Saturday, April 29, 2006

Andrew Jackson VI

Perhaps its just me, but wouldn't it be something to have Andrew Jackson VI running for something other than for a Judicial post? I'd like to know more about this man's positions on political issues and just how conservative he is. Talk about name recognition in Tennessee.

Could you see Andrew Jackson VI running for Governor or Senator? I could-the name alone would be awfully hard to beat statewide-okay, try absolutely unbeatable.

Friday, April 28, 2006

What inspired the shooter?

I have taken some pretty pointed hits over the last few days because I have openly declared my support for Steve Hall for County Mayor. In some private e-mails, I have been called everything but a child of God for daring to insinuate that a misguided supporter of Mayor Ragsdale might have been the perpetrator of, or had something to do with, the attempt on Steve Hall's life earlier this week. Note that I did not say that I believe that Mayor Ragsdale ordered this dastardly attack, nor did I say that I believe he had anything to do with it-if I said that, I'd be lying, because I don't believe that.

Stacey Campfield did have something interesting to say in the comments on his blog:

"I never said Ragsdale personally had anything to do with the shooting. I think it is clear from the few facts we do know that it probably was politically motivated and was probably done by someone who is not a Hall supporter."

I agree, and I think it goes without saying that this was a politically motivated attempt sans Chicago mob. Stacey goes on to say:

"I have been hearing people say that higher ups in the current administration were telling people 'If Hall gets in you will probably loose your job/ funding'. If this was a direct factor in the shooting I can not say.

I can't say either, nor am I interested in playing a game of unproven accusations insofar as "did this kind of talk inspire somone to try to kill Steve Hall." I will say that this kind of mentality and those kind of scare tactics are often used by those who are trying to hang on to power at all costs. Stacey isn't the first I have heard of this kind of talk coming out of the other campaign, but up to now I have tried my best to discredit the notion that Mayor Ragsdale would use those kinds of tactics. It also bears noting that if that kind of talk becomes prevalent inside the working circle of any government on the ropes (speaking in a general world sense), it has been known to cause supporters of the group in power to take extreme action to save power for that government.

I am glad that Mayor Ragsdale has condemned this terrible act, and I believe his personal condemnation is genuine and heartfelt. No one in public service who has any decency in them would encourage such an action against their opponent.

Stacey says in regards to the accusation of "name calling:"

"As far as name calling goes the Ragsdale administration is far from clean on that account. I can not recall any lie told by Steve on any radio show. If the truth hurts don't blame the person who repeats it."

I also can't recall that Steve Hall has lied. What he has done is to say a number of things that clearly get under the skin of Mayor Ragsdale's supporters. This is an election, not Woodstock.

I will remind fellow Republicans, whether they support Steve Hall or Mike Ragsdale, that this is an unusual race in that there is no Democrat to fight in the General Election-our Primary is all that will determine who the next County Mayor is. This is why this campaign has been so spirited for some of us. Remember that we are all Republicans, so please save a bit of energy for the Governor's race.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Welcome Patrick Gallagher

I'd like to welcome yet another person to the blogroll. Patrick Gallagher is a seminarian for the Diocese of Memphis. and proudly proclaims that he is a seminarian of the "First Apostolic Full Gospel Church of Jesus Christ Unreformed--Roman Assembly."

Amen to that!

Seriously, this guy has some major intestinal fortitude-that's the most original name for the Catholic Church I have ever heard.

Patrick is also a seminarian at St. Meinrad.

Posting ahead

A few readers may wonder why I am posting a day ahead of time this week. Some might remember that several months back I posted a note in which I explained to you that there may be times I would post ahead if I was running short on time. This week (hectic news week that it has been) is such a week. In addition to posting and carrying on my regular daily slog, Nicole and I are expecting company this weekend-an old college friend of mine, Mark Regeic, is coming into town for a visit. We've been working very hard getting everything ready for Mark's arrival.

I anticipate that because of the impending company, I may not be able to post on Saturday. Those who leave comments may have to wait longer than usual to get a response, but I do promise that eventually I will get to you.

News-Sentinel should quit trying to hide its agenda

With every word on his blog, News-Sentinel editor Jack McElroy (whose boss is in bed with Bredesen) continues to prove his paper's bias and political agenda. Mr. McElroy's excuse for why the News-Sentinel failed to cover the attempted murder of a candidate for County Mayor is that:

News of gunshots outside a downtown building is a brief item, at best, and that's how we played it."

