Monday, March 31, 2008

Victoria DeFreese Press Conference

I attended the Victoria DeFreese Press Conference. I think she makes a point that I hadn't thought about prior to her press conference. Does the Tennessee law specifically the TN Open Records Act supersede the U.S. Constitution. The argument that many of the Ron Paul supporters have argued is that we are governed by the United States Constitution and nothing else. You know in considering that the past several hours, they have a valid point as well.

As you recall, I am not a BIG fan of Prince Phillip of Nashville. So, when he and the legislature pass a law that is not specifically in the U.S. Constitution than it is a law that is suspect.

I have been impressed with Victoria DeFreese independence and her ability to jump right in to a job that she will hold for six - seven months. I am still impressed with her ability to operate within this government structure.

I am equally impressed that she refused to speak to fellow Commissioners that attended her press conference. For the reason that she would be found in violation of the Sunshine law. I saw her rebuff two Commissioners.

Commission Chairman Tank Strickland came long long enough to get a copy of the letter that he had already been copied on by the County Mayor. Strickland then immediately left, we assume to avoid being asked any questions by the media or because Mayor Haslam had an urgent matter for him to attend to. We are not sure which is the case.

Why The Charter Review Committee Did Not Pass...The Mayor Haslam Connection

You have not seen this revealed in the News-Sentinel and you will not see this revealed in the Sentinel. But the reason that the Charter Review Committee did not pass has a Mayor Haslam / City of Knoxville connection. The vote came down to 9 in favor, 7 in opposition, 2 abstain and 1 pass. The 1 pass was City of Knoxville Engineering employee Ivan Harmon. Had Mayor Haslam supported the Charter Review Comittee, Harmon would have cast the 10th vote ratifying the Committee. However, Harmon changed his pass to a No vote making the vote 9 in favor, 9 in opposition and 2 abstain.

Why does the News-Sentinel NEVER print any City of Knoxville / Haslam connection. If there had been a Sheriff's Department connection, the tag team of McElroy / Hartmann would have spent the last week with front page top of the fold stories and photos of Scott Moore and the Sheriff's Department.

But when it comes to covering the real boss of the Sentinel (Haslam) they remain quite. McElroy / Hartmann are overheard saying "Be very, very quiet. We are only hunting sunshine law violations on the Commission." After all they can not file a lawsuit every time a sunshine law violation occurs, only when it occurs on the Commission.

After all Mayor Haslam's family purchases a lot of News-Sentinel's. Now don't they?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

School Board Members..What Were Thinking? Pilot Good To Go!

There were five members of the Knox County School Board that voted to hire James McIntyre. Brian's Blog has already reached out to him and he has responded back. Brian's Blog is looking forward to covering McIntyre and his leadership of the school district. Brian's Blog believes that McIntyre or Robert Thomas can handle the job.

However, an avid reader of Brian's Blog has discovered that the Boston Public School system has a 57% graduation rate, while McIntyre was not the Superintendent at the time, he was on the district payroll as a high level administrator for 10 years.

Sam Anderson, who proudly boast that he has survived as a board member under 4 superintendents. The same Sam Anderson that was Victor Ashe's boy and is now a director under Bill Haslam. The same Sam Anderson that some people in Knox County refer to as "Five Vote Sam" because he always ensures that he is voting with the majority on the school board.

Sam Anderson, Dr. Dan Murphy, Karen Carson, Thomas Deakins and Indya Kincannon have voted to hire someone that comes from a district that graduate 57% of its students. A budget that is $15 million in the hole this year and where the Boston Public Schools is currently working on a budget next year that is $30 million under budget.

So, Sam wants to reduce the graduation rate at Austin East from 62.6%. Indya Kincannon wants to raise Fulton's graduation rate from 55.5% to 57%. We are not quite sure the message from Karen Carson, where Bearden's graduation rate is 88.4% or Dr. Dan Murphy where West's graduation rate is 77.3% and Mr. Deakins where Farragut's graduation rate is 93.8%.

It begs to question, What were they thinking? Maybe Pilot had some coffee that they were smelling. You know their coffee is always "Good To Go". But then again Pilot also "Gets You There". So with Bingelli Pilot got him here and some say that Pilot through their CFO got McIntyre here.

We are fairly certain that the board members voting for Robert Thomas were wanting to improve their existing rates. Jim Williams where Carter's graduation rate is 77.7%, Robert Bratton where South Doyle's graduation rate is 68.5%, Cindy Buttry where Karn's graduation rate is 76.4% and Rex Stooksbury where Central's is 69.4%, Hall's is 84.1% and Powell is 91.0%.

To verify the graduation rates, go here.

In today's newspaper, ace Scripps reporter Lola Alapo has polled the board and reported so that the board does not have to go to Sonic to know that they all support a performance pay contract. That is a great way for Scripps to assist the legislative body in not violating the sunshine law. Lola call them all and then reports in the paper that all are in agreement. Nice move McElroy/Hartmann. The quote from Lola's story that is code word to the board members is "All concur"

Sam Anderson has decided to draw a red-line around the city and focus the Superintendent's time in the red-line area of the school district. Here from the article is what Sam said. "Anderson wants a focus on subgroups of students who typically have performed poorly academically, particularly those who receive free or reduced-price lunches." So to the communities of Farragut, Karns, Powell, Halls, Gibbs, Carter and South Doyle. Those communities do not typically have performed poorly academically, particularly those who receive free or reduced-price lunches than the Superintendent's time and energy will not be spent on you. Because his performance enhancement contract will not pay the BIG dollars to spend time with those communities.

Here is another troubling nugget from Lola's article. "Although board members voted for a salary of around $240,000, they have the freedom to negotiate above or below that figure."

Oh, boy aren't we in for some fun, NOW.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

News-Sentinel Expose' That Will Never Be

Check this GREAT expose' from our friends at the News-Sentinel today. They say that the County Mayor spending $197.10 from his campaign funds may be a violation because it is a personal expense.

Here is something for the Scripps owned tag team of McElroy/Hartmann to investigate.

When the City Mayor (William "Bill" Haslam) goes on a trip and rides in the same jet that carried Brian Bingelli here. Is the plane a family owned jet, if it is than that is likely an acceptable mode of transportation. It would be like the personal vehicle he drives or the bicycle that he rides to the city - county building for photo ops, once a year. However, if the plane is a corporate jet, owned by Pilot Corporation or Pilot Travel Centers, LLC. Then it is likely a corporate contribution and is very likely illegal.

Brian's Blog will venture to guess that the Scripps owned tag team of McElroy/Hartmann will NEVER look into this expose'.

It Will Be Interesting To See How The School Board Chair Conducts This One. Any Students Connected To Pilot?

Check it out here.

I Support the Lies of my Mom..We Are Not Focused On The Past

Friday, March 28, 2008

This Is Typical Of Democrats and Democrat Thinking

Granted we are a tad bit late on posting this. However, we have been busy covering the Knox County Superintendent search, the School Board Chair's activity on the part of the City of Knoxville administration and Pilot Corporation / Pilot Travel Centers, LLC.

But this 2:47 video is typical of the Democrats and their unethical, non responsive nature. This is how the Democrat controlled Congress treat their own. The member asking the question is a Democrat.

This is how you are treated when you question the Latte Lady Pelosi and her minions in the U.S. House, they silence you, ignore your question and when challenged reclaim their time with a wink.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What Ever Happened To Next Week?

Do you remember this Rebecca Ferrar story in the Saturday February 16, 2008 News-Sentinel? On the Saturday before the February 20 appointments, Interim Trustee Mike Lowe stated in a published interview that he would be leaving the Trustee's office the next week. He has been employed in the Trustee's office for 33 years. He said that he would be entering the real estate business.

Brian's Blog began receiving phone calls over the last couple of weeks saying that Mike Lowe has not left the Trustee's office. We began asking several different sources on every floor of the city county building and they all concur that Mike Lowe is still an employee of the Trustee's office as recent as this week.

So, much for journalistic follow-up.

20 Years Ago, Yesterday

Last evening, the Brian's Blog wife and I celebrated our twenty year wedding anniversary with dinner at Flemings in Turkey Creek. We enjoyed a splendid meal and time at Flemings. I would recommend Flemings to you.

On March 26, 1988 we were married at a small Presbyterian church in East Knox County. The church is considered my mother's family church, as the Blake family have been the primary occupants of Caledonia Presbyterian Church.

