There is a cancer of corruption in Lebanon, TN & national politics;
it needs to be stopped.
This is a non-partisan website; my allegiance is to our U.S. Constitution!
Pages on this site are focused on local and national issues, such as censorship and our U. S. Constitution. However, political chicanery in Lebanon, Tennessee, and the State of Tennessee in many cases, are analogous to our national ills.
Apply what you read herein, to your own locality, and take action to insist our politicians OBEY THEIR OATH of office, and simply uphold the Constitution. Many of our current, and long-standing problems will be remedied, and future problems, avoided.
~~~For those of you who may be snickering thinking I'm naïve in my quest and hope of seeing any honorable political backbone....you're wrong! But, someone has to expose these liars to their oath of office, if for no other reason than to get voters to rethink their allegiance.
NOTE..........Though I was not elected, a number of my campaign for mayor plans/issues, formed since July 2020, are already being enacted...Click the tab, "More" and scroll down to "My Campaign Ideas Enacted"
Their lack of bold leadership and imagination: The local Lebanon Democrat newspaper "front page" priority of the current Mayor Rick Bell administration, as of March 2021, is whether to allow residential structures to feature a garage door in the front!
My Larger Ambitions:
Tax payer dollars & B.S. Budgets
Bids accepted are not bids fulfilled, insofar as the accepted cost of a project or lack of transparency and justification for "cost overruns." During my 2020 campaign for mayor, I pointed out how comfortable then council member, and now Mayor Rick Bell was with an $80,475.00 higher bid for a city project, when the official City Charter demands the lowest and best bid.
During a February 2021 City Council meeting, a council member broached the uncomfortable subject of cost overruns, in this case, a 60% difference on the updating of the former Lebanon Police station, to be converted for use by the Public Works department. The remaining council members and Mayor Bell offered no supporting challenges in concert with the lone council member questioning the frequency of project cost overruns.
NOTE: A cost overrun exceeding $1,100,000.00 was reported for the new Lebanon Police Department Building, completed in July 2020, during the Mayor Bernie Ash administration.
During the bidding process, I propose only itemized bids, including material description and costs with notations (of) whether bidder has contracted price commitments from their suppliers, including cost expiration date(s). Copies of supplier contract agreements with contractor detailing material costs and deadline must be included with accepted bids.
No “built-in” cost overrun allowances. The bid must include the number of crew members needed to complete the project, along with labor hours projected*
*If it becomes necessary to create estimated hours and number of crew members needed to complete designated tasks, then a reasonable estimate of the aforementioned, together with input from industry professionals may be in order, as a miens of uniform bidding components, going forward.
Every design “change order” and budget amendments must be accompanied by a detailed explanation from the architect, under penalty of breach of contract.
*I continue to fight the blatant disregard for the city charter, by government officials. See my battle page designated: City Property Violations
City Gas System Repairs Needed
Recently 2 separate ordinances requesting the city council approve a $3 million loan from the City of Clarksville, TN, to repair and update our city gas system; no interest rate cost was given, and as of this post, the decision has yet to be finalized.
As a responsible citizen, I say NO to the loan: Instead, I would spend $3 million from our "rainy day fund" to make sure the city has a safe-efficient gas system for their convenience, and comfort.....no (loan) interest payments necessary.
Money Back to Citizens: I would also take advantage of current historic low natural gas prices to create a "rebate" back to citizens each Spring, if/when supply and demand favors our city natural gas system balance sheet. *Newly elected President Biden and his administration's energy policies have rendered this tax payer benefit problematic, but not impossible.
Water Dept. Warning
Earlier this year, while I attended another city council meeting, the engineer in charge of our city water treatment plant warned one of the main pumps is in need of replacement. As of this post, nothing has been discussed further on the issue, at least not publicly. As a responsible citizen, I would spend "X" amount of dollars from our "rainy day fund" replacing the pump, as well as all other deficient equipment, to assure safe-clean drinking water for you and your family.
As of June 6, 2021, this, along with my permanent remedy to Lebanon's flooding problem is being ignored by current Mayor Rick Bell, and the city council.
~It will take a great many citizens of Lebanon to join me in ridding our local government of corruption, insider deals, and same ole-same ole- Good Ole Boys & Good Ole Girls nonsense. This has been going on in Lebanon for decades....unfortunately. Perhaps the influx of new citizens to Lebanon will be enough to change things?
Traffic: Better use of an existing thoroughfare (my campaign issue)
Update the name of Baddour Parkway to add the word, BYPASS, with a diagram on entryway signs, instantly showing drivers the benefits of "bypassing" city traffic, when they choose to do so; this will be especially beneficial to large semi-trucks.
Also, smaller signs pointing to "Restaurants, Hotels/Motels, Services" whether into the core area, or around it. This will spur further development on the "Bypass" itself. Benefit: Less traffic snarls and more tax dollars into our city treasury at current tax rates! ~I want to get this done during the 1st. Quarter of 2021!
