During the Cleveland City Council’s regular voting session meeting Monday afternoon, Mayor Tom Rowland addressed the council and audience concerning a flyer that was circulated to various residents throughout the city’s second district.
The flyer, which Mayor Rowland referred to as propaganda, reads: “WARNING: If you live in the area of 18th Street SE between King Edward Avenue SE and Wildwood Avenue (south of the old Whirlpool site) – Your property rights may soon be violated if we don’t act now!
"I am not a member of any political party and I am not asking you to join anything. I am one citizen concerned about maintaining our way of life as Americans and stopping this madness that has taken over our local government. Please take 5 minutes to read this critical information, and you can decide what your next step will be. I do hope you will feel the need to get involved in some way. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me, A Concerned Citizen, at firstname.lastname@example.org
"The governments of Cleveland City, Bradley County and Charleston City, recently contracted with consultation group for $250,000, paid for by your tax dollars, to develop a plan called BCC 2035. This plan is based on the concepts of sustainable development, a managed growth plan for our area that is implemented through new land use regulations and restrictions. It incurs new public debt, and of course, increases our taxes. This plan is already in the implementation phase under the guise that the community supports it, even though you have never heard of it. How is this possible? They use a tactic called the Delphi Technique to manufacture consensus. In fact, the only persons who have bought into this plan are local politicians, the Chamber of Commerce, favored developers and environmental groups.
"Q. What does this mean to you as a resident or local business owner?
A. Your homes and businesses are targeted by this plan for demolition
!! No Joke! I have the documentation to prove it! It’s called “Central City Area Plan – Themes White Paper with Draft Goals and Recommendations.” Call city Planner Greg Thomas at (423) 479-1913
, or Rick Russell at BPR, who is the paid consultant for the plan, at (865) 249-7755
, and ask for a copy.
"Q. Why You?
A. Because you “do not pay a lot in property taxes” and have the infrastructure they need under your streets, your property is prime for redevelopment. I was told this to my face by the consultant himself, Rick Russell.
"Q. How can they do it?
A. The city, local housing authority, or appointed representatives, can use any of several tactics, including: citing your property as an eyesore or blight increasing code enforcement, and possibly using eminent domain to remove you from your property. You can Google “TN Code Annotated 13-20-201” to see the powers of the city or housing authority to act in regards to blight in the state of TN.
"Q. How will they pay for all of this development?
A. This may be the worst part: You do! You will pay for a portion of your property taxes to repay bond debt incurred through a tool called Tax Increment Financing. Money will be diverted from our general fund to pay these debts that will be used to destroy you, all in the name of “creating jobs.”
"Q. What can you do?
A. Educate yourself about this! Google every one of the words or terms I have underlined in this document. Especially read the contents of BCC 2035. It is boring reading, so skip all the background and go to the recommendations. Your eyes will be opened! For more in depth reading I recommend you Google Redevelopment the Unknown Government. It gives an excellent understanding of the abuses of redevelopment. Tell your friends and neighbors. Feel free to copy and hand this out. Call your local representatives, city and county planners, Rick Russell at BPR, and make them explain why they think your home(s) should be demolished!!”
Mayor Rowland said, “This flyer was anonymously passed out in the city. It’s my understanding that over 20 people contacted Greg Thomas because his number was listed on the flyer, who were concerned and some even expressed fear that we’re going to take their property. Nothing can be further from the truth. I think this flyer is very exciting. I don’t find anything, maybe some terminology here and there that’s even true. As you know, we’ve informed the Southside Redevelopment District to increase property values in that area to get rid of the blighted piece of our city to enhance the value of the property around it. I don’t know who the favored developers are, I’ve never seen any. I’ve asked the question about public hearings. Numerous public hearings have been held, not only in the BCC 2035 Plan, but in this venue as well and the county commission. The public has had plenty of time to hear comments on this issue.
"First of all, if local politicians are brought into it, that’s the American way. These are people elected by the people. Nothing is going to happen without elected officials acting on behalf of the people. How will they pay for this new development? I don’t know what new development they’re talking about. We do know that we don’t want the old Whirlpool factory to become a blighted part of our community and devalue property in the area. We don’t want that to happen. That’s why we formed this Southside Development Committee.”
Mayor Rowland went on to say, “My concern is this. The 20-plus families that called who were fearful of the propaganda in this flyer are upset because of this. I’m upset that somebody who is anonymous thinks they have a right to spread untruths to the citizens in our community. To tell them things, and put fear into their minds that are not true, things very unlikely to happen. I this is some sort of tactic to scare people.
"We do want to get rid of eyesores and blight and that’s what we intend to do with the old Whirlpool property. I think this is a very cruel hoax on the citizens of our community to put this flyer in their doors. This is sneaky and at its very best deceiving. Whoever wrote this should be exposed. I’m going to ask the council for a vote to ask police chief, city attorney and the district attorney’s office to do a full investigation on this matter and determine if any laws were broken and try to uncover source of this flyer.”
Councilman David May made the motion which passed unanimously.
The following items on the consent agenda passed unanimously:
-Final Passage - Ordinance No: 2012-13 – FY2012 Budget Amendments.
-Bid Report – Tires/Tubes.
-Bid Report – Laundry & Dry Cleaning.
-Resolution No: 2012-79 – 2011 Tax Refund; Cleveland Chair ($8,537.00).
-Resolution No: 2012-80 – 2011 Tax Refund; Jackson Manufacturing Co. ($3,470.00).
-Resolution No: 2012-81 – 2011 Tax Refund; Jackson Manufacturing Co. ($7,924.00).
-Resolution No: 2012-82 – Authorizing the Mayor to sign an additional quitclaim deed from the City to the Cleveland Municipal Airport Authority for Hardwick Field.
-Resolution No: 2012-83 – Authorizing the Mayor to sign a proposal with TDOT concerning a project located at 25th Street and Ocoee Street NE.
-Resolution No: 2012-84 - A resolution adopting the 2012 updated Bradley County Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan.
-Motion - Approving State Form CT-0253 for the $1,509,000 variable rate loan relating to the new airport terminal.
-Reappointment – Plumbing Board – Chris Lyle for an additional 5-year term to expire April, 2017.
-Appointment - Plumbing Board – Mark Woods for a 5-year term to expire April, 2017.
-Reappointment – Vacant Property Review Board – Harvey Tillery for an additional 2-year term to expire May, 2014.
-Reappointment – Vacant Property Review Board – Duane Gilbert for an additional 2-year term to expire May, 2014.
-Reappointment – Historic Commission – Doug Caywood for an additional 4-year term to expire June, 2016.
-Reappointment – Historic Commission – Joan Benjamin for an additional 4-year term to expire June, 2016.
-Reappointment – Historic Commission – Steve Scoggins for an additional 4-year term to expire June, 2016.
The Cleveland City Council will hold its next voting session on Monday, at 3 p.m.