ear (2008-07)

Ear to the Ground


All was sweetness and light election night at the Democratic Party party at the Urban Bar in the Old City, with progressive County Commissioner Mark Harmon and Democratic Party Chair Don Daugherty celebrating victories and planning for the general election.

But the next day victorious 2nd District Commission candidate Amy Broylesâ’ supporters had some comments about supporters of her opponent, Cortney Piper. Blog entries and e-mails referred to her victory over Piper supporters as a defeat for the â“paleodems,â” a term which offended Daugherty. There has been a sharp exchange on the blogs, some heated e-mails, and some bad feelings all around. Daugherty, in an e-mail to Harmon, took exception to disparaging the older members of the party who â“(laid) the groundwork for you to be on the County Commission. They were knocking on doors here while you were still in Texas. An apology is owed to those folks by Amy and by you.â”

This comes at a time when the Democrats have a chance to pick up offices in the August general election. The anti-incumbent attitude helps Democrats because most of the office holders in county government are Republicans.

Organization Indeed

While county Democrats at the Urban Bar and county Republicans at the Crowne Plaza were milling around, jawing and back-slapping in small groups and waiting for candidates to appear, the Dems for Sen. Barack Obama who were awaiting the presidential primary results in the upstairs banquet room at Barleyâ’s were mostly sitting attentively as though they were assigned to their tables, with eyes glued to the televised returns. Young and old, they presented an orderly picture as they quietly munched pizza. There were few whoops and hollers, as Sen. Hillary Clinton carried the county and the state.

No Party in ICU

It was obvious to everyone that Election Day was not a good day for Lee Tramel, a candidate for County Commission in the 4th District. He wound up in third place after running a heavily financed textbook race, but being hammered by the fallout from Black Wednesday last year in which he was appointed to County Commission.

But Tramel, an assistant chief deputy in the sheriffâ’s department, wasnâ’t spending a lot of time election night worrying about the election. His sister, Sherry Lyons, who was working the polls for him that day, suffered a stroke. She was rushed to University of Tennessee Medical Center, where she is an emergency room nurse, and taken to ICU.

She was given miracle drugs to reverse the effects of the stroke and by the next day had recovered memory and speech. She is expected to eventually recover from what doctors say was some sort of blockage. But Tramel, instead of joining the dispirited group of his colleagues at the Crowne Plaza downtown, spent election night in the ICU waiting room.

Bust Out?

The slow-down in the national housing market and the credit crunch may come home this year as development slows in Knox County. While homes continue to sell, there is expected to be a reduction in volume. This is bad news to developers who have subdivisions with vacant lots heavily financed and no likelihood of building a house and selling them.

Insiders say four to five West Knox County developers may not survive the crunch. They have not been helped by the revolution on Knox County Commissionâ"the number of commissioners considered developer- friendly has been reduced. Look for an effort to increase density on subdivision sites to increase profit per unit and look for rejection to result in some people becoming overextended.

Tea Party

Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr., who lost a U.S. Senate race in Tennessee in 2006, has finally set a date for his wedding. Ford will marry Emily Threlkeld Apr. 26 in Miami, where she went to college.

Ford met the pretty 27-year-old blonde at her stepbrotherâ’s wedding three years ago and began visiting her at her home in New York. They dated through his Senate campaign and got engaged in Paris last fall, according to the Washington Post.

The paperâ’s â“Reliable Sourcesâ” column reports Fordâ’s mother Dorothy Bowles Ford hosted a tea party in Bethesda recently for her D.C. friends and Juniorâ’s future mother-in-law Debbie Beard.

Bug in Our Ear

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