Friday, August 24, 2007

Mr. Cosby, the Mayor, and the last election

The Knoxville News-Sentinel ran a piece this morning about the efforts of retired accountant Lewis Cosby to hold the Knox County Mayor's office accountable for its wreckless abuse of taxpayer dollars. Cosby's laudable efforts come at a time when the people of Knox County are focused on the general chaos at the County Commission, and I have often thought that because of the events of January 31, Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale's misdeeds and the wrongdoing of members of his entourage have often been overlooked by both the general public as well as the local press. Among members of the press in East Tennessee, it seems that only Channel 6's Gene Patterson has attempted to investigate Ragsdale seriously.

As my regular readers know, I've been blowing the whistle on Ragsdale for well over a year and a half now and it has not been an easy thing to do. I supported Steve Hall for Knox County Mayor (I was still a Knox County voter during that race) while much of the establishment supported Ragsdale. Ragsdale won because he had well-funded establishment support, and because many Knox County voters were simply unaware of the scale of abuse in his office. My support of Hall was also much to the dismay of my friend Brian Hornback. I remember on election night Rob and Angela Huddleston and myself shared a table with Brian. We didn't have straight numbers coming in, but we did have precinct reports. When the first of those came in, I turned to Rob and asked rather gloomily: "We gettin' beat?" Brian said "well, it just depends on who 'we' is." Unlike certain bloggers in East Tennessee, I have always liked Brian because his beliefs are genuine-even if I haven't always seen eye-to-eye with the man. His biggest fault has been believing that Mike Ragsdale is out for anyone other than Mike Ragsdale.

Those of us who have continually been on the other side of the intra-Republican civil war over Ragsdale have some serious vindication now that the press is beginning to report on some of the abuses in his office. The News-Sentinel reports on this information as if it is new or surprising. This is the same paper that endorsed Ragsdale for re-election, so if course I am sure that Jack McElroy doesn't particularly like the idea of having to eat crow. Which brings us back to Mr. Cosby-I wish we had this man keeping track of Ragsdale's waste last May, because had we been able to put such a hard paper trail to the deeds of the Knox County Mayor's office at that time, we'd be calling Steve Hall "Mr. Mayor."



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