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Don’t participate in that sham of a public hearing on the Augusta County budget

Tracy Pyles
government money
(© jackson – stock.adobe.com)

What happens when confronted with lesser souls abusing the honor of authority? Jesus’ response was to overturn the moneychangers’ tables and chairs while rebuking the priests who had turned His house into a “den of thieves.” Rosa Parks chose passive resistance; she would not move to the back of the bus, even when the racist city fathers told her she must.

People get upset when treated unfairly. And in the cited examples, there is the element of paying to be scammed. There was no justification to charge to enter the temple. It was built by the people as a place to worship their God. The adding of fees enriched the priests and sullied the joy of being in the midst of God.

Miss Parks had paid the same as the white passengers but was not treated equally. Being just as tired as others getting off work, having to pass empty seats as she made her way to the back of the bus became too much.

Are the people of Augusta County living through their own period of high priest tax-scams and egregious “high and mightiness” by seven 1950s-era leaders?

To offer the county folks detailed evidence in support of what I had shared in last week’s column, I sought to use the county’s boardroom. There, without a time constraint, and with the advantages of a room offering a large screen display and adequate room-wide audio I, like Paul Harvey, had hoped to present “the rest of the story.”

But I was refused. Their “Holy Place” is off limits to we mortals. Other, less appointed rooms can be made available on a Saturday with two weeks’ notice. And at a cost.

The taxpayers, locally and federally, funded every square inch of every durn Augusta County building. Those facilities were constructed for the betterment of the people and not in furtherance of the grand care and feeding of Kim Jong Un wannabes.

Three years ago, when challenging the Board’s over-taxing and under-supporting of our sheriff, they revealed their kinship with the 1950’s Montgomery City Council. Chairman Gerald Garber, at the end of the meeting, on an open microphone and camera, suggested I be dressed up like a monkey and sent to be with black protesters.

Mrs. Pam Carter, taking up the imagery of what should be a long dead association of people and animals, opined I was not her monkey and not her circus. No, I am certainly not her monkey. And yes, she is part of a circus.

The next day the News Leader carried a front-page story wherein I was further called a liar, Pinocchio, and a jackass. And that the $25 million surplus I spoke of was just not true.

Then not so long ago, I was escorted by law enforcement out of a public meeting. This for trying to speak maybe 20 seconds past their allotted three minutes.

In a departure from how I normally address the Board, I had prepared a three-minute address. I have a “READ ALOUD” function on my computer, and that lady spoke within the designated time. Throat cancer has robbed me of a normal ease of speaking, so my pace, it turns out, is a bit slower than a non-breathing voice.

It was with feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that I initially refused to move as directed by Chairman Michael “Unleash the Hounds” Shull. Knowing the difference in how generously they had treated another ex-supervisor just weeks before, I stood my ground.  For a while, until I led my own “perp walk.”

But what the heck. As Teddy Roosevelt observed, the arena is not inhabited “with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

But neither is it for beating one’s head against the wall. I will not attend the coming sham of a public hearing. To participate is to give respect to a lie.

I will keep pursuing the chance to inform taxpayers of supervisor abuse. And the same folks being invited to a lie should be given the opportunity to hear what a proven tax fighter has to offer. And the request for the main room is for the same people, for the same reason: they deserve the best the county has to offer.

A 426-page budget, requiring a $12 million tax increase, on top of a $30 million budget surplus, needs more than a three-minute rebuttal. It’s time for the bullies to step aside and let a 76-year-old, impaired vocalist, singing a song of hope, take the stage.

Tracy Pyles is a former chair of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors.