Allegations that Kate Hudson had made insulting remarks about what there was to do in Knoxville prompted us on deadline day to report it in an Ear to the Ground. Then, called to fill in for the vacationing Joe Sullivan , columnist Jack Neely wrote an impromptu and not altogether serious Insights column that morning, based on that Ear item. Our reports about Hudson’s comments were based on a staffer’s one-time viewing of the show, without the benefit of rewind and slow motion, and voice-analysis software. However, we’ve since heard from several readers who stay up later on Monday nights than we do, and happened to tape the show. Now that the Hudson-Letterman dialogue has been as fully scrutinized as the Zapruder film, we’ve been corrected about exactly what actress Kate Hudson said to David Letterman on Monday night.
New Horse, Midstream?
People in Knoxville are just so suspicious. The city has issued an addendum to its request for proposals for the South Knoxville Riverfront Development. The last paragraph says “all teams are allowed to make modifications to the firms, personnel, or proposals that they feel would improve project quality.”
The effort to oust Knox County Commission Chairman Scott Moore continues, with Commissioner John Mills seen as the possible new chairman. The new chairman will be the commissioner that can garner 10 votes from the 19 members at the September meeting. If Mills doesn’t have the 10 votes, the ouster effort may turn to another commissioner.
Bug in Our Ear
What we understand is not that Letterman asked her what was the worst or dullest city she visited, but what was the strangest . Which is not, in itself, a bad thing. Hudson began to say something about Knoxville, as a for-instance of “really strange places in the middle of America.” She also did say there was “not much to do”—presumably in Knoxville, but even that isn’t perfectly clear—and “We definitely had to find our fun.”
When Letterman later asked, “Would you go back for a million bucks,” she didn’t just say, “I’d go back for two,” which some, including us, took to mean, “two million.” But most seemed to hear her say, “I’d go back for two bucks .” Which happens to be the cost of a happy-hour pint at the Downtown Grill and Brewery, which we’d be happy to buy for Kate Hudson to come back and accept our apologies, and to show her just how strange Knoxville can be.
By Thursday of last week, enterprising local marketers were advertising a T-shirt emblazoned Entertain Kate . They can be found at www.cafepress.com/dtknox . We sense the beginning of a movement.
New Horse, Midstream?
The city whittled the proposals to three teams of finalists and started reviewing their final proposals yesterday and will continue today. Some team members were taken aback to learn that other people could be added and proposals changed mid-process. Unfortunately, some people in Knoxville have suspicious minds and suspect any change of the rules at this late date is to allow some favored company to get an edge.
Not so says the city. One of the out of town companies hired a new person and they just wanted to know if they could add him to their team. The evaluation committee, after some discussion, decided the more the merrier. So the addendum went out allowing changes from the original request for proposals. They suggest that wholesale changes by one of the teams would make it appear that their original proposal was weak.
But if any of the team members who show up today are kin to anybody at the city, give us a call.
Moore won by a one-vote margin and has clashed with County Mayor Mike Ragsdale on some issues. He was also urged by anti-wheel tax forces to run against Ragsdale, but he declined. If Ragsdale can hold the nine votes that originally backed former Chairman David Collins and can pick up a vote from Mills, or another Moore backer, then the chair will change. The Commission votes on the chairman’s job each September, but the committee chairs are two-year terms and they would not change if there is a new chairman— unless the chairman is Mills, who would have to give up his Intergovernmental committee and appoint someone else.
Moore won last year with support from Sheriff Tim Hutchison , but the betting is that Hutchison will not want to get involved in another round of battling commissioners, because next year is an election year. He and Ragsdale will both be on the ballot, as will all the commissioners.
Memphis, the largest TVA customer, is expected to get at least one member of the board, though there is pressure to name two from that city. Middle Tennessee is expected to also have a member. Baxter is from Knoxville. There is expected to be a member from Bristol, a place at the edge of the TVA service area where private utilities have been trying to make inroads. Alabama is supposed to get a member, and there are two solid contenders there. The question is whether both will be named or whether the two Republican senators from Alabama will be satisfied with one. Considering that Alabama has never had a representative on the board, giving them two does seem excessive.
A large question is whether Kentucky will have a representative. U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell , R-Ky., is not a friend of TVA and has been one of its harshest critics. There is a possibility that McConnell could become Senate Majority leader when U.S. Sen. Bill Frist R-Tenn. leaves the senate next year. Kentucky is home to a couple of TVA power plants and sells the agency a lot of coal. TVA employment in the state is significant.
Bug in Our Ear