Mr. McElroy says that "
that night, our city editor heard of the shooting on the police scanner and assigned a reporter to check it out. She got the essentials from the police -- that shots had been fired outside Hall's Depot Avenue business -- and tried to call Hall. He didn't answer or call back."

Okay, so the city editor got the essentials from the police-fine. The fact that this business was owned by a candidate for County Mayor and that he frequents the place apparently has no bearing in Mr. McElroy's journalistic world on whether it gets top billing. This is Knoxville, not New York-shots being fired in a downtown business is a big deal, look at how the television media tends to treat such incidents!

With every word out of McElroy's mouth, he does nothing more than prove that the News-Sentinel not only has a bias but also has an agenda. The paper's lack of ability to use every resource at its disposal to cover an attempt to shoot a candidate for our County Executive speaks volumes about the priorities of the paper. At the very least, the News-Sentinel's priorities are skewed, and at most, they are arranged to fit the paper's political agenda.

Nearly a year ago, I put in a resume at the News-Sentinel. Most places where I have put in resumes either call me for an interview or send me a courtesy letter some weeks later explaining that the position had been filled-that is the usual drill. It bears noting that since putting in my resume at the News-Sentinel, I have never heard a thing from them-no calls, no letters, no e-mails. Now, I am sure I am not the only person in that position, but it does make you wonder-how many potential reporters, writers, and other employees who are conservative have been turned away?

It bears noting in all of this that the News-Sentinel not only endorsed Mike Ragsdale, but did so in such glowing terms that you would think Ragsdale was Messiah and Lord.

Update: Here is more in the News-Sentinel's failure from Say Uncle.

Hat tip to Terry Frank.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Welcome John O'Neill

I want to welcome yet another St. Meinrad seminarian to the blogroll. John O' Neill, who I hope one day to call Father John, is a seminarian for the Diocese of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Like me, he is very concerned about pro-life causes, and I can see from reading his blog that we have a great deal in common. In addition to his seminary studies, he is quite an accomplished musician. He is author of the blog John the Blessed.

Welcome John!

Mark Saroff for County Commission seat 1A

Mark Saroff was one of the first people to offer me support when I was still running for the County Commission, and I find him not only to be a likeable person, but one who is committed to Republican ideals. That, however, is not the reason that I am endorsing Saroff for the 1A seat and asking those in the First District to vote for him by writing his name in. Locals may know Saroff as the man who owns the infamous McClung Warehouses downtown, and a few might be aware that those warehouses have faced threats of eminent domain seizure and threats of being declared a "blight."

What some people may not know is that not only does Saroff want to renovate the dour warehouses, he is desperately trying to do so. At every turn, the city and county have stood in Saroff's way by throwing building code regulations at him, or any obscure legal provision they could find to prevent Saroff from renovating the property-they don't want Saroff to renovate the warehouses so that they look nice and fit in to historic Downtown Knoxville-the city wants Saroff's property so they can do with it as they please.

Saroff has said “I have learned that if you don’t get involved in politics, politics will come to you.” He is right, of course. Beyond Saroff’s personal grievances, however, I think Mark Saroff understands better than most people do the importance of local government protecting property rights in the wake of the Kelo decision, because Mark Saroff has experienced what it is like for the government to try and take your property.

Aside from property rights issues, I think Mark Saroff understands the issues of living in an urban environment like Knoxville better than a lot of people on the County Commission, and he is very aware that city dwellers are citizens of Knox County, too-he believes in the notion that if the city isn’t giving you the services you pay for with both the city and county taxes you pay, you have ought to have the right to go to the county for redress.

Because Mark Saroff has real respect for people and a belief in basic human dignity, I believe First District voters should write in MARK SAROFF for the 1A County Commission seat in next Tuesday’s Republican Primary.

Property rights voting

I'm not altogether sure what I think of an obscure provision of the voting law in Franklin, Tennessee that allows people who live outside of town, but who own physical property within its borders, to vote. On the one hand, this notion makes sense-if you own property in a city or county, you should have a say in its electoral process because you have to pay taxes on that property to the city and county where the property is located. If you are using that property for a business, you are paying local taxes in a variety of ways, and through your vote you should be able to have some say in the matter.

