Friday, February 29, 2008

Knox County Schools and Board Member Bratton Settle Case With Cash

This from this evenings News-Sentinel website. Knox County Schools have taken nearly 10 months and awarded $21,000.00 to the 24 year old custodian that alleged that she was subjected to sexual harassment from School Board member Robert Bratton.

The school systems reasoning is that the Principal Jeanna Swan Cole was incompetent and didn't follow protocol. Why should we the taxpayers pay for the system having an administrator that ignores board policy?

It is reported that Bratton will pay $3,000.00 to avoid litigation. What?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Preliminary P-Card Audit Released This Morning

This morning in response to an Open Records Request from WBIR, the Knox County Independent Auditor released the preliminary p-card audit on the Knox County Mayor's office. You can locate it and read it here.

The Knox County Mayor's office is expected to have until March 14, 2008 to respond. The Knox County Independent Auditor will have until March 28, 2008 to release the final report with findings and recommendations. By then we all will have the audit committed to memory.

Tennessee's Education Improvement Act of 1992 Was Supposed To Remove The Politics From Schools

Remember the Education Improvement Act of 1992, the one that took away your vote for a Superintendent of Schools. They said when they passed it, that they were removing the politics from the school operations.

This story from Memphis today,doesn't indicate that the law made any difference at all.

The Tennessee Legislature Loses One

Our Sympathy and Prayers to the family of former State Representative Gary Rowe D- Memphis. Yesterday morning he passed away after a battle with cancer. The 56 year old had served in the legislature since 2004. He is survived by his wife Diane and a son and daughter.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tennesseans Must Take A Stand Against The Pro-Death Legislature

For years our Tennessee Senate has passed legislation asking Tennesseans to vote on a constitutional amendment protecting the innocent lives of pre-born babies. It is time to rid our state of the pro-death members of the Tennessee House of Representatives.

The future of our state is dependent on electing citizens to the legislature that recognize the right of every citizen to be born. If you are pro-life and recognize that the killing of babies is wrong, immoral and unjust, then join with us by volunteering today. You can also join with us by making a financial contribution today.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Michael English The Prodigal Comes Home CD

My friend Michael English released his newest studio project today. The CD is titled The Prodigal Comes Home. I wanted to actually go to a store and pick up a copy on the release day. So this evening, I walked into the Lifeway store in the Turkey Creek development in West Knoxville and there was the new music display and Michael was a part of the display.

He has come full circle. God is a redeeming God. All the music on the CD is Great. But the tracks Sanctuary, The Only Good Thing in Me and Feels Like Redemption are Exceptional.

The CD title mirrors Michael's biography written by Michael and published and released this past fall.

Man, what a journey since I met Michael back in 1982 at the old WNOX auditorium on Whittle Springs Road. He was singing with The Singing Americans.

I have never claimed to be a prophet or the son of a prophet. But, when the christian music radio stations pulled all Michael's music off the air after he returned all his Dove awards for his public fall. I remember telling my friend John Hanna. (who has since gone on to his heavenly reward) John was general manager of Love 89 and Joy 62 I told John that the christian music industry was imposing a standard that they couldn't live with by pulling all Michael's music because of his public fall.

Sure enough, they didn't pull any others that had public falls, rightly so. The problem is that Michael was the first to have a public fall. God is strong, God is Love and his love is Redeeming. Michael is stronger today for the journey. I am stronger for having witnessed and been supportive of Michael's journey.

Go out and buy a copy of Michael's new project to support a man that has come full circle. After all we (Christians) are not perfect, just forgiven. Sounds like an old Hemphill's song. It is so true, we are not perfect, just forgiven. I get emails and see postings from carnal citizens that post on other blog forums about me. They post mocking comments and send emails to me mocking me, my faith and my church. I just ask God to forgive them as they know not what they are saying.

Check out Michael's website here and his myspace page here.

Do We Desire A Representative Form of County Government or a Referendum Form of County Government

With the 9 Charter amendments presented to County Commission last night by the 1996 Knoxville/Knox County Unification Committee (Don Parnell, Kathy Hamilton, et al) the question must be asked.

Do we desire a representative form of government on the County Commission or a referendum form of government that this ole' good ole' boy with a girl or two group wants?

Monday, February 25, 2008

County Commission Doesn't Want Your Opinion Until After The Second Reading

Prior to voting on the Knox County One Question, Commissioner Mike Hammond passed a resolution saying that upon passage on second reading that County Commission will host 9 public forums in all 9 Commission districts.

Wait a dang minute!

You mean to tell me. That County Commission led by Tank Strickland and Mike Hammond doesn't care what you (we) think until they pass the ordinances on second reading. This from Commissioner Mike Hammond, candidate for Knox County Mayor in 2010.

No Public Input. No open and transparent process. You would think he is bought and paid for by Tommy Schumpert.

Law Director John Owings to R. Larry Smith, Know Your Job and Do It

Commissioner R. Larry Smith said tonight "I don't know the Charter, maybe I should." In response Law Director John Owings schooled R. Larry Smith with "Yes, Sir you should know the issues as you are casting votes on them."

With that R. Larry became quiet.

Thank You, Law Director Owings!

Mark Harmon Doesn't Share Knox County Values

During debate tonight, Commissioner Mark Harmon used a verbal description of a visual picture of a newspaper editor expending bodily fluids utilizing indecent exposure. An act that if caught by Knoxville Police Department or Knox County Sheriffs Department would be a misdemeanor.

In the words of WVLT Volunteer TV Consumer Affairs Reporter Shirley Nash Pitts. Mark Harmon "Clean It Up!"

No Real Surprise on County Commission Chairman and Vice-Chairman Elections

Thomas "Tank" Strickland was elected County Commission Chairman unanimously. Commissioner Mark Harmon nominated Commissioner Mike Hammond. Commissioner Elaine Davis attempted to nominate Craig Leuthold. Leuthold declined in order to maintain his Finance Chairman position. Commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert nominated R. Larry Smith. In a surprise move R. Larry declined. Commissioner Paul Pinkston nominated Mark Harmon who declined. County Commissioner Mike Hammond was elected Vice-Chairman.

The comments make you wonder how Smith and Harmon came to endorsement and support for Hammond in less than two minutes without any prior discussion?

The News~Sentinel's Motivation

The following post is a contribution from one of our Brian's Blog contributors concerning this Knoxville News~Sentinel editorial cartoon by R. Daniel Proctor.

How much more of the Knoxville News-Sentinel's self congratulating "news coverage" are we going have to put up with?

If you look at the cartoon by Proctor on this
page, it shows that the KNS really doesn't believe it was "the people" who changed things, but the all powerful KNS. This proves that when the KNS's lawyers were claiming their lawsuit was "about the people" they were lying.

It never was about the people, it was always about the KNS and its attempt to control county politics and sell newspapers.

Will the readers begin demanding that the KNS start covering the news instead of its own self important interpretation of events, before they start going somewhere else for their news?

Oh yeah, they're already gone.

What Happened To Sharon? Mark's Wife.

This announcement in the Karns version of the Slopper News caused a few eyebrows to raise.

Lambert, Rountree to meet

Knox County commissioners Greg Lambert and Robert Rountree will meet at Hardee's on Oak Ridge Highway in Karns on Saturday, March 1, at 9 a.m. Rountree was appointed to the 6th District seat formerly held by the term-limited Mark Cawood.

What happened to this being the seat formerly held by appointed wife of term-limited Mark Cawood? Is this an attempt to try and erase history so that Sharon can make a run at Brad Anders or Kathy Bryant in 2010? Or is Sharon going to run for the seat currently held by Greg "Lumpy" Lambert in 2010, while Lambert runs for the State Representative seat in his district?

We all want to try and forget the short tenure of one Sharon Cawood however, it is a little hard to forget the Juvenile Court Clerk employee taking the long lunches, ribbon cuttings and let's not forget the legacy of stationary gate.

Here's hoping that the private citizen Sharon Cawood is doing well. The public official Sharon Cawood didn't fare so well.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

"Real" Journalists and The Mistakes They Make

Brian's Blog is criticized regularly for a word that is not spelt correctly or a grammar error on occasion. That is fine, we are open to criticism and will accept it when it is warranted. A lot of times it is our critics just being critical. However, the very same people do not criticize the liberals over at the local liberal blog for their errors. The very same people are not waging war on the KnoxNews commenter's that write worse than a three year old.

But today one of our sources asked if we caught the mistake by a "real" journalist in the News Sentinel. We confessed that we do not buy the paper, we simply view it online. But, we wasted 50 cents and bought one and sure enough a News Sentinel reporter evidently doesn't even know that name of his company or the title of his boss. Look at the scan photo below, check out the fifth paragraph and see what News Sentinel reporter Hayes Hickman referred to his boss as. It seems that Hayes needed to buy an s. Because Jack McElroy is evidently the New Sentinel Editor.

Amy Broyles..Networking The House

This from Metro Pulse.

Good Read

If our e-mail is any indication, the best-read document in Knoxville since the election is Amy Broyles’ campaign disclosure. According to the PDF document on, Broyles, in winning the 2nd District Democratic primary, spent $860 on child care and also bought a laptop, a Palm Pilot, and a Camcorder at Circuit City.

We assume the pizza and beer was for campaign events.

So now every teenage girl needs to start calling the Broyles residence to apply for the babysitting chores. If the campaign spent $860 for a short campaign like this one, think of all the potential between now and August 7, 2008.

A laptop and palm pilot? The campaign is certainly taking every opportunity to network the Broyles residence. Will this computer or palm pilot be used in anyway in the family business? Broyles may have difficulty in raising money for the general election because of her expenditure decisions in the primary.

To view the Broyles Campaign Finance Disclosure, view it here.

Ruthie Kuhlman..If She Can't Win You With Kindess, She Will Beat It Out Of You

This from the Metro Pulse.

