Ear to the Ground
Some County Commissioners have serious reservations about a charter change proposed by the Ethics Committee. The policy would ban city, county, state and federal employees, including school employees, from serving in county office.
They are trying to compute the percentage of the population that would be declared ineligible to serve on Commission. According to national statistics 40 percent of the work force works for local, state or the federal government. In Knox County, top 10 employers include the school system, the University of Tennessee, and Knox County government. Throw in the Department of Energy and TVA and the numbers go higher.
There are 11,000 people employed by DOE, most of those people live in West Knox County. The schools employ 7,800 people, Knox County employs 2,500, Knoxville employs 2,800 and the University of Tennessee has 7,900 employees. Should family members be prohibited the number would climb substantially.
The Ethics Committee proposes the ban be put on the ballot in August 2008 as a charter amendment for voter approval.
New Knoxville Brewing Company, a fixture at earlier Brewers Jams, was conspicuous by its absence at this yearâ’s event earlier this month at the Worldâ’s Fair Park, and a number of people have been asking about its future. Closed for renovations, itâ’s on the way back, says owner Don Anderson, the local restaurant consultant. The 10-year-old, on-again, off-again resurrection of the 120-year-old brewery is ongoing once more. Itâ’s in the midst of â“the process of reopening,â” Anderson says. It will sport new products and a new brew master in its third modern-day incarnation, and Anderson has been talking with the Bridgeview Grill at the UT boathouse on Neyland Drive about arrangements for promotions, according to Bridgeview manager Tyler Oliverson, who says that not everything in those partnering arrangements has been worked out yet. Al Krusen, the brew master at the Downtown Pub and Brewery on Gay Street and one of the partners in the original reopening of the KBC micro-brewery in 1996, says he hopes it gets going again soon. Craft brews produced by the keg and in bottles at New Knoxville and distributed locally through pubs and grocery stores have included a popular India Pale Ale, a Brown Ale, Porters, and a Hefferweisen. Anderson says heâ’s not ready to make any formal announcements yet but should be fairly soon.
Vol Army in Rouge?
The Big Orange Vol-Army tank, usually parked on Cumberland Avenue, appeared on the west end of the Clinch Avenue viaduct over the weekend, appearing to have been spray-painted a reddish color. Some mistook it for the work of a gloating Crimson Tide insurgent, but it was apparently a deliberate color inversion by friendly forces. The day of the unfortunate Bama game was the same day as the Race for the Cure, the 5K for breast-cancer research whose team color is pink, which convened in Worldâ’s Fair Park. The event was celebrated by the tarted-up tank, but it was apparently just a henna wash. My mid-week, the rain seemed to be returning the tank to its familiar orange hue.
Early voting for the city election (City election? Who knew?) has not been spectacular and seems to be following predictions of a very low turnout. The only race on the ballot is between incumbent City Councilman Joe Bailey and Ray Abbas.
Bailey is from West Knoxville and early voting seems to be a hopeful sign for his campaign. Of the five early voting locations, Downtown West has 40 to 45 percent of the total vote by early this week.
Though the race is allegedly non-partisan, Bailey describes himself as a â“Reagan Republican.â” Abbas has been trying to turn out city Democrats for an upset victory.
But Bailey had Democrat District Attorney General Randy Nichols at an event last week, along with Republican Congressman Jimmy Duncan. Bailey has an event at the Magnolia CafÃ© tonight (Thursday) from 5 until 7. His host committee includes east side political leaders and Democrats state Rep. Joe Armstrong, County Commissioner Tank Strickland, former Commissioner Diane Jordan, school board member Sam Anderson and Baileyâ’s fellow City Councilman Mark Brown.
The Democrats are having a fund-raiser for Abbas at Victor Ashe Park this Sunday from 1-3 p.m. and donations will be accepted. The party sent out 500 invitations. Abbas also has an east side event scheduled, at the Love Kitchen, on Monday at 6 p.m. Abbas worked at the Love Kitchen charity before resigning to run for Council. The local party sent out 3,400 e-mails to registered Democratic voters supporting Abbas.
The city election is Nov. 6. The last day of early voting is Nov. 1
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