A SAD TIME FOR ITAWAMBA COUNTY

Justin Gage | TyrantWatch

Full Disclosure: The writer of this article is a former resident (20+ years) of Itawamba County with family still residing there. The publisher of the article is a current resident who has several relatives residing in Itawamba County as well. We’ve tried to stay relatively neutral on the matter, hoping for a resolution that represents the interests of the citizens of Itawamba County. However, the religious and legal ramifications of the Itawamba County Board of Supervisor’s (and other officials) recent actions cannot be ignored any longer. Please remember, our mission remains simply to inform, not conform.

On Monday, the Itawamba County Board of Supervisors decided- not voted in a public setting as required by Mississippi State Code- to now remove the Ten Commandments display from the Itawamba County courthouse.  On the same day, a new display depicting our national motto, “In God We Trust”, had replaced it. By doing so, the Board may very well have relinquished all legal claim that the courthouse display fell under previous Supreme Court precedent Van Orden v. Perry, in which the Supreme Court ruled IN FAVOR of religious liberty and a religious AND secular display of the Ten Commandments. Any opponent of religious liberty could now successfully argue that this case now falls directly under Supreme Court precedent that prohibits the exact maneuvering the board has proposed, that precedent being McCreary County (KY) v. ACLU. On social media websites, Board supporters have maintained that the county intends to move the Ten Commandments display to a new display recognizing several historical documents. Again, this would fall in direct violation of the Supreme Court ruling McCreary County v. ACLU. All this information, as well as very respected corroborating legal opinion, is widely and easily accessible on virtually any related Internet website or search engine.

In reference to the Board’s decision to not hold a public forum and vote on the issue after being made aware of public opinion, Board supporters may argue that the issue was technically resolved at the previous Board meeting. But, how can that be true when one Board member commented on a supporter’s (and family member) Facebook page that “We have not voted to take this down”? That comment came on Tuesday, February 2nd, the day AFTER the last board meeting.

Sure, there are costs associated with standing up for the religious liberty of Itawamba County. There have been much greater costs paid by citizens of Itawamba County and these United States to defend these liberties. Many made the ultimate sacrifice, their life. In light of all this: why? Why would the Itawamba County Board of Supervisors decide behind closed doors to not fight for Religious Liberty? Dollars are relative. My relationship with God is not.

Although the Board has compromised much of citizens’ legal basis for leaving the Ten Commandments depiction as it was originally displayed, the citizens do have options to consider if they so choose. Ideally, through lobbying and education, the citizens should be able to convince their elected leaders to reverse course and consider the desires of the citizens whom elected them to represent their interests. Unfortunately, due to recent decisions, actions and comments from the Board that seems all but impossible. Another way for any Itawamba County citizen to voice his/her concern is to contact the Office’s of the Mississippi Attorney General or the Mississippi Secretary of State. Ask them to formally launch an inquiry into the legalities of the decision, as well as the legalities of the process in which the decision was determined (in contradiction to the interests of Itawamba County citizens and without a public vote).

An absolute last resort could include the recall of every supervisor from Itawamba County, as allowed in the Mississippi Recall Act. To directly quote the Mississippi State Legislature website, recall can be warranted when “The official has, while holding office, conducted himself or herself in a manner which relates to and adversely affects the administration of his or her office and adversely affects the RIGHTS AND INTERESTS OF THE PUBLIC”. If they will not represent the rights and interests of the public, recall them and elect leaders who will. Although, due to the prevalence of misconduct by elected officials in Mississippi and nationally, a citizen should be cautious in their trusting of elected officials and candidates. Previously mentioned misconduct includes famed FBI investigation “Operation Pretense”, which netted 55 Mississippi county supervisors (including officials from Pontotoc and Monroe counties) as well as other state and local officials. Those officials were convicted of charges such as bid-rigging, bribery, extortion, accepting kick-backs, etc.

