published Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Drew's Views

HEADLINE: Protest signs shaming Haslam lead to uproar in Cleveland, Tenn.

THE RECAP: Dan Rawls, a Cleveland, Tenn., businessman, says city officials crossed a line when they tore down protest signs he posted outside his business last week during a visit by Gov. Bill Haslam. City Councilman George Poe, who took down the signs, justified the actions by saying that the signs embarrassed the city since Haslam was in town to give away $570,000 in grants. City Manager Janice Casteel, who helped Poe uproot the signs, claimed the signs were in the public right of way, even though nearby real estate signs that were closer to the public right of way sat undisturbed.

Rawls' signs protested Haslam's support of the Common Core educational curriculum.

DREW'S VIEW: Cleveland City Manager Janice Casteel and City Councilman George Poe embarrassed the city and its residents by their despicable attempt to silence a Cleveland man's right to free speech.

Poe's admission that he didn't want anyone to say anything bad about Haslam while the governor was doing something nice for the community is a chilling indictment that the city councilman is willing to trade his constituents' constitutional rights in exchange for handouts.

Even if Casteel was correct and Rawls signs were in a public right of way, which is doubtful judging by photograph published in last Saturday's Times Free Press, Poe and Casteel are not authorized to act as code enforcers. Thus, they had no right to take the signs down.

Rawls plans to ask a judge for arrest warrants against Casteel and Poe next week on charges of criminal trespass, vandalism and official oppression. We should all support Rawls for taking a brave and powerful stand against these bullies who attacked his liberties. Casteel and Poe obviously have no respect for the Constitution or the people they serve and, as a result, have no business keeping their positions.


HEADLINE: Chattanoogans rally in wake of Zimmerman verdict

THE RECAP: Members of Concerned Citizens for Justice in Chattanooga organized a teach-in and protest Sunday in response to George Zimmerman's acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin. "We recognize that Florida and the 'Stand Your Ground' law that helped Zimmerman get away with murder is also a law that we have right here in Tennessee," said Ash-Lee Henderson, a Concerned Citizens organizer. Similar gatherings have occurred throughout the U.S. to protest "Stand Your Ground" and perceived issues of race surrounding the case.

DREW'S VIEW: It's troubling that people across the nation are so ignorant about the actual case that they're protesting a law that played no role in Zimmerman's acquittal.

The loss of a young life is tragic. And it seems reasonable to conclude that Zimmerman went out looking for a confrontation the night Martin died. But this wasn't a situation where the "Stand Your Ground" law was exploited to kill someone.

The reality is that "Stand Your Ground" was never a part of the case. Zimmerman's attorneys did not use the law in his defense. The case came down to a matter of self-defense. Members of the media and advocacy groups that claim otherwise didn't watch, or don't understand, the facts of the case.

It also seems clear that racism was not inherent in this unfortunate circumstance -- racism was only inherent in the reaction to the situation. Racism was injected by the media to add drama -- and, ultimately to turn an unfortunate, but not particularly newsworthy, occurrence into national headlines during a slow news cycle.

What bothers me most about the over-dramatic liberals and ill-informed hippies who protested Zimmerman's acquittal was that they ignore the fact that the outcome of the case was a victory for reasonable doubt.

In a country where justice is often not served for defendants -- especially defendants who look like Trayvon Martin -- the jurors were wise enough to determine that there was reasonable doubt about the circumstances that led to Martin's death. As a result, they refused to convict Zimmerman.

Overdramatic liberals and ill-informed hippies should be protesting, along with everyone else. But what we should all be protesting is that, too often, jurors don't properly apply the standards of reasonable doubt. As a result, too many people are unfairly convicted in our unjust justice system.


HEADLINE: New SUV eyed as Chattanooga's partnership with Volkswagen turns 5

THE RECAP: Five years after picking Chattanooga for its only U.S. production plant, Volkswagen officials are ratcheting up talk about assembling a new sport utility vehicle for American motorists. VW officials in Chattanooga are making a strong case for producing the new SUV, which the company wants to build in 2015.