In looking back, 1988 seems a long time ago but in reality this twenty year journey has flown by. We have been blessed with three great kids, a blessed church, a wonderful neighborhood and some awesome friends.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What do the Knox County School Board Chair and the Democrat Presidential Candidate Have In Common

Beside political party affiliation, what else do the Knox County School Board Chair and one Democrat Presidential candidate have in common? They both lie. The Board Chair in saying that Pilot Corporation has no ties to the school system and the democrat presidential candidate said that she arrived under sniper fire.

Brian's Blog exposed the Board Chair's lie and CBS National exposed the Democrat Presidential candidate.

If You Want To Have Your Say

If you want to have your say about the actions of the School Board Chair during the Superintendent search and want to file a complaint. Or if you have exhausted all your attempts at trying to resolve a problem at your school and the board chair has swept your concerns under the rug. The Knox County Ethics Committee is for you.

The Knox County School Board is a part of the Knox County Ethics policy. Meaning that you can put your complaint in writing and sign your name at the bottom of the letter and mail it to

Knox County Ethics Committee Chairman
P.O. Box 7302
Knoxville, Tennessee 37931

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Board Chair "Pilot is Not Connected To Schools"

In response to the Knox County Board Chair's comment in a Friday interview with Hayes Hickman of the News-Sentinel where the Board Chair said that the anonymous donor of the airplane is someone not connected to schools. In this post from Sunday March 23, 2008 we listed six ways that Pilot Corporation is connected to the Knox County School District.

Here is the link to the editorial written by Mitch Steenrod, senior vice-president and chief financial officer of Pilot Travel Centers LLC. A Haslam owned entity.

In addition, Brian's Blog has received a copy of a communication sent to the board members from Mitch Steenrod. The email below was sent to all board members with a copy to Mike Edwards, Chamber President.

Subject: Superintendent Candidates
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 18:45:43 -0400

Honorable Members of Knox County School Board,

Thank you for allowing the Chamber an opportunity to talk with each of the three finalists in the superintendent search. All three were very thoughtful and composed.In my opinion, James McIntyre would be my choice for the position. He had a clear vision of accountability and measurement. He also had a great handle on developmental curriculum and understands the teaching environment in an underserved area.Again, thank you for the opportunity and best of luck with the decision.

Mitch Steenrod
Pilot Travel Centers LLC

Check Out The Progressive Information From the Boston Public Schools

Here is a product of the Boston Public Schools that would be welcomed in Knox County. Dr. James McIntyre should consider a blogger as a part of his re-organized team.

Read What Our New Superintendent Said Two Months Ago Today

Here is a January 25, 2008 story from the ABC affiliate WKOW in Madison, WI. (he wore a different tie to Knoxville) Here is the story link or try this link to view the video and hear Dr. McIntyre's words for yourself.

MMSD Superintendent Candidate: Dr. James McIntyre

Moving to Madison would be a a dream come true for Dr. James McIntyre who is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Boston Public Schools.He says his extensive budget experience from an educational standpoint is one of his strongest assets. His wife is from the Midwest so moving his kids here to attend school in MMSD would be great.

When we asked him why he chose Madison he said, "It's a terrific city. It's an outstanding school district and I think it's a terrific opportunity as well. it's a situation where obviously, there are challenges in any school district but this is a district that has had great success.

"We asked Dr. McIntyre if Madison schools are underfunded, and asked if taxpayers pay more. McIntyre said funding needs to be responsible. "What's important is to make sure your spending those dollars well and those dollars are going toward the educational mission of the district and making sure that every dollar and every dime is enabling student achievement.

"McIntyre says after spending a few days in Madison and around the district, he sees a lot of positives, but a few challenges as well. McIntyre says one of the biggest is distributing resources. "I think one is around resources and making sure that we use the resources we have effectively. I think the other is around making sure that as we see increasing diversity - economic diversity, racial diversity, that it is delt with constructively."

Dr. McIntyre has a wife and two kids, ages 5 and 8. The board will name their choice for one finalist on Saturday. But it will be another month before it's decided if that person actually gets the job.

Hat tip to leprechaun for posting this link in the comment section of the knoxnews website.

What Part Of No Private Conversation Does The School Board Chair Not Understand

This morning at 8:00 a.m. on the website School Board Member - Elect Bill Phillips posted the following.

Posted by Bill on March 25, 2008 at 8:30 a.m.

I just had a call from a school board member about my whining & my attitude. Great, I have to get up at 5:45 am put my son on a bus, send him across town to school because GIBBS DOES NOT HAVE A MIDDLE SCHOOL, when I suggested we start transporting the students from west Knoxville to east to help with over crowding she just got mad & hung the phone up. The point here is Gibbs & Carter need the same attention as West Knoxville & the inner city Schools & the parents will have their say from this point on.

Bill Phillips
Corryton Tn

What part of no private conversation does the Knox County School Board Chair not understand. Board Member - Elect Phillips is doing the right thing in posting in public any potential conversation that violates the sunshine law.

For the record, the Sentinel is not the only entity that can file a Sunshine lawsuit against a public body. For the record, Herbert Moncier is not the only attorney that may file an ouster suit on a public official. For the record, County Commission is not the only public body that these suits may be filed on.

Monday, March 24, 2008

We Predicted It and Our Readers Respond

Brian's Blog predicted what happened at the school board tonight. All the while three innocent individuals were placed in the middle, Brian Bingelli, James McIntyre and Robert Thomas. The airplane ride from Pilot Corporation corrupted the Bingelli candidacy. Thus the only "outsider" left standing was James McIntyre.

Here are sample responses received from two of our readers tonight.

You were right. Can we sue because those four violated the Sunshine Act in their Sonic deliberations?

I hope people can get together to find candidates to run against all four of those who voted for McIntyre.

It is appalling arrogance that can only explain their decision to choose a candidate who has ONE (1) year of classroom teaching experience.

As gas, food, and all other prices continue to rise, we now are obligated to pay the next superintendent nearly a quarter of a million dollars annually, thanks to those four members on the school board.

Since it has been proclaimed over and over again how what goes on in the classroom is the most important thing, why did the school board make this decision? I agree with you that it has to do with metro government, but I believe it also has to do with certain members of the school board wanting to buy the superintendent's loyalty.

Without any connections to Knox County Schools, McIntyre will be wholely dependent on those school board members who elected him, and that will suit them just fine. Just as Coach Anderson cared for Lindsey, which he repayed by putting all the magnet schools in Coach Anderson's district (and they have failed to live up to anyone's expectations), these school board members are looking out for McIntyre. Wonder what the pay off is this time?

Let's see if we can run substantial candidates against these four.

and the second said

You nailed it, for sure, Brian..... right down to the Haslam connection.

I'm so thankful that I don't have to go through another new Super! Guess there were lots not willing to do it, judging by the retirements.

And I will never vote for Metro Government!

Thanks for the good coverage on all things political.

Knoxnews Website crashes Over Public Outrage or Haslam Pulled The Plug

The knoxnews website has crashed tonight. It is either because of the public outrage over the Superintendent selection as over 40 comments were posted in outrage. Of course, it is also rumored that possibly Haslam may have pulled the plug on their website.

Enquiring minds want to know.

Dr. James McIntyre Selected as the Next Super

Dr. James McIntyre of Boston Public Schools has been selected by five of the Knox County School Board members. Four board members selected Robert Thomas.

Leaving the public to wonder what happened to the board unity that the Board Chair boosted of during her recent primary campaign against Laurie Alford.

Voting with the Chair were Daniel Murphy, Indya Kincannon, Thomas Deakins and Samuel Anderson.

Voting for Robert Thomas Cindy Buttry, Rex Stooksbury, Jim Williams and Trustee candidate Robert Bratton.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

School Board Member - Elect Bill Phillips Will Have His Say

School Board Member - Elect Bill Phillips is quoted in the Sentinel story this morning. His comments are buried at the end of the story. Certainly it was an attempt by News-Sentinel editors to silence Board Member - Elect Bill Phillips after all yesterday they quoted a former school board member (Jim McClain) saying that for rookies, the old general rule is shut up and be quiet.

They will not silence Bill Phillips here is what he posted on the knoxnews website as a comment on the story. You can read it here forever, because as soon as the knoxnews website figures out it is there, they will remove it.

This is what I wanted for News Sentinel to pick up on.

1. Mr. Haslam is City Mayor
2. Mr. Anderson is appointed by the City Mayor.
3. Mr. Anderson took A Candidate to the Mayors office for a private meeting with the mayor.4. Mr. Haslam should know that Sam Anderson is on the School board.
5. Mr. Anderson is taking care the city for sure ( FIVE VOTE SAM )
6. Here are some hints Haslam = City = Schools = Sam Anderson =school board = candidate = private meeting = planes = spending = McIntyre.

