Thu
Feb 15 2007
06:07 pm

From today's Knoxville News Sentinel, "Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale confirmed this morning the school board is discussing a buyout of schools Superintendent Charles Lindsey's contract. Ragsdale, who was hosting an orientation for new county commissioners, told them he knew they had heard about possible action on Lindsey's contract."

The Knoxville News Sentinel quotes County Mayor Mike Ragsdale, "I'll keep you clued in as I know things, but I know the school board is looking at that."

I wonder who will be foolish enough to want the Knox County Schools Superintendent job? Considering the way Dr. Charles Lindsey has been treated you have to wonder why anyone would apply for the position.

The County Mayor has made quite the political comeback. This article in the Knoxville News Sentinel shows why. Why is it so few question the News Sentinel's extremely favorable treatment of the County Mayor?

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Thu
Feb 15 2007
05:03 pm

We have heard the rumors, someone finally wrote about it.

57
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Thu
Feb 15 2007
03:45 pm

New at Facing South: AT&T v. rural broadband. Lots of other good stuff this week, start at the top and scroll down.

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Thu
Feb 15 2007
01:49 pm
By: R. Neal  shortURL

From Scott Barker's KNS article referenced earlier in Disclosures VII regarding newly appointed County Commissioner Richard Cate: "Cate said they've paid their tax bills. "I have a clean bill of health with the IRS and the state tax people and the county tax people," Cate said.

It appears, however, that one of his companies involved in a bankruptcy mentioned in the article (Blaze Fence, listed as administratively dissolved by the Tennessee Secretary of State) owes more than $4200 in unpaid property taxes to Knox County and the City of Knoxville. (Details here, PDF format). There are also unpaid taxes on another piece of property owned by Cate.

Paul Pinkston said he wouldn't consider a nominee who owed back taxes. Did Pinkston vote for Cate? I don't recall. (UPDATE: He did not.)

In a totally unrelated disclosure, there's this from an October 1998 Knoxville News Sentinel article by Tom Humphrey:

The [Registry of Election Finance] is threatening to impose fines on two Knoxvillians for failure to file required reports on their 1998 lobbying activities.

Richard Cate, who registered as a lobbyist for the Downtown Organization of Knoxville, faces a civil penalty of $750. Bill Nolan, a veteran lobbyist who has represented several clients, faces a penalty of $400.

Cate still had not filed his required report, said Peggy Nance Williams, executive director of the registry. Nolan filed but did so past the deadline for doing so, she said.

The point of all this is not to pile on, but that County Commission did not perform due diligence on the nominees and that there were no public meetings to discuss possible issues with these unelected officials.

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Thu
Feb 15 2007
01:26 pm

By way of All Hat No Cattle, a limerick by Madeleine Begun Kane in honor of Scooter Libby, and this.

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Thu
Feb 15 2007
12:52 pm

Mr. Bush's planners estimated that there would be a need for only 5000 troops in Iraq by December, 2006.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Slides obtained by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act contain a PowerPoint presentation of what planners projected to be a stable, pro-American and democratic Iraq after the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

This may give some insight as to how a well-meaning legislator could be mislead into going along with the others to enable his crusade.

I've never really liked PowerPoint presentations. Maybe George could just blame the whole thing on Microsoft.

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Thu
Feb 15 2007
11:36 am

According to the Maryville Daily Times, the Save Chilhowee Mountain citizen's group is suing Harmony Development for violations of environmental regulations in relation to the Happy Valley residential project on Chilhowee Mountain near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Harmony counters that they haven't done anything wrong and that these lawsuits threaten their deal to lease and reopen Camp Montvale, a concession they made to get approval to proceed with the development. (My prediction: even if Camp Montvale ever reopens, expect it to last about two years before it becomes "no longer economically viable" and condos replace it.)

According to the article, Harmony also said in a press release:

[Harmony] has hired at its own expense, S&ME, a worldwide leader in environmental assessment, to objectively provide technical advice and oversight on the project.

"Thus, the design and construction of the Overlook at Montvale can be assured to go above and beyond reasonable standards of environmental quality."

