21 JANUARY 2015, Vol.2, No.3 > ‘FIRE FEE’ = ‘GROSS EXAGGERATION’!
The POCAHONTAS CRIER
‘When the Righteous succeed the people rejoice,
But when the bad govern, men groan!’ – Proverbs 29:2
‘FIRE FEE’ = ‘GROSS EXAGGERATION’!
These days in the ‘land of the have-nots’ it seems the easiest way to extract & extort money from the po’-folks of Pocahontas County is try and SCARE THEM into empting their piggy-banks & handing over their last shekel…OR ELSE! On the national scene, this is the same tactic used by the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) to ‘scare-us’ into one WAR after another by having so-called phony ‘terrorist-experts’ on the corporate-media hourly frightening us about ‘Muslims’! And historically it seems that King John tried doing the same thing and look what happened to him! But the same-scare tactics now being employed by the area ‘fire-stations’, i.e., ‘Fire Association’, is the exact same ‘scare-tactics’ employed by the local Board of Education in the last election when it claimed the combined school-system needed MORE MONEY at the same time the Board’s Administrative regime were receiving their highest salaries EVER on record in this county! And instead of using the federal & state funds received from the ‘Severance Tax’ from coal, gas, oil, timber & such other state Natural Resources extracted by private-corporations for PROFIT – that’s supposed to go to local schools for services it renders – instead, the school-administrators simply RAISED THEIR SALARIES by almost 10% while laying off both teachers & staff under the pretext of having diminishing funding! And speaking of which, has the missing $500+K funds been found yet that dear-ole Alice Irvine seems to have ‘misplaced’ prior to her resignation from the three ‘titles’ that she held at the same time and from which she was being paid a salary for each ‘title’? Talk about a ‘piggy’ at the trough living off ‘public-funds’…that makes dear-ole Alice the largest recipient of ‘public-welfare’ in the history of the county! Those funds were FEDERAL FUNDS were they not, and have the Men-in-Black been called in to do a real audit? Want to bet the Feds would find those missing funds and the bank(s) that it’s hidden in just as they did when the Feds shut down the former First National Bank (FNB) all across West Virginia for the almost $20-Million in UNSECURED ‘good-ole-boy-loans’ that were discovered missing & off-the-books – the same time that the FNB & the Marlinton Bank were shut down & ordered sold pursuant to each of them holding a lien against public-land without approval of the Voters in the West Virginia Shoe Co. scam and the banks taking public-CD-funds originally designated for flood reconstruction following the 1996 flood! Good-ole boys Walt Helmick, Phil Cain, Dana Moyers and others of their ilk all narrowly escaped the ‘hoosegow’ in that fiasco just as they did previously in the Denmar Hospital Scheme & Scam!
IS THIS NOT THE SAME SCAM & SHAKE-DOWN BEING PERPETRATED UPON EACH HOUSEHOLD BY THE POCAHONTAS COUNTY SOLID WASTE AUTHORITY (PCSWA)?Instead of the PCSWA following the state law, as done in other counties, and charging for ‘usage, volume & weight’ to bury trash in its landfill, the PCSWA thinks it can simply arbitrarily charge an ‘assessment-fee’ of its choosing upon each landowner regardless of ‘usage, volume & weight’! And just look at the havoc THAT SCAM has caused whereby almost ONE-THIRD of the county households have been unlawfully sued for non-payment – AND IN WHICH A CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT MUST NOW BE FORTHCOMING SINCE THE PCSWA HAS FAILED TO PROVIDE THE EXEMPTIONS REQUIRED BY LAW FOR ALL THOSE ON A FIXED-INCOME, as well as the exemptions BEING DENIED for all those that recycle, compost, take to another landfill, or dispose in an otherwise lawful manner! The discrepancies of the PCSWA are now infamous & then some… and soon EACH MEMBER will be called to a witness stand to answer for their corruption & stupidity! The simple truth is that this county now has a population TOO SMALL to support a full-pledged fully-stocked fire-station in every direction one looks just because a few folks want to dress-up in rubber-suits and play with matches – SO OUTSIDE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED – NOT MORE EXTORTION FROM THE ALREADY OVERTAXED & OVER-BURDENED LOCAL POPULATION!
SO IS TRYING TO GET ‘BLOOD OUT OF A STONE’ REALLY POSSIBLE?
