Guest Columnist: Don’t suspend your common sense

Tami Moss Evans

Politics… it’s something everyone is thinking of as we count down the final days of our district’s early voting period leading up to the primaries on May 8th. In the next week, we will hear both sides of the argument from all candidates as to why we should vote for “them” – whether it be for sheriff, district attorney, clerk of court – whichever race is of main interest to that person – or person’s – in particular.

Believe it or not; I supported Mr. Bell in the last election; and if I honestly felt that he was the best candidate I would be supporting him in this election; but I can’t. His claims that he has led his office to be number one in the district ring false with me – since I have actual experience in watching his office in action. He has good ADA’s working for him in both counties… but when working with them, you aren’t working with Mr. Bell – you are working with the ADA assigned to the case that is being prosecuted. That would not be Mr. Bell… therefore, the work that has been done to bring our district to number one in multiple instances has been done by others; he’s just claiming it as his own work. You can be the leader of a project, but is it fair to take the credit on the project if you didn’t do the actual work?

His claims to have been recognized by the Voter Integrity Project – yes, he prosecuted it. He stood in court in front of the Judge Martelle and got the conviction. Who did the work and research to actually prove that the gentleman voted in Rutherford County? That would be the Voter Integrity Project. The person was arrested in Tennessee and extradited to Rutherford for conviction after notifying Mr. Bell of the things that were happening.

A direct quote from the Voter Integrity Project – “We’ve had data base programmers and a slew of volunteers working on Parker’s case for almost three years and we’re convinced the main reason vote fraud prosecutions are so hard to get is that the penalties are just too low,” said DeLancy. “When our state lawmakers view stealing pine needles as a more serious crime than stealing elections, the public should light a fire under their feet.”

I take that quote to mean that the work and research were done outside of Rutherford and McDowell Counties – unless I’ve been taught to read incorrectly.

And now we have reports that time cards are being altered and entered into the state payroll system incorrectly. The general public doesn’t understand – this isn’t something that is treated lightly; this is actually a crime under state statutes, and employees are routinely dismissed from state service for doing this in other agencies across the state – and while entering their own time, not sending it to someone else to be entered for them. This is an ongoing practice that was done with the district attorney’s approval; that can be verified by an independent source at the place of employment that is not human, but a computerized system that is there to provide a secure means of access for employees entering and exiting the courthouse. The state wheels grind slowly, so we won’t know what the outcome of any investigation into this matter is until long after this election is over; but just the fact that it’s needing to be investigated is enough to tell you something isn’t right.

Anyone that works for the state KNOWS that you don’t misrepresent your hours in any way – nothing will get you into hot water with the state controller quicker than anything that affects your paycheck. And bottom line – it comes down to honesty. You report what you do – that’s what we ask people to do when they take the oath in court; to honestly report what happened in the situation that occurred. Shouldn’t we be asking the same from the people that are prosecuting them – whether they lead the office, work in the office… or are connected to the office?

Don’t suspend your common sense when you go into the ballot box – you aren’t asked to leave it behind when you’re a juror. Why would you leave it behind when you go to vote?