Tuesday, January 31, 2012

School Board Member Advocates Major Change in Governance!

On Sunday,  Knox County School Board Member Karen Carson called into the Hubert Smith Radio Show. The expressed purpose of her call was inform the listeners about what happened at the out of county retreat of the County Commission and County School Board.

Carson indicated that nothing really big or monumental came out of the retreat. She extended her comments by saying  that she believed that in areas of disagreement between the County Commission and School Board in the future, she would like for the Cornerstone Foundation (the source of funds for the retreat) to fund a mediator to facilitate an agreement on all issues where Commission and School Board disagree. 

That is not the way Knox County's Charter form of Government is established. The State of Tennessee and Knox County have created how our government is to operate. The School Board hires the Superintendent of Schools and sets the policies for the governing of the school board. The County Commission sets the tax rate and appropriates the funds for the School System to operate. There is a provision that the County Commission can not cut the school district budget and must maintain a certain level of funding year to year. 

Knox County has added over $90 million dollars in new funding to the Knox County School District over the past six years. 

Carson is running for a THIRD term, in deference to the voters expressed intent in 1994 to impose term limits. The other candidate Elaine Davis, a citizen activist, former County Commissioner, Wife and Mom to two school age children.

Early voting begins February 15 and Election Day is March 6. 

Why the Republican Party Can't Get Along

From yesterday's Michael Savage radio show. Congressman Allen West of Florida is being pushed out by the establishment Florida Republicans. This is not right!

When a Republican deigns to think for themselves and doesn't kow-tow to the old order. They attempt to punish you.

The Presidential Race Continues, Florida Votes Today!

Monday, January 30, 2012

This Story Does Nothing, But

This story does nothing, but set Knoxville back about 50 years. Madame Mayor Madeline promised a City of  tolerance for all. Instead she has created in 6 weeks a City of tolerance unless you have an opinion that contradicts the politically correct. 

The Senator and his party went to Latitude 35 where they were welcomed and served a nice lunch. So, now we know why the Bistro by the Bijou only has the courthouse crowd for lunch Monday - Friday. They are too lazy to walk to Market Square. 

As for those times when I am downtown for lunch. You will find me at The Lunchbox. It is located on the first floor of the U S Bank Building at 607 Market Street. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Commissioner Anders Delivers Best Line of the Retreat

Friday and Saturday the Knox County Commission and School Board met in a retreat setting out in Maryville, TN. Spending money in Blount County ain't cool in my book, but I digress.

Commission Vice Chairman Brad Anders delivered the best line of the weekend. In response to Commissioner Tony Norman declaring "the world is flat" Vice Chairman Anders said "Good, there is no run off". The Hillside/Ridgetop opponents and proponents will get that joke. For the record, Norman did laugh

Saturday, January 28, 2012

John Whitehead's Opponent Responds To Shock And Awe

Knox County Property Assessor Candidate John Whitehead's opponent last night responded to this post from last Sunday on Shock And Awe. Whitehead's opponent last night appeared on Politics Knox, a community access television show hosted by former City Councilman and State Representative Steve Hall

In his closing remarks, Whitehead's opponent said that he made three promises four years. He said that if people need to find his promise to go to an endorsement from the Big Metal Shed on the Hill. He did not say on what day, four plus years ago that appeared in the paper. 

Obviously, openness and transparency was not one of the promises of  Whitehead's opponent. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Obama Standing On The Constitution!

This was posted on Facebook, Shock And Awe decided to share

You Might Want to Reconsider Messing With Sherry

Mike Donila over at Screams From The Porch and the Knox County Investigative Reporter for the Big Metal Shed on the Hill details here about an exchange between Commissioner Robert Lawrence Smith and Register of Deeds Sherry Witt. Register Witt is a Fulton gal, Smith better reconsider directing his angst at her. She will not be one that he can bully.

Newt Details What Obama Has Accomplished!

So last night Obamaman detailed how it was Bush's fault at least four times during the State of the Union. Newt Gingrich appeared in front of 4000 people in Sarasota County, Florida. He details what Obamaman has accomplished in his time and how quickly a Gingrich administration can dismantle what he was done to America.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Knox County is Getting Cheated!

Last week former Scripps writer Larry Van Guilder went to work as the Communications Guy for Trustee John Duncan. So, Mike Donila at the Big Metal Shed on the Hill and Screams From The Porch has asked for comment twice from Van Guilder. In this story, "Larry Van Guilder, a spokesman for the Trustee's Office, said Duncan would not comment Friday." In this second story posted at 5:44 pm today on knoxnews, "Larry Van Guilder, a spokesman for the Trustee's Office, said Duncan and Burnett would not comment Tuesday." According to Trustee Duncan, Van Guilder is being compensated $58,000 and both times he remains mum.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ballard on the Ballot or Promises Made Promises Kept?

Property Assessor Candidate Phil Ballard's old signs that he is putting up say "Ballard on the Ballot" His new signs say "Promises Made, Promises Kept". What were his Promises? To whom did he make Promises? Is this an indication of a quid pro quo?

If he promised to swap a lower salary of Jim Owings for a higher Trustee salary of his County Commission "Black Wednesday" buddy Craig Leuthold? That promise was kept!

If he promised to give former Property Assessor employees Karen Bacon (Mose Lobetti's daughter) and Carla Hatfield (Ted "TN State Republican Executive Committeeman Hatfield 's wife) to Trustee Duncan. That promise kept!

If he promised to fire former State Senator Jamie Woodson's step daughter. That promise was kept!

If he promised to clear himself from a sexual harassment investigation, utilizing a current employee. That Promise was kept!

If he promised to reassess all Knox County property higher when property values were dropping in order to raise the revenue for the Knox County government. That promise was kept!

If he promised to under assess the property of his Chief Deputy Jim Weaver. That promise was kept!

