving projects).

And even that huge 20-cent property tax hike didn't take care of the Brittain spending budget, so Brittain also proposed that the county appropriate the spending of $447,000 from the county fund balance (savings/reserves). Sort of like a person getting a hefty salary increase and then still having to dip into their savings account to meet their proposed spending plan.

Brittain then distracted commissioners with some "pick your poison" options for the Highway Department---instead of a 10-cent property tax hike for the Highway Department, he said commissioners could enact a $22 increase in the wheel tax OR they could do a 3-cent property tax increase and a $16 wheel tax increase,

Brittain saved any mention of the school budget to the end of his presentation. The school budget is primarily a function of State BEP money and local money which can not decrease from year to year.

To his credit, Stancil Ford asked Brittain about the state BEP money. Brittain stated that the schools are getting 2 million in new state BEP money for the next budget year.

Then the discussion turned to local money for the schools. Last year, the schools received $25,736.740 in local money. That amount can not decrease, but there is no requirement that it increase. Despite the county's and the taxpayers' economic situation and despite the fact that the schools are getting a 2 million boost in state money, Brittain proposed that the local money for schools be increased by $515,987 to $26,252,727.

Ford pointed out to commissioners that the local money did not have to increase. With the schools already set to get 2 million more from the state, the local money budgeted for education could stay the same as last year ($25,736.740) and the $515,987 could be moved to the county general fund or highway department.

It was an amazing presentation from the conservative Mayor of Hamblen County who handed out his budget changes and sweeping "spend and tax" proposal(s) at the beginning of the meeting, leaving commissioners little time to read and study the different scenarios. Of course, making budget changes and tossing out multiple proposals at the last minute gives a distinct advantage to the Mayor in that most commissioners are not prepared to ask questions right after they get a new 19-page document outlining convoluted revenue and spending changes.

Just like Washington DC, the game is the same in Morristown and Hamblen County, Tennessee.

Grow government. Hide the ball. Make a few token budget "cuts"--"cuts" that are not really cuts but are simply reductions in the previously proposed increases. Then increase taxes and spend other people's money to grow the little kingdoms at the courthouse and at the city center.

Hire and make jobs for relatives and friends. One-bid contracts. Boards that provide zero oversight so that $225,000 can be stolen (Solid Waste Board).  And while salaries and benefits are the largest component of the county and school budgets, don't provide a list of employees by name and position with 4-year historical data on hourly rates or salary.

And then let the chest-thumping begin as all proclaim themselves the most conservative people on the planet. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

June 18,2015 SWB Committee To Recommend Rodefer Moss as New SWB Auditor Replacing Craine-Thompson-Jones

Three Hamblen County/Morristown Solid Waste Board members (Bob Garrett, Doe Jarvis, and Tom Rush) met this morning and reviewed proposals for auditing services from three CPA firms.

The members rated each proposal and decided to recommend that the full board approve Rodefer Moss as the new SWB auditor--replacing longtime local auditor Craine-Thompson-Jones.

The recommendation will apparently go to the full board for action at its meeting tomorrow at 9 AM at the Health Department.

For a brief history of the SWB saga and theft of over $220,000 by its former director Ronnie Brady, click here, here, and here.

June 18, 2015 Hamblen County/Morristown Solid Waste Board Theft and Trip to Disney World Comes in Third Place in Beacon Pork Contest

Hamblen/Morristown former landfill director Ronnie Brady's theft of over $220,000.00 from the local Solid Waste Board garnered third place in a "government pork" poll by the Beacon Center.

Click here for the poll results.

Brady's theft was beaten out for the top "pork" spot by the transfer of $165,000,000.00 of taxpayer dollars to VW in Chattanooga and the $46,000.00 spent by Governor Haslam to come up with a new state "logo."

Brady's theft was accomplished primarily by issuing LOTS of "extra" solid waste payroll checks to himself and also using solid waste funds to pay his personal bills.

The theft went undetected for at least 3-1/2 years even though there was a nine-member board with oversight duties, even though the SWB was audited every year, and even though SWB chairman Stancil Ford was supposed to physically sign or personally stamp his signature on checks along with Brady's signature.

Most businesses and governmental entities require TWO signatures on all checks to try to prevent exactly what happened at the solid waste board.

Ford, however, was not personally signing or personally stamping the "extra" checks. Ford apparently had given Brady access to Ford's signature stamp which, of course, defeated the whole purpose of having two signatures on checks.

After all, it's not really a "check and balance" against potential theft when one person (Brady) can sign his signature to checks and can also stamp the signature of the other person (Ford) on the checks.

