ear (2006-46)

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Making a Federal Case

A Briefly Cool Building

Tactical Retreat?

Race Watchers

Target on His Back

Bug in Our Ear

Making a Federal Case

The suit, which references Orwellian procedures, Star Chamber proceedings and the movie Demolition Man , accuses the city of trying to obtain more funds for the city “with trappings of civil procedures.”

The suit names the arresting officer, unknown persons who mailed the citation, the city and Redflex, the company that administers the cameras at intersections to record motorists running red lights.

The 21-page suit alleges the city presumes guilt without trial and opportunity to be heard and asks that the contract with Redflex be canceled, the program ended and the funds returned to motorists.

A Briefly Cool Building

What had for years had passed for a plain brick mid-20th-century building of utilitarian style was suddenly a two-story Victorian-era building with some unusually elaborate brickwork, studs of small pyramidal shapes in arched patterns. There’s nothing exactly like it in town.

There was also an old advertisement painted on the brick in still-bright colors, blue on yellow, reading “LEE RIDERS / UNION ALLS / GUARANTEED.” At one time early in the last century, the building apparently sold men’s work clothes.

But if you haven’t seen it already, it may be too late. At this writing, it’s being covered back up with more plain brick, to make it look a lot like it did before.

Chris Shinlever is the owner of Vine Avenue Furniture, across the street, and owns the building as part of his business. It’s one of the relatively few retail businesses downtown that’s been there through all the changes of the last half-century. The business has preserved its name in spite of the fact that the street changed its name some 30 years ago.

“Some of the façade came loose and had to be replaced,” he says.

Was he tempted to get it restored and join the restoration bandwagon?

“Not tempted at all,” he says. Prodded for elaboration, he adds, “I don’t think much of old buildings. I’d much rather have a new building.” He has reportedly declined offers to sell it.

Tactical Retreat?

One, to Donald Rumsfeld in June, 2006, advised the then-Secretary of Defense to ignore calls for his resignation, remarking that “a man of your caliber” should not be criticized by the likes of Ted Kennedy. It continued with a couple of borrowed quips: “Stay the course. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.” It’s signed R. Benton Bryan .

The other letter in the frame was Secretary Rumsfeld’s grateful response to Bryan for “your thoughtful comments and your words of encouragement.”

Bryan, the shaven-headed son of CEO Richard Bryan and now chief operating officer of the company, may be best known in the neighborhood as the first in memory to drive a tank into the Old City. He purchased the “fully functioning” British-made tank overseas, and brought it home as a diversion.

The week after Rumsfeld’s resignation, the framed letters are still there, albeit shoved over less conspicuously, sideways and partly obscured by a nicely tailored cashmere jacket.

Race Watchers

Other parkers spent time idling while waiting for racers on Summit Hill Drive and Central Avenue. The race finally moved on and motorists were able to clear the downtown area.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Theatre is proving to be an economic boon to Gay Street and Market Square restaurants and bars. Events on Sunday afternoons and on weeknights are driving up business on what might otherwise be slow periods. Employees report being “slammed” before and after events at the Tennessee.

Target on His Back

Wilder is up for re-election as speaker and lieutenant governor in January. The Republicans still have a 17-16 majority, but if Williams votes for Wilder again the Republicans still do not have control of the Senate. Wilder would make committee appointments and control proceedings.

Republicans think Williams, who has threatened to switch from Republican to Independent, will vote for Wilder but may not finish out his term. If Wilder is elected, it is a two-year term that cannot be undone, even if Williams were replaced by another Republican. Williams is rumored to be taking a job with the Bredesen administration before his current term ends, in 2008, though state law prevents a sitting senator leaving to become a commissioner or deputy commissioner for the governor.

Meanwhile, Faulk is writing a blog called “Mountain ‘publican” and keeping voters up to date on goings-on in Nashville—especially the latest Williams news.

© 2006 MetroPulse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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