Widening to 5 lanes, with 2 lanes each way, and strategically placing the 5th lane for turning at intersections, into places of business, Don Fox Park, and emergency turn-offs.
Upon being elected mayor, I would have immediately begun seeking funds from State & Federal programs, as well as identifying when/if our city can help budget the effort as well. My goal was to announce a timetable of completion during 2021.
Airport-utilizing what we already have, for our larger benefit. *See the tab ~Airport Expansion Project above.
With the enormous growth of package freight throughout our country, I've already begun contacting FED-EX, UPS, and other major airfreight handlers. The aforementioned companies already designate “Feeder Routes" for their services; I want Lebanon Airport to also be designated as such, and I would have sought to partner with the company(s) to update facilities as needed. At present, our 5000 foot runway is of adequate length, as a feeder route partner.
The smaller Fed-Ex ATR-72 600 aircraft is capable of safely utilizing our airport, right now! Increase in package freight through our airport equals GREATER TAX REVENUE into our city treasury and Jobs!
State and Local Reform (see Celebrity Justice Reform page above, under Menu of Topics)
My efforts to take the "deal making" out of our state and local justice system continues to be met with indifference, which is not surprising given the number of recalcitrant politicians in Tennessee. I need only one member of the Tennessee Legislature to introduce my idea as a bill......if you are, or know someone who is a member, please contact me so we can move this much needed reform ahead; this will go a long way toward stemming recidivism.
Since November 2014, my fight against City of Lebanon government corruption is ignored by those swearing to uphold ALL the laws. My fight for honest citizens, and those demanding honor from our recalcitrant elected officials continue.
The most recent example of corruption is from September 13, 2020 *click the tab (above) "More" and "Lebanon Police Accused" (Chief of Police and Lieutenant)
Exposing corruption sources: The Tennessean newspaper, the Lebanon Democrat newspaper, and Nashville based television news programs.
~Ordinances violating citizen's property rights; despite being officially notified, as per our City Charter, the City Council, Mayor, and City Legal Department refuse to obey the charter: Click: Menu of Topics for Property Rights Violation, above.
~Judge confesses breaking 3 laws, yet is allowed to remain on the bench: Click Menu of Topics for: Celebrity Justice Reform
~Citizen lawsuits against the city for violating open meetings law. See newspaper clipping, "Lebanon facing second open meetings lawsuit," below.
~Unlawful favoritism, attempting to manipulate fees. See paragraph, below "City Council Acting Against the Law."
Why should you care? Because these dishonorable actions COST TAXPAYERS MONEY we otherwise would not have to pay!
I presented evidence of corruption to our Senator Mark "Standing Strong on Principles" Pody in 2018; so far....NOTHING has been rectified.
Late in 2019, I sent emails to our Congressman Clark Boyd about (my) evidence of corruption, and asked for a face to face meeting; as of this date, no answer from the congressman.
Because the corruption is so endemic, local media either downplays or ignores the corruption.
The Tennessean, Wilson Post, and Lebanon Democrat newspapers, Nashville television news reports, official news sites on the Internet.
In the recent past, contractors involved in the bidding process have found it necessary to sue and/or threaten to sue our city government, when their LOWER bid was rejected, (Source) the Lebanon Democrat Newspaper (see below). All contractors submitting bids are licensed to operate in Lebanon, and are, therefore qualified.
Ignoring their oath to uphold the law:
Two of my three opponents for mayor (see within the news article below) had ulterior motives...AND...my third of three opponents just sat and said nothing! The city attorney stated, the lowest and best bid is what council decides it is! I say...NO it is NOT.
>In this case, the decision cost tax payers $80,475.00 more!
The city attorney, mayor, and council members swear an oath to uphold the law, not fashion it to suit their feelings! See news article below
Another Lawsuit Against the City.......
July 2020: For the second time this year, a lawsuit against city government for ignoring open meetings law (established in 1974) has been initiated.
*News article below that of contractor lawsuits against Lebanon city government.
Reminder: Nowhere is the U.S. Constitution is the word, interpret. Therefore, when officials decide not to uphold the law, they become liars to their oath of office.
Be sure to pay extra attention to the excuse uttered (last paragraph of the article, above) by current Mayor Rick Bell. This attitude led to another lawsuit against the city! Price difference awarded to the higher bidding company: $80,475.00.
I've spoken with many long time Lebanon residents about corruption in this city. Each and every single one stated city government ignoring laws and treating citizens with indifference has been happening for decades.
During the October 15, 2019 City Council meeting, Ordinance No. 19-5928 was being discussed to set Water and Sewer Capacity and Tap Fees specific to the Downtown Zoning District. During the discussion, the desire to bring a small restaurant to the city square was talked about; it was felt a lower fee structure for a restaurant would be conducive to a small investor. Council member Fred Burton asked if all potential restaurateurs would be offered the same break regarding fees? At this point, Council member Robert "Tick" Bryan responded by stating, "well...the big companies can afford it." Council member Fred Burton said nothing further, and neither did the current mayor, nor the city attorney Andy Wright, who was also in attendance.
