Mayor Rogero took exception to a column by Victor Ashe in this week's Shopper that had some rather harsh criticism of one of her staff regarding greenway construction. (Here's the column.)

Mayor Rogero emailed Victor Ashe calling him out "for so nastily and unfairly singling out a hard-working junior staff member" in his "weekly gossip column" and for "pestering" her office with "comically hypocritical" information requests. And she's just getting started. There will be consequences! Read the epic email after the break...

Dear Victor,

There are a few things I want you to know, from one mayor to another, and I want to be as clear and transparent as you would expect.

The first is that I found your most recent Shopper News column outrageous in its personal attacks on Lori Goerlich, the City’s Greenways Coordinator. Lori is a dedicated staff member who is leading the Greenways Commission through a comprehensive master plan for our greenways system. She had no control or authority over construction delays in the complex project you wrote about. The details of that project were explained to you many times, but as usual, you chose to ignore facts that didn’t suit your biases.

It is one thing for you to criticize me or my senior staff – we get paid to make the decisions and take the heat. It is something else entirely for you to so nastily and unfairly single out a hard-working junior staff member.

During the past four years, in the course of research for your weekly gossip column, you have taken up more time and occupied more City resources – by far -- than any other member of the local media. (I should say “alleged research,” because most of the information we provide you never appears in your column.) There have been weeks and months when your endless, largely trivial questions have required more attention than the rest of the media combined.

I welcome scrutiny of City services and operations, whether it comes from the media or members of the public, and I absolutely believe in accountability for myself and all City employees. But honestly, it is hard not to roll our eyes at most of your questions.

A lot of your pestering has been aimed at banal details of City operations -- remember when you threatened to file an open records request to find out the decorating scheme for a budget luncheon? (It was blue gingham.) Sometimes it has been comically hypocritical, like your outrage over pension enhancements that you created while you were mayor and from which you currently benefit. Then there is your concern with City election cycles, which you somehow never addressed during your 16 years in office but now find a matter of great urgency.

I have to say that in my conversations with mayors across the country, your behavior as a former mayor in harassing and haranguing subsequent administrations is unprecedented – and unprofessional.

But obviously you are free to your opinions and obsessions. What I really object to are these two things:

• Your personal attacks on my City staff, which have escalated over the years. Ms. Goerlich is just the most recent, and you seem to have a special penchant for picking on my employees who are women. Let’s be clear: This is my administration. If you don’t like something we are doing, the buck stops with me. If you want to criticize me, question me, or insult me, then have at it. But it is profoundly unfair to abuse public employees who have done nothing to deserve it and who have no way to respond in kind. Those are the classic tactics of a bully.

• The sheer amount of time and energy you occupy. City staff at all levels are too busy with real work to jump at your beck and call. The Victor-related workload here was already high before we started receiving additional information requests filed anonymously through an attorney that somehow always mirror whatever you’re interested in that week. Needless to say, this is not typical media behavior.

Four years is enough of all of this. So here’s what we will do for the next four years. I see no need to continue the pretense of treating you as a member of the media and including you on our media distribution list. You exhibit little or none of the ethics or interests of a professional journalist – you routinely ignore information that contradicts your opinions, you spread baseless rumors and sometimes you simply make things up.

We have dutifully answered your hundreds if not thousands of questions, most of which have gone well beyond what’s required under open records laws. But frankly, we’re tired of it. From now on, like any Tennessee citizen, you are free to file records requests with the Law Department for public information. But we will not respond to requests that go beyond what we are required by law to provide to you. I have instructed City staff other than the Law Department not to respond to you.

I am sure that you will continue to find fault with my administration and my ongoing failure to do things the way you would. I’m OK with that. My intention is to limit your abuse of public employees and public resources. If you ever want to talk, mayor to mayor, give me a call.


Mayor Madeline Rogero
City of Knoxville
400 Main Street, Suite 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

SnM's picture

Good for the mayor.

But His Pettiness surely will redouble his efforts to harass and humiliate those who are no longer at his beck and call.

gonzone's picture

I now officially have a huge

I now officially have a huge crush on Madeline! What a woman! I love you Madeline, more like this please.

spinetingler's picture

(No subject)

spinetingler's picture


That was supposed to say: "drops mic"

Dahlia's picture

That was beautiful!

So many great parts, especially calling it his 'gossip column'!

What a weasly, nasty, little man he is, harassing them this way. That is completely uncalled for and so glad she called him out on it.

Mr. Ashe, you do not own this city, nor the mayor, nor her employees. You had your time (and it was not shining by any stretch) so back off, get a life and leave them alone.

Mayor Rogero, you rock!

ShannonD's picture

Poor Vickie

He can't help it, he was born with a silver foot in his mouth!

Genet Gammon Weber's picture

Attribution for a great quote

The late Ann Richards was a terrific wit. I remember when she made this comment of George W. Bush during the Texas gubernatorial campaign, when he ran against her.

jmcnair's picture


I was also pleasantly surprised to see that Cecile "that's not how my momma raised me" Richards, president of Planned Parenhood, is her daughter.

Swatting away Little Jimmy Duncan.

turd burglar's picture


Rogero could axe murder someone in front of the City County Building and you fools would jump to defend her.

What a petulant child our current Mayor is.

Dahlia's picture

Did you learn that word

from Fox News when they used it to refer to Jeb! ?

Bullets, burgers and batsh!t crazy's picture

Deep thoughts from burd turglar

Ya'll are cute how you get pissed when a female mayor with some backbone stands up to a former mayor turned gossip columnist instead of being the ideal, proper female by keeping her damn mouth shut and staying in kitchen. You do raise an interesting idea though - if a Republican candidate espouses overtly racist and fascist ideas like ID badges exactly reminiscent of Nazi Germany right in front of the entire country would you scream that they be tossed from the field for stepping over the line? Or would your party elevate and jump to defend that person to front runner status making sure that his habit of keeping Hitler's speeches by his bedside table isn't made known to the general public?