Please meet your New Superintendent of the new metro school system. People we need to wake up !!!!!! if someone from the county had done this, it would have been all over the front page. I have one message to send ( others parts of the county east,north,south have needs also ) I WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO PROVIDE THE 8TH DISTRICT THE NEW SCHOOLS THAT THEY HAVE BEEN PROMISED FOR YEARS !!!! Now here is another hint for this paper ( sunshine law ) lets see what they do with the hint )

Bill Phillips
Corryton Tn

Pilot Corporation and its Connection To Knox County Schools

Over one week ago, we revealed what WBIR and News-Sentinel reporter Lola Alapo and even our own blog was unable to secure at first attempt. We were attempting to obtain the identity of the corporate contribution of a jet airplane ride for Brian Bingelli. School Board Chair Karen Carson even on Friday in an interview with News-Sentinel reporter Hayes Hickman was declining the identity by saying that it was not someone connected to schools.

Hickman obtained the acknowledgement from Alan Carmichael, PR spokesman with the Pilot Corporation as the contributor.

Let us now compare Karen Carson's statement. She said that Pilot Corporation has no tie to schools.

First, The maintenance and school bus fleet owned and operated by Knox County Schools use gas fleet cards that have their trucks and buses fueled at Pilot gas stations.

Second, Karen Carson as we have reported here before received $1,500.00 in contributions from executives with Pilot Corporation. She also received $500.00 from an employee of another Haslam owned entity called River Media. (This information was taken from her most recent campaign financial disclosure dated 1/29/08)

Third, the son of Pilot Corporation head James Haslam II is the Mayor of the City of Knoxville. One of City Mayor Bill Haslam's appointed department heads is Sam Anderson, a member of the Knox County School Board.

Fourth, the City Mayor Bill Haslam contributed $200.00 to Carson's campaign. He is the son of James Haslam II and brother of James Haslam III of Pilot Corportaion. He is also the Supervisor of Sam Anderson, a Knox County School Board member.

UPDATE: Sixth, the CFO of Pilot Corporation recently wrote a column in the New-Sentinel promoting the concept of the academies at Hardin Valley, Fulton and Austin East. Read David Page's column here in today's News-Sentinel where he details the Pilot Corporations stand.

This list will continue to be expanded as needed.

This Vote on Monday May Reveal a Major Conspiracy

The actions of flying Brian Bingelli in on Pilot's jet may have been affront to sabotage the candidacy of Brian Bingelli.

Instead the board members that support an outside candidate, may in fact have planned this sabotage on Bingelli in order to vote Jame McIntyre in as Superintendent.

Time will tell.

Unfortunately, Bingelli and McIntyre have been used for a power play against the citizens of Knox County.

Why The News-Sentinel Is Never Critical Of Bill Haslam

The story that we referenced earlier opens some questions that Bill Haslam, the city administration, Pilot Corporation and the Haslam family need to answer.

However, the News-Sentinel will not ask the questions in the same way that they ask questions of officials with Knox County Commission or the Knox County Mayor.

Why is this? Because the News-Sentinel owes Pilot Corporation for all the newspapers they sell, Sunday - Thursday and on Saturday. Heck, Pilot even buys in bulk on Friday and gives the papers away.

No objective journalism from News-Sentinel when it involves Pilot or the name Haslam.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

City of Knoxville Is Tipping Over

Today's News-Sentinel story about the red light cameras in Judge Thomas Phillips federal courtroom reveal a great deal about the City of Knoxville administration, nepotism and cronyism in the City of Knoxville and an abuse of constitutional rights.

The judge rejected the red light lawsuit simply because it had not traveled through the state court. However, in reading the article you can see where the federal judge believes that the cameras violate federal and state Constitution.

Randy Kenner, City of Knoxville Public Relations guy said. "Our attorneys have looked at this, and we believe it is constitutional." Hey Kenner, the attorneys are paid for by the City. They are going to opine whatever opinion the person or entity paying them to say wants them to say.

Then it is revealed that Michael S. Kelley is the attorney for Red Flex. Michael Kelley is former City of Knoxville law director and son to former school board member Dr. Paul Kelley. This has cronyism all over it. The City of Knoxville hire Red Flex to come into town and they hire the former City of Knoxville law director and son of a politically connected family. What red flags of improper perceptions does this raise? Hopefully it can all be captured on camera.

This is revealed shortly after the City Mayor was hosting a one on one with the two outside finalist for School Superintendent and providing an anonymous plane ride for Brian Bingelli, the finalist from Falls Church Public Schools in Fairfax, Va.

Read Judge Phillips decision, here.

Hey, Jim McClain "You Have Lost It!"

Today's Georgiana Vines column is all about the appointed County Commissioner Victoria DeFreese. Shortly after her appointment we nicknamed all the Commissioners that did not already have nicknames. We nicknamed DeFreese "Class Mom". We said then that she brought class to the commission in addition to her skill as a home school mom. We were right then and it still holds today.

Jim McClain, former School board member from South Knoxville criticised DeFreese in Vines column by saying. "She's been aggressive early. The old general rule is, once in office, you sort of listen awhile."

Well, Jimbo you ain't on the field anymore. Remember in 2006 the citizens of South Knoxville rejected you to re-elect Robert Bratton. What Jim's statement really means is shut up while my people do what they want to do and we will tell you when to speak up.

McClain attempted to silence Brian Hornback immediately on his taking office on September 1, 2000. Brian asked several questions at the first board workshop and meeting where he was a member. McClain pulled him aside and said "no rookie has ever asked questions at their first workshop and meeting." Mr. Hornback said, "well Jim I have studied the packet and if I have questions I will ask them. If I have a difference of opinion, I will voice it. My district didn't elect me to let you run the show."

At the end of the forum that Commissioner DeFreese hosted, McClain attempted to provoke Paul Pinkston into a shouting match. Pinkston defended himself and sat down. McClain continued shouting, "I am Paul's Sunday school teacher" While McClain was all red faced and fuming and Pinkston was sitting in his chair, smiling.

Now McClain is attempting to pick a fight with DeFreese. Here in Knox County, we men respect the voice of an intelligent, well spoken woman. DeFreese fits both. McClain your time is up, you have officially lost it.

DeFreese has defenders that will defend her and this blog is one member of the DeFreese defense team, should she need it. We don't think she will. Because the citizens of Knox County can see through McClain's actions and his words.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The News-Sentinel's Consultant

Three days ago, Brian's Blog in partnership with the Hubert Smith Radio Show posted this about the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright's appearance in Knoxville about a year ago.

This mornings News-Sentinel front page, bottom fold have a photograph of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright from the event in Knoxville and a news story about local leaders on the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright situation. Check out the photo and story, here.

So is it a coincidence or is Brian's Blog a consultant to the News-Sentinel?

Here is a School Board That Knows How To Hire a Superintendent

Here in Knox County a reasonable person would conclude that the fix is in for Brian Bingelli. A free anonymous corporate jet to taxi he and his wife around, a community forum held during the Tennessee basketball game, a site visit that wasn't a site visit, on and on and on and on.

If it is enough to frustrate the two entities that rarely agree on anything, (Sandra Clark at the Shopper and Brian's Blog) it has to be painful to the other two finalists James McIntyre and Robert Thomas. It is their reputation and livelihood that is at stake, here.

But just to the southwest of Knox County, over in Loudon County the school board there are replacing Edward Headlee. Headlee was first elected in the 1970's and was re-elected until the state law changed in the early 1990's and Headlee was appointed. Last year, he announced his retirement and the board began the process. They are now down to six and they know how to do a Superintendent selection. With the exception of a lone renege complainer, Van Shafer.

Check out today's News-Sentinel article about the Loudon County process, here. Then compare the actions and statements of Bobby Johnson, Chair of the Loudon County School Board and the actions and statements of Karen Carson, Chair of the Knox County School Board. And it show that Loudon County could teach Knox County a thing or ten.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

De Plane Boss De Plane II

On Saturday we posted this about Brian Bingelli's use of a jet airplane that brought he and his wife to Knoxville for his second interview. Brian's Blog and WBIR can not get a straight word out of Knox County School officials or Brian Bingelli about his free ride around the world.

Lola Alapo was a guest on the Hubert Smith Radio Show today and was asked about the airplane and she said that she asked and was told "it was a private citizen doing a favor for a private citizen."