I was traveling during this time, but had I attended the meeting, I would have interjected, according to the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, equal protection of the laws, we must offer all qualified businesses and potential investors the same fee structure. This is what happens when liars to their oath of office govern.
Sept 30, 2020: Reopen the Police Department Investigation
City politicians have decided to close the investigation of police administrative corruption, with no more than a "slap on the wrist" for the police chief, and other officials in his office. After careful review of allegations of corruption (during the last 10 years) as leveled by a police lieutenant against other administrative officials, and taking into account the history of corruption in Lebanon city politics.
During the brief investigation conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the phrase, "statute of limitation" was used, which means crimes were committed, but not reported in a timely manner, so there is a real probability some have been allowed to escape justice.
Sept 29, 2020
My positive effect, during my campaign. From July through November 3, 2020, I continued to highlight instances of corruption in city politics. One of my foremost topics has been lawsuits against the city, by construction contractors not chosen for their lowest bid, despite city law demanding it.
During the most recent city council meeting, the practice of listing all entities bidding on a city project, including their respective bid amounts, are now enumerated (with an assigned resolution number) within the council minutes, including the lowest bid being accepted. Somehow, I doubt if I will receive a thank you from government for showing city politicians how to avoid lawsuits.
One of my 3 opponents had interjected that the city charter calls for the lowest and best bid, which is true. However, because every bidding contractor must be licensed, under very stringent conditions, all bidding contractors are the “best” in terms of quality and safety.
August 4, 2020: The effects of my campaign...already! Having attended many city council meetings as a citizen, it was nice experiencing a new conciliatory atmosphere by current council members and mayor.
Citizens objected to and added consequential comments concerning the possibility of their residential neighborhoods being rezoned for commercial use. Council members opted to defer the rezoning action, with no future date set to discuss the matter again. With the campaign behind us, I hope the city council and new mayor will continue this more respectful attitude toward citizens.
UPDATE May 2021: The City Council voted against the will of the residents.
In September of 2019, my daughter received a traffic citation from a Lebanon, TN Police officer, for breaking a law that didn’t exist! The hand-written infraction noted on the ticket: Driving through a parking lot to avoid a traffic light. Prior to the scheduled court date, I went to the police station and obtained a copy of laws regarding this particular topic, and found the statute cited, driving through a parking lot must be done safely; nothing within three pages of statutes mentioned, while trying to avoid a traffic light. Standing with me in front of the traffic court judge, my daughter pleaded not guilty, at which point the judge said, case dismissed, because the officer who issued the citation was no longer with the department.
After the judgement, I asked the judge if I might be heard, and he allowed me to speak. I pointed out the statutes, and said my daughter did not break any laws, in fact, when she traversed the parking lot, she (then) entered a thoroughfare featuring a traffic light at one end and a stop sign at the other; the judge insisted, the thoroughfare was part of the parking lot.
Here’s the “slight-of-hand” part of the story: On December 3, of the same year, the Lebanon City Council and Lebanon Chief of Police Mike Justice slipped in what they called a “Placeholder” procedure, during a council meeting, to amend titles 11, 13, 7, and 10 of the Lebanon Municipal Code relative to avoiding traffic signals, grass and weeds, special event permits for fireworks, and adequate shelter for animals; note how the avoiding traffic signals was tucked within grass, weeds, and fireworks.
Now, lest you feel I’m being petty, here is my observation: If I had been in town to attend the council meeting, prior to the vote to adopt this new law, I would have asked the city council and Chief of Police Mike Justice how many mind readers were on the police force? Imagine a driver saying to the officer, and perhaps a traffic judge, gee, I changed my mind about going into the business facility, and simply drove off! This law is unenforceable. The 2019-2020 budget for the office of Lebanon City Attorney was $369,857.32; I would have given the city council this legal advice for free. #Lebanoncitycouncil #cityoflebanoncitycouncil
Statues & Statutes: My letter to the editor, from the standpoint of equality, surrounds the current national topic of not only Confederate symbols, but other symbols some deem as inappropriate, to wit,
The Tennessean Newspaper, June 28 Keel Hunt piece, Confederate statue defenders deny history, caused me to write explaining my alternate feelings on the matter of symbolism. Mr. Hunt apparently believes those who defend Confederate statues are one-sided in their beliefs. I was born in the Mid-West, and spent my childhood and early youth in Portland, Oregon, and, speaking for myself, I've studied a great deal of American history, including the topic of slavery, the Civil War, and the Reconstruction period. Because I reside in Lebanon, TN I see a statue of Confederate General Hatton almost on a daily basis.
When I take the time to consider Gen. Hatton's involvement in the Civil War, I remember that his side lost, and one of the reasons for the loss was because of the despicable system of slavery. So, as a matter of perspective, General Hatton's statue can easily be a reminder of those who were/are on the wrong side of our U.S. Constitution, our humanity, and equal rights for all. Some revere and some revile; both have (should have) the same rights, including symbolism....wasn't that what the Civil War was about, equal rights?