"Trump is no reader or history buff. Perhaps his possession of Hitler’s speeches merely indicates an interest in Hitler’s genius at propaganda. The Führer often described his defeats at Stalingrad and in North Africa as great victories. Trump continues to endow his diminishing world with significance as well. “There’s nobody that has the cash flow that I have,” he told The Wall Street Journal long after he knew better. “I want to be king of cash.”"

Rachel's picture

Let's leave Trump and Hitler

Let's leave Trump and Hitler out of this thread, please. This is one of the few places I can go on the internet to avoid them.

John Mayer's picture

That's Tellin' Him, Mayor

Well said, Mayor Rogero, and I'm delighted that you pulled no punches. His Pettiness is a perfect title for him; he once told me, on the K2K comment board, that my views were "disgusting." My condemnation by this unpleasant little man has been a point of pride withe me ever since. (I'd said that his administration's cutting off transportation and, thereby, commerce with East Knoxville seemed to be a calculated effort to increase crime in that area, thereby qualifying for federal grants.)

Among his acts of vindictive pettiness was the destruction of the Park Theater on Magnolia, the last but one of Knoxville's once many neighborhood theaters. Chris Wooodhull and I had been striving to preserve it as a community performance and meeting center. The owner had agreed to donate the property, I'd found a roofer who'd offered to repair the roof at cost and Chris had gotten a promise from Demark (as I recall) to rehab the building as needed (it was in surprisingly good shape).

But the city had been quarreling with the property's owner (a Mr. Smith, as I recall), and we feared it might be torn down if the mayor was not made aware of our progress. That was our mistake.

The city was having a special council meeting on Market Square. I signed up to speak on this topic, but, at the end, learned no speakers were allowed for such special sessions. So I went to each councilman there and made my case to positive responses, ending with Mayor Ashe. "Mr. Mayor, I know when haven't always seen eye to eye, but there is an opportunity to do something very beneficial for East Knoxville. We don't need any city money, just a little time to save this property as a badly needed resource for East Knoxville." I gave a brief overview of where we stood. His response: "I'll see what I can do."

Two days later the Park Theater was flat on the ground. I must have frightened him. That was a decade or two ago; the property remains vacant to this day, on Magnolia, across from the site of the old Specialty Shop.

Scott's picture

Great letter to a little man.

Little Victor needs a diaper change. I am proud to see such an accurate response to Victor's nasty little articles.

Anonymous1987's picture

This is awesome!

I love this! Victor Ashe is a horrible person! I used to work at a downtown Hotel and the cheap ass would lie every time saying he wasn't parking his Mercedes to avoid a $10 parking charge. He's a fucking dick!

xmd's picture

Just WOW! Not sure much else

Just WOW! Not sure much else say's it like that. Way to go Mayor Rogero.

TSW's picture

Mayor Rogero's slam dunk of Vicky Ashe

I only wish everybody in Knoxville could read this. Vicky has been a laughing stock among many for years. But his proper fate is to be a laughing stock for the entire city and county. Great letter from the mayor!

Factchecker's picture

Too bad it needed to be said

Yep, that rocks! Thank you, Mayor Rogero--the good mayor.

thisguy's picture

Regal offices appraisal

He clearly should be focusing on her Regal deal to spend millions of taxpayer dollars without even getting the property appraised. That's a real story on taxpayer funds abuse.

GoodScout's picture

Amen, and quit costing taxpayers Victor!

Thank God for the current Mayor! It's bad enough taxpayers are shoveling money to Ashe and his family through pensions. We're tired of him wasting MORE taxpayer money through his wasting of staff time and resources. Sometimes you just have to call an arse and arse.

Anonymousrural's picture


I read the Ashe comments and thought they were reasonable unless your skin is very thin. However, I found Rogero's response to be over the top--overkill. I have met both and found Ashe to be very proud. Of course that was after his Ambassadorship to Poland. Wish that both could find better uses for their valuable time.

Factchecker's picture

Victor is known largely by the thinness of his own skin

Maybe you thought his comments were reasonable, which says a lot about you, but it's unusually ironic that anyone on the receiving end of that petulant bully's barbs would be the ones accused of having thin skin.

BrianHornbackdotCom's picture

Interesting that Sandra Clark

his Supervisor and his fellow Associate Betty Bean have nothing to say here. I've never been a big fan of Victor or Madeline but in this incident......way to go Rogero. Top that don't have the backbone, Rogero does...

Anonymousrural's picture


Yes, that's right: that's my opinion. I see you have one too. No need for you or Madeline to be rude or disrespectful. That letter WAS NOT becoming of a mayor. I'm sure the peanut gallery relishes a great mudslinger. TOPIX has shown us that anonymity produces viciousness. I can guess your tail would slide between your legs if you were actually facing a person.

Dahlia's picture

No one would have responded like this

unless they were pushed beyond their limits. It's obvious that Rogero has had more than enough of Ashe's crap.

She even went so far as to check with other mayors of other cities to see if his harassment was normal behavior, and it wasn't.

It sounds to me that she has been MORE than fair and accommodating for 4 years of this behavior and bent over backwards to appease his tireless, petty, busy-bodiness and she's sick of it. I guarantee you he didn't bug Haslam this way. It's completely uncalled for, rude and needed to be stopped. Rogero had every right. Ashe is nothing but a troll who thinks he's still something.

Somebody's picture


I've always been under the impression that Ashe's Presidential appointment for an extended stay in Poland was at the request of (or at least significantly encouraged by) the Haslams, in order to provide Ashe with something to occupy his time in a place far, far away. I think it worked fairly well while it lasted.

Janet Simpson's picture

No. It is totally mayoral.

