What Happened?

I've known Rex Dale, now Judge Dale, for many years. I've been in his home, helped him do a little work on his former office, even fished with him below the dam catching huge Rock Fish. When I served on commission the first time, he was my lawyer when another commissioner filed an ouster suit against me. Again in my first term, he represented the county in a law suit against Lenoir City when they tried to annex about half the upper end of the county. Like I said, I've known and worked with Rex for a long time. So several have asked me, "what happened between you and Rex" referring me not supporting his proposed new General Sessions Court. My answer is nothing. I just fundamentally disagree with his approach to solving a problem.

I am a fiscal conservative, personally and even more so when dealing with tax payer's money. I believe in less government and lower taxes. Rex's proposed new court runs one hundred percent contrary to those two tenants of conservatism. 

Rex is proposing an entire new, full time general sessions court or in other words, another government burocracy. He proposes to pay for the new court by quadrupling the litigation from $17.00 to $69.00 on those who use the court system. So, bigger government and higher taxes.

If these were the only two issues, that would be enough for me to oppose the new court but there are others. General Sessions Court Clerk Lisa Niles, who current has the tax payers sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars, has already stated in a public meeting that she will need even more help than the current law suit calls for if the new court is established. I understand she has now recanted that statement but which statement are we to believe? And even if her retraction is true, if the new court is put in place, there's not a chance the county would possibly prevail in her current law suit.

Then there's the cost of the new court. The current general sessions court's budget is approximately $285,000.00. It only stands to reason that the second court would cost about the same, if not in the beginning, soon after.  According to Judge Dale, the quadrupled litigation tax would pay for much or most of the cost of the new court. That is, if enough cases come in and enough of those people actually pay their court costs. There's a lot of assumptions right there.

It seems to me there's always a common thread in government. Issues can only be solved by spending more money. No one ever seems to think outside that box for other possible solutions.

I don't doubt that an extra judge would help reduce Judge Dale's work load. Nor do I doubt that more help would make Ms. Niles job easier, nor do I doubt that every department in the county would like to have more help.

So what happened? For my part nothing. I hope my friendship with the judge is still the same as before.