Just WHERE are the local folks supposed to come up with the personal funds to provide a ‘FIRE-FEE’ – when the proposed funds will ONLY COVER A FRACTION of the actual costs of the alleged new equipment needed for each fire-station – and of course, isn’t the ultimate intention of the ‘Fire Association’ to have FULL & PART TIME EMPLOYMENT for a handful of ‘firemen’? Let’s face it, IF the fire-stations had enough funds – THEY’D ALL WANT TO BE EMPLOYED on a public-payroll and sit around playing cards until an actual fire occurred! BUT THIS AIN’T NO CITY NOR SUBURBAN AREA – that’s why it’s supposed to be VOLUNTEERS – since in this part of the Appalachia Mountains, the EVENING & MORNING DEW keeps the chances of fires to a minimum in the forests – especially now that the likes of Ferrell Kelly is incarcerated! So just how many ‘fires’ have been responded to in the past year – heck what about the past five (5) years – compared to any given metropolitan fire-station? And now that the ole-McKay Building in Marlinton has burned to the ground, where else is a ‘hook & ladder’ truck needed in this county – except to perhaps get a cat out-of-a-tree?
THERE ARE OTHER ALTERNATIVES!
We are all aware that the Office of the Sheriff has its own military “APC” (Armor Personnel Carrier) just so the Sheriff & Deputies can ride together into battle in case there is a Citizens Uprising or a gunfight taking place somewhere in the county! Where is it? Well it’s being cared-for by a local Deputy so ‘war-games’ can be played in the back hills of the county – just in case! Would that we all had such a ‘dune-buggy’! But the important aspect is that the APC was obtained via a request for SURPLUS MILITARY EQUIPMENT! And the same kind of equipment requests can be made by the local fire-stations individually or collectively! There is a constant turn-over of Metropolitan fire-equipment pursuant to actual usage that can be redirected to rural areas such as Pocahontas County – not to mention the vast array of MILITARY FIRE-FIGHTING EQUIPMENT! Stuff that’s right up the ally of the U.S. Core of Engineers & the State National Guard! SO WHY NOT ASK… before trying to financially-bleed the local folks yet again?
The FIRST DUTY of government is to protect the necessities of life for its Citizens and NOT to secure the highest possible profits for moneylenders & profiteers! Therefore, just like the Board of Education is required by law to provide the necessary buses and equipment to protect the well-being of its students to and from school – SO TOO must the County Commission provide whatever is necessary for EACH FIRE-STATION within the county – and IF the County Commission cannot add such costs into its local operating budget expenses – then the County Commission can request whatever additional funds, or equipment, from the State government, and in turn from the Federal government! Heck, the total amount of PUBLIC-FUNDS given to the privately-owned so-called High Rocks Academy in the last few years is IN EXCESS of $300,000+, about the same amount allegedly ‘assessed’ by the Assessor’s Office in the new ‘Fire-Fee’ scheme! And IF one looks at ALL THE PUBLIC-FUNDS given to private-groups by the Three-Stooges on the county commission – then a NEW FIRE TRUCK or two & PROTECTIVE GEAR FOR ALL COULD HAVE BEEN PAID FOR IN CASH & then some!
With some of the WARS IN THE MIDEAST now winding down – there are many funds being freed up not to mention that the fire-equipment in Pocahontas County gets used for PRACTICE far more often than it is used in PURPOSE for fires! In fact the mileage on many fire-vehicles consists of them being pulled out of the fire-station in the morning & driven backwards at night – just to air them out! Does it really make sense to purchase a NEW FIRE ENGINE, pay whatever interest/usury a bank requires, just to have the vehicle DEPRECIATED IN VALUE just waiting for a fire? It’s like buying a new car only to not use it full time but see it lose its value by sitting in the driveway! And whenever there is a FLOOD, then as we all know, the oldest equipment is LEFT IN THE FIRE-STATION to go under water while the newer equipment is driven to higher ground – then the new is splashed with mud just before the FEMA representatives arrive! Is this not what happened in the last two floods that hit the county?