Winning Friends

On a recent Sunday morning, Democratic attorney Dennis Francis opined, on WBIR’s Inside Tennessee show, that Democrat Finbarr Saunders would win the 4th District Commission seat over Republican Ruthie Kuhlman.

Francis was having lunch at Long’s Drugstore in Bearden a few days later when he was abruptly slapped on the back and upbraided by Kuhlman for his pick. Kuhlman noted she had handily defeated Richard Cate in the primary and would win the general election as well. Something about kicking Finbarr’s ass.

She slapped a card on the table with her campaign address and instructed Francis to send her a check for $1,000 for her campaign. Francis, who says he had never met the Republican candidate and says the conversation may have been an attempt at humor, does intend to write a check—but will send it to Saunders.

A Great President / Vice-President Ticket

Senator McCain and Myself

The day before Bob Corker was elected as the next United States Senator from Tennessee. Senator John McCain came to Knoxville. At the time, I was the Knox County Republican Party Chairman. My friend County Commissioner Craig Leuthold took this picture of Senator McCain and myself.

"We Tell The Truth"

It is fairly obvious that the man that I supported in 2000 will be our Republican Presidential candidate. He sums it all up in this 20 second interview with Laura Ingraham on Fox. "We Tell The Truth." As a sidebar, I hope that McCain will consider Mike Huckabee as his running mate.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Funny: Nicknames for Commissioners

It was suggested today on the voice (AM 1040 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon) that all County Commissioners needed a nickname. Several Commissioners have nicknames that have been given to them for many years, some earned them through campaigns. Here are the ones that we understand already exist.

Commissioner Greg Lambert = "Lumpy"
Commissioner Scott Moore = "Scooby"
Commissioner Thomas Strickland = "Tank"
Commissioner R. Larry Smith = "Rascal"
Commissioner Paul Pinkston = "Grumpy"
Commissioner Robert Rountree = "Milo"

Here are some suggestions for all the others, feel free to email or post in comments, other possibilities.

Commissioner Sam McKenzie = "Bionic" based on working in Oak Ridge.

Commissioner Mark Campen = "Jr." based on his youth.
Commissioner Mark Harmon = "Frumpy" As close to Lumpy as we could get. Here is a definition. "A person regarded as colorless and primly sedate."

Commissioner Tony Norman = "Dopey" primarily based on some of his comments.
Commissioner Ivan Harmon = "Bugsy" a reference to his connection to a pest control company.

Commissioner Elaine Davis = "Rapunzel" based on the fairy tale of the lady with all the hair.
Commissioner William Daniels = "Bucky" he just kind of looks like a Bucky, and will probably buck the system from time to time.

Commissioner Craig Leuthold = "Stiffy" based on his stiff demeanor at commission meetings and everywhere else he goes.
Commissioner Mike Hammond = "TOV - The Other Voice" A reference to his job as PA announcer and a slight reference to his talk radio competition.
Commissioner Dr. Richard Briggs = "doc" because of his life's work.

Commissioner Phil Ballard = "dr.phil" based on his radio commercial, where he said "No, like Dr. Phil.".
Commissioner Dave Wright = "Wiry" based on his career with the telephone company, Bell South/At&T.

Commissioner Victoria DeFreese - "Class Mom" A reference to her experience as a home school mom and her level of 'class'. This classroom will be tough one, but she is good for the job.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Brian's Blog Exclusive: Speech of Amy Henley Vandergriff to County Commission

Brian's Blog in this post is detailing the speech of Amy Henley Vandergriff to the Knox County Commission on Wednesday. The speech was written by Amy during the commissioner appointments in the Main Assembly Room of the City County Building.

We are here today over a year later with a second chance to do the right thing. It is not hard to do the right thing when the right people step up." "I decided to seek the vacant seat for the clerk's office only after overwhelming encouragement from the public to clean up the mess that currently exists in the Knox County Clerk's office.

My phone has rung off the hook from voters asking me to seek this appointment." "I stand up for them as their voice and symbol of that change at the hazard of my opponent and his media network placing me in their sights." "Right now this is front page news and everybody is watching." "I want you and all of Knox County to know that I plan to do the right thing NOW and I will continue to do the right thing when no one is watching.

The only reason that I wouldn't seek this position would be self preservation. Self preservation is the "good ole' boy" way of thinking. I didn't see this as an opportunity to have an advantage in the General election. My opponent has clearly stated he is not interested in serving the public through this process.

I am seeking this appointment for the same reason, I'm on the ballot in August. I want to be apart of restoring the trust of the public in the government that serves them.

I knew in advance that once I announced my desire to seek this appointment, I would be a target for the media sources that have endorsed my opponent, a person who has no experience in this capacity.

I weighed all "the good ole boy rhetoric", they support going against what is the right thing to do for the citizens of Knox County.

I decided to stand up for them as a single voice representing their vote for change. I believe by the powerful statement the voters recently made in the primary that they want change and they want it now.

By the way, not one sentence of Amy's speech was found in Rebecca Ferrar's News~Sentinel article from the appointment meeting. I am sure Rebecca included it, I am fairly certain the editor's would not include it.

County Commission Appointment Meeting One Snafu and One Violation Of It's Meeting Rules

UPDATE: I have talked with the media person in question. She had difficulty parking and came in the meeting late. Thus, she did not hear the announcement about the stage. She did ask Knox County's Independent auditor if she could sit there and he said, Yes. However, Thomas Strickland did discover her there and told her she must move. Which she did.

Brian's Blog was wrong and in the rare occasions that we are we are happy to correct it. After all, there is always a first time for everything. This is our first time to be wrong. darn it.

Original Post 2/20/2008 04:36 P.M. This mornings County Commission meeting resulted in one snafu created by a County Clerk employee and one violation of its "special" meeting rules for only today.

The snafu occurred during the vote tallies of the Fourth District Seat B. On the first vote, the votes were cast and the commission had in place a vote tally process that involved two County Clerk employees, Martha Beeler and Kim recording the votes and Knox County Law Director John Owings keeping score as well. All three vote tally sheets must match. When Martha Beeler counted her sheet she had counted one William Daniels vote incorrectly. After a much embarrassing few moments of silence, Interim Chairman Thomas "Tank" Strickland announced that we must take the vote over. Fortunately, all 11 Commissioners voted exactly the same way, the second time. I know because score was being kept in the back of the room and they did match.

The violation of the rules occurred after the meeting started. At 8:55 a.m. Interim Chairman Thomas "Tank" Strickland announced that if you were not a Commissioner or an employee of the Clerk's office, you must leave the stage. At 9:00 a.m. he announced that if you were not a Commissioner, an employee of the Commission office, an employee of the County Clerk's office, an employee of the Knox County Law Director's office or the Knox County Independent Auditor, you must leave the stage and refrain from coming onto the stage until the meeting adjourned.

Well, the next thing you know a member of the media wanders up on the stage and sits at the table beside the Knox County Independent Auditor and remained there until the meeting concluded. It just so happens that the member of the media is an employee of County Commissioner Mike Hammond. Neither Interim Chairman Strickland or Commissioner Hammond had the individual removed from the stage.

Evidently, rules are only for certain members of the general population, but not for the media elite or those employed by Commissioner Hammond.

Knox County Clerk Appointment #1

A friend approached me just before the appointment of County Clerk was to begin and said "This is the most important appointment. As it is a stepping stone to the U.S. Senate."

A reference to former County Clerk Mike Padgett announcing his intention to oppose United States Senator Lamar Alexander.

Knox County Clerk Appointment

Commissioner Mark Harmon nominated Billy Tindell. Commissioner Tony Norman nominated George Stooksbury. Commissioner R. Larry Smith nominated Carol Ellis. Interim Chairman Strickland asked if there were nominations from the audience. Clerk candidate Amy Henley Vandergriff was headed to the podium and Commissioner Scott Moore asked that he change his pass to a nomination for Amy Henley Vandergriff.

Another citizen nominated Michael LeSeur. He approached the podium and declined. Each candidate spoke. In a Brian's Blog exclusive, we were given Amy Henley Vandergriff's speech and will be posting it as a separate post.

In the first vote Tindell 3, Vandergriff 2, Stooksbury 3 and Ellis 2. Commissioner Lambert passed. As Vandergriff and Ellis each had 2, no name was dropped and a second vote was held. Commissioner Lambert voted for Vandergriff on the second vote. The totals were Tindell 3, Vandergriff 3, Stooksbury 3 and Ellis 2. Ellis was dropped and a third vote was held. On the third ballot Tindell 4, Vandergriff 2, Stooksbury 4 and Commissioner Lambert passed. Vandergriff was dropped and the final vote occurred. The totals were Tindell 5 and Stooksbury 6. Stooksbury was selected.

On the third ballot, R. Larry Smith that had voted on the first and second ballot for Carol Ellis stated "I am proud to vote for George Stooksbury." In his admission, is admitting that he was not proud to vote for Carol Ellis? Why was he not proud to vote for George Stooksbury on the first and second ballot?

Knox County Register Appointment

Commissioner Thomas Strickland nominated Sherry Witt for Register of Deeds. Commissioners Ivan Harmon and Greg Lambert spoke in favor of Witt. There were no other candidates. Witt spoke briefly and was elected unanimously.

Knox County Sheriff Appointment

Commissioner Thomas Strickland nominated Jimmy "J.J." Jones. Commissioner Mark Harmon nominated Tom Pressley.

Both candidates spoke. The vote was held and Jones was selected with 10 votes and Pressley received 1 vote.

Sheriff Jones is back! Chief Deputy Tom Spangler has "done good" since October as Interim Sheriff and it is good to know that Jones is the Sheriff and Spangler is Chief Deputy.

Knox County Trustee Appointment

Commissioner Craig Leuthold recused himself because, in addition to being a Commissioner he is an employee of the Trustee's office.

Commissioner Mike Hammond nominated Fred Sisk. Commissioner Greg Lambert spoke in favor of Sisk.

The vote was held and Sisk was selected with 10 votes. One vote of recusal was recorded.

