Equal rights for all

Published 10:35 am Tuesday, December 6, 2011

To the Editor:

In reference to Alton Parker’s remarks on the Wise letter to the editor, many would view Ms. Wise’s editorial comments as positive. The first amendment right is a foundational strength of this country.

I join Mr. Parker in saying no tax rate increase in 10 years is a strong accomplishment, a base line goal for any county manager. However, there are a lot of comparable counties without tax rate increases since 2001. Bertie’s tax rates are high and not benefiting from revenues raised from business and sales taxes. In Bertie since 2001, less people work as a percentage of the population. I do not think a majority of Bertie would say they are better off today than they were 10 years ago. We still have a lot of work to do. While keeping our tax rate increases low is a success, not growing our business and job sectors is equally a failure.

Parker claims that having a lawyer as a county manager is an asset. Perhaps if legal expenses were lower than comparable counties. Research on that potential benefit is showing we are not there. In fact, Mr. Lamb (a lawyer) could not even write up his on salary justification in February 2011. The county attorney did that at tax payers’ expense.

Parker characterizes the Friends of Bertie as a little group of less than 25 people. His opinion is wrong. There have been over 150 individual donations and petition signatures in the thousands not hundreds.

Parker charged this little citizen group tried to stir up trouble with the school system but were stopped by the school board.  Friends of Bertie has never made any comment or taken any action “against” the school system. To my knowledge, none of our support base has either. Perhaps Parker can be a little clearer on his accusation here?

It is interesting that in the past Parker criticized Mrs. Emma Johnson (a good leader) for exercising her first amendment right when speaking on education issues. Consequently, Parker must now be speaking on behalf of the board when he says the BOE stopped them (FOB) from stirring up trouble.

Apparently Parker feels people new to Bertie County are in some way inferior to a lifetime resident.  All of us were new at some point to an area. Every American has equal rights wherever they live in America and regardless of for how long. A right an elected official (Parker) should respect.

Mr. Parker, all elected board members have a responsibility to share public information as the law of the land specifies. You may want to make sure your own board is in order. In case you have not noticed, Americans are insisting on a new level of openness and transparency from our government.

These are my statements as an individual and not the statements of any little citizens group I may happen to be a member of………….and to anyone new to Bertie County, welcome and thanks for being here. I value your opinion and the fact that you care enough to share it.

John H. Davis

Merry Hill