Thursday, May 31, 2012

Breaking News: Roane County Politics

Sources indicate that Property Assessor candidate JT Wood went to incumbent Assessor Teresa Kirkham's home this morning. The sources report that as Kirkham came out, Mr. Wood apparently shot himself. The sources indicate that Mr. Wood has died.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Roane County TEA Parties State Representative Debate

On May 17, the Roane County TEA Party hosted and sponsored a debate with all the candidates for State Representative District 32. The Republican candidates are Incumbent Julia C. Hurley and Republican Challenger Kent Calfee. The Democrat candidate is Jack McNew and the lone Independent candidate is Allen Cole.
By previous agreement, the candidates addressed the TEA party in alphabetical order. Then a period of questions and answers commenced.

Roane County TEA Party as they began the State Representative Forum. Roane County TEA Party is one of the larger TEA parties. 
First Republican Kent Calfee spoke, he said that his decision in running for State Representative is to provide more accountability and professionalism to the position. He is a husband, father and grandfather. he is retired from ORNL. He is concerned about the public schools. While at ORNL many of the high school interns were not local students. He said the difference between he and his opponent in the primary is how he will interact with local officials. He has met with all local officials.
Republican Candidate for State Representative District 32 Kent Calfee 
During the question and answer period, a gentleman wearing a Hurley t shirt asked if he had supported Lincoln Davis financially? (the former Fourth District Congressman, who was/is a Democrat) Calfee responded that his wife did, that his wife was an employee of a defense contractor and that it was a nominal amount. He was asked if he had voted more Democrat than Republican and if so why not run as a Democrat? Calfee said he has not looked at his voting record at the courthouse. But that the Democrat party had gotten to extreme for him. Roane County Republican Party Treasurer Brandt Williams (a former Kingston Councilman) asked Calfee how many elections he had been elected to. Calfee responded, 5.

Second was Independent Allen Cole. Cole said we need to make changes to get jobs in Roane County and Lenior City. He supports putting prayer and paddling back in the schools. He said that he has seen the industrial park sit there like it is for many years. Cole said that when NAFTA (North American Free Trade Act) the factories closed up. He said "I can't promise nothing, the only one that knows what's going to happen tomorrow, is the Good Lord." He reiterated that we have to get more work, we have VW. But we need to keep our kids here. He said "I am just an ordinary person with a 20 year old daughter, a daughter graduating high school and a son.

Independent Candidate for State Representative District 32 Allen Cole. 

Next up was Incumbent State Representative Julia Hurley. She said that it had been an insane two years. In response to Mr. Calfee's comment about accountability. She said that Governor Haslam said "that we are the most accountable liegislature in TN history." She stated that VW and a bio tech industry was brought to Roane County and "I did that for you." To Mr. McNew the Democrat in response to Obama-care, in Nashville we have a plan. "We have our own state compact that was vetoed, we didn't have enough Conservatives in the legislature." She said that we passed over 500 bills this year. While much of the media attention was about guns and sex. Only four bills had guns and sex in the caption title. The death tax was repealed and the TN Voter id law became law. She said "I passed the bill for drug testing welfare recipients. Hurley was asked if she will support drug testing for government officials, she responded that she had said that she would not take a drug test in her office. She said that she did not like the good ole boy system of Roane County that have been in office for years. She said that she would like to meet with the Commission Liaison Committee. Asked if she supported Agenda 21. She said no. The issue of ghost voting came up. Hurley was asked has someone ghost voted for you and have you ghost voted for someone? She said Yes and Yes.

Incumbent Republican State Representative District 32 Julia Hurley
Last to speak was Democrat Jack McNew. He got up and said that he is a progressive Democrat. The crowd laughed and someone asked for a definition of "progressive democrat" McNew said I ain't like them (the Republicans and one Independent) He is retired from Oak Ridge and works with the volunteer organization CASA. He was asked if he supported Obama, he said he did. He told the group, I should get applause for showing up. Clearly, the message got through because he was warmly received although the crowd clearly is not in favor of Obama.