For some reason that name rang a bell. Sure enough, S&ME was named as a co-defendant in a $500 million lawsuit involving illegal dumping of toxic waste that contaminated South Knoxville groundwater during Knoxville's infamous Coster Shop cleanup. That case was settled out of court.

The Save Chilhowee Mountain citizen's group previously sued Blount County to demand enforcement of the county's own zoning and environmental regulations. Not sure what the outcome of that was, but the development is proceeding regardless. Maybe County Mayor Jerry Cunningham told them to shut up.

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NPR reports on the US's ranking of 20th out of 21 developed nations in terms of childhood wellbeing. At least we beat Britain! I imagine all they have to do is reform their dental care system and we'd slump to last place...

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Thu
Feb 15 2007
10:45 am
By: R. Neal  shortURL

As a follow up to Disclosures III, the Knoxville News Sentinel's Scott Barker has the details on newly appointed County Commissioner Richard Cate's sexual harassment lawsuit and previous bankruptcies.

According to the article, several commissioners said they did not know about this before voting to appoint Cate to County Commission.

Bonus: bizarro quote from Lumpy Lambert:

"I don't know (Cate) extremely well, but he does not seem like the type to do something like that," Lambert said. "But Ted Bundy didn't either."

Which is why Lumpy is the media's favorite go to guy for commentary on county politics.

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Thu
Feb 15 2007
01:17 am
By: Dr. Write  shortURL

President Bush tried to take on a lighter side today in news talks of Iraq/Iran. Seems like he was the only one laughing. I feel on the other hand that the man is not only hilarious, but a comical genious. Hell, It seems like he is always Pausing for a punchline.

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Thu
Feb 15 2007
12:29 am

Via Brittney, Nathan Moore asks:

So, I return to my query … why does one little human being require so much space? I have several friends with one toddler who have purchased the minivan/SUV. Is it a safety issue … more structure between a child and a crash impact? Are they anticipating the need to fully stock a bake sale every weekend? Are they always going to be in charge of driving the entire soccer team to away games? Do their kids just have that much crap? Or, is this an important stamp of motherhood that I have overlooked? I like my little stickshift Civic and Catherine’s carseat fits just fine in the back.

We didn't change cars after the first kid. We did OK with a Honda Civic and a Mercury Sable. Putting Katie in the car seat in the back seat of a two door Civic was somewhat less than fun, though. One part of the increasing popularity of SUVs and mini-vans is undoubtedly due to the increasing requirements to use car seats and booster seats, and the advice to put kids in the back seat for maximum safety. Tennessee, for instance, requires booster seats for children as old as eight and up to a height of 4'9".

Then my mom (who can no longer drive) moved in with us. Then we had a second child. We knew something had to give.

Continued...

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Wed
Feb 14 2007
09:58 pm

On how to wiretap government officials.(referring to R. Neals suggestion on,I post a "how to") Well..I was joking that it should be made a law, showing how rediculous the patriot act is..but, we could always use Tyler Harber?

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Wed
Feb 14 2007
09:16 pm
By: Socialist With ...  shortURL

I swear on a stack of pancakes that every word of this story is true:

Except when I'm running a fever, I almost never remember my dreams. I can count on one hand the non-fevered dreams I've remembered over the last six or seven years. For the last 24 hours or so, I've been battling a nasty stomach bug that included a low-grade fever as a lovely bonus. It started last night right after I went to bed.

During the night, I only slept about 30 minutes total; it was during one of these brief respites from gastric fury that I had the first dream I've remembered in the last couple of years.

It was about KnoxViews.

Yes, I dreamed about a blog. Read about my irredeemable dorkiness (and perhaps psychic ability) after the jump.

Continued...

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Wed
Feb 14 2007
08:17 pm

I found this post by Kevin Drum, in which he analyzes Insty's recent assertion that we should just go ahead and kill Iranian atomic scientists, pretty interesting.

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Wed
Feb 14 2007
08:01 pm

From a library press release:

Nikki Giovanni To Launch National Book Tour from Knoxville on March 27
(Knoxville, TN) University of Tennessee’s Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature is very pleased to host Nikki Giovanni for a special appearance at the Tennessee Theatre at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27. The renowned writer/poet will be joined on stage by UT’s Love United Gospel Choir. The event is free and open to the public. Carpe Librum Booksellers will provide books for signing.

