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Liberty taxpayer: Enough is enough
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Editor, As I read the front-page article in the Sunday, Oct. 14 edition of the Coastal Courier, supporters of Mrs. Carolyn Brown aim for healing with an early release.
I could not believe what I had just read!
 Mrs. Brown stole $1 MILLION of our tax money. Mrs. Brown has only served seven years of her 30-year sentence, a sentence that was deemed a reasonable punishment for the crime she was convicted of committing. The crime she was convicted of was theft by conversion and racketeering of $1 million.
Now, the Rev. Leonard Small and Mrs. Brown’s supporters want her released. I don’t understand this.
Elderly people have lost their homes, homes they worked hard for, simply because taxes had to be raised because of Mrs. Brown’s criminal offenses. To compensate for the money that she stole, everyone’s taxes were raised, and now people who have owned and lived in their houses for many years, can no longer afford their homes because they can’t pay the big increase in property taxes.
Mrs. Brown may have made some restitution with the past seven years of her life, but during those seven years she had somewhere to sleep and three meals a day and she did not have to worry about how to pay for either of those privileges.
Has she made any kind of financial restitution? Has any of the money been returned? Why are we punishing those who have worked hard for what they have by raising their taxes to compensate for her lust for more than what she was entitled for? Why is it OK for those hard working taxpayers to now have to pay more and wonder how they will keep a roof over their heads or food on their tables and she is getting a bed to sleep in, and three meals a day, ironically enough, at the taxpayers expense. Have we received any of the $1 million back? This is something we, the taxpayers, are entitled to know.
Mrs. Brown is a mature woman who went to church, has been educated in the differences of right and wrong, and she chose wrong to enhance her own life at the cost of other people’s quality of life.
Now the Rev. Small and Mrs. Brown’s supporters are asking us to forgive and heal. While the Bible calls on us to forgive our brothers and sisters in their wrong doings, it doesn’t ask us to forget, nor does it ask us to take away the consequences for their wrong actions.
We best learn not to repeat an offense when we are able to live out the consequences of our actions. Forgiveness is a condition of our heart, so we could indeed forgive Mrs. Brown, and yet still be justified in seeking her full restitution. If the crime she was convicted of is still negatively impacting those in her community, how could we rightly give her lenience, when no lenience is being shown to those in her community?
If the $1 million was returned to Liberty County, then maybe that would bring some relief to the taxpayers and relieve some of the burden that was unjustly placed on them. Then, once that part of the restitution is made, we can all sit down and talk about shortening her stay in prison. But why let her out to live off of money that isn’t rightfully hers.
For now, Liberty County taxpayers need to stand strong together and say to all those who now handle our money, and will do so in the future, that the penalty of stealing money from the taxpayer is great and one they will payout in full.
Lessening her sentence without full restitution will lend to the belief we don’t take the offense serious and will make it a more viable option for other’s to choose.
The saying goes “If you can’t take the time, don’t do the crime.” By shortening the time, we are weakening the penalty, the deterrent that should keep others from committing similar felonies now may not look as bad as it once did, thereby making it easier for others to think it worth it.
If one could commit wrong doings and end up with $1 million and pay only with seven years of their lives, it might be worth it to some, most of us can’t make $1 million doing seven years of honest work, why not get it dishonestly in a shorter time.
We, the Liberty County taxpayers, need to band together and set forth a precedence that states we don’t deserve to be treated this way, and we won’t allow ourselves to be treated this way.
We are a bunch of honest, hard-working citizens and we want the people in charge of collecting and spending our hard earned tax money to be held accountable when they chose to do what most benefits themselves rather than all of us as a whole. If they don’t manage our money honestly, they will be held liable.
There is a consequence for stealing, and if they chose to steal, then they also chose to live with that consequence.
We as the Liberty County taxpayers need to stand up and say enough is enough. If you want to represent us, then do the right thing.

Bert Webb
Liberty County
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