Jan 26 2007
05:47 pm

Word on the street is that Sheriff Tim Hutchison is set to release his final report on the Tyler Harber affair at any moment. Developing...

(KnoxViews prediction: "Nothing to see here. Move along." Unless Sheriff Tim decides to take a parting shot at Mayor Ragsdale?)

(KnoxViews prediction #2: Betty Bean will be busy this weekend, and the Halls Shopper will have to stop the presses!)

UPDATE: Word on the street is that the news will be huge, and that prediction #1 above is way off the mark (i.e. more like the speculation in the second part about a parting shot). Reporters are gathered at the City County Bldg. awaiting word...

OBSERVATION: The timing is certainly interesting, what with Sheriff Tim set to be replaced next week and all. But even more interesting is that if this is really big it could push Knox County government replacement news right off the front page, and focus all the attention on Mayor Ragsdale instead of the County Commission back room maneuvering.

UPDATE: Hutchison releases Harber investigation. No charges against Harber. Article is otherwise a rehash of stuff previously reported in the Halls Shopper, with gratuitous Lumpy Lambert quotes. There will probably be more after reporters have time to wade through reams of documents. Apparently there's no executive summary, other than "no charges against Harber." In the time they spent printing the "two inch thick document" they could have posted it on Shurf Tim's website and we'd know what it says by now. Pretty lame. But typical, I guess.

Jan 26 2007
05:02 pm

Dear Friends and Neighbors,
A quick note that the candidate forum scheduled for Monday at 6pm is still on, but the location has moved to Whittle Springs Middle School's auditorium, 2700 White Oak Lane (the corner of Whittle Springs and White Oak).
Great thanks to Whittle Springs Principal Benny Perry who responded quickly and favorably to house the event when Fulton High officials forgot to include the academic banquet on the auditorium calendar and did not notice the conflict until this morning.
The schedule of events will be:
6pm to approx 7 pm, County Commission, District Two, all candidates seeking appointment asked to give a three-minute statement, followed by audience questions.

Approximately 7pm to 8pm, county-wide candidates (sheriff, county clerk, trustee, register of deeds) same format.

Approximately 8pm to 8:30pm, any candidates from other districts, same format.

Mark Harmon, County Commissioner, District Two

Jan 26 2007
04:52 pm

Public Forums:

So far we are aware of two ad hoc public forums for replacement candidates to meet with the public:

According to the KNS, commissioners Leuthold and Hammond are holding an open public forum for 5th District candidates, Saturday Jan. 27th from 10:00 AM to 12 Noon at the Cedar Bluff library branch.

Commissioner Mark Harmon has organized an open public forum scheduled for Monday, January 29th, starting at 6pm in the Fulton High School Auditorium. UPDATE: EVENT MOVED TO WHITTLE SPRINGS MIDDLE SCHOOL AUDITORIUM, 2700 White Oak Lane (the corner of Whittle Springs and White Oak). "Public, candidates, commissioners, and all interested parties are invited." More details here.

If you are aware of any other public forums, meetings, discussions, etc., please let us know in comments and we will post updates.

Local TV News:

The KNS, WBIR, and WNOX are hosting a one hour program on WBIR Channel 10 TV At 7 PM Monday, Jan. 29th, to "explain who's in contention and to offer perspective from journalists, public officials and others."

If you are aware of any other local TV broadcasts for discussion of/with replacement candidates, please let us know in comments and we will post updates.


Online, the Knoxville News Sentinel has this website with a list of persons seeking appointments, including letters and resumes where available.

(KNS writers are posting frequent background/updates at Michael Silence's blog.)

WATE has compiled this list of candidates.

WBIR has this site with a news archive and candidate lists with letters and resumes. (Thanks, Katie!)

KnoxViews has compiled this list. Please let us know of any updates or additions in comments on that post.

KnoxViews also has this extensive, up to date archive on the controversy.

Jan 26 2007
01:38 pm

In the case of Della Volpe v. Jordan and the Knox County Election Commission:

The only issue before this Court is whether or not the election involving Mr. Della Volpe and Commissioner Jordan is to be certified as a valid election, and I think the Supreme Court by virtue of declaring vacancies in these offices has already declared that it is a void election, and this Court doesn’t need to take any additional steps in that regard. I think the controversy that was before this Court has been rendered moot by the decision of the Tennessee Supreme Court. I think they have already made that ruling.