If he promised to move former Mike Ragsdale assistant Judy Parker to move from the Property Assessor Office to Trustee Duncan's satellite office. That Promise was kept!

Any more Promises made by Phil Ballard will likely bankrupt Knox County.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Trustee Has Lawyered Up!

According to this Big Metal Shed on the Hill Trustee John Duncan has lawyered up. Duncan has engaged the services of Jeff Hagood. Today's news is on the heels of this news yesterday that Trustee employee Zach Brezina engaging the services of Attorney Greg Isaacs

The two questions to date

1) When will the salary suit architect Chad Tindell lawyer up? This is now the second criminal investigation that Tindell has been in the middle of. In a 2005 investigation which on October 21, 2006 was revealed here in a Big Metal Shed on the Hill article, was sending emails to various media entities beginning with "you didn't hear this from me" where Tindell was attemping to anonymously stir up hate, dissent and controversy.

2) When will former Scripps writer Larry Van Guilder who began last week as the spokesman for the Trustee, actually do his job? In the first article where the reporter went to Van Guilder he had NO comment. 

School Board Member Running for Re-Election Was No Show

At Thursday night's State of the Schools address Current Eighth District School Board Member Mike McMillan and current candidate for re-election was a no show. When I asked Chairman Thomas Deakins why McMillan was not present. He said that McMillan had informed him that he was sorry that he would not be there, that he had a campaign event. Superintendent McIntyre scheduled and announced this event before McMillan had an opponent.

The Eighth District was represented though. Husband, Father, Business Owner, Active stake holder and Candidate for Eighth District Knox County School Board Conley Underwood was there. Check out Conley's website, here

Conley Underwood, Husband, Father, Knox County Business Owner, Knox County School Stakeholder sporting the sweater vest at the State of the Schools address. 

State of the Schools

During the weekend, I will be posting several items about Thursday nights State of the Schools meeting. This is the meeting where Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jim McIntyre presented the state of the Knox County School district. I had previously posted that I would be unable to attend. Fortunately, I need not have to be at the Farragut High School Open House until 7:30 p.m. So I was able to make both events. So, keep checking over the weekend. The first one is next. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Knox County Commission Sunshine Law Violation?

Last night the South Knox Republican Club met and less than 12 people attended. Commissioner Mike Brown was present and made a statement to the group concerning the Hillside/Ridgetop Plan's "Briggs Amendment". A source at the meeting summarizes Commissioner Brown's statement as He (Brown) indicated that as we were supposed to be living in a kinder, gentler world the "Briggs Amendment" had been changed to reflect a kinder, gentler wording. The source asked if they change the wording as Brown indicated that it has been changed does it have to go back to MPC for approval AGAIN? This sounds like a deal has been cut, as we pointed out and asked here and here

Thank You Tom Mattingly! I am Honored & Humbled

This from Tom Mattingly's "The Vol Historian Blog" Gregg Harper was that friend that comes along rarely in ones life. 

Breaking News: Knox County Sheriff J.J. Jones Debuts Updated GQ Look

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gregg Harper, Go Rest High On That Mountain

Photo used from the online obituary. 
Tuesday morning, my wife called to tell me that our friend Gregg Harper had died. He was born Gregg Malchom Harper on December 27, 1957. Gregg and Karen Harper have two children daughter and son in law, Dr. Lindsay Harper Pounds and Joey Pounds and son Derek Harper aka "DHarp".

The family were active members of First Baptist Church Concord. The church that has been my home church since 1993. The Harper's son Derek and my oldest son are the same age and have been in the same schools throughout their youth. In middle school, our sons were on the same CBFO football team for three years. Gregg served as one of the volunteer coaches. He was a passionate man that worked with the boys and instilled a driven work ethic and passion in all those boys.

Gregg founded 47 Sports and co-founded Wazoo Sports a 24/7 cable television network dedicated to high school and small college sports. Gregg led Farragut High School football Booster Club as President for two years. During his time as Booster Club President, he was instrumental with exceptional growth of the club and was instrumental in the development of the farragutfootball.com website, sponsorships, and video streaming of games. I can remember those two years that he served as President that the week before the rivalry game of Farragut and "the school to the east". Gregg would patrol the stadium, knowing that kids will be kids and trying to ensure no vandalism would occur.

In addition, to his volunteer commitments I always sensed that he and I shared an almost work alcoholic personality. We would always discuss our business travel and the time and dedication that it takes to stay a step ahead.

My wife has reminded me this week that in September of 2008 that Karen was one of the first to check on my wife after our oldest son had a car wreck and he was first being treated at UT Medical Center. That too was a time that I was on the road and had to travel back from Louisville, KY to UT Medical Center. So, knowing that the Harper family was there was a comfort to us.

Gregg and I would discuss community issues and he 
was never fearful of taking a stand. If in his beliefs he was convinced that something was wrong or not held to a high standard that it should be, he had   no problem in "speaking truth to power". Gregg was a true example of profile in courage.

Gregg and I talked a couple of times this past football season at Farragut High School football games. His son graduated almost three years ago. But he was still there. The Admiral Spirit still lived and breathed in Gregg.

While I will miss running into him at church and at Farragut High School football games. While I grieve for his family and our loss, I know that he is in a better place. I ask that you pray for Karen, Lindsay and Joey and Derek. The funeral service will be tomorrow night with a private interment.
As I thank my God for bringing Gregg into my circle of friends over the last many years. I celebrate that he finished the race strong. I celebrate in knowing that he is in the presence of our God and experiencing Heaven. I know that just as he cheered for teams from the sidelines that he is now cheering for the rest of us here on earth from Heaven in encouraging us to finish the race we have before us. So, that we can all be together again with Our God.

Gregg, Go Rest High On That Mountain!

