Readers Write

“Government ought to be all outside and no inside…. Everybody knows that corruption thrives in secret places, and avoids public places, and we believe it a fair presumption that secrecy means impropriety.”

-Woodrow Wilson

I am deeply disturbed and disheartened by the Commission’s inaction in regards to Mr. Calvert’s misconduct and the footage that has been circulating. As a citizen of Blount County, I feel that it is only fair to expect absolute transparency and accountability from our elected officials. I cannot speak for the people of color in this county, but I can empathize with them; the hurt and the anger they must feel just knowing that their tax dollars are being used to pay the salary of someone who had such vile things to say about a citizen solely based on the color of his skin.

To truly know a person, we must listen to their words; and to know a person’s heart, we must look at their actions. I feel the public has seen and heard enough over the last month to deduce that things are not right here in the Commission. It seems more apparent than ever that there is no accountability, and nary a shred of integrity. The public outcry is not solely due to the words spoken on the recording, but the steadfastness of the Commission to defend Mr. Calvert.

Unfortunately, there are limitations as to what citizens can do to rid their government of officials who no longer represent them without prejudice. The public has lost confidence in the integrity of this Commission. I am asking that those who love this county and want it well represented step up and run for office. Largely, our elections are decided before we even go to the booth because the majority of those on the ballot are running unopposed. We have been complacent long enough as citizens.

Blount County and the people deserve better. I’m calling on citizens, myself included, to step up. As former Freedom Rider John Lewis said, “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”

Rachel Simmons, Cleveland