Giving someone your signature stamp or access to your signature stamp opens the bank door for theft. 

And the door to the SWB bank account was left wide open by Stancil Ford failing to physically sign SWB checks or at least go and use HIS signature stamp on the checks HIMSELF.

Maybe Stancil deserves an "assist" in helping Ronnie Brady win 3rd place in the Beacon pork and waste (and theft) contest!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

June 16, 2015 Solid Waste Board Receives Three Proposals for Auditing Services--Current Auditor Craine-Thompson-Jones Doesn't Submit a Proposal

The Hamblen County/Morristown Solid Waste Board received auditing proposals from three auditing firms on June 15, 2015. Two were Knoxville firms and one was from Johnson City.

Longtime local Solid Waste auditor Craine-Thompson-Jones did not submit a proposal.

SWB Chairman Tony Cox discussed reviewing SWB professional contracts (auditing, legal, and engineering) at an Executive Committee meeting back in February 2015. Executive Committee members appointed by Cox are Cox, Keith Jackson, and ex officio (non-voting member) County Mayor Bill Brittain. 

SWB member Doe Jarvis proposed soliciting qualifications from auditing firms at the May 2015 SWB meeting and pointedly criticized the local auditors for failing to catch the theft of over $220,000 by SWB Director Ronnie Brady.  Click here and here.

You can see the opening of proposals here:

By newspaper notice last night, it was stated that the Audit Committee will review the proposals tomorrow at the SWB Office on Sublett Road at 10 AM and make a recommendation to the full board at the SWB meeting on Friday, June 19, at 9 AM at the Health Department building.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

June 4, 2015 Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson: Stancil Ford Violated Tennessee Law (TCA 12-4-101)

Tennessee's conflict of interest laws are weak in many areas. However, they are crystal clear in one area--elected officials, committee members, and those holding similar supervisory positions can't supervise themselves.

Now let's look at Stancil Ford and the Hamblen County/Morristown Solid Waste Board (SWB).  

In February 2014, former SWB Landfill Director Ronnie Brady resigned amid allegations of theft from the SWB. Brady was indicted in March 2015 on charges of theft over $60,000. The Tennessee Comptroller's Office put the theft at almost $228,000.

Following Brady's resignation, the SWB named one of its own--SWB member Stancil Ford--as interim landfill director. Ford served as interim landfill director and later as an "assistant" interim landfill director up through May 30, 2014. Ford remained on the Board during that entire time. Ford received about $8800 during the 3-1/2 month period that he was interim director, "assistant" interim director, and a member and Chairman of the SWB.

On April 29, 2015, Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson informed the SWB that Ford had a statutory conflict of interest in serving on the SWB and serving as SWB landfill director/assistant director. Ford violated TCA 12-4-101.

[Ford is a sitting county commissioner. He was also the State Representative for Hamblen County for many years until his defeat in 2002.]

Sunday, May 31, 2015

May 31, 2015 Hamblen/Morristown Solid Waste Board Seeks Proposals for Auditing Services

The joint Hamblen County/Morristown Solid Waste Board (SWB) is advertising for proposals for auditing services.

As I mentioned in a prior post, Doe Jarvis made the motion to look at new auditors for the SWB back on May 16, 2015. The vote was unanimous. [SWB Chairman Tony Cox was absent when the vote was taken.]

On Friday, May 29, the SWB put an ad in the paper for auditing services. Interested firms can pick up packets at the SWB office to use in submitting proposals.

Proposals have to be turned in to the SWB office by 10 AM on Monday, June 15, 2015.

At a previous SWB executive committee meeting, SWB Chairman Tony Cox had mentioned that the Board might need to review certain professional positions and decide whether to keep the current auditors (Craine-Thompson-Jones), the current engineer (Matt Hatfield), and current attorney (Chris Capps).

The search for new auditors comes on the heels of a report by the Tennessee Comptroller's Office that over $220,000 was taken by SWB Director Ronnie Brady between July 2010 and January 2014.

Brady resigned in early 2014 and was indicted for theft over $60,000 by a local grand jury on March 2, 2015.

More details are here. To see the Comptroller's report, click here.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

May 17, 2015 Solid Waste Board Votes To Look at Changing Auditors

The agenda was very light at the Hamblen County/Morristown Solid Waste Board meeting on Friday, May 15.

Chairman Tony Cox, who is also Morristown City Administrator, was not present. Longtime SWB member Bill Blackburn presided.

About the only non-routine action was a motion made by Doe Jarvis, who is also a Hamblen County Commissioner, to send out a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for auditing services.