Democrat candidate for State Representative District 32 Jack McNew
One of the most contentious time came when a lady asked Rep. Hurley when the last time she had been in a classroom. Hurley introduced her mother and daughter, who she said "is a teacher and owns her own school and my daughter is a student." After the meeting, a source informed me that Rep. Hurley's mother home schools the Representative's daughter.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What did you do, Bee?

Longtime County Commissioner Bee Deselm came back to the body she once served and asked them to fix the school system with $35 million more dollars than Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett has proposed.

She said, "I wish we could have done this 30 years ago." Well why didn't you? It would be fair to reason that someone that served as many years on the commission as Bee did. That the schools are in the shape they are today because of her neglect.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Hypocrisy of Sandra Clark

This week Sandra Clark posted some random thoughts online, she lacked the courage to publish them in the print edition. In anticipation on this blog post, there is a possibility that she will delete her random thoughts. So I have copied and posted them below.

As for Sandra's comments with her and Lady Bird Johnson's explanation on the Thursday incident involving a County Commissioner, I am reminded of her careless disregard in 2006 for publishing a photograph that was printed in the Knox News Sentinel of an elected official and a political consultant both straight, the elected official married with four children and the headline she printed was "Brokeback Mountain". She came under fire for trying to "out" two guys that were not engaged in any controversial activity. She half heartedly apologized.

As for Sandra's criticism of her boss Jack McElroy's decision on comment disabling over at the Shopper's sister publication Knox News Sentinel and comparing it to the left wing loonies at Knox Views. First of all, you must be a registered user at Knox Views and may be banned. I am currently banned because I am not a left wing loony and the owner of Knox Views eliminates anyone that dains to think for themselves and not subscribe to the left wing loonies. How about Sandra at the Shopper News instead of blasting her own company for comments, turning comments on at the Shopper News website? Sandra will never do that.

Jeff Ownby: Pressure cooker – Am reminded of Lady Bird Johnson’s comment when LBJ aide Walter Jenkins was arrested with another man in a Washington restroom. This was the 1960s so Jenkins promptly resigned, after failing to suppress the story.

LBJ distanced himself from the family friend, but Lady Bird spoke about the pressures and stress of his job.

Until you’ve been there you can’t know the pressure a vote like the school board budget can bring on an officeholder. Jeff is pulled between vocal district supporters and his own connections with West High School (where principal Greg Roach left this year for a $10K raise in Maryville) versus his Tea Party political buddies who say no tax for no thing, no how.

No opinion, no solution – just an observation.

Submitted on KnoxViews by Sandra Clark on Sunday, 2012/05/27 - 1:12 p.m.

Online comments: KnoxViews had 119 comments on the Ownby situation, mostly thoughtful, by Sunday afternoon. The Knoxville News Sentinel, meanwhile, disabled its comment section with editor Jack McElroy explaining that the topic guaranteed many unacceptable comments that would have to be disabled one by one.

This begs the question: How can KnoxViews, an independent blog operated by a guy called South Knox Bubba, police its site when the KNS can’t?

And what is the future of online comments?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend in Roane County

I could not get to Roane County today. I really would like to have been there because my good friend and hero was there campaigning for his son. Yes, I am talking about Former Congressman Zach Wamp.

Here is a picture that Weston Wamp posted on his twitter account. Outside Copeland's in Kingston. Congressman Wamp talking to Kingston Mayor Troy Beets and Roane County Commissioner Randy Ellis.

Friday, May 25, 2012

One of the Fallouts From The $35 Million School Campaign

It has been reported that Mike Cohen of Cohen Communications has been engaged with an entity to help get the message to Commissioners for the need to fund the Knox County School Boards additional request for $35 million. Mayor Burchett was asked where the money for the robo-calls was coming from. he revealed from his own pocket. 

Local PR guy Alex Lavidge created a television spot. The five or so contributors of the $30,000 ad buy were revealed when requested. There is some scuttle butt about Cohen not revealing who his client is. A frequent source for Shock And Awe (aka Brian's Blog) that must remain anonymous has forwarded the Code of Ethics from the Public Relations Society of America. They are wondering if Cohen is in violation of said code. As I know Mr. Cohen is a frequent reader of Shock And Awe (aka Brian's Blog) he is free to respond to the question. He can always announce here who his client is, should he wish to do so. 

The PRSA Code of Ethics can be found here. Some highlights provided to me and all are direct quotes are. 

"HONESTY" We adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advertising the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public

"FAIRNESS We deal fairly with clients, employers, competitors, peers, vendors, the media and the general public. we respect all opinions and support the right of free expression. 

"INTENT To maintain the integrity of relationships with the media, government officials and the public. 

Guidelines: A member shall: Be honest and accurate in all communications. Reveal the sponsors for causes and interests represented. 

DA General Randy Nichols Opines On School Funding

Wednesday night word came that District Attorney General Randy Nichols would be endorsing the Knox County School Boards request for $35 million in new dollars.

At 11:30 am on Thursday May 24, Attorney General Nichols appeared with Dr. James McIntyre, School Board Chairman Thomas Deakins along with School Board Members Pam Trainor and Gloria Deathridge.

General Nichols said that spending money on incarceration is not the answer. He said that there are over 20,000 individuals locked up in Tennessee.

Nichols said that prisons are planned based on the number of third graders not reading on grade level.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Center City Republican Club Met Tonight

The Center City Republican Club met tonight. The club meets the fourth Thursday of every month at the Shoney's on Western Avenue.

Tonight, Club President Bob Bennett began the meeting with State Representative Candidate Gary Loe, State Representative Candidate Tim Hutchison, State Representative Steve Hall, State Senator Stacey Campfield and Candidate for US Congress Nick Ciparro.

State Senator Stacey Campfield discussed the drug testing for government benefit recipients, the lowering of the food sales tax and other legislation.

State Representative Candidate Tim Hutchison discussed his past experience as Sheriff of Knox County and how he would bring expertise to the legislature regarding law enforcement and criminal statute legislation and his priority to help attract businesses to Tennessee.

Then Nick Ciparro spoke about his candidacy as a Republican candidate for US Congress seeking the same position that Congressman Jimmy Duncan serves. Ciparro discussed how the do nothing Congress has failed to pass a budget. He discussed how many years the current officeholder has held the position and that he wants to bring about his approach.

Breeding Wont Be Running for State House

Democrat Shelley Breeding lost her effort to be a candidate in Knox County while her home sits in Anderson County.

Breeding had as her legal counsel, Bill Stokes. She would have probably been better served to represent herself.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I Am Coming Off The Sidelines For 1 Play

A few City Council members are upset with County Mayor Tim Burchett's budget. If you wanted to make decisions for the county, then run for and get elected to commission.

After-all, previous Mayor's and Council members gave up the jail, library, indigent care and schools. So, you have absolutely no street creed on Mayor Butchett's or County Commissions budget.

Your predecessors gave up on the students a long time ago.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How Bizarre is PBA?

This morning I received a photo from the "deathstar" aka City County Building of a KFD truck parked the wrong way on Gay Street in front of Knox County Schools Central Office. I twitpic'd the photo and the Knox Schools twitter account announced no ShockAndAwe activity, just a drill.

It seems that the PBA has begun implementing a plan to evacuate the building. The have appointed and assigned floor captains, so when the drill happened there were these people with little yellow vests at the exits and entrances. Now, I can understand drills with schools where you have minors and in nursing homes or medical facilities where patients can not fend for themselves. But an office building where all adults can vacate the building on their own, this is just a quasi government agency making stuff up to look busy.

Allegations & Rumors Galore As Budget Moves On

Yesterday, the public forum portion of the Knox County Commission meeting generated a lot of folks using their time to express a desire to fund the additional $35 million that the School Board has asked for or opposition to the awarding of $35 million increase. One citizen below shared that he had heard that Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett had been threatening Commissioners. After the meeting Mayor Burchett's Chief of Staff Dean Rice informed the gentleman that there is no basis of fact to the rumor. The gentleman said he was glad to hear that.

