I’m a modest man; born in Kitchen’s Clinic (Lafayette, GA),educated in public schools- Spending time with my Grandparents as a boy, my Grandmother Jessie, was a Cooper, Granddad was Cecil Thompson, they worked hard all their days, raised nine- All taught do right by your neighbors & speak the truth. My mother picked Cotton along with her siblings; Granddad, a share cropper, small businessmen & farmer, sold Coal in three states for folks to heat their homes. As a child I would tag along, helping Granddad deliver coal. Sharing this is important, so you can understand where I come from. Thompson’s & Cooper represent Scottish origins; my families’ roots here in the U.S. predate the Declaration of Independence; Scottish folks are thrifty, modest, hard working people. So are the Irish, from whence the Boyle legacy hails. Tuesday last, at the Water Board, I needed answers, why a Board would increase rates impacting our poorest & retired, often widowed Women who barely make it on what little they have. The 1st increase in 2014, equaled 175 %, and adds additional increase to that. David Ashburn, Bebe & John Culpepper had no problem doing precisely that. Why should this bother me or you?
As a child rambling around Appalachia with Granddad Thompson, some times an old widow would say, “Cecil I can’t pay for the coal today”- He’d say, in a soft humble voice, “just catch me up next time” with a kind smile. Cold days were nearing; many heated by fire places & wood stoves, some still do. Once he was back in the truck, “Granddad she didn’t pay you” I asked. He said; “son, she didn’t have the money- and winter is here, she needs the Coal to heat her home”- heat in the winter is like water, you have to have it. He did this for folks I guess for almost 50 years, some never did “catch that bill up”. He’d say the Bible say’s take care of Widows and orphans- If my Grandfather had a nickel & some one needed it, he cheerfully gave. These lessons of old Scottish roots are literally from the back woods of Appalachia. Over near Cooper road, he started selling firewood as a boy. Later it was coal- Cecil never drove a new car that I know of, he taught what he believed Jesus wanted us to do, take care of those who can not do for themselves. Be fair and honest with people. Being unfair is not illegal, but that does not make it right.
Over in Flintstone, at the Water Board Meeting, I pointed out the huge rate increases. They have impacted the poorest among us disproportionably, widows, elderly, Veterans, & low incomes, you’ll not find any of those folks represented very well in Walker Co., be it on Water Boards or any Civic Boards that govern us. No, in fact John Culpepper told us he did not have to read any “Ethics”, and told me to shut up, when I shared about why one person serving on multiple boards is not right, and why a County employee: David Ashburn should not be on that same board; he reports directly to Bebe the Sole Commissioner- Bebe herself earns an extra 2,700 dollars more as “Water Board Chairman” added to her Full benefits we tax payers already pay her.
The poorest among us have no voice; I tried to give them one that night. It’s not right to never publicize in the local paper when a County governing body is/plans to increase rates especially by 175 % placing the bulk of this on struggling families, this is a moral cause. Let me share, they did not raise rates one dime on any commercial customers, not a dime on Chickamauga-City where they have their own Chief Lobbyist Mr. Culpepper, again ethics, he abused by him, not abstaining from votes when it involved Chickamauga-City. He shouted about his record in Chickamauga-City Government, however as a City Employee he broke ethics rules as City Manager, later resigning, (they call it retired). He was paid by the City to campaign & place yard signs for Commissioner Bebe, doing so using a city car (in some jurisdictions that’s criminal), it should be here, and if we had ethics it would be. After he was caught, in-pictures, he did “admit” it was a breach in ethics, after the evidence. You have to watch people like this all the time. He’s the Chickamauga Republican Committee Boss- They seem to have no respect for ethics, law or morals. In fact the local GOP has no ethics clause at all.
Ethical issues are moral issues; it’s why I call for Culpepper, David Ashburn and Bebe; resign from that Board, appoint some regular citizens, non County employees and no bureaucrats like Mr. Culpepper to all Civic Boards. Cursing in front of Women, pounding on tables, telling me to “Shut Up”; is not how citizen-tax payers should be treated. Increasing water bills by 175% on poor, widowed, struggling families and giving large corporations and a whole City a free-pass is not fair. Having no ethics, telling citizens you don’t have to have ethics, may not be criminal; perhaps it should be. It’s time all county Governments, be it Water Boards, Commissioner, Hutcheson Medical Board; whatever, clean up the way they do business. Taking advantage of the poorest among us is not a Biblical principal, my Granddad would have said, son that’s not right. Seems like David Ashburn, John Culpepper and Bebe do not care about our poor, one clear issue is they have no regard for is ethics. I try or at least that’s the way I was raised. Republicans like Culpepper & Bebe take from poor to give to the rich, like Mitt Romney said companies are people too.
Ethics as I see it would have prevented abuses like this; it’s ethical that utilities be prevented to increase its rates with out PUBLIC NOTICE in the paper; especially by 175%. It’s time legislation is submitted to stop abuses like this from happening all over Georgia, So Steve Tarvin, & Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga, will they do anything? Now add your recent 59% Property Tax increases, your “County” portion in the same year.
Well, Please send your thank you notes to Chickamauga-City, Bebe, David Ashburn and John Culpepper; he told me to shut up. He cursed at me, he broke the peace (a violation of state criminal code) telling me I don’t know anything, maybe I don’t, but I know it’s not right & I know ethics is badly needed in Walker County. People matter to this Scott/Irish born, Son of the American Revolution & birth rite Citizen of Georgia.
Aleq Boyle, LaFayette, Jan. 17, 2015