No. It is totally mayoral. I don't say much but I will have my say here and I have plenty to say. I have never been so proud of Madeline or of any Mayor. Her support for diversity and inclusion is unmatched. Her courage has been proven. She has done a great job, a wonderful job. Part of her job is protecting her staff from abuse and pushing back on awful behavior. This is long overdue. I lived a long time in 4th and Gill and have worked at UT forever. I keep to myself but follow city politics closely. I watched as Ashe let fifth and Broadway and Central deteriorate. Not a bit of attention or investment. Same with North Gay. He let Cumberland go downhill without any attention. He failed South because he did not know how to bring in people. He did nothing on Magnolia and really little or nothing for the Old City. Let’s not even talk about Downtown. He got a few things started but all of the heavy lifting came later. So when Haslam, and especially Madeline get all this underway and change the face of the city what does he have to say in his column, or better put, his gossip column? Nothing that I can recall. Not a word about the wonderful progress our city is making. Rather he chooses, as obviously he can to write about his little pet peeves and to get even with those he perceive to have somehow slighted him. He names middle level staff and insults and berates them. He publishes salaries. Why? Because he can and he knows that it irritates people. I have to admit that I read this crap but I do so as a study in a dysfunctional personality.In fact he is some kind of sorry sociopath.

The issue here is not that Madeline is thin skinned. Read what she posted. If he wants to complain about greenways criticize her policy and spending. Don’t pick on a lower staff member and say she is not suitable for the job. I had no idea that he constantly badgers city staff to such a degree. She has no reason to put up with that. She is right to defend her people. No leader would sit by while their staff is abused and their staff’s time is abused. I am so proud of her. She is totally right to make this public and to call out the bully. As for the reference to Betty Bean, she knows. One of the finest things she ever wrote was about his horrid abuse of Ms. Mayfield when he and his flunkies rammed someone in to the Council seat because her late husband had the temerity to oppose his regal highness. She called him out for arranging the farce and violation of every notion of openness. I have no idea why anyone publishes his garbage. It is very badly written, self serving, and petty and provides no insight whatsoever beyond bits and pieces of gossip. As our mayor says, it is hypocritical. Transparency? That is totally hilarious. I have known this small little man for decades. He has never grown beyond one who gets pleasure out of making enemies, trying to get someone mad at someone else, and to stir conflict. He has no ethical core at all.Mommy handed him the job and his money and connections kept him in the game. He obviously wants to try to place some in her administration against others by picking favorites. I am quite sure he has no earthly idea who does what. It is all just a game. He had a great chance to go out with some shred of dignity but has decided to double down on all of his worst character traits. This is what he will be remembered for. Pathetic is the only word. Thank you again Mayor Rogero.

Protect the press's picture

Proof please

Mayor Rogero,

Your response to former Mayor Victor Ashe is an Anita Sarkeesian masterpiece of passive aggressive feminist misdirection compounded with a complete lack of evidence. You have outdone Ms. Sarkeesian who was the former record holder for feminist deception, misdirection, and deceitfulness. How can you back up your claim that reporter Victor Ashe has a “special penchant for picking on my employees who are women”? You have bested Anita Sarkeesian. No easy feat. Proof please.

First, reporting is not “attacking”. A reporter asking questions is not “taking time and occupying city resources”, nor is it “pestering” city employees. Asking questions and covering city government is not “personal attacks on your City Staff”. You claim the buck stops with you but declare it is “profoundly unfair to abuse public employees who have done nothing to deserve it and who have no way to respond in kind.” Did you cut out their tongues? Of course they can respond, unless you have forbidden them to.

You claim that city workers are “too busy with real work to jump at your beck and call” to answer a reporter’s questions? And lastly you claim that reporter Victor Ashe has asked “hundreds if not thousands of questions, most of which have gone well beyond what’s required under open records laws”. Over a four year period that works out to about a question per working day, or a question every other day. Your city workers cannot handle that? Seriously? They are that busy? How is it that you police department has multiple police brutality charges? Your city pension plan is barely making it? That you have to give 30 year TIF’s to get businesses to stay in Knoxville? If not complete forgiveness of taxes for 12 years or more? It seems that answering a question a day to the press is the least of your issues.

You claim you welcome “scrutiny” but then you ban the only local journalist covering city government. You, on your authority, “have instructed City staff other than the Law Department not to respond to you”. Is the heat in this kitchen not to your liking?

Unless I am mistaken, the KV poster “Scott” in this thread is part of the editorial board of the Knoxville News Sentinel. Scott writes, “Great letter to a little man. Little Victor needs a diaper change. I am proud to see such an accurate response to Victor's nasty little articles.”

With a close relationship like that, why did you not write an editorial in the Knoxville News Sentinel? Or are you too afraid to get this out to the people? Trying to silence the press without having anyone find out? Anita would be proud.

You need to provide some proof. Anita Sarkeesian claims “the accusation is the proof”. You claimed harassment, but you provide no proof. You need to be a Mayor first, and a radical feminist second. Your behavior is indefensible. You have no right to ban any reporter without proof.

Show us the proof.

Print your charges in the daily paper or withdraw them. You represent the third largest city in this state. You have embarrassed yourself and this city.

Jenny Kitts's picture

And yet, you remain anonymous

And yet, you remain anonymous and therefore have no credibility.

Rachel's picture

First, reporting is not

First, reporting is not “attacking”. A reporter asking questions is not “taking time and occupying city resources”, nor is it “pestering” city employees.

Umm, Victor's not a reporter. He writes an opinion piece. And asking for into is one thing. Asking for so much info that you repeatedly tie up an inordinate amount of city resources (which, or course, the taxpayers pay for) is quite another.