Jarvis stated: "I personally am not satisfied with the audits we received. I wasn't on the board at the time, but I know that we went ... three years, four years, with an issue that wasn't picked up.

[Jarvis was apparently referring to the three or four years that former landfill director Ronnie Brady was writing himself an extra $192,000.00 in payroll checks over and above his approximately $80,000.00 annual salary.]  Click here and here.

During discussion, Jarvis commented: " I think we need new auditors because they [current auditors Craine-Thompson-Jones] didn't pick up what they should have picked up, in my opinion."

The vote was unanimous to issue an RFQ seeking qualifications from auditing firms interested in performing the SWB audit.

Larry Clark, administrative services director for the City of Morristown, was present and commented that it might be hard to issue an RFQ, get proposals back, and select a new firm within the timeframe (June 30, 2015)  given by the Comptroller for having an audit contract in place.

Jarvis' response: "Why can we not ask for forgiveness versus permission on something like that? We do it on everything else."

Jarvis added: "I think it's absolutely ridiculous that our auditor is still doing our books or still doing our audit. Our former auditor should not be doing that work."

NOTE: In a February 6, 2015, meeting of the SWB Executive Committee (Tony Cox, Bill Brittain, and Keith Jackson), Tony Cox stated that the SWB may want to look at its outside contracts (auditor, engineer, and attorney) and determine whether the SWB is happy or if it is time to go back and start "looking."

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April 14, 2015 Dr. Parks, Susan Widener, and Nancy Phillips Resign from MH Humane Society Board

[Due to editing/posting problems, the layout of this post may have excessive spacing. I will fix it later when time allows]

The Morristown-Hamblen Humane Society met last Monday in a hastily called special meeting in an attempt by several members and one faction of the Board to oust the following five Board members: Mary Ann Toffoletto, Susan Allen, Dr. Michael Bratton, Judy Stockard, and Bette Crawford. See prior post here.

The vote was 109-91 to keep those members on the Board.

At last night's meeting, the first held following that vote, President Daniel Parks, Vice-president Susan Widener, and Board member Nancy Phillips resigned right after the meeting began. Parks and Widener were present. Phillips was not there. Parks gave a brief statement and then handed in his resignation along with that of Widener and Phillips, effective "immediately." Widener and he then left the meeting.

The Board was obviously surprised but immediately named Dr. Michael Bratton to preside over the meeting and everything proceeded.

The Board received the recommendation from the committee that interviewed candidates for the Shelter Director position.

Stan Eversole was nominated for the position. Mr. Eversole told the Board that he was extremely honored but would not be able to take the position as he had recently received a threatening note that seemed directed not only at him but at his children.  The note and the threat were reported to the HC Sheriff's Department.

County Mayor Bill Brittain, who was a member of the Director selection committee, was asked by other committee members if he had told anyone about the selection of Eversole. Brittain stated that he had told Dr. Daniel Parks and Nancy Phillips. At the end of the meeting, Brittain asked to make a statement. He said that all he did was answer the question honestly and no one should read anything else into that.

The committee agreed to meet again and present another name for the Director position.

In other action, the Board formally voted to notify city councilman/realtor Paul LeBel that they will not pursue the purchase of a building on South Liberty Hill Road for which some former Board members, acting through Perry Hall, had initiated and supported some form of option to purchase agreement.

Voting on new by-laws and the annual May meeting were discussed.

UPDATE: After the meeting adjourned, Sonya Shipley, County Mayor Bill Brittain's appointee to the Board, resigned.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

April 7, 2015 MH Humane Society Votes 109-91 To Keep Five Board Members

The Morristown-Hamblen Humane Society met yesterday at 7 PM.
The large upstairs courtroom was full and members were in the "jury box" and in the halls.

The Humane Society has a 13 member Board of Directors, most of whom were recently elected by the membership in October 2014. Click here.

Last night's meeting was a special called meeting for the purpose of removing five of the 13 Board members.

The five proposed for removal were Bette Crawford, Judy Stockard, Mary Ann Toffoletto, Susan Allen, and Dr. Michael Bratton.

These five were part of the seven-member majority who voted on March 9, 2015, to terminate Shelter Director Robyn Robinson and shelter employees Andrea Brooks and Michaela McDonald for falsifying time cards. During the March meeting, time cards were reviewed and Director Robinson was questioned about the accuracy of the cards, her signing off on the cards, and whether employees were being paid by the Humane Society while performing personal volunteer work for other organizations.

At the end of the March 9th meeting, the Board voted 7-6 to terminate Robinson, Brooks, and McDonald.

