Monthly Archives: August 2010

Bill Clinton To Campaign for Mike McWherter

Via the AP:
Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Tennessee to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike McWherter.
The McWherter campaign confirmed that Clinton is scheduled to be in Nashville on Sept. 9. Spokesman Shelby White said Monday that detailed plans for the visit were still being worked out.
McWherter, the son of former Gov. Ned McWherter, faces Republican Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam in this fall’s election.
Clinton’s friendship with Ned McWherter dates back to when he was governor of neighboring Arkansas.
Clinton was the keynote speaker for a state Democratic Party fundraiser last year, and also came to Nashville and Memphis to support Harold Ford Jr.’s Senate bid in 2006.

Chattanooga Mayor Recall Has Enough Signatures, Still May Go to Court

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Tea partiers, tax protesters and others who collected enough signatures to recall Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield are likely headed for a court fight, an election official said Monday.
Hamilton County Election Administrator Charlotte Mullis-Morgan said petitioners collected more than the 8,935 valid voter signatures they needed to force a special election. She said there were at least 9,071 valid signatures counted late Friday.
Tea party activist Charles Wysong said he and others are seeking a special mayoral election on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Mullis-Morgan said the election commission will meet Sept. 8 to set an election schedule. She predicted Monday that the recall process will end up in court.
A spokesman for the mayor, Richard Beeland, said Monday that there are a “lot of issues that are questionable.” He declined to elaborate about the mayor’s plans.

Continue reading

Democrat Wins Anderson County Tie Vote on Judge Position

The Anderson County Commission broke a tie in the Aug. 5 election Monday and chose to keep interim Juvenile Court Judge Brandon K. Fisher will stay on the bench a while longer, reports the Oak Ridger.
By a 15-1 vote held in the Anderson County Courthouse, County Commission voted to keep Fisher, a Democrat, in the judge’s seat it had originally appointed him to earlier this year.
County Commissioner Doug Haun cast the lone vote for Republican candidate C. Zachary “Zack” Farrar.
Both Fisher and Farrar were present at the 6:30 p.m. special-called County Commission meeting, and both spoke to commissioners for about three minutes each prior to the vote that was being held to decide the winner of a 6,442-to-6,442 tied vote cast by Anderson County voters on Election Day.

Ford, Living in New York, Still Registered to Vote in TN

Harold Ford Jr., who considered a run for the U.S. Senate from New York earlier this year, is still registered to vote in Shelby County, according to Bart Sullivan.
Shelby County Elections Commission Administrator Richard L. Holden says that,
unless and until New York state voting authorities, or the voter himself, inform Shelby County that he is registered elsewhere, the local registration is appropriate.
Harold Ford Jr. last voted in Shelby County in the November 2008 presidential race. His father, Harold Ford Sr., is also a registered voted in Shelby County, although he lives in Florida, and last voted in Tennessee in 2007.

Supreme Chief Clark Swearing Ceremony Set

Release from the Administrative Office of the Courts:
Nashville, Tenn. – Justice Cornelia A. Clark will become the second woman in the state’s history to serve as chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court when she is sworn into office on Wednesday, September 1, at 10 a.m. at the historic courthouse in Franklin, Tenn.
Chief Justice Janice Holder will administer the oath of office to Clark, who was elected by the Court to serve a two-year term as chief justice. The ceremony will also feature remarks by the other members of the Supreme Court, representatives from the intermediate appellate courts, and judges and clerks from all levels of the judicial branch.
WHO: Members of the Supreme Court, trial and appellate judges, clerks and members of the public
WHAT: Investiture ceremony of Cornelia Clark as chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court
WHEN: Wednesday, September 1 at 10:00 a.m. CDT
WHERE: Historic Williamson County Courthouse, Room 304, Public Square, Franklin, TN 37064

