A Bradley County man’s quest to have the Cleveland city manager and a councilman charged for ripping up his protests signs came to naught Tuesday, reports the Chattanooga TFP. Dan Rawls said Bradley County General Sessions Judge Sheridan Randolph refused to issue criminal summonses for City Manager Janice Casteel or Councilman George Poe on charges of vandalism, criminal trespass and official oppression.
After meeting with the judge to make his request, Rawls said Randolph told him that even if he signed the papers, the prosecutor’s office was likely to dismiss the charges.
The two city officials ripped up protest signs Rawls posted in front of his business, Cleveland Performance Center, when Gov. Bill Haslam was appearing across the street on July 11. Rawls said the hand-painted sign saying, “Haslam, shame on u,” was to protest the governor’s support for Common Core educational standards.
Poe said afterward that the signs were an embarrassment to the city and that they were on city right of way.
Photos showed them near a stop sign and a utility pole, but it’s hard to determine whether they are within the 6-foot right of way
A Cleveland, Tenn., businessman says city officials crossed a line when they tore down protest signs he posted outside his business Thursday during a visit by Gov. Bill Haslam, reports the Chattanooga TFP. “There needs to be a public apology,” said Dan Rawls, owner of Cleveland Performance Center, for what he says is trespass and violation of his right to free speech. “I think they need to take a course in the Constitution to learn not only that you can’t violate private property rights, you can’t violate First Amendment rights.”
But City Councilman George Poe said Rawls is the one who crossed the line by planting the handmade signs on city right of way near the South Cleveland Community Center, where Haslam announced $570,000 in grants for the center and the Mouse Creek greenway.
“The governor came to give us a half-million dollars, and I thought that was pretty nice,” Poe said Friday. “We come out the door, and there’s signs all over the place painted on cardboard boxes in orange spray paint. … It was a pretty big embarrassment to us in the city,” Poe said Friday.
Rawls planted signs in the grass near the street in front of his business to protest Haslam’s support for the Common Core standards…K-12 education guidelines that Rawls calls a “federally run school system.”
“Shame on you Haslam,” one read. A smaller sign next to it said, “Stop CC.”
Poe said he went with City Manager Janice Casteel when she said the signs were on the public right of way. He said she called the police codes enforcement officer and began pulling up the signs.
Then, Poe said, “This big muscled-up guy, screaming, yelling, slinging his arms around,” came out of Rawls’ business and ordered him and Casteel off his property. Poe said he “thought he was going to give Janice a shove,” so he used the police radio he carries to call for help.
Rawls said he ordered Casteel and Poe to get off his property but didn’t in any way threaten them. Police showed up in force, but calm was restored quickly.
From photos, it’s hard to tell whether the signs are in the 6-foot city right of way.
Gov. Bill Haslam tells Politico that Republicans didn’t do a good job of messaging in the 2012 national elections. He said that President Barack Obama “was able to say, ‘Listen, if you all would just tax rich people, problem solved'” — and that the Republican Party failed to push back successfully.
“We lost the argument,” Haslam said in an interview with POLITICO’s Jonathan Martin.
Haslam said the GOP should do a better job of illustrating the problems generated by debt and other economic woes.
“The one message we haven’t gotten by is, we’re not doing any favors by continuing to pass the debt on down, and we have not done a good job for whatever reason of explaining it,” Haslam said. “The second thing we haven’t done a good job of explaining is this: Unemployment and economic growth are directly related to business investment. Directly related. And we have not been able to make that connection.”
He also acknowledged that the Obama campaign chalked up successes at the ground game level, and called on his party to compete everywhere — not just in GOP-friendly territory.
Haslam, the governor of a deep-red state, also struck a centrist tone on the topic of immigration. When Martin asked about immigration reform, Haslam said he “actually would” like to see a comprehensive immigration reform bill signed. He said he views the issue through the lens of economic development, and senses that there is the political will to move on the subject.
See also Politico’s interview with Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, mostly on the Democrat’s advocacy of gun control, wherein there is this line: During his interview with POLITICO, Malloy also slammed Republicans for not negotiating, he said, on sequestration. But he did have kind words for one GOP lawmaker: Malloy named Gov. Bill Haslam (R-Tenn.) when asked about his favorite governor from the other side.
A lobbyist’s email was sent under state Rep. Bob Ramsey’s name, using his legislative office computer, to urge that all state representatives vote against a bill on taxing roll-your-own cigarettes, those involved said Tuesday.
The episode Monday led Ramsey, chairman of the House State and Local Government Committee, to send a follow-up message to colleagues saying the email “was sent out from my e-mail account without my knowledge” and “in no way reflects my opinion of the matter.”
It also led House Speaker Beth Harwell to speak with Ramsey, his assistant, Angela Brown, and lobbyist Dan Haskell.
“I heard his (Haskell’s) side of the story,” Harwell said. “I talked to Rep. Ramsey and his assistant and made it clear that legislative equipment and email are for legislative staff and our members only.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Department of Education is launching a nationwide search to replace two testing officials.
Department spokeswoman Kelli Gauthier said Monday that the executive service appointments of Dan Long and Stan Curtis ended last week.
She said an interim director has been appointed “to ensure the ongoing success of the department’s work in data and assessments.”
Long headed the Assessment, Evaluation and Research Division, which administers the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, or TCAP, achievement tests, and Curtis served as assistant director.
The departures come less than a month after the state asked the federal government for a waiver from the No Child Left Behind law, saying its revamped education standards should be appropriate for measuring schools.
Recent results show only about half of Tennessee’s schools have met the federal law’s standards. UPDATE: Department officials wouldn’t tell Andrea Zelinski why the two men departed, but did say what the reason was n’t. Or something like that. The state Department of Education says the resignation of two testing division officials is “completely separate” from a mistake the department made in downgrading two school districts four years ago.
A Cocke County election commissioner and businessman faces charges of vehicular homicide and drunken driving after authorities say he struck and killed a Vermont woman riding a bicycle Tuesday night, reports the News Sentinel. Dan Ford of Hartford Road in Cosby had been drinking before the 9:42 p.m. impact, according to a report filed by Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Dennis Jenkins.
Ford was traveling north on state Highway 73 in a 2001 GMC 2500 Sierra pickup when he encountered two women riding bicycles, according to Jenkins’ report. The speed limit on that stretch of highway is 45 mph.
Jenkins said the truck struck both bicyclists.
The impact killed Katelin Richardson, 21, of Jeffersonville, Vt., Jenkins said. Richardson was not wearing a bicycle helmet, but Jenkins’ probe concluded the device probably would not have saved the woman’s life.
The second bicyclist, Rachel Warren, 19, of Seattle, Wash., was not injured.
Jenkins noted Ford had been drinking an alcoholic beverage, and more tests were ordered to determine if drugs also were involved in the crash. Ford was using a seat belt and was not injured.
Ford was freed from jail after posting a $50,000 bond.
He is an election commissioner in Cocke County. Ford is a former chair of the Cocke County Republican Party and ran in 2008 for state representative but lost to the incumbent. (Note: He was the Republican nominee against Democratic Rep. Eddie Yokley, D-Greeneville, who lost then in 2010 to Rep.Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby.)