Latest Sweeps Candidate

The latest sweeps candidate is the story of Cathy Ackermann ,

Knoxville

's queen bee of PR (sorry, Mox ) getting a contract from her friend Susan Whittaker , whom she had recommended to be director of tourism for Gov. Phil Bredesen . Bredesen, wary of May sweeps scandals, responded to Williams' report by saying he was "furious" at the way this has been handled and has demanded an investigation. And the month is only half over.

Bulls-Eye Annexation

Knoxville this week annexed the Farmer's Market, county property being sold to Target for the development of a shopping center and a park on Washington Pike. That's the kind of thing that would have set off a major rift between city and county government in past years, though this time around it appears not to be a problem.

First Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam warned Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale of the city's intentions ahead of time. The shopping center will generate a lot of sales tax for the city.

The mayoral discussions thus far have resulted in Joe Walsh , from the city parks department, joining the county steering committee developing the park. There is some indication that might lead to the first city-county park. There are no other agreements in place about the use of sales tax money from the shopping center, though there is a vague concept out there that the city might use sales tax from the Target store to help with the park. The property is on a city street, and internal roads will be required for the park. The city will be responsible for those once the property is annexed.

Knoxville's annexation will make restaurant development on the site eligible for liquor licenses. Under the Urban Growth Plan agreement, if the city annexes an existing shopping center the sales tax stays with the county for 15 years. But since the Target site is being annexed before construction, the sales tax goes to the city. (Most of it actually goes to the schools.)

That had the potential for a major blow-up in city-county relations and might have imperiled city plans for downtown, which include a land swap with the county to get property for a new cinema complex. But this annexation of county property by the city seems to signal a new era in city-county relations.

 

Painful Return

After eight weeks of extreme pain, a wheelchair, then a walker, blurred vision, and some hearing loss, Barbara Pelot hoped to resume her duties on City Council this week. Pelot was on vacation in Florida and got up one morning with chills, then she developed purple splotches and her left foot was swollen. By the time she got to the hospital, her kidneys had failed. Doctors diagnosed meningitis, a bacterial invasion that is particularly nasty.

"I had good doctors; they have a lot of it there, and they knew what to do." After returning to Knoxville, she has had follow-up care and is awaiting blood tests to make sure she is totally free of infection. She said she hopes the blurred vision and hearing loss is temporary.

The disease has been debilitating. Pelot says she lost 10 pounds and lacked the energy to even talk on the phone for several weeks.

 

Man with the Plan

Mayor Bill Haslam has taken on the job of fund-raising to save the Bijou Theatre, but Raja Jubran , CEO of Denark Construction, has been drafted to work out a stabilization plan to get the theater on track and work out a long-term business plan to prevent future problems. Jubran will try to identify potential tenants to sustain the theater and make recommendations to the Tennessee Theatre Board, which has assumed responsibility for the historic theater.

Denark was the general contractor on the $23 million restoration of the Tennessee Theatre.

 

Mayday, Mayday!

Beware the Ides of May ? Former UT President John Shumaker , Sundquist friends Al Ganier and John Stamps , state Sen. John Ford , TDOT contractors and free-spending TVA executives are just some of the people who have come to appreciate that public officials are especially vulnerable this time of year.

It's sweeps month for television stations. It's the time when ratings determine ad rates for the rest of the year. It's the time the investigative reporters are turned loose to shoot fish in a barrel, drive ratings and win a bitter battle between WTVF and WSMV. Or, in simpler terms, Phil Williams takes on Nancy Ammons . Political careers are often at stake.

The latest sweeps candidate is the story of Cathy Ackermann , Knoxville's queen bee of PR (sorry, Mox ) getting a contract from her friend Susan Whittaker , whom she had recommended to be director of tourism for Gov. Phil Bredesen . Bredesen, wary of May sweeps scandals, responded to Williams' report by saying he was "furious" at the way this has been handled and has demanded an investigation. And the month is only half over.

© 2005 MetroPulse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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