ear (2007-04)

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Good Bye Tyler

Let's Move Up

Forum Proposed

Credit Where Credit's Due

Bernadette's Sentencing

Bug in Our Ear

Good Bye Tyler

The former aide to County Mayor Mike Ragsdale was fired after a computer hacking allegation and later claimed to have been doing political work and not his county job. The investigation has been simmering since before the last county mayoral election.

No one is expected to be indicted or charged when the investigation is closed. A final report summing up the results of the investigation may be completed any day.

Ragsdale's opponents on County Commission, particularly Commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert , have attempted to get Harber before Commission to testify and to get a Commission vote for an official investigation, to no avail.

When new commissioners are appointed to replace those term-limited, the resulting make-up may be less sympathetic to Ragsdale, but by then the investigation will be closed.

Let's Move Up

There had been an earlier move to elevate non-term limited Commissioner Craig Leuthold to the county trustee job. Leuthold works for the trustee. But Leuthold was persuaded to pass up the opportunity. With Tindell possibly being given the Clerk job, there may be a reconsideration of Leuthold.

The possibility of two county commissioners being appointed to countywide office by their colleagues may provoke a gag reflex among the public. Stay tuned.

Forum Proposed

Once those positions have been aired, he will then throw it open to any candidates for any other district Commission seats who want to attend.

Credit Where Credit's Due

Bernadette's Sentencing

Bernadette's conviction was just for money laundering--basically, spending money earned by the marijuana ring, most of it on the Wests' properties on Market Square.

Before the judge and a crowd of about 60 well-wishers, defense attorney David Eldridge organized a presentation of testimonials for the downtown activist from Preservation Pub manager Ann Milsaps , sister-in-law Paula McAnally --and one R.B. Morris ,   the well-known blues/rock performer and recording artist who has been Writer in Residence at the UT library for the last several years. If you ever need a friend, the tall poet cuts a statesmanlike figure in a courtroom. He could teach some senators a few things.

In measured tones he called Bernadette "the hardest-working person in this city" and "our greatest ambassador." He continued, "The city has a greater stake in the future because of her. People support her because they owe her."

Bernadette also spoke on her own behalf. True to form, she spoke mostly about downtown. "Market Square had potential," she said. "I could see that in college. But it never seemed to develop. It only seemed to get worse."

After they moved to the Square and began to see their legitimate businesses thrive, she said, "I wanted to spend the rest of my life on the Square."

The prosecution was asking for about four years. The defense was hoping for a term of probation. But Phillips gave the former flight attendant two years at Alderson Federal Prison Camp, a minimum-security women's prison in West Virginia; he didn't mention it from the bench, but, yes, it's the same one where Martha Stewart spent some spare time recently.

© 2007 MetroPulse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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