A recent West High School graduate (as in this past Saturday night) spoke to Commissioners in support of the increased funding. Rumor has been circulating that the young man had been recruited by the "Support Our Schools" to challenge Commissioner Jeff Ownby in 2016. The young man has reportedly informed certain individuals that's his intent. However, he apparently was quoted in the May 7th Shopper that he will be running for School Board in 2014, against Lynne Fugate we assume.

So, the Support Our Schools folks are recruiting candidates before the vote is even held for the Mayor's budget? That would be threats, wouldn't it?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Knox County School Board & Commission Going To Take On The 3 B's?

Tomorrow at 5 pm, the Knox County School Board and Knox County Commission will meet at Calhoun's on the River to discuss the budget. This afternoon during the Commission's workshop, I overheard that they will be partaking in the 3 B's (Bar-b-que, Beer and Budget). Commission Chairman Mike Hammond announced that it is dutch treat (except that Hammond  promised to pay for "Casual Chris" Caldwell, the current Knox County Finance Director) So they will have to spend their own money on bar-b-que and beer. It will simply be coincidence if KPD sets up sobriety check points on either end of Neyland Drive. They could include a fourth B, a blogger! But then that would not allow Mike Donila "dacareerkilla" cause he don't blog no more. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tomorrow Most Third District Candidates Debate....Except the Coward

Tomorrow night at UTC in Chattanooga, Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, Business Entrepreneur Weston Wamp and Ron Bhala will debate. The coward of the race Scottie Mayfield refuses to debate. That should render him disqualified. Read the story from the Chattanooga Times Free Press here.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

South Knox Republican Club

Thursday night Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett presented his budget.

It seems that club President Carson Daley is agitated at Cliff Rodgers the Election Administrator at the Knox County Election Commission. Daley is upset with South Knox losing the Optimist Club building as an early vote location. Daley shared his frustration with the club.

Also, Daley announced that he sent out an email poll asking for people to reply back yes or no on a tax increase to give the $35 million of increased funding for schools. That the School Board has requested. Daley announced the results are 28 voting NO and 6 voting YES.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Not What Farm, But What Planet is Scottie Mayfield From?

This story from the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that Third District Congressional Candidate Scottie Mayfield has said that recipients of Welfare and Medicare are "non taxpayers" He also said that these government programs are charities. Scottie is obviously from a farm, a McMinn County farm as an heir to the Mayfield Diary Farm operations which are now owned by Dean Foods. But with Mayfield referring to government programs as charity and recipients as non taxpayers makes you wonder what planet Mayfield is from. And this guy wants to be one of 435 members of US House of Representatives. Our country doesn't deserve that.

Roane County Commissioner Nick Forrester and Me

Tonight, I attended the Roane County TEA Party forum for the candidates for State Representative of the 32nd District. When I got there Roane County Commissioner Randy Ellis was there and then Roane County Commissioner Nick Forrester came up.

Commissioner Ellis took our picture. Why did Ellis do that? You see back in the Spring, I was with Third District Congressional Candidate Weston Wamp as he visited Roane County. We had just finished eating lunch at the Cracker Barrel and were preparing to go into Harriman.

Harriman Businessman Chris Alher came in and was speaking to Commissioner Ellis, Roane County Mayor Ron Woody and Kingston Mayor Troy Beets. When Alher (the former fiancee of State Representative Julia Hurley) looked at me and said, "oh Nick Forrester right?" I said NO, Brian Hornback.

As Alher walked off, everyone was kidding me. I asked isn't that Rep. Hurley's former fiancee? The answer was yes. I then said had I anticipated his comment, my come back would have been, oh you are Mr. Hurley?

So, here is Nick Forrester and I together. He is a good guy. He has supported some good folks. So I am not ashamed to be confused for him. I wonder if the same is true of Alher?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

PlanET Loses a County

I just received a May 1, 2012 letter that Union County Mayor Mike Williams has sent to the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization. 

The letter reads: 

To Whom It May Concern:

At this time, I think it would be in Union County's best interest that we are not a member of the PlanET program. 

Being the smallest county in this, it would be easy for us not to receive the full dedication and benefits that we need. 