Actually, I thought the funniest thing about Victor's piece was the very last paragraph, where he suggested that greenways should be placed under the direction of David Brace or Christi Branscom because they are "doers." Guess what? Lori Goerlich reports to Joe Walsh (who is the director of Parks and Rec). Walsh reports to Brace, who reports to Branscom. In his many requests for information, Hizzoner apparently failed to ask for an org chart.

CathyMcCaughan's picture

Girls have cooties

I stopped reading at "feminist misdirection."

Rachel's picture

I made it to the second time

I've apparently been tied up with school and missed something. Who the hell is Anita Sarkeesian?

CathyMcCaughan's picture

It's the Gamergate version of

It's the Gamergate version of whining about Alinsky.

Rachel's picture

the only local journalist

the only local journalist covering city government.

Megan Boehnke will be surprised to hear this.

Unless I am mistaken, the KV poster “Scott” in this thread is part of the editorial board of the Knoxville News Sentinel.

You are mistaken.

Jenny Kitts's picture


And yet, you remain anonymous and therefore have no credibility.

fischbobber's picture


Scott Barker is not testicularly challenged and isn't likely to hide behind a mysterious pseudonym. Part of being a part of a free press is understanding when it is appropriate to stand up and be counted.

Appealing to people's prejudice and fairly reporting a project are two different things. I don't know that I've ever seen a major project, public or private go exactly as planned. There are usually reasons for the changes. Reporting and commenting on these reasons and inventing and scapegoating them are two different things.

Anonymous 4 a reason's picture

Watch out

He hides behind a lawyer. Anyone responding here should hide behind a firewall. Stay anonymous. Don't get sued. Even if you are right freedom of speech is not free. He has an army of lawyers.

Victor is a member of Skull & Bones

Jesse Ventura- Ex Navy Seal and Governor posted on his account

“George W Bush, a 3rd generation Skull & Bonesman, filled his cabinet and entire White House with Skull & Bones members...Ed McNally was sent to Homeland Security. Robert McCallum was the Assistant Attorney General. Victor Ashe was put on the board of Fannie Mae. And we all know how Fannie Mae took care of America with the housing collapse.”
- Mark Dice"

Google "Victor Ashe" and "Leola McConnell" and you will understand why commenters are taking extra precautions.

Don't underestimate him. He is old school.

Mayor Rogero is legion. She stands up against the KKK and now she is standing up against one of the most connected men in the world.

I am proud of our Mayor. We all should be.

SBill's picture

Rogero comments

I'm waiting for the Shopper News to publish this letter. Kudos to Mayor Rogero.

GWD's picture

Victor, Victor, Victor...

Now we know why you were exiled out of the country.

Don't mess with Madeline. She is well loved here.

10,000+ strong's picture

Trump visit

This is exactly why 10,000+ came to see Trump. So we can get rid of the Victor Ashes in this world. How is that Jeb/Victor/Haslam team working out?

Rachel's picture

KNS story. Victor's comment

KNS story.

Victor's comment (or lack or thereof) was quite interesting.

TNLady's picture

Rogero's Email to Ashe

Bravo! Just BRAVO~!!!

Bbeanster's picture

I cut my journalistic teeth

I cut my journalistic teeth snapping and snarling at Victor, starting back in the day when I was a government beat reporter/columnist at the Knoxville Journal, and for years was known as his most vocal critic in local media.

I take a backseat to no one when it comes to Victor-bashing. We went toe to toe for more than a decade.

We've buried the hatchet since his return from Poland, and I've realized some things about him. Philosophically, he's the kind of moderate Republican who is in short supply nowadays. You don't hear him fulminating about global warming, immigrants, abortion or any of that Red-state hot button stuff. He's probably as appalled by our state legislature as any KV poster.

His penurious nature is the stuff of legend – I certainly made lots of fun of his stingy tendencies when I wrote political gossip columns for the Journal and Metro Pulse. But in recent years, he's made huge financial contributions to causes he cares about – the botanical gardens, Legacy Parks and the Tennessee Clean Water Network – with little or no fanfare.

Yes, he's tactless and impatient and tends to harp on certain issues. But it should be remembered that parks and greenways were his legacy projects as mayor, and he greatly expanded Knoxville's inventory of both. His greenways chief, Donna Young, was highly visible, tireless and in everybody's face all the damn time. She got things done. Greenways expansion slowed down AV (After Victor), for whatever reasons, and it's no big surprise that it pisses him off. It likewise shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that he's vocal about it.

Finally, some of the reaction to Madeline's remarks has been venomous, loathsome and laced with the kind of innuendo that turns my stomach. Mob behavior has always given me the willies, and that's what this kerfluffle is starting to feel like.

Knoxgal's picture

Victor dislikes the Tea Party

Victor dislikes the Tea Party as much as we do

Victor Knower's picture

No. Victor believes in one thing

No. Victor believes in one thing and one process. He believes in himself and he beleives in stirring the pot to cause someone discomfort. His time has come and gone and he needs to behave with some dignity. So he hates the tea party by endorses Rubio. Seriously. This guy is the tea party favorite and the far right darling with Cruz. He is not even for a rape and incest exception on abortion. Look at his policies.

I assure you that Madeline will not write a weekly gossip column for the Powell Post and use it to glorify her years. His column is an unseemly attempt to stay relevent and glorify himself by diminishing others. It is very sad.

new in town's picture

don't get it

"Finally, some of the reaction to Madeline's remarks has been venomous, loathsome and laced with the kind of innuendo that turns my stomach. Mob behavior has always given me the willies, and that's what this kerfluffle is starting to feel like."

Are you talking about this KV thread? Or Facebook? What? I've not seen anything except huge support for Madeline. I don't see any innuendo.

