I am writing this letter to inform the public about the spectacle that was the Fayette County Board meeting on Sept.10. Fayette County Board Chairman Steve Knebel presided over the meeting with an iron fist in the tradition of Lenin, Stalin or Castro. I am comparing him to these dictators because, apparently, Knebel does not believe in the right of free speech. When discussion began about the liquor license and many people started talking, Knebel told everyone to be quiet and that everyone would have a chance to speak.
Apparently, he meant only those people for the liquor license would be allowed to speak. I was appalled at the way Knebel berated and belittled Glenn “Whitey” Daniels after he voiced his objection for the liquor license, and said that he wanted to protect the rights of the people in the area. Knebel apparently doesn’t believe in a government of the people, by the people, for the people. The way Knebel treated Daniels in full view of the public makes me wonder what went on in the closed-door meeting before the regular meeting.
He had Terry Yarbrough ejected from the meeting, and wouldn’t allow the board members to view the pictures of illegal parking already occurring in his driveway. He cut off Teena Yarbrough in the middle of her speech, and called for a vote. I raised my hand because I had information that may have swayed the vote in our favor, and Knebel said only Teena was going to be allowed to talk. I asked again if I could say something, and he said no. Now maybe Knebel will point out that nobody on Mabry’s side spoke, but they didn’t need to. Their biggest champion from the start has been Knebel. Every time it was voted down, he derided the board members who voted against it, and then had a meeting just to change the wording of the ordinance to get more votes for it. After three times, Knebel got his way.
We have appeared at meetings to object to both the liquor license and the restaurant. We have been against both, but especially the liquor, as that only throws gas on an already volatile situation. I had many things to say, but the most important is this: we asked at the liquor board meeting how liquor licenses were issued. Jeff Beckman said the liquor board heard the proposal, listened to those for and against it, and then made a recommendation to the county board. The county board then voted and a license was issued on a case-by-case basis.
During the Mabrys attempt at getting a license, Knebel has repeatedly said that the Mabrys meet the requirements, so they should get the license. At this last meeting, he stated that the board should not pick and choose who gets a license, as long as they meet the requirements. So which is it? If all they have to do is meet the requirements, why does the county have a liquor board and why is the county board voting on it at all? Don’t these statements by Knebel open the county to litigation by anyone in the past or future who meets the requirements and didn’t/doesn't get a license?