Saturday, February 28, 2009

R. Larry is Sad

At Monday's County Commission meeting a Brian's Blog team member captured a photograph of the duo Commissioner's from District Seven. The look on R. Larry's face says "I liked it better when I was the only one allowed to talk for district seven."

We will now have a contest. Submit your caption for what R. Larry is thinking in this picture. Either submit it through comments or send an email here and we will publish it for you. Now, remember it has to be "relatively" clean to be published at Brian's Blog. But let's have some fun at the expense of the "lying" Commissioner.

I Agree with R. Neal. It is Raining Outside.

This post over on the new media known as KnoxViews is a post that I agree with. I have NEVER understood that people that post comments on KnoxNews consider that a blog or themselves as a blogger. I rarely post a comment on KnoxNews. I will not say that I have never or will never because that would be untruthful. It is rare.

I have referred to myself as a citizen journalist and that as a citizen journalist this is my paper with which I print my stories / commentary. We have and continue to be successful. When I first began this in August 2004, I allowed any and all comments. I shut it down for a year or so and then I opened it up to comment moderation. If your comment does not adhere to the rules that are published on the front page. They are NOT approved. It's as simple as that. Have a Better Than Good weekend.

You're Welcome Jack. But You Still Need To Hit The Road, Jack

This morning's News Sentinel acknowledges that we were right in yesterday's post. And the Editor has corrected it on page A2 in the bottom right hand corner. "The three members of the Knox County school board ethics committee voted to censure board member Bill Phillips. Two of the panel's members voted to ask him to step down, while one voted no. The votes were misstated in an editorial in Friday's editions." So, to the Editor that consistently gets it wrong admits that he got it wrong again. We say "You're Welcome Jack. But you still need to hit the road and don't come round here no more, no more, no more." If all Scripps wants to do is to continue having two successful newspapers in Florida and in Knoxville one that is barely surviving. They need to keep the current Editor around. But, here is the future of newspapers. A 52 week high stock price of $11.35 (5-23-2008) to a 52 week low stock price of $1.05 (2-28-2009). It closed yesterday at $1.05.

Friday, February 27, 2009

McElroy Gets It Wrong. McElroy Should Step Down

The only thing consistent about the Editor of Knoxville's only daily newspaper is that he consistently gets it wrong. Take this mornings editorial "Phillips should step down from school board."

Here is where McElroy got it wrong. "That same committee, meeting for the first time Tuesday, voted 3-2 to recommend that Phillips be censured and to ask for his voluntary resignation. The recommendations go to the full board Monday for discussion and Wednesday for a vote."

The committee that met on Tuesday for the first time is made up of THREE (3) not five members. The members are School Boarders Sam Anderson and Thomas Deakins and school employee Rebecca Owens. There was not ONE (1) motion voted on Tuesday but TWO (2) motions. One motion was to recommend a censure and that vote was 3-0. The second motion was to ask for Phillips voluntary resignation and that vote was 2-1 with Owens casting the lone NO vote.

Now we assumed that the Lola Alapo, the education reporter was present at the Ethics Committee meeting but obviously she was not present or a member or two of the audience cast votes that she and McElroy counted.

This is a disgrace that McElroy gets it so wrong so consistently. Did he write this editorial so hastily that the facts simply did not matter. The motto of the Sentinel is supposed to be "give light and the people will find their own way." The light that McElroy is shining is leaving everybody in the dark. It is time for McElroy to step down and turn in the keys to the Big Metal Shed on the Hill.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Scripps Closes News Paper

The E.W. Scripps Company issued a Press Release today that the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, CO. will produce it's last publication tomorrow. In addition they are getting rid of their 50% share in Prairie Mountain Publishing. Is this the paper where Jack McElroy came from? The question now is not if but when will they close the doors at the Metal Shed on the Hill?

Rocky Mountain News to close
Final edition will be published Feb. 27
For immediate release (NYSE: SSP)
February 26, 2009

CINCINNATI – Following a sale process that produced no qualified buyers, The E.W. Scripps Company announced that the Rocky Mountain News, Colorado’s oldest newspaper, will cease publication after its final edition on Friday, Feb. 27, 2009.

“Today the Rocky Mountain News, long the leading voice in Denver, becomes a victim of changing times in our industry and huge economic challenges,” said Rich Boehne, chief executive officer of Scripps. “The Rocky is one of America’s very best examples of what local news organizations need to be in the future. Unfortunately, the partnership’s business model is locked in the past.”

Scripps bought the Rocky Mountain News, which is Colorado's first newspaper and the state's oldest continuously operated business, in 1926. After a decades-long circulation war, the newspaper in 2001 entered into a joint operating agreement (JOA) with The Denver Post, which is owned by MediaNews Group.

Boehne and Mark Contreras, the company’s senior vice president of newspapers, discussed the Rocky’s closure with employees at a newsroom meeting today. Rocky employees will remain on the Scripps payroll through April 28, 2009.

Citing mounting financial losses in Denver, Scripps announced on Dec. 4, 2008, that it intended to seek a buyer for The Rocky Mountain News, as well as the company’s 50-percent interest in the Denver Newspaper Agency (DNA), which publishes the Rocky and The Denver Post under the JOA. The DNA, a 50/50 partnership with Denver-based MediaNews Group, has not made cash distribution payments to either partner since last summer, leaving Scripps to cover the full cost of the Rocky Mountain News editorial product. In its year-end earnings report last week, Scripps disclosed that its losses in Denver totaled $16 million in 2008.

Following the mid-January deadline for parties to express interest in negotiating a purchase, only one potential buyer worked with the company’s broker, and that party was unable to present a viable plan. Since that date, Scripps has worked with MediaNews Group, to formulate a plan to unwind the partnership.

