Beware of gifts with strings attached | Eastern North Carolina Now

There is no such thing as "free money"


By Hood Richardson

The classic story about deceptive gifts has to do with the ancient war between the Greeks and the City of Troy.  After a siege of Troy that had lasted some time and with no success in sight, the Greek army broke camp, burned their tents and sailed away.  They parked a huge horse mounted on wheels made of wood at the gate to Troy.  The Trojans took this as a gift and wheeled it into the City as a token of their victory over the Greeks.  That night Greek soldiers hidden inside the horse opened the city gates allowing the Greek army to enter and capture the City.  Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

During my 28 years as a Beaufort County Commissioner, I have had several disagreements with my fellow Commissioners about whether many of the grants (free money) were “free”.  Almost all have strings attached or trappings intended to compromise good judgment.  One of the most ridiculous offers was that the US Navy would give us some free fire trucks if we would agree to locate an Outlying Landing Field in a part of Beaufort County.  These Commissioners never figured out the purpose of the fire trucks was to back up the Navy’s firefighting units stationed at the landing field.

 More than half of our sitting Commissioners thought free fire trucks was a good idea.  They reasoned the Federal Government was going to have its way and we should get whatever crumbs we could.  Had we agreed, more than 30,000 acres of prime farmland and hundreds of farmers in Beaufort and Washington Counties would have lost their livelihood and heritage. The character of Beaufort and Washington Counties would have been changed forever.  Thank the Lord, the volunteers fought on and won the day.

The tale of the Trojan Horse tells us some gifts should not be accepted.  Does the gift actually benefit us or does it set us up for a lifetime of servitude and enslavement?  An example of this is the comparison between accepting a gift elephant or a diamond ring.  A lot of expense and duty comes with the elephant.  The elephant has to be fed every day, food has to be purchased or grown for the elephant, shelter has to be provided, on an on the expense goes.  There is not much use for or market for an elephant.  However, the diamond ring is the exact opposite.  Maybe rent a safe deposit box to keep in or sell it.

Because of the deplorable handling of the 42-million-dollar gift from the Lottery Fund along with the 10 million given by the taxpayers of Beaufort County we have a 52-million-dollar pink elephant on our hands.

The board of County Commissioners has abandoned their fiduciary responsibility to the people of Beaufort County.  This happened when Fake Frankie Waters violated the open meetings law and met secretly with the School Superintendent, Matthew Cheeseman, and the Chairman of the School Board, T W.Allen, in Pitt County and agreed to form the "Progress Monitoring Committee."  They agreed the members would be Matthew Cheeseman, Fake Frankie Waters, and T. W. Allen.  Notice there was no vote by the School Board or the Commissioners.  

Matthew Cheeseman is making all of the decisions. Cheeseman cancelled the June Progress Committee meeting declaring there was nothing important going on and at the same meeting decreeing the entire maintenance and service complex had to be eliminated because he decided the storm water pond had to be placed at that location.  My estimate is this increased the cost of the project at least 5 million dollars.  But there was nothing important to report at the June meeting.  For anyone who believes this is the only place for that pond on this 39 acre piece of land, I have a bridge to sell them. The School Board should have already asked:  Is the Eastern site the best place to build a 1000 student school?

One man is making all the decision about this 52-million-dollar project and I see no proof he has built even a rabbit box.

Cheeseman’s power comes from the favor he did for Fake Frankie Waters when he took a legitimate contract for computer services from Stan Deatherage as a favor for Fake Frankie Waters.  Cheeseman paid the new vendor more than he was paying Stan Deatherage.  John Rebholz insisted the contract was not legal but he did not know what he was talking about.  Rebholz is backing Fake Frankie Waters in allowing Cheeseman to do as he pleases with the future of our children’s education.  Rebholz is now trying to build teacher residences for Cheeseman.  These residences are Beaufort County sponsored and will use your tax money. This is public housing. How has that worked out for us?

Birds of a feather flock together.  Notice how well Cheeseman, Fake Frankie Waters, T. W. Allen, Ed Booth, Randy Walker, John Rebholz, Etha Booth, Jerry Langley and Carolyn Walker work together.

The issue of how to use the 52 million dollars to improve education in Beaufort County has not been addressed by the public, the Commissioners or the School Board.  Matthew Cheeseman has made all the decisions with Fake Frankie Waters, John Rebholz, Ed Booth, Randy Walker and Jerry Langley following like the Lemmings they are.  Another ethical issue is the wives of Commissioners who sit on the School Board.  Randy Walker and Ed Booth have never voted against their wives.

This is a gift that should be put on hold.  It locks Beaufort County into a generation of a mega elementary school with up to 1,000 students, kinder garden thru 3rd grade.  It forces cross-town bussing and extremely high transportation costs. Students will spend much more time on buses than they should.  The School Board is blowing the chance to end the cross-town busing that is a relic of the pre-merger grade structure.  Accepting this gift forces us to continue the failed consolidated schools.  We still have several schools with bad performance even with lowered State standards.

The harm and damage this mega school will do to the quality of education in Beaufort County demands the money be returned so we do not become more enslaved to what we know are socialist, communist and liberal education standards, not the least of which is crosstown busing of our youngest children.  This idea of spending 50 million dollars without any sound planning is absurd.  But it is the kids in Washington (and perhaps Chocowinity and Bath) that will bear the burden of this lack of sound planning!

Our Pied Piper Superintendent should document, NOW—not after the money is spent--how this new school will improve student performance.  Specifically, he needs to tell the taxpayers and public exactly how we can expect better student performance in a mega K-3 school as opposed to three or even four smaller K-5 or K-8 neighborhood schools (converting John Small and P. S. Jones, along with Eastern, not to mention whether a new mega school would even be needed).

Let me just say it clearly:  Before any money is spent on facilities, we need a comprehensive facilities plan worked out in detail by the elected School Board.

Above all else, our School Board should assume the leadership they were elected to provide and ensure that ALL of the alternatives are thoroughly examined and that whatever is done be well-planned, with extensive parent, teacher and public involvement in a data driven decision process. This planning should include a thorough examination of the needs of ALL of the schools in the County, not just one attendance area.  And this should be done before the first dollar is spent.  The School Board needs to get off its behind and offer some leadership.

Until they do, we should consider this “free” lottery money to be a Trojan Horse.

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( July 10th, 2024 @ 8:13 am )
Free Money: The most common misconception of Democratic Socialists and Moderate Republicans.

It self-teaches them to govern as if they are stupid, and ignorant of real events all around them.
Van Zant said:
( July 10th, 2024 @ 6:54 am )
Time has proven Commissioner Richardson right before. I'll bet time will prove Commissioner Richardson right again.

Biden Needs Naps, Admin Wont Let WH Doctor Talk And Denies Hes Taking Specific Meds; World Leaders Terrified: Reports Hood: I'd Rather Be Right, Editorials, Beaufort Observer, Op-Ed & Politics Revealed: DOJ official who joined Manhattan Trump case steered by Dem leaders


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