In honor of my friends life, Shock And Awe will remain silent all day, today, Thursday January 19, 2012.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Newt Gives Us a Glimpse of the General Election If Romney Is the Nominee

Could Commissioner Norman Experience the Jail From The Inside?

After this post this morning where I posted videos from yesterday's County Commission Work Session. I received a call from Lonnie Harris, local community and TEA party activist. He reminded me that Commissioner Norman should still be under an injunction issued by Knox County Chancellor Fansler. 

If you will remember when the term limits case went to Chancery Court. Chancellor Fansler issued an injunction to all Commissioners not to ever violate the Sunshine law. If they do, they can be sentenced to 10 days in jail for each incident. In the video from yesterday, Norman admits that he was intentionally deliberating with the Commissioners to get a reconsideration. 

Trustee Duncan, What Else Can Happen?

Can we all agree the cruise ship Trustee Duncan has hit an iceberg? Can we all agree the boat has been taking on water? When can we agree that the life boats need to be launched and the women and children begin boarding the life boats? Will the Captain stay on till all others have disembarked? Check the latest story from WATE TV 6 for the gift that keeps on giving, here.

Trustee Duncan - The Gift That Keeps Giving

Here Mike Donila over at Screams From The Porch explains the payback plan or not that Trustee Duncan has implemented for his unearned bonus recipients. Trustee Duncan (aka BabyDuncan) the gift that keeps giving.

Can He Do That?

Yesterday at County Commission Work Session, Commissioner Tony Norman says that he has been meeting with Commissioners in "noticed meetings". He says that he is attempting to get "reconsideration" on the Briggs amendment. The Sunshine law which Norman did accurately notice, states that you "are not to deliberate" it is clear from Norman's admission that he is deliberating in these "noticed" meetings. When I posted this on Sunday about Norman meeting with Briggs last week. A source overheard Norman say to Briggs, "so we have a deal". That is a clear violation, in my humble opinion.


Also yesterday Commissioner Dr. Richard Briggs explains why he proposed the Briggs Amendment. It was good policy then, it is good policy today. Dr. Briggs has nothing to apologize, explain or rescind. I am hoping the Briggs, the military veteran that he is, does not give up the hill over the minority bullying him


Welcome Home Watson Family!

This morning at 10 a.m. the Watson family of Robinson Road will be back from Florida and they will experience the unveil of their new home. Thank you to the Extreme Makeover Home Edition, all the companies and volunteers that worked the past 7 - 8 days to tear down the Watson's old house and building the new one. From Shock And Awe, we say 

"Welcome Home Watson Family, Welcome Home" 

But Then The Schools Are NOT Really Short

In this weeks column by Sandra Clark in the Shopper News she reports about the goings on at the Knox County School Board. Here is what she reported.

Knox County Schools will end the year with $10 million more than expected, said Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre. Revenue exceeded projections by $5 million, while another $5 million was squeezed out of expenses. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that $7 million in federal stimulus money is gone, unavailable for next year’s budget.

So, if they end the year with $10 million more than expected and $7 million is not recoverable. My Knox County education tells me that Knox County Schools have $3 million more. Take $10 million and subtract the $7 million. You still have $3 million. Right? 

Tomorrow is the State of the Schools Address by Dr. Jim McIntyre

Tomorrow afternoon at Gresham Middle School at 5:30 p.m. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jim McIntyre will present his first ever State of the Schools address. Shock And Awe (aka Brian's Blog) will have a correspondent on site to file notes and a possible photograph.

I can not attend because the Farragut High School Open House is tomorrow evening. That is when you go meet the second semester class teachers. School Board Member Karen Carson who also has a Farragut High School student will need to attend the FHS Open House as well. 

Hostility Among Commissioner Brings Out The Police

Over in Shelby County it seems that two Commissioners were featured speakers at a Republican club meeting. One Commissioner got mad and verbally threatened another. The police were called. Read the story here in the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The story is similar to this story from a about 20 months ago where a former Black Wednesday Commissioner couldn't maintain civility. The difference is police were not called, because everyone witnessing the incident realized the close confidant of Property Assessor Phil Ballard and weekly tabloid newspaper publisher Steve Hunley finds it difficult to control himself.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen

County Commission Vice Chairman Brad Anders and I were talking several months ago. He referred to Mike Donila the originator of the term "Deathstar" and the local government watchdog reporter for the Big Metal Shed on the Hill in an unusual term.

Now that Donila has been the investigative reporter on the Trustee Duncan unearned bonuses and now the Deathhstar literally shakes when Donila enters the building. It is time to begin using the term Vice Chairman Anders said to me several months ago.

 In a boxing announcers voice, Ladies and Gentlemen entering the Deathstar is "Mike Donila the Career Killa"!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Doug Harris, School Board Candidate Son Goes Into Business with School System Information

At 7:24 pm tonight Knox County Third District School Board Candidate Doug Harris posted this on his Facebook. 

"Get your Knox County School student grades on a new iPhone app! My 15 year son and programmer, Eli, just posted it on Apple iPhone apps store. Search SchoolGrades or knoxgrades. It only works with student username and password. Parents login is coming soon. The logo is a red apple. It'll cost you though....99 cents." 

I then posted the following.

 "You probably need to check Knox County Schools Procedures and Policies. Also you would need to check the ethics policy for school board members. I had a friend that got elected in Sullivan County and could not continue her or her families contract as school photographer in Sullivan County." 

Harris then replied

"Eli does not work with or for Knox Co schools. The app just accesses the internet site provided to all students and parents. It is his app." 

 Harris then came back with

 "Thanks for the heads up though. I appreciate it."

 I then replied.

 "O.k. Your call, I am just trying to be helpful."

Huntsman Out! No Surprise, There!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Scripps and The Truth? Really!?

