Ear to the Ground: Fed Questions

Fed Questions

Criminal investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency have been in town in recent weeks, interviewing the principles involved in the controversy over Knox County's green waste mulch facility.

The county renewed a contract with National Resource Recovery to operate the facility, the company that has operated it for the past five years. During the re-bid there has been a lawsuit filed and neighbors have made allegations about its safety.

The contract tussle resulted in four marathon sessions of either County Commission or its committees before a settlement was reached.

The investigators are interviewing people involved in a fraudulent claims lawsuit and are also looking into the bid process.

Mixed Message?

The Tennessee Valley Fair is dependably fun, and it always leaves us with something to scratch our heads about. At this year's dunking booth, at the Magnolia Avenue end of the park, not far from Congressman Jimmy Duncan's much-appreciated free-water station, a sign out front said, "Dunk the next president, Barack Obama and the K-Town Daddy, Terry Landell." A dunking booth is an old fair tradition, and this year, it was perhaps the loudest and most conspicuous attraction in its neighborhood. The dunkee wore a big-toothed Barack Obama mask. He shouted at passers by, "Obama will be your next presi-dent, I can promise you that right there. So you better get out there and vote."

Landell is a wrestling promoter much admired in some circles. According to a sign beside the dunkee, the booth was sponsored by Knox County Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones.

Blogging from Home

Phyllis Patterson was let go from the city of Knoxville when her position was eliminated June 30. She primarily worked for director Sam Anderson as executive assistant.

For the last couple years, Patterson has been writing a blog devoted to home life, her family, and her adventures with her anchorman husband (whom she refers to as Ron Burgundy, after the Will Ferrell character). But lately she has begun to post chapters in an ongoing story of working for Mayor Bill Haslam's administration. On Sept. 9, under the heading "Chapter One," she writes: "It's my birthday today and, as such, I've decided to speak about the unspeakable. I call it, ‘What I learned about our city government.'" She then proceeds to dish out the dirt, claiming that a vaunted departmental re-organization was a farce.

"It's a Blog Eat Blog World" postings can be found at phyllispatterson.blogspot.com.

Slip Sliding Away?

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has not had a good month. It started with a spat with outgoing Congressman David Davis when he criticized Davis' plans to contest his election loss because of Democratic cross-over voting. A huge Davis contributor announced a cutoff of funds for Ramsey to spend on Republican senate races.

Then Mike Faulk, Ramsey's ace in the hole to beat independent Sen. Mike Williams and ensure Ramsey's continued control of the state senate, is facing allegations of having an affair with a Hawkins County teacher.

Then the Democratic Executive Committee took the election away from state Sen. Rosalind Kurita, a Democrat who provided the crucial vote to elect Ramsey senate speaker and defeat longtime Lt. Gov. John Wilder. The Democrats said Republicans voted for Kurita in the Democratic primary and her 