Friday, March 20, 2009

A Chronicle in Political Stupidity

Plenty of people in Jefferson County complain about the state of government here, and just this morning over at the Sanitary Drug in White Pine, men were complaining about the inefficiency of the Jefferson County Commission. While this is a very legitimate complaint, I oppose efforts to shrink the County Commission in the way that County Mayor Alan Palmieri would like to do. The solution to the county's government problem isn't to lessen representation, but for the people to elect officials whose prime qualification for public office is something other than complete political stupidity.

A prime example of this lack of general public intellect would seem to be Jefferson City Mayor Darrell Helton, who thinks that citizens should be made to fill out an information form before viewing public records-records that State law says are open to any citizen. Helton further proposed, according to yesterday's print edition of the Standard Banner, that those who refused to fill out this form should be made to present a Tennessee driver's licence to make sure they are from Tennessee.

Those who read this space regularly know that I am very much in favor of States' rights and the general idea of State sovereignty as understood per the 10th Amendment. However, the federal Constitution carries with it a section known as the "full faith and credit" clause. This clause guarantees not only that States must one another's general acts, but that the laws of a given State apply to any person traveling through from another State. Tennessee has an Open Records Act that guarantees the right of any citizen to view public records on request, and that means that visitors to our State also have that right.

Apparently it is too much to ask that an elected official abide by the simple dictates of the U.S. Constitution

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