It is our hope that this matter not come to such a harsh solution, but We the People will not be ignored any longer. We the People will not stand by while the freedom, religious or otherwise, of our family is being threatened.  We the People will not be threatened by the FFRF in Wisconsin or by our elected officials.

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for All.”

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30 Comments Add yours

  1. Jessica says:

    I would just like to point out that when it says the board members’ salaries are based on the “Assessed Valuation” of their counties, it means that they are paid more if the county is worth more. Therefore, when the Board spends money to fix roads, equipment, county properties and etc., they are increasing the value of the county, and in turn, increasing their own pay. It’s sort of like when you want to sell a house. If you remodel that house, it’s worth more. So in the end, yes, if the Board spends more money on the county, they will make more money at the end of the year. Now, if the Board isn’t spending the money on improving the county, please feel free to inform us what our hard earned tax dollars are being spent on, because I for one would like to know where my money is going. If the Board would just let us be a part of these meetings, let us know what’s going on, I don’t think anyone would be nearly as upset. Maybe there is good reason for all of these decisions. The problem is no one will let the citizens they were elected to represent know anything. We can’t get any kind of response from our supervisors. They are all hiding. And my final point is for Rebecca. If you’re so proud to be a Lee County resident and so proud NOT to be an Itawamba County resident. Then why do you care? And why are you on here bashing people that do care and are affected by this on a daily basis, who are doing nothing more than trying to get answers from people that they elected because they trusted them to represent their interests, people who are now making decisions without asking what those interests are. This seems to me to be none of your business. Maybe you should stick to the politics in your own county. Because all I read in your comments was Itawamba County sucks and it doesn’t matter to me what happens, I just like sticking my nose in drama. But to us Itawamba County residents this isn’t just drama or some kind of game. This is our home, our money, and our lives that are being tampered with. We take this seriously.

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    1. Rebecca says:

      I never said Itawamba County sucked, I just said they couldn’t drive and don’t need help looking ignorant. Isn’t every board meeting is open to the public, 1st Monday of the month, 3rd Tuesday, nothing has changed except I noticed on their Facebook that this one did change to a Thursday (but they posted that well in advance for people to see so you can’t say they were trying to elude the public), how many board meetings have any of you attended? As far as the assessed valuation, are you saying you don’t want them to improve the roads? I mean I’ve been on some of those roads and dang they need all the bond money they can get and grants and state aid, anything. As far as you would like to know where the money is spent, it’s published in the paper you can see. But, please explain to me how a picture being removed from a courthouse, which no one probably even knew was there until all this, effects your everyday life. Oh, I’m a land owner in Itawamba (not homestead) so I pay taxes there as well, soooo technically yeah…. It is my business even if it is just a vacant lot or is it less my business because I don’t pay as much taxes as some? I mean, if you go that route then it’s a slippery slope, John Doe pays more taxes than Jim Smith so he should have more of a say in how things are ran. I love how Robert tried to belittle me by telling me to go back to my desk the grown ups were talking but I turn around and give it right back to him, yes my comeback was better but I can’t help that, he opened that door but I’m bashing him. Never did I say ‘it doesn’t matter to me what happens’. Take it seriously then, get informed, go to the meetings. For counties having a total assessed valuation of One Billion Dollars or more, salary is 38,000 (to quote Robert’s reference). That’s the max on Roberts source so, if they float a bond for a billion and spend it all and they have all fancy roads and the value increases to 1.5 billion, they still won’t make any more money. What’s the assessed value of Itawamba? Bueller Bueller??

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  2. Robert says:

    I am stuck at work anybody know what happened at the meeting this morning?