M Davis's picture

V Ashe and Rogero

Well said, BBeanster.
I think Mayor Rogero let her temper get the best of her this time. (It's a condition with which I'm familiar) Ashe is a newspaper columnist and deserves the same level of response from the city as any other journalist or citizen, whether she despises him or not. I did my share of Victor bashing, too, but his column quite often includes insights and information not revealed elsewhere in this community. Ashe's writings should be taken with more than a grain of salt, but opinion columnists are often maddening to those in power. They have their place.

Dahlia's picture

Since when was

filing an open records request to find out the decorating scheme for a budget luncheon acceptable in any reporter's or taxpayers mind?

Rachel's picture

Finally, some of the reaction

Finally, some of the reaction to Madeline's remarks has been venomous, loathsome and laced with the kind of innuendo that turns my stomach. Mob behavior has always given me the willies, and that's what this kerfluffle is starting to feel like.

I agree with this. There's been a lot of thing said on KV about Victor that really bothered me. And frankly, I usually enjoy his column, even when I find it over the top.

That said, this time he was out of line. His attack on Lori Goerlich went beyond "tactless and impatient." He was, to use your word, venomous, and he deserved to be called on it.

Dahlia's picture

Mayor Rogero has always come across

as a very reasonable, low-key, person who doesn't seem to fly off at the handle about things. This email appears to me to be someone who is at their wits end, and frankly, fed up to the point of speaking her mind.

No one should be in a job and have to be subjected to the person who previously held that position, constantly criticizing them, calling their office and bugging their employees to the point of harassment. Good gracious, even the President of the United States is left alone by his predecessors.

Good for Ashe for the work he did on the Greenways and I'm very thankful to him for that and for his donation of $25,000 (I believe) for expansion a few years ago, but he needs to let go of the controls.

In Rogero's words, this has been going on for 4 years. Enough is enough.

Will Skelton's picture

Trying for a reasonable look at this issue

I’ve not used this forum before, but checked it out today to see the nasty comments I’d heard about regarding the Ashe-Rogero email controversy. I understand KnoxViews is supposed to be a “progressive” forum, based on its name. But if so I am somewhat surprised at the level of juvenile, vindictive and over the top comments being made by many posters about former Mayor Victor Ashe, which comments would be more typical of a right-wing conservative web site or talk radio. I expect the “anonymous post” aspect of the site is partially to blame, and always question anonymous comments made by people who don’t reveal their real names in connection with the post; note my real name on this post (I also note my friend John Mayer is one of the few who lists his real name and admire him for it). My take on this is that Mayor Ashe wasn’t perfect, but he was a good mayor and got Knoxville started on the way to becoming the vibrant place it is today, especially with downtown development (think convention center, parking garages, etc.), and he was the impetus to elevating our parks and greenways to an enviable position in the region and southeast. Likewise, Mayor Rogero is not perfect, but like Mayor Ashe she’s done a good job for the City and has made Knoxville an even better place to live during her administration (although in fairness greenways development has slowed under the terms of Mayor Haslam and Mayor Rogero, for various reasons, but hopefully that’s about to change). So I would urge everyone to step back a bit and, in this week of Thanksgiving, admire and be thankful for the good both Victor Ashe and Madeline Rogero have done for the City of Knoxville; I’m proud to have had, and currently have, them as my mayors.

fischbobber's picture

Greenway progress

I would beg to differ with the people that would equate the progress of the greenway system under the Haslam and Rogero administrations. In short, there is a huge difference in draining the pipeline and priming the pump.

When Obama's stimulus program was throwing cash at shovel ready projects Knoxville's greenway system got one unconnected short stretch of greenway that serves as a private walking path for a local corporation. That was the end of Haslam's pedestrian/greenway plan. It was budgeted out. Contrast Alcoa's pedestrian bridge allowing their world class urban greenway access to regional bike routes.

Mayor Rogero immediately instituted signage and road marking policies that began to tie our greenways together, plus provided needed navigation points for those attempting travel within our system. As a result, tens of thousands of people have gained safe access to the greenway system and both our regional and national reputation as a bicycle friendly community has grown in leaps and bounds.

The urban wilderness and it's trails are Madeline's baby. I challenge you to find a more ambitious bicycle project and outstanding use of public greenway. The project is funded both privately and publicly and is already one of the crown jewels of the region. It's the future and it wasn't waiting for funding when the Mayor arrived.

Finally the connectors and upgrades the system has received under the mayor have been outstanding. Please understand, this budget was built from nothing. Mayor Rogero has aggressively pursued a course of action that has benefitted and will benefit this city for years to come. Priming the pump is difficult. Now that her results are showing up she has more play with in the budget because the projects bear more weight than idle dreams. People like me that have the view," The world doesn't want to hear about the labour pains, it just wants to see the baby." have an easier time with "unforeseen delays" and "limited scope" when there are a pile of finished projects that all experienced unforeseen problems. It's been a couple months since I've ridden the area in question, but as one at least that much in the know, I'm not surprised there are delays.

I think the real point of friction between the two is a bit of jealousy. Mayor Rogero will pass Victor's greenway achievements in the first half of her term. I personally didn't think that was ever going to happen. Say what you will, Victor was a great park and greenway builder. The World's Fair Park was every bit as much Victor's baby as the Urban Wilderness is Madeline's. And, I would argue, every bit as important to the people it serves as bike paths are to me. At any rate, were I to venture a guess, I'd say Mayor Ashe views his position as the great park builder at risk. I don't think he's got a big enough wrench to throw in the works though, to keep Mayor Rogero from overtaking him. At any rate, Mayor Rogero has consistently done the smart thing and is in the midst of transforming our system from a pretty good local bunch of trails to a multiuser greenway that is both functional and serviceable at a number of levels. It's also becoming the envy of other cities. People from Chattanooga now ask me about our greenways instead of telling me about theirs.

bizgrrl's picture

Ash was a diplomat for

Ash was a diplomat for criminy sake. Does he toss that all aside to belittle low-level employees?
If he doesn't think the Rogero administration does a good job, then he should say so and not beat around the bushes.

