Nichole “Nikki” Goesner first appeared on the Tennessee political stage during the 2009 debate over “guns in bars” legislation, invited by a state senator to tell the story of how her husband was killed in cold blood as she watched and how she has wished ever since that she had a pistol in her purse on that night.
“Had I not been disarmed, I could have had a chance to save Ben,” she writes as she retells the story in the recently published book “Denied a Chance: How Gun Control Helped a Stalker Murder My Husband.”
In her mind, Goesner writes, she constantly replayed scenarios in which she would have acted differently if the .38 she was licensed to carry had been with her. It was left in her car because state law at the time forbade carrying a gun into a restaurant where alcohol was served.
She was there to help her husband, as a second job in the evenings, run a karaoke operation. He was setting up the equipment when she spotted the man who had been stalking her, she writes, and asked the manager to evict him. The manager was talking with him when the man turned, unzipped his jacket, pulled a .45 from underneath his coat and shot her husband, who fell on the first blast and then was shot another five times.
Back during the legislative session, there was a push to put new restrictions in place on people drawing unemployment benefits. (See prior post HERE, for example.) Now, with reelection campaigns underway, the Dyersburg State Gazette says at least one lawmaker is concerned about the handling of benefits – or lack thereof – for workers who deserve them. Earlier this week state Rep. Bill Sanderson sent a letter to Gov. Bill Haslam about the challenges residents in his district are facing in trying to communicate with Labor and Workforce Development.
…”I have heard of numerous cases where proud members of this community who have lost their jobs due to no fault of their own have requested relief from the State only to be denied after an exhaustive 10-14 week review process,” said Sanderson in his letter dated Oct. 19. “This process should take less time. This is extremely frustrating and only complicates matters for all parties involved.”
Sanderson goes on to state that he believes northwest Tennessee’s best days are ahead of it. A thought that may be supported by the latest unemployment figures and the completion of the Port of Cates Landing, which is bringing with it a renewed hope that the economy in the area will be jump-started.
In terms of unemployment numbers, 11.3 percent of residents in Dyer County reported in September that they are currently unemployed. As critics have pointed out, this does not include the number of individuals that have stopped looking for work or whose benefits have lapsed as is the case for World Color employees. However, the Labor Department’s unemployment figures and job creation data is currently the only method of determining unemployment rates in a particular area.
The public library’s new photo cards won’t qualify as voter IDs in Thursday’s elections, and the long-term outlook for the voter-photo initiative of Mayor A C Wharton appears in serious jeopardy after a two-hour hearing in a Nashville federal court, reports Richard Locker. U.S. Dist. Judge Aleta Trauger denied the City of Memphis’ request for an injunction ordering election officials to accept the photo cards as identification under Tennessee’s law requiring most voters to present photo IDs at polling precincts before they can cast ballots.
Although the judge said “there are parts of this act (the state law) that make no sense to the court and it does appear there will be unfair impacts, particular on the elderly,” she said the plaintiffs in the case — the City of Memphis and a Memphis voter — “are not likely to succeed on the merits” in their efforts to allow the library-issued cards to qualify.
One of the provisions of the voter-photo statute passed by the new Republican majority in the Tennessee legislature last year that Trauger and even attorneys for the state agreed “makes no sense” allows long-expired hunting licenses or other photo ID issued by any other state to qualify for Tennessee voting — but not photo IDs issued by Tennessee cities or counties.
“I certainly do hope the legislature revisits this act because to the court, it is nonsensical that someone who holds an expired hunting license from another state and someone who has a photo ID from the library” are treated differently when it comes to voting, Trauger said.
— Note: Statements on the judge’s decision below.
The Dayton mayors wife says she was told Wednesday that her vote in the Aug. 2 Republican primary will be rejected, triggering a debate over a voters’ ability to participate in the party primary of his or her choice.
From Action Andy Sher’s report: “I’m still in shock,” Maxine Vincent, wife of Dayton Mayor Bob Vincent said.
There were unconfirmed reports that as many as five other voters had their effort to cast ballots in the GOP primary challenged by Republican election officials.
Vincent, who acknowledged usually voting for Democrats, and her husband are longtime friends and now supporters of Republican Ron Travis, of Dayton. He is running against state Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, in the House District 31 GOP primary, which is among the contests on the primary ballot. Early voting started last Friday.
Rhea County Administrator of Elections Theresa Snyder, who Vincent said challenged her voting in the GOP primary, said in an interview that “the way the state law reads you can be challenged in a political primary for several reasons.”
