Thursday, September 22, 2011


People in Jefferson County talk about the need for changing how our county commission works, but maybe we should just change the way they are elected:

Our present system is not really first-past-the-post, but is first-and-second-(and in district three third)-past-the-post. All of our commission seats ought to be elected on a singular first-past-the-post basis, in other words, in separate elections where the person who gets the most votes wins, and the others go to the house. Such a system wouldn't make the ballot all that much longer, it would just mean that each seat on the commission would be separately elected, and it would make our candidates work harder, because now finishing second would not be good enough, they would have to finish at the top of the heap.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Popular Is Not Always Right

Everyone wants the popular solution to Jefferson County's problems, but popular is not always right:

One of the biggest reasons that certain individuals-both on and off of the Jefferson County Commission-say that they want to look at adopting a county charter is not because of some burning desire for more autonomy from Nashville, but because those people have another agenda-they want to reduce the number of commissioners from 21 to 11 and term limit those who remain. That sounds like a grand idea, but upon closer examination we can see that citizens will lose representation if such a scheme were ever adopted. Reducing the number of commissioners would mean increasing the workload of those who remain, and it would give citizens less of an outlet to have their concerns heard, whereas our current system gives citizens two commissioners (and in the 3rd civil district, three) who might address their needs. Community representation within county government would be very significantly diminished, because a limited number of commissioners would not reflect the diversity of needs and views within our county. Put more simply, White Pine has different needs than Dandridge, which has different priorities from Strawberry Plains, New Market, or Jefferson City. Siphoning off the number of commissioners in government would give us a system that lends itself to a kind of hegemony that would be less reflective of the diversity of views in our county.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Lamar Alexander says he is running for the Senate again:

Lest we might come to the conclusion that the submission of Alexander's papers to his alma mater means that he will soon be retiring from public life, it seems we would be mistaken, despite recent rumors to the contrary which have said that a number of our State's political leaders are testing the waters for a run to replace Lamar! in 2014. In a kind of mini-bombshell, Alexander told The Tennessean that he plans to run for the Senate again.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Corporate Welfare?

The new Electrolux plant in Memphis may be more corporate welfare than job creation:

The Tennessee Valley Authority has offered a total of $6.5 million in grants, loans, and incentives-paid for by the taxpayers of this State and the nation-to Electrolux. The City of Memphis and Shelby County have taken out enough debt to be paying on the project for the next 25 years, and the taxpayers of Shelby County and the State of Tennessee are footing the bill for the construction of the factory. However, as soon as the first product produced at the plant completes its journey through the assembly line, Electrolux gets to take over ownership of the facility, even though the company didn't pay for its construction. There is also nothing in the contract-if the Commercial Appeal's investigation bears any credibility-that would mandate that Electrolux remain in Memphis or in Tennessee for a specified period of time.

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