County Commission Fourth District Seat A Appointment

Commissioner Mark Harmon nominated Elaine Davis. Commissioner Ivan Harmon nominated Walter Wojnar. Commissioner Craig Leuthold nominated Logan Brummitt. Commissioner Greg Lambert nominated Mike Alford.

Neither candidate spoke because, they had previously addressed the Commission for the B seat.

The vote totals were Davis 6, Wojnar 1, Brummitt 1 and Alford 3. Elaine Davis was selected.

County Commission Fifth District Seat C Appointment

Commissioner Mark Harmon nominated Pamela Treacy. Commissioner Ivan Harmon nominated Dr. Richard Briggs. Commissioner Tony Norman spoke in favor of Treacy. Commissioners Mike Hammond, Craig Leuthold and Greg Lambert spoke in favor of Dr. Briggs.

Both candidates spoke. Briggs won the Republican primary of February 5th and will face Don Sproles, the Independent candidate for County Commission Fifth District on Augist 7, 2008. Pamela Treacy did not seek the position during the February 5th primary election. Her position and the position of a majority of citizens in the fifth district is that Briggs should not be appointed because Briggs still must face Don Sproles (I) on the general election ballot of August 7, 2008. Treacy possesses a much more experienced knowledge of county government and would have made an excellent place holder County Commissioner.

When the vote was held, partisan politics came before principle and in a vote of 9 for Briggs and 2 for Treacy. Briggs was selected.

Pamela Treacy would be an excellent public servant. Brian's Blog hopes that she remains active and will offer herself to the voters in the near future.

County Commission Fourth District Seat B Appointment

Commissioner Mark Harmon nominated Elaine Davis. Commissioner Tony Norman nominated William Daniels. Commissioner Ivan Harmon nominated Walter Wojnar. Commissioner Craig Leuthold nominated Logan Brummitt. Commissioner Greg Lambert nominated Mike Alford. Commissioner Mike Hammond mentioned suport for Davis and Daniels. Commissioner R. Larry Smith spoke in favor of Daniels.

Each candidate spoke. The first vote was held but due to County Clerk, Martha Beeler's inability to record the vote accurately. The vote was taken a second time. The vote was Davis 2, Daniels 4, Wojnar 1, Brummitt 1 and Alford 3. With Wojnar and Brummitt both receiving 1 vote each, neither was taken off (per Commission rules) and another vote was held. This time it was Davis 2, Daniels 4, Wojnar 1, Brummitt 2 and Wojnar 1. So Wojnar was dropped and the next vote was held. This time it was Davis 2, Daniels 4, Brummitt 2 and Alford 3. Because Davis and Brummitt were tied a re-vote was held and no one dropped off. The vote was Davis 1, Daniels 5, Brummitt 2 and Alford 3. Commissioner Mark Harmon changed to Daniels and announced that he hoped the Commission would recognize his change from Davis to Daniels on the next fourth district seat. So Davis was dropped and the next vote was held. The vote totals were Daniels 6, Brummitt 2 and Alford 3. Daniels was selected.

County Commission Eighth District Appointment

Commissioner Ivan Harmon nominated former State Representative Jim Boyer. Commissioner Mike Hammond nominated Dave Wright. Commissioners Lambert and Smith voiced support for Wright.

In a vote of 9 for Wright and 2 for Boyer. Wright was selected. Commissioner Tony Norman and Ivan Harmon voted for Boyer.

Dave Wright has no Democrat or Independent opponent on the August 7, 2008 ballot.

County Commission First District Appointment

Commissioner Thomas Strickland nominated Sam McKenzie. Commissioner Mark Harmon nominated Therea Cox. Commissioner Tony Norman nominated Robert Boyd. Commissioner R. Larry Smith nominated Albert Baah. Commissioners Ivan Harmon, Mike Hammond, Greg Lambert all voiced support for McKenzie.

Citizen Jim Golden nominated himself. Albert Baah nominated Pete Drew. Albert Baah spoke and asked that his name be withdrawn from consideration. Baah also said that it is wrong for Sam McKenzie to be nominated and selected as a Commissioner, while he faces a Republican in the general election. Baah also challenged some sitting Commissioners in stating that certain Commissioners should exempt themselves from voting on McKenzie.

Pete Drew spoke and he said all of my life I have fought against a corrupt process. What is happening here isn't right, fair or just. Drew said that there exist a conspiracy of low expectation in certain parts of our community. Commissioner R. Larry Smith pointed to McKenzie garnering 42% of the Democrat vote to justify his vote. Drew said you are justifying an unjust process. Drew also stated this was an abuse of process.

Sam McKenzie, Robert Boyd and Therea Cox both spoke on their own behalf. Albert Baah asked to speak and Strickland obviously frustrated said you have had your time. Commissioner Leuthold made a motion to give Baah two additional minutes. Baah again challenged the Commission's king making attempts.

Look for Baah to run a campaign in the general election as the only candidate in the first district as a candidate of change and the only "outsider". The only "outsider" in the first district that is not part of the good ole boy network.

By a vote of 10 for McKenzie and 1 for Boyd. McKenzie was selected. Interestingly enough, Mark Harmon nominated Cox but did not vote for her, his nominee.

County Commission Second District Appointment

Commissioner Mark Harmon nominated Mark Campen. Commissioner Tony Norman after passing and all Commissioners having either nominated or passed, he then nominated Robert Wolfenbarger. Commissioner Craig Leuthold nominated Chuck Williams.

It took three votes to select an appointed Commissioner. Chuck Williams was eliminated on the second ballot. On the second vote Mark Harmon on the first vote voted for Campen and then on the second vote changed to Wolfenbarger and then on the third vote changed back to Campen. Commissioner Thomas Strickland changed to Campen on the third and final vote. Commissioners Craig Leuthold, Greg Lambert and Phil Ballard voted for Williams. On the third ballotLeuthold changed to Wolfenbarger, Lambert to Campen and Ballard to Wolfenbarger.

Securing 7 votes of the 11 Commissioners, Mark Campen was selected.

Obviously, Campen is somwhat unknown and from most observers Chuck Williams had a better interview. Here is hooping that Chuck Williams will not give up and stay in arena.

County Commission Ninth District Appointment

Commissioner Mark Harmon nominated Victoria DeFreese. Commissioner Tony Norman nominated Martin Pleasant. Commissioners Ivan Harmon, Mike Hammond, Greg Lambert and Paul Pinkston all voiced support for DeFreese.

After brief statements from both nominated applicants, Victoria DeFreese was selected with 10 votes, while Tony Norman cast the one vote for Pleasant.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

County Commission Sixth District Appointment

The nomination process started with Commissioner Mark Harmon nominating Robert Rountree. Commissioner Mike Hammond, Commissioner Greg Lambert and Commissioner R. Larry Smith all voiced support for Rountree.

Robert Rountree in comments to the commision said "I have nothing subsantative to add. The only conflict that I may have is a teacher at Central High School."

The vote was unanimous for the only candidate nominated Robert Rountree.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The TN Demo Party Has Hit The Bottom

Mike Padgett, former Knox County Clerk announced today his intention to run against United States Senator Lamar Alexander. I am convinced that my lawyer buddy and blogging friend Rob Huddleston of Voluntarily Conservative has more name recognition statewide than Padgett does. That is not a slam, Rob. It is meant to be complimentary.

Mike served on the Knox County School Board while I was a student in Knox County Schools and heck I am 41 years of age. After a brief stint on the School Board, Mike ran for Knox County Clerk, while he is real good at taking a check or cash in exchange for a license plate. While he may make a pretty good pot of chili. None of that qualifies him to be a member of the United States Senate.

Heads up to the Tennessee Republican Party. Mike Padgett ignored the will of the citizens of Knox County when he ran for re-election in 2006 with a total disregard for the term limit provision of the Charter. Call Knox County and ask for a copy of that audit that was conducted last year following his departure as County Clerk on January 31, 2007. That audit tells the citizens of this state all that they need to know about the record of public service of one Mike Padgett.

Why It Makes Sense For A Countywide Nominee To Seek Appointment Tomorrow

People have wondered why Democrat candidate Amy Henley Vandergriff would toss her name in the hat for the County Commission appointment to become the County Clerk for the next 6 months. Here is our belief, based on the Knox County Charter.

The individuals that are elected on August 7, 2008 and will serve from September 1, 2008 - August 31, 2010, that term will count as one term. Those officials will then be eligible to run for one more term, serving from 2010 -2014. That will be the two terms that are permitted by the Knox County Charter. That means that the two terms will consist of six years instead of eight years.

So, if you won a majority of the votes in your parties primary election, there is no reason not to pursue the appointment so that you can provide the leadership the citizens desire for six and a half years instead of only six years.

Rumors, Rumors About Tomorrow's County Commission Appointment Meeting

On Saturday, I was approached and given a rumor, a hot rumor. The tale goes that the Commissioners were planning to convene on Wednesday morning and a majority would vote to postpone until the court hearing is concluded and if Moore and Pinkston were ousted from office, then the remaining Commissioners would throw out the name of Dwight Van de Vate for Sheriff.

When I heard the rumor, I immediately called Mr. Van de Vate, he returned my call and his response was laughter, when he stopped laughing he said that his response is a NO.

This morning on the Hallerin Hilton Hill Show, Commissioner R. Larry Smith in an interview actually advocated delaying the appointment vote until the court hearing was concluded before proceeding with teh appointment votes on Wednesday.

Later this morning, Chancellor Fansler delayed the court hearing so that R. Larry Smith could not delay the appointment meeting.

The appointments will happen tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. and Dwight Van de Vate is happy in his current job.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Violation of Open Meetings Law

UPDATE: School Board Chairwoman Karen Carson early in tonight's School Board workshop referred to School Board Member Thomas Deakins as Mr. Deakus. When Deakins corrected her spelling his name D-E-A-K-I-N-S. The Board Chair laughed and said "Mayor Ford kept referring to Thomas as Deakus the other night." The Board Chair's actions is a sure fire way to bite the hand that she is hoping will feed the school district with 15 free acres for a new Southwest Elementary School site. Sources close to Mayor Ford reveal that he didn't find humor in the Board Chair's mockery of him, tonight.