Snyder said a primary “is for the purpose members of that party to select a nominee to appear on the November ballot. And I think that kind of speaks for itself.”
Tennessee law says a registered voter is entitled to vote in a primary election if the voter is a “bona fide member of and affiliated with the political party in whose primary the voter seeks to vote; or at the time the voter seeks to vote, the voter declares allegiance to the political party in whose primary the voter seeks to vote and states the voter intends to affiliate with that party.”
Snyder confirmed Vincent did take the oath as she was asked a series of questions about her allegiance to the Republican Party. But she added that “the three judges verified her voting history and made their decision.”
“Obviously, she has a strong history voting for one party, not the party she asked to vote in,” Snyder said.
Since it was a Republican primary, the panel was comprised of Republicans. Vincent said Snyder was one of the judges. Asked about that, Snyder would only say it was “three judges.” When pressed about her participation, she told a reporter to call the state election coordinator’s office and then hung up.
…Travis said he was dismayed over what happened.
“There are rules and processes that we have to follow,” he said. “But we’ve got a unique situation here” because only he and Cobb are running the GOP primary and there is no Democrat running in the House race this fall.
“This is the primary and this is the general,” he said. “There are only two candidates running. But I do believe we need to follow the rules and the processes and the law. We’re not to bend [them] to the benefit of any candidate.”
He said he thinks Vincent was treated unfairly “if she raised her hand and took the oath of the Republican Party. For goodness sake, Ronald Reagan was once a Democrat.”
The Memphis-Shelby County unified school board has voted to deny 17 charter school applications. The Commercial Appeal has a report on the impact, using the Grizzlies Foundation – hit “in its philanthropic heart” as the lead example Since the spring, the foundation and its Grizzlies Prep board have invested “five figures” in training and pay for the school’s principal.
The Grizzlies charter school, a college-prep middle school for boys, was expected to open in fall 2012 in the former Federal Reserve building at 168 Jefferson.
Its fate now hangs in the state treasurer’s hands after the unified school board rejected its application, saying the school and 13 other high-scoring applications pose serious financial threats to the traditional public schools in the county.
“I’m disappointed for the kids that this (school) would help,” Ross Glotzbach, Grizzlies Prep board chairman, said Wednesday after a five-hour school board meeting Tuesday night.
“The alternatives that these kids would have to go to, boys there score 5 percent proficient on their test,” he said. “In one school, they did not have one seventh- or eighth-grader pass the math TCAP in the last year.”
On the advice of legal counsel, both Memphis City Schools Supt. Kriner Cash and Shelby County Schools Supt. John Aitken recommended that the unified board deny all the applications, saying the expense of losing nearly 2,000 students to charter schools would decimate school budgets.
“When I looked at the data presented on this issue, it immediately became glaringly clear that Memphis City Schools cannot now and into the future withstand the financial impact to the district that this many charter schools being approved each year would have,” Cash said.
When a 96-year-old Chattanooga resident went to a driver’s license station to get a free ID for voting, carrying an envelope full of documents, a clerk denied her request, reports the Chattanooga TFP. That morning (Dorothy) Cooper slipped a rent receipt, a copy of her lease, her voter registration card and her birth certificate into a Manila envelope. Typewritten on the birth certificate was her maiden name, Dorothy Alexander.
“But I didn’t have my marriage certificate,” Cooper said Tuesday afternoon, and that was the reason the clerk said she was denied a free voter ID at the Cherokee Boulevard Driver Service Center.
“I don’t know what difference it makes,” Cooper said.
Cooper visited the state driver service center with Charline Kilpatrick, who has been working with residents to get free photo IDs. After the clerk denied Cooper’s request, Kilpatrick called a state worker, explained what happened and asked if Cooper needed to return with a copy of the marriage certificate.
“The lady laughed,” Kilpatrick said. “She said she’s never heard of all that.”
Tennessee Department of Safety spokeswoman Dalya Qualls said in a Tuesday email that Cooper’s situation, though unique, could have been handled differently.
“It is department policy that in order to get a photo ID, a citizen must provide documentation that links their name to the documentation that links their name to the document they are using as primary proof of identity,” Qualls said. “In this case, since Ms. Cooper’s birth certificate (her primary proof of identity) and voter registration card were two different names, the examiner was unable to provide the free ID.”
Despite that, Qualls said, “the examiner should have taken extra steps to determine alternative forms of documentation for Ms. Cooper.”