Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Government the Nathan Miller Way
Kellen Moore’s reporting last night in the Watauga Democrat revealed that without any public notice, any agenda item, any open meeting where a recorded vote was taken, County Commission Chair Nathan Miller has single-handedly and without due process struck a corrupt deal with the towns of Blowing Rock, Beech Mountain, and Seven Devils to redistribute sales tax revenues.
Why? To punish the town of Boone. That and that alone.
As Kellen explains, the scheme to redistribute sales tax based on ad valorem property values rather than population would incur a million $ plus penalty on Watauga County (let alone what it will do to the town of Boone). Except that Miller has come up with a kick-back scheme. The rich resort towns with higher property values will get more money, natch, but Miller is making them agree to kick back hefty percentages of what would otherwise be coming to them. Don’t know which is worse ... that the leadership of those other towns would agree to such a corrupt bargain or that the leadership of Watauga County would think up such a corrupt bargain and peddle it to the other towns, while the working-class town of Boone gets screwed to the tune of $2 million because of Miller’s eager water-carrying for the Templeton family.
Kellen Moore got one thing wrong when she wrote these words: “...the county is asking the other local towns to support its threat...” [emphasis added].
“The county” hasn’t done anything. Nathan Miller has done it all by himself. There has never been a discussion in a commissioners’ meeting about any of this, so there also hasn’t been a vote. I reject the notion that Nathan Miller is now “the county,” though evidently he’s quite comfortable acting as though it were so.
A vote on the Watauga County Commission will eventually have to happen, at which time all eyes will be on Mr. Perry Yates, a new member of the County Commission, the husband of the Chair of the Republican Party, and the son-in-law of Mr. Phil Templeton. Will he vote to punish the town for requiring his father-in-law to go through a normal permitting process? Will he vote with Nathan Miller, thus groping through the heavy fog of family loyalties to arrive at a gigantic and public conflict of interest? Will he give up any claim he might have had to statesmanlike integrity, or will he recuse himself as he should?
The answer already seems to have been handed to him, since his wife, Phil Templeton’s daughter and the chairwoman of the Watauga County Republican Party, has been sending out email appeals to her party to write her husband and the other commissioners urging them to punish Boone, punish Boone, punish Boone.
And why did the other towns snap so fast at Nathan Miller’s tainted bait? Lawyer Four Eggers is Nathan Miller’s lawyer on the County Commission; he’s also Beech Mountain’s attorney. Allen Moseley represents the Templetons; he’s also Blowing Rock’s attorney.
There’s enough incest right there for several Sunday sermons.