Fighting NiceleyAt least one Anonymouse who likes to post things disparaging of Rep. Frank Niceley has been picking at me for why I don't say anything about Niceley's position on the proposed Norfolk Southern inter-modal. Besides the fact that Frank and I agree about the inter-modal project, people often forget that the Niceleys are property owners who are absolutely entitled to voice their opinions about a development that could greatly impact them and their neighbors.
I do not need to say much, I think Jennifer Niceley can do all the talking:
I am asking for a public apology and explanation for the News Sentinel article titled "Niceley shifts again on rail truck facility" with the subhead, "Lawmaker lobbied for site boosting his property values."
As a daughter of state Rep. Frank Niceley, understandably I was insulted and outraged. But so were a host of others in Jefferson and Knox County. In light of that, I'd like to set a few things straight.
To help support the subhead's alarming untruth, the article never mentions the land Frank Niceley owns with his two brothers in Strawberry Plains - which is three or four miles from the New Market site and roughly the same distance of any Niceley property from the Mascot site.
Secondly, everyone knows property values generally decrease around this kind of development. Take a look around John Sevier Yards. The writer of the story quotes Jefferson County mayor, Alan Palmieri, who states "Niceley would
definitely profit from it." This is the same mayor who kept plans for the development secret from his constituents for at least two years, and is enduring considerable heat now from Jefferson County residents. Within the very title of the article is a highly unsupported and manipulative accusation.
Mayor Palmieri has indeed kept the inter-modal development plan secret from us, the citizens. He (and others) have done so in violation of both the Tennessee Open Meetings Act and the Open Records Act. However, there is no mention of that in the News-Sentinel, the supposed champions of open meetings and open government. The reality is that the Knoxville News-Sentinel only cares about government openness when it suits them and their agenda. As for the rest of us, well we aren't the newspaper and are therefore not all-knowing, so who cares what we might think-especially about a project that could impact every Jefferson Countian for generations to come.
As Jennifer Niceley points out, this is only the beginning of a railroad land grab, and once you open the bottle and the genie out, you can't put it back in.
Aside from disregarding the fact that Niceley represents a portion of Knox County as well, the article omitted the actual number of jobs Norfolk Southern has used repeatedly in reference to this proposed facility in New Market - 77.
These 77 jobs roughly cancel out the current agricultural jobs that would be sacrificed. Mayor Palmieri himself has said, "It's not going to create thousands of jobs, but its going to give us the opportunity to do that." The proposed idea is to keep taking people's homes and land all around the intermodal for an industrial park and distribution center. Meanwhile, we have sitting in Jefferson County empty industrial parks and vacated distribution centers - which had promised the same "growth."
Alan Palmieri and his secretive allies are running scared because the public reaction over this boondoggle. No one is opposed to responsible industrial development, but not development that comes at the cost of all too many homes, farms, and gives no real promise of growth.
Credit should be given to the News-Sentinel for publishing Jennifer Niceley's remarks, but somehow I doubt that an apology is forthcoming.