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 Court."

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 men.

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.