Brian's Blog has asked three members (1/3) of the school board and one school board member - elect and they all remain tight lipped. Brian's Blog has asked Russ Oaks, the PR guy for Knox County Schools and he has not been forthcoming.

However, we have it on good authority that the plane was an aircraft of Pilot Corporation and Jim Haslam. The father of Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam. Why are they so tight lipped about it?

Could it be the perception of a major contributor to the School Board Chair's re-election campaign providing a free jet airplane for the next probable Superintendent is a bad perception?

On the campaign financial disclosure statement dated January 29, 2008 Karen Carson received not only the $4,500.00 from the Public Trust PAC but, Susan Whitney Haslam gave $500.00, James Haslam II gave $500.00, James Haslam III gave $500.00, Susan Haslam gave $500.00 and Bill Haslam gave $200.00

So, $2,200.00 from the Haslam family on the pre-primary financial disclosure. What kind of perception is that when Mayor Haslam has a one on one and the use of his families airplane?

Knox Countians Want An Insider

Check out the online poll at WBIR's website. The TalkBack Opinion Poll is Which of the three final candidates would be your pick for Knox County Superintendent?

Brian Bingelli
James McIntyre
Bob Thomas

As of this hour on Sunday March 16, 2008 2476 citizens have voted. 1957 citizens want Bob Thomas, 460 citizens want Brian Bingelli and only 59 citizens want James McIntyre.

Brian's Blog has been asked about our coverage of Karen Carson. Brian Hornback has worked with Karen Carson since the early 1990's in community organizations. Even serving as the Parliamentarian while she served as President of one organization. Brian Hornback has witnessed what now Sandra Clark of the Shopper News points out in tomorrow's edition of the West Side Shopper.

"I am disappointed in my friends on the school board, in people I respect such as Karen Carson, who rated Wright a zero."

Sandra also points out that under Karen Carson's leadership as Chair during the Superintendent finalist selection. "Four members, on a written ballot, made 10 identical choices on head-to-head comparisons. What are the odds? The four walked into the room with Sonic cups."........"Carson, Anderson, Thomas Deakins and Dan Murphy want somebody who’s not from around here."

Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright in Knoxville, TN

On January 11, 2007 at Noon, controversial pastor of presidential candidate Barrack Obama and pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ of Chicago, IL, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright appeared in Knoxville as the Keynote speaker for the Leadership/Diversity Awards Luncheon. WBIR's Robin Whilhoit hosted the event.

Why have WBIR and Robin Wilhoit never acknowledged that the most controversial person in the center of the Democrat presidential primary was right here in river city less than 15 months ago. Obviously with Robin having been the host, there had to have been at least one WBIR camera present. Which means that in the basement of WBIR there is video of the controversial figure known as Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright from right here in Knoxville, TN.

Here is the description of the event. Click on the description to be linked to the 2007 City of Knoxville Press Release.

Leadership/Diversity Awards Luncheon, Knoxville Marriott Hotel, hosted by Robin Wilhoit, WBIR-TV. Keynote speaker: Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL. Awards presented for Education, Advocacy, and Business.

Hat Tip to Hubert Smith of the Hubert Smith Radio Show for the information that led our research staff to this post. At least the partnership of Brian's Blog and the Hubert Smith Radio Show are knowledgeable to what happens here in river city.

My challenge to WBIR is to show your audience the video and acknowledge that Brian's Blog and the Hubert Smith Radio Show alerted you to the existence of the video.

Superintendent Finalists Site Visits...Is The Fix In?

This past week five members (Robert Bratton, Thomas Deakins, Indya Kincannon, Cindy Buttry and Karen Carson) of the Knox County School Board that are conducting the Superintendent finalist site visits.

This past week their site visit for Brian Bingelli occurred on March 13 and one call on March 14. The site visit consisted of calling the Superintendent of Fairfax County, a PTA member, a FEA Representative, two school board members, a member of the Board of Supervisors, three principals and a member of the Mt. Vernon - Lee Chamber of Commerce. The meetings where board members made phone calls were not open to the media and the public. The list of individuals and telephone numbers were given to the school board consultant Ray & Associates by the Superintendent finalist.

This Tuesday, five members of the school board site visit team will be traveling to Boston to conduct an on site visit on Wednesday and will meet with individuals that James McIntyre has giving the consultant for the school board to talk with. Who is paying for this out of town junket? Is the same anonymous corporate jet that transported the Virginia finalist here, now transporting five school board members to James McIntyre's district? This is certainly not the same process used for the Fairfax County finalists.

Now, Knox County's Robert Thomas is not getting a site visit at all. The school board through its consultant Ray & Associates have not requested of finalist Thomas, a list of school officials to call or visit. This is not the same process for the Virginia or the Boston finalists.

Three different finalists, three different site visit processes.

Is the fix in?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

"De Plane Boss, De Plane."

You remember the television sitcom "Fantasy Island" from the seventies. It starred Ricardo Montalban and Herve Villechaize as "Tattoo" Do you remember how the show started? The character "Tattoo" exclaiming "De plane Boss De Plane" This incident repeated itself yesterday in Knox County. A plane flew over Knox County, it landed and out came Superintendent finalist Brian Bingelli and his wife. Their 11 year old daughter did not travel with them.

As the media (WBIR and Brian's Blog) began asking the question who provided the free corporate jet everyone remained quiet, almost as if a plane hadn't landed. WBIR reported this morning that they asked Bingelli, who provided the plane. He refused comment.

In this new day of Knox County government where everything operates in an open and transparent process. Why the secrecy?

Who are they protecting? and Why? Did James McIntyre and Robert Thomas get a free round trip corporate jet for themselves and their spouse?

Is the fix in?

Why Were The Two "Outside" Superintendents Treated to a Mayor Haslam One on One?

Brian's Blog has received a tip that the two "outside" finalists for Knox County School Superintendent were treated to one on one meetings with Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam. It was not until the Board Chair was informed of the "secretive rendezvous" that James McIntyre and Brian Bingelli were then taken to the Knox County Mayor's office to meet with the County Mayor, Mike Ragsdale. Ragsdale recommends to the county commission (the funding body) the amount for the General Operating and Capital budgets for Knox County Schools.

At first the board chair said that the candidates were meeting all elected officials in a large group setting, once the board chair realized that Mayor Haslam had a one on one. The schedule changed to include Mayor Ragsdale the one Mayor that recommends the funding level for schools.

Why was Knox County's internal finalist, Robert Thomas not treated to a one on one with Mayors Haslam and Ragsdale?

Is the fix in?

Knox Charter Petition Group....The Truth Ain't In 'Em

When I was a young man, I heard one of my elders refer to someone as "the truth just ain't in 'em"

Well, that would justly apply to the Knox Charter Petition group. The stood before the Knox County Commission at the Wednesday workshop and said they did not know who Strategic Partners is. Strategic Partners contributed $5,000.00 nearly 10% of the money the group has raised.

Now we find out that former Knoxville Chamber Partnership President Raja Jubran is the leader of Strategic Partners. They expect us to believe that Laurens Tullock, Kathy Hamilton, Jim McClain, Attorney Tom McAdams, Brad Hill, Mary Lou Kanipe and all the pro-metro/unified government members of Knox Charter Petition did not know that Raja Jubran gave $5,000.00. I call that bull and believe that the saying from years ago apply on this situation. "The truth ain't in 'em"

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Breaking News: Bingelli Rejected In Myrtle Beach

Here is Breaking News concerning the Superintendent selection in Horry County, SC aka Myrtle Beach. Bingelli didn't make it. He has one more active opportunity, here in Knox County. Let's all see if he has his A game on tomorrow. The chosen candidate for Horry County is from Talladega, Al.

Go Nascar! For the record, I like Nascar. Jimmy Johnson is da' man!

Horry Schools choose a superintendent
By Claudia Lauer

The Horry County School Board voted unanimously to appoint Cynthia Elsberry to the open superintendent position for Horry County Schools.

``I'm humbled and I'm honored to be given this privilege leading the Horry County Schools. I'm still in shock,'' Elsberry said from her home in Alabama, where she is currently the superintendent of Talladega Public Schools. ``I've been tremendously impressed with the high level of interest that the board has shown in addressing student achievement. That is my passion and I look forward to working with the board on that.''

The school board members said they were impressed with all of the finalists who came to the district for public interviews over the last three days.

``There really were no negatives for any of the candidates. They all had their strengths, but it was a matter of Dr. Elsberry's positives outweighing the positives that the other candidates had to offer,'' said board Chariman Will Garland.

