A former FBI agent who claims Nashville’s mosques have no legal right to exist is training the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office about Islam and the threats of terrorism, according to The Tennessean.
John Guandolo, vice president of the Arlington, Va.-based Strategic Engagement Group, is leading training being held at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro. He spoke at an anti-Shariah law event at Cornerstone Church in Madison on Nov. 11, calling local mosques front organizations for the Muslim Brotherhood with no right to exist.
“They do not have a First Amendment right to do anything,” Guandolo said then.
Rutherford Sheriff Robert Arnold said his department simply wants to learn about Muslim culture.
“There are not many classes out there for anything when it comes to Muslims … but this training isn’t just about that, it has many other components to it,” he said. “My stance is and my office’s stance is, we are not here to pick sides. I am here to protect the people of this county, and I am never going to waiver from that.”
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — James M. “Mike” Williams won’t be the last Democrat standing in Rutherford County for long.
The 63-year-old road superintendent is the last Democrat to hold a local elected office here and plans to retire next August.
Williams told The Daily News Journal that part of his decision not to seek a sixth four-year term is that Republicans captured the other seven county constitutional offices as well as all six of the county’s delegation seats in the Tennessee General Assembly (http://on.dnj.com/syNQG3).
Williams considers himself a conservative Democrat and says if he did run again he would stick to his party because “I don’t feel you should jump parties to get elected.”
Rutherford County Democrats question why Republican state Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro would criticize party officer Tony Pegel on a voting registration technicality, according to the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal.
They point out that Pegel didn’t vote until November 1994, which was after he came off probation on April 30, 1994, for a prior robbery conviction, according to state and Rutherford County election records.
“I would think that a person of senator Ketron’s position who reportedly has eyes for higher office would be above such attacks on one of his constituents,” said Lee Campbell, who was the past vice chairman of the local Democratic Party before Pegel assumed the role.
“Quite frankly, I think it’s a revenge thing on Ketron’s part because of the very factually based guest editorial Pegel wrote in The DNJ after Ketron had his article,” Campbell said. “I think that Ketron didn’t like somebody questioning him and bringing out points and found a reason to go after Tony personally and did so.”
Phone messages were left for Pegel, but he was not available for comment.
Ketron during a phone interview Tuesday stood by his assertions about Pegel, who listed his occupation as an engineer on voting documents supplied by Ketron.
“The record speaks for itself,” Ketron said.
Note: Previous post HERE.
The plurality of Rutherford County Republicans participating in a presidential straw poll Saturday night favored Texas Gov. Rick Perry by 29.4 percent to be the next president, reports the Daily News Journal.
Perry had 96 votes from those attending GOP state Rep. Joe Carr’sannual T-Bones & Politics fund raising event at the Messick family farm in the Lascassas community northeast of Murfreesboro.
….Businessman Herman Cain and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts tied for second with 68 votes each, which was 20.9 percent each out of 326 ballots. Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was fourth with 32 votes, which was 9.8 percent. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota was fifth with 24 votes, which was 7.4 percent.
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was sixth with 21 votes, which was 6.4 percent. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania was seventh with 13 votes, which was about 4 percent. Former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah had three votes, which was just under 1 percent. One other vote was listed as uncertain.
State Election Coordinator Mark Goins, defending the state’s new photo voter ID law, tells Andy Sher he can point only to one, possibly two, instances of someone being convicted of impersonating someone else when trying to vote.
“Well, it’s kind of like the speed limit,…If you don’t have a speed limit, how many [speeders] do you have? You really don’t know. As you can imagine, it’s one of the hardest types of fraud to detect because if it’s happening on Election Day, you really don’t have a way to catch it.”
Meanwhile, at a Monday night meeting, members of the Rutherford County Election Commission said theywere still confused about details of the new voter ID law, reports the Daily News Journal.
County Election Administrator Nicole Lester said she will schedule community meetings to begin educating voters on the requirements, which take effect Jan. 1, 2012.
Also on Monday night, according to WBIR, the University of Tennessee hosted a forum about the issue.
Members of the UT debate team stood before an group of people and argued their side of the issue. Some hope the new law will decrease voting fraud and keep illegal immigrants from taking part in the voting process.
However, others feel this reverts back to the idea of having poll taxes and will discourage an already apathetic voter pool.
No Caucus for Rutherford Democrats
At its quarterly meeting Saturday, the Rutherford County Democratic party and executive committee members voted unanimously to use a primary rather than caucuses to determine whose names will go on the county election ballot next fall for county road superintendent and assessor of property, according to a the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal.