I am skeptical of this new tool that debuted today by the Big Metal Shed on the Hill and it's sister publication Commercial Appeal on the west end of Tennessee. If the truth were determined by an independent third party, I could feel at ease. However, the tool is utilizing Scripps employees to determine the truth. 

For example the Haslam-O-Meter that will debut in the near future, are we supposed to believe that Scripps management is going to call Governor Bill Haslam's campaign promises and results fairly. When the Haslam family business buys thousands of Big Metal Shed on the Hill papers every Friday to give away to their customers, we are supposed to believe that Scripps management will allow their employees to call the balls and strikes on Governor Haslam fairly and accurately. Now, if they would hire Shock And Awe an independent truth stating source to call the balls and strikes. That would be fair and balanced. 

Eyes and Ears Are Always Open

Sources in the Deathstar have reported to me that at a recent Ethics Committee meeting in the Small Assembly Room in the Deathstar. Commissioner Tony Norman engaged in a conversation with Commissioner Dr. Richard Briggs. At times, Norman was very belligerent in his discussion of the "Briggs Amendment" to the Hillside/Ridgetop Plan. Norman was reportedly "selling" Briggs on rescinding the amendment. Where Norman went to far, is at the conclusion of the discussion, he was overheard to say "so, we have a deal?". While the Sunshine law does allow for commissioners to talk at "sunshined meetings" it does not allow for any deliberation to a conclusion. 

In order for a Briggs motion to rescind, the commissioner that seconded the motion for the amendment must concur with rescinding the amendment. That could prove to be difficult. 

Republicans in Knox County, Call it Real!

Monday night at the Red Lobster on Kingston Pike you may have heard some loud exchanges. It seems that the West Knox Republican Club officers were sworn in, then the candidates for Property Assessor and Law Director gave some remarks. Then Sally Absher gave a presentation on "Agenda 21" a rather capacious fairly well known man asked a question. After Absher answered the question. Another gentleman from the other side of the room said to the capacious man, "your a democrat" the capacious man said "I am a Republican" the other gentleman asked "have you ever given money to a democrat" no other response was made. President Gary Loe then called the meeting adjourned. Too bad that I was traveling to and from Nashville at the time, I would have enjoyed seeing the capacious man face the kind shenanigans that he has orchestrated toward others but always carried out by surrogates.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Gina Oster for School Board

On Thursday evening, the campaign of Gina Oster candidate for Third District Knox County School Board held a Meet & Greet at The Adams Law Firm in West Knoxville. A good crowd attended in support of Oster. Many made contributions, took yard signs and material to share with their neighbors. Here is Oster and Cindy Buttry the current Third District Knox County School Board Member. Buttry is not seeking re-election as she has self imposed to term limits. Knox County Chancellor Daryl Fansler has opined that the School Board is not held to the term limit statute that Knox County citizens imposed in 1994 by a 80% margin.  
Gina Oster, wife of Stanton and mother to three sons that have all attended Knox County Schools at a recent meet and greet with current School Board Member Cindy Buttry.

Also, Thursday evening Knox County Law Director Joe Jarrett held a meet & greet at Calhoun's on the River. Reports are that it was a very successful event with a lot of support for Jarrett in his quest to be the elected Law Director. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Deathstar Job Shuffle Continues!

Sources in the Deathstar say that Property Assessor Phil Ballard and Knox County Trustee John Duncan are playing musical job chair again. It seems that Former Mayor Mike Ragsdale Administrative Assistant Judy Parker who went to work with Phil Ballard a few years ago is now moving to Trustee Duncan's Cedar Bluff office. Calls to Craig Leuthold, Public Information Director for Property Assessor Phil Ballard and Josh Burnett, Chief of Staff for Trustee Duncan have not been returned. Stay tuned.

Trustee Duncan Attorney is Craving Attention

Larry Van Guilder soon to be former Scripps "Slopper News" writer will become an accountant and public relations employee of Trustee John Duncan. But evidently, until LVG is on the delinquent attorney, (oh wait the delinquent tax attorney) is spinning for the office. This morning on the local liberal blog, he posted this. He must have gotten his headline writing skills out at the "Slopper News". The Trustee is the County Trustee but the headline reads City and County Trustee as in two people. LVG will probably call as soon as this post goes up and will have him correct it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Support Our Schools Meeting at West High School Last Night

Last night at West High School the 5 women that on 11/29/2011 organized a couple of meetings to attempt to rally "public support" for the Knox County Schools. The women say that the "light" that ignited there interest was when the ladies heard a presentation by Buzz Thomas, Director of Great Schools Partnership. They say that Thomas reported "that every commissioner had told him that they had never received a single call in favor of public education at budget time." They decided to rally the community for a "voice" in favor of public education.

On Monday, Shock And Awe posted this story on the five women and asked the question if this is a genuine grassroots organization or just a "shell" grassroots organization.

Yesterday during the lunch hour the group held their first meeting at the East TN History Center. Last night Ginna Mashburn declared that they had 60-75 people in attendance. A Shock And Awe source was in attendance and counted, there were only 50 people in attendance. Mashburn said last night that her number was a generous estimate. Last night, 40 people attended the West High meeting.

Last evening, County Commissioner Ed Shouse, Ninth District School Board Member Pam Trainor, School Board Member Karen Carson and Fifth District School Board Candidate Elaine Davis were present. WBIR sent a camera guy and the Big Metal Shed on the Hill was represented by Editor Jack McElroy.

Knox County Commissioner at Large Ed Shouse attending the Support Our Schools meeting.
Fifth District School Board Candidate Elaine Davis (in the red sweater) taking notes during the "Support Our Schools" organizing meeting. 
    The five women Ginna Mashburn, former private high school teacher, Virginia Babb, employee of the Great Schools Partnership, Tammy Sommers, former School Board Candidate, Jayme Dobbs, League of Women Voters leader and Margie Carini, a Friends of the Library Organizer were present. Mashburn,  Carini and Sommers primarily conducted the meeting. Dobbs served as the note taker during the last 25 minutes of the meeting which served as the brain storming session. Babb interjected comments throughout the meeting. 