DREW'S VIEW: Rumors are rampant that leaders at Volkswagen's German headquarters are threatening to require unionization of the Chattanooga VW facility in order to be chosen to produce the carmaker's planned new SUV.

VW employees and area leaders should laugh off the hollow threat. After all, VW is a financially astute company that will make its decision based on whether expanding the Chattanooga plant to produce the new SUV is the best fit from an economic perspective. VW employees shouldn't feel pressured into unionizing based on promises of the new SUV -- or because of UAW scare tactics.

Instead, plant workers should base their decision to unionize on the reality that unionizing will almost certainly lead to fewer jobs and may, ultimately, force the facility to close.

"Drew's views" is a weekly roundup of Free Press opinions about topics that appeared recently in the Times Free Press. Follow Drew Johnson on Twitter: @Drews_Views.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
soakya said...

This is the second time Cleveland officials have squashed 1st amendment rights in just over 1 year. Both times the Tea Party of Bradley County spoke up but where is the Chattanooga Tea Party. Silent once again. They have more important issues to deal with. Like jumping in bed with the Chamber of Commerce.

Cleveland residents if you have been complaining about Washington the past 5 years here's your opportunity to do something local.

July 20, 2013 at 7:59 a.m.
soakya said...

It looks like a member of Mr. Poe's family has a business located at 2108 Blue Springs rd. that has a type c sign that might not be in compliance with the City code. The code requires the name, address, and phone number of the owner. I'm sure Mr. Poe will rectify the problem.

July 20, 2013 at 8:28 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Checking the local Cleveland newspaper for any reporting on the government lackeys' actions and found none.

The "Cleveland Daily Banner," aka the Cleveland Daily Dump, is nothing more than a propaganda tool for local politicians, business concerns, law enforcement, crooked DAs and Drug Task Force, and Lee (God Wants Us to Take it All) University. There's never been a hard-news story in the newspaper and the editors and columnists are reminiscent of third-grade newsletter writers but without the curiosity.

Once I was given a Sunday paper to use in my parrot's cage. Even my parrot refused to crap on it as unworthy of his droppings.

Cleveland's politicians and newspaper drop their panties and bend-over for a poking for the right price.

I hope this egregious behavior by Cleveland's kiss-asses goes to court, makes national headlines, and embarrasses the hell of those responsible for such idiotic and rights-threatening behavior.

July 20, 2013 at 11:37 a.m.
TheCommander said...

Well said Drew, Soakya, and Datyon... Keep the pressure on locally. Tip O'Neil used to say "all politics are local". Well, that means all our problems are local as well.

July 20, 2013 at 12:26 p.m.
soakya said...

There's something else about this incident that bothers me and I'm a little curious about it and I am hoping someone can clear this up for me.

Poe said he "thought he was going to give Janice a shove," so he used the police radio he carries to call for help.

Poe said back in 2009, "he used a police radio in his car to report the incident and describe the car and drove to APD 40 to see if he could spot the car heading back to Georgia"

He also says he uses his police radio because it's better than using 911 because it goes to all the police cars. How convenient! What would happen if I decided to try Mr. Poe's method?

Why does Mr. Poe have direct access to our police force instead of using 911 like the rest us? Why does he get to go to the front of the line? What would have happened if there would have been an actual emergency while 7 police cars were responding to Mr. Poe perceived embarrassment to Cleveland by having signs in the right of way?

Poe says since he's a city employee he has a police radio, do all city employees get to go to the front of the line?

My last question is, are city council members granted this privilege? If not, it's time to put down your radio Mr. Poe the police force is not your personal body guard and use 911 like the rest of regular folks.

July 20, 2013 at 4:15 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Several years ago, Cleveland City Councilman George Poe, fired his gun at someone who was stealing his son's lawn mower.

So Little Georgie Porgie, defender of lawn mowers but not First Amendment Rights, needs a police radio. Perhaps Little Georgie believed the cardboard sign was about to attack him and killed the sign in self-defense. Police had no comment on the rumor that Casteel planted Skittles and a can of iced-tea by the sign.