Oh, and the gash through SoKno was completed under his term. Thanks Mayor Ash. I am so thankful we did not live in Knoxville during the devastation of those neighborhoods.

Can anyone say finger annexations? Which were halted by the state legislature.

From February, 2000, "Mayor Victor Ashe and former Fire Chief Bruce Cureton violated the civil rights of city firefighters who refused to support Ashe’s 1995 re-election campaign, a federal jury decided yesterday."

Roscoe Persimmon's picture

Neither Ashe or Rogero have much to crow about

Ashe was a comprehensive disaster of a mayor on all levels and under his much ballyhooed tenure, Knoxville gave up its title of the economic and business center of East Tennessee, with businesses left and right leaving Knoxville for greener pastures, reducing Knoxville's economy to a government, non profit healthcare economy.

With a Haslam stint between the two, Rogero hasn't done much to improve Knoxville' for profit economy (the non profits can take care of themselves)recently throwing $9 million in taxpayer dollars at the new black hole of downtown Knoxville, the South Knoxville Riverfront (it's actually a River Bluff)with nothing but a pile of torn down buildings and a late 80's office tower, purportedly going to relocate Regal Cinemas Knoxville offices (they call it a global headquarters, but the boss's office is in Denver and in Los Angeles) while absolutely nothing is being constructed on the site more than two years into the project. Under Rogero's watch Boomsday finally collapsed under the excuse no corporate sponsors and businesses and industry relocating to East Tennessee continue to bypass Knoxville and Knox County, although, the bulk of that incompetence is only partly on Mayor Rogero, there's plenty of buffoonery in the SuperChamber and in county government to lose business relocations left and right.

Ashe and Rogero can phisss on each other all they want, neither has an accomplishment in office that measures anywhere near the economic and growth successes that the mayors of Chattanooga, Nashville, and Memphis can point to and cities in and around East Tennessee like Maryville, Loudon, Clinton, Morristown, Greeneville, and Pigeon Forge do a much better job at creating jobs, economic opportunity and a sustainable business environment that anything either Ashe or Rogero can point to.

Protect the press's picture

800 word manifesto didn't work

Victor Ashe is still reporting:


Blacklisting a reporter is indefensible.

Roscoe Persimmon's picture

Vic is just trying to point out bad government

He should be most familiar with sloppy, mismanaged, misguided, and grandiose government, he spent just short of 20 years provided that type city government to the citizen of Knoxville, Knox County, allowing Knoxville to essentially reduce itself into irrelevancy in the economy of East Tennessee and the state as a whole.

A fitting tribute to old Vic would be to name the convention center after him, perhaps a permanent monument to him and his misplaced priorities and lack of understanding of what Knoxville is and perhaps more importantly what Knoxville is not and will never be.

Bad Paper Orig's picture


Ashe is a better reporter than he was a Mayor. Calling his column a gossip column doesn't make it so. That over reaction from the current Mayor has people wondering.

Bullets, burgers and batsh!t crazy's picture

Dilatant gossip and shear stress

How many requests did he make of staff?
How many pages of documents were copied and sent to him because of those requests?
How many workhours did fulfilling those requests equate to?
How much info from those requests made it into his column?
What could have staff been doing had they not had to deal with his requests?
How much did it cost to fulfill his requests?

When do unreasonable requests get dismissed out of hand?
Ridge direct his staff to deal with the media Ina similar manner? If so, why?
Did he start the pension fund mess or clean it up?
If a widely read mayor gives a dam about people should he use his column space to write about the uninsured in this state or gossip bullshif about greenway management? If he chooses the latter what does that say about his character? Does it say anything about the Republican Party?

When someone becomes irrelevant when does their opinion become so?

danandrews's picture

Special assistance to Knoxviews

First off, this is for statistical purposes only. Randy, has always been and continues to be an amazing professional. So, because this has become such a discussed item on this board, I sent an email to Mr.Mayshark for some clarification to provide this message board. This was not an open records act. This has absolutely nothing to do with either of my jobs.

Let me again make this abundantly clear. I did this on my own personal time. The sole purpose of the information provided below is to allow the readers of Knoxviews more clarity.

Also note, the email response from Mr. Mayshark is unedited.


"We don’t have an easy way to do that, no. But Eric did count a little while ago and he’s had at least 350 separate questions from Victor in the slightly-less-than-two-years he’s been on the job, and I’m sure I had something in that vicinity in the previous two years. (I wouldn’t be able to come up with an exact count, because for the first year or more a lot of that came in phone calls. He would call once or twice a week, sometimes more, with many questions. Eventually we moved him toward written questions, so we could keep up with them.) And those are just the ones that came through the Communications Department.

It is no exaggeration that he has been by far our most frequent flier in terms of media requests. And most of the information we’ve provided him has never appeared in his column. As for the attorney, there have been maybe a dozen of those – the Law Department has the records. Each one with anywhere from three to six separate records requests in it. Let me know if you want more information.



Also let me highlight that the overall request for information from the public has skyrocketed dramatically. Here is a perfect example of what is going on in the Public Information Offices. Today at 4:08 pm as people who follow me on Twitter know, I went to every floor of the City County Building to see and highlight who was left in the building working till the last minute and who skipped out early.

Mr. Mayshark was still working tirelessly behind a huge stack of papers


This is one Open Record request involving info about a recent news event that was requested by a reporter. Many citizens are asking questions and credit to SPJ, SEJ, TCOG, and other press organizations, we now have a more educated local press in regards to open records request.
Dan Andrews
Gathering information soley for Knoxviews Readers

bizgrrl's picture

Thanks, Dan.

Thanks, Dan.