So if you want to certify something to the Commission, Mr. Della Volpe, you may prepare an order to the effect that this Court finds that the decision has already been made by the Tennessee Supreme Court that the election in August 2006 involving term-limited officers in Knox County was in fact a void election...

Does this mean the runners-up in those elections are the rightful officeholders? It could also seem to affect whether term-limited commissioners currently serving get a vote, or whether it is up to the remaining commissioners, or whether the runners-up (where there was opposition) automatically fill the vacancies.

But, this would be in conflict with the Tennessee Supreme Court order that current officeholders will continue to serve until they are replaced, and that the County Commission will replace them.

Sounds like this could get interesting. Or maybe I'm reading it all wrong?

(Here's a PDF of the ruling, courtesy of Scott Emge.)

Jan 26 2007
01:26 pm

Former Senator and current Presidential Candidate John Edwards now has the largest and most valuable home in his county boasting a home that is over 10,000 square feet as quoted in the New York Post and 28,000 square feet in the Carolina Journal. Either way it is really big.

Mr. Edwards is famous as the Vice Presidential Candidate of 2004 who mesmerized America with his famous “Two Americas” speech during the campaign and debates.

Maybe Mr. Edwards was right, maybe there are “Two Americas”. Which one does he live in?

Jan 26 2007
12:33 pm

Check out what Chris Wage found on his new computer hard drive.

Jan 26 2007
11:52 am

There's got to be a country music song somewhere in all this.

(More details here.)

Jan 26 2007
11:22 am

TVA is complaining that the warm winter (so far) has lowered consumption and reduced power sales by about $95 million.

They are hoping for colder weather over the next few weeks and for an unusually warm spring to get "power sales humming along with air conditioners."

It seems like they should be happy about lower consumption, which means less pollution.

Jan 26 2007
10:30 am

Former Knox County Commissioner Madeline Rogero recalls a controversy surrounding a School Board vacancy several years ago.

Being new on the County Commission, Rogero was surprised that a presumed nominee was selected to fill the vacancy without consulting commissioners in the district. She notes "backroom politicking was in full swing."

She mobilized residents in her district and organized a public forum which was widely attended and got significant media coverage. As a result, Dr. Paul Kelly emerged as the only nominee, and was appointed with the unanimous support of the community and County Commission.

Madeline Rogero concludes: "I respect my fellow commissioners who, fifteen years ago, listened to the will of the voters. They had the authority to make an arbitrary, expedient, political appointment. They chose instead to open the process, participate in our forum, listen to the potential candidates, and then pick the best qualified. Should we not expect the same of our county commission today?"

Read her full account after the jump...


Jan 26 2007
09:57 am

WBIR has coverage on the new Cumberland Avenue plan.

More here.

After months of planning and public input, the group working to redesign the Cumberland Avenue Corridor unveiled the nearly finalized plans Thursday night.

The proposal calls for shrinking Cumberland from four to three lanes of traffic. There would be a center turn lane and room for bikes to share the road.

Planners say one of the drawbacks is it could take about a minute longer to drive through the area.

But overall, the people who saw the designs were pleased.

"Looking at the plans, they look pretty cool, and there's a lot of potential there," said James Smith, a UT student studying urban design.

The next public meeting is set for Feb. 22. After that, the proposal will go to the city council for approval.

"We're very excited about the opportunity to very rapidly change the shape of the corridor, and there's some strong excitement from the city on a political level that I think will move this forward very rapidly," said Ed McKinney, the project leader.

Public Meetings

Public meetings will be held in the University Center at the corner of Cumberland Avenue and James Agee Street/Phillip Fulmer Way with free parking in the parking garage adjacent to the building. Enter the parking garage from Phillip Fulmer Way, the top level has direct access to the University Center.

Thursday, January 25. Public Meeting # 4. 6:00 pm, University Center Ballroom.
Thursday, February 22. Public Meeting # 5. 6:00 pm, University Center Ballroom.