    The primary focus of this organization appears to be as cheerleaders to encourage the Knox County Commission and School Board to sit around a fire, hold hands and sing "kumbaya." Twenty pre-printed note cards were passed around to be signed and will be mailed to the 11 Commissioners and 9 School Board Members. Here is what the card looked like when it came to me. (As a member of the media, I did not sign them)
    One of the 20 cards to be mailed to commissioners and school boarders.
    The group also had an "orange sheet" that had some Knox County School facts on one side and the contact information for the School Board and Commission members. The folks in attendance were encouraged to use the various forms of communication to thank the Board and Commission for having a joint retreat. 

    In addition, they encouraged those in attendance to attend Dr. Jim McIntyre's State of the Schools address on January 19 and to pick up a Support Our Schools t-shirt which will be available at the event. They said that they are likely going to ask you to do two things when you receive a shirt. One is that you pay $3 -$4 for the shirt and Second that you give them the shirt back after the event. They will then take the shirts home and launder them and will have them available at other events. (The first thought that came to my mind was that it is like the bowling alley, rent your shoes)

    Sommers outlined two immediate primary focuses for the group. One is to celebrate the commissioners and school boards out of county retreat in January. Also, to celebrate the State of the Schools address. Again, she reiterated the contact information, the pre-printed note cards, she indicated that Jack McElroy is a big supporter and is donating several ads in the newspaper, being a guest on one of the Hubert Smith programs of January 22 and the t-shirts for the state of the schools event.

    Virginia Babb the Membership Director for the Great School Partnership asked that everyone give their email addresses as they intend to distribute an e-newsletter on a regular basis.

    During the brain storming session several discussion items included

  • math and science at the elementary schools, primarily for African American students. 
  • the comment that "we are losing our boys". The school district should have vocational curriculum for the boys to "get their hands dirty". Emphasising the disparity of girls from boys attending and graduating college. 
  • a third grade teacher talked about the faculty has no confidence in themselves based on the teacher evaluation. 
  • the need for a database for potential school volunteers. 

  • A citizen spoke about a specific group of volunteers that are ready to assist in some of the classes.

    A citizen discussing how a separate group of volunteers are trying  to provide assistance to the schools.
    The 40 citizens that attended last nights second organizing meeting  for "Support Our Schools"

    Monday, January 09, 2012

    Preacher Mull Greets Lady Mull!

    This morning shortly after 8:00 am I received word that just after 4:00 am Lady Mull (Mrs. J. Bazzel "Elizabeth" Mull) had passed away. The first thing I envisioned was Preacher J. Bazzel Mull meeting her at the gates of heaven with his new eyes and hugging her and leading her to the presence of God. In much the same way, she guided and led Preacher all those years. I remember growing up, when I stayed at my Mammaw's house on the weekends her having Preacher & Mrs. Mull and the Mull Singing Convention on the television on Sunday mornings. Even in the 23 plus years that my wife and I have been married, I always turn on the Mull Singing Convention as we get ready for church. Primarily to see if the Mull's were ok. Obviously, for some time Charlotte (Preacher and Mrs. Mull's daughter) has been on as Mrs. Mull's health has declined. I will continue to check on Charlotte, because I wouldn't know what else to turn on from 7:00 - 8:00 pm on Sunday mornings on WVLT VolunteerTV. The Mull's have enriched the lives of Christ followers in promoting Southern Gospel Music and to the ministers that are Southern Gospel Artists there careers have been easier. Also, the radio airwaves continue to spread the message of Southern Gospel Music as the Mull's radio station WJBZ Praise 96.3 FM has a Southeast footprint.

    Save Our Schools! Grassroots?

    This story in today's Big Metal Shed on the Hill details a group of "local women" attempting to rally the community to support our local public schools. Several Shock And Awe readers have contacted me asking how this is a grassroots effort. They point out that Ginna Mashburn is a former Webb High School teacher, a private for profit school. Virginia Babb is the Membership Development employee of the Great School Partnership. The story states that these five women were inspired after hearing a speech by Buzz Thomas, executive director of the Great School Partnership. Thomas is the immediate supervisor of Babb. 

    The three other women are Jamey Dobbs, leader of the local League of Women Voters. An organization that has rallied to support a restrictive Hillside/Ridgetop plan for Knoxville and Knox County. Tammy Sommers, a recent candidate for School Board that failed to make the run off between former School Board Member Robert Bratton and current Ninth District School Board Member Pam Trainor. The fifth woman Maggie Carini is unknown to the readers of Shock And Awe or myself at this time. 

    How can this be a grassroots initiative when the number two woman is an employee of the organization that would benefit from additional revenue to the school system and not face budget elimination or reduction? Babb is the person sending out the press releases and the releases were sent through a yahoo email address not her greatschoolspartnership email address. Inquiring minds want to know why?

    Shock And Awe plans to cover tomorrow evenings meeting. Stay tuned.

    Also, interesting to note that they used a similar organization title like two summers ago when some moms decided to lobby the school board and legislature to "Save Our Summers". That group was successful in getting the legislature to pass legislation mandating a later start time for schools.

    Sunday, January 08, 2012

    New Hampshire Is Tuesday!

    New Hampshire's Republican Primary is Tuesday. I suspect Mitt Romney who is polling at 39% of likely voters should get the nomination. John Huntsman who decided not to compete in Iowa, should pull votes from Romney in NH. I suspect that Ron Paul, Rick Santorum & Newt Gingrich will bunch up with the votes from the Conservative/Independent leaning New Hampshire citizens. Texas Governor Rick Perry is waiting in South Carolina for New Hampshire to end and for the pack to travel south.