Sleep safe tonight Cleveland. While your First Amendment Rights are trampled under the color of law by a little ass-hat councilman and an Uncle Billy butt-kissing city manager, your Lawn Boys and John Deere Riding mowers are safe. Is it too early to use the term "Heroes" for these two intrepid fighters against the terrors of cardboard and Sharpies?

God Bless America, a minor bureaucratic doofus City-manager, and Georgie Porgie Poe!

July 20, 2013 at 4:30 p.m.
ceeweed said...

From the top down Cleveland has many problems but you would never know it reading the Daily Banner. Doesn't Lee University have it own paper or on-line news letter? Why should I care about how many students are enrolled in Lee's sangin or preachin degree programs?...Oh yeah, it is always a thrill to read about some Lifecare honcho giving another Lifecare honcho some meaningless award...Cleveland may be home to Lee University and Lifecare but it appears to be the world capital for pay day loan stores, pawn your car title shops, and jacked up finance companies. It is the multitude of these store fronts that the tag team of Poe and Castille should want to shield the fine guvna from seeing as this speaks to a real life Tale of Two Cities. Instead, these spineless jellyfish would rather trample on a respected citizen's right to free speech.

July 21, 2013 at 5:07 p.m.
TheCommander said...

daytonsdarwin - you are too funny. Did you see the Cleveland Banner finally covered this incident (though indirectly)? The Editor (Rick Norton) who looks like Alfred E. Neuman had a tandrum in an opinion piece today. He attacked someone who sent him a profanity laced e-mail apparently asking why this was not covered by the Banner. Good for that person! If it takes a few F-bombs to dislodge the truth, then let them fly! However, I personally think he is lying. I don't think an e-mail really exists; at least in the form he said it does. I think these posts here are getting to him. This Norton guy is pathetic in his love for local "leaders". At the end he states the REAL problem with society: it is YOU daytonsdarwin and I am sure I am not too far behind you! If you would only be quiet and stop being so negative! Just believe it when local government uses the local paper to tell you everything is great and there is nothing for you to worry your pretty little head over...

July 21, 2013 at 5:12 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Apparantly that writer for the Cleveland Daily Dump, when not writing hard-hitting stories about someone's birthday, junior high sports, and the next business leader's circle jerk, has just enough time to pretend to be a Romper Room journalist/reporter, semi-editor, or columnist.

Since his investigative reporting was so strong, insightful, and anti-public corruption, I sure he's been sent to the time-out corner, will not receive his 2:00pm sugar-teat feeding, and has been denied access to watch SpongeBob tonight.

And he's wondering why he's not received the Edward R. Murrow award for kiss-ass, brown-nose, dropped-trousers, candy-cane word-smithing.

Yet, with all those accolades, my parrot still won't crap on that newspaper.

July 21, 2013 at 6:05 p.m.
soakya said...

Looks like the Cleveland Banner finally decided to report on the first amendment violation last week, well in a round about way. And how did they report this, by going after a citizen who sent a e-mail apparently laced with vulgarity to the Banner questioning why there was no coverage.

Mr. Norton says the author wrote without knowing all the facts. So I guess the implication is Mr. Norton is in possession of the all the facts, do share the facts. If you know he doesn't have the facts right then you must know the facts.

Mr. Norton says he's stumped for his next idea to write on for his next column, really he's stumped. Thank goodness someone e-mailed the Banner criticizing local public officials , now he has something to write about.

Mr. Norton goes on to say it not been covered as of yet because he's "not convinced of its legitimacy."

Really! Even after Mr. Poe tells the CTFP Gov. Haslam came to town to give away taxpayer dollars and the signs were an embarrassment to the city of Cleveland. Does anyone think Mr. Poe felt Cleveland was embarrassed because the signs were in the right of way? Of course not.

Norton says apparently one of his buddies disagrees. Did the author identify himself as Rawls buddy or are you assuming he is his buddy because he defended Rawls right to free speech?

Thanks for the history lesson on the first amendment Mr. Norton and I want you to know I say that while smiling. It is a lesson I believe you slept thru back in high school.