Although the newspaper will cease publication after Friday’s edition, Scripps will continue to own and offer for sale the assets of the Rocky Mountain News, including its name, masthead, archives and Web site.

Change at Prairie Mountain Publishing

Scripps also announced today that its 50 percent interest in Prairie Mountain Publishing, a three-year-old partnership involving Colorado newspapers originally owned by Scripps and MediaNews Group, will be transferred to its partner later this year.

About Scripps

The E.W. Scripps Company is a diverse, 130-year-old media enterprise with interests in television stations, newspapers, local news and information Web sites, and licensing and syndication. The company's portfolio of locally focused media properties includes: 10 TV stations (six ABC affiliates, three NBC affiliates and one independent); daily and community newspapers in 14 markets and the Washington, D.C.-based Scripps Media Center, home of the Scripps Howard News Service; and United Media, the licensor and syndicator of Peanuts, Dilbert and approximately 150 other features and comics. For a full listing of Scripps media companies and their associated Web sites.


"The McElroy Bias"

Two incidents just alike. Two years apart. How did the Sentinel handle the stories?

First, we will visit this story from last week about Property Assessor employee Jim Owens. Owens was driving a county vehicle and he gets picked up for DUI after a minor fender bender. News Sentinel Reporter Lola Alapo filed a story and printed his mug shot on Friday, here. She has another story on Saturday, here. On Wednesday News Sentinel Reporter Rebecca Ferrar has a third story, here.

Second incident, WBIR on February 22, 2007 ran a story located here on William Anderson, III a certified Knox County educator, former Principal and now a contract administrator in the Central Office driving a Knox County School vehicle and is arrested for DUI. He failed a field sobriety test. On February 23, 2007 News Sentinel staff filed and published this story. The News Sentinel staff NEVER followed up to report the disciplinary actions regarding this incident.

Two months later in this WBIR report it informs us that William Anderson was back to work. No follow-up from McElroy and Crew can be found in the Sentinel archives.

Now, Owens story was on the front page of the paper. Where was Anderson's story? On page 14 of the Local section. Did the News Sentinel follow up with the disciplinary actions regarding Anderson? NO.

Is the fact that William Anderson's brother is and at the time a member of the Knox County School Board and a former Chairman a factor in the Sentinel's favorable cover-up coverage? That is a question that needs to be asked and answered. Or is it that whoever Editor Jack McElroy and Publisher Bruce Hartmann like get buried on page 14 with no follow-up while the people that they dislike or do not have any relationship with get slandered like Hutchison, Hornback, Moore, Tramel and Phillips?

We know the answer, they know the answer and the people of Knox County know the answer. It is Bias in it's ugliest form and it's named "The McElroy Bias."

In addition, Karen Carson stated at the last school board workshop regarding the Bill Phillips incident that the board always must discuss incidents that are uncomfortable for employees. Brian's Blog pointed out Carson's lie. However, this is another example of Carson and the School Board covering up an incident. This situation was NEVER discussed in an open meeting and if memory serves correctly, Carson was Board Chair during both incidents. Would her inaction and the inaction of the board warrant a review by the ethics committee? The questions are being sent to Law Director Lockett as we speak.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Meet John Stone

Go check out the website of Country Music Artist John Stone, here. If you are ever in Nashville, travel down Broadway to Tootsies Orchid Lounge and on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday he is rocking the house. His second CD release will happen hopefully in April. When it is available, you will read about it here.

Sorry for the delay. I am working on some posts

Several individuals have text messaged, voice mailed and sent emails concerned that no blog post have been posted since Sunday. Thanks for your care and concern. I have been out of town on business and had limited Internet service. In addition, I gave the Brian's Blog team the week off. I will be posting stories tomorrow.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Thought - Zig Ziglar Quote

I was driving my oldest son to church this morning, (he had to be there an hour before the rest of us) listening to Zig Ziglar. Zig repeated a quote that I have heard him say before and that is my Sunday thought. "I read my Bible and the newspaper everyday. That way I know what both sides are up to."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Act of Treason by Vince Flynn

I just finished the next book in the Vince Flynn collection. First, it was Term Limits. Then it was Transfer of Power, The Third Option, Separation of Power, Executive Power, Memorial Day, Consent to Kill and then this one.

This one starts out with the orderly transition of power between four year President Hayes and the new President Alexander and his Vice President Elect Ross.

In what is believed to be a terrorist attack, the second limo carrying President Elect Alexander’s wife is blown up on the streets of Washington, DC and she is killed with several other people. A search for the killer finds Mitch Rapp traveling all over and ultimately the find who did it. This is a fast paced book and a great thriller. Check Vince Flynn’s website here.

My next one is Protect and Defend and then the October 2008 release is in hardcover, Extreme Measures. I enjoy the paperbacks, so I will read Protect and Defend and then wait until the paperback of Extreme Measures is released in paperback.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lockett Advises the School Board to STOP Violating the Law

On Monday evening Sam Anderson, Chair of the School Board Ethics Committee announced that he would be meeting with the Law Director today in order to determine how and in what way the committee will function before the School Board’s first Ethics Committee meeting on February 24, 2009. He advised the members of the board to contact Bill Lockett to give your views prior to today's meeting.

At this point Lockett interrupted the board and said. No, you can not call me and give me your take with the understanding that I will accumulate the board’s view. That is using an intermediary and is a violation of the Open Meetings Act, Sunshine Law.

Sources have informed us that the School Board regularly uses the Board Chair and the Superintendent as their Intermediary. With Lockett’s reaction to the obvious nature of what Anderson was attempting to do. We expect and anticipate that Lockett will be watching the Board Chair and Superintendent close in the future and will shut down any skirting of the Sunshine Law.

Good Job, Bill Lockett.

Karen Carson Misleads and Then Violates Settlement Agreement

At Monday night's School Board Workshop in response to the discussion about the guidance by the Law Director regarding the Bill Phillips incident. Karen Carson said it is necessary to discuss this item in public because we have to discuss all matters pertaining to teachers, principals etc. This was either an outright lie or a misstatement as the board has a history of not discussing every incident involving principals and teachers.

The most glaring example of her lie or misstatement was the incident involving another school board member. A situation where the school board met in “secret” executive session and then proceeded to spend over $20,000.00 of our hard earned taxpayer dollars in settlement money. School Board Member Cindy Buttry brought this incident to the forefront at the Monday meeting that there was no public discussion and at the time the school board was participating in the county’s ethics committee.

At which point Carson proceeds to say that the money was awarded to the victim due to a principal not following policy in reporting a specific incident, not because of anything the board member did. When this settlement was reached it was sealed and now Carson has violated the sealed nature of the settlement.

For the record, there are several incidents that have NOT been fully discussed in public and could now be open to investigation by the Ethics Committee. Because the Law Director has stated on Monday night that there is NO statute of limitation. One incident is a current high level staff person driving a school system sedan while driving under the influence. Another incident of a high level staff person involved in a smear campaign involving two high school administrators. An active lawsuit is currently working it’s way through the court system involving this one administrator and the role the high level staff person played in the media campaign that smeared the innocent individual.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Appointed Commissioner Carringer Make First Official Talk and Q&A

Last night at the Halls Republican Club meeting Michele Carringer, the appointed Seventh District Commissioner occupying Seat B until Scott Moore wins his appeal spoke. She stated that being born and raised in Ftn. City. She will be very supportive of growing the Halls Community Park. Her husband, Dr. Michael Carringer was in attendance. She spoke of her admiration for her 74 year old mother Irene McCrary who has recovered from hip surgery within the last two years and doing well.

She mentioned the latest Fox network show Huckabee. Where he defined the latest Stimulus package. Read it here. She said “I am not racist. I hate to think what me and my children will have to clean up after President Obama.”

She talked about being a substitute teacher in grades 6-12. She said that she substitute taught in public and private school. She said “All kids are the same whether they are in rich private schools or in the public schools.”

Three years ago she took a part time job in Cathy Quist’s office. As she was seeking the appointment she took a leave of absence and once she was selected as the "replacement" Commissioner it served as her resignation.

She talked about some of her volunteer work, in particular with an organization called TAP. They volunteer in the middle schools that will have them. She is aware that both Holston and Farragut Middles allow their organization in their schools. She said one goal is “to teach how AIDS is contacted. You would be flabbergasted how many people have AIDS in Knox County and how there currently is NO fear of contacting AIDS. So, we must teach them young.”

She talked about blight and in particular the blighted property of the old Black Oak Motel. She said that Grant Rosenberg of the Mayor’s office is working with the owner. The owner has an attitude that there is nothing wrong. She said “We just hope that Grant brings us the easy part and we get to vote on it.”

She said that "they are dreading the budget.”

On the topic of a potential sale of Hillcrest. She said “What can you say? It is in the 7th district. It has been the icon of the 7th district.” “They deal with respiratory issues, not just old people in a nursing home. If Hillcrest closed tomorrow I don’t know what they would do with the 500 plus residents in their three locations.” She made an appeal for assistance from those in attendance. “I ask that you all pray for a decision that will help Hillcrest and the commissioners make the right decision for the residents.”

During the question and answer period. I brought up the fact that the Commissioner that she replaced (Scott Moore) was one of the few Commissioners that voted against the budget last year due to the failed funding mechanism of the budget. I asked. Will you pledge NOT to raise taxes? “ABSOLUTELY. I don’t want to raise taxes. There is waste up there and we have to cut that.”

Gerald Turner asked about Republican Commissioners (a super majority) appointing Democrats –vs - Republicans as Chairman and to other positions. She stated that the “one judicial person that she voted for was a Republican and he was taken out.”

I won one of the door prizes, one of the better ones in my opinion. A 2009 Ronald Reagan calendar from the Ronald Reagan Foundation. With that the night ended.

Halls Community Park Report. They Are Successful and Growing

Last night at the Halls Republican Club meeting Eric Arnold of the Halls Community Park was invited and asked to give a report about the Community Park. It is one of the three largest youth parks in the county. Every year the Halls Community Park provides Knox County with our financials. The Senior Center is now two years old. The Halls Community Park serves 1500 children with an annual budget of $240,000.00. Knox Youth Sports serve fewer kids and has a budget of $1.0 million.

The Halls Community Park has set the goal of trying to build a gymnasium. In just a few short moths they have raised $30,000.00. According to Doug Batialle, Director of Parks for Knox County. The Halls Community Park is the only organization that is growing every year. For questions or to receive more information please contact the group at

The community park group was told that Brickey/McCloud Elementary School is NOT a Halls school and because it is not a Halls school it will not be used by Halls Community Park. A lady asked who told them that. Mr. Arnold said the Brickey/McCloud Elementary School Principal. The lady in the audience said "it is a feeder school to Halls and Powell and that is not right to not allow the Community Park not to use it.

Fireworks at Halls? Becomes a New Republican to the Fold

Andrew and Trish Graybeal attended the Halls Republican Club meeting. Gerald Turner a former Knox County Republican Party Chairman challenged Andrew with the fact that he ran as a Democrat in the last county election against a Knox County Republican. Turner said this is a Republican club and unless you were going to take a loyalty oath than he had some explaining to do. Graybeal stood and stated that on 1/26 he resigned from the Democrat party and that his wife has always been a Republican and he only voted the other way one time and that he intended to be here and work for the Republican Party if they would have him and that he will take any oath necessary. With that Graybeal received one of the largest and loudest rounds of applause ever hear in Halls. It was overheard as some were leaving that Halls Really Does Have It Now. One more loyal Republican. Here’s hoping he eyes a run for office and in the event that there are still two Commissioners in each district that Andrew will take on R.Larry Smith.

I (the Immediate Past Chairman of the Knox County Republican Party) reminded Mr. Turner in a conversation after the meeting with several witnesses standing around that that the party has a Republican Commissioner for District Seven that passed up three Republicans for appointment to the Fourth District County Commission seat to appoint a Democrat. R. Larry Smith voted against Mike Alford, Logan Brummitt and Walter Wojnar. I hoped that he would discuss this with Smith. He agreed with the several witnesses standing by that Smith was wrong for doing so.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Martha Woodward Releases Second Book on Monday

Martha Rose Woodward, local author and former Knoxville/Knox County Educator releases her second book on Monday February 16, 2009. Martha Rose in 2007 authored and published Knoxville's Sunsphere: Biography of a Landmark.

Her second book is Knoxville's 1982 World's Fair. The book chronicles the fair that ran from May 1 - October 31, 1982. There are over 200 images in the book. Images of pre-fair site conditions, construction of the fair site and of course the fair itself.

Martha Rose hopes that the readers of this book "will feel like they've just walked into the front gates and taken on a grand tour all around the 72 acres of the event." The highlights of Knoxville's 1982 World's Fair are the Live Entertainment, Displays and Exhibits, Musical and sporting Events and the Food, costumes, rides, games, arcades and more.

This book is published by Arcadia Publishing. Arcadia is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. The book will be available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers (like Amazon) or through Arcadia Publishing at their website, here or by phone 1-888-313-2665.

Martha Rose Woodward will be making several media appearances and book signings with the release of her book. Here are the ones that we know about as of this posting.

February 16, 2009 - Martha Rose will be a guest on Let’s Talk Frank; on WKVL Radio 850 AM
At 4:00 PM

February 23, 2009 - Martha Rose will be a guest on Car Concerns hosted by Harry Douglas on WKVL Radio 850 AM; 10 AM-11AM

February 25, 2009 Martha Rose will be a guest on The Phil Williams Radio Show on WNOX The Big Talker on FM 100.3 during the 5:00 p.m. hour.

February 28, 2009 - Martha Rose will be having a Book Signing at Books-a-Million from 1-3 p.m.

March 6, 2009 - Martha Rose will be participating in a Book Signing at the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corp., located at 310 Gay Street in Downtown Knoxville from 10 AM until 2 PM

March 19, 2009 - Martha Rose will be participating in a presentation “History of Sunsphere and 1982 World’s Fair” for the Torch Club at The Orangery from 11:45-12:30 PM.

This book is a "MUST HAVE" for anyone that visited the fair, worked at the fair or calls Knoxville/Knox County home then or now.

How Many Red Light Cameras Will TN Have With the Knoxville Mayor as Governor?

Check out this story from Duncanville, TX. In 2008, the town of 38,500 issued 45,000 red light camera citations at four intersections.

Imagine what I-40 will look like under Gov. Haslam. These wicked devices are not intended to make us safer, they are only intended to raise money.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cancel the News Sentinel?

This morning I was driving down Northshore near Pellissippi Parkway and I saw this sign and then this evening I went by the Farragut branch post office and yet another sign. I stopped and photographed it up close for the readers of Brian's Blog to see. I wonder who is organizing this movement? Although, I can not disagree with the action point. I canceled mine in 2004. I wonder how many of these exist? They are cheaper the more you buy. So one would have to assume that hundreds exist and are just waiting for the right time to be put up.

In Celebration of the ObamaNation minus 7 Demos and add 3 Republicans

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dr. McIntyre Featured at Lotts Elementary School Tonight

The A.L. Lotts Elementary School PTA had their Founders Day Family meetings, tonight. Cub Scout pack 346 had the presentation of the colors and led the group in the Pledge to the Flag.

Between 50 and 75 individuals were in attendance for the meeting. Karen Carson, a former Past President of Lotts PTA, the School Board's Vice Chair and the Representative for the area was NOT in attendance. NO other Knox County School Board Member was present either.

The Principal, Mrs. Lenn announced that there will be NO SCHOOL on Monday and Tuesday February 16 and 17, 2009.

Three fifth grade students represented three of the founders of the National PTA. They read from the passage "I Dared to Dream."

The PTA recognized the Past PTA Presidents of Lotts Elementary School – The Past Presidents attending were Julie Kirkland, Debbie Monroe, Deborah Britt, Jessica Willis and the Immediate Past President Marca Hance. Two PTA Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented. They were given to Parent Volunteer Carol Lindsey and Immediate Past President Marca Hance.

Richard Swan, the Lotts Elementary PTA Legislative Committee Chairman introduced Dr. James P. McIntyre, Jr.

Dr. McIntyre talked about the shared vision of the future for Knox County Schools. "Building On Strength: Excellence for All Children" He cited A.L. Lotts is an example of having built a solid foundation. The same foundation that we want all of our students to have. He said that Knox County has 79% high school graduation, while that is the envy of most urban school districts. It is not good enough for Knox County and we should do better. There are three pillars to Knox County Schools shared vision. Students, Teachers and Staff and Parents and Community.

He said that Students are at the center of all that we do. We must recognize that 21% of our students are NOT making it and we should recognize what they need and deliver it. We must send the message that we care that they are there and we want them there. He talked about creating small learning community centers in each high school. He talked about that if every child has one caring adult in their school building they are more likely to succeed and graduate on time.

He said that Knox County is a metropolitan school district made up of urban, suburban and rural schools. He said that this is an advantage. He said that currently all leaders are not on the same page within our urban schools. That is my job and we will be setting goals for getting us all going in one direction for our urban schools. He also credited Knox County's Birth to Kindergarten as a great program.

When he talked about Teachers and Staff. It breaks down with Principals and Teachers. With School Principals. He said that Leadership Matters. Mrs. Lenn and Mr. Nidiffer have been here as the Principals. Principals make sure they have a great team and are great leaders. We need to be more purposeful in developing Principals. He told a story about a boy that asked him what does a Superintendent do? He explained it and then the boy looked at him and said so, your the Principal of the Principals. He replied back to the boy well, yes that is what I do. He said so I want to be the Principal of the Principals.

With the Teachers He has visited 65 of the 86 schools. He has seen great education but also has seen some places where we need to improve. He was a teacher 15 years ago and as a first year teacher he did not have collaboration with the other teachers. He would like to see teachers working through a PLC- (Professional Learning Center). Where teachers are planning together, developing lesson plans together and mentoring younger teachers.

In regards to Parents He said we can not do this alone. We want parents to be apart of the learning process. We need to be inviting parents to be a viable contributing partner with us. You need to know everything that you can so that you can work with us.

With regards to Community it is about partnership, infrastructure and working together. It is about accountability. We need to do what we say were going to do. We need to put students at the center of very everything that we do.

He discussed the upcoming budget. He said that there is a maintenance of effort that we expect to be honored. In essence that mean that the school district expects to receive at least the same amount of money that they received last year. The school district is looking at savings in facilities and at Central Office. We will be looking at schools, that is not where we want to focus. But we want to be ready day one of next school year with a teacher in the front of every classroom. We are implementing a staffing formula. A formula that is equitable, fair and transparent. We will reduce 60 or so positions. We believe that we will reach those through retirement and attrition.

At this point his formal presentation ended and questions that had been written and submitted before the meeting started were asked by Mr. Swan.

What do you think of foreign language in the elementary schools? At a conceptual level, YES. At our current budgetary resources level it would be challenge. Each school with have some autonomy in school site decision making. Principals could make room for such abilities in each school site budget.

A question about students with diabetes and other medical needs was asked. The parent rose and expanded her question. She said that her daughter views the school nurse Ms. Ilene is her mommy at school. The parent said that at West Valley Middle School, the situation there exists as it once was here. She said that a parent has puled their child out of public education at WVMS in order to home school and provide adequate health care to their child. I would hope that you could bring parents of students with disabilities and health concerns together for an open forum. And do not cut out nursing. He said there is a lot in your question. We recognize students health and wellness. We are concerned because the state is proposing cutting the state health coordinated grant money. We also have some partnerships with the schools. The health department is coming next week to the board meeting to make a presentation. He said that Missy Massey, Director of Special Education was present at the meeting tonight and has had parents at the Sarah Simpson building for brainstorming sessions.

What impact if any will the state reductions have? He again cited maintenance of effort should provide level funding. Even though there is litigation in Shelby County about that issue currently.

A question about Year Round School? He said that is a great question. We just completed a 24 month discussion on school calendar. The crowd laughed. He said I do not anticipate opening that back up. The school district will work with the Y and others to align summer courses to what we are doing. That is where our focus will be.

How do we get more parents involved? He cited the researchers that have built the Family Friendly Schools concept.

He was asked what is your interpretation of least restrictive involvement? He desires more inclusion.

At this point it was opened up to anyone to ask a question. Harry Paris said there has been a lot in the news about text book content. How can we be confident that our textbooks are true and honest and not revisionist? McIntyre said that we take seriously the process for adopting text books.

A Mother of 3 kids, new to the system, been in several other states talked about the teachers are doing a great job of teaching facts. But not doing a good job with problem solving. She asked about taking away testing in order to teach problem solving and using your facts to achieve a solution. McIntyre said that much of our testing is federally mandated. Parallel block scheduling is on it's way and Lotts will receive it next year. That should help.

A school nurse talked about how she is blessed to have Lotts as my only school. Before I was a traveling nurse between 5 schools and it seemed we were just putting out fires only dealing with medical emergencies. She also asked about staffing cuts especially at Farragut High School these upper level classes, the students need them. Her daughter is concerned about losing her AP French course. McIntyre mentioned that the state ratio is 20-1. He is coming out the FHS to speak with the PTA in the next week or so. They are expected to lose 200 students over the next couple of years. They project a significant reduction at Farragut High School due to the Hardin Valley Academy.

A gentleman mentioned that during the past 8 years there has been an increased attention to testing. It reduces teaching time. McIntyre said they need to do enough forward testing to see where the child is and where they need to go. He also asked McIntyre about NCLB (No Child Left Behind). Will it change significantly? McIntyre believes that the new administration and the new Secretary of Education will change NCLB.

At this point it ended and McIntyre did a Better Than Great job.

Bill Gibbons Republican Candidate for Governor of TN Releases Poll

Yesterday morning, I met Adam Nickas, State Field Director for Bill Gibbons, Republican candidate for Governor at Long's. More about that in another post. But yesterday the Gibbons campaign released a poll. Here is the press release. I will give my views on the effects of the poll later today. We are just making news with the press release this morning.

Gibbons Polls Strong Among State's Largest GOP Base

MEMPHIS - In a county that contributes more votes to GOP candidates than any other in Tennessee, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Gibbons has overwhelming support and off-the-chart favorables, according to a poll released today.

Not surprisingly, Shelby County Republicans support Gibbons for governor with 60 percent support over U.S. Congressman Zach Wamp (3 percent) and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam (0 percent), with the rest undecided.

"People strongly believe that Bill Gibbons is 'committed to public service,' is 'honest and trustworthy,' and has the 'courage to do what is right.' He polled especially strong in the areas of competency and character," said pollster Dr. John Bakke, who consulted on the poll conducted by Memphis-based research firm Ethridge & Associates.

The survey was conducted for the Gibbons for Governor campaign in late January.

Gibbons, who has served as Shelby County District Attorney for the past 12 years, enjoys nearly 100 percent name recognition among Shelby County Republicans, and a whopping 65 percent said he would make a good governor for Tennessee. Of the 72 percent who registered an opinion about Gibbons, 91 percent were favorable.

Bakke said Gibbons' more than 25 years of public and private service and GOP leadership have made a deep and positive impression on Shelby Countians.

"This poll shows Gibbons simply does not have a negative," Bakke said. "The majority believe that as Shelby County's District Attorney General, Gibbons is 'tough on crime,' a 'strong leader,' and a 'good administrator and executive.'"

Gibbons said his campaign commissioned the poll to get a clear picture of his hometown support, which also happens to be a GOP stronghold in Tennessee.

"You can't expect to be successful in a campaign unless the people who know you and your record best think well of you and are behind you," said Gibbons. "This poll shows they do and they are, and I vow not take that support for granted as I embark on my campaign for the state's top job."

The strong, solid support for Gibbons in Shelby County is significant, Bakke says, because Shelby County contributes such a large bloc of GOP votes as a share of the overall votes in statewide races. In the 2006 primary race involving Bob Corker, Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary to determine the U.S. Senate nominee, 13 percent of the overall GOP vote was cast in Shelby County. The next largest contributing county was Knox, with 7 percent of the total votes. The addition of neighboring suburban Tipton and Fayette Counties increases Memphis-area GOP support to 15 percent of the overall state Republican primary votes.

Gibbons for Governor Chairman David Kustoff, former state campaign chairman for U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, and manager of the Bush-Tennessee 2000 campaign, said, "Shelby Countians like and respect Bill Gibbons and hold him in very high regard. Once Tennesseans get to know Bill and understand his vision for better schools, safer communities and his plan to generate new jobs, they'll have the same kind of confidence that he is the right person to lead our state as governor."

Gibbons also scores well among independent voters and Democrats. Independents, by a margin of more than 2 to 1 (43-18), and Democrats by a margin of nearly 2 to1 (35-19), said Gibbons would make a good governor for Tennessee. Gibbons also enjoys high favorable opinions among Democrats (55 percent) and independents (65 percent).

Gibbons was re-elected District Attorney General in 2006, with 62 percent of the vote in Shelby County, which recently went 64 percent for Barack Obama for President.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Prince Phillip of Nashville (aka Bredesen) Sucking Up To Obama

Prince Phillip of Nashville (aka Bredesen) is delivering his State of the State address. His name is on the short list to replace the failed Tom Daschle appointment for Obama's Health and Human Services Secretary.

PP just said that when people lose their job, they lose their health insurance. He said that he is hoping for a national solution. It's official. He wants out of Nashville and in D.C. with Obama. He began his campaign for HHS Secretary tonight. I am sure the Obama people in D.C. are watching.

Bill Lockett Update

Today, Knox County Law Director Bill Lockett terminated the counsel contract with Dean Farmer in the infamous mulch case. He has contracted with former Democrat Knox County Election Commission Chair Pam Reeves to conduct an investigation into the county's relationship with NRRT (the mulch contractor). Lockett will now assume the responsibilities once contracted to Dean Farmer, if Chancellor Weaver does NOT remove Knox County from the Brad Mayes -v- NRRT lawsuit.

Now, Brian's Blog has posted and blogged about some of the public gaffes of Law Director Lockett as we have about the public gaffes of nearly every public official. Our desire is that public officials be prepared for what ever is on the agenda of the day and to do a good job for the taxpayers. We know everyone is not perfect because all of us have made mistakes. As a blog we report what we see, hear and confirm.

We have received phone calls telling us that Bill Lockett is a good guy. Well, in politics good guys often end up at the bottom of the reject pile. As soon as Lockett can decide what questions may be asked and is prepared to answer them and when he figures out which people are bragging to him to his face but stabbing him in the back or trying to trip him up in order to file an ouster on him. Then and only then will he understand what he has gotten himself elected to and then he will genuinely prepared for the meetings and his role in them.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

News Sentinel Ignores City Council Sunshine Law Violation

Today's News Sentinel has this editorial. They print Brown should get high marks for his leadership on the council. As his colleague Councilman Bob Becker noted, Brown was instrumental in mediation between the council and Mayor Bill Haslam. "Mark made sure the mayor's office heard the will of the council," Becker said. Brown should get high marks. Why? Because according to Becker he mediated between Council and the Mayor.

First, of all the Mayor chairs all council meetings shouldn't the Mayor be able to determine the council's will by the comments of council members at the open public council meetings? O.k. for the sake of making our point we will assume he can't. So, that means that Brown met with each council member and determined what the will of the body was and carried that view to the Mayor. That is an Open Meetings Law (Sunshine Law) violation. And the editorial staff of the Sentinel is patting Brown on the back for it.

So, it's wrong and worthy of a lawsuit for the County Commission to do it. But, we will pat the Council on the back for doing it. Good hypocritical work there Jack and crew.

Friday, February 06, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Sam Anderson & Thomas Deakins Should Be Out of the School Board Ethics Committee

Based on the earthquake that hit the City County Building today. The same scenario applies to Sam Anderson & Thomas Deakins on the School Board Ethics Committee. And it will apply to any school boarders that sit on the Great Schools Partnership Board, the certified and non certified sick bank committees.

Maybe Bill "not prepared with five months of service" Lockett will get around to that one when he gets in the office at 9:45 a.m. on Monday morning. Then again maybe he will wait another five months.

BREAKING NEWS: Six Knox County Commissioners Violate The Law

The following Knox County citizens are the only remaining members of the Knox County Board of Zoning Appeals Diane Jordan, William Daniels and Scott Moore. They are the only citizen members of the board and their terms do NOT expire until 2010.

State law states that if a member of the county legislative body accepts a nomination for a position that's filled by the legislative body, that person must resign from the legislative body. The following Commissioners 2nd District Mark Harmon (Vice Chair), 3rd District Ivan Harmon, 5th District Mike Hammond, 6th District Greg Lambert, 8th District Dave Wright and 9th District Paul Pinkston (Chair) on September 1, 2008 accepted positions on the Board of Zoning Appeals. By state law they were to IMMEDIATELY resign their seats from Commission. So, they have been illegally serving on County Commission for over 5 months.

An acceptance by these Commissioners to serve on the BZA is a violation of state law. A law that went into effect in May of 2008. Knox County Law Director Bill Lockett JUST DISCOVERED the law. The following Commissioners 2nd District Mark Harmon (Vice Chair), 3rd District Ivan Harmon, 5th District Mike Hammond, 6th District Greg Lambert, 8th District Dave Wright and 9th District Paul Pinkston (Chair) should be REMOVED from office for being in violation of the State Law. I don't like losing Ivan Harmon, Greg Lambert and Paul Pinkston. But the rewards for Mark Harmon and Mike Hammond in jail stripes will be worth it.

Let's all remember the Commission candidate interviews for the vacancy of Scott Moore's seat. Mark Harmon asked every candidate if they would serve as a member of BZA. All the time he asked 7 Knox County citizens to violate state law.

TN Democrats Gone Sad! Haslam Family Loses It?

Multiple sources inform us that the Tennessee Democrats were nearly jumping of the E Street Bridge in mass this week and the smoke began rising from the Pilot headquarters on the hill. The smoke is a sign of full rage.

It seems that President Obama is considering Governor Phil Bredesen for Health & Human Services Secretary. Should Bredesen accept and be confirmed. That will move Republican Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey to the Governor's mansion. Thus, Ramsey becomes a Republican incumbent Governor, he will be able to begin fundraising immediately for Governor in 2010 as "The Governor." Thus, the funds for Haslam for Governor dries up and his ability to be elected to the position of Governor is very complicated.

It seems that so far the smoke has NOT revealed any fire as of yet. However, we are confident that the Knoxville Fire Department is nearby to extinguish any fire that may become a blaze.

Lockett Belongs to the Mayor's Office? Whose Are You?

From sources on the East End of the Sixth Floor of the City County Building comes these two true incidents.

The first incident. A Knox County Commissioner on Monday was needing to talk to the Knox County Law Director Bill Lockett. This Commissioner called and was kept on hold for more than 30 minutes with repeated assurances that Lockett would be taking the Commissioner's call. The Commissioner eventually gave up. Lockett returned the Commissioner's call Wednesday evening.

The second incident. A prominent Knox County citizen called multiple times for three days to talk to Bill Lockett. Locket was NEVER available to take the citizens call and never returned the repeated messages left for Lockett. After several attempts on the third day. The prominent citizen called and said that he was Grant Rosenberg with Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale's office. We are informed that Lockett immediately answered the phone.

So, it appears to our multiple sources that if you are with the Knox County Mayor's office than Bill Lockett is "your guy" and he is the "Mayor's guy". But if you are a County Commissioner or a citizen than he (Lockett) ain't your guy.

So, this little Friday story begs the question. Whose are You?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

School Board Operates in a Police State?

I attended the Knox County School Board meeting tonight. Upon entry to the City County Building there were at least 5 uniformed officers at the metal detectors at the entrance. That was fine it was 5:00 p.m. and I figured a few were getting ready to clock out and go home.

Then once I entered the Main Assembly Room, Knox County Schools Chief of Security Steve Griffin and Knox County Sheriffs Department Court Security Supervisor Don Barnes were both present. As the meeting was getting ready to start two additional armed officers entered the meeting room. So 9 officers guarding a school board meeting. The ratio was like a 1 officer to every four citizens.

So, with all the talks of personnel cuts and budget issues. The School Board can afford 9 armed officers to guard a single one hour meeting?

Karen Carson Advises Against Personal Conviction

School Board Member Karen Carson revealed tonight at the school board meeting that she attended a conference this week in Washington, D.C. (at the taxpayers expense?). This is the reason that she was a no show at Monday's workshop. She stated that she watched the workshop via the Internet.

On the school board resolution asking the U.S. Congress for stimulus money for k-12 education she stated that she had met with Senator Corker and Scott Fischer, the Educational Legislative Assistant to Congressman John J Duncan, Jr. Carson did not mention our TN US Senator Lamar Alexander, (you know the Chairman of the the US Senate Republican Conference).

Carson advised the school board that she told Corker and Fischer that in her opinion no matter what the personal philosophy of the elected representatives are in regards to the economic stimulus package that if it appeared that the stimulus package was going to pass then they should move for that money to go to education.

That's just lovely! As our Senator or Congressman she wants them to ignore their personal convictions, their personal philosophy. Do what is going to pass.

If you disagree with politicians being politicians as Carson has suggested for them to be. You know, abandon your beliefs, morals and convictions. What we at Brian's Blog have done and what we encourage you to do is contact Senator Corker and Congressman Duncan and tell them to stand for their convictions and do not cave in to the demands of Carson. To go along with whatever train is coming down the tracks.

A Wednesday Wonder

Thanks to a blog that I just discovered, is this video to allow us all to have a quick laugh and a break from all the gasoline price gouging and pandering for votes in 2010 by the Knoxville Mayor.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Dr. McIntyre on WBIR's Live @ Five Tomorrow 2/3/2009

Knox County School Superintendent Dr. James McIntyre is scheduled to be a guest on WBIR's Live @ Five tomorrow (February 3, 2009) In preparation for his visit they are asking you to submit a question or vote on questions that have already been submitted. So, far 32 questions have been submitted and 273 votes cast. Go check them out here. Then either submit another question or vote for one of these.