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    1. Bolton says:

      Yea they probably showed up early and then left after 5 mins to make sure noone could make it haha…nah I aint heard nothing yet I wanted to go too but couldnt take off 😦

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  3. ***** says:

    I’m not part of the board. I am simply a family member. And yes I will stand for my family and what they do. Do I think the Ten Commandments should I been taken down? No not by any means necessary. And yes they can put up anything they want because now days how this country is raised is raised on freedom of speech. It’s clear in this country anything can happen obviously. The gay rights bill has passed and many others. So anybody and anyone can do whatever they want because the athiest can turn around and say well Christians have Ten Commandments up why can’t we do this? and yes there has been things bashing the supervisors as in statements saying they claim to be Christians or they should be taken out of office? How is that not bringing them down or their family. It’s hurts us just as well!! But why can’t y’all and everyone else including myself help them, help their families and help fight to get them back up? Why can’t we all take a stand together* and do this instead of telling what everyone else should have done

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    1. Charlie Jay says:

      I agree with you, that is why we are asking for an open and public forum so that the entire community can be educated on the options available. We have a problem with the lack of information provided and the decisions made behind closed doors. If you truly want to bring the county together, ask your relative to make sure the public has an opportunity to make the board meeting so that everyone can be informed.

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      1. ****** says:

        I’m glad we could agree. I see where others could be upset too. I understand that totally some things should have been open more. I’m just asking that the judgement stop because some of the things that were said are very hurtful towards the family and the supervisors themselves. We just all need to come together and stop hating on each other and pray together!

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  4. Matt Hudson says:

    There are other options for the board. There are organizations that will fight for the rights of the people and won’t cost a dime. The American Center for Law and Justice helps. The Liberty Institute is another one to help. As far as I know none was asked for help. I am ashamed of my elected officials.

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  5. Robert says:

    I read online that the boards pay is based on how much they spend that is why they making these decisions!!!! Now we hear they spent county money getting reelected. I would be at the meeting in the morning but mueller wont let me off. Attorney General says they got several calls but wont tell me nothing else. My Supervisor can get drunk with his friends but can’t answer the phone. I’m fed up

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  6. Justin Gage says:

    And to the Board family member that gave their name as *********

    We have yet to hear anything positive publicly from any member of the Board. TyrantWatch has received numerous comments, emails and Facebook messages from residents who say they haven’t been able to reach their Supervisor by phone since the 1st of February. Every decision, reconsideration and decision again has come without public forum or representation of the interest’s of the citizens of Itawamba County. Read our website, yes, we know the exact problems the Board has been facing. The Board is the representation of the people, you say we don’t know everything? If there’s something not in the three articles that we have posted on this subject, it is because the Board has outright refused to conduct their deliberations/decisions in a public and transparent manner.

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    1. ****** says:

      Another reason why they had to take them down is because if they left them up. Atheist, Buddha, Muslims and everyone else who didn’t believe like we do or believe in a different God then had the right to post things around the Ten Commandments in the court house pictures, sayings, or etc. about their beliefs around the Ten Commandments. Is that something we want to our children or our families tosee? Do we want to see things about Buddha or Satan posted around the Lords Ten Commandments. My question is what would you have done? What kind of decision would you have made if it was you? but I also see them making an effort to put up the Ten Commandments in every yard to anyone who wants one? Do you have a sign in your yard? And before you go trying to clean someone else’s door step off you better check and make sure yours is clean first! Like I said pray for your supervisors they didn’t want this but circumstances came up to which they had to so our families and children and neighbors didn’t have to look at Buddha or Satan on the walls of the courthouse! If you think you could do better running this county and trying to make everyone happy and dish out money for the county and fix the roads and make decisions on big things. Then maybe you should have ran for office. Maybe instead of bash them. Maybe y’all should come together as county like we should and pray together and work together in stead of slinging trash.

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      1. ****** says:

        And I will not lower myself to your level because I will pray for my supervisors because they was elected to office for a reason! God has a plan for us a all!