Protect the press's picture

about 1.5 questions per working day for Victor

Now what would be more interesting would be the number of questions KNS, WBIR, WATE, and WVLT ask the Mayor's office.

So the reporters that ask the fewest questions are rewarded and the reporters that ask the most are banned. Blacklisted.

In a done deal town there is no excuse for this overreaction.

On the local city greenways there have been two murders, one accidental hanging, and at least one rape. Are we supposed to look away because the person that runs this department is protected by the Mayor?

This is indefensible. Banning the press is not the answer.

AnonymousTheseHereViews's picture

Yeah, Victor is just trying

Yeah, Victor is just trying to do his research. Can't do research without asking questions. Let the man do his research like all the other media personnel. Don't be blacklisters.

Oh wait. Maybe we should reread the Mayor's comments:
"During the past four years, in the course of research for your weekly gossip column, you have taken up more time and occupied more City resources – by far -- than any other member of the local media. (I should say “alleged research,” because most of the information we provide you never appears in your column.) There have been weeks and months when your endless, largely trivial questions have required more attention than the rest of the media combined."

B Harmon's picture


Looks like we have about 10 anonymous posters that have just showed up at the same time on this thread to take issue with our city mayor. Whoever you are, I am not buying your shit. Mayor Rogero is doing a great job and I commend her for taking this stance against a former mayor that has been needling her office for years.

FWIW, she never said she would not provide info to Ashe, he will just have to go through the regular channels.

GO Madeline!

fischbobber's picture

Based on Thanksgiving dinner........

What I saw at Thanksgiving dinner is that the Governor is going to try to spin the two top secret negotiated business relocations into the heavy lifting of the improvement of the local community. It was duly noted that the Ammo manufacturer was bringing some VERY well paid positions with him. If what is being touted as this great success runs true with the numbers I crunched, the actual floor jobs, the majority of jobs, will run in the 9-12 dollar an hour range. These jobs will not pay a living wage.

What does that mean? Well, you know that kid you met at the baseball clinic last year? The really good one? He was a non-living wage kid. He doesn't get to play. He's helping his dad with errands, side work, and chores. To make ends meet. Maybe they will, maybe they won't.

What does it mean? It means the guy will likely be caught in the wage trap the governor set for our working poor. He will be forced to pay for an insurance policy that will still bankrupt him in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury. He doesn't have a job, he's signed up for indentured servitude. The catch-22 of this system is that modern welfare is tied to employment. These people have to have these jobs to draw welfare money. It takes a full welfare ride, plus a full time job, just to make it.

What does it mean? It means that it will take the entire income of the house to survive. There is no money for savings, recreation or education. Consequently, there is no freedom of social mobility. Consequently, should one choose to aspire to greater economic opportunities, one would be best served to sacrifice all semblance of freedom and devote oneself to cultivating the largess of the upper class. It takes money to make a job a good job, and it doesn't look like this company going to be paying it.

So phase two of this fairy tale is that all Mayor Rogero is good for is building parks and that she's done nothing for business. What this story leaves out is that small business openings and entrepreneurship is way up under Rogero. Ironically, the type jobs Rogero is producing act in the opposite manner of the jobs Haslam is bringing. First and foremost they begin building equity and goodwill from the day they are conceived. The bike stores, the grocery co-ops, the bakers, the restauranteurs, the coffee shops and diners, the nightspots and entertainment venues all add value to their business by staying open. It's automatic savings. It's wage increases. It's hard work and risk, but there is a much brighter upside.

Anyway, it would appear the posters are pushback from Haslam, not Victor. At least that's what I took from between the lines at Thanksgiving. I really didn't ask too many questions. I've been getting into too much trouble for talking lately.

ann v.'s picture

100% supportive of Mayor Rogero

1) Remember Mr. Ashe's campaign slogan? Pretty sure it was "Let's Work Together". I was there on Luttrell at Bob Wetzel's front porch when Ashe declared. If I compare the Ashe and Rogero adminstrations, Rogero is more inclusive, results oriented, and more effective. How about S. Knoxville, the formerly unloved, unwanted part of town? So many beneficial developments, private-public partnerships in S. Knox. Who is really good at working together? City Council and the Mayor on behalf of the whole city.

2) I have been surprised and hurt by Ashe's columns. What is the point of such venom? I'm glad Mayor Rogero set reasonable limits.

3) I support and trust Mayor Rogero.

4) What a legacy for Ashe--not only does he cost taxpayers money with unreasonable media requests (see Rogero letter), but according to Tom Humphrey he has taken advantage of the pension system also: (link...)

Anonymoose's picture

Fools rush in

Rogero may have entertained a few of you folks for a short time but to think she accomplished anything by this letter just shows why PR is a profession not a hobby for amateurs.

You think she stuck it to Ashe but all she did was embarrass herself. With several seasoned journalists working on her communications staff I'm surprised Rogero could make such a blunder.

She could have politely and privately asked Ashe to direct questions about the greenways to her office. She could have cut back response time to Ashe's requests. He would have got the message and she wouldn't look like a pampered, petulant princess who only reigns because no decent candidate wants to run for her office.

Factchecker's picture

That's cute, Victor

Anonymoose is such a clever name

Protect the press's picture

ban fails - grow up Mayor


"The mayor’s rage

Is Victor Ashe annoying and hard to live with?


But a guy who has written a column for Shopper News every week for five plus years is a columnist. And this newspaper will support every columnist and reporter we publish.

Do we always agree with Victor? No.

Will we let a politician – even one we like – get away with denying access to public information? Nope.

Madeline Rogero is suffering from a bad case of second-termitis. She’s safely re-elected and now term-limited so what’s to lose?

Let’s ban that dancing butter stick and egg from the top of Magpies Bakery, even though the sign ordinance clearly allows for art.

Let’s just tell off the former 4-term mayor because he’s a pest.

