Johnny Knoxville, Hope Clock, Development Corp.



Yards Sale?

We hear the Development Corp. has a buyer for the Coster Shop industrial site off I-275 and may announce a deal within the month. The deal to sell to a willing buyer will resemble the sale of the TVA tower in downtown Knoxville in more ways than one.

The Coster yards, a repair facility for Norfolk Southern for decades before being abandoned, was purchased by the City of Knoxville, which cleared it for prospective tenants. The deal fell through when the cleanup resulted in some contaminated dirt being deposited in a South Knoxville sinkhole.

The site has been approved by state officials for use as an industrial site and has been turned over to the Development Corp.


A Tax Hawk?

Rookie state Rep. Stacy Campfield , R-Knoxville, has Nashville in a furor. His blog  ( to tell constituents about what really goes on in the legislature has prompted Democrats to retaliate by killing one of his bills, the Tennessean 's editorial page responded by commending him for communicating with the people, admonishing him to be civil and telling the Democrats to grow up.

Campfield's blog took some shots at the Democrat's ethical challenges (Sen. John Ford , D-Memphis) and a legislative intern started a blog to respond. But other bloggers pointed out that the posts were time stamped during the work day. The blog disappeared, but Campfield's continues.

But under the heading of people living in glass houses, that doesn't mean retaliation is over. In the comment section of Campfield's blog, a persistent questioner wants to know if Campfield owes delinquent property taxes to the city of Knoxville on six investment properties. Campfield responds by saying that if any taxes are due he will pay them, plus penalties. His business is buying and restoring old houses.


Meditation on Politics

Knoxville City Councilman Chris Woodhull has joined the blogging fraternity offering his views on politics and governing. The spiritual Woodhull leans more toward meditation than bare-knuckles politics, offering his vision of city priorities. In a post after a recent City Council meeting, he suggested that the city's next focus should be on reclaiming Park City as a natural progression from downtown redevelopment.

Woodhull jokes that he might as well give any potential opponents all the ammunition they need by sharing his thoughts with constituents. The blog is


Anti-ID Pro-ID Idea

When Lamar Alexander was governor of Tennessee, he twice vetoed legislation putting a photograph on state drivers' licenses. In an op-ed piece in the Washington Post last week, now-U.S. Sen. Alexander says he did it because a driver's license ought to be about driving and not a state ID card.

But as much as he hates the idea, Alexander comes out in favor of a national federal ID card. He notes that Congress is about to take over state drivers licensing and turn the license into an ID card. Alexander says there are better ideas than "turning state driver's license examiners into CIA agents," and suggests that the feds upgrade the Social Security card into a national ID card, if the idea is to discourage illegal immigration, rather than put the burden on the states.

He said he changed his mind on photos on state driver's licenses when he went to the White House, and they wouldn't let him in without a driver's license photo, and he had to get another governor to vouch for him.

"For years state driver's licenses have served as de facto national ID cards. They have been unreliable. All but one of the Sept. 11 terrorists had a valid driver's license."

Alexander: " Instead of pretending we are not creating national ID cards when we obviously are, Congress should carefully create an effective federal document that helps prevent terrorism—with as much respect for privacy as possible."


Dueling Johnny Knoxvilles

A few years ago, we profiled a fellow who claimed he was Johnny Knoxville before Johnny Knoxville was. John Fairstein, a.k.a. John Fairstein Knoxville, local artist and optics engineer who once presented his extravagantly dressed Johnny Knoxville persona long before the Jackass series, has apparently decided he can put up with the younger pretender's duplicity no longer. In a crudely assembled journal called the Lake City Town Liar , John Fairstein Knoxville has challenged Johnny "Jackass" Knoxville to a duel on Market Square, on Monday, June 13.

"The damned time has come for justice" he's quoted as saying. "I've already shot him on TV several times. I'm getting tired of blowing away these damn TV's...but I'm getting pretty good now, and I think I'm ready for the real thing."

The more famous Johnny Knoxville had not responded to his challenge at press time.


Clock Hope

The effort to replace the once-famous Hope Clock, the 1890s sidewalk clock that stood on the 400 block of Gay Street until last year, is proceeding apace, with Morris Creative Group, InSite Development, and Dewhirst Properties on board. Photographer Gary Heatherly , whose award-winning coffee-table book Knoxville Then and Now has sold more than 9,000 copies since it was originally published in 1991, has agreed to donate the 800-odd books he has left in stock to the clock cause, with $10 of each book going to the effort.

The original clock was removed last year by Kimball's Jewelers, since removed to Kingston Pike, after Kimball's proved they had the right to do so. (Lately, the legal right to remove historic features downtown is tantamount to a motive to do so.) The new clock, based on the old one, will be donated to the city of Knoxville to ensure its permanence downtown. 

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