The Shopper newspaper article was brought up during tonight's School Board Forum by Board Member Cindy Buttry concerned about the appearance of an architectural contract for the new Southwest Elementary School have been let without following the County Charter's RFP requirements. (If you will recall in this years capital plan presented by the Knox County Mayor and approved by the Knox County Commission. Architectural design fees were placed in this years budget for Carter Elementary, Adrian Burnett Elementary, New Hopewell Elementary, the New Southwest Elementary and Belle Morris renovations. The proposed site by Alderman Rossell is for the New Southwest Elementary School.)

Board member Thomas Deakins revealed some interesting information during board forum tonight. "The Town has been working on this for sometime." Deakins also said "Alderman Rosseel has talked with the town administrators about this land and this proposal." He also said. "The renderings are just what it would look like for the family that currently owns the land." In response to the Shopper article authored by Sandra Clark, Deakins said. "What you read in the paper and what actually happened may be different." Deakins concluded with "The Town of Farragut will now have an open process."

At least three thoughts.

1) Why would the school system utilize its resources (in this case a pro-bono request) of an architect for the benefit of an indiviual family and for the sole benefit of a completely different governmental entity? When the request was made by a board member(s) to the Superintendent and a Senior level administrator of the School system for the permission to seek a pro-bono drawing. At that point the board member(s) were acting in their official capacity as board members on behalf of the School system for a Town of Farragut Alderman(s)?

2) If the "town" has been working on this for sometime why were the Mayor, the Vice-Mayor and members of the Farragut MPC totally shocked? Does the "town administrator" not talk to the town's Mayor or Vice-Mayor about his efforts on behalf of an Alderman?

3) If in Mr. Deakins words, "the Town of Farragut will now have an open process." Is that an indictment that the actions of Alderman Rosseel and others were not open? That now that the spotlight of the moon from a late night Board of Mayor and Alderman meeting is shining rather brightly on Alderman Rosseel, the Town Administrator and the Town of Farragut? Remember, (from Sandra Clark's article) members of the Farragut community were so outraged in watching one of their aldermen acting with such a total disregard for the public process that they marched on Town Hall in their house shoes and pajamas.

Original Post February 17, 2008 9:09 p.m.: In tomorrow's West Side Shopper News is a cover story that details a recent Town of Farragut Mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting that potentially implicates four officials that serve on two different elected bodies as violating Tennessee's Open Meetings Law.

How did Karen Carson and Thomas Deakins of the Knox County School Board know of this discussion, in order to attend with a school system architect drawings when the Mayor, Vice-Mayor and members of the Farragut MPC did not know about it prior to Tom Rosseel's motion. It is reported that County Commissioner's Mike Hammond and Craig Leuthold are in suppport of the motion of Tom Rosseel when the Mayor, Vice-Mayor and members of the Farragut MPC were not aware of it until Rosseel made the motion.

Leuthold and Hammond are under a Chancellor's order not to violate the Open Meetings law. Will Herb Moncier now include them in an ouster suit?

While this blog has been critical of the publications of the Shopper News, this story has the potential of shaking two members of the Knox County Commission, two members of the Knox County School Board and the Town of Farragut like the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Good job, Sandra.

The two best quotes of the evening came from Mayor Eddy Ford “This comes as a complete surprise to me,” and Vice-Mayor Mike Haynes who said “Those of us who have followed the sunshine law have not discussed this.”

More details as they develop.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fifth District County Commissioner Appointee Forum Held On Saturday February 9, 2008

Commissioners present were; Commissioner Paul Pinkston, Commissioner Scott Moore, Commissioner Mark Harmon, Commissioner R. Larry Smith, Commissioner Phil Ballard, Fifth District County Commissioner Mike Hammond, Fifth District County Commissioner Craig Leuthold and Kim from the County Clerk’s office. Commissioner Craig Leuthold announced that Commission Vice-Chair and Interim Commission Chairman Thomas “Tank” Strickland was ill, Commissioner Greg Lambert was home sick and sent word by Commissioner Mark Harmon that he will watch the video of the forum. Commissioner Tony Norman and Commissioner Ivan Harmon arrived after the beginning of the forum and during the questioning of the first applicant Thomas Baer.

Candidates for other offices present were Fourth District Applicant Candidates Walter Wojnar, William Daniels and Elaine Davis, Fourth District Democrat County Commission candidate Steve Drevik, Fourth District Republican County Commission candidate Ruthie Stone Kuhlman, Democrat Candidate for Sheriff Randy Tyree, Democrat Candidate for Criminal Court Judge Ken Irvine.

Other notable attendees were Nick McBride, Interim Knox County Register of Deeds, Former Commissioner Frank Leuthold and wife June.

Commissioner Paul Pinkston announced that he had not received several resumes, including the first applicant’s.

Thomas Baer a resident of Knox County for 19 of the last 26 years. He brings 30 years experience in business, including President of many of them. He has served as a Project Manager with Bechtel Jacobs in Oak Ridge, TN. He worked on the Three Mile Island clean up. He is a Retired Navy captain with 10 years of command experience with 6 teams. He stated that he has a long history of volunteer service in Knoxville, primarily after his son Tommy Baer was killed on the UT campus in 1988. Thomas is a Founding member of a victim rights group in Knoxville, Has worked extensively on legislation surrounding campus safety and victim rights.

Commissioner R, Larry Smith said “this may sound funny. Do you have any criminal backgrounds and have you paid your taxes.” Smith followed up with “It got us last time.” Baer said “I have no criminal background and I have paid my taxes.”

Commissioner Paul Pinkston asked how long have you lived here? Baer said that he lived here and moved away for a few years. He was employed in Louisville, KY in the 1980’s and moved back in the late 80’s.

Commissioner Mark Harmon asked about his views on land use? Baer said “We need to have a very thought out plan. It can best if we have a plan. When we have a plan we must follow it.” “The School Board is building a new school on Hardin Valley Road. Hardin Valley Road looks good but Campbell Station Road doesn’t look so good.”

Commissioner Hammond asked “Will you wait to be sworn in?” “Yes.” Hammond asked “What would you like to do in 7 months?” Hammond said “I would like to see the Commission step up on schools.”

Commissioner Scott Moore said “Thank you for your willingness to serve. What can you do on day one to restore the confidence that everyone campaigned on?” Baer said “I will post on my website, every conversation that I have.” Commissioner Moore said “We will have 5 other audits coming out soon, the comptroller and Knox County auditor in a recently released audit said one thing and Commission did something entirely different.” “Do you put politics over principles or principles over politics?” Baer said “Principles come first.”

Commissioner Craig Leuthold asked if Baer had any known conflict of interest. Baer said “I am on a United Way selection panel. If selected (as the commission appointee), I will resign from that, to remove any perceived conflict.” Commissioner Leuthold gave Baer a copy of the Chancellor’s order. “If you are selected you will have to follow the Chancellor’s order.”

Next up was Dr. Richard Briggs He has lived in Knox County since 1992. He graduated from high school in France. He went on to graduate from institutions of higher learning and medical school. He served in Korea. He served on an academic faculty in San Antonia, Texas. He went on to Louisville, KY and worked with Dr. Robert Jarvik.

Commissioner Phil Ballard asked “How will you deal with the number of phone calls, and contacts.” Briggs answered “I have a 24 hour on call service; during the day my personal assistant takes calls during the day.”

Commissioner R. Larry Smith asked “if a meeting is called at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. can you attend them?” Briggs said that “my schedule is flexible; I have partners that can perform some of my duties.”

Commissioner Mark Harmon stated “We have a health department. Have you had any reaction to or interaction with the Health Dept.?” Briggs said “I have not looked at the health department budget.” Mark Harmon asked about land use? Briggs answered “I think that is an issue that we haven’t looked at more extensively. We may need to take a more technical approach.”

Commissioner Ivan Harmon: “Thank you for your willingness to serve and your service to our country.”

Commissioner Mike Hammond: asked “why would you want to serve?” Briggs said “I have always had a desire to serve. A sense of service, grateful for all that the country to serve.”

Commissioner Tony Norman in an obviously embarrassing comment said “It is obvious from the crowd here that they want you and it is a moot point for the appointment. They want you.” The embarrassing comment was Norman’s obvious ignorance that Briggs is being challenged by Independent candidate Don Sproles. Most of those in attendance were wearing Sproles lapel stickers and for Norman to remark this is appointment process is a moot point, is a potentially challenging question for Chancellor Fansler.

Sidebar Notes: I was sitting in close proximity to Commissioner Ivan Harmon and Commissioner Tony Norman. Commissioner Ivan Harmon asked Tony Norman if Briggs had any opposition. Norman shook his head no. I caught Ivan Harmon’s eye and I nodded and said Yes, Briggs has an Independent candidate opponent.

Secondly, R. Larry Smith did not ask Briggs or Treacy if they had paid their taxes or have a criminal background like he did Baer.

Fifth District County Commission Candidate appointee Theodore Piehl did not appear. Craig Leuthold called for Mr. Piehl and he did not come forward.

Pamela Treacy was introduced as an appointee applicant: “Yesterday I read the paper and only one person had applied. I feel that the person selected should not be a candidate that is running in the general election. I am much more of a sprinter than a marathon racer. I supported Briggs, but it is unfair to appoint a candidate on the general election ballot. She indicated that she is a business person, she is 47 years old. She spent 20 years in the cable television industry. She was the tenth employee hired at HGTV. She built teams that had goals. Part of that was bringing jobs to Knoxville. She was the chief negotiator that brought a $50 million dollar 4 year contract to the Scripps Network. The NFL was never on cable, but with her involvement, the NFL came to ESPN as part of a Sunday night package. She had to travel the Midwest and convince firms to bring accounts into the ESPN package. She talked about her involvement in the Knox County School Boards massive countywide high school rezoning to populate the new Hardin Valley High School. “When I was dissatisfied with the rezoning, I got with several individuals and we hosted weekly meetings to attempt to provide solutions to the School Board. Following that rezoning, I worked with several individuals and started the blog School Matters, it is the only blog on KnoxNews that is administered by private citizens.”

