Ear to the Ground: Egg on His Face

Egg on His Face

The best e-mail making the rounds last week was a fake police report about vandalism at Vol football Coach Phil Fulmer's house. The report said the house was "egged" and two empty egg cartons were found on the front lawn.

The fake report said Vol quarterback Jonathon Crompton is listed as a "person of interest in the case" because most of the eggs missed Fulmer's house and hit the houses on either side.

The Vols are 2-3 this year and the erratic Crompton has been benched.

The Nashville Debates, Round One

City politics isn't supposed to be partisan in Knoxville, and Mayor Bill Haslam, despite his financial support for Republican causes, has gracefully avoided partisan politics here. However, the rule doesn't hold when he leaves town. Last Wednesday night, six days before the Obama-McCain debate, and a few blocks away from Belmont University, Haslam took the McCain side in a debate with Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper. The questions came from Nashville-area high-school seniors who attended the apparently friendly debate on the impressive steps of the Parthenon in Centennial Park.

According to bloggers who witnessed the debate, it was a cordial exchange, with Haslam offering mostly moderate views of Republican ideology, suggesting the Iran crisis called for "nuance," and that energy conservation "makes sense" regardless of global warming's culprit.

Haslam did speak in favor of increased oil drilling as a partial solution to the oil problem, and supported market controls in health-insurance policy. He questioned whether Obama's promises were economically feasible, given his plan to raise taxes only on the top 5 percent. And he asserted that "faith should be welcome in the public square." Mayor Haslam was surely cognizant of the fact that he spoke those words within earshot of the enormous goddess Athena.

Such events may serve Haslam well over the next couple of years. According to a Mason-Dixon poll assessing likely 2010 Republican gubernatorial nominees by statewide name recognition, Haslam scored 37 percent, coming in behind Bill Frist (93 percent), U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of suburban Nashville (56 percent), U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp of Chattanooga (52 percent)—but a little ahead of Speaker of the state Senate Ron Ramsey (36 percent).


Does Knox County Commission diss East Knox County residents?

That's the premise of a campaign charge this week by 8th District commission candidate Leon Daugherty who says East Knox County, the largest commission district in the area, is shortchanged on capital projects like schools and roads.

Daugherty cites the decision to build the $50 million Hardin Valley Academy instead of a new middle school for Gibbs as an example. Gibbs middle school students are bused to Holston Middle School "30 miles every day."

"Too often have we seen West Knox County receive funding for schools (Cedar Bluff Elementary and Hardin Valley Academy) and road projects while parents and kids in the 8th District are ignored and roads in the 8th District (along Emory Road, for example) are constantly in need of traffic lights and repair. The disparity is easy to see," Daugherty writes in an e-mail.

Daugherty, a Democrat, opposes Republican Richard "Bud" Armstrong and independent Russell Huckaba in the November election.