Government, in the terms of our Founders, is a necessary evil. It is there to secure our rights and property while we are away earning a living. Our government is supposed to protect us from those who would do us harm, lie to us, steal or cheat us. But, when governments get an agenda, they are blinded by personal interests and forget their obligations. If they are misled, they can forget about what is really important.
Recently, our county quorum court was misled by a special interest which is vying for close to 7.5 million dollars of taxpayers’ money with no governmental supervision to boot! The chair of the Washington County TEA Party recently received a Freedom of Information Act inquiry on Ozark Regional Transport (ORT) and Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) to investigate the call for a new 1/4 cent sales tax to be decided in the May 22 election, during the primary election.
The results of the FOIA are outrageous to say the least. On an email dated Wednesday, February 8, 2012, from [email protected] (Phillip Pumprey, Executive Director, Ozark Regional Transit), to several ORT employees and associates stating in the first line, “There is NO DANGER (bold type, not capitalized) in ORT losing funding from cities and counties from either FTA or local communities at this time.” And in the last line in the paragraph, he states: “Our funding is definitive thru the end of this year, 2012. It appears as well that funding for 2013 might actually go up for ORT.”
Yet, on what appears to be a flyer asking for attendees to the February 9 meeting of the Washington County Quorum Court, the bottom lines tells people: “WE NEED TO SPEAK UP NOW OR LOSE OUR RIDE!!!” This flyer was sent to NWACC. Amazingly, I am now told that NWACC has a contract with ORT for transportation of their students already as that is part of their tuition. I have also been told that recently that contracted rate has been dropped by ORT substantially. Did those students also get a substantial drop in their tuition costs?
Also, on February 8, there were 2 emails sent out. One from Suzanne Watson, the Operations Coordinator for ORT, which was a petition urging the JPs to approve of the ballot measure as, “I could not attend tonight because the transit system does not run long enough to allow me to exercise my ability to participate in local politics.” that was carried inside the buses. Yet, in the second email, Phil Pumphrey of ORT states in the second line: ” HOWEVER, the drivers are not allowed to advocate any position concerning the sales tax to the riders, nor question them if they are going to go in favor or not.” which to me seems a blatant violation of the petition on the bus.
Now, deliberately using government time, supplies and equipment to intentionally print falsehoods is FRAUD. Had anyone else done this, there would be an investigation by a DA and fines and jail time would most probably occur. Not to mention the use of those same buses which desperately need funds to the extent to go to a tax issue in order to survive using those same buses to give misled and misinformed people FREE rides to the QC meeting at a cost of 25-55 dollars per head! They don’t mention offering identical services of many other government agencies and charitable organizations that give free rides to the disabled, VA benefits recipients and people on welfare that, in the past, received vouchers for taxis.
What is not being talked about is that the funds WILL NOT NECESSARILY GO TO ORT. These taxes may GO ANYWHERE! Where else, pray tell? There’s always the Northwest Arkansas Regional Council. Organized, originally, to get the airport at Highfill, this seems to have morphed into a mini-Regional governmental type of entity. Not really clear what their objectives are or what they do, they recently opened up a little and we see Agenda 21. This U.N. program, illegal for ANY government except the federal government to be involved with according to the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (it requires a contract with ICLEI, look it up), in essence has already taken away property rights of land owners in Washington County numbering more than 1300 people! AND THEY STILL ARE REQUIRED TO PAY TAXES ON THAT LAND THAT THEY HAVE NO SAY OVER! It might need to be mentioned that Fayetteville is an ICLEI city.
This tax is a whole bunch more than a transportation issue and should be investigated by the taxpayers in depth. The emails and conduct by 2 quasi-governmental entities to influence our quorum court and taxpayers to vote on this in May should be investigated by the DA.