    Saturday, January 07, 2012

    Trustee Duncan, It Is Not Good When Your Story Keeps Changing!

    As we have blogged here, here, here, here, here, and here before the Trustee John Duncan taking and giving he and his cronies unearned bonuses issue is not going away. Today, Mike Donila over at the Big Metal Shed on the Hill has this story. It seems that Mr. Donila has been talking to everyone and Trustee Duncan's story keeps changing. 

    Now, the County Commissioners are going to get involved and Trustee Duncan and his cronies are going to have to come clean. Because you can not blame it on CTAS and their computer problems when CTAS will also be at the meeting. 

    If Trustee Duncan wants this story to go away, he needs to stand up and say I messed up, here are the checks for the 2010 and 2011 unearned bonuses for all employees that did not have the certification at the time they received the bonuses. 

    As for this quote from Trustee Duncan in Donila's story "the results of our office speak for themselves"..."Our revenues are at an all-time high and expenses are down and we've been getting great results from the staff we have and it has been a benefit to the taxpayers," I call BS on that mentality. That is what Trustee Duncan "promised" that he would do when when he campaigned for the job. That is what his and his cronies salary pays for. This job is not a private sector job at BankEast. Bonuses using our tax payer money are not acceptable. If the cronies of Trustee Duncan want bonuses for doing their job. Then they should go find a private sector job that will do that. In this economy, Good Luck!

    Back in 2010, Trustee Duncan used the campaign motto "putting trust back in Trustee". If giving himself and his cronies unearned bonuses is "protecting every tax dollar" as he pledged in this campaign television commercial is what he meant. I do not believe that is what the voters believed is what he meant. 

    Friday, January 06, 2012

    Time to Extend the Pellissippi Parkway! Jobs Depend on It!

    Today the Chamber of Commerce's in Knox, Blount and Oak Ridge all urged the legislators to make the extension of the Pellissippi Parkway a 2012 legislative priority. Extending the parkway will bring much needed jobs to an already struggling economy and high unemployment and underemployment area. This is one priority that I join with the Chamber of Commerce's in encourage the legislature to complete. Our future depends on it. See the WVLT VolunteerTV News report here

    Thursday, January 05, 2012

    Bill Wallace of China

    The Friends of the Knox County Public Library regularly conduct used book sales as a fundraiser. The big sales are once a year. The next one is March 10 - March 17, 2012 at the Knoxville Convention Center 701 Henley Street, Knoxville, TN. They have started a few mini  sales at branch libraries through out the year. I try to attend and have been really pleased with some real jewels that I have been able to buy and put in my collection. 

    One book I bought a few years ago is a first print edition (1963) of the Broadman Press Books published book Bill Wallace of China written by Jesse C. Fletcher. Bill Wallace was a Knoxvillian. His mother died in Bill Wallace's early life. His father was a doctor that practiced medicine at their home at the corner of Broadway and Silver Place. Bill Wallace was a member of Broadway Baptist Church. Bill Wallace became a good surgeon/doctor but felt God's calling on his life to become a medical missionary. So, Bill Wallace on September 6, 1935 and sailed out of San Francisco Harbour and went to Wuchow China's Stout Memorial Hospital to serve as a medical missionary as part of the Foreign Mission Board. 

    During his time he was able to work with the hospital administrator and help guide the hospital in spite of war and conflict. The administrator retired and left. Wallace who did not feel he had the ability and gift of administration. But, he stepped in and ran the hospital. He had to help relocate the hospital due to war and conflict. They eventually returned and had to rebuild the hospital. 

    However, in the spring of 1949 the "Red drive" of the Communists was being very successful. They eventually made it to Wuchow and in July 1950. The problem is for nearly everyone in the region, the only American anyone knew was Bill Wallace. The evening of December 18, 1950 a raid was conducted and the Communists took him into custody and jailed Wallace. The charge was being "President Truman's chief spy here in South China" Of course this was a trumped up charge. In jail he was mistreated and he died in jail. The Communists tried to report that he had hung himself in jail. However, when his body was examined by the medical staff there was no evidence of a hanging. No swollen head, the eyes were not bulging out. The only thing physically showing on his body were bruises on his torso. 

    He was buried in a crude wooden coffin there in South China by the Communist guard and one person from the hospital. Bill Wallace had remarked to a colleague in China. That he "was one piece of a man" Bill Wallace did not understand or recognize the impact he had as a medical professional and a messenger of God. After he was buried, the people that came to love Dr. Bill Wallace of Knoxville laid a cement terrace on the grave and another on the level below it. Concrete steps led from the lower terrace to the grave. Over it, they erected a single shaft reaching heavenward. On the shaft they inscribed in simple Scripture their estimate of the life of  Dr. William L. Wallace: "For to Me to Live Is Christ" 

    Of course Knoxville has a church on Merchants Drive named in honor of  Dr. Bill Wallace life. "Wallace Memorial Baptist Church". Also, in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Baptist students of the University School of Medicine worship in a chapel named for Bill Wallace. There is also a church in Indio, California that had a small church named in memory of Wallace. A section of the medical school library where he studied is dedicated to him. Also, in Pusan, Korea there existed a Wallace Memorial Baptist Hospital. 

    Interesting note, I bought this book with one of many at the book sale. When I opened the book, inside was the article about this book that was published The Knoxville News-Sentinel's Sunday Magazine and Feature Section on Sunday June 16, 1963. A story written by Lee Davis about the book and about a remembrance event that occurred with June 17, 1963.  

    Wednesday, January 04, 2012

    BREAKING NEWS: TN House District Plan Released!