On the other hand, in a place like Knoxville or Knox County, it could lead to an inadvertant number of outsiders influencing the process, especially in an election such as this year's. I am all for expanded political rights for property owners, but I am not sure in which direction to expand them.

It would seem that the idea is becoming wildly popular, as the General Assembly will take up whether to change the State's basic law on cities to allow for greater property rights voting. I haven't made up my mind, but I do think the concept behind it is very interesting indeed.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Welcome Dennis Schenkel to the blogroll

I'd like to take a moment to welcome someone new to my blogroll to the side-Dennis Schenkel is a seminarian studying for the Catholic priesthood for the Diocese of Memphis-his hometown. Dennis' blog was brought to my attention in On the Hill, the quarterly publication for Oblates, Alumni, and friends of St. Meinrad Archabbey and School of Theology-which also has a link to the right under Church links.

Nicole and I are Oblates of the Archabbey (Oblates are basically the Benedictine 3rd Order), so obviously I take an interest in anyone else I might meet who has a tie to St. Meinrad-I truly love the place, and I always have the problem when visiting of never wanting to leave. Dennis is studying for the priesthood at St. Meinrad.

Someone wants Steve Hall dead, News-Sentinel doesn't care

The media reaction to the attempted murder of Knoxville City Councilman and Knox County Mayoral candidate Steve Hall tells an interesting tale about the priorities of the press. Apparently, the News-Sentinel did not think this story, an attempt to kill, or at least to wound, a candidate for County Executive was important enough to give top billing. At least WBIR led off their late night news with the details.

Hall has been threatened before. Apparently, back in February, someone called and threatened Hall's life. As locals know, Steve is running in the Republican Primary next Tuesday against incumbent Mike Ragsdale. Mr. Hall is a good man and he is a good conservative, and he has made it a part of his campaign to bring up the manner in which the wheel tax was passed in Knox County, which many people thought was unfair. (For those who don't know, it was basically a choice between a wheel tax or higher property taxes, the people weren't given other choices.)

When talking to delegates and others, I was accused by some of "associating with the supporters of Mayor Ragsdale's opponent." Well, I associate with good conservative and Christian men and women-sue me. Steve Hall and all of his supporters are good Republicans. None of them deserve to be raked over the coals for challenging Mike Ragsdale. Even inside the GOP, that is our right to challenge authority if we don't think something is quite right. For those who accused me of "associating" with the Steve Hall faction, there were also delegates and other activists I spoke with who fully supported Steve Hall, and encouraged me to do the same. Not one person I have spoken with who claims to be a Steve Hall supporter has struck me as anything other than a conservative man or woman, a solid Republican, and a concerned citizen. Supporting Steve Hall is not a crime-especially not in a Republican Primary where Republicans are free to choose sides.

Clearly someone has reason to want Steve Hall dead. I certainly hope and pray it isn't anyone who also claims to be a Republican.

When I bowed out of the Commission race, I promised I would run for office in the future with a full commitment to victory, and that is what I hope to do one day very soon. In the meantime, I might as well admit that I have already voted in the Primary. I voted for Steve Hall for County Mayor, and I would urge all of my readers who are Knox County voters, as well all good citizens of Knox County to do the same.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Tired of KAT excuses

I am tired of the continued excuses from Knoxville Area Transit, from city officials, from county officials, and even from some (though by no means all) bus drivers as to why it is I had to be three hours late this morning. I was trying to catch my normal bus downtown this morning at 8:50am. When the driver came, I was informed that the wheelchair lift on the bus did not work, and they’d be sending someone out immediately to pick me up. I figured it would probably take around 20 minutes. I waited yet another hour, only to be told again that the lift was not working on the next bus that came through. I told the driver that an hour ago this happened and I was told that someone would be out right away to get me, and no one came. I saw the driver in question radio KAT to get a van out to Inskip right away, and they said they would. “Right away” turned into yet another hour.

By the time the 10:50 came through, it was a driver who knew me, and of course he felt terribly about the situation. He radioed in and told them to “get their ass” out to get me, that I had been waiting for well over two hours. A van finally came to pick me up around 20 minutes later.