Crawford, Stockard, Toffoletto, Allen, and Bratton voted for termination along with City Mayor Danny Thomas and Thomas' appointee Wayne NeSmith.  The six voting not to terminate were Dr. Daniel Parks, former county commissioner Nancy Phillips. Susan Widener, Kim Hall, County Mayor Bill Brittain, and Brittain's appointee Sonya Shipley.

A couple of weeks later, a special meeting was requested to remove Crawford, Stockard, Toffoletto, Allen, and Bratton for actions "severely detrimental to the integrity and function of the MHHS Board of Directors." [Mayor Thomas and his designee Wayne Nesmith could not be removed from the Board because they, like Mayor Brittain and Shipley, are not elected members.]

The special meeting took place last night, and the vote was 190-91 to keep the five on the Board.

The next meeting of the Humane Society is slated for next Monday, April 13.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

March 8, 2015: Solid Waste Investigative Audit Indicates That Ronnie Brady Used Stancil Ford's Signature Stamp To Write $192,206.00 Worth of Checks to Himself

The Comptroller's Report and TBI investigation into former Hamblen County/Morristown Solid Waste Director Ronnie Brady's forgery and theft are complete. Brady was recently indicted by the Hamblen County Grand Jury for theft over $60,000.00.

The Comptroller's Report is here. The report is short.

It shows one of the many unauthorized checks that Brady wrote to himself. The check in the report is for $2,026.59. Brady apparently wrote many other unauthorized checks to himself over a 3-1/2 year period for a total of $192,206.00.

The unauthorized check shown in the report has then-SWB Chairman and current County Commission chairman Stancil Ford's stamped signature on it. Unless Ford claims that Brady stole Ford's signature stamp, it appears that Ford allowed Brady to have access to Ford's stamp, giving Brady the ability to write checks ($192,206.00) to himself with the required "two" signatures.

Brady also made personal charges totaling "at least" $31,875.00 on the Solid Waste's AMEX credit card. The report gives two examples of personal charges that Solid Waste customers paid for, i.e.  repairs to Brady's BMW and a $2,175.00 mattress delivered to Brady's residence,

In addition, Brady wrote Solid Waste checks to pay for personal charges on a non-Solid Waste Board Capital One card.

Monday, December 08, 2014

December 8, 2014 Significant Open Meetings Act Hearing in Greene County Chancery Court Today

Tennessee has an Open Meetings Law which requires that governmental bodies meet and deliberate and vote in public.

Today, there is a hearing in Greene County before Chancellor Doug Jenkins concerning that law.
The issue is whether the public has a right to actually "hear" the discussion at a public meeting.

The current case results from an Industrial Board meeting in Greene County, TN where most of the public in attendance could not hear the discussion and debate because most of the Industrial Board members had their backs to the audience, were speaking softly, and had no microphones.

In a 2012 Tennessee Attorney General's opinion the following was stated:


2.a. Does the Tennessee Open Meetings Act, codified at Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 8-44-101
to -111, require a county commission meeting to be held in any particular type of space or


2.a. Tennessee courts have not addressed this specific issue. Under the Open Meetings
Act, county commission meetings are public meetings and must be open to the public at all
times. For this reason, county commission meetings should be held in a facility that can
accommodate a public audience reasonably expected to attend. The audience should be able to
hear the proceedings. [Emphasis added]

If Chancellor Jenkins holds that the state's open meetings law just means a citizen has the right to attend and "see" the meeting but no right to "hear" the discussions and deliberations, current Open Meetings Act will have been gutted.

At that point, the Legislature may as well repeal the Open Meetings Act or come back in January and immediately amend the Open Meetings Act to make it clear that an "Open Meeting" means one that the public can see AND hear.

Here is a Knox N-S article about today's hearing and what happened at the Greene County Industrial Development Board to lead up to today's hearing:

Pipeline meeting at crux of battle

Groups say interpretation of law absurd

By Hugh G. Willett

Special to the News Sentinel

Tennessee journalists and open government advocates are expressing concern that the outcome of an open meetings trial scheduled to begin next week in Greene County could reduce citizen access to public meetings.

The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government and the East Tennessee Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists on Wednesday issued a joint statement of concern about efforts to interpret the Tennessee Open Meetings Act.

The lawsuit, brought by a group of Greene County residents, seeks to void actions taken by the local industrial development board that enabled a controversial 12-mile pipeline that would take water from the Nolichucky River for use by the US Nitrogen industrial chemical plant before returning the treated water to the river.

