ear (2007-45)

Ear to the Ground

Recall Supported

Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale has signed a petition that asks for a charter change to allow recall elections. Brian Paone, a leader of the petition drive, met with Ragsdale on Tuesday to ask for his support.

The petition will be taken to Knox County Commission at its next meeting to ask that it be put on the ballot for the August 2008 election. The petition also calls for protection of petitioners from retaliation when they seek the recall of public officials. That is a response to reports that Gary Sellers, leader of the petition drive to recall the wheel tax, had his job threatened during the collection process. Sellers is on the committee seeking the recall provision and has turned over his e-mail database, which led to the successful wheel-tax referendum drive.

The charter amendment would allow a group to seek the recall of an elected county official if they obtain signatures of 15 percent of the registered voters during a 90-day period.

Cajun Dinner

Going into next yearâ’s county election, the Knox County Democratic Party has scored a coup: fund-raising help from author, political consultant, raconteur, and â“Raging Cajunâ” James Carville.

â“An Evening With James Carvilleâ” will be held at the Knoxville Convention Center on May 15. Chair Don Daugherty convinced Carville to take less than his usual fee in order to help the local party raise money to field a slate of candidates in county elections next year, and he got a signed contract this week.

One of the generals in the Clinton War Room in 1992, Carville has been writing books and hosting a radio show of late. He does political consulting work, but outside the country. The Louisiana native is married to Bush-Cheney adviser Mary Matalin. Matalin is currently helping out in the presidential campaign of former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson.

Details are still being worked out, but Carville is also expected to attend at least one private high-dollar reception prior to the evening speech. The Convention Center event is the partyâ’s annual Truman Day Dinner.

Shooting for Dollars

Heâ’s at it again. Commissioner Greg â“Lumpyâ” Lambert is planning a turkey shoot complete with machine guns as a fund-raiser the Sunday afternoon before Thanksgiving.

No, you donâ’t get to shoot turkeys with a machine gun. There will be a target shooting competition at Cold Creek Armory and the winner gets a turkey. Then for a fee you can shoot a magazine clip from one of five machine guns that will be on hand. There will also be a pistol given away as a door prize.

Lambert first gained fame by giving away a military rifle with each car purchase on his car lot. Last year he apprehended an armed robber at the car lot by pulling his pistol. The suspect was later charged with a murder in a previous armed robbery.

Lambert has at least seven appearances in various YouTube videos, most having to do with the recent sunshine trial.

Walking in Sunshine

Knox County Commissioners were obviously on guard at a dinner this week to avoid being accused of violating the Sunshine Law. At the annual Reagan Day Dinner on Monday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, they sat at separate tables and talked with different groups during a pre-dinner social hour.

The annual fund-raiser for the Tennessee Conservative Union celebrated 30 years of the groupâ’s existence and the 25-year tenure of Chairman Lloyd Daugherty. Several candidates for county election next year were in attendance. They watched a documentary featuring clips from famous faces, including a special tribute sent by presidential candidate Fred Thompson, a personal letter and clip from John McCain, and a clip from Mitt Romney. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who has clashed with the TCU on numerous occasions (the TCU campaigned against him in his presidential runs), sent a clip acknowledging the effectiveness of the group.

One of the hosts for the conservative gathering was once and possibly future Sheriff Jimmy â“J.J.â” Jones.

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