Nashville Mayor Karl Dean sees “devastating effects” on Metro government if the legislature approves “an ill-thought-out bill giving satellite cities including Forest Hills, Belle Meade and Oak Hill the power to create their own city services,” says Gail Kerr — and she agrees with him. It’s an effort being pushed by three out-of-county state representatives who live miles from Nashville but who suddenly feel the need to dip in our Kool-Aid. Why? The likely motivation is because they want the financial campaign support of rich Republicans in those three areas. The sponsors are Rep. David Alexander, R-Winchester, and Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville. Alexander signed on only because the main backer, Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas, has hit the limit of bills he can file.
It all started with a codes violation.
A house along Timberwood Road in Forest Hills burned down and neighbors grew frustrated when the owner wouldn’t make repairs. They thought Metro wasn’t cracking down fast enough. So Forest Hills officials decided to create their own court, a violation of the Metro Charter. Metro sued and Forest Hills lost. They are appealing. Officials in those upscale suburbs got together and went to their buddies in the legislature.
From Georgiana Vines:
The Knox County Election Commission voted 3-2 along partisan lines today not to reopen Belle Morris Elementary School as a voting precinct in the Nov. 6 presidential election but agreed to meet with community leaders early in 2013 to determine what to do in the future.
Voting against a motion to reopen the school were Chairman Chris Heagerty, who broke a tie vote, Bob Bowman and Rob McNutt, all Republicans. Voting for the motion were Democrats Dennis Francis and Cassandra McGee Stuart.
The vote followed a contentious exchange between Bowman and former Knox County Commissioner Mark Harmon over events following a March meeting where the commission voted 4-0 to merge Belle Morris with the Larry Cox Senior Recreation Center.
Harmon presented a petition with 146 signatures calling for the Belle Morris to be reopened and reiterated disagreements with Cliff Rodgers, election administrator, on the Cox Center being more handicapped accessible and having better parking arrangements.
Harmon said the unstated reason for the closing was the strong Democratic vote at Belle Morris and that “bogus” reasons had been asserted.
Bowman said Harmon had made “bald accusations against Mr. Rodgers” and worked behind the scenes by organizing a press conferences and using the Internet to stir up a controversy instead of communicating directly with Rodgers or the commission.
Bowman was successful in getting the commission to agree to meet with community leaders at the first quarterly meeting of the commission next year to discuss the closing of Belle Morris. At one point during the meeting, he suggested Fulton High School might be an alternative choice.
A key Democratic precinct in what has been state Rep. Harry Tindell’s 13th House District has been combined with another precinct by Knox County election officials and Democrats are not happy.
From Georgiana Vines: Gloria Johnson, chair of the Knox County Democratic Party and the only Democratic candidate seeking Tindell’s seat, said Belle Morris (Elementary School) was her precinct and she didn’t know the change (to Larry Cox Senior Recreation Center) was coming.
In addition, her campaign called 500 voters in the district a week ago and nobody knew the precinct had been changed, she said. She did receive a new voter registration card on Wednesday, she said.
It was included in a letter from the Knox County Election Commission notifying voters of a change in precinct, said Cliff Rodgers, elections administrator. Rodgers said he recommended Belle Morris be closed because the Cox Center is more handicapped accessible. When elections are held while school is in session, the disabled entrance at Belle Morris is locked and voters must be allowed in through the school office, he said.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Mae Beavers was investing $50,000 in a Macon County newspaper, not making a loan of that amount to the publisher, according to a response filed in a lawsuit Beavers has brought for collection of the money.
From Andy Sher’s report: “Co-plaintiff Mae Beavers delivered said cashier’s check to Defendant (Kathryn) Belle for the specific purpose of investing in the venture and to make payment of the May 21, 2010 installment [payment] due to Main Street Media for purchase of the Macon County Chronicle,” the filing says.
It also alleges that Lou Ann Zelnick, a Republican who made a failed 2010 GOP 5th Congressional District primary bid, “invested” $36,000 in the newspaper venture as well.
…. (Beavers, in an interview) called the lawsuit a “personal matter.”
Asked about suggestions the money was not a loan but an investment, Beavers said, “I don’t believe that’s what the lawsuit said.”
Beavers said “yes” when asked if the $50,000 was intended as a loan.
Meanwhile, Beavers on Monday filed an amended Statement of Interests form with the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance. Her original State of Interests form, filed Jan. 30, did not mention the loan or the 6 percent her lawsuit cites as interest under the category “sources of income.”
Her new filing lists “Kathryne Bell — pass through interest on personal loan — no actual income.”
It also lists Bell’s nephew, John Cook, with the explanation “pass through interest on personal loan — no actual income.”
(Previous post HERE)
A federal judicial panel’s decision to reprimand a Nashville judge for belonging to Belle Meade Country Club has forced others in the legal profession to question their continued membership at an institution that includes no black or female members who are eligible to vote or hold office, reports the Tennessean. Multiple members said the club is preparing to take steps to address the panel’s conclusion that Belle Meade engages in “invidious discrimination” in hopes of preventing an exodus of members worried about the ethical or political fallout of a continued affiliation with the club.
Gilbert S. Merritt, a Nashville-based senior judge on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and a Belle Meade club member, said he has received indications from confidential sources that “people who are associated with the Belle Meade Country Club who have significant influence in rectifying the situation” plan to do so in the coming weeks.
Merritt — who said he feels bound by the Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability’s decision to publicly reprimand George C. Paine II, chief judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Nashville — said he will be forced to leave the club in coming months “unless there is a correction of the problem of no resident African-American members and a correction of the problem or confusion or whatever it may be on women members.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — A panel of federal judges said Thursday that a bankruptcy judge’s membership in a Nashville, Tenn., country club that has no women or blacks as full-fledged members violates the judiciary’s code of ethics.
But the panel said it will not take any disciplinary action against Judge George Paine II because he is planning to retire next month. Paine is the chief bankruptcy judge for the Middle District of Tennessee, which includes Nashville and nearly three dozen counties.
He has belonged to the Belle Meade Country Club since 1978. The club has never had a woman or a black with membership privileges that include voting and holding office.