The issue arose after a July 18 meeting of the Greene County Industrial Development Board during which a local resident named Eddie Overholt was ejected from the meeting and arrested after asking the members of board to speak up.

Residents later filed 59 complaints with the state Office of Open Records Counsel Elisha Hodge. She agreed the meeting was probably illegal.

The Industrial Development Board of Greeneville, Greene County and US Nitrogen have filed a motion to dismiss the suit on the premise that the Tennessee Open Meetings Act does not require citizens be able to hear proceedings at a public meeting, only that a governing body give citizens an opportunity to be present .

Deborah Fisher, executive director of TCOG, described the motion to dismiss as absurd. TCOG and ETSPJ believe such a narrow interpretation would make a mockery of the state’s Open Meetings Act, also known as the sunshine law, and allow or even encourage absurd scenarios where a governing body could hold a public meeting but prevent attendees from hearing what they say, she said.

Fisher said the IDB had the option to redo the meeting to come into compliance with the law but chose not to do so within the required time frame.

Greene County resident Don Bible is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. He believes the July 18 meeting marked a turning point in public opinion.

­I believe that several members of that board would now like to have the opportunity to redo that whole event. I think that most of the members of that board now realize that by their actions they burned a lot of bridges that day, he said.

Representatives of the Greene County Industrial Development Board did not respond to requests for comment.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

December 7, 2014 Pearl Harbor Day

Today is the 73rd anniversary of the Japanese attack on American ships at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

A surprise attack that led to the entry of the United States into World War II.

In his speech to Congress asking for a Declaration of War, President Franklin Roosevelt termed it "A Date Which Will Live in Infamy."


Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives:
Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

November 27, 2014 HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Thanksgiving Day. A time for our great nation and its people to pause and give thanks for our many blessings.

Thanksgiving Day. A time for remembrance of the past. A time for expressions of gratitude for our many blessings -- both past and present. A time of hopefulness as we look to the future.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 18, 2014 Tony Cox Uses Taxpayer Dollars to Push Jay Moore Out with a "Settlement"

The City agenda today includes a settlement reached between Tony Cox and longtime City Building Inspector Jay Moore.

Moore "retired" and got $12,000.00 plus his accrued benefits to the date of retirement.

With the payout of $12,000.00 tax dollars, Tony Cox then gets to pick Moore's replacement.

Moore requested to be considered for the City Administrator position back in 2009 when Cox was selected to replace Jim Crumley.

There were a lot of "oddities" in the selection of the four finalists at that time. Click here.

Today's agenda is here.

Monday, November 03, 2014

November 3, 2014 Food CIty Popkin Beer Permit: City Creates Special Measurement Rule To Get Around 150' Distance Requirement

The City Council will meet as the "Beer Board" tomorrow afternoon immediately after the 5 PM council meeting at the City Center.

On the Beer Board agenda are numerous changes to the city Beer Ordinance--the most significant of which is removing the distance requirement from a park, school, or church if there is a four-lane highway between the store selling beer and the property line of the park, school, or church.

Why did the City decide to change the beer ordinance to remove the 150' distance requirement when there is a four-lane roadway?

Because Food City Popkin--despite knowing that the City Beer Ordinance required 150' from its store and Popkin Little League Park--went ahead and built its store less than 150' from the Little League Park.

Why would Food City do this? Because Food City knew that council would turn around and change the beer ordinance so Food City Popkin could get a beer permit. And that's exactly what is happening.

Click on the image below to enlarge it, and you will see that Food City had a copy of the City Beer Ordinance on September 19, 2014, and thus KNEW that the City Beer Ordinance required a store selling beer to be 150' from any park, school, or church. Click here for a prior post on this issue when City Council passed the new "Food City Popkin" beer ordinance on first reading.

But Food City also knew that it could build its building wherever it wanted to and then get council to change the ordinance. And that is what Food City and Council did. Food City told the City that the beer ordinance would have to be changed, and council will be voting today to make some general changes to the beer ordinance, but the primary change is to say that a store selling beer CAN be within 150' of a school, church, or park if there is a four-lane roadway. 

Special change in the beer ordinance for Food City Popkin. The only councilperson to vote against this special "Food City Popkin" change on first reading was Dennis Alvis.  Mayor Thomas, Vice-mayor Gary Chesney, Bob Garrett, Key Senter, Chris Bivens. and councilman Paul LeBel voted for the "Food City Popkin" change. Tuesday is the second and final reading.

If Joe Smith had built a small store at the same location as Food City Popkin, do you think councilmembers would have passed a new beer ordinance to make Joe Smith's store eligible for a beer permit?