I might just be an irate (and late) ordinary KAT rider if it were not for the fact that this has become a common situation. Eight times in the last two months, I have been late for appointments, meetings, business engagements, and even lunch because of wheelchair lifts on busses that are not functional.

At least one driver told me “well, David, you just need to use the LIFT van.” Hogwash. I live right on the bus line, and I should be able to use the same bus that is available to anyone else who lives on that street that wants to use it. I am not a second-class citizen whose civic services must be segregated. I should not have to call LIFT and schedule a special pickup when there is a bus that comes to my driveway at ten minutes to the top of the hour nine times every weekday. There is no excuse for a bus fleet as small as KAT’s (yes, KAT’s fleet of actual busses is SMALL) not to have every wheelchair lift on every bus working each and every morning. That’s not to say that situations won’t happen out on the road-say a hydraulic pump on a lift might bust-but the same two busses came by my stop (I checked the numbers) and that means that the lift wasn’t working at the start of the day. Check the bloody thing! Have a mechanic check it every morning-is it that hard?

“But David, Knoxville is a smaller town than a lot of places who have more reliable and accessible transit. Knoxville doesn’t have the money to have more efficient transit.”

I hear this line all the time too. It is a load of crap. We do not have better transit, in large part because up until now, people assumed we didn’t need it. Now that gas is about to be $3.00 a gallon, a whole lot more people will be riding KAT. If KAT can afford to build a huge new transit center downtown, it can afford to keep the wheelchair lifts on its busses fixed and ready to run every day, and KAT can also afford to expand its hours of service-every part of this city should be served by at least one (preferably more than that) late running bus every night. If KAT has the money for that bus station, they have the money to begin to turn KAT into a real public transit system.

Since more and more people are riding KAT, and that number will grow with the price of gas and oil, it does make you wonder if Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam sees KAT as a priority. After all, if KAT improves, more people will use it, and that means fewer people will be frequenting the family business to pay $3.00 a gallon for Haslam gas (which fluctuates depending on the station, even though it all comes from the same place), don’t you think, Bill? Boy, I smell “conflict of interest” all over the place-sure smells funky.

In most cities, the transit system is either a function of County government, or an inter-county agency. Are you hearing me, County Mayor Mike Ragsdale? Since Mr. Haslam refuses to do his job and step up to the plate, perhaps you need to do it for him-an expanded transit system really benefits Knox County, because so many people live in the County and commute to work every day. Knowing this, perhaps Mayor Ragsdale needs to take charge, rather than leaving Mr. Haslam as the appropriator for our public transit.

Nashville has better transit than Knoxville, so does Memphis. Chattanooga even does a better job than Knoxville in this regard in many ways. Knoxville is our State’s third largest city, it was once our State capital, and it is home to the State’s largest and most prestigious public university, and we can’t even have a decent and accessible bus system.That is beyond ridiculous-that is just plain incompetent.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Real journalists not employed in Halls

Brian Hornback posted yesterday about an innaccurate story in the Halls Shopper, in which a biased writer (who admitted to Brian that she didn't like him) published a bold-faced lie-that he

spent the weekend boasting that he will be rewarded with the plum political office of his choice."

The writer of the piece is one Betty Bean (you have to wonder if that is her real name) who falsely asserted that County Mayor Mike Ragsdale would decide who our Commission candidates were and that he had promised Brian Hornback the office of his choice.

Now I am naturally skeptical of government in general and of incumbents in particular, but I seriously doubt that Mayor Ragsdale is conspiring to reward Brian with an office. Being involved in public service is not a picnic-largely because of people with vendettas like Ms. Bean. If Brian Hornback were to run for a Commission seat, I'd be glad to vote for him because he is, I believe, a person of integrity, whether Mayor Ragsdale chose him or not.

If Ms. Bean is familiar with how political parties work, she would know that Mayor Ragsdale cannot arbitrarily choose candidates. In a situation such as we have this year, some delegates support Mayor Ragsdale, while some support Steve Hall. While briefly a candidate, I was actively calling and campaigning to delegates for their support.

It is one thing for the media to make false accusations. It is yet another thing for the press to make false accusations that are based in complete ignorance and stupidity about how political parties work. Real journalists actually do research. Ms. Bean might try this method sometime.

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