Let’s charge the Fountain City Christmas parade $1,500 for police reserve officers for the first time in 48 years.

Call it another downside of term limits.

Victor Ashe was a political writer in college. He’s got a hammering style, but he’s also got a nose for news and the contacts to track down stories.

I recruited Victor while he was still in Poland to write a column for Shopper News. Back when everyone was speculating on what he would do next, we struck our deal.

Citizens are best served by opinions from a variety of informed sources. Lord help us all when the “news” we know comes from PR departments, be they City Hall or UT sports."

Rachel's picture



Protect the press's picture

what happens next


"If history is any indicator, Ashe will take one of two paths: the first is a tactical approach of continuing to bombard the administration with questions about administration activities and dare it to ignore him and, by extension, the Shopper News.

The other is to follow the maxim that revenge is a dish best served cold, and be more strategic in his reaction.

For example, instead of a rapid-fire barrage of questions about minor matters, his approach can become more selective, targeting topics with the intent of making the administration uncomfortable on a level much more significant than he has up to now. If this occurs, the subjects will be framed to interest other news media outlets as well."

cafkia's picture

A game can have more than

A game can have more than just one player.

The administration could respond to every information request with a gigabyte of digital data or a legal box of printed pages in no particular order. I rather doubt that Madeline or Bill or Jesse would be up for those sorts of shenanigans but they could do that. There are other things that could be done if in fact, getting into a shit-flinging contest is what was wanted. Perhaps Victor would be better served by remembering that he is not the only citizen and not the only reporter and, that there is damn little that comes out of the CC building that doesn't cost something. If he wants to play screw with the Liberals, I should not have to pay for it.

Speaking of things that cost, are you suggesting that because in previous years any policing costs associated with the Fountain City xmas parade have been borne by the city at large, those costs must always be passed on to the city at large?

fischbobber's picture

What it is.......

Victor is getting pissy because he's about to get showed up. There is an upgrade going on the greenway from Tyson Park through Neyland Drive including connecting to the Alcoa Highway bridge and the South Knoxville Wilderness. In additionThe Island Home greenway is fixing to be tied to downtown vis the construction project along Island Home/Sevier Ace. I've ridden from Earth Fare to Ijams late last summer and am familiar with the projects and the detours.

The detours are gnarly and the Mayor is doing the right thing to delay the opening until the last touches are finished and there is flow to the whole system. Greenway users will have real passage at Alcoa Highway, Henley Street, Gay Street and the South Knoxville Bridge, with real access to outstanding biking south of the river. If one was petty and more concerned about making himself look over glorified I suppose one would attempt to blame the weather on a lower level city employee or support someone in their quest to do so.

Hopefully there will be a tie-in between our greenways and the Dogwood arts festival so we all get as close a look at the finished product as we've had to petty criticisms.

Quoting George Korda as a source is every bit as legitimate as quoting Fox news.

Protect the press's picture

getting pissy because he's about to get showed up

The negligence of Lori Goerlich and Mayor Rogero concerning greenway violence is apparent. So your comment about being "shown up" is uninformed. Two deaths, one rape, and one accidental hanging in a year or so. Hopefully the Shopper and other papers will focus on the need for more law enforcement on greenways. Mayor Rogero is good at raising taxes. Not as good seeing where those additional monies should go.


Is it time to re-think greenway safety in Knoxville following homicide?

"Terrible news from the Third Creek Greenway: a woman has been fatally stabbed, suffering from multiple stab wounds.

It happened around 7:30 PM near West High School. A suspect was reported to be at large, with witnesses who were able to describe the assailant. A "person of interest" was detained for interviews, but no additional details were made available.

This latest incident is particularly troubling to me because it is the fourth local incident of a woman being the victim of crime on a greenway. One incident near Ijams on the Will Skelton Greenway happened in August 2013; another soon after in September, 2013 - the student assaulted said she saw the man again a half our later. Then within the same 3 week timeframe, another incident - this time a man with a knife threatening a woman - on a West Knoxville Greenway. Outside the Knoxville area, a woman was assaulted on a walking path between Sugarlands Visitor Center and Gatlinburg in June 2009, and in Maryville's Greenbelt in 2003 and 2008. These are just the ones in recent memory and that have been reported - is it any wonder that women might not feel safe on greenways?"


fischbobber's picture

Wow! Talk about textbook false cause logical fallacies.

If we are to use your logic on greenway safety, then the comparison/contrast between the Ashe and Rogero administrations in terms of Greenway safety shows just how far we've actually come under the Rogero administration.

We no longer have ritualistic/satanic slayings that were so highly profiled under the Ashe administration like the Pike/Slemmer slayings down by the Third creek greenway. Not one single ritualistic premeditated murder where the victims bones were carved out and kept as souvenirs has occurred since Rogero has taken over. That is a huge improvement over the Ashe years.

An even greater greater accomplishment is the elimination of the unsolved serial killings of homeless people along the Third Creek Greenway that plagued the area in the late eighties under the Ashe administration.

In addition, under Rogero, the zoo no longer employs serial killers with multiple personalities. Why, even considering comparing and contrasting safety in our public greenways and attractions would easily show how much better Rogero's administration has fared the Ashe's. This is probably due to the increase in patrols or maybe Rogero's hands on approach to dealing with city government.Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront, because it really does show that progress can be made when one deals with problems rather than letting them run their course.

Some of us have not only lived here, but paid attention over the course of the last forty years or so.

Bad Thought's picture

far out man

"Not one single ritualistic premeditated murder where the victims bones were carved out and kept as souvenirs has occurred since Rogero has taken over. That is a huge improvement over the Ashe years."

You call yourself a writer?

Mayor Rogero is lucky to have you on her team. Now that is satire.

fischbobber's picture

Now that is satire.

Nice catch.

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