“It does not surprise me that our Democrats prefer a primary. Our candidates will be selected in the light of day at the polls, not behind closed doors,” said Justin St. Clair, party chairman.
The decision comes after the Rutherford County Republican Party opted to choose candidates for the 2012 election by caucusing. Its executive committee voted 11-4 this summer to go with the caucuses, reflecting a trend that started last year.
Rogero Backed by Non-partisan PAC
A local nonpartisan political action committee, formed after the Knox County government scandals in 2007, has endorsed Madeline Rogero for Knoxville mayor and four candidates for City Council in the Sept. 27 nonpartisan city primary, reports Georgiana Vines.
The Public Trust PAC, co-chaired by former state Sen. Ben Atchley, a Republican, and ex-County Executive Tommy Schumpert, a Democrat, also endorsed John Stancil and George C. Wallace for Council at large, seat A; Marshall Stair, Council at large, seat B; and Finbarr Saunders, Council at large, seat C.
….Financial adviser David Moon, the group’s treasurer, said in response to questions that the only mayoral candidates interviewed were Rogero and Mark Padgett. All were invited to answer a questionnaire and be interviewed, he said. The group did not hear back from Ivan Harmon about an interview, got no response from Bo Bennett, and Joe Hultquist scheduled an interview and then canceled due to a conflict, Moon said
.Knoxville EV Turnout Light
As of Saturday, 2,421 people had cast ballots in early voting for Knoxville City elections
Clifford Rodge, according to the News Sentinel.
Clifford Rodgers, Knox County administrator of elections, said that although 191,000 people are eligible to vote, turnout is not expected to exceed 30,000 voters.
“What I have been told is that usually the first day of early voting is a good day, and then (turnout) drops off and then you have a strong finish on the last three days,” Rodgers said.
Early voting continues through Sept. 22. (Election day is Sept. 27.)
Sullivan Debates Proper Political Boundaries
Under general state law, political candidates and their supporters are prohibited from coming within 100 feet of polling places during any voting period — early or on election day. A proposal up for a vote by the Sullivan County Commission seeks to ask the state to allow Sullivan County to quadruple that boundary to 400 feet during early voting, reports the Kingsport Times-News
Proponents say the move would keep voters from being forced to run what can often seem like a gantlet to cast their ballot. Supporters also say the proposal would improve parking for voters because those using spots for campaigning would be pushed back.
The parking issue would also make it less of an imposition on people using voting locations for other, everyday purposes during the voting period, according to the proposal.
The benefits of creating up to 1,150 jobs in Rutherford County amid recession outweigh concerns about a 20-year tax-free deal for a secret company dubbed Project Tango, local business leaders believe.
Others say a non-disclosure deal signed by Chamber of Commerce officials as the company pits sites in La Vergne and Murfreesboro against others across the region is simply part of doing business for economic recruiters.
More from the daily News Journal story:
….Board members voted 5-0-1 to approve a 15-year tax break for the company’s proposed non-sort facility, which is projected to bring 325 jobs with wages and benefits totaling $1.37 million. The average pay is estimated at $16.25 an hour, about $33,800 a year, which is lower than the county average of $42,642.
The county would abate all personal property tax totaling $523,456 over 15 years and real property taxes totaling $4.4 million with the company being required to start paying $635,000 annually after seven years.
,,,Under the sort facility proposal, which would bring an estimated 1,150 jobs and wages and benefits totaling $48.5 million, the IDB unanimously approved a 20-year break on all real and personal property taxes, totaling $15.8 million in forgone revenue.
Rutherford County is on the verge of being drawn into a different congressional district, a move that could create a spirited Republican primary when the state Legislature approves reapportionment in 2012, observes the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal.
State Sen. Bill Ketron, chairman of the Legislature’s Republican Majority Caucus, said this week “there’s a real possibility” Rutherford County could be placed into the 4th Congressional District served by Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais of South Pittsburg, removing it from its long-held spot in the 15-county 6th Congressional District.
Asked if he would run for Congress in a newly-drawn 4th District, Ketron, of Murfreesboro, said, “I haven’t ruled that out. But it’s all speculative right now because I don’t know how it’s going to pan out until January.”
Rutherford County’s population grew by 44 percent over the last decade to 262,604 and is largely responsible for pushing the 6th Congressional District to a total of 792,605, which is 87,482 more than the ideal district size. DesJarlais’ district has 688,008 people, 17,115 less than the average district should be.