Union County is a rural county and is much smaller, as far as demographics are concerned, then the other counties that make up PlanET. According to what I read, hear and see, I feel that Union County would be better served if we promote ourselves as an individual county instead of being grouping with the larger ones and being left behind. I feel that the tax dollars that we have contributed to be a part of  PlanET could have been better spent towards the effective promotion of our county. 

My office has received several calls and visits from some of our citizens who share in my concerns. 

Therefore, at this time, we feel that it would be in Union County's interest not to be a member of PlanET. 



Micheal Williams
Union County Mayor

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Raising Our Taxes For Schools?

I have some thoughts on the issue of raising taxes for schools. I will not take a position for or against the increase of revenue. Hopefully, my ramblings in this post will allow you to see the dilemma that I have.

Sandra Clark and the E.W. Scripps employees that she supervises out at the Shopper News is all for it. Steve Hunley and the few people of the Focus that work in a phone booth in Fountain City are all against it. So if I am for it, I am with Clark and if I am agin it I am with Hunley. Ugh!

The Support Our Schools organizers have not been forthcoming and transparent about the fact that the primary organizer Virginia Babb is an employee of the Great Schools Partnership. The SOS people like to quote Buzz Thomas the Great Schools Partnership Director. A little bit of transparency and full disclosure of the potential conflicts of interest would make this issue go away.

The Knox County Council PTA is for it. The KCEA (Knox County Education Association) has not taken a position on it, giving the perception that it is agin it. It is an easy assumption that KCEA is agin it in that no new money is being set out for pay increases for teachers (except for any state mandated minimal increase). School officials and board members say that cuts should be away from the classroom, how can you say that when teachers are the classroom? When employees (certified and non certified) that have many years off service never get a pay raise because they top out from any step increase. When non certified (lunchroom, custodial, school secretaries, library assistants, educational assistants and countywide maintainnce employees) top out they receive NO raise.

The Knox Chamber Partnership has endorsed the proposal, I am not sure that helps or hurts the cause. The Public Trust PAC has endorsed the proposal and that is problematic. The reason for being problematic is that the PAC is co-led by former County Executive Tom Schumpert. Schumpert a former Business Manager for Knox County Schools, former Knox County Trustee and former County Executive.

A friend of mine, Jake Mabe of the E.W. Scripps owned Shopper News authored a column that was published in this weeks Shopper News. Mabe was advocating for a tax increase, he detailed how there hasn't been a tax increase and it is time to do it for the children. While my buddy went back to Knox County Ragsdale administration, he didn't go far enough. You see in order to see why some in Knox County is suspicious of raising money for the children, you have to go further back. Go back to the Knox County administration of now Public Trust PAC co-leader Tom Schumpert. You see under Coach Schumpert Knox County imposed the largest property tax increase for a new Justice Center that was never built. The $30 wheel tax under the Ragsdale administration was passed for a new Downtown library that has never been built. Granted they were supposed to move the money to build Hardin Valley High School. So, for this in Knox County that have a longer than most institutional history of Knox County you can surely see the skepticism.

I will defer to the Knox County Commissioners for whether they increase my taxes or have it as a ballot initiative for a sales tax increase. I will live with the decision I elected Dr. Richard Briggs, Mike Hammond and Ed Shouse to do.

WBIR Reports That Judge Baumgartner Has Been Arrested

The biggest story since the state regulators shut Jake and C.H. Butcher, Jr.'s banks down continues. WBIR reports here that TBI agents have arrested former Judge Richard Baumgartner on federal charges.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Grace Baptist Church Should Stand For The Young Believer

This story has been circulating for a couple of weeks. The story in today's paper appear to reflect and represent both sides fairly. First of all, why any court oversteps it's bounds in allowing a divorce agreement to determine religious expression by a student that has reached the age of accountability escapes me. History tells us that the separation of church and state was created to keep the government out of the church. Secondly, the father knew and even attended the baptism. If he wanted to stop it, he could have called Grace Baptist Church. Thirdly, the problem with the youth pastor nor the church standing with the young man, that is just WRONG! If the youth pastor and Grace Baptist cower in the corner because of the father's unbelief than the young man is just a persecuted Christian. I sincerely hope that the young man finds a church and church family that will stand with him and not leave him all alone.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Scottie is Not The Coward of the County! He is the Coward of the Third District

According to this story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Congressional candidate Scottie Mayfield is the coward of the Third Congressional District of Tennessee. He refuses to debate the current Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, candidate Weston Wamp or Ron Bhalla.