Read the full story in Friday's edition of The Sun News.

Is The School Board Fix In for the Next Superintendent?

Brian's Blog was the first to point out that the school board in its meeting of taking the 12 applicant files from 12 to 5 semi-finalist potentially violated the Tennessee Open Meeting Records Law in casting their votes by secret ballot. This past Sunday with school board members Cindy Buttry and Thomas Deakins as guests on the Hubert Smith Radio Show. Hubert Smith's Radio Show was the second to bring it to the public's attention. This issue is not dead. It is a troublesome issue that the board must address, sooner rather than later.

Then tonight two community forums were held. The first with School Superintendent finalist James McIntyre was held from 5:30 - 6:15 p.m. and the second with School Superintendent finalist Robert Thomas was held from 6:30 -7:15 p.m. The third community forum will be held tomorrow from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. with School Superintendent finalist Brian Bingelli. The only problem is most people are working at 1:00 p.m. and for those of us that may decide to take a two hour break, we will be watching Tennessee's first game in the SEC men's basketball tournament on WVLT Volunteer TV. Bingelli's community "meet and greet" should be a community forum just as the other two were and it should be held from 5:30 - 6:15 p.m. or 6:30 - 7:15 p.m.

The video of the Saturday March 8, 2008 interview of Brian Bingelli was not posted on the school system website until yesterday March 12, 2008.

The dinners with the board for Robert Thomas on Wednesday was held at Calhouns on Bearden Hill. The dinner with the board for James McIntyre this evening is being held at Calhoun's on Bearden Hill. The dinner with the board for Brian Bingelli on Friday will be held at the upscale West Knoxville restaurant, Peerless.

Both Robert Thomas and James McIntyre began their days at 7:30. While Bingelli is not beginning his day until 9:00 a.m.

Brian's Blog has requested the itineraries of the three site visits in an attempt to have a Brian's Blog contributor present. We will compare those itinaries as we prepare our contributors schedules in Boston, Fairfax and Knoxville.

Is the fix in for one candidate over the other two?

A reasonable person can conclude such an idea with the evidence that has been submitted as of this date.

Knox Charter Petition Group's Donor List...Not Exactly The Public

At yesterday's County Commission workshop. The Knox Charter Petition Group after being asked turned over their donor list. Gary Drinnen, Kathy Hamilton and Lurens Tullock could not identify who Strategic Partners were. It is hard to imagine that they would not know who gave 10% of their income, but that is what they said.

The group announced yesterday that one of their committee members, Brian Paone has resigned from the group.

Strategic Partners - $5,000
Tim W. Williams - $5,000
H. Pat Wood - $5,000
Richard B. Ray - $5,000
James Clayton - $5,000
Sherri P. Lee - $5,000
A. David Martin - $5,000

Bertelkamp Automation Inc. - $2,500
Brad Hill - $2,500
William G. Knight - $2,500
Sharon Miller-Pryse $2,500
Larry Mauldin - $2,500

Jefferson Chapman - $1,000
Sharon Miller - $1,000

Joseph E. Johnson - $500

Nancy Dyar - $178.66

Carol A. Parnell - $125
Don H. Parnell - $125

Edythe McNabb - $100

James F. Lamb - $50
Linda Willen - $50
Amy Williams - $50
George Smee - $50

R. Culver Schmid - $25
Lisa Starbuck - $25

Fred R. Arrington III - $20

Ginna M. Mashburn - $10

Thomas L. Jensen - amount not listed

Two of Knox County's 12 Short Listed Superintendent Candidates Make The Semi-Finalist Round In Tacoma

Ray and Associates, Knox County's School Superintendent Consultant is the Consultant for the Tacoma, WA city school system. The Tacoma city school board selected 8 semi-finalist from 23 candidates. It took them 3 1/2 hours to do so.

There are two candidates that were in the Knox County's group of 12 and 1 candidate that was in Knox County's semi-finalist round of 5. Eric Williams of Collier County Schools in Naples, Fl made our semi-finalist round. He is also in the 8 candidate pool in Tacoma. In addition, Anna Diaz, assistant superintendent of Orange County Schools in Orlando, Fl was one of our 12. She is in Tacoma's semi-finalist round of 8.

Here are their 8 candidates.

Art Jarvis, Tacoma City Schools current Interim Superintendent, who formerly led the Enumclaw School District

Anna Diaz, associate superintendent of the 177,000-student Orange County Public Schools in Orlando.

Kathleen Duba, deputy superintendent and chief academic officer of the 20,800-student Pasadena (Calif.) Unified School District.

Alan Ingram, chief accountability officer of the 40,000-student Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Alan Nishino, superintendent of the 9,500-student Morgan Hill (Calif.) Unified School District.

Charles Stockton, assistant to the superintendent of the 22,800-student Springfield (Mo.) Public Schools.

Eric Williams, assistant superintendent of the 43,000-student Collier County Public Schools in Naples, Fla.

Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, chief academic officer of the 23,800-student Racine (Wis.) Unified School District.

Check out this mornings news the News Tribune Tacoma, Washington, here.

Good Luck to Eric Williams.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Campfield To be Challenged By a Republican and a Democrat

Metro Pulse is this weeks Ear To The Ground is reporting that Republican State Representative Stacey Campfield will be challenged by a Republican in the primary by Ron Ledbetter. They also report that Democrat Tommy Prince a former School Board member that was defeated in 2000 by our founder and President of Brian's Blog, Brian Hornback. Check out the Metro Pulse column here or read it below.

Gay 101

The headline-grabbing bill-going-nowhere for this session by state Rep. Stacy Campfield is a prohibition against the mention of homosexuality in state classrooms. He proposes to forbid mention in any school curriculum, a problem his colleagues had not noticed as a problem. The matter has been deferred to the state Department of Education to see if they can run down instances of gay instruction.

As per usual, the controversial Republican representative (and blogger) will have an opponent in the primary and most likely an opponent in the general election. But this time around the competition may get a little stiffer. Instead of the Knoxville establishment finding a young sacrificial lamb to run, Campfield will likely be opposed in the August primary by Ron Leadbetter. Leadbetter, a leader in the Young Americans for Freedom during his student days in the 1970s, is a conservative who can go toe-to-toe with Campfield on conservative issues. Leadbetter is an attorney at the University of Tennessee.

Democrat Tommy Prince, a former Knox County school board member, had said earlier he would likely challenge Campfield in the general election in November.

Brian Bingelli Interview

Here is the video of the Knox County School Board interviewing Brian Bingelli, Cluster Assistant Suoerintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools located in Falls Church, Va. Click here to view Brian Bingelli's application.

Spitzer Rehashed

How about that Simple Rule, now?

Did he let his little light shine?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Public Forum Is a Success

At the beginning of tonight's public forum at So. Doyle High School hosted by Commissioner Victoria DeFreese and Paul Pinkston 112 people were in attendance, twice the number of citizens that came up with these charter amendments.

A citizen pointed out that only 526 statements went into creating these charter amendments. Out of 412,000 citizens in Knox County. These statements represent 1/10 of 1% of Knox County citizens.

Knox Charter Petition Is Trying To Take Away Term Limits

Tonight at the public forum, I went forward and made the statement that in 1994 Knox County citizens voted for term limits. In 2006 the Tennessee Supreme Court upheld term limits and Knox County began adhering to them.

So with the appointment of the fee offices then why are you, the Knox Charter Petition people taking away term limits? Because nowhere in the charter change does it prohibit a fee office holder from holding the position for more than one Mayor's term(s).

Brad Hill said well, you are assuming that corporate cronyism is going to occur. Well, yeah. I then countered with look, your proposal is allowing cronyism because I could raise $50,000 Mike could raise $50,000 and John could raise $50,000 and we could fund a mayoral race in order to have a position for years.

Brad Hill acknowledged "you got me there." Kathy Hamilton and Jim McClain were muted and said nothing.

Kathy Hamilton former Knox County Finance Director and ring leader of the 56 man circus known as Knox Charter Petition could get herself appointed Finance Director again. Like she did when Dwight Kessel and Tommy Schumpert were elected as County Executive. She survived multiple Executives. So, it isn't without precedent.

Jim McClain Quote and Admission of Illegal Campaign Contributions

Tonight, Jim McClain former South Knox School Board Member and current Knox County One Question member was one of three panelists that represented their organization at the first public forum.

McClain said "Government works best when it is represented by fewer people."

