He’ll continue to represent despite ‘Fox-style smearing’

Published 8:27 am Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I’m writing to address the article regarding my delinquent tax debt owed to the City of Franklin (“Councilman delinquent on city taxes,” July 21).

It’s true. I never tried to hide this.

The list was public when I ran for mayor in 2008 and council earlier this year.

The voters of Ward 3 sent me to the City Council with a mandate for relief from a predatory city government that creates fees and increases taxes at will.

My circumstances confirm to the citizens of Franklin that I am of the people, not above or immune to the same financial challenges and abuses as not only the citizens of Ward 3, but citizens all over the city, state and nation.

Thank God most property owners in our city are current and not behind on real estate taxes. I, unfortunately, am not one of those, as much as I wish that I was.

The fact is that while The Tidewater News story was obviously politically motivated to discredit my character and distract attention from the issues that I am fighting for, including lowering taxes, I want to let the good citizens of Franklin know that I will not be deterred from my goal of continuing to fight for change, accountability, jobs and relief to the citizens of Franklin from incompetent predatory leadership that victimizes the citizens and taxpayers at every opportunity to get to the citizens’ limited income.

In fact, I have been making substantial monthly payments dating back well before the election on the taxes. The reason the taxes are not paid in full already is because of the compound interest method the city uses that applies your payment to interest first, like a lending institution or credit card company.

To me this is not fair to the citizens for our city — to apply the same collection methods as predatory lending institutions.

One of the reasons that I decided to run for office was to try to put a stop to the city abusing its power to overtax the citizens and wasteful spending of taxpayers’ money.

No Franklin voter, regardless of their ward, ever voted for me because I blended in with the status quo, and don’t expect me to now.

I’m a real person, not phony, with the same issues as other low-income people, and my constituents know that.

So, to those of you who choose to hold me to a higher standard just because I was elected to fight for the people, of which I am one, to you I promise that I will keep my home; I will continue fighting for the people; and I will pay off the balance I owe on my real estate taxes as soon as I can.

As for this publication and its staff, our city has a plethora of challenges to deal with. I discourage you from stooping to Fox-style smearing to sell papers in this small city. You don’t have any competition.

Citizens, be encouraged. You now have one of your own fighting to change the status quo.

Citizens, be not discouraged. While there are differences that divide us, they are not as great as what unites us, which is our love for our community and our city.

Don’t let the few rich keep us from patching the hole that is a sinking Franklin because they know that if the water gets too high, they have a helicopter ready to whisk them away to their summer homes while we stay here to drown.

When the fire gets hot, some get out of the kitchen. McLemore, like a fireman, will run into the burning kitchen and risk his life to help save his neighbors even if he does owe some taxes.