Commissioner R. Larry Smith in a self serving manner offered her a job with his company by asking “Can you sell insurance? “ She is applying for the position of Commissioner, R. Larry.

Commissioner Mark Harmon asked is our decision an advantage or disadvantage to a candidate? Treacy said. Just because a Republican gets a lot of Republican votes doesn’t mean that independents and interested citizens do not want to see the process go forward. Harmon asked about land use? Treacy said It is killing me to see the land views that I grew to love when I moved here, dotted with homes everywhere.

Commissioner Tony Norman having been awakened by his Briggs moot point statement said “Amen to your land use views, several of us would welcome that view.” He then asked “How did your rezoning turn out?” Treacy said “It was negative” She said several of us have had a difficult time with School Board and Administration. Treacy said the school board appears to just go through their checklist and does not involve itself with the visioning thing.

Commissioner Paul Pinkston said “You would be on the body that sets property rates. Would you be there to go along and get along? Treacy said that I have the respect for all involved. In my business career, I put my career and put my job on the line everyday.

Commissioner Mike Hammond asked if she supported a new elementary school or expand current schools to reduce overcrowding? Treacy said “I would like to have classroom reductions become the solution.” She said “budgets are not a once a year issue.”

Commissioner R. Larry Smith asked if she had any conflicts. She said not that she was aware of.

Commissioner Craig Leuthold asked what she thought about TIF’s. Treacy said “Randy Neal had recently posted some interesting stuff about TIF’s and the BEP on KnoxVues.” Leuthold asked. What is the biggest concern of the 5th district? Treacy indicated that a lot of people have moved into the fifth district. Leuthold asked if appointed she would attend community meetings. Treacy said I am not running for office so I won’t be the person to run around and become known. Leuthold followed up with how will you find out what the district thinks on issues? Treacy said I am very internet savvy.

Commissioner Scott Moore asked Treacy you talk about team building. How do you go about doing that when the body is under court order not to have discussions outside a meeting? Treacy said “you could still have team building exercises provided that you invite the television stations.

That concluded the interviews and it was time for Public forum.

Wayne Sellars of Farragut spoke in favor of Richard Briggs.
A lady came to the microphone and voiced her support for Pamela Treacy.

Don Sproles was next. He said “I am the independent candidate that will be on the August 7, 2008 General election ballot” Everybody looked at Commissioner Tony Norman and he looked stunned. Sproles went on to say “I am not seeking the appointment. I am asking that you appoint a neutral placeholder for this vacancy.” Sproles said if you want to play a numbers game, there was no Democrat candidate running in the Fifth District, so if you took Ken Irvine’s 4,600 votes from the fifth district then Dr. Briggs only received 28% of the fifth district votes. If you compare campaign contributions and you remove a candidates personal contributions and Pac contributions then collectively the candidates in the Republican primary raised $3,200.00 while I have currently raised $7,800.00 Sproles stated that he is married to wife Karen, they have two children. He is an attorney by education and training. However, he left the active practice of law, in order to assist in the operation of the family business of his and Karen’s which is the popular, iconic and successful Lunchbox restaurants. He indicated that he has been active with Volunteer Ministry and Habitat for Humanity. He concluded by asking the Commissioner’s to “Let the voters of the fifth district decide who will be their next elected Commissioner.” Select an independent neutral appointee for the interim position.

Commissioner Tony Norman asked “Why are you an Independent?” Sproles said #1 I am independent and #2 the Chancellor found factions within the Republican Party and I didn’t want to be put into one faction or another because I am not a part of any faction. He stated that he has voted Republican in every Republican primary since 1992. Sproles concluded “I am an independent thinker.”

Sproles voluntarily explained that in 1982 he voted for his law partner the late Juvenile Court Judge Carey Garrett. In 1988 he voted Democrat for his former law partner Richard Baumgartner. He said that since 1992, He has voted Republican.

R. Larry Smith vented about how he believes that being an independent is someone confused. Sproles said that he feels that local races should be non partisan like the Town of Farragut and the City of Knoxville. Sproles said that the Town of Farragut residents do not care if it is a Democrat or a Republican that fixes their roads. R. Larry looked like a possum in the middle of the road.

Commissioner Scott Moore asked what his position is on Abortion and Gun Control. Sproles said “I have the opportunity to vote on that in national elections.” Sproles emphasized his position as the Treasurer of the Episcopal Diocese.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Last Saturday's Fifth District Appointment Hearing

I was unable to post the summary from last Saturday's Fifth District appointment hearing. That hearing by the Knox County Commission is to appoint a placeholder for the Fifth District Seat C position was held at Farragut Town Hall.

Last Saturday afternoon, an emergency prohibited me from posting the summary. If you will note the postings for Brian's Blog was sparse last week. I do intend to post the summary from last Saturday by the end of the weekend.

Brian's Blog apologizes for the delay.

Knox County Commission Conducts Fee Officeholder Applicant Forum Second and First Commission Districts

Kendell Wells, County Commission Second district applicant appeared and made a great presentation. He was unable to attend the earlier forums. He would be a welcome addition to the Knox County Commission.

Robert "Bob" Boyd. County Commission First district applicant appeared and he also made a great presentation. He is an excellent communicator and has seen many challenges in our nation and back here in the community where he was born and raised. He would be a welcome addition to our Knox County Commission.

Knox County Commission Conducts Fee Officeholder Applicant Forum Fred Sisk

Fred Sisk, the only applicant for Knox County Trustee appeared following the County Clerk applicants. Fred thanked his primary opponents, L.B. Steele (who attended this morning's meeting), Steve Hill, Roger Kane, Steve Rodgers and Hobart Lumpkin.

Sisk explained that he has 18.5 years experience in the Trustee's office having first worked for Trustee Robert "Bob" Broome.

Commissioner Paul Pinkston noted that the Trustee's office audits the TIF's and Pilot's that are awarded.

Commissioner Craig Leuthold who is employed by the Trustee's office recused himself from this interview and will recuse himself from the Trustee appointment vote on Wednesday.

Knox County Commission Conducts Fee Officeholder Applicant Forum Knox County Clerk

First up was Elaina Cash a 24 year employee. She came to work in the Clerk's office when Tommy Lowe was Clerk and has worked for Mike Padgett. As she concluded her comments she said "I hope and pray that I will still be there in August." Appointing someone with as much experience as Elaina could provide a smooth transition.

Carol Ellis was next. She has been married to her husband Rick for 31 years, they have 2 sons and are members of Fairview Baptist Church. She is a 14 year employee and currently works in revenue recovery (bad checks). Why would anyone write a bad check to Knox County?

Tony Scalia was third. He holds a Masters in Public Administration. He has held the position of City Manager in three locations. He currently works for Nova. In his position at Nova he supervises no one.

George Stooksbury was fourth. He is married and served in the Air Force. He began working in the Clerk's office in 1990. In 1991, Clerk Mike Padgett called George into his office and said thatb he wanted to bring government to the people with the implementation of satellite offices. He said that he has been instrumental in the implementation of several contracts.

Billy Tindell was fifth. He discussed how he had implemented 11 initiatives over the 8 months that he served as Interim Clerk (January 31, 2007 - October 2007) He did state that he would like to complete the job that he started. He did say that the budget numbers that he had been unsuccessful in 8 months from getting that he would be able to get those numbers now as Clerk. He stated that Knox County is losing money on the drivers license renewal program.

John Irwin was sixth. John is a current employee of the Clerk's office. He did take several of us down memory lane by talking about his first job at Sears, Roebuck and Co on Central and the smell of the Cashews in the candy section. And yes, I too can still remember the experience of the cashews at Sears on Central. Sears on Central, man those were the days. He began working the post office at Knoxville Centre (East Towne) for Mike Padgett. He convinced Mr. Padgett to begin a passport office and they started that in Halls. They then opened a passport office downtown and he has since opened one in the west satellite office. In January they processed 574 passports. He concluded his remarks with "I want to work with the next clerk, to get his feet on the ground." I certainly believe Mr. Irwin misspoke because the next clerk could very well be a she.

Mr. Irwin was asked by Commissioner Hammond if he were selected as Clerk. Wouldn't he be supervising his wife. Mr. Irwin said "I don't believe that is a problem as this is an interim appointment. Hammond said "well, I believe it is."

The public speaking on behalf of candidates were.

A minister of Fairview Baptist on behalf of Carol Ellis
Clerk employee Ed Smith on behalf of George Stooksbury
Clerk employee Martha Beeler on behalf of George Stooksbury
Clerk employee Sharon Ellis on behalf of George Stooksbury
A Representative of BIS a credit card contractor of the Clerk's office thanking George Stooksbury, but short of endorsing Stooksbury.
Janice Weaver on behalf of Carol Ellis.

Mike Hammond asked if Sharon Ellis were related to Carol Ellis. Sharon said not any longer. I was married to the brother of Carol's husband. But I am no longer married to him. So we are not. A Commission source said after the meeting, "they were sister in laws before they were ex-sister in laws. They worked for the Clerk while they were sister in laws."

Commissioner Scott Moore asked Foster Arnett, Junior and then Amy Henley Vandergriff if they had decided to become candidates for appointment. Arnett said NO. Vandergriff said that after watching the interviews, Yes, she would accept the appointment.

She said. "On February 5, the citizens of Knox County voted for change, please do not make them wait." "I will cross train and re-train employees in their existing positions." "I will change the face of job insecurity by allowing employees to realiz ethat their security is with their knowledge that each one of them brings to the team."