In the 1996 flood, by 4:30 am Durbin notified Marlinton that Durbin was going under water, and instead of EVERYONE BEING WARNED at once in Marlinton, ONLY THREE, the fire-station, Mitchell’s Chevrolet & the Ford Garage were warned FIRST – so they could get their new vehicles moved, and leave behind enough used-vehicles to obtain insurance recovery! As for the local-Folks, they found out at 8:30 am that high water was coming when the manhole-covers popped up from the raging water – that’s how well the local-‘benevolent’-yocal-powers-that-be thought of ‘We The People’ in time of crisis & high water! Now those same folks want to be bailed-out by the rank & file Citizen when THERE IS NO WAY THAT THE CITIZENRY CAN AFFORD any extra ‘taxes or fees’! DID EACH CITIZEN GET A PAY RAISE the likes of the County Commissioners & others in the Courthouse? Folks on SS & SSD just received a monthly $20 increase, or LESS THAN $250 a year, while each commissioner gets about $1700 PER/MEETING TWICE A MONTH, or ABOUT $3500 PER/MONTH, or about $40,000 for 24 meetings a year? How many folks on SS, SSD, or some other fixed-income gets that much or even close to that much? Each commissioner gets about HALF in one month what most folks on SS, SSD, or some other fixed-income gets in ONE YEAR! Do the math…for those that can count!
The State Legislature RAISED their own salaries and that of every other state employee without the consent of the public – and the pay raises for some folks in the courthouse was INCREASED from about $4000 per/year to over $11,000 in our county courthouse – YET AT THE SAME TIME THE STATE LEGISLATURE LOWERED SOCIAL PROGRAMS BY AS MUCH AS 15% ACROSS THE BOARD! That would have bought a lot of ‘fire-equipment’ & then some if any of them had any COMMON SENSE or were made aware of the problem!
At the same time the government has a Duty to protect the basic necessities of life, i.e., food, clothing & shelter, for its Citizens; the Citizens have a Duty to keep ‘public officials’ accountable as ‘PUBLIC SERVANTS’ and NOT as ‘public masters’! That’s why state & federal funds are available for low-income families & COMMUNITIES and it’s only a matter of ASKING for those funds! Yeah, we know, THAT becomes a problem when the Three-Stooges on the county commission DON’T KNOW THEIR JOB REQUIREMENTS, or who to ask! Nevertheless there are other alternatives other than trying to extort more funds from an already beaten & limited local population that is either on some form of Fixed-Income or Minimum-Wage whereby PAUPERISM has become a way-of-life in this feudal-county where a handful of self-serving & self-styled ‘pagan fertility-cultist’ are ‘benevolent’ only unto themselves first & foremost!
THE BOTTOM LINE is that the county commission CANNOT impose any type of additional ‘fee’ without VOTER APPROVAL, and CANNOT impose such a ‘fee’ without establishing EXEMPTIONS for those on a fixed-income in the same manner as the Supreme Court of West Virginia EXEMPTS all persons of low income from having to pay any ‘fees’ for the filing or costs involved in any law suits. And it’s the same reason the ‘AFFIDAVIT OF EXEMPTION’ is available for all persons charged with a Debt to exempt them upwards to $15,000 FOR EACH DEBT! That’s why no one should ever sign any form of PROMISSORY NOTE with any ‘shyster-lawyer’ as the PCSWA would have you believe!
Believe it or not – there is a CHECKS & BALANCES and at all times IT DOES APPLY! And the same applies to all government agencies such as the PCSWA! If not, then what’s to stop the Library from establishing & imposing a ‘library-fee’ upon each property-owner, or the Chamber of Commerce from establishing a ‘commerce-fee’ for its self-serving ends! Where would it end? The CRUEL HOAX is that the Local-Pokey-Times is going to publish several SOB-STORIES about just how great the fire-stations are and the individual efforts of local fireman – and the stories will be true for the most part as far as PROPAGANDA goes –
BUT DON’T LET SOB-STORIES GET IN THE WAY OF REALITY WHEREBY A LARGE COUNTY GEOGRAPHICALLY WITH A SMALL POPULATION CANNOT PAY FOR EVERYTHING ON ITS OWN WHEN THE ONLY INCOME IS A FIXED-INCOME OR MINIMUM-WAGE BASE!
And need we remind everyone AGAIN – that Hardy County attempted to try the same dumb idea of a ‘Fire-EMS-fee’ against its Citizens? Here…take look see for yourself:
It ain’t over by a longshot!
ONE WAY OR ANOTHER…EACH WILL REAP WHAT THEY HAVE SOWN…& then some!
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