State Rep. Barbara Cooper, who was chairman of the Legislature’s Black Caucus last year when Sen. Jim Summerville sent her a controversial email, says the senator has belatedly apologized for the remark.
In August, 2012, Dickson Republican Summerville declared in an email to Cooper, “I don’t give a rat’s ass what the Black Caucus thinks.”
The missive was sent after the Black Caucus issued a news release critical of a hearing Summerville led that looked into allegations of grade tampering at Tennessee State University.
Cooper provided a copy of a new Summerville email dated Jan. 12 and addressed to “Hon. Barbara Cooper and friends in the Black Caucus.”
“Dear Rep. Cooper and friends, one of my personal hopes in the new year is to try to lead a more Christ-like life. I realize that may require making amends to people I’ve hurt in the past.
“I want to tell you, then, how much I regret losing my temper last summer over your reaction to the TSU report. You said what you did with intellectual integrity and honesty of purpose. My reaction was unbecoming to me.
“Please know that I look forward to working with each of you in the 108th General Assembly for the welfare of all the people of our great state.
“Most sincerely, Jim Summerville.”
Cooper said that, in reply, she told the senator: “You’re apology is accepted and appreciated and you are forgiven.”
Three months after Scottie Mayfield said his 33-year-old son’s tire-slashing incident “has no place in campaigns,” Chris Carroll reports finding an audio wherein the dairy executive says, “I’m not ashamed of why he did it.”
The remark conflicts with a public apology Mayfield issued April 26 after his son, Michael Mayfield, confessed to slashing a tire belonging to an aide of U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.
In a written statement released the day the Kingston (Tenn.) Police Department charged his son with vandalism under $500, Mayfield apologized, called the slashing regrettable and said, “This kind of activity has no place in campaigns.”
But at a Nightside Pachyderm Club meeting in June, he had a little more to say.
“Lord have mercy,” Mayfield said, according to an audio recording obtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Who would have thought your son would have the passion that he had to lose his head after watching those guys follow us around for two days?
“I’ll tell you this,” he added. “I don’t like at all what my son did, and I’m ashamed of it. But I’m not ashamed of why he did it.”
JAMESTOWN, Tenn. (AP) — Former Tennessee Congressman Lincoln Davis and his wife were turned away from their polling place thanks to a registration mix up.
Davis, who hasn’t missed an election since 1964, said when he was told he couldn’t vote, “I felt sick to my stomach.”
The situation was perplexing to Davis given his prominent status in the area. He not only served in Congress, but also represented the region in the state Senate and House of Representatives. He knows the poll workers and said the administrator of elections has a family farm that adjoins Davis’ own family farm.
“I see him out there feeding the cows,” Davis said.
Fentress County Elections Administrator Joey Williams said that in purging Davis and his wife elections officials acted on a notice received from the state that the couple had re-registered in neighboring Pickett County, where Davis once served as mayor in the county seat of Byrdstown.
The Administrator of Elections in Pickett County, Tim Clark, said the problem was on his end. Davis has voted in Pickett under the special category of property rights voter that allows him to vote in local elections only.
There are separate rolls for property rights voters and resident voters and Davis should have been only on the property rights voting rolls in Pickett County.
He lives in Fentress and should have been registered as a resident voter there for state and national elections, such as Tuesday’s presidential primary.
“It was a clerical error on our part,” Clark said. “We just messed up.”
The state Department of Elections on Wednesday issues an apology to Davis, but a spokesman also said Davis should have voted with a provisional ballot.
“I understand that he was very upset, and he had reason to be,” Blake Fontenay said, “but there was a remedy that he chose not to take.”
Davis was not offered a provisional ballot at the polling place, although after he went home and started making phone calls he was told he could go back in and vote with a provisional ballot.
Davis said he did not do that because he also was told he would have to re-register. Since registration has to take place in advance of voting, he worried that he would be accused of voter fraud and possibly have his voting privileges revoked.
Excerpt from a TNReport story, mostly on reactions of legislators — predictably, along partisan lines — to Gov. Bill Haslam’s handling of the Occupy Nashville arrests.
Haslam expressed no regret Tuesday about his decisions, although he did say Commissioner of Safety Bill Gibbons contacted an editor to express regrets about the arrest of reporter Jonathan Meador of the Nashville Scene in the roundup. Chris Ferrell, CEO of SouthComm Inc., which publishes the Nashville Scene, said Tuesday he did not consider Gibbons’ response an apology.
“It was more of a rationalization for their actions than an apology,” Ferrell said when contacted by phone.
Ferrell had publicly asked Haslam for an apology for Meador’s arrest. Ferrell talked to Gibbons on Monday, and Gibbons sent a follow-up e-mail. Ferrell said the conversation lasted two or three minutes.
But when asked if he was satisfied with the response he received, Ferrell said, “No. Because they still haven’t apologized for what seems to me a clear violation of the First Amendment, that when the officers grabbed Jonathan he clearly identified himself as a journalist.
“They should have verified that and then let him go. The fact that they did not, I think, is of concern to journalists everywhere.”
Ferrell said he had not talked to Haslam, although he had tried to contact the governor through his communications office as recently as Monday.
Gibbons’ statement to Ferrell said, in part: “Obviously, it was not our intention to take any member of the press doing his or her job into custody for trespassing. I regret any confusion regarding Mr. Meador’s role.”