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
like
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.

211
like
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
like
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
like
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
like
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
like

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?

Topics:
51
like

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:
278
like
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:
47
like
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
like
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
like
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
like

The Knox County Commission called for candidates interested in filling term limit vacancies to submit a letter and a resume. They put up a website listing the candidates, including some without any letter or resume. This was apparently their idea of an open process.

Three candidates were appointed who were not on the list. Following is a snapshot of the names on the website yesterday and the appointments:

4th COMMISSION DISTRICT CANDIDATES: Scott Davis, Joan Wagner, Lisa Bogaty, William H. Daniels, Robert A. (Archie) Ellis, Jr., James Smelcher, Jr., John Deatherage, Craig Fischer, Debbie Barton, Mike Alford, Richard T. Cate, Ed Shouse, Elaine Davis.

4th DISTRICT APPOINTMENTS: Lee Tramel (not on list), Richard Cate.

5th COMMISSION DISTRICT CANDIDATES: Tom Salter, Marilyn S. Cobble, Pamela Treacy, Teresa Shupp, Gregory Harrison, Kyle H. Phillips, John R. Schoonmaker, Ken Gross.

5th DISTRICT APPOINTMENT: Frank Leuthold (not on list, father of Commissioner Craig Leuthold).

9th COMMISSION DISTRICT CANDIDATES: Josh Lowe, Bob Norton, Rob Huddleston, Matthew Myers.

9th DISTRICT APPOINTMENT: Tim Greene (not on list).

Charles Bolus was on the list for 2nd District, but did not submit a letter or resume.

There were plenty of qualified people who expressed interest. In at least one case (Tramel) and possibly another (Greene), there were more qualified candidates. In other cases there was an opportunity to bring in new, qualified people with fresh perspectives. Clearly that wasn't the plan.

Commissioners Craig Leuthold and Mike Hammond had a "forum" in the 5th District. The News Sentinel reported: "Saturday's crowd burst into applause after Hammond made comments about the process. 'I would much prefer the people make these decisions,' he said." Yeah, right. Note the 5th District appointment above. People who showed up for that forum wasted their time and ended up being insulted by the whole charade.

Mark Harmon was the only Commissioner who at least attempted to have an open process with public input from his district. Some have criticized how it was handled (i.e. not announcing there would be a straw poll that some candidates knew about but others didn't) and some have also questioned why he didn't throw his support to Wimmer when it was clear his recommendation (Amy Broyles, the "people's choice" as he put it) didn't have the votes (the first vote had 6 for Bolus and 6 for Wimmer). But at least he tried to represent his district and seek public input and carry their message to the Commission.

What happened to the pledge to "respect" commissioner's recommendations for their district? Or the plan to replace Democrats with Democrats and Republicans with Republicans?

And what about giving Tindell the bum's rush after the vote for county clerk? The outcome would likely have been quite different had he been able to remain in his seat for the rest of the proceeding. I'm sure that had nothing to do with the surprise parliamentary maneuvering to remove him.

244
like
Fri
Feb 2 2007
06:33 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL

KnoxViews.com was down for a while last night because of a fiber optic cable cut in Atlanta that caused routing problems in New York, or something like that according to our hosting provider. It appears the problem has been fixed.

Topics:
54
like
Thu
Feb 1 2007
08:48 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

I was looking through the old SKB archives for something completely unrelated and found this. Thought some of you might find it amusing. It sort of relates to the "The Way Down South" article mentioned yesterday.

Read the blast from the past after the jump...

Continued...

50
like
Thu
Feb 1 2007
04:49 pm

In the I'm-not-a-lawyer-but-I-play-one-on-TV department, here are some thoughts about the focus that Moncier's latest suit takes. (In a second disclaimer, I rely only on Barker's story, page A1 today, because the link to the complaint itself at the knoxnews.com site isn't working.)

It seems Moncier chooses an uphill, not to mention well-trodden, path in his attempt to temper or undo an existing supreme court opinion. That opinion has already defined, on the basis of *state* law, when an office is vacant and we need not rehash it.

Besides, our collective question now isn't whether vacancies existed, but what process should have been used to fill those vacancies. Since the court was virtually mute on that subject, they seemed, by implication, to validate the instruction available to Commissioners in our *local* law, namely the County Charter they upheld.

So, if the question of what constitutes a vacancy has already been answered in state law and if the instruction for filling vacancies lies in local law, why is Moncier posing this redundant question of vacancies and why is he looking to the wrong body of law, state rather than local, to undo a botched appointment process?

To wit, these are some matters of *local* law which should have guided yesterday's appointment process, but which Moncier fails to cite in his suit:

The Charter says nominations may be made by members of the Commission only. While the irony isn't lost on me, I think we saw Commission violate that instruction yesterday when they appeared, at least, to entertain nominations from the floor.

The Charter also says that each member of Commission may vote in favor of one nominee, by name, only. While that's ultimately what they did, I personally question Moore's repeated offer to Commissioners, after every Commissioner had cast a vote, to then change their votes.

Most compellingly, the Charter says that prior to voting, Commission *shall* (not may), by resolution or ordinance, establish the procedure for arriving at a majority vote. We didn't see a resolution or an ordinance either one, but we did see agenda-juggling, out-of-earshot discussion, and the appointment of two late-filing applicants.

I fear, then, that our would-be champion's focus is fuzzy.

253
like

The Oversight Committee meeting last night was well-attended, both by members and by onlookers (many of whom spoke to the committee about various issues).

In order to carefully listen and evaluate all proposed changes, the meeting lasted 4 hours. It was 4 hours of hard, thoughtful work by all participants, and I couldn't help being struck by the comparison to a meeting that took place earlier in the day (and we managed to get through 4 hours w/o one single recess - imagine that!)

Continued...

194
like

Upcoming events:

Lost Medicaid Funding

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

TN Progressive

TN Politics

Local Media Blogs

Local News

News Sentinel

State News

Wire Reports

Site Statistics

Last 7 days:
  • Posts: 21
  • Comments: 403
  • Visits: 11,555
  • Pageviews: 31,442
Last 30 days:
  • Posts: 124
  • Comments: 1855
  • Visits: 47,390
  • Pageviews: 135,853

TN Progressive

Nearby:

Beyond:

At large: