Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lumpy's Actions Do NOT Rise To A Censure Level

Yes, we blogged about the latest Lumpy actions. We were disappointed in his actions. Brian Hornback of Brian's Blog has had a conversation with Lumpy about his personal thoughts about the continued Lumpy theatric displays.

However, does his action rise to a censure level? NO. Did the Chairman immediately rebuke, reprimand Lumpy at the time of the incident? YES. In the Chairman's rebuke, reprimand was it public and into the microphone for all the public to see and hear? YES. Any possible violation was cured at the time.

For Commissioner Richard Briggs to now attempt a public spectacle is perplexing. Briggs has a conflict of interest in the fact that he is the heart surgeon for Commissioner Lambert's mother.

Our sources indicate that Briggs is being used as a tool by those individuals that have ties back to former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe. We stated here and we will restate again that Briggs is Victor's guy!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tennessee Vision. Tennessee Values.

County School Cuts Only Affect Classroom

The Knox County School Board is set to cut 50 or so teaching positions and only 2 or 3 administrators. One of those administrator positions is the retirement of Assistant Superintendent Roy Mullins. So, when school boarders (Indya Kincannon, Karen Karson, Dan Murphy, Sammie Anderson, Cindy Buttry, Thomas Deakins, Rex Stooksbury, Bill Phillips and Robert Bratton) talk about making cuts away from the classroom. It's all talk, no walk.

In addition to ensuring that all the personnel cuts are classroom instructors. They also make half the high schools go on separate time schedule, from 9:30 - 4:30 instead of the other high schools from at 8:30 - 3:30. While they will say this is the Superintendents recommendation. The Superintendent has listened to their feedback before making a recommendation. They will vote on the budget and the decision will be theirs and theirs alone.

Why doesn't the Sentinel editorialize or get the facts out about the cuts that directly impact students and families. Primarily because Editor Jack McElroy in addition to spinning for the City of Knoxville. Also spins for the Schools. It is just like how the Knoxville Mayor's family flew Brian Bingelli, Superintendent finalist into and out of Knoxville for his interview. It is amazing what happens when the City Mayor's family owns a private jet to jet set anybody/everybody in and out of Knoxville. All the while the company is paying thousands of dollars in fines for "gas gouging" those of us in automobiles.

If the business unit that buys 50,000 newspapers every Friday likes somebody then Editor McElroy doesn't reveal the truth about that entity.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Man

John Rich, one half of the country duo Big & Rich released a solo CD on Tuesday. The project entitled "Son of a Preacher Man" is good. When I heard this song, I thought of three men. First my grandfather, Harold H. (Jim) Hornback, Pvt. U.S. Army WWII. Second, Dean (Charlie) Burchett and then my uncle Charles Robert Blake. My uncle served in Vietnam. My uncle is still here. While my grandfather and Dean Burchett have gone on to their eternal reward in heaven.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Twenty One Years Ago, Today

In September of 1986 I met a remarkable young lady and she was what the Zac Brown Band refers to in their song, “Whatever it is”. Fast forward to this day in 1988, twenty one years ago, we exchanged marriage vows in a church ceremony with standing room attendance. We had 10 attendants in our ceremony and at least 10 children participating as well.

It has been an incredible journey for me. God supplied me with a lady that has NO desire to seek the public’s attention or public stage. But in 1990, 2000 and 2004, she allowed me to seek my passion and my desire by allowing me to offer myself for public service to our communities citizens. She paid a price that most spouses NEVER have to pay for their other half being in public service.

In 2004, I told her about an online communication tool that a friend told me about called blogger. She said good, for the record she does not read Brian’s Blog. When my Senior Pastor Dr. Doug Sager says something in church when his wife is not in the sanctuary, he says “if I want her to know that, I will tell her.” So, I am using my Pastor’s words here, “If I want her to know this is on here, I will tell her.” Although, I am sure some of her co-workers will not adhere to my admonition on this post. That’s o.k. I know who you are.

But, in 2005, she allowed me to spend two years serving my Knox County Republican Party and my friends as their Chairman. She now allows me the ability to help my “friends” that run for public office. But the bottom line, in 21 years she has been a great help mate when I haven’t made the road easy. She has been a remarkable mother to our three great and wonderful kids. My life has been Blessed for having the Wife that God intended and for that I can say “Life is (and has been) Good”

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Clash of the (Tennessee) Titans!

UPDATE: With help from Larry Van Guilder, it appears that we can now name the Republican Primary Election for Governor in 2010, The "Thrilla Over Nashvilla".

Well, a few days ago, the Knoxville Mayor announced that Tom Ingram (Lamar! Alexander's Chief of Staff) was leaving to run the Haslam for Governor team. A few us stood around and said "oh, what to do?"

So, in one corner stood the old TN Titan guard. Today, in an announcement unlike something that could only compare to a build up unlike anything seen since the "Thrilla in Manilla" Third District Congressman announced Bob Davis (the right hand to former Tennessee Senator and Law and Order Star Fred Dalton Thompson) will head the Wamp for Governor campaign. Davis represents the NEW TN Titan Guard.

It is interesting that the man that looks like a Southern baptist preacher would be announced as Zach Wamp's guy on the day that I purchase John Rich's solo CD Son of a Preacher Man which was released yesterday. Rich performed at the McCain Town Hall event in Nashville at the Ryman Auditorium last summer. Wamp was present. Thompson was present. Alexander, Haslam and Ingram were NO shows on that day of Republican unity.

So, we have the the hungry, energetic Davis - vs- the stale, old school Ingram.

Buckle your seat belts children we are on schedule for one hell of a roller coaster ride and a fight that hasn't been witnessed in these parts for at least the last 35 years.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our "Consistent Conservative" Congressman Knows The Food Of The Common Man

Our "Consistent Congressman" John J. Duncan, Jr. was approached by TMZ.com and he was asked what he liked on McDonald's Dollar Menu. Our guy first mentioned "Sweet Tea", "Sundae's" and then another item or two on the menu. He did good. Unlike a certain former Republican President a few years ago that couldn't tell a reporter how much a gallon of milk cost. Our Congressman is one of us. Check the video out, here.

Stacy is Leaving :( So, Now We Want Allison!

Rumor out of Volunteer TV Channel 8 is that Stacy McCloud is leaving Knoxville. She is headed to the Fox station in Nashville as an entertainment reporter.

Say it ain't so. Stacy we will miss you, you are one of us having been raised in Campbell County. The females at 6 and 10 moved here, but you are one of us. We wish you well. Thanks for the memories. I travel to Nashville regularly. So, I can and will see you again.

Now, the campaign begins. Allison Hunt for Alan's Co-Anchor. Call 865-450-8888, email, write letters to WVLT VOLUNTEER TV P.O. Box 59088 Knoxville, TN 37950

"We want Allison! We Want Allison!

When Will "Lumpy" Conduct Himself As A Commissioner

Click here to read and see the latest Lumpy Lambert antic (WBIR.com) This citizen has as much right to speak for himself or for his neighborhood and for Lumpy or anyone to bully him to be silent is WRONG. When will Lumpy conduct himself as a Commissioner?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Knox Schools Left Out.

The documents posted on "The BIG Metal Shed on Hill's" website detailing reductions at Elementary, Middle and High Schools left out some school facilities. The list below are the facilities by board district that were left off the list. The Sixth and Ninth District facilities were all listed.

First District

Fair Garden
Ft. Sanders
Sam E. Hill

Second District

Adult Business and Information Technology
Adult Evening High School
Adult Home Economics
Lincoln Park Technical/Trades
Richard Yoakley School

Third District


Fourth District

West High

Fifth District

Bearden High

Seventh District

North Knox Vocational Center

Eighth District

Gibbs High

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Martha Rose Woodward's Second Book is Record Breaker

Martha Rose Woodward's book about the 1982 Knoxville World's Fair is in the Top 100 for REGIONAL, HISTORY books about the SOUTH on the Amazon.com bestsellers list. See it here.

Our review of the book is here. Our preview of the book is here.

McElroy and Crew Misses Another Haslam Story

McElroy & Crew up in "The Big Metal Shed on the Hill" must have been buying some stock on Friday as their stock kept going up and down. But now back to our story, Brian's Blog has continually made the case that McElroy & Crew do NOT cover any potentially negative story about the Knoxville Mayor, his family or his families business. Our position is primarily because that business buys 50,000 or more News Sentinel's every Friday.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out Roy Exums column in today's Chattanoogan. Now Mr. Exum states that he buys his gas at Pilot. All I am gonna say about that is a customer like that the Haslam's sure don't need any enemies.

Here is a snippet. "In an arguable list of “The 100 Most Powerful People in Tennessee” that just came out from a publication called “Business TN,” Bill was No. 9, ”Big Jim” was No. 11, and Jimmy was No. 20. That in itself is what makes the news that Pilot Oil was fined for “gas gouging” a little unnerving."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Whose Does Dr. Briggs Answer Too?

Thanks to Law Director Bill Lockett we now know to whose Dr. Briggs belongs to. Check out this Saturday News Sentinel story. He is carrying the water for Knoxville lawyer Tom McAdams. Tom McAdams has always been known to be the puppet master for former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe.

So, if Briggs runs for Knox County Mayor. He will be Victor's guy. Not a good sign for a victorious campaign countywide.

Briggs is Victor's guy!

Farragut High School Has It All?

You have heard it before. Farragut High School has it all. To those of us with students in Farragut High School. We say Bull.

I attended the Rising 9th grader parent/student meeting a week or so ago and here is what we do have in the auditorium. It is Blue duct tape carpeting.

So, the schools maintenance department led by Jim French utilize school colored duct tape for repairs. Let's hope that schools do not advocate a sales tax increase for education. Because this will serve as evidence A that the school system does not currently utilize our tax dollars in an appropriate manner.

Dr. McIntyre is a good man and can turn our school system around. He must first identify incompetence and it starts with Supervisor of the Maintenance Department, Jim French.

What Did You Do Yesterday?

Yesterday was the first day of Spring. What did you do? First, I went and had FREE lunch at Petro's at Middlebrook Pike and Cedar Bluff Road. Courtesy of Petro's and Love 89. I met Kris and Marisa of the Kris and Marisa Morning Show. Marisa and I went to school a - - - - - many years ago.

I then went and got a Spring appropriate haircut. Here is the evidence.

Good Day, it was.

1982 Knoxville Worlds Fair Book

This morning I read Martha Rose Woodward's book the 1982 World's Fair book. The book published by Arcadia. Brian's Blog previewed this book the weekend prior to the release date. Read the preview, here.

This book is like jumping in the Back To The Future Time car with Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and traveling back 26 years to the World's Fair when our "scruffy little city" hosted the world.

This book was well written from the perspective of someone attending the Fair 26 years after it closed and it is also written with the prespective of both those in favor of the World's Fair and even the group that opposed the World's Fair. It details the bumps in the road like too few bathrooms. The bathroom snafu was fixed with temporary restrooms. But in the end, the World's Fair was successful and this is a good addition to your library to show your children and grandchildren how and when the world came to Knoxville.

Visit the publisher here to buy the book or buy it on Amazon here.

Protect and Defend by Vince Flynn

I have just finished reading the latest book about Mitch Rapp. In this book, it begins with the transition of power as President Elect Alexander is preparing to take over as President of the United States. However, an unfortunate terrorist attack takes out someone extremely close to the President Elect. It takes Mitch Rapp to discover the real mastermind and ultimately renders justice. As the Middle East is heating up, CIA Director Irene Kennedy finds herself over there and the focus of a ransom kidnapping scheme. Rapp works hard and ends the incident, with the full support of the President. Next up is Extreme Measures, it was released in hardcover in October 2008. However, I wait until the paperback is released.

So, the series began with Term Limits, Transfer of Power, The Third Option, Separation of Power, Executive Power, Memorial Day, Consent to Kill, Act of Treason and now Protect and Defend.

Check out Vince Flynn’s website, here.

It's all good stuff.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Something is Going On at "The Big Metal Shed On The Hill"

The stock of the parent company of "The Big Metal Shed on the Hill" is moving up and down today. Could this be a sign that "The Big Metal Shed on the Hill" is getting ready to have more layoff's? I should would hate to be the Outdoor Sports writer aka Bob Hodge these days. What about other layoffs? Or maybe the Big Guy is coming in to do to "The Big Metal Shed on the Hill" what he did to the Rocky Mountain News. Time will tell. Check out the stock, here.

If You're Anonymous Comment Is NOT Published

Here at Brian's Blog we happily publish comments. We especially like comments where individuals identify themselves. This Blog began in 2004 with the name of our Founder Brian Hornback. It was wide open for any/all comments and a few bad apples caused us to completely shut down any/all comments. After about a one year ban of any/all comments. We opened up comments through comment moderation. It means you submit them and we publish them. Just like sending a letter to the editor. There are many letters to the editor that are NEVER published in daily newspapers.

From the day that we opened Comment Moderation, we established rules for engagement that are published on the main page of Brian's Blog. If you submit a comment and it is not published and you desire an explanation, you can simply send an email here and request an explanation. In order for you to receive an explanation you must supply your name, address and telephone number in your email.

Thank you for reading Brian's Blog. Thank you for commenting within a reasonable range of professionalism.

Knox County Law Director Receives Interior Design

In October 2008, Knox County Law Director Bill Lockett did not get the tricked out truck that he wanted as a take home drive. But, sources in the City County Building tell us that he is getting an interior design upgrade to his offices. (New carpeting, New furniture all the plush amenities of a "upscale" law office)

The only problem according to our sources in the City County Building is that he doesn't have the money in his budget to pay for the new digs. So, who is paying for it and what will be the "ultimate" payment?

Is it a deal NOT to prosecute a current lying Commissioner for perjury?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Knox County Commission Stalls To Benefit Themselves

UPDATE: OOPS! Former Republican Fourth District County Commissioner Candidate Walter Wojnar has pointed us to the answer that the Knox County Law Director was unable to provide to us yesterday. Here it is. Sec. 2.03. C. No person shall be eligible to serve as a member of the Commission unless that person shall have attained the age of eighteen (18) and is a resident of, and a registered voter in, the district from which suck person seeks election on the date he/she filed his/her nominating petition and has been a resident of both the County and the district for one (1) year prior to such person's election; provided however, that the district residency requirements shall not apply in the first general election at which Commission seats appear on the ballot following any reapportionment or redistricting of Commission districts. A member of the Commission shall remain a resident of the Commission district which such member represents during his/her term of office.

As for Citizen Activists A. Summers question. He got one and it is published in the comments. So, it appears that our forefathers anticipated this and cured it. It was good blog fodder and certainly scared a few people. So, now there is nothing else to see here, move on.

UPDATE: March 18, 2009 3:35 p.m. A Real Life Example: Let's say that you are R. LeRoy Somebody and you currently live in the Seventh district. Let's say that you desire to run for Knox County Commission because you are an insurance agent and very active in the community. You believe "in doing your homework" and you are tired of seeing your Commissioner R. Lying Selfish tell one story a few months after telling another story. Commissioner R. Lying Selfish in redistricting ensures that the Commission redistricts you into the Eighth District. The vote to put you and your residence in the Eighth District occurs at the August 2009 (8-24-2009) Commission meeting. You are unable to be a candidate for Knox County Commission for the May 4, 2010 primary and August 5, 2010 general election due to the fact that you have NOT been a resident of the Eighth district for a year.

Citizen Activist A. Summers sent the following thoughts on this issue. I have been asking this question to a few people, including one member of the redistricting committee. I haven't heard anything back yet.

The State of Tennessee Election Commission has a schedule of May 4, 2010 as the primary elections, and August 5, 2010 for the general elections.A few facts:Tennessee law mandates the use of census data and refers to its use in local redistricting and in the establishment of voting precincts. The first, TCA 5-1-111(d), states that, “the county legislative body must use the latest federal census data whenever a reapportionment is made.”

The U.S. Census takes place every 10 years, and the next census occurs in 2010. Census questionnaires will be mailed or delivered to every household in the United States in March 2010.

The Census Bureau must count everyone and submit state population totals to the President by December 31, 2010. Redistricting should take place one year after that date. PL 94-171 is a law passed by Congress in 1975, requiring the U.S. Census Bureau to furnish state governments population data by April 1 of the year following the census count for use in redistricting.

With all that said here is the questions at hand: How could the committee actually achieve a proper redistricting if they will not have the new census data to go by? Am I missing some magic number factor to apply to population to get close to the census numbers?

Original Post: 3/18/2009 1:38 p.m. The Knox County Commission is stalling the redistricting of County Commission lines in order to eliminate possible opponents and control the power to maintain their elected positions.

Last year, the citizens of Knox County voted to reduce the Knox County Commission to eleven members (nine district members with two countywide at large). With the voters passage of a reduced Knox County Commission maintains that it is necessary to redraw the commission boundaries. The Knox County Charter mandates that in order to be a candidate for Knox County Commission you must reside within the district in which you are seeking election for one year.

So, the current Commissioners have appointed some commissioners and some citizens in drawing a proposed boundary lines. It is assumed that the process by committee is a delay tactic. Brian's Blog has inquired of the Commission office when the redistricting committee has met and and where they are in the process of proposing the lines. The Knox County Commission office is researching and will get back to us with the information.

The Knox County Primary election is May 4, 2010. The qualifying deadline date is February 18, 2010 at 12:00 Noon. The first date to pick up petitions is November 20, 2009. So, the boundary lines MUST be voted on and approved by the legislative body (Knox County Commission) no later than May 4, 2009 in order to make EVERY citizen in Knox County eligible to be a candidate for County Commission. To do anything other than comply with the law (charter), disenfranchises the citizens of Knox County and exposes the 19 members of Knox County Commission as abusers of the power of their office to enrich and keep themselves in power.

Brian Hornback of Brian's Blog contacted Knox County Law Director Bill Lockett and asked about the appropriateness of the commission delaying past the one year deadline. While he was not prepared to answer the question without first researching the issue. He indicated that this question may be added to the Commission's discussion items next week.

More details as they develop. Remember you read it here first.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Town of Farragut Needs to Retain Mayor Ford

I was asked by the Knoxville Journal in November 2008, shortly after Mayor Ford announced his intent to seek re-election about my thoughts on his candidacy for re-election. At the time I was the Immediate Past Chairman of the Knox County Republican Party and he had no announced opponent. The quote appeared in the December 4, 2008 edition of the paper.

The announcement of the former failed candidate for U.S. Congress to seek Mayor of the Town of Farragut has not changed my position about Mayor Ford or the town's need to keep him as Mayor.

"I am pleased that Mayor Ford has decided to seek another term as the Mayor of the Town of Farragut. While I have disagreed with positions of Mayor Ford in the past. No disagreement has been taken personally by either of us."

"No one can dispute the fact that the Town of Farragut has experienced significant growth over the past four years. There are a couple of personalities within the Town and town leadership that have ulterior political ambitions. Those ambitions must be kept in check. The work of the Town should be for the good of the people and Town of Farragut."

"There are potential actions that will require the steady hand of an experienced leader, Eddy Ford is that Experienced, Steady, Consistent Leader to Lead the Town of Farragut the next four years." - Brian Hornback, Immediate Past Chairman of the Knox County Republican Party. November 30, 2008.

Visit Mayor Ford's website, here or contact Mayor Ford by email here or by telephone at 865-966-1267

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Farragut Needs a New Alderman

The Town of Farragut has an election coming up. Beginning tomorrow March 18-28 from 8 a.m. - Noon; Noon-8 p.m., March 30-April 4; ending with 8 a.m.-8 p.m., April 6-7. No voting on Sundays. The voting will be held at the Farragut Town Hall.

Now, Alderman Mike Haynes is giving it up and Jeff Elliot is currently unopposed. Barring a successful write-in campaign Elliot will be the next Alderman from the South ward.

In the North ward we have the current incumbent who is completing his first term of office, four long years. There is a challenger that will bring to Farragut a fresh new leadership. A Leadership of Change that mirrors the beliefs and values of the residents of Farragut. For that reason, eligible voters in the North ward of Farragut should cast their votes for Bob Markli.

Here is why the current incumbent is not worthy of an additional term. First, he negotiated a purchase price for land that exceeded the appraised value. Secondly, he desired to take the land and give it away to another governmental entity. A government entity that currently receives taxpayer money from the residents of the Town of Farragut. Thus the residents have been forced to double dip for the benefit of one entity so that the incumbent looks good and feels good. The current incumbent has VERY liberal leanings. He is also been known to spend time with another alderman at a local watering hole after alderman meetings, thus giving the appearance of violating the Sunshine law.

Who is Bob Markli?

He is a native East Tennessean, He was raised on 14 acres on the Clinch River between Oak Ridge and Clinton in Anderson County. His first job was as a bicycle-mounted News Sentinel carrier/salesman on an eight-mile-long rural route made an athlete out of me as well as an entrepreneur. He has operated his own business continuously since 1974.

Today he is a runner and amateur photographer, but most of all a constant reader and student of the human condition. He located back here in East Tennessee after a stint in Texas in 1987 and after building some 49 homes in Tellico Village and Wal-Mart shopping centers in LaFollette and Jamestown under contract to a large local general contractor, He built his first home in Farragut's 1st Ward. For eighteen of his last twenty-one years, he not only lived in Farragut, but has earned his family's livelihood here as well.

They have raised 4 children in Farragut and they have all attended Farragut schools from kindergarten through high school where our youngest is now a Junior. During those years, he has been a part of four of the finest communities in the 1st Ward; Smithfield, Wyndham Hall, Berkeley Park and now Chapel Grove.

In building the hundreds of homes in Farragut over the years his company has worked closely with the town's planning and zoning officials, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, the Metropolitan Planning Commission and with our excellent Town Staff.

He has served for many years on the Visual Resources Review Board working to maintain and enhance the aesthetics of the Town, and when asked, have served on special assignment for the Town.

He has been members and supporters of the Farragut/West Knox Chamber of Commerce for many years and Members of the National Association of Home Builders, as well as the Home Builders Association of Greater Knoxville where he has served on the Governmental Affairs Board. His company has participated in the Parade of Homes for seven years running to promote quality and affordable housing in the Knoxville area and showcase residential opportunities in the Town of Farragut.

He is an Elder in his local congregation and have attended his church (which in January inducted six more extraordinary young men into the rank of Eagle Scout) with my family in the 1st ward for nearly twenty years. For many years he has taught youth Sunday School or served as an instructor in my peer group.

Why is Bob Markli a Candidate for Alderman?

A Board of Mayor and Aldermen working together in harmony for the Town's best interests is important. Teamwork, quick conflict resolution and the ability to put aside secret agendas and personal issues for the greater good of the community are key. He will live this attitude.

He will promote the Town's environmental friendliness by encouraging "green" development, public transit, recycling, stream and resource management.

He will insist on accessible, responsive, transparent, accountable Town government that employs a conservative, cost-effective, debt-free, pay-as-we-go fiscal policy. We must reinforce our partnership and cooperation with all State and County agencies providing Town services to promote effective application of their programs and avoid duplication of effort. We must aggressively pursue available State and Federal funds and grants. And we must provide effective, unified leadership, oversight and support to Town staff to ensure excellent stewardship of all Town resources.

He will not support or vote for new Town taxes or fees of any sort, including so-called "IMPACT FEES" that burden our citizens and stifle businesses. This has been one of the major contributors to Farragut's success. Through sound management, we have historically maintained a surplus equal to approximately one year of Town expenses as a buffer to protect Town employees and maintain continuity. Now the Seal property acquisition, curiously negotiated in secret by my opponent at 25% ABOVE appraised fair market value, and without the consent of the full board, has eliminated much of that cushion. This was not in the best interest of our Town and is an example of my opponent's poor judgment. This was approved over the objections of the two most seasoned members of the board, Mayor Ford finally approving the purchase only to end the Board conflict created by my opponent.My opponent is the major proponent of Impact Fees, a tax on development which would have raised the cost of a typical new home in Farragut by thousands of dollars and created a one-time (+-) $250,000 roadblock which would have turned away several new businesses each of which will now provide more than that amount annually in a continuing revenue stream to the town through sales tax. He will never support this hidden tax.

He will work tirelessly to create an atmosphere that attracts, rewards and retains the best quality businesses to our Town. Ensure fair, even-handed and reasonable application of our Town's body of codes and ordinances, and continually critique and refine them. Target and recruit desirable businesses.

This benefits us in three ways:

Broader tax base to increase the revenues available to improve quality of life.

Improved environment by shorter commutes to goods and services.

Convenience and simplicity for our citizens enhancing quality of life and making our Town the best place to live, work, shop and play.

He will continue to develop, maintain and improve our parks and recreation opportunities, roads and infrastructure, and promote traffic safety. And do it within the financial means of our Town through strategic planning and wise use of those funds. He desires to expand support for our local schools.

He will work to facilitate new partnerships between schools, parents, citizens, and the business and technology communities to foster, develop and retain our best talent in the Town and region and put resources into the hands of teachers to strengthen mathematics, engineering and science proficiency.

He will work to expand partnerships with U.T., O.R.N.L. and our other unique resources.

He wants to expand citizen involvement by enhancing public awareness and recognition of opportunities to serve, creating additional citizen Boards and Committees, and energetically recruiting volunteer committee members. Our volunteer citizen committees are the lifeblood of our progress and success. They deserve enormous credit. An Education Board, a Business Development Board, and a Recycling and Ecology Board could all contribute valuable assistance and work hand-in-hand with the PTA, PTSO, Board of Education, the Chamber of Commerce and various environmental groups without significantly burdening the Town with additional costs.

Please visit his website here or contact Bob Markli by email here or by telephone at 865-675-6875.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Best Line of The Night was about R. Larry Smith

I went out to the Halls Republican Club this evening. Eighth District Commissioners Dave Wright and Bud Armstrong were the speakers. During the break between Wright and Armstrong, Seventh District Commissioner Larry Smith got up to leave early. In response to Smith's early departure Armstrong said, "Yeah, Larry just like a rat jumping from the ship." Oh, how prophetic Armstrong may be.

Friday, March 13, 2009

News Sentinel Sunday Sales Will Surely Be Up

The News Sentinel at 1:06 p.m. today has an update on the website about a story coming this Sunday. The headline is "Coming Sunday: Nude photos on cellphones a growing trend" If you will hurry, before they change the headline, you can see it here.

So, they will be printing nude photos in the paper? That's the way to get the circulation back up for a dying product. That is some out of the cubicle thinking for Editor Jack McElroy.

Greg MacKay's Replacement

Before yesterday, the likely Republican candidates for Greg MacKay's position at the Knox County Election Commission are Banker Josh Burnett, School Board Member Cindy Buttry and City Councilman Steve Hall. (I put them in alphabetical order by last name)

A new name emerged shortly after yesterday's appointment of Bowman. Former State Representative candidate and mouthpiece of the Charter Amendments group Gary Drinnen. Sources within the courthouse have informed Brian's Blog prior to the appointment of the election commissioner that MacKay was boasting that he would maintain a job within the election commission should Bowman be appointed.

Now, that Tom Humphrey has reported that Bowman is a lawyer in the law firm of Kramer, Rayson it makes sense. A firm that is dominated by Democrats will likely keep Mackay in a Drinnen administration. Better yet, it is likely that the only change will be a third Republican member of the commission and Mackay stays. Time will tell.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bowman Joins Election Commission

This afternoon the 8 legislative members that represent portions of Knox County met and selected lawyer Robert Bowman to join Chris Haegerty and Paul Crilly as the first Republican Majority Election Commission.

On Monday, I offered my name for the legislators to consider. Reports are that Bowman went to Nashville several weeks ago with former Representative H.E. Bittle and solicited their support. Congratulations to Robert Bowman.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Does Campfield Have a Litmus Test?

On Monday, after encouragement from many friends and family members I have formally thrown my name in the hat for Knox County Election Commissioner. Monday and Tuesday I spoke with each of the seven members of the Knox County legislative delegation about my interest. On Tuesday, I sent a letter formally announcing my interest.

The last legislator that I talked with was Rep. Stacey Campfield. He made it clear that he wants Steve Hall, current City Councilman as the next Election Administrator. I have informed every member of the delegation that I do NOT have a specific person in mind but that I will support a Republican for Administrator. They have all been receptive.

Keep in mind that while Campfield and the legislature are not bound by the Sunshine Law. The Election Commission is. While I may or may not be on the Knox County Election Commission, I consider it unethical and improper to commit to any person for Administrator.

I simply recognized Campfield's litmus test, ignored it and did not respond to him with a yes or no. I simply repeated my position, I will support a Republican.

If I am an Election Commissioner, I will work hard, I will be fair, I will be professional and I will be Republican. If I am not an Election Commissioner, I will simply live my life and all will be good. I simply feel like the legislative delegation needed a few more choices in helping to raise the tide so that all ships will rise.

As a school board member, I followed the Sunshine law. I blew the whistle to the News Sentinel (disclosed) the post meeting dinners that were happening and how those dinners were shades of gray regarding the Sunshine law. If given the opportunity to serve, I will honor that law while on the Election Commission,

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Severance -v- Kulhman - Lessons Learned in Severance Win

The race for the First Vice Chair of the Knox County Republican Party pitted an old school -v- new school Republican. The results show that old school wins every day.

Phyllis Severance is the NEW First Vice Chair and is the old school Republican. She and her husband, Former State Representative Charlie Severance were the first people at Central High School. Phyllis was at the door and greeted each and every person and asked for their votes.

Ruthie Kulhman was the new school Republican that lost the race. She arrived sometime after many of the delegates had already arrived. She was NOT seen asking for votes. As a matter of fact, a conversation was overheard where a couple of delegates told Kulhman they intended to vote for her, even though she had not contacted them. She challenged one of them, "you have never supported me" the response back was, "Ruthie don't ever take a person or a vote for granted. Just because someone can not support you for one race does not mean they can not support you for another race." She then thanked them.

This reminds me of the Tip O'Neil book "All politics is local" He had just been reelected and was talking to his neighbor that he shared a back fence with. Tip said. "Thanks for voting for me." To which the neighbor said, "I didn't vote for you, because you never asked for my vote." What a lesson.

So, the old school Republican won by being early, persistent and consistent. Just like Benjamin Franklin said "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise "

Sunday, March 08, 2009

John Whitehead Announces Candidacy

At Saturday's re-organization meeting of the Knox County Republican Party, John Whitehead a state ceritified Property Assessor went about informing nearly everyone that he will be a candidate for Knox County Property Assessor in 2012.

Phil Ballard won a close Republican primary against Mike Lowe in February 2008. In August 2008 he defeated the Democrat nominee.

Ballard has had his hands full in negative story after negative story. First, he decided to make the unfortunate decision to abolish all the positions of ceritified appraisers. No other large property assessor office in the state has ZERO ceritified appraisers. A decision that was reported here on Friday January 9, 2009.

He has taken away all drive home county vehicles from the employees of the assessor's . It is rumored that he has been hiring politically connected friends and relatives of individuals to his liking. Not posting the vacancies to allow all qualified citizens to apply and be considered for the positions. Thus, violating the equal opportunity employment nature of the office.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Congratulations to KnoxGOP Chair Ray H. Jenkins

This morning the Knox County Republican Party elected Knoxville Lawyer Ray H. Jenkins to led the party for the next two years. Jenkins is capable and will be successful.

Jack Huddleston - Knox County Election Commission Member?

Rumors were flying this morning as the Knox County Republican Party gathered at Central High School for it's re-organization. The BIGGEST rumor is that former "Black Wednesday County Commissioner Appointee" Jack Huddleston of the Eighth District has his friends trying to line up the votes to have him appointed as the third Republican on the Knox County Election Commission.

He is close friends with Steve Hunley, a new Secretary to the Knox County Republican Party. Huddleston is also a close friend and supporter of Property Assessor Phil Ballard. State Senator Jamie Woodson will be one of the members of the Knox County legislative delegation that will select the next Republican that will sit on the Knox County Election Commission. In addition, it was pointed out to me this morning that Senator Woodson's step daughter is an employee of Property Assessor Phil Ballard's.

I sincerely hope and believe that Senator Woodson would not resort to such smoke filled, back room, deal making antics.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Hillcrest Is In Trouble and the News Sentinel Is Covering For Them.

O.k. Brian's Blog is working on a story that the News Sentinel refuses to cover. Hillcrest is not being allowed either by state or federal regulators to accept new patients.

The News Sentinel is refusing to run the story. Sources in the Big Metal Shed on the Hill say that one of the junior Editor's David Kim says that it is not a story. We think that it is. Especially since they have run the one hundredth story on Bill Phillips and the fiftieth story on James Owens but Willie Anderson is still stuck on page 14. While they do nothing we will post a story later.

If you believe that junior Editor David Kim is wrong and that Hillcrest is a story. Email your comments here or call the Scripps Ethics Line at 888-397-4911.

Here is their stock performance.

SSP (Common Stock)
Exchange NYSE (US Dollar)
Price $0.90
Change (%) 0.03 (3.23%)
Volume 97,200
Data as of 03/05/09 2:57 p.m. ET

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Knox County Republican Officeholders Announce Lincoln Day Dinner

Cathy Quist, Circuit Court Clerk announced tonight at the Karns Republican Club meeting that the 2009 Knox County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner is set. It will be April 14, 2009 at Rothchild's Catering and Conference Center on Kingston Pike in West Knoxville. Dinner will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the program slated to begin at 7:00 p.m.

This years speakers will be the Republican candidates for Governor in 2010. Currently that list consist of Third District Congressman Zach Wamp, Lt. Governor of TN Ron Ramsey, Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons and the Knoxville Mayor.

The dinner will be chaired by Quist, Knox County Law Director Bill Lockett and the current Knox County Clerk.

The proceeds from the dinner directly benefit the Knox County General Election ticket. Meaning the Countywide Republican candidates in defeating any and all Democrats that attempt to run against our countywide Republican candidates.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The McElroy Bias - The Gift That Keeps On Giving

On Saturday Tennessee's Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey announced his intention to run in the Republican Primary for Governor in 2010. Setting up now a four way Republican primary race between himself, TN Third District Congressman Zach Wamp, Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons and the Knoxville Mayor.

Now, as a potential candidate you make an announcement like that on Saturday in order to get coverage in the Sunday papers. Especially the BIG regional papers like the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Nashville's Tennessean, Johnson City Press and the one owned by E.W. Scripps in Knoxville. You know the one where Jack McElroy is Editor.

Well it worked everywhere except the E.W. Scripps one in Knoxville, the one where Jack McElroy is Editor. Where and When did it appear in the Knoxville paper? It happened on Monday in the Georgiana Vines column. Not only is Monday one of the least read papers of the week, but to place it in the least read column of the paper is a slap in the face to our state's Lt. Governor.

Why oh why, Jack McElroy would you do this? Is it because you have a bias for the candidacy of the Knoxville Mayor? Is it because a certain business unit in Knoxville buys more of your papers on Friday then you typically print on any of the other 6 days a week?

Why, Jack McElroy do you have a bias?

Property Assessor Good, Property Assessor ?

Property Assessor Phil Ballard has taken all take home cars away from his employees, good PR move on his part. However, on February 10, 2009 he sent a letter to commercial property owners/tenants. Here is what the letter said.

A reappraisal of all property is now being conducted in your community to establish current and equitable values for appraisal purposes.

As an owner or manager of commercial property you are aware that economic factors as well as physical aspects of the property have an effect upon its value. In order that our appraisers may establish a fair and just appraisal of your property, we would appreciate you supplying the economic information which pertains to your property in the appropriate spaces on this income statement form.

If this request should prove to be too time consuming the county will accept a copy of the previous years federal income tax forms pertaining to income and expense.

You may be assured the information you supply will not be filed with the property records and will be disposed of after review by the county appraisers. If you should have any questions concerning the above matter, please do not hesitate to contact this office at (865) 215-3366 and ask for Jim Beck.


1. Management
2. Accounting & Legal
3. Salaries\Payroll
4. Parking Lot Maintenance
5. Fire Insurance
6. Real Estate Taxes
7. Utilities
8. Roof Repair
9. Exterior Maintenance
10. Interior Maintenance
11. Floor Covering
12. General Maintenance & Repair
13. Rubbish Removal
14. Other Expenses (specify)

It ask that Owner/Tenant be split and the dollar amount per line item.

Total Annual Expense $__________

The form then ask for the Gross Income $______________

Return Address:
Knox County Property Assessor
Room 204, City/County Building
400 Main Street
Knoxville, TN 37902

There seems to be a lot of legal questions about this letter and several commercial property owners are inquiring of their Attorney's of record. The BIG question is if you supply them with your federal income tax forms then you are turning over information that is personally protected by FERPA and what assurances do you have that your information will NOT be breached. How and what action will Knox County and in particular Phil Ballard do to restore you in the event that your information is comprised.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Censorship Only Works One Way or Does It?

Censorship only works one way. On Friday February 27, 2009 Bruce Hartmann's employee Jack McElroy and their paid Attorney Rick Hollow were arguing in front of Judge Richard Baumgartner that they can not censure free speech from the comment section of the news paper website. But look at our updated post about a Bruce Hartmann's memo dated February 18, 2009. In Hartmann's memo he states, "Should you be contacted by outside media, please refer them to Deanene Catani, our marketing director, and she will handle the communication. Any columns, blogs, statements on talk radio, etc. must be approved in advance by me." Judge Baumgartner, We hope you or your staff are reading this and taking notice.

Bruce Hartmann Issues Memo With Ax in Hand

Here is the Memo that Bruce Hartmann sent to employees of the Big Metal Shed on the Hill, at least three sources from within the Big Metal Shed have assisted Brian's Blog with this information.

February 18, 2009

Dear coworker,

As you know, the economic forces affecting our media company continue to challenge all of us. These conditions are forcing us to take some fairly serious cost-reduction measures at The News Sentinel and all of its operations.

Below are a number of difficult steps that we have decided to take to enable us to better match our expenses to our revenue realities. These steps will be taken in a manner consistent with the Company's legal and contractual obligations:

· Pay reductions. Effective March 9, 2009 the pay of exempt employees will be reduced by 5 percent and non-exempt employees will see a reduction of 3 percent, except in limited, specific circumstances as required by law. This change will be reflected in the pay received on March 27, 2009 and will apply to all employees on the payroll as of March 9, 2009. You’ll be hearing shortly from your manager/director who will discuss specifically what this means to you.

· Pay rates freeze. Pay rates will be frozen effective March 9, 2009. After your pay is reduced, you will not receive any pay increase for at least one year.

· Suspension of 401(k) plan match. As you read in Rich Boehne’s e-mail, the company will suspend the company match into our 401(k) program. While you can continue contributing to your retirement savings account, the company match will end beginning with the first pay in April. The match has been an important part of our 401(k) plan and we hope to reinstate it when business conditions improve.

· Tuition assistance plan termination. Effective immediately, we will terminate the tuition assistance plan. Any courses approved prior to today for 2009 will be honored.

· Pension plan freeze. At a date to be determined soon, we will freeze the pension plan. Importantly, we will offer a transition benefit for those who are close to retirement, and everyone will receive additional details on all the changes – including the transition benefits – when we finalize decisions about the freeze.

As a reminder, your accrued pension benefits are protected by law.

We also intend that these changes will eventually apply to all Company employees and to that end we will, where required by law, engage in bargaining with our unionized departments.

Should you be contacted by outside media, please refer them to Deanene Catani, our marketing director, and she will handle the communication. Any columns, blogs, statements on talk radio, etc. must be approved in advance by me.

These economic times are challenging, but I am confident that the Company is positioned to succeed. Your continued efforts to serve our customers, grow our audience and increase our advertising share are critical to our success.

A brief Q&A is attached, and you can direct additional questions to your manager/director, Johnda Pershing or me.

Bruce Hartmann

Questions and Answers:

When will these changes be reviewed and reinstated?
We continually monitor business conditions. Our hope is to be able to reinstate the 401(k) plan match as soon as business conditions allow, but the decision to freeze the pension plan will be permanent. You will receive more details about your pension and the transition benefit when those details are available.

Can I still contribute to my 401(k) plan while the match is suspended?
Yes, you still can contribute to your 401(k) plan.

How long will pay rates be frozen?
Once your pay is reduced, you will not receive any pay increase for at least one year. Our hope is that the economy and business conditions will improve and, as a result, we will be able to revisit some of these cost reduction measures.

Will there be any other cost-reduction initiatives for 2009?
We hope these changes are an effective step and any additional changes will depend on changing business conditions.

Original Post Friday February 27. 2009 at 6:35 P.M. Multiple sources from the Big Metal Shed on the Hill report to us today that News Sentinel Publisher Bruce Hartmann has sent a memo to employees of the Scripps owned News Sentinel. The memo reportedly states that individuals in a management position are recommended to take a 5% pay cut. All other employees are recommended to take a 3% pay cut. In addition the 401K has been frozen. The Brian's Blog team is working to secure a copy of the Hartmann memo.