I would say the way Mr. Norton responded says he has a lot to learn about the role of media and the government.

Since Mr. Norton is fond of quotes I'll close with two.

If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and choose their news sources accordingly. Thomas Sowell

And that's all I have to say about that. Forrest Gump

July 21, 2013 at 6:21 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

Now, now...C'mon people. I'm sure the Cleveland Daily Disappointment had every intention of covering the latest round of local politicos run amok. What you have to understand is: They had to dedicate all of their resources to covering the Distinguished Young Women comepetition held last week. Little miss Mary Elizabeth Morningwood, daughter of Doctor and Mrs. Morningwood, is choosing between UTC, UTK, and MTSU as her college of choice. An entire community eagerly awaits her decision.

Did anyone else see it when the CDB finally acknowledged the expose of District Attorney Steve Bebb and the corrupt drug task force featured in the Chattanooga Times-Free Press? The Banner had a front-page article about it, authored by Steve Bebb. You just can't make this stuff up.

July 21, 2013 at 10:15 p.m.
soakya said...

I hope you are getting wind of these comments Mr. Norton and I also hope you responded to the e-mailer personally since you took the time to use your platform as a editor to scold him publicly.

July 22, 2013 at 9:02 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

Stand your ground laws weren't raised in the PROSECUTION of the case but were the main justification cited for not arresting Zimmerman. The only thing you got right is everyone lost in that affair. There should always be an expectation to retreat in those kind of laws btw.

July 23, 2013 at 9:14 a.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

July 23, 2013

The Cleveland Daily Dump continues it's third day of hard-hitting investigative reporting into the Distinguished Young Women's pagent.

Read it here, and prepare to be shocked by the in-depth reporting. Read about the pagent, its contestants, what happens behind the scenes, who said what to who. Oh, the humanity!

Don't miss the other top story of the day - Cleveland Utilities to Install New Meters!

This is Pulitzer Prize material. And still my parrot won't crap on that newspaper. How can my Polly be so blind?

July 23, 2013 at 2:03 p.m.
TheCommander said...

dayton, will you please change the filling you put in your parrot's cage before I call PETA on you!

How far have we gone down the drain when elected officials in the most red county (Bradley) in one of the most red states keep calling federal and state grants "gifts" over and over. Do they not understand that every penny of each "gift" to us is a dollar printed out of thin air which is taxation on us all? And these are self-proclaimed conservatives saying these things! We just built multiple firehouses in Bradley and hired 45 new firefighters with money from a FEMA grant!! Yes, FEMA is building our fire halls. Who will pay these 45 new salaries in the next years once the grant runs out; Will it come from all that new revenue from the exit 20 swamp?

July 23, 2013 at 4:24 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

TheCommander said...

dayton, will you please change the filling you put in your parrot's cage before I call PETA on you!

Not to worry. In the bottom of the cage I have pictures of John McCain, Benny Hinn, Fred Phelps, and Mike Huckabee and Polly goes potty with wild abandon and a giggle.

July 23, 2013 at 4:48 p.m.
soakya said...

I got bad news for you commander, you will pay for it. Just in case you missed it Cleveland just voted to raise taxes and Bradley is next. Now you may be saying to yourself, wait a minute what about all this growth that's taken place in Cleveland and Bradley county. We have Amazon, Wacker, a new Whirlpool who has to be paying in huge amounts of property taxes to cover the additional public services they consume, well once again more bad news.

July 23, 2013 at 6:46 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Then you have LifeCare Centers of America that's ripped off nearyly 500 million from taxpayers. That's just in the past few yyears.

Cleveland is full of crooks. At one time Cleveland was known as the odometer "Roll Back Capital of the World.

No wonder Uncle Billy Haslam feels at home there.

July 23, 2013 at 6:58 p.m.
soakya said...

commander, I went ahead and looked at same numbers from Bradley county as I did for TN and Hamilton County and once again more bad news. They look very similar to TN and Hamilton County.