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      2. Charlie Jay says:

        Hi. Let me address a few of your talking points. First off, without taking the issue to court, your statements on the fact that the county would be forced to display other religious images is inaccurate and unproveable. Secondly, it was private citizens who initially started passing out ten commandments signs. Whether the board is actively doing so I am not aware of. Third, are you speaking as an official county spokesperson when you say “And before you go trying to clean someone else’s door step off you better check and make sure yours is clean first!”? If so, this is by far the most judgemental and threatening comment I have seen from an official to date. What we are doing is strictly informing the citizens of their rights while attempting to inform the board of the MS State Code in relations to the making of county decisions in an open and public forum, of which their decision to remove the Ten Commandments was done in complete violation of this clause. We have not in any way bashed the Board of Supervisors. While I agree that much prayer is needed here, it irks me to know that the board is actively using family members to run damage control on social media. This in itself is disturbing. All of this could have easily been avoided if the citizens of the county were made aware of all possible courses of action in an open and public forum as required by law. Also, please let me know what part of our information you would consider “slinging trash”. All of our information is factual and sourced. We clearly stated that we do not want to see the board suffer because of this, but the handleing of this situation behind closed doors has opened up much more discontent than should have been. A little transparency goes a long way. One last thing, your comment about not lowering yourself to the writers level was completely out of line and uncalled for. If you want the people to repect you and the Board, name calling and self-righeousness is not the way to gain that respect. Thank you and I sincerely hope you have a great day!

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      3. Justin Gage says:

        A Democrat board, and the Democratic Party in general, may feel slander is the best way to get results. I and others have merely pointed out the facts of the situation and informed the public of its options. My porch is clean, but with rumors of “pay for favors” and misused county funds coming into our email daily your family member should grab a broom himself. You have commented multiple times here obviously to attack our opinions but have yet to address the actual concerns citizens have. Why did the Board not make their decision during a public session, as required by federal law? Why would the Board announce to and then remove the display, therefore rendering the wishes of Itawamba County null and void through Supreme Court precedent? Why has the Board refused to be transparent, again in violation of MS State Code? Why can citizens that don’t “know somebody” not seem to get in touch with their Supervisor? What about this $5 million a well-respected commenter has mentioned, $5 million which was not actively overseen in accordance with MS law much of last year due to the misuse of funds by the former Chancery Clerk? Give us the facts since you know them. I guess what we all need is to have a family member on the Board, then we could have all have the “facts”. Since we don’t, we are informing fellow citizens of their rights under MS State Code in order for those “facts” to become public knowledge. That will continue.

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  7. Justin Gage says:

    Mrs. Turner,

    If you’d like to email us at tyrantwatch87@gmail.com or justingage1776@gmail.com, we would like to speak to you about this further. It is a shame that more residents do not know that the Democratic Party simply does not represent an average Itawamba County citizen. We hope y’all continue with you and your family’s great efforts.

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    1. Rebecca says:

      Please keep in mind that Mrs. Turner’s husband ran for supervisor and as I can remember lost….. Bad….. So of course she will say anything she can to bash the supervisors. Also does anybody here even know how governments work?? Seriously? 5m to get reelected? It’s called a bond and you can only spend it on certain things and projects and let me tell you, getting reelected is not one of those options and the fact that someone thinks it is, well, just hilarious. And Robert who says they get paid based on what they spend? Well, it’s on the internet so it must be true right? Lol. Let me just tell you, no. Just no. How is it that I know more about what’s going on in Itawamba County and I’m a Lee County resident thank God. Do you even read the legal notices and public notices where all the claims paid is public information? Jeez I’m a freaking payroll clerk for a small startup company and I make more than a supervisor. Try to understand how things work before popping off at the mouth please, itawambians don’t need anymore help looking ignorant they already don’t understand how to drive don’t throw government stuff at them too.

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      1. Robert says:

        The supervisors sent another troll I see. Go back to your desk payroll clerk, grown folks is talking. Life ain’t a money game, I wish more would people like you would realize that. Try getting on google for longer than 5 minutes next time.

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      2. Rebecca says:

        Sweetheart, Google spits out just as many wrong answers as correct. Obviously that’s where you got your ‘I read online that the boards pay is based on how much they spend’ information. Get back to your manual labor job that requires no education, educated people are trying to talk.