Near the conclusion of the evening, Commissioner Paul Pinkston and McClain had some words. McClain said that he is Pinkston's Sunday School teacher, but that Pinkston is wrong. If it were true then Jim McClain is not doing a very good job as a Sunday School teacher.

Pinkston challenged McClain saying that McClain had once said that he didn't need to have any campaign fundraising events. Because Jim Haslam would just give him $10,000. McClain said "that is true because I coached Jim Haslam III." What McClain doesn't understand is that he implicated Haslam in a campaign finance law violation as Haslam would be prohibited from giving more than $1,000.

McClain assured the crowd he was telling the truth. The crowd responded negatively. McClain stated, "you don't have to believe that I am an honest person."

Gene Patterson immediately ended the event with McClain red faced, angry and heading to his car quickly.

Our School Superintendent Salary Is Out of Line

Horry County, South Carolina and Knox County, TN are competing for one guy, Brian Bingelli. Horry County, South Carolina's revenue is $498 million dollars and their Superintendent salary range is $200,000. Knox County School's revenue is around $352 million and their Superintendent salary range is $240,000.

We all knew that $240,000 was too much to pay for a Knox County Superintendent. But, know we really know. We have a benchmark and the benchmark is ugly.

Scripps Employee Blogging a Controverisal Blog

Sandra Clark, E.W. Scripps employee and Editor of the Shopper News posted the following at 9 minutes after 12:00 a.m. this morning on the local liberal blog.

The Obama Factor
Submitted by Sandra Clark on Tue, 2008/03/11 - 12:09am.

What do Donna Wright and Hillary Clinton have in common?

How about a lack of respect for their life's work.

Bingelli = Obama
younger, cooler, smoother and totally untested.

For the Knox County school board to look past Wright's record toward a guy who can't even commit to come for his second interview because he may get a better offer someplace else, well, this is a joke.

But the joke's on us. -- s.

For Clark to draw a conclusion about a white professional to an African American politician with a Muslim background is simply wrong. Hopefully, her supervisors will encourage her to submit to diversity training.

We will continue to monitor it for any comment feedback that it receives. So far everyone is avoiding it like the plague.

Brian's Blog Ensures An Open Process for the Finalist Selection

When the meeting finally started 7 meetings late at 7:52 p.m. the Board Chair announced that this selection would be different from the selection of the five from the twelve.

Board members were required to remain in their seats. They were required to sign their evaluation sheets. These were two issues that Brian's Blog raised immediately following last weeks meeting. Other blogs joined in as well as the Hubert Smith Radio Show on Sunday where Cindy Buttry and Thomas Deakins appeared.

Here at Brian's Blog we are doing our part to ensure that the citizens receive an open and transparent process.

Brian Bingelli Is a Finalist in Horry County, South Carolina

I am at the age now, that if I have the possibility of making $200,000. in the sun and sand, a state with an income tax (so that your revenue is not sparse every year) or $240,000. in the mountains of East Tennessee. I would be headed to the beach.

Check out Brian Bingelli's second option here.

James McIntyre, candidate for Knox County School Superintendent Asked A Great Question

After all five finalists interviewed, they were asked to keep the three days of March 12, 13 and 14 open for the net round. All five said that they would. When Brian Bingelli was informed tonight, he declined due to a commitment that he agreed to tonight in Horry County, South Carolina.

When James McIntyre was telephoned and told of changing of the dates due to another candidates inflexibility. McIntyre asked William Newman, consultant for Ray and Associates. "Isn't the board bending their dates for one candidate." McIntyre's stock just rose. Bingelli's stock just dropped.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sam Anderson is predicting only two candidates

Sam Anderson's microphone is on during the meeting (the board chair has left to talk with teh consultant, no one has moved to recess) and he said to Cindy Buttry "we will be down to two candidates. Because McIntyre will look at the numbers and decline the invitation to come down."

Knox County School Board Votes To Bring Back Three Finalists

The School Board narrows its finalists to Brian Bingelli, James McIntyre and Robert Thomas. After the vote, the consultant will leave the room and phone the candidates to see if someone drops out of the running.

The board is discussing the process, while the consultant leaves to gauge the reaction of each candidate.

The Final Scoring for the Five School Superintendent Candidates

Brian Bingelli scored 31 points
James McIntyre scored 18 points
Robert Thomas scored 17 points
Eric Williams scored 12 points
Donna Wright scored 12 points

The board will certainly eliminate Eric Williams of Collier County in Naples, Fl and Donna Wright of Knox County Schools in Knoxville, TN.

Knox County School Board are Not Conducting Their Fifth Interview Part II

Vice-Chair Indya Kincannon left the room, Board Chair came in with the Vice-Chair. The Board Chair thanked the candidate for waiting and waiting 10 minutes for her to attend. The "official" interview didn't start until 5:15 p.m. due to the Board Chair's inability to perform her duties.

Knox County School Board are Not Conducting Their Fifth Interview

It is 5:08 p.m. eight members of the Knox County Board of Education are sitting in their seats. The fifth finalist is in her seat. The Board Chair is nowhere to be found. The Vice-Chair is not starting the meeting as it was announced to the public.

Why can some elected officials never show up to do their job.

Them Democrats are a Mighty Bunch of Hypocrites

The liberals and democrats like to stick out their chest and remind us Republicans when we have a bad apple. But what about them? The ones that go after corruption and then themselves are guilty as sin.

But look for R.Neal, Carole Borges and BBeanster to be very, very quiet on this. The local liberal blog will not talk about it.

But here is the story of DEMOCRAT Elliot Spitzer for you to view. View the New York version of the story.

The trend is in for a strong 2008, check it out here.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Cindy Buttry and Thomas Deakins Reveal Their Finalist Votes

Both Cindy Buttry and Thomas Deakins members of the Knox County School Board appeared on the Hubert Smith Radio Show this afternoon. Cindy was questioned about the voting for the five finalist last week. The question was asked here at Brian's Blog that the secret voting last week could be a potential violation of the Open Meetings Act.

Walter Wojnar, a co-host with Hubert today asked Board member Buttry the candidates that she voted for. She revealed that she voted for Robert Thomas, Donna Wright, Eric Williams, Brian Bingelli and Anna Diaz, associate superintendent for Orange County schools in Florida. She included a sixth name of James McIntyre. She informed the consultant that if there were consensus on the board for Diaz or McIntyre. She would be fine with that. The consultant reported back that there was consensus for McIntyre.

When Thomas Deakins joined the interview, Hubert and Walter asked Mr. Deakins to reveal his votes. He said that Buttry hadn't revealed that earlier in the interview. He then asked Cindy if she had, she confirmed that she had given that information. Deakins revealed his five finalists were Robert Thomas, Donna Wright, Brian Bingelli, James McIntyre and Eric Williams.

Thanks to these two board members for being open and transparent in their voting. Now let's hope that the board does not resort to secret voting tomorrow evening in their votes for the three or fewer finalists.

Robin Smith, Tennessee Republican Party Chairwoman Knows How To Take It To The Liberals

Robin Smith, Tennessee Republican Party Chairwoman appeared on Inside Tennessee this morning. It is normally taped on Thursday evenings. Don Bosch, local liberal attorney was schooled by Chairwoman Smith.

Word in the studio on Thursday evening is that Bosch said that he may never return.

They gave Robin Smith less than 10 minutes. It is obvious they are a Democrat leaning organization and obviously trying to protect Bosch from having to endure an entire episode of Robin Smith exposing his inability to debate a Republican lady.

Jack McElroy, in an attempt to be humorous said "It is Mike Roy Ragsdale." Actually, Jack. You got it wrong, again. It is Michael Roy Ragsdale.

School Superintendent Selection: Should Karen Carson Recuse Herself?

Karen Carson on February 5, 2008 garnered a majority of the votes cast in the Fifth District School Board primary election. She must win a majority of votes in the balloting of the general election on August 7, 2008. She will be unopposed on the ballot. However, she must have more votes than any announced write-in candidate.

Mrs. Carson held a political rally and reception as part of her campaign on January 28, 2008. Here was the Brian's Blog post prior to that event. There were at least three of our Brian's Blog contributors that attended and reported back the sights, sounds and going ons at the reception and rally. It was reported to Brian's Blog on the evening of the rally and reception that one of the attendees was Donna Wright. Donna Wright is one of the five finalists for the job of Superintendent of Knox County Schools. Her interview will be held tomorrow from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. At the time of the rally and reception, it is reasonable to conclude that Donna Wright intended to apply.

