Fri
Feb 2 2007
07:49 pm

Man, the crap is flying faster than feathers at a Newport cockfight. I hope the late Friday bad news cycle is over and things will settle down*.

We've got backroom deals, strong-arm tactics, nepotism, double-reverse patronage, sex, drugs -- the only thing missing is... cockfighting!

OK, then.

(*Oops. Guess not. Just saw Mark Harmon's post at the same time as this one. Looks like there will be more drama this weekend.)

56
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Fri
Feb 2 2007
07:48 pm

County Commission's actions certainly will get some TV attention this weekend.

DTV tonight will be a live show. I will be hosting as usual. The program is from 9:30 to 10:30 pm. Sharon Cawood is confirmed as a guest; others are possible. Call-in questions welcome, 215-2288.

WBIR's Inside Tennessee (the station's website indicates it airs at 9:30 a.m. Sunday with likely replays on the Ten News 2 channel). It taped Thursday night. First segment: Commissioners Greg Lambert and R. Larry Smith and former commissioner John Greiss. Second segment: Randy Tyree and Me, as you might expect I blast the process followed by the commission. Third Segment: Sharon Cawood, Sherry Witt.

WATE's Tennessee This Week. The station website indicates Noon airing, and streaming video likely earlier on the station website. Guests include: Commissioners R. Larry Smith and Greg Lambert, as well as Amy Broyles.

--Mark Harmon

54
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Fri
Feb 2 2007
07:33 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Sheriff Tim Hutchison gave out pay raises of up to 22% "just five days after learning that the state Supreme Court's term limits decision meant he would soon be forced from office."

But wait, there's more. The report confirms that term limited commissioner Mark Cawood was hired by newly appointed Sheriff J.J. Jones the day after Cawood voted to appoint Jones. It also says that Cawood first talked to the Sheriff's department about a position last fall, and that a Sheriff's department spokesperson says Hutchison hired him two weeks ago.

235
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Fri
Feb 2 2007
07:25 pm

The spirits are about to speak. I don't have the sources that Betty does for her prognostications (thank you Firefox 2 for that spell checker), but I will make this prediction anyway. After wading through the maze of threads related to the rape that occurred this week, I will predict here and now that Knox County will adopt Diebold voting machines before the next election. Surely that will be the only way these rascals can retain their ill-gotten seats.

Of course the fact that practically nobody bothers to vote may help them a little, too.

55
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Fri
Feb 2 2007
06:59 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

In 2004, a federal jury awarded $250,000 to a woman who "alleged she was fired after ending a consensual romantic relationship with the nursing home’s owner." The owner listed in the case is Richard Cate. Is this the same newly appointed Knox County Commissioner Richard Cate? Details of the case can be found here (pg. 7, "Sexual Harassment").

279
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Fri
Feb 2 2007
05:22 pm

The Orlando Sentinel has dramatic photos of the devastation left behind by tornadoes that ripped through Central Florida early this AM. Here's the wire report.

Michael Silence's in-laws live in one of the hardest hit neighborhoods. Thankfully he reports they are OK, but he is not sure about damage to their home.

Topics:
49
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Fri
Feb 2 2007
05:16 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

"At least two commissioners who voted for him said they didn’t know about Jordan’s past Wednesday but hope he’s put it behind him.

Here is the court document referenced in the article.

210
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Fri
Feb 2 2007
05:07 pm

I think we all need a diversion. How about stupid people from somewhere else? How about Portland? I am not sure even Knoxville drivers are this bad in snow.

Hat tip to Brittney at NiT.

51
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Fri
Feb 2 2007
04:34 pm

From a comment below, WBIR reports "New Knox County Trustee Fred Sisk announced Friday that [former Trustee Mike] Lowe will remain on staff as Deputy Trustee. Lowe will replace Sisk, who was making $75,000 annually for the same job."

242
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Fri
Feb 2 2007
12:56 pm

You may have noticed that on active topics with lots of comments (such as the commission meeting live blog post) clicking the new comments link under "latest comments" doesn't take you to the new comments, but instead to the first page of comments for that thread.

Here's a workaround. At the bottom of any post with comments, you should see a "comment viewing options" tool. Set the number of comments to be displayed per page to the max (300), or some number greater than the number of comments in the thread, and click "save settings".

This should show all comments on one page, and take you to the "new" comments if you use the latest comments link.

Topics:
59
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Fri
Feb 2 2007
12:20 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

Expect some news over the next few days regarding some commissioners appointed this week and back taxes, and maybe some other things. And don't forget Pinkston saying he couldn't support a nominee who had outstanding taxes.

It doesn't appear County Commission went to much effort to vet the nominees or do much in the way of due diligence. All of this would have been aired if there had been a special election, or at least an official series of public meetings.