Jan 26 2007
01:45 am
By: CL  shortURL

I couple of days ago, someone put up a poll about which knucklehead would file a federal suit to block the appointments replacing the term-limited office holders. I didn't vote because the one person I thought might do it was Herb Moncier and he wasn't on the list. Then I thought he wouldn't do it because what reason would he have.

I was wrong. He did. WVLT story

Jan 25 2007
06:06 pm

California has banned the purchase of electricity from coal-fired power plants.

According to the article, there are practically no coal-fired power plants in California but they get up to 20% of their electricity from coal-fired plants in other Western states.

Jan 25 2007
02:09 pm
By: Johnny Ringo  shortURL

Harold Ford, Jr. has become Chairman of the DLC:

WASHINGTON — Former Memphis congressman Harold Ford Jr. today accepted the high-profile post of chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, the moderate policy group that a little-known Arkansas governor named Bill Clinton led to national stardom and the presidency.
The announcement was made this morning at a Washington hotel breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, but had been anticipated for days.

Ford accepted the post, calling it "one of the most important organizations on the think tank landscape. "


Charles S. Giles II forwards his letter (PDF format) seeking appointment to County Commission for the 6th District:

I intend to be an active member of the Knox County Commission and have the desire to represent the residents of Knox County by opposing any annexation efforts by the City of Knoxville or any other government agencies outside the boundaries of Knox County.

I pledge to be conservative with the taxpayer dollars, but at the same time to make sure that essential services are available to all Knox County residents.

I am a proponent of good educational values and hold education as one of my top priorities. Investing in the educational values of our community will reap benefits that will help to strengthen our society as a whole.

Giles says crime and seniors' issues are also priorities. He says he is an Independent and not a member of either the Democratic or Republican party. He pledges to serve only on an interim basis, but does not rule out seeking future office.

Jan 25 2007
11:49 am

"When people first come upon the vast brick building, they think it's former life was as a warehouse, school, airport terminal or municipal building, John said. "They want to know what it was before we turned it into a house," he said." .... The house is new and will be featured by HGTV on the show, "What's Up With That House?"

Also featured on HGTV in 2004 was a converted SoKno schoolhouse. I guess it helps that HGTV is close by, just across the river.

Jan 25 2007
11:14 am
By: Scott1202  shortURL

My wife and I were watching tv last night and there was a bright green flash outside followed by our DTV going out for a couple of minutes. I heard on WBIR News later that there was possibly a meteor. Did anyone else see this and did whatever it was make impact anywhere?

Jan 25 2007
10:26 am

Bob Corker, 2006: Pilot is "the largest seller of biodiesel in the country."

KNS, 2007: Pilot "wants to start selling a soybean/diesel biofuel but cannot find a large regional producer."

(Pilot Corp. Customer Service in e-mail to KnoxViews, 2006: "At the current time, we do not have a travel center in Tennessee that has biodiesel.")

Jan 25 2007
12:33 am

ZD Net is putting to rest a nasty rumor that Microsoft is planning an early withdrawal of support for Windows XP Home and XP Professional operating systems in order to encourage buyers to upgrade to Vista. They are saying we should expect support through 2011 for the Home version and 2014 for Professional. That should give me more than enough time to wear this sucker completely out then buy a Mac.

After reading of the advantages Vista offers over XP Pro, I don't see a compelling need to upgrade for my personal uses. I'm sure Bill Gates could not care less about losing a bunch of us old folks to the competition. Abandoning XP users would have been a great way to do it.

Jan 24 2007
08:26 pm

How Congressman Jimmy Duncan voted on the First 100 Hours Agenda legislation:

Ethics Reform Title 1, Rules: Yes
Ethics Reform Title 2, Ethics: Yes
Ethics Reform Title 3, Civility: Yes
Ethics Reform Title 4, Fiscal responsibility*: No
Ethics Reform Title 5, Misc.: No
Enhanced Intelligence Oversight: No
9/11 Commission Recommendations: No
Minimum Wage: Yes
Stem Cell Research: No
Medicare Prescription Drug Negotiation: No
College Student Relief Act: Yes
Energy Alternatives Act: No

(*Fiscal Responsibility provisions include Pay As You Go and Earmark Reform.)


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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