Now, you may say well her application is dated February 14, 2008. The event was 17 days before the application. O.k. you are right to point that out. However, I will point out that two of Donna Wright's reference letters are dated for February 7, 2008, which was 7 days following the political rally and reception. In order for Mr. Raja Jubran and Lana "I was forced to resign from Bredesen's cabinet" Seviers to write letters dated February 7, 2008. They were asked for the reference letters prior to the election and rally/reception. Click here to view Donna Wright's application and reference letters.

Our sources could not confirm nor deny that Donna Wright placed a campaign contribution for the campaign of Karen Carson.

Certainly the appearance warrants Karen Carson recusing herself from voting for the finalist. Also, the practice of secret balloting by the School Board for narrowing the candidates from 12 - 5 is becoming more problematic.

With all Knox County has gone through the last year or so. It is important that all of our public officials conduct themselves in an open and transparent manner. So far, Carson has been operating in a good ole' boy/gal backroom manner.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

James McIntyre Interview

Here is the video of the Knox County School Board interview of James McIntyre, current Chief Operating Officer of Boston Public Schools, located in Boston, MA. Here is James McIntyre's application.

Eric Williams Interview

Here is the video of the Knox County School Board interview of Eric Williams, Assistant Superintendent of Collier County School located in Naples, Fl. Here is Eric Williams application.

Robert "Bob" Thomas Interview

Here is the video of the Knox County School Board interview of Robert "Bob" Thomas, current Assistant superintendent of Knox County Schools located in Knoxville, TN. Here is Mr. Thomas's application.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Question About Open Meeting Requirement of the Knox County School Board

A question has been asked of me and I had no answer. I hope that asking the question here, will highlight the issue and hopefully the Knoxville News-Sentinel and their attorney will consider the question.

Can a local legislative body vote in secret? The Knox County School Board earlier this week had 12 finalist for Superintendent of Schools. They voted in secret to narrow the field of candidates to 5. The voting consisted of each of the 9 board members being given an index card. On this card each board member wrote 5 - 6 names and turned them in to William Newman of Ray and Associates. Mr. Newman went to the back of the room and tabulated the results and he announced the five finalists to the board.

What would have been the reaction if the 11 members of the Knox County Commission on February 20, 2008 had taken an index card and written down the name of their choice for the fourth commission district seat?

Snow Is Forecast....Makings of a Blizzard?

The area weather forecasters are forecasting SNOW, tonight. Fifteen years ago, this past December, my young family moved from East Knox County to Southwest Knox County. Fifteen years ago this next week, the blizzard of 1993 hit the Southeast and Knox County.

Today's weather conditions are identical to 1993. Will it happen 15 years later. We will see tomorrow.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Superintendent Candidate Eric Williams

Here is an article from the Naples Daily News about Knox County Schools Superintendent candidate Eric Williams. The comments are all complimentary of Williams and not so for the new Superintendent.

Naples Daily News is an E.W. Scripps Company owned entity. Do you think if the board were to hire Williams that we could arrange a swap of their editor for them getting McElroy?

Knox County School Superintendent Candidate Robert "Bob" Thomas

This morning the Knox County School Board interviewed Assistant Superintendent Robert "Bob" Thomas as one of its five finalist for the position of Superintendent. While I was unable to watch the interview, many of our contributors did watch and reported back that Thomas was impressive.

They report that Thomas demonstrated a knowledge of curriculm and instruction. They were surprised at this as Thomas has been the schools budget guy. But, that confirmed what many people have said, "Thomas is well rounded and ready to go to work on day one."

Eric Williams from Collier County Florida School District in Naples, Fl interview is tonight from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The School Board Votes For West Knox Students But No To The North Knox Students

The board voted 5-4 to correct the rezoning "error" made last Spring in the massive countywide high school rezoning. But when it came to correct the "error" in North Knox County, the School Board's action said in a 4-5 vote, "suck it up, get over it and the kids will as well."

Because of You......Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee..We Owe You

McCain Going To The White House, Today.....NO!

It is reported that Republican Presidential candidate John McCain will visit the White House today and will obtain the endorsement of President George W. Bush.


I don't particularly like the idea of a George W. Bush endorsement but it's necessary and the George W candidates didn't make as far as Huckabee and McCain.

Now, before all of you think that my comments have to do with the war, you are wrong. George W is NOT the conservative that he campaigned that he was. George W has increased spending in every department, he has instigated and grown more bureaucracy, he has not done enough to protect the lives of the unborn, he has not been supportive of a fair tax.

George W has accomplished some things that I do like. He has brought accountability to the classrooms of public education with No Child Left Behind. He has responded to the terrorist groups that attacked us on 9/11/2001.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

It's Over and Now I Return To The Candidate of 2000

Mike Huckabee ran a great race, but tonight it is over. Huckabee said "I would rather lose an election, than give up my principles." All that I can say to that is "Preach, Preacher!"

My candidate of 2008 didn't make it but, he was the last one standing. Congratulations to my ole' friend Chip Saltsman. He did a great job as the National Campaign Manager for Huckabee. Huckabee will be the voice for those of us that are the Conservative, Evangelical voters. We still have a voice and Huckabee will be our strong voice to protect the unborn, to be our voice to scrap the IRS and replace it with a flat tax and he will be our voice for leaders of integrity and courage.

It is now time to support McCain. McCain was my choice in the Republican primary of 2000. So there will be no problem supporting him again. McCain is better than anything the Demo's have to offer.

Knox County School Superintendent Interviews

The schedule of interviews for the five final candidates for Superintendent of Knox County Schools has been released. The interviews will be held in the first floor board room of the Andrew Johnson Building on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville, TN. The interviews will be televised on Knoxville's Comcast Cable Channel 10.

Thursday March 6, 2008

9 a.m. to 11 a.m.: Bob Thomas, Knox County Schools assistant superintendent for administrative services.

5 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Eric Williams, assistant superintendent for learning support services at Collier County Public Schools, in Naples, Fla.

Friday March 7, 2008

9 a.m. to 11 a.m.: James McIntyre, chief operating officer for Boston Public Schools in Massachusetts.

Saturday March 8, 2008

10 a.m. to noon: Brian Binggeli, cluster assistant superintendent for Fairfax County Public Schools in Falls Church, Va.

Monday March 9, 2008

5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Donna Wright, Knox County Schools assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Ashton Shepherd, CD Release is Tomorrow

Tomorrow (3/4/2008) is the CD release for the next BIG country music sensation. Ashton Shepherd, Check out her website here and her myspace page here.

Here is a youtube of her first release Takin' Off This Pain in video. Go to her myspace page and crank up the song Sounds So Good. Sounds So Good is the title of her CD release.

Information on the School Systems of the Superintendent Candidates

One of our primary contributors to Brian's Blog has worked through the afternoon and submitted information to the blog on the school systems of the five finalist candidates for Superintendent of Knox County Schools.

Eric Williams, assistant superintendent at Collier County Public Schools in Naples, Fla.

Here is the link to fast facts of the School District of Collier County, Fl.

The School District of Collier County has 47 schools including two charter schools and three new schools – Parkside and Veterans Memorial Elementary Schools, and Cypress Palm Middle School. The district serves a total student population of nearly 43,000. There are 26 elementary schools, ten middle schools and eight high schools plus a Pre-K thru 12 school (Everglades City School).

There are also 12 Alternative School Programs. Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology (LWIT) serves nearly 1,700 adult students during any given semester.


White 42.9%
Black 5.9%
Hispanic 41.6%
Haitian 5.5%
Mixed 2.7 %
Asian 1.1 %
Indian .3 %

Free/Reduced Lunch: Approximately 45.2% of our student population is categorized as “Economically Needy” – they qualify for the free or reduced lunch.

The District School Board of Collier County is the five-member elected policy-making body of the district. School Board members serve staggered, four-year terms.

Brian Binggeli, assistant superintendent for Fairfax County Public Schools in Falls Church, Va. Here and here are links to facts about Fairfax County Public Schools.

Total number of full time positions ...........................348
Total number of full time classroom teaching positions ..169
Total number of support staff ....................................168
Professional staff with advanced degrees...................172

2007-08 164,843
Percentage of all Virginia students enrolled in FCPS 14%
FCPS national ranking by enrollment 13th

FY 2007

James McIntyre, chief operating officer for Boston Public Schools in Massachusetts. Here is a link Boston Public Schools.