Trenton Police Dispatchers and $70,000 Disappearing

News release from state comptroller’s office:
Police dispatchers in Trenton collected more than $70,000 in fines and fees that were never deposited into the city’s bank account, an investigation by the state Comptroller’s Division of Municipal Audit has revealed.
According to the audit, collected fees and fines were kept in a lock box at the police station. The police chief and his secretary were the only people with keys to the lock box. The police chief periodically removed envelopes containing the collections from the lock box without examining the receipt book and comparing the receipts to the collections he was supposed to deposit.
By failing to compare the receipts with the cash collections, the police chief was unable to verify if he was depositing all the money collected by the dispatchers. Between July 1, 2006 and November 30, 2008, the period covered by the audit, there was a $73,536 difference between the amount of fines and fees collected and the amount of money deposited into the city’s bank account.
City officials had no explanation for what happened to the missing funds.
Auditors said that the chief’s failure to document deposits and the general lack of internal controls at the police department contributed to the failure to detect or prevent the missing funds in a timely manner.
The Internal Control and Compliance Manual for Tennessee Municipalities, a reference resource for managing government finances, recommends that in any situation in which money changes hands from one employee to another, the money should be counted by both employees and a receipt should be prepared and signed by both employees indicating concurrence with the amount transferred. The Trenton police chief stated in the report that he would “simply toss or throw the collection on a court clerk’s desk and leave” without taking the time to count the money with the clerk or obtain a receipt.
The police chief attributes the manner in which he handled city funds to the training he received nearly three decades ago, according to the written rebuttal he provided in the audit report.
The Comptroller’s report also cites the police chief for routinely holding bank deposits for one to two weeks in violation of Tennessee law and misplacing more than $3,000 in collections for more than nine months.
“Public money needs to be handled with care,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “It is simply not acceptable for taxpayer dollars to change hands without proper documentation. This case illustrates the potential danger of failing to have adequate checks and balances in money-handling procedures.”
To view the full report online, go to: http://www.comptroller1.state.tn.us/RA_MA/

TN Political History Buff Alert: Blount County & the GOP

A post by Elrod at Knoxviews combines commentary on the present state of Republican domination in Blount County with a comparison to the past. A sample nugget:
Yes, Barack Obama got a greater share of the vote in Blount County than did William Jennings Bryan! More remarkable was the fact that McKinley was detested in most of the rural South as a symbol of the Northeastern banking and industrial elite while Bryan and his famous “Cross of Gold” perfectly encapsulated the evangelical and populist spirit of the white South at the time. But not in Blount County.

Prison Rights Group Sues TN Company for Vermont Records

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A prisoners’ rights group is asking a court to order a company that provided health care in Vermont’s prisons to release details of any lawsuits it has settled in Vermont.
Prison Legal News, a self-help magazine and inmate advocacy organization based in Brattleboro, is suing a company formerly known as Prison Health Services in hopes of getting a court to find that the company is, in effect, a public agency subject to public records law.
The Brentwood, Tenn.,-based company, which is now known as PHS, was contracted by the Vermont Department of Corrections from 2005 to 2009.
Prison Legal News had asked the company for its Vermont records earlier this month, but the request was rejected. The company said it wasn’t bound by Vermont’s public records law.

Continue reading

More on Murfreesboro Mosque Fire

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Supporters from across Tennessee and the nation have rallied around a suburban Nashville Islamic center where a fire was the latest setback for a planned new building.
Camie Ayash, spokeswoman for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, told The Associated Press on Sunday that since the fire that damaged construction equipment early Saturday, people have called from all over the United States to voice their support.
A spokesman for federal arson investigators would say only that the fire remained under investigation.
Ayash says authorities told the center four pieces of heavy construction equipment on the site were doused with an accelerant and one was set ablaze.
Across the country, American Muslim leaders say the furor over the building of a mosque near ground zero has emboldened opposition groups to resist new mosques.

The Daily News Journal, meanwhile, reports someone fired shots near the mosque on Sunday.
A group of congregation members were at the site looking at the damage done to construction equipment over the weekend when they heard nine shots fired from two directions.
Around 3:15, they reported hearing six shots coming from one direction, and about three minutes later they heard three more shots from another direction, said Saleh Sbenaty, a congregation member and MTSU professor.
He wasn’t sure if the shots were being fired at the Muslim group, but in the aftermath of the weekend vandalism, he said they felt it necessary to report.

Kerr to Guber Candidates: Don’t Take High School Questions Lightly

Gail Kerr, who served as a “coach” for Nashville area high school students who will question gubernatorial candidates Tuesday evening, says in her Sunday column that Bill Haslam and Mike McWherter “better not take this lightly.”
She also gives some details on the event, which was organized by First Lady Andrea Conte and will be held at Conservation Hall, which adjoins the executive residence where the two candidates hope to be living next year.
One school’s team will ask a candidate a question. He’ll have one minute to answer. The other candidate will not have a chance to respond. The next question, from a different school, will go to him. Haslam and McWherter will each get one minute to make a closing statement.
It’s a rigid format, not designed to allow give-and-take fireworks between the two men. It aims to give students a genuine opportunity to ask questions about things that matter to them. Their questions are not being reviewed or screened by the governor’s office.