R. Larry was very tough on Vandergriff, a source close to R. Larry and Carol Ellis revealed that R. Larry has committed his support to Carol Ellis. Commissioner Phil Ballard asked if her appointment would create miscontent within the office? Vandergriff answered his question professionally.

Arnett left the meeting immediately following Vandergriff's announcement. Arnett was visibly shaken and left with his campaign manager, controversial City of Knoxville lobbyist Lynn Redmon. A source close to the Arnett campaign revealed today that Arnett has reached agreement with Stooksbury to retain Stooksbury as Deputy should Arnett be successful on August 7.

R. Larry Is Against Parking

R. Larry Smith (known as Commissions CG & H) today proceeded to rant and rave about Knox County employees that work 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. having free parking. It was certainly a grand standing moment, as Billy Tindell had corrrected the free parking for the County Clerk employees, thus making it a non-issue.

But then questions were asked in the crowd watching the Commission meeting. If R. Larry believes that employees working 8-5 should pay $30 to park. Why doesn't he pay to park? or better yet. Why is R. Larry allowed a free pass to the City - County parking garage when handicapped citizens are not allowed to park there?

After all it is a R. Larry double standard. He believes that he will be the next County Commission Chairman and then on to County Mayor in 2010.

Rewards and Recognition for Knox County Employees

During questioning today of Carol Ellis, an applicant for Knox County Clerk a discussion ensued concerning awarding of rewards and recognition for county employees that exceed their job performance.

Here is a couple of suggestions for possible rewards and recognitions for county employees that exceed their job expectations.

1) A day off for shopping or personal errands.


2) A hands on experience in local civic duty by allowing employees to work on election day for candidates of their or the officeholder's choice.

What other ideas would you suggest?

Ruthie Kuhlman Endorses Her Opponent

Sources close to the County Commission report that Ruthie Kuhlman, Republican candidate for Knox County Commission Fourth District Seat A has telephoned all the current Commissioners informing them that she supports William Daniels and Elaine Davis as temporary place holders for the Fourth District.

If Kuhlman will do this as a candidate, if she is successful on August 7th in the General election agianst Finbarr Saunders will she proceed to communicate with Commissioners in violation of Chancellor Fansler's order?

Best Quote of the Day from the County Commission Hearing Today

Jack Barnes in endorsing Jimmy "J.J." Jones told a story from 1990 of his arranging and attending one of the first meetings between Knoxville Police Chief Phil Keith and new Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison.

Following the meeting, Keith boasted to Barnes of Keith's making Hutchison look bad. Barnes told the commission today. "Phil Keith showed me his ignorance."

Knox County Commission Conducts Fee Officeholder Applicant Forum Jimmy "J.J." Jones, Sheriff

Jimmy "J.J." Jones is 49 years old, he is a native of Knox County since he was 6 months old. He has a degree from an institution of higher learning in criminal justice. He said. "I spent my entire life preparing for this position." "I am not a career politican, I am a law enforcement officer."

Stepping up in endorsing Jimmy "J.J." Jones today was Current Interim Sheriff and Chief Deputy of the Knox County Sheriffs Department Tom Spangler, Democrat District Attorney general Randy Nichols and longtime friend of law enforcement and good government Jack Barnes.

Tom Pressley, retired from Knoxville Police Department offered himself as an alternative candidate for Sheriff, for the County Commission to consider. His presentation was weak and his candidacy a bit lacking in substance.

Knox County Commission Conducts Fee Officeholder Applicant Forum Sherry Witt Register of Deeds

The Knox County Commission held the Fee Officeholder Applicant Forum today. First up was Sherry Witt. Witt is seeking the position of Register of Deeds. After her impressive presentation. Commissioner Mark Harmon (wearing a t-shirt, granted it was a bit of business casual dress today, but come on a t-shirt?) in what he was hoping was a gotcha moment asked how Knox County Register's office compares to others around the state and if she were willing in this tight budget year to take a 10% cut in the Register of Deeds office budget or a reduction in force.

Witt knocked them all over with the following answer. In her first attempt at working on next years budget, she has a 7% reduction and in regards to how Knox County is different than the other Register offices. All of the other Register offices do not have to pay rent. The Knox County Register's office pays rent at a significant cost to the Register's budget.

Ding. Ding. end of round 1 it is Sherry Witt 1. Mark Harmon in a t-shirt 0.

The Knoxville Journal Has a New Website Look

A friend of mine tried to call me last night. When I discovered that I had missed his call I called him back this morning, he said that someone had called him about something they had read in The Knoxville Journal. He went to their website last night and couldn't find the article. We discussed the article and then I decided to check out The Knoxville Journal's website. Man, is it Great. The Knoxville Journal website has a totally NEW look.

The Knoxville Journal is Knoxville's oldest newspaper, having been in operation since 1839. It is published weekly and is the one of the two best newspapers in Knoxville. Knoxville / Knox County Focus and The Knoxville Journal are the best. The rest are just wannabe's.

Check out The Knoxville Journal's website and as always here is the Knoxville / Knox County Focus website .

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Advice To Roger Clemens

As I watched the news reports of the Congressman Dan Burton vent on Roger Clemens today, I was provoked to offer advice to Roger and Debbie Clemens.

Roger Clemens should respond to the Committee with the following statement. "You are a Member of Congress. You and your colleagues have lied to the American people over and over again. You can investigate me about taking steroids with or without my knowledge, while the American people pay $3 a gallon for gasoline." "Senator Charles Grassley can launch a witchhunt on ministers and you people do nothing to help the American people."

That is the Brian's Blog vent and advice to Roger Clemens. We know return to our regular postings.

Brian's Blog a News Source for the Slopper News

Brian's Blog is a news source for many different legitimate news agencies. However, this week we were the sole source for the column of the tabloid bully editor girl column in the Slopper News.

The tabloid bully editor girl used a posting on Brian's Blog for the column that the bully editor girl publishes weekly. Brian's Blog is always here for the community and the news rooms of Knoxville and Knox County. We are pleased to have helped the tabloid bully editor girl.

In addition to our post, the tabloid bully editor girl list the endorsements that the tabloid editor bully girl got wrong. The tabloid bully editor girl informed the West Side Slopper News readers that tabloid bully editor girl has for decades made predictions. However, tabloid bully editor girl informed the West Side Slopper readers that tabloid bully editor girl has been more right than wrong.

Dear, West Side Slopper readers you have been lied to.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Breaking NEWS: County Commission Chairman Race

This morning at the first of four hearings on vacant appointments that County Commission will appoint on Feburary 20, 2008. This hearing was for the Fifth District County Commission vacancy. I will be posting the actual report later today.

However, while 9 of the current 11 were present. I took the opportunity to ask each one of them if they were running for or seeking the Commission Chairman position on February 25, 2008 when the Commission convenes. Thomas Tank Strickland due to his position as Vice-Chair will assume the duties of Chairman until February 25, 2008.

Here are the answers, some were more direct than others.

Commissioner Paul Pinkston NO
Commissioner Tony Norman NO
Commissioner Mark Harmon NO
Commissioner Scott Moore NO
Commissioner Ivan Harmon NO
Commissioner Mike Hammond NO
Commissioner Phil Ballard NO
Commissioner Craig Leuthold Is not seeking it, but would serve if selected
Commissioner R. Larry "Chief Grandstander and Hypocrite" Smith Refused Comment

By phone interview with Commissioner Greg Lambert, NO.

I was unable to contact Thomas "Tank" Strickland, I am sure that he would serve if elected, several commissioners informed me that they will support Tank.

Tank should be cautious of R. Larry as his political ambitions know no boundaries. The Chief Grandstander and hypocrite would run over a man that is receiving dialysis on a regular basis to advance his own political career.

R. Larry Smith, the next Commission Chairman? It will certianly make everyone desire to see Scott Moore back in the Chairman's seat.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Tuesday's School Board Races

Congratulations to Indya Kincannon, Second District School Board Member and Cindy Buttry, Third District School Board Member for having served the past four years and having no opponent to challenge you for the seat you represent on the board.

Congratulations to Bill Phillips, Eighth District School Board Member - Elect. Phillips became a candidate in November 2007. Current Eighth District School Board Member Jim Williams decided not to seek re-election. Phillips ran unopposed and will bring business experience and common sense to the board.

In the Fifth District, two candidates faced off for that districts seat. Laurie Alford opposing incumbent Karen Carson. Alford garnered nearly 40% of the vote with only a 5 week campaign. Alford served as a wake up call to the parent citizens of the district. Many parents of the Fifth district have commented to Alford that they will pay closer attention and become better informed of the actions of the board and the actions or inactions of individual board members.

Alford will not go away, she will remain active and will likely engage public discussion and decisions as a blogger. That is a little good news.

Congratulations to Carson on a board seat for the next four years.

Tuesday's Law Director Race

Bill Lockett, Republican candidate for Knox County Law Director outpolled John Owings for the Republican nomination for Law Director. John Owings and his staff have continued a fine tradition of excellent service to Knox County since his appointment on 9/1/2006 in taking over the Law Director's office due to Chancellor Mike Moyers rise to the Chancery Court Judge bench.

Tuesday's Register of Deeds Race

Republican Sherry Witt, Chief Deputy of the Register of Deeds office ran unopposed in the Republican primary. She received 34, 927 votes.

Democrat Scott Emge ran unopposed in the Democrat primary. He received 26,526 votes. Emge ran unsuccessfully for the position in 2006.

First time candidate Sherry Witt will be a welcome addition to the new officeholders of 2008.

Tuesday's County Clerk Race

The Democrat primary for County Clerk was a shocker in that Amy Henley Vandergriff became the Democrat nominee for County Clerk overtaking current Interim County Clerk George Stooksbury. Henley Vandergriff campaigned with less than $500 and outpolled Stooksbury 60.06% to 39.94%.