231
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City of Alcoa Resident Alert!
Animal Ordinance Proposed Changes before City Commission
February 13th, 2007, 7PM, at the City of Alcoa Municipal Building, 223 Associates Boulevard, Alcoa, TN

Please attend.

** UPDATE: The City of Alcoa has graciously considered our suggested changes to the ordinance and is making changes to better meet the needs of a progressive community. Attendance may not be required, except to thank them.

Read more about the opposition and suggested changes after the jump..

Continued...

Fri
Feb 2 2007
10:57 am

Finally, maybe someone gets it!

"What we're talking about here is democracy and it is precious," Crist told a crowd of several hundred people at a gathering of the nonpartisan Voters Coalition of Palm Beach County. "You should, when you go vote, be able to have a record of it."

Yeah, any chance the Governor of TN cares?

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51
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Forget playing the Kevin Bacon version of 6 Degrees of Separation.

If you are interested in changing the political landscape and have factual information about who is related to whom or who works for whom, there might be an interesting way for a group of motivated volunteers to gather a lot of disparate information. Group blogging the results of this research would be largely beneficial to the community. If you're interested in helping, drop me a line. A group is forming.

In the meantime, check out Wikipedia, Knox County TN and scroll to Law and Government.

UPDATED: Well, since someone deleted the "Law and Government" section on Wikipedia's Knox County TN page, here it is re-posted.

Law and government
In 1994, Knox County voters overwhelmingly passed term limits on Knox County officeholders, including County Commission, Sheriff, Register of Deeds, the County Clerk, and and the County Trustee’s office.

For thirteen years, these officeholders ignored term limits, filed lawsuits, and fought to preserve a system of cronyism. On January 12, 2007, the Tennessee Supreme Court finally ruled the term limited officeholders had to go. (source: Knoxville News Sentinel “A Dozen Done,” January 13, 2007)

On January 31, 2007, the County Commission voted to appoint 12 replacements for these officeholders, but not in what most observers in Knoxville considered a forthright, public process. (source: Knoxville News Sentinel “Backroom Deals,” January 31, 2007)

Some of the more egregious activities that occurred during the January 31 commission meeting include:

1. Outgoing commissioner Diane Jordan nominated her son, Josh, who mows lawns, to replace her, and even voted for him.
2. Commissioner Mark Cawood succeeded in getting other commissioners to vote for his wife to replace him.
3. Commissioner Billy Tindell was immediately appointed to the position of County Clerk.
4. Commissioner Craig Leuthold's father, Frank, was appointed to represent the same district.
5. Commission chairman scott "Scoobie" Moore nominated and successfully pushed through his campaign treasurer for a seat that was not even in his district.
6. Outgoing sheriff Tim Hutchison nominated his chief deputy, J. J. Jones, to replace him who then hired Hutchison back as his chief deputy.
7. When the commissioners were deadlocked, they recessed out of view of voters in violation of the Tennessee Open Meetings Law, where they proceeded to strong-arm commissioners to change their votes.
8. The commissioners swore in one of the newly appointed commissioners, but not the other six newly appointed commissioners, to break a deadlock vote.
9. Commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert asked 2nd District nominee Jonathan Wimmer to vote for 4th District nominee Lee Tramel in exchange for a seat on commission. (source: Knoxville News Sentinel “Wimmer Says He Refused to Trade His Vote for Appointment,” February 2, 2007)

The process was described as “a circus where at any time, Boss Hogg of the Dukes of Hazzard was expected to enter the room.”

Topics:
273
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Fri
Feb 2 2007
10:24 am

Iffy lube - One of those quickie shops where you get your oil changed. It's usually a little iffy as to whether they actually put oil back in your engine or replace the oil cap or drain plug.

Previous WOTD - Updation

Topics:
46
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Fri
Feb 2 2007
09:36 am

Help me identify the birds in the (not very good) photos after the jump. (Also taken at Kyker Bottoms.)

Continued...

51
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Fri
Feb 2 2007
08:54 am


Hooded Mergansers (I think?) at Kyker Bottoms.

(Click image for larger view.)

Continued...

Fri
Feb 2 2007
07:32 am

Jonathan Wimmer says that Lumpy Lambert offered him a seat on County Commission in exchange for his vote for Lee Tramel. The Knoxville News Sentinel has the details.

Wimmer refused the deal on ethical grounds. He should have taken it. Tramel was a lock. Now the 2nd District has Bolus and Democrats give up a seat to the Hutchison Republicans. Besides, since when does Knox County government involve ethics?

In other news, Ragsdale accused of strong-arm tactics. Looks like Hutchison has the stronger arm.

220
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Fri
Feb 2 2007
07:28 am
By: Patricia  shortURL

If any of you can explain in detail what process and paperwork is needed for a recall of our county "elected" officials, could you please post it?

Thanks

53
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Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.

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