The News Sentinel Shields Stories From The Population?

In today's Tennessean is a story about the latest Elected Superintendent bill that will work it's way through the Tennessee General Assembly this legislative session. WBIR in Knoxville posted the Tennessean story on their website, located here.

Why is the News Sentinel not covering this story? Because the Chamber Partnership is opposed to elected superintendents. Pilot Travel Centers, LLC was involved in the latest Superintendent selection. (just do a brian's blog search for pilot, superintendent or mitch steenrod) Remember, this mornings post that the News Sentinel and Pilot are represented by the same PR firm?

Come on News Sentinel stop shielding stories from the general population. Your continued bias is showing like a boy with sagging pants.

Which Groundhog Do You Follow?

I have always followed Gen. Beau Lee from Lilburn, GA. He is the only groundhog NOT to see his shadow this year.

The "Yankee" groundhog Punxsutawney Phil along with Jimmy the Groundhog from Wisconsin saw their shadows. In Canada, groundhog Shubenacadie Sam of Nova Scotia, Wiarton Willie, a groundhog in Ontario and Balzac Billy from Alberta all saw their shadows. It appears that all the "Yankee's" are just lazy and wanted to go back to sleep.

So, let's all toast the hard working blue collar Gen. Beau Lee and envision the the early Spring.

How do the Planets Align for Pilot, News-Sentinel and the Haslam's

People have talked behind the scenes about how is it that Pilot and the News Sentinel have this close relationship? Is it the 50,000 plus Friday newspapers they buy? I don't think so.

How is it that a news reporter at WIVK and a news reporter from print media were informed that NO media would be allowed at the Bill Haslam $1,000.00 kick-off reception but the News Sentinel had the story immediately?

Who is the great Oz that operates this partnership from behind the curtain? Moxley Carmichael. Sources indicate that Pilot and the News Sentinel are their clients and that they may be entering the political world of spin control with the Bill Haslam for Governor. Even though SRW & Associates believe that they will get the gig. Time will tell. Heck, there may be enough money to hire everybody for spin control.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Joe Rector - The Gift That Keeps Giving

Last weekend we posted a couple of post about Joe Rector, community news columnist for the Knoxville News Sentinel and the Knoxville Focus. First, on Saturday we previewed what Rector would present in the Sunday News Sentinel. Second, on Sunday we previewed what Rector would present in the Monday edition of the Focus.

Now, tomorrow in the Focus you will read his next column entitled "Fairness" or read it below. He says everyone should be treated the same. What about the "accused" -vs- the "convicted". Hmm, enquiring minds are wondering. Tell us it ain't so, Joe.

Okay, I admit that I’m perhaps a touch “anal.” Type A personalities are supposed to be that way, and too many people have commented on my obsessive-compulsive characteristics, as well as my penchant for being in control for me to deny it. So, I stand guilty as charged. However, being so isn’t such a bad thing. Many things that would otherwise go by the wayside are completed and wrapped in neat little packages because of such due diligence.

One thing that my overzealous make-up demands is equality. I expect it in every part of life. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. What is needed most is a set rules by which we all abide. That way, each of us can judge for ourselves how well we stack up against others. If another person beats me in a contest and we’ve competed on an even playing field, I can accept losing a match. No, I don’t like losing, but doing so is easier to take by realizing that opponents haven’t been given an unfair advantage.

What I expect is that all are held accountable to the same standards. Nothing provokes resentment more than when one person is told not to do something while another is allowed to do it. Bosses can destroy morale and productivity in an office setting by pulling such bone-headed stunts. Why should I give effort on a project when criticisms are hurled my way over things for which another employee receives praise?

At the same time, whether or not a boss likes an employee should have no bearing on work decisions. I have no doubt that some bosses in the past have felt more than a little animosity toward me. At times I can grate of a person’s nerves, especially when I’m in the middle of one of those Type A conniption fits. However, I also believe that in most cases I met the expectations of my job. A boss’s attack of my work or decisions that adversely affect my position have to be based on something more than a vendetta or clash of personalities. Otherwise, fairness is thrown out and everything is left to chance and mood.

My mother is the blame for these rigid views. Throughout her life, she had a set of standards by which she conducted herself. She believed in treating all with dignity and equity. On more than one occasion she “jacked me up” for having a bad attitude and for expecting the rules to change in my favor. I learned that fairness is a main ingredient in leading a life for which there are few regrets.

Now, I’m an older person, and I darn well demand a level playing field. In fact, I become righteously indignant when the rules are finagled to benefit one person or group over another. That indignation more often than not leads to my expressing my displeasure with situations. I have to speak up; remaining quiet in the face of inequality means that I accept the unfairness. Yes, speaking up can produce ill feelings and end relationships. Still, it must be done to secure such an important right for everyone.

Maybe the coming years will mellow me. Perhaps I just won’t care one way or the other. I hope not. Watching individuals tweaking rules to their gain and my standing idly by wouldn’t set well with Mother or with me. Maybe it’s a moral obligation I have.

Have The Planets Aligned?

I rarely, O.k. I don't think I have ever done what I am about to do. I will have to take a shower afterwards. I am asking all of our readers to go the Shopper News website, click on Sandra Clark's column and read the accurate account of the perjurer R. Larry Smith.

You know even people that don't agree with one another can recognize and agree about a liar when we see him, hear him and read his statements. This is proof positive that 9.5 of every 10 citizens recognize the fact that R. Larry is a liar. Either Bill Lockett needs to "man up" and file the ouster suit or he needs to tell Scott Moore to go to the Grand Jury to rid our community of this perjuring County Commissioner.