Projected SY08 enrollment is 56,190 (a decrease of 580 from SY07), including:25,430 students in kindergarten–grade 511,890 students in grades 6-818,870 students in grades 9-12

Student Demographics:

41% Black
35% Hispanic
14% White
9% Asian
1% Multi-racial, non-Hispanic
support personnel
aides & monitors
secretaries & clerical staff
part-time & summer staff

Staff Demographics Group

Mr. Robert "Bob" Thomas and Donna Wright, both assistant superintendents of Knox County Schools located in Knox County, TN. Here is a link to facts about Knox County Schools.


The school system has a student population of about 53,000. Elementary schools range in enrollment from 117 to 1,026, with a building average of 474. Middle schools range in enrollment from 540 to 1,194, with a building average of 874. High schools range in enrollment from 777 to 2,384, with a building average of 1,312. There are two vocational centers associated with their respective high schools and whose populations are included with them.


The Knox County School System employs about 4,200 licensed certificated professionals; about 3,800 teachers; 85 principals; 85 assistant principals; and a number of other supervisors, administrators and support personnel. The system also employs over 3,000 non-certified personnel in the areas of maintenance, custodial services, food service, and health services.

The total operating budget for Knox County Schools was approximately $356 million in 2005. Of that $188 million came from local sources, $125 million came from state sources, and $43 million came from federal sources, according to the KCS website.

Knox County Superintendent Interviews Expected This Week and Weekend

The board is currently discussing the interview process for the five candidates. The interviews are expected to begin no earlier than Thursday and to be completed by no later than Monday.

Knox County Superintendent Search Narrowed to 5

The following five candidates made the cut. While the 7 others did not.

Mr. Robert "Bob" Thomas, assistant superintendent of Knox County Schools.

Dr. Donna Wright, assistant superintendent of Knox County Schools.

Eric Williams, assistant superintendent at Collier County Public Schools in Naples, Fla.

James McIntyre, chief operating officer for Boston Public Schools in Massachusetts.

Brian Binggeli, assistant superintendent for Fairfax County Public Schools in Falls Church, Va.

A man with the name Brian has got to be a great choice.

The 12 Knox County School Superintendent Finalists

Ray & Associates have given the board the 12 finalists out of the 40 applications. By nights end the list will be 6. There could be 6 mad school boards that their Superintendent applied, made the short list and now must come back and plead for foregiveness.

Robert "Bob" Thomas, Assistant Superintendent Knox County Schools

Dr. Donna Wright, Assistant Superintendent Knox County Schools

Robert Lovingood, superintendent for Christian County Public Schools in Hopkinsville, Ky.

James McIntyre, chief operating officer for Boston Public Schools in Massachusetts.

Brian Bingelli, assistant superintendent for Fairfax County Public Schools in Falls Church, Va.

Richard Kitzmiller, superintendent for Kingsport City Schools.

Dale Lynch, superintendent of the Hamblen County public schools.

James Williams, superintendent for Fulton County Schools in Atlanta.

Dr. Toni McGriff, director of schools in Roane County.

Anna Diaz, associate superintedent for Orange County schools in Florida.

Shirl Gilbert, superintendent of West Region Schools in Philadelphia.

We will post the final 6 as soon as possible.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

KNS Sunday Editorial

Today's Knoxville News-Sentinel editorial sparked one of our Brian's Blog contributors to submit the following commentary.

Let's look at their argument.

Citizens should fight for a form of government that'll be most efficient, most logical and most likely to attract quality officeholders when it's running the way it should.

Gee, stupid me always thought citizens should fight for a form of government that is most representative of them. So, I guess for the last thirty-some-odd years, I've been misreading the history of this great nation.

It's not about "taxation without representation," women's suffrage, or anything like that. It's about "efficiency."

I guess it's only about "THE PEOPLE" when Jack McElroy is trying to sell newspapers, and Richard Hollow is trying to win a lawsuit.

The executive branch should be run by the mayor, not the mayor and the barons of the sundry fiefdoms currently in place under our antiquated, rural system of multiple elected officeholders.

"Barons of the sundry fiefdoms?" Do they mean like those models of appointed leaders like superintendent Charles Lindsey, J. Wade Gilley, and John Schumaker? "Antiquated, rural system?" Democratic representation is antiquated, a thing of the past?

Wouldn't we be better off with skilled managers who get the job because of their administrative abilities?

Like at TVA and UT? Please.

And here's the part of the argument that shows the lie.

And finally, wouldn't we be better off having competition in the mayor's race?

Why, necessarily, would we have competition in the mayor's race by appointing fee office heads? Could it be because the campaign teams of the mayoral opponents would be campaigning for jobs in those fee offices? And that is so much better than what we have now, because...?

Wouldn't we be better off with skilled managers....

Again, like TVA, UT, and Knox County Schools?

Wouldn't we be better off if the mayor could trim staffs where he thought appropriate, so that, instead of clerks reading magazines at the City County Building, we could hire new teachers at many schools?

We could hire new teachers with all that money? It makes you wonder then how many teachers could be hired by the $250,000 salary that our school board members want to pay the next, appointed, superintendent.

In the same way, Knox County can't run as well as it should with a 19th-century model that, today, simply empowers political fiefdoms and inefficiency.

Lastly, if McElroy really feels this way, he's welcome to leave at any time. I guess there are no fiefdoms in the appointed offices at the federal and state levels.

That's what the KNS is saying, and as supposedly a newspaper of record that is supposed to carry fact not fiction, the editors should be run out of this town for using the worst kind of inaccurate and pseudo- news reporting to advance their own elitist, urban (not rural, God forbid!) agenda.

thirteen moons by Charles Frazier

A business colleague suggested that I read thirteen moons by Charles Frazier. I have just finished reading the book. It was a great read. While it is fiction, it details how our mountains likely existed prior to the massive human habitation.

Will Cooper was sent away by his family at the age of 12, with a horse, a map and a key. He grew up fast and was accepted into the Indian family, as a bound boy. He had many great adventures and was loyal to the end to the "family" that accepted him. While you experience his life from the age of 12 until the end of his like, the book itself is a good read.

I am not a huge fiction reader, the only fiction that I am loyal to has been John Grisham and now Vince Flynn. I am an active non-fiction reader, typically reading a minimum of two books a month while using my many trips south to read 5 - 6 books over the course of a week or two.

My business colleague had recommended "The Kite Runner", which I read over the summer and now thirteen moons. I believe that when he recommends more titles in the future, I will listen because both of his recommendations have been most excellent.

There were a couple of funnies that I enjoyed from the author's fictional account.

The one that was especially amusing is where the main character was with Davy Crockett in a lounge in Washington, D.C. Crockett noted that there had been a withering attack on him in one of the morning papers. I asked if that sort of thing bothered him, for back then it would have bothered me a great deal. Crockett said, Oh, I'm a big target and easy to hit, so there's no honor in it. Every newspaper jackass with a pen and a half an hour of unclaimed times gets to take a shot.

Will Cooper and his real personality were never known by the media and observers that didn't really know him. He was misunderstood and a target of tabloid type media. He was given a magazine article by Senator Calhoun about him and in the fictional account he began reading it and the story started out pleasantly enough.....But then the article turned to a catalog of varied rumor and misinformed shit-ass opinion in regard to me. I was portrayed as a deep mystery, existing only to be solved by the writer. Local folks had been scrounged up to say all kinds of things about me, and since the tales had been collected at considerable effort on the writer's part, they were thus presented reverently as entire possible facts. And the various possibilities were arranged in descending order.

Some things never change, in real life and in the fictional accounts of peoples public lives.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

KNS Saturday Editorials

Today's Knoxville News Sentinel had two guest editorials. It seemed like former School Board member day on the editorial page.

Here is former Roane County School Board Member James "Jim" Leitnaker guest editorial on reading early and often to children. Mr. Leitnaker is a very conscientious former member of the Roan County School Board. His editorial starts out about a guest speaker at a community club meeting and when he asked a question, she abruptly responded with a non answer. In his guest editorial he discusses the 90% reading goal and offers a suggestion for the next Superintendent of Schools for Knox County Schools. A very good guest editorial.

Here is a guest editorial from Oliver "Buzz" Thomas a former member of the Maryville School Board. While Buzz like Mr. Leitnaker served at the same time of my service on the Knox County board. While I agree with several of Buzz's points, I would disagree with the "bottom line" of his guest editorial. Over the past decade or two, money and more money has been thrown into public education while we have experienced diminishing results. The answer is more accountability with more dollars. In Buzz's world it is just opening up and writing a check to be thrown into the black hole of bureaucracy of public education.