By David Tulis / Noogaradio 1240 AM 92.7 FM
Mayor Dwain Land easily swept past two challengers to retain his post as mayor of the small town of Dunlap, Tennessee on Saturday.
Land won with 576 votes, easily outdistancing Jennifer Lockhart Greer, who finished in second place with 334 votes. A third candidate, Rhonda Summers, had 62 votes.
The election Saturday in this small Tennessee town gives no relief to an elderly couple in hiding, Thomas and Carol Gaddy, because the city government has demanded their consent to search their house absent probable cause.
Lockhart Greer said she had been praying for the Gaddys and vowed to end their prosecution through civil courts.
The legal battle over property rights intensified interest in the contest, which drew 33.1 percent of registered city residents to the polls. Living in the city are 2,933 voters, says Jerrie Hickey, administrator of elections for Sequatchie County.
Mayor Land did not respond to a text message requesting comment.
Mrs. Greer thanked her supporters and voters. “We ran a good, fair, honest race and I wish the new mayor all the luck in the world.” As for the Gaddy conflict, “Our best option is just to pray.”
Carol Gaddy was not available for comment. But her son, Kelly, 51, says Mr. Land doesn’t deserve a third four-year term.
“His outright attack against my mother and father in filing a frivolous lawsuit against them using taxpayer dollars, along with [attorney] Stephen Greer to fight us on a frivolous issue, is a little ludicrous.”
Mr. Gaddy says his Christian perspective requires him to see God’s providence even in evil circumstances, and that God gives evil deeds their due, sooner or later.
“Every dog is going to have his day, you know. There’s only so such someone does before it starts hitting them back in their own face. You can’t sow stuff like that against somebody and not have to pay for it.
“That’s a written law,” he says, “whether people believe it or not that exists and it happens each and every day. I don’t wished anything bad on anybody, but it’s by their own actions that they’ve done what they’ve done that the judgment to hit them.”
Chancery judge Jeffrey Stewart denied his parents due process in their defense of their property rights, Mr. Gaddy says. “He went after some pretty severe health issues just after he did that to my parents.” In oppressive circumstances, he says, “God is working something out on the other end that we don’t know about.”
Ungodliness seen everywhere (except in chancery)
The Dunlap News editorialist in a column about the national day of prayer Thursday cited the evil in local and national courts as an objection of Christian petitions to God.
“Anyone who sits in on the (frequent and lengthy) days of court at the Sequatchie County Justice Center has his or her eyes opened to the dark underbelly that exists in any American community these days, including ours – theft by respected members of the community, sexual assault, murder, the rampant plague of addictive drugs…” It goes on to argue that repentance before God starts with the individual and has a salting effect on society.
“Then pray for immediate and extended family and friends. Spiral out from that, to lift up our local community leaders – mayors, commissioners, peace officers, and first responders. Then pray for state and national leaders. The nation as a whole has a dark underbelly of wickedness. We need to experience repentance as a people. We need to receive God’s forgiveness, and let Him change us into a people of integrity, honesty, kindness, and holiness.”
It’s not clear how such advice should be considered, given that the Gaddy case is as much part of a spiritual war against the liberties of the people as it is a struggle waged in courts against the dignity of innocent property holders who refuse to be bullied.
The News has mostly ignored the string of misdealings that make up a Gaddy court filings record that fills two folders.
Praise for Mayor Land
The News had endorsed Mr. Land, saying he “has accomplished a lot of good for the city of Dunlap. He bought a closed plant from its Japanese owners and wooed a German company into opening a factory there. He found Appalachian Regional Commission funds to build an access road so Precision Aerodynamics could expand operations.”
It praised him for securing money from Washington and Nashville, including funds for improvements to a park and work on a walking trail along Coops Creek. The Gaddy house is nestled in a bend in that creek, and across its waters passes the walking bridge and path.
Mr. Land has a genuine love for Dunlap, the newspaper said. It cites Mr. Land’s description of himself as a salesman for the town. “Everywhere he goes, he ‘sells’ Dunlap to state and federal officials, potential business interests, and just about anybody he talks to,” the newspaper says.