    TN State House redistricting plan that include Knox County was revealed today. A new district (#89) will be in Knox County. Primarily in the Hardin Valley/Karns area. There is no precinct/street detail yet. However, as previously reported on Shock And Awe this morning. Josh Carroll intends to be a candidate for the new position. Hat Tip to TNReport from twitter for the photograph!
    The Republican proposed TN House redistricting plan.

    Rick Santorum in the News

    The next issue of National Review has a great story by Bob Costa about Rick Santorum following the Iowa Caucus. Read it at National Review Online here. 

    Will Gingrich and Romney Fight Help Senator Rick Santorum?

    Newt Gingrich is running the following full page ad in the New Hampshire Union Leader today. The newspaper that has already endorsed Gingrich. With Gingrich attacks on Mitt Romney, in part as reciprocity  for the Romney "superpac" attacks on Gingrich in Iowa. Will a Gingrich and Romney fight help Senator Rick Santorum

    Also a fun fact is that the winner of the Iowa Republican Caucus rarely becomes the nominee.  So, now you know that I believe that Gingrich attacks on Romney are in fact friendly fire for Santorum. 
    Full Page Ad that is appearing in the  New Hampshire Union Leader today. The day after the Iowa Republican Caucus. 

    Josh Carroll Announces Candidacy for State Representative

    Yesterday at the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club Josh Carroll attended and informed the group that he will be a candidate for State Representative in the new district that will be created by redistricting. Carroll is married. He and his wife have two young children. He is a software designer. 

    The state legislature is expected to approve a redistricting plan shortly after they begin the legislative session in a couple of weeks. Several of the legislators from Knox County indicate that there will be a new district without an incumbent. That is the seat that Carroll will seek. 

    The Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club began as a group of several guys getting together to discuss current events. The invitation list has grown to almost 30 and the average attendance is between 15 and 20 a week. Knox County Commissioner Jeff Ownby and Knox County School Board Member Cindy Buttry are frequent attenders. That means no other county commissioners or school board members are allowed to attend. Although, media representatives Hubert Smith of One on One with Hubert Smith and The Hubert Smith Radio Show and Brian Hornback of the blog Shock And Awe are regular attenders.

    The original founders of the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club are Walter "Black Wednesday" Wojnar, United Methodist Pastor David Green, Former Mayoral Candidate Ivan Harmon, Brian Hornback, Coley Pardue and Kenny Long. You must be on the email invite list. So, you need to know one (person) to get one (invitation). 

    Tuesday, January 03, 2012

    Welcome Red Chair Architects to Knoxville, Two Firms Become One

    Earlier today, Cockrill Design and Planning the areas eleventh largest firm announced a joint merger with Community Tectonics the areas eighth largest firm. Thus creating Red Chair Architects. Check out their new website, here.

    David Cockrill is CEO; Don Shell, Chairman; Bill Vinson, President and Margaret Backhurst is the Director of Design of the new firm.

    Read the coverage from Josh Flory's blog Property Scope, here. The story from the knoxnews website is here

    Zach Wamp at UT Men's Basketball Game Last Night!

    My buddy Byron Booker text messaged me last night informing me that my Hero and Former Third District U.S. Congressman Zach Wamp was at the UT Men's Basketball game. I was en route to Nashville at the time and was listening to the game on the Vol Network. Booker then sent me this cell phone pic of the Congressman. Wamp is the one in the blue sweater vest at court side. Congressman Wamp is the father of Third District Congressional Candidate Weston Wamp. Weston is as personable, knowledgeable and effective as his father. Check Weston's website out here and sign up to help and if you have the ability donate dollars. 

    Should The County Do Business With Businesses That Owe Back Property Taxes

    I rarely read comments on knoxnews stories. However, for some reason I decided to look at the comments to this story. It seems that Commissioner Amy Broyles "sun-shined tea room meetings" with other Commissioners has been occurring at a local business that is allegedly behind on their city and county property taxes.

    According to knoxnews comment poster "JustAGuy" at 8:25 a.m. this morning, "So, when is Moriarty going to pay his very delinquent property taxes on this same property that these commissioners are using for meetings. City Property Taxes = $13,393 County Property Taxes = $16,449 Does these County Commissioners have anything to do with his non-payment with no consequences?"  Maybe Trustee Duncan's delinquent tax attorney is pursuing payments! Just Kidding, Maybe!

    The question is should the county and in particular county commissioners who decide on issues of business 
    compliance like the beer board and all other issues involving the lives of county residents be spending dollars at an establishment that is behind on their obligation to our community? Should the Commissioners find a business that complies with the requirements of operating a business in our community? I am not saying they should or should not, I am asking a question. . 

    Monday, January 02, 2012

    Where is "The Focus" in 2012?

    Today the Shopper News was delivered as usual. However, my sources that work where "The Focus" is printed called me this weekend and said there is no Focus being printed this weekend. In November Pilot/FlyingJ stores decided that it was time for the Focus not to be placed in their stores. This was a major setback as the Focus publisher has boasted how his paper is the only giveaway paper allowed in Pilot/FlyingJ. Racks were designed and purchased by the Focus exclusively for Pilot/FlyingJ stores to hold the Focus papers. Why would the paper select the first paper of the year to not produce and publish a paper? It doesn't set a good positive message to advertisers that the paper is ready for a great productive year. All other newspapers published their first edition of the year.

    Knoxville City Council Attorney Position Draws Big Crowd

    On Thursday Knoxville City will meet and will review the applications of all the attorneys that have applied for the position of City Council Attorney. Charles Swanson who served as Council Attorney for more than 20 years has stepped down to accept the position of Knoxville Law Director with Madame Mayor Madeline administration. 

    Adrienne Anderson & Amanda Busby: Both of these ladies have submitted resumes and qualifications asking City Council to consider their law firm. This is a good idea, you are getting 2 for the price of 1. 