The Republican primary had Foster Arnett, Junior outpolling County Commissioner Scott Moore, former County Commissioner Mike McMillan and Bryan Bates.

This race pits two candidates, one (Vandergriff) with the Experience and Expertise in the Clerk's office as a staff employee. She can provide real fundamental change in the operation of the Clerk's office that will benefit the taxpayers of Knox County. The other candidate (Arnett) has no experience in runnning any office, he campaigns with empty rhetoric campaign slogans with no real plan for improving Knox County citizens experience with the Clerk's office.

Visit Amy Henley Vandergriff's website, here.

Tuesday's Race for Sheriff

Republican candidate for Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones was unopposed in the Republican primary and garnered 34,717 votes.

Democrat candidate for Sheriff Randy Tyree was unopposed in the Democrat primary and garnered 27,945 votes.

They will face off on August 7, 2008. Sheriff Jones will earn his own term on that day.

Tuesday's Trustee Race

Current Deputy Trustee Fred Sisk prevailed in a close race to become the Republican nominee for Trustee. Former School Board Chairman Steve Hill came in second with 781 fewer votes than Sisk. L.B. Steele, Roger Kane, Steve Rogers and Hobart Lumpkin all ran strong compaigns.

On August 7, 2008, Sisk will face current School Board member Robert Bratton. Bratton formerly served on County Commision. He left that post to run for State Representative and was defeated in that bid. He has served on School Board since 2002. Look for Sisk to win this race not as close as the primary.

Tuesday's Assessor of Property Race

County Commissioner Phil Ballard prevailed over former and current interim Trustee Mike Lowe. The race was close, but both campaigns were well run and Ballard obtained the Republican nomination.

On August 7, 2008, Ballard must now face Democrat Andrew Graybeal and Independent Robert Bedwell.

Tuesday's County Commission Races

First District, Samuel McKenzie out polled the numerous other candidates for the Democrat nomination. Pete Drew and Therea Cox had strong showings. Cynthia Stancil and Evelyn Gill finished out the rest of the field.

We now move to the August 7, 2008 General Election with Republican Albert Baah taking on Samuel McKenzie. Brian's Blog predicts a strong race between a successful businessman in Baah and the insider's choice of McKenzie.

Second District had Amy Broyles overtaking Cortney Piper with Chuck Williams have a showing. Had this race been a race outside the second district, Broyles would have finished second. Cortney is a bright, professional and has real potential in future races.

August 7, 2008 in the General Election Republican Charles "Chuck" Bolus facing Amy Broyles. This will be a battle of the left wing of the Democrat party (Broyles) and the everyday common sense Conservative (Bolus)

Fourth District Seat A Ruthie Kulhman out polled William Daniels, Richard Cate and Walter Wojnar. Kulhman is said to be known by everyone. Sometimes that is a negative and not a positive.

The Brian's Blog best campaign slogan award goes to Walt Wojnar. "W-O-J-N-A-R, the J is silent, I won't be." Look for Kuhlman to try a similar slogan.

On the Democrat side of Four A Finbarr Saunders outpolled Elaine Davis. This match was unfair to Davis. Davis had worked hard in 2006 to obtain enough write-in votes and came in second in teh general election behind Commissioner Phil Guthe. Why did the Democrat Chairman allow a minority party district contest in the fourth? The last thing he and the party needs is division. But that is his call and time will tell if the division will allow a Democrat to be elected.

On August 7, 2008 it will be a Kulhman - Saunders race. This is a race with the opportunity for the minority party to pick up this seat.

Fourth District Seat B Former City Councilman Ed Shouse outpolled Jim Smelcher, Lee Tramel and Logan Brummitt. Shouse, an avid reader of Brian's Blog enjoys our "Slopper News" tag line. The other three candidates accomplished much. Logan Brummitt is a guy to watch in the future.

On August 7, 2008 a match between Shouse and Democrat Steve Drevik. This should be an easy pick-up for Shouse.

Fifth District Seat C Dr. Richard Briggs outpolled John Schoonmaker, Thomas Baer, Jim McEvers and Kyle Phillips. This is the second attempt for Schoonmaker, President of the Council of West Knox County Homeowners, Inc. Jim McEvers made his presence felt at every County Commission meeting the past 8 months or so and Kyle Phillips remains a political force that so many people would like to see in office. Baer had a clear concise message and is awarded Brian's Blog's award for the best, most readable yard sign of the election season. Briggs, should recognize and credit his win to the work and efforts of Dan Andrews, a recent resident of Knox County by way of New York.

Briggs will now face Don Sproles, an Independent candidate. Sproles is an Attorney that operates the successful Lunch Box restaurants with his wife Karen. This race will be a tough one with Sproles and Briggs competing for the votes to serve the next two years. I believe Sproles is a likeable guy that will do well.

Sixth District Seat A The Republican primary netted Brad Anders a 2-1 victory over Matthew Jones. Walter McDaniel and Jimmy Shelton, all had good showings. The Democrat primary netted Kathy Bryant a win over well funded Charles Connatser.

On August 7, 2008 the race pits Brad Anders and Kathy Bryant competing for the seat representing the Sixth District. This race starts anew today.

Eighth District Seat B Dave Wright, of Gibbs outpolled Kay Frazier, Gailen Porter, James Eubanks and Maurice Freed. This race was really close with supporters of Wright and Porter getting heated at times. However, in the end Wright had a BIG win and with no Democrat or Independent candidate for Wright to face. At this moment in time, you can now refer to him as County Commissioner - Elect Dave Wright.

Ninth District Seat A Mike Brown outpolled Tim Greene. Tim Greene is a successful businessman and this race is in my opinion is truly a bad decision on the part of the citizens of the Ninth District.

On August 7, 2008 Brown will face Democrat C. Vernon Rose.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The One Candidate That Featured Brian's Blog On Her Campaign Brochure, WON!

Amy Henly Vandergriff, Democrat candidate for Knox County Clerk featured comments that were posted on Brian's Blog on her campaign brochure and low and behold, she won the nomination.

See the power of Brian's Blog.

Why Did Scott Moore Lose?

He lost the Clerk's race because the citizens of Knox County desire that he remain on the Knox County Commission continuing to watch over their tax dollars. The citizens want to continue with the open and tarnsparant government and desire to have a Commission Chairman that will hold the departments accountable for their actions. It is a checks and balances government.

BIG Winners Tonight

Proponents of Metro Government, Friends of the Ambassador of Poland and cast of hundreds.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Election Day and Flashback 10 years: Does Anything Really Change?

Today is Election Day, if you did not vote during Early Vote. You must vote today, there are women and men suffering through the weather conditions in places like Iraq so that we have the freedom to vote and control our destiny as a country and a community. If you stay home for any reason during this election cycle. The efforts of the men and women will have been in vain.

Now, Flashback ten years.

This photo and quote are from the Republican candidate for County Executive in 1998. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Instead of "Lucky Sperm Club" it is the "Downtown Politicians."

Today the downtown politicians get a former State Senator and former County Executive to play the role that they are the public with something called a "Public Trust PAC"

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Congratulations to the Giants

A second year in a row for a David Cutcliffe coached quarterback to win the Super Bowl. Tonight, Good overcame Evil. Positive overcame Hate. Reputable overcame Tabloid.

Heck, tonight's game is similar to everything overcoming the likes of a hate filled, evil, tabloid Slopper.

New Englands cry baby of a coach is just like a certain tabloid bully editor girl. They try and dish it, but sure can't take it.

It is a good night in America and Knoxville, TN. Now it is time for the Congressional hearings on the illegal dirty tricks.

News-Sentinel Errors Continually Exposed

Earlier today we exposed an error in yesterday's News-Sentinel. In the same post we exposed an error in today's News-Sentinel. You can read that post, here. Well, we have found a second error in today's News-Sentinel. On the front page, all the pictures of every candidate on the ballot in Knox County is pictured.

Even uncontested candidates for re-election like Cindy Buttry and Indya Kincannon are pictured. Even a candidate that self financed his campaign like Dr. Richard Briggs, candidate for County Commission Fifth District Seat C is pictured.

So why would an unopposed, self financed candidate not be pictured? Especially if the candidate is in fact on the February 5, 2008 ballot, unopposed and self financed. The candidate that is unopposed and self financed and was left out of today's newspaper is Republican businessman Bill Phillips. Phillips is a candidate for Knox County School Board, Eighth District. Phillips is unopposed and self financed.

Phillips has been a longtime friend of Republicans, of Education and to the Knox County Sheriff's Department.

Is his absence from the front page of the News-Sentinel because he supported the Sheriff's Department Pension Plan? Is his absence from the front page of the News-Sentinel because he is a friend of real Republicans and not the downtown politicians? Only Jack McElroy will be able to answer these questions.

Foster Arnett, Junior...Honor Above All? Yeah Right!

In today's News-Sentinel is an article about how Foster Arnett, Junior only owns 1% of his $825,000.00 home and that the home is only assessed for $200,300. He claims that it isn't his fault. Yeah Right!

This from the candidate that says that he believes in

Do the right thing - Is the right thing to ignore that you are assessed a half million dollars less than you know that your property is assessed?

Do your very best each day - Is the best going to bed knowing that you are living in a house that is assessed a half million dollars less than it is valued?

Treat others as you want to be treated - Is this the way Foster wants to be treated?

Junior says that he will run the office with this mantra.

Honor, Above All Else - How is it honor above all else, to have your property assessed a half million dollars less than its value?

Honesty - Is it honest to know that your property is worth $825,300.oo but assessed at $200,300.00?

Integrity - Is this a quality of Integrity to have your home assessed at a half million dollars less than value?

Accountability - How accountable is it that Junior did not reveal that his property is assessed a half million dollars less than value?

Accessibility - How accessible was Junior in working with the Property Assessor's office to reveal his homes value?

Transparency - Junior is obviously not very transparent in revealing his homes value.