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      3. Robert says:

        Found it here have a look for yourself

        https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/documents/2002/pdf/HB/1400-1499/HB1438IN.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwj0wreR5YHLAhXJ2D4KHZFoA0cQFggeMAE&usg=AFQjCNGf-RXvrGi9Rk1BaJoc0Tczl3mMmg&sig2=KxqVhf6xb8qlF98WACgm-Q

        That is a official state website. A little manual labor would help you out a lot I think sweetheart. I would like for you to come to church with my family one Sunday meet some great Itawamba County people who love the lord. Let me know if you ever interested.

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      4. Rebecca says:

        Sigh. You made my point for me, thanks for the link. Assessed valuation is what their salary is based on. Assessed valuation is not what they spend. That’s the assessed value of the land, homes, companies etc in the county that the tax assessor assesses (not the board, the assessor is a separate elected official). Assessed valuation, not expenditures. Assessed valuation is the dollar value of a proper to determine taxes. You said ‘boards pay is based on what they spend’ that is not assessed valuation.

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  8. Ben Russell says:

    Its a sad day, when our leaders fall subject to these worldly decisions , without seeking devine intervrntion. Praying for a better tomorrow !

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  9. ****** says:

    There is still God fearing men on the board! I know this for a fact because I am a family member of one of those God fearing men. This person is as hurt and disappointed as many of you others, because he wants to follow and do the works of the Lord. There are many reasons why they had to take the Ten Commandments down that y’all do not know of. So instead of bashing your board of supervisors pray for them and lift them up because they need that because they are trying to do all possible to serve their lord and their county!! And for the one who said they claimed to be “Godly” REMEMBER*** “Judge not lest you be Judged”

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    1. David says:

      Yeah, well we might know the reasons if a public forum was held. Instead, action was taken behind closed doors.

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      1. Mark says:

        Well the Baptist, Medotist.Church of Christ. Church of God and all other stick together on something like this but on Sunday morning they bash each other because all have a different version on how to get to heaven

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    2. david says:

      You ppl make me sick you say don’t judge don’t judge that all I hear you won’t take a stand for God word its to easy to look the other way every Christian need to get off there lazy ass and stand up for God he stood up for us he didn’t look the other way a lot of u quote scripture out of the bible and u don’t ever know what it mean so get off your lazy ass and stand up for him and if u don’t like what I had to say delete me see if I loose any sleep over it and if that board was God fearing ppl they would have stood up no they are Gov, fearing ppl

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      1. ***** says:

        You have the right to your own opinion and that’s what I’m screaming instead of bashing each other lets get together and stand for what’s right. But instead everyone wants to be mad and put their opinions on social media instead of standing for the right. Them supervisors did not want to take them down. They have been doing all possible to get them back up

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  10. I think they need the 10Comandments placed where every citizen can read them it could help less vilonce in the nation

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  11. Doug Mills says:

    Itawamba County residents need to take action…make signs of the Ten Commandments and In God We Trust , place them all over Itawamba County on private properties and make your voice be heard!

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  12. Mary Turner says:

    THX, Charlie Jay. I too have deep convictions in regard to the matter. I worked very hard to help elect 3 godly men to the board. The reason we do not have money to defend the 10 commandment placement is that the current board borrowed and spent $5M in 2015 JUST TO GET REELECTED. THAT is reason for removal. The 3 godly men ran on the Republican ticket and so many in Itawamba were saying the local Democrats who won were not connected to the national DEM party who booed GOD, but what can we say now? If they were removed, the citizens would spread lies again and vote them back in! I was completely disappointed in the integrity of the voters in Itawamba County in NOVEMBER! They deserve what they got! Let them live with it!

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  13. ++++++++ says:

    This makes me sick! The Ten Commandments were not in the way! If anything we ALL need to stand by them and live by them everyday. Jesus is soon returning and I would hate to know I wasn’t a light or encourager in this lost dying world.

    Like

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