Consolidation Of Power
By Joe Webb
When elected officials seek to expand
their prerogative and discretion into domains of influence and elements
of the people's power reserved for the people through elected
representation, they do so for a reason: consolidation of power.
In a constitutional democracy, there is no greater direct accountability
for performance of the people's business and administration of the
people's power than to face those people at the polls at regular
intervals. The Lenoir City Charter correctly envisions this and properly
sets forth the role(s) of the "Recorder/Treasurer" - including the
now-famous line "The Recorder/Treasurer shall be the Clerk of the City
This is really pretty simple: Mr. Aikens, Mr. Simpson, and Mr. Henline
and others have decided that the performance of the Clerk of the City
Court should not be directly accountable to the voters - but to them
through appointee (hence, expanded power whose levers they can
manipulate and control behind closed doors). Their position with respect
to the Clerk of the City Court is a classic power grab - as obvious as
it is vulgar.
What would you think if the administration in the White House decided to
appoint people they liked and agreed with to assume the duties of the
Congress of the United States ignoring the constitutional separation of
powers in favor of what they would call "expedience" or "efficiency"?
Of course, you would be outraged because such an act - so hateful to the
exercise of your power as a citizen - would be unbearable. You may
recall that the Boston Tea Party was less a response to taxation as it
was a protest of the lack of representation. Without elected
representation, the people have no power at all. They live at the mercy
of tyrants and thieves. They become cattle to be exploited - not free
That is precisely what your representatives have done to the City of
Lenoir City - claiming expedience or ambiguity in the law, they have
taken YOUR power unto themselves and the verdict of the American
experience is that when government encroaches on the power of the
people, it never gives it back willingly. It must be taken back -
sometimes by force and at great cost.
Mr. Johnson's election on a platform of re-asserting the people's rights
with respect to the position of Clerk of the City Court just threw a
monkey-wrench into the power grab.
What is the Aikens cabal to do? Well, its simple. Hang onto the power
and force Mr. Johnson to seek relief for the people in a court of law -
gambling that he won't take that step, that he won't prevail, or that
the expense will be prohibitive to the people who must fund it - you.
Either way, win or lose, they get to keep your power longer than they
would have if they had simply voted to restore it. Voting no to the
restoration of the people's power was a no-lose proposition if you're
Mr. Aikens and his colleagues assuming that the people who have been
robbed won't notice, won't care, or won't remember come election time.
The remedy to this situation is as simple as the power grab itself is
hateful to democracy: 1) Support and encourage Mr. Johnson's legal
efforts to restore the rights of the people; and 2) Make absolutely
certain that Mr. Aikens, Mr. Simpson, and Mr. Henline are serving their
LAST terms in positions of political influence.
That last point is extremely important.
Mr. Aikens, Mr. Simpson and Mr. Henline supported the power grab in
spite of qualified opinions from MTAS and the Attorney General because
they could - meaning that they found no moral or ethical objection
within themselves to prevent them from stealing your power.
In the end, do you want elected representatives who are concerned with
consolidation of their own power, or do you want elected representatives
who are concerned with honoring and preserving your power as a citizen?
Anyone (ANYONE) in Lenoir City government who argued for, voted for, or
supported in any way this hateful diminution of the people's power
should be on their way out the door - no matter how much you might like
them otherwise. The people are entitled to fidelity and excellence. Its
your fault if you settle for less.