In addition, early in his campaign he claimed that he was President of Pure Air and Water Technologies of Tennessee, Inc. The company has been defunct for some time. So, Junior simply takes it off his website and says that he didn't make such claim. Not a character of Doing the Right Thing, Doing His Best Every Day, Treating Others As You Would Like To Be Treated. Not a trait of Honor Above All Else, Honesty, Integrity, Accountability, Accessible and Transparent.

Brian's Blog has been contacted by Foster Arnett, Junior's neighbors and they profess that he is not a good neighbor to the individuals that live in close proxmity to his under appraised home.

News-Sentinel Makes Errors Saturday and Sunday

In the Saturday edition, Jack McElroy's News-Sentinel published an op-ed written by Barbara Nicodemus. What Jack and the staff of editors failed to disclose is that Barbara Nicodemus is an announced Democrat candidate for the State House against Republican Conservative Representative Bill Dunn. Just another example of Jack and the News-Sentinel's Democrat agenda.

In the Sunday (today's) edition, Jack McElroy's News Sentinel on page A18 published a shadow box entitled Tuesday's Primary: Frequently Asked Questions. Check out the third question. It reads "If I'm mainly interested in Knox County races, should I vote on the Republican or Democratic side?" In the eight paragraph answer, check out the sixth paragraph. It reads. "Only Democrats have contested races in the 1st and 2nd Districts. The sole Republican in each of those races will face the Democratic winner in August." While their answer is partially correct, there is only 1 Republican in the 1st, Albert Baah and Chuck Bolus in the second district. The greatest error in the News-Sentinel is to print that only two County Commission races have a Democrat primary. Seat 4A has Democrat Elaine Davis and Democrat Finbarr Saunders challenging to take on the winner of the Richard Cate, William Daniels, Ruthie Kulhman and Walt Wojnar Republican primary contest.

Come on Jack, can't your editorial staff get it right? At least when you are trying to answer frequently asked questions. If the questions are so frequently asked. Why are you frequently answering them wrong?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Sheriff's Deputies Find NO Friend In Karen Carson

For those of you that are employed by the Knox County Sheriff's Department or for those of you, like me that support the men and women that protect and defend our community against the bad guys and girls.

You have no friend in Karen Carson, a candidate for Knox County School Board - Fifth District.

Not only did she reveal in a questionaire that she opposed the Sheriff's Department Pension when it passed. But, she would support it being placed back on referendum to be abolished.

A friend of the Sheriffs Department forwarded a page (to Brian's Blog) of a recently submitted questionaire completed and submitted by Carson.

Question 9 asked "Would you consider asking the county to readdress the recently implemented sheriff's office pension plan if it meant more tax dollars could go to education?"

Karen Carson responded "While I do not think the pension plan was a sound decision, given the reality of Knox County Government revenue projections, it was approved by referendum. I think the wording of the referendum was confusing and only a small percentage of eligible Knox County voters actually voted to approve it, but it did pass. If the County commission determines that it cannot support adequate funding for education because of the additional funding requirements of the of the Sheriff's pension plan, I would support another referendum to reconsider the pension plan changes."

News Sentinel Letter to Editor In Today's Edition

Carson hasn't served school board well

Elections are supposed to be about choices, and in 2008 voters have the opportunity to exercise their preferences in all of the thorniest issues of choice - race, gender, religion, abortion, governing experience, socialism, national security and economic security. We can elect our first black president or our first female president.

We can choose from five candidates with absolutely no executive experience. We can decide whether we want a president or a preacher. We can decide whether Mormonism is a Christian religion or a cult. We can decide that honesty is no longer important and elect a candidate whose campaign team includes two convicted criminals.

We can vote for a candidate whose ideas seem completely nutty but who has been supported hundreds of times by our own U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. We have never had such freedom of choice.

On the local scene, only one of the critical school board seats is being contested - that for the 5th District. Karen Carson seeks re-election based on her leadership as chairwoman of the school board. After ousting former superintendent Charles Lindsey without good reason and at a cost of $400,000 in February 2007, Carson said a change in leadership was required and that Lindsey's replacement would have to help the school board define its goals, measure them and help achieve them.

In other words, she wanted someone who could show the school board how to do its job. Her concern for the schools was so great that a search for a new superintendent did not even begin until almost the end of the year.

She did, however, lead a trip to China at taxpayer expense, ostensibly to decide whether Chinese should be taught in Knoxville schools. That is not leadership; that is self-indulgence. Carson has not earned the re-election she is seeking.

Vote for Laurie Alford for the school board and hope for better results.

John P. Shanley

Friday, February 01, 2008

Continued Exposure of The Public Trust PAC's Behavior

Logan Brummitt, candidate for Knox County Commission Fourth District Seat B shared his Public Trust PAC experience with Brian's Blog. "I was called for an interview with the PAC on the last day of the interviewing process and I informed them due to a family commitment, I could not make that day. I requested them to extend me an interview on the following Monday. I had been speaking with David Moon's assistant and she said she would see if they would let me interview later. She informed me via email that they could not interview me because they wanted to finish their process on the Friday that they wanted me to come in (1/4) and their decision would be solely based off my questionnaire."

"Well, I took it upon myself to call the members of the PAC. I spoke with Tommy Schumpert for 20 minutes and he recommended that I call all of the members of the PAC as well. I then called Ben Atchley. He returned my message and we spoke briefly. He stated that he would read my questionnaire and call me back. He never did. I left two messages with David Moon at his office. I got Sam Furrows cell number and left him messages there. I also left messages with Sherri Lee and Suzanne Shriver. None of which called me back. On top of all of this, part of the questionnaire was to leave 3 references for them to contact. Not one of my references, Bill Wallace (my current boss), Rod Delmonico (Former UT baseball coach) and Janet Testerman (Friend and former boss) received one phone call."

Logan said that he "wanted to share this..because Tommy Schumpert expressed how the PAC thoroughly did their due-diligence through all of this and yet, I didn't even get a phone call back from some of the members."

Candidate Lee Tramel for the same seat that Logan is running for confirmed with Brian's Blog that his references were not contacted by The Public Trust PAC. By the way, the PAC endorsed the Brummitt, Tramel and Smelcher opponent Ed Shouse.

School Board candidate Laurie Alford confirmed that her references were not contacted. In addition, during Mrs. Alford's interview the panel informed her that it would take 5 committee members to vote for her in order for her to obtain an endorsement. The problem is that only 4 members sat in on her interview. By the way teh PAC endorsed Alford's opponent Karen Carson.

According to sources close to Brian's Blog, Tommy Schumpert is saying the PAC could have done a better job. If you will recall, Schumpert said that the future of The Public Trust PAC would be judged on its performance.

Well, if you are for the old backroom basement, cutting deals for a committment for Metro Consolidated Government. Then Schumpert, Atchley and their rag tag army are just for you.

The Public Trust PAC, not very public and not trustworthy.

Laurie Alford Issues Press Release

Laurie Alford issued the following Press Release and Brian's Blog received a copy. Here it is, it is self explanatory.

School Board Candidate Exposes Political Position of Incumbent

“Laurie Alford Pledges Never to Carson a Position for Political Gain”


For Immediate Release

Knoxville, TN - January 31, 2008

Laurie Alford, candidate for the Fifth District position on the Knox County School Board issued a statement concerning an actionable item on the upcoming school board agenda. In her statement, she vowed never to use her position as a School Board member for personal political gain and will never compromise the Knox County School Boards Ethics policy regarding the behavior of individual school board members.

This evening, Laurie Alford said: “I will never misuse the confidence, respect and good will the citizens place in me as their School Board Representative. I will never utilize my position for personal political gain.” Alford continued “Our community has been through so much controversy and turmoil the past year and now for our School Board Representative to be utilizing this issue to get re-elected is beyond reproach.” “For our children’s well being and emotions to be misused for the sole purpose of campaign strategy is wrong.” Alford concluded. “I will never utilize such actions for my own personal political gain.”

Mrs. Carson, as the Board Chair, and the Superintendent, set the agenda. The agenda is for the Monday, February 4 workshop and the February 6 voting session. The item is to approve the Kingston Woods Subdivision rezoning proposal. This re-zoning fix was discussed at the December 2007 mid-month work session. At that meeting a majority of the board instructed the Superintendent to bring back all fixes throughout the entire county and the board would consider them in their entirety. This item only addresses Kingston Woods and Mrs. Carson, in a struggle to maintain her board position, has placed the item for discussion the evening before the election and for the vote the evening after the election.

Her action in placing this on the agenda is in violation of the Knox County School district’s Board Policy BH. Specifically Article VI Section 2 of the Ethics policy reads; I will avoid being placed in a position of conflict of interest, and will refrain from using my board position for personal or partisan gain. This item being placed on the agenda by Mrs. Carson, as the board Chair is a violation of the Ethics policy. Carson is attempting to swing the political beliefs and votes of the citizens of the Fifth District by utilizing pending board action before the election on February 5, 2008.

Lotts Elementary School Kid Vote

I serve as a Legislative Committee Co-Chair of the A.L. Lotts Elementary School PTA. This morning our committee held a kid vote event for the Democrat and Republican candidates for President. Each student was allowed to select one Democrat and one Republican. In the older grades some students only selected one candidate.

We had two precincts, the South precinct was primarily for Kindergarten and First grade and the North precinct was for Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth grades.

The Democrat ballot had Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Barrack Obama and Write-In. The Republican ballot had Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Write-In. Yes, we forgot Ron Paul. Sorry about that.

The ballots were printed before Edwards and Giuliani backed out.

The Democrat results
Clinton 357
Obama 349
Edwards 113
Write-In 4

Clinton won the Democrat nomination by 8 votes.

The Republican results

Huckabee 355
McCain 240
Romney 194
Giuliani 40
Huckabee won the Republican nomination in a landslide.

Republican Write Ins
Ron Paul 3
Condoleezza Rice 2
Me 1

Check out WVLT Volunteer TV on Comcast Cable Channel 5 between 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. for a report from Kim Bedford.