    W. Mitchell Cramer:  Mr. Cramer has been practicing law with Norton, Spangler & Cramer since 1991. He was with Rowland & Rowland from 1982-1991. He also served as City Attorney and Deputy Law Director for the City of Knoxville from 1973-1982. 

    Melanie E. Davis: Mrs. Davis is with the Maryville firm of Kizer & Black. Since 1999, Davis has served as Attorney for the City of Maryville and Maryville City Schools. 

    David L. Dothard: Since May of 2010 he has been a partner with Breeding & Dothard, LLC. In his cover letter and as his two references he list Marshall Stair and Mark Campen. Obviously, with Councilmen Stair and Campen, Dothard should have an advantage. 

    Kathryn St. Clair Ellis
    : Ellis has a very detailed resume. She has worked with Farmer & Dreiser and before that with the Tony Farmer Law Firm. Ellis holds a Ph.D. in History from UT Knoxville as well as a Juris Doctor from UT Knoxville College of Law. Ellis has a B.A., cum laude, in History and Political Science from James Madison University. 

    Robert Frost, Jr.: Former Knoxville City Council Member 2001-2009; licensed to practice since 1996; Frost has been practicing with Arnett, Draper & Hagood since 2006. He once served as legal counsel to the former Halls Shopper News before the acquisition by E.W. Scripps Company. 

    Wm. Gregory Hall, Jr.: Hall is a sole practitioner and prior to 2009 practiced with the firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C. He has served as President of Nucleus Knoxville as well as other community organizations. 

    J. Thomas Jones
    : Jones has been practicing since 1996 with Jones, Meadows & Wall, PLLC. He served as Chair (2007-2009) of the Knoxville Utilities Board. 

    Michael S. Kelley: Former Knoxville Law Director during the Victor Ashe Administration. His father (Paul) is a former member of the Knox County School Board and his mother (Norma) was profiled in a campaign commercial for Madame Mayor Madeline this last year. The Knox County School Board employed Kelley to assist with the contract negotiations for the new Carter Elementary School last year.  Clearly, Kelley has the "connections" in the political and city backrooms to navigate the contract as Council Attorney. 

    Jason H. Long: Has practiced with London & Amburn since 2002. Serves on the Adjunct Faculty of the Unoversity of Tennessee College of Law since 2000. Has been licensed to practice since 1996. 

    Thomas G. McCroskey: Obtained his law degree from University of Tennessee College of Law in 1990. He served with Southern Title Insurance as Vice President and Senior Underwriting Counsel from June 2004 - September 2011. 

    Arun Rattan: Has been licensed to practice law since 2007. He has served as a Hearing Officer with the Department of Human Services. 

    George T. Underwood, Jr.: Mr. Underwood served as an Assistant City Attorney under Law Director Thomas A. Varlan during the Victor Ashe administration. Varlan is now a federal judge. Underwood has an extensive background of legal, community and non profit experience. Two of his references are The Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, Judge United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee and The Honorable John R. Rosson, Jr. Judge City of Knoxville Muncipal Court. I don't know a lot about Varlan. But a friend of Judge Rosson's is a friend of mine. 

    Shelby R.B. Ward: Mrs. Ward received her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law last year. She has worked at the Knox County Public Defender's Office and the United States Attorneys' Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee. 

    John F. Weaver, Jr.: Completed his J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law in five semesters instead of six with honors. He presently serves as General Corporate Counsel for RenaissancePG, LLC 

    Stephen R. Wise: Wise obtained his J.D. from University of Tennessee College of Law in 1978. He has a founding member of Wise & Reeves, P.C. in May 1995. He serves as Counsel to Knoxville/Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission since 1987. 

    Trustee Duncan Bonuses Issue Is Not Going Away in 2012

    Last week, WBIR ran a story about how Trustee John Duncan was going to instruct his employees that received the unearned bonuses to complete the work or return the money by June 2012. Shock And Awe reported that story here. I received criticism on a certain "weekly print media photojournalist" facebook page for being too critical of Trustee Duncan. That is ok, I can handle people with jealousy/personal issues against me. 

    However, it seems that the issue isn't going away. As I was looking through this weeks Farragut Shopper News. Sandra Clark quotes County Commissioner Robert Lawrence Smith as saying, “I’m not for (fee offices) paying $3,000 bonuses for taking an open book test.” This is a quote from a looking ahead to 2012 segment that Clark published here. While I had been hearing rumors from the "Deathstar" that some Commissioners wanted to discuss it this month, January 2012. That is as close to straight from the source as you can get. If the former Knox County Republican Party Chairman Smith is fired up for those strong words against the son of the Congressman and another former Knox County Republican Party Chairman Chadwick B. Tindell. It is a sure thing that there will be discussion. So saddle up your horses people, 2012 is going be a good ride. 

    Sunday, January 01, 2012

    This is a Great Idea! But......

    This is a Great Idea! The only problem is they give themselves two years of unearned bonuses before the media and public discover it. So, first we need to quit allowing the politicians control the money.

    Does Ballard Have Health Issues That Plague His Effectiveness?

    Could Ballard's Innocence be Proven by a Body Language Expert?

    Eleven months ago, current Knox County Property Assessor Phil Ballard was a subject of this story in the Tennessee Journalist. In the interview he responded to a sexual harassment investigation brought by one of his employees. There was a video posted in the report. In watching the video. Ballard's body language does not match his words. Could a body language expert confirm his innocence? 

    Happy New Year

    My wish for each and everyone of you is that you have a fantastic 2012. 2011, wasn't so kind, I know Obamaman and his and crazy Uncle Joe's economy had a lot to do with. I hoped that the door didn't hit 2011 where the good Lord split it (rear end) but 2012 is going to be fantabulous for me in spiritual, family, business and political too. 2012 and I have a date with destiny.