Continued...

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Wed
Feb 14 2007
06:16 pm

Here's a likely timeline of upcoming topics and activities, Knox County Commission:

Tuesday Feb. 20th, 8 a.m. Special Called Meeting: assign the newly appointed to committees, vote on proposed ethics committee, likely vote on proposed special election. This is followed at approximately 8:30 a.m. by the regular monthly Intergovernmental Committee meeting and 10 a.m. by regularly monthly Finance Committee meeting.

Monday, Feb. 26th, 2 p.m. Monthly County Commission Meeting. Likely big item: vote on funding the defined pension plan (sheriff and deputies) permitted by the recent referendum. Another likely big item: vote on stormwater ordinance. I'm still researching the details on this one. The initial reaction has been along the lines of "better than nothing, better than past plans, but not as good as the city ordinance."

Let me remind folks of two ways to express reactions to County Commission decisions. Our e-mail is commission@knoxcounty.org. Those get forwarded to all commissioners. There also is a Public Statements portion at the regular monthly meeting. Anyone can sign up and speak at the meeting. Further, if you indicate your interest the Wednesday before the meeting (215-2534), you name will appear on the agenda.

--Mark Harmon

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Wed
Feb 14 2007
04:48 pm

Interesting development considering the letter to Mayor Haslam and the statements by the man who waited 3 hours last night to speak at the City Council meeting during the public forum. I've got it taped so I'll update this post with his name when I get a chance.

You can read the N-S story here.

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Wed
Feb 14 2007
02:54 pm

It's cold again but it's time to think about this year's garden. My brother tells me every winter of the fabulous plans he has for the spring, although he hasn't found the necessary round tuit for at least ten years now.

(more after the break)

Continued...

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Wed
Feb 14 2007
02:49 pm

As a State Representative you are very uninformed!! Mark Saroff and his total failure to redevelop his property and allow historic buildings to be lost forever is the “tragedy”...not his loss of clothes and a vehicle which can be replaced. Saroff had many opportunities to develop the property with many substantial developers but Saroff was impossible to come to terms with. Here are a few facts Mr. Campfield:
1. It is obvious that you have not read the Supreme Court decision in the Kelo Case or the response by the City of New London’s Community Development Agency.
2. You do not understand the public process involved in eminent domain and seized the opportunity to jump on the bandwagon of other ignorant politicians and their “knee jerk” reaction to an issue that is sensitive to any property owner.
3. You stated that Saroff has been working toward a sale. If you know Saroff at all then you know that is not true.
4. Saroff’s property was first condemned in 1993, 14 years ago. Do you not think public officials have been more than patient with this property owner?
5. You said Saroff paid his property taxes. Part of that is true. He paid some of his taxes. However, my understanding is that Saroff did not pay the last tax bill to keep the buildings from being sold in a tax sale. In fact, those taxes were paid by one of the mortgage holders.
6. Two of Saroff’s buildings have collapsed roofs and should be demolished, the one on the far west and the one across the street from those that burned. Why did you not mention the status of those buildings? Or do you choose to state inaccurate facts about the situation? Also, only very minor work was performed on the rear of one of the buildings and the contractor filed a lien for non-payment. Why did you not mention that fact? Was it because it was negative? Saroff doesn’t pay his taxes or his contractors.
7. You said many people are “now” interested in his loft space. Mr. Campfield...developers have been interested for the past 5+ years to no avail.
8. When you were attempting to explain facts….why did you not say that Saroff was living in the building illegally!!
9. What is the difference between a tax sale by the City and eminent domain
action? The eminent domain action means the owner receives the “fair cash
market value” of their property based on an independent appraisal. The tax
sale means the owner gets “NOTHING” or at a minimum …..the excess above the taxes owed, which generally is nowhere near the true value.

Mr. Legislator!!!!! Please get your facts straight!!!!

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Wed
Feb 14 2007
01:42 pm

Over at a slightly less progressive place I examine the issue of freedom of speech and thought.

Are Global Warming Skeptics criminals?

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174
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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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