Below is the text of a letter I sent to the Paulding BoC this morning (format changed slightly and personal information redacted):
0000 Xxxxx Xxxx Drive
Acworth, GA 30101
October 15, 2014
Open Letter to the Paulding County Board of Commissioners
Mr. David Austin, Commission Chairman
Mr. Dave Carpenter, Post I Commissioner
Mr. Todd Pownall, Post II Commissioner
Mr. Tommie Graham, Post III Commissioner
Mr. David Barnett, Post IV Commissioner
240 Constitution Boulevard
Dallas, GA 30132
RE: Thad and Melissa Morrison
I have lived in Paulding County for almost 12 years, and am a registered voter (who voted for Mr. Austin and Mr. Barnett). I have been troubled for a number of years by the County's handling of the lawsuit of Thad and Melissa Morrison against it for what the Morrisons allege to be offenses committed against them.
I wouldn't know Thad or Melissa from Adam's housecat if I met them on the street. They may be certifiable lunatics for all I know. But what I do know is that their lawsuit was never deemed to be frivolous and was never thrown out. I also know that the County spent over $1.5M taxpayer dollars in fighting this lawsuit. I also know one or more settlements were offered to the Morrisons, but they were rejected for whatever reason(s). The Morrisons were well within their rights to reject any settlement they deemed to be unsatisfactory. Their stated desire was to have the case adjudicated in a court of law before a jury of their peers, but that never happened because they ran out of money.
The horrifying denouement of this situation came on Friday when the Morrisons were evicted from their home due to foreclosure by the lender. Obviously they could have chosen to stop fighting the County and pay their house payments instead. However, they had a Constitutional right to petition the government for a redress of grievances and they were denied that right.
In the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America from the State of Great Britain, after the list of many offenses committed by the King of England against the Thirteen Colonies, comes this paragraph:
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Therefore, it is no accident that the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
When this all began, a different county administration was in place; however, it's disappointing that even though the makeup of the BoC has changed, it would appear that the attitudes and approach towards the Morrisons never did. Likely we will never know the truth about what happened (including the contamination of their drinking water) because of your success in finally killing the Morrisons' attempt to seek redress by outlasting their ability to continue to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal bills for them over the eight years since the suit was originally filed. (And if they could not prevail spending that much money and lasting that length of time, there is no hope for the rest of us.)
As it happens, I am in the process of moving to another county to be near my sister and nephew, who have no other relatives within a five-hour radius. I love my home here and am loath to sell it; however, I can assure you on the day I hand the keys to the new owner, I will happily knock the dust of Paulding County off my shoes. I am sickened by the thought of the Morrisons' eviction from their home of these many years and their possessions sitting on their lawn awaiting friends and neighbors to help cart away. But it is a fittingly sorry end to a sorry saga.
It is my humble opinion that the leaders of this county have proven themselves to be no better than King George III in denying fundamental freedoms to the citizens of this county (and adding insult to injury, by using our tax dollars to do it). In this matter, as well as in a number of other matters, the King George III of Paulding County Government has crushed the Thirteen Colonies of the rights of the citizens of Paulding County.
I Am Thad and Melissa Morrison.
(original signed by)
Xxxx X. Xxxxxx
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