Tuesday, April 20, 2010

To be blunt, candidate Blount is simply lying.

Click on letter to enlarge. When it pops back up, click on it again if it has not enlarged.

Update, 6/11/'10

Above is a copy of the campaign letter that Camden County Commission District 4 candidate Gary Blount mailed out this week. My appreciation to the supporter who sent it to me.

I regret to say that the letter is filled with half-truths and downright lies - not errors.

Let's start the debunking process with the very first sentence of the second paragraph. Of the three issues which Mr. Blount says "have dominated our community in recent months,", the last one, the airport issue, has, as he well knows but hopes you do not, absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the county or the county commission. Mr. Blount is well aware of this but hopes to use the non-issue to trick some gullible voters into believing that he can influence the airport decision as a commissioner. He can't. Yet, he cites it as one of the reasons he decided to run for county commission.

Still in that first sentence, Mr. Blount is clearly hoping that some of the voters will not know that the appraisals and assessments are done by the Camden County Board of Tax Assessors, their hired chief appraiser and the appraisers working under him, and fall for his implication that he can bring them under his control. By state law, they work quite independently of any control by the Camden County Board of Commissioners. I have stated that I will argue in favor of funding for a sufficient number of in-house appraisers so that we never again have to farm the job out with disastrous results like we had last year. I will also make every effort to have the entire county, begining with St.Marys, appraised again to take advantage of the new state law which says that appraisers "SHALL" include foreclosure sales and short sales in their comparables for doing an appraisal.

Still in the first sentence, he brings up the need for a new county jail. Clearly, he is conveying the impression that if elected he would continue, in the Rainer tradition, to simply, as my friend Sheriff Gregory says, "just kick the can down the road." Well, Mr. Blount, perhaps you could get away with that advice as the comptroller of the now defunct Underground Contractors knowing that your major accounting client could use the bankruptcy laws to walk away from millions in debt and start anew but the county can't do that. The incontrovertible fact is that we do need a new jail. While you promise to irresponsibly kick the can down the road beyond your sought after term in office and let future generations deal with it at higher costs, I propose to exhibit the responsible, political courage to come up with a solution sooner at lower costs and start allocating future SPLOST funds to a more timely and ultimately less costly solution.

In the third paragraph, Mr. Blount asserts that I (for it is transparently obvious he is not talking about Royal Weaver) have asserted that my IQ is 140, the recognized threshold for genius. In fact, as anyone who has read my campaign blog knows, I have never made any such assertion. I have gingerly alluded to being of above average intelligence, which I think is germane in that all things being otherwise equal, the more intelligent candidate would obviously be the better choice for voters. Now that Mr. Blount has floated a false figure, let me clarify the issue by stating that my tested IQ is actually 136. If you read my campaign blog, I did not state that I am always the most intelligent homo sapien in the room, though I'm sure there have been many occasions when that was the case. It is statistically unavoidable in that an IQ of 136 puts me in the lower end of the top 2% of the distribution of human intelligence.

Also in the third paragraph, Mr. Blount's lying ways continue unabated when he claims that I proclaimed in a county commission meeting that "I agree. We're going to have to raise taxes." For openers, Mr. Blount was not there. In point of fact, in the nearly 17 years that I have been attending county commission meetings, I have NEVER SEEN Mr. Blount at a single one! Here is what actually transpired. The commissioners had been presented several options for making up a $390,000 budget shortfall in the severely trimmed FY 2011 budget. The first option was to raise taxes by one quarter of a mil ( that's $10.00 in taxes per $100,000 of appraised value, assuming no exemptions - or $20 bucks on a $200,000 house.) The last option was to once again invade the ever shrinking fund balance. Naturally, David Rainer was quick to pounce upon that irresponsible position and that's what they did. Now, after the vote, Commissioner Sears, freed of the need to protect herself from adverse political consequences, said what needed to be said - that we could not continue to raid the fund balance ad infinitum. During the public comments section, I said that I agreed with her.

Now, once again, this is a case of Blount hoping to play upon the ignorance of some voters. Here is what he is hoping you don't know.

The fund balance is what is left over at the end of the fiscal year when all of the allocated, budgeted tax revenues collected during that year have been spent. That is the money that the county has left to operate on between the beginning of the new fiscal year and when the revenues from that new fiscal year's tax revenues actually sart to come in. If you do not maintain the recommended fund balance (minimally three months operating funds, optimally four), you may end up having to borrow operating funds at interest. When David Rainer was elected, the county had an adequate fund balance. Every year since, at Rainer's insistence, the county, in a highly deceitful ruse of fiscal responsibility and false efficiency, has raided the fund balance to either artificially lower or artificially maintain an artificially low millage rate. As a result, we are now down to below two months of operating funds in the fund balance. Unless we find commissioners with the guts to deal honestly with the voters, we will soon be borrowing to pay the bills. This will come way sooner if we have a natural disaster such as a hurricane, particularly given that we do not have a separate contingency fund at all! I will be such a commissioner.

In the fifth paragraph, Mr. Blount asserts that "As in life where I've learned that 'less is more,' the same is true in government." Really? Tax records indicate that Mr. Blount's primary residence in Osprey Cove and his second one in Marsh Bluff have a combined appraised value of well over $600,000. Perhaps this represents a step down from a prior higher lifestyle for this millionaire accountant and real estate developer who no doubt "feels your pain."

At one point, Mr. Blount refers to himself as an "active...businessman." In what was no doubt a slip in memory, he forgot to mention than he is also a real estate developer and builder from time to time, as are many of his accounting clients. I'm sure his builder and developer clients appreciate that when he became a one-term city councilman in St.Marys, he promptly set about working in their interests. He promptly convinced fellow councilmen to vote for his idea of not requiring that any building fees be paid to the city until after construction was completed. I shudder to think what he has promised to do for them if he weasels his way into county government. Thankfully, as soon as the voters booted Mr. Blount out by a 3-to-1 margin, council came back to its senses and reversed the decision back to the status quo ante where they paid up-front. Regretably, while Mr. Blount held the back door open for them, developers beat feet to city hall and secured the more favorable terms on some 7,000 lots which sit vacant today - lot's for which Mr. Blount then successfully pushed to have a new sewage treatment plant built - the one we just got a 35% water-sewer rate increase to pay for.

My campaign contributions to date from anywhere but my personal bank account: ZERO.

Clients whose business interests I might look out for as a county commissioner: ZERO.

My potential conflicts of interest: ZERO.

Chances that I, unlike Mr. Blount, will always tell you the truth and let the chips fall where they may: 100%.

The choice is yours.

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