Since 2007 the population grew by 4,964, the employed to civilian labor force ratio fell by 2.71%. The number of employed did actually increase by 950 but the number of unemployed increased by 1,480. There is one caveat on the increase in the number of employed, it came mainly from Wal-Mart and the local government. So either way both groups are supported in some form by taxpayer dollars. The debt as of 2012 was also heading in the right direction for now but don't forget about the recent swamp deal you mentioned which was not included in the 2012 statements and of course the 19 million wanted for schools. It's plain to see from the financial statements from TN, Hamilton County, and Bradley County our elected leaders are clueless and refuse to admit they are on the wrong path.

daytonsdarwin, I'm not familiar with the 500 million from LifeCare, could you expand on that a little

July 23, 2013 at 7:36 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Life Care Centers of America Fraud. Here's the CBS news report.

LCCA will wave the flag and preach "Jesus" while they're stealing your wallet. I hope the Feds nail them.

July 23, 2013 at 7:43 p.m.
soakya said...

just watched it. unbelievable. looks like Cleveland is ate up in corruption.

July 23, 2013 at 8:20 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Of course, there's nothing in the Cleveland paper about this.

Pass this around. Not only was LCCA defrauding taxpayers, they're hurting the very nursing home patients they claim to be helping. Imagine the pain they're putting on some of these patients.

Other local nursing home owners and adminisitrators. Guess when they learned the trade? Life Care Centers of America.

According to the government, many of those owners/operators are being investigated too. Rumor has it that some are turning state's evidence against LCCA to save their own skin.

This isn't over yet.

July 23, 2013 at 9:05 p.m.
GratefulDawg said...

"The Cleveland Daily Dump continues it's third day of hard-hitting investigative reporting into the Distinguished Young Women's pagent." --daytonsdarwin

The Banner has finally moved on from distinguished young women. Today's edition featured a front-page write-up about the U.S. Money Mules making an appearance at the Foothills Country Fair. As the people of Bradley County know, if Allan Jones shows his ass someone from the Banner will be there to take pictures.

Between the steaming piles of mule dung and the shovel-load that is the Cleveland Daily Bulls**t, the smell is unbearable.

July 23, 2013 at 9:20 p.m.
TheCommander said...

Do Mr. Rawl's signs make Cleveland look backward or does letting some hillbilly councilman run around with a radio, by-passing the 911 system, make Cleveland look backward? He acts like the Cleveland police are his personal body guards! If any CPD officers see these posts, I would encourage you to let your superiors know that in the future you refuse to respond to any call that comes from this guy. I cannot believe this is legal. Maybe he has it in some official capacity, but in any event it is clear he has and will continue to abuse it.

What if a real emergency occurred while he is dispatching squad cars as he sees fit? Isn't it dangerous to have this man calling out police resources outside the 911 system? Maybe Mr. Norton from the CDD (Cleveland Daily Dump) can explore that topic in his next opinion piece (I'm just trying to help his writer's block).

Maybe we can start an online petition and deliver it to the city council to have this George Poe's radio permanently taken from him?

July 24, 2013 at 2:26 p.m.
soakya said...

Looks like the Banner finally decided to report on the removal of the protest signs. Nothing to look at here, move on.

July 24, 2013 at 5:34 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Gues who the judge was who dismissed the case? Sheridan Randolph. This Sheridan Randolph

Is "The Cleveland Circle-Jerk Festival" an official one-day holiday or does it last all year? Who will be this year's King or Queen Jerk? So many possibilities — so many jerks.

July 24, 2013 at 6:38 p.m.
TheCommander said...

Dayton, you are a wealth of info. Thanks for adding perspective on this so-called judge. Did you see his reasoning in this case:

A court of law was not the place to deal with theft of property charges and trespassing because this was "political". WHAT?!!

July 24, 2013 at 9:35 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Makes you wonder what price judges are going for this year.

Unlike tomatoes, beans, and cornbread, you can live without judges, particularly like "Hot Pockets" Randolph.

There's more incest in Cleveland politics than in all the hills of West Viginia.

July 24, 2013 at 9:59 p.m.
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