It is probably best that Scottie Mayfield not debate. If it is like a recent Scottie Roane County visit, his 33 year old son would be busy cutting an awful lot of car tires during the debate.

Keith Whitley - 23 years later, I still need his music.

Not an anniversary I enjoy, Twenty Three years ago today (I was 22 years old) Keith Whitley one of my favorite Country Music Artist left this life to enter the next life. 

I loved all his music and it is in my iPod, iPhone and iPad2. My favorite is "No Stranger To The Rain"

And I can't leave out this performance of "Don't Close Your Eyes" at the end he does an imitation of Lester Flatt.

Of course, I can't conclude this post without posting a Jesse Keith Whitley video. Love this guy's music as much as I love his daddy's music. Of course all of Jesse Keith's music is on my iPhone and iPad2 as well.

"Uncle Travis" Still Going Strong

All three of my kids went through A.L. Lotts Elementary School and "Uncle Travis" haas always volunteered. He was honored last week by the school and his Kiwansis Club. At 92 he is still going strong.

My blogging buddy Tom Mattingly and good friend Walt Wojnar represented the Kiwanis club to participate in the surprise ceremony.

Read Allison Rupp's story here from the Big Metal Shed on the Hill.

It is Time to Party as the Sunsphere turns 30

There will be a birthday picnic lunch for the 30th Birthday of the Sunsphere. You know the Sunsphere. Knoxville's iconic landmark that was built for the 1982 World's Fair. It has been confused for wig shop on the cartoon television show "The Simpsons".

The lunch will be Wednesday May 16, 11 am - 1 pm there will be plenty of cold iced tea as well. It will be held on the 6th floor of the Sunsphere. Bill Landry, host of the Heartland Series will be the featured speaker. He will share stories that he has heard about the Sunsphere that he has heard over his 30 years of journalism.

Tickets are only $16 or a table of 8 for $120. Email here to reserve your ticket or call 865-951-0319. Make your check payable Sunsphere Account and mail to 939 Chickamauga Avenue Knoxville, TN 37917.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Here Is What I Don't Understand About Partisan Politics

I had a discussion at a table with several people the other day about Romney -vs- Obama. The issue of Romney's membership in the Mormon Church came up. A Romney loyalist and friend of mine said "religion has nothing to do with it" to which I responded "did you say that about Jeremiah Wright three and a half years ago?" Now, I am not an Obama loyalist, I just ain't into a double standard. Our country is strong enough to outlast four years or eight years of any person as President. My buddy ended our conversation with a we respect each other and moved on.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Today is the National Day of Prayer

Today is our (America's) annual National Day of Prayer. We need it. So, Just Do It!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

NFL Football Player Junior Seau Dies

12 time Pro Bowl NFL player Junior Seau was discovered this morning by his girlfriend dead in his home.

His death was apparently from a self inflicted gun shot. A gifted athlete and a bigger than life role model.

This is an example that you never know what is going on in someone's life. God Bless his life, his example and Go rest high on that mountain, Junior!

Mayor Burchett Takes His Turn!

Mayor Burchett presented his 2012/2013 budget recommendation yesterday. No surprise to anyone (including the School Board or Superintendent, I am sure) that the request for $35 million this year was not located. It was not located because it would take new revenue (raising either property tax or another quarter cent of the sales tax). In this Obama economy, new revenue is not an option.

Last week, City of Knoxville Mayor Rogero although she and Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett would not considered on the same side of political philosophy also did not recommend new revenue for the city tax payers. So, both sides as evidenced by both Mayor's evidently believe that no increase in taxes is possible in this economy.

Mayor Burchett's budget now goes to the 11 member Knox County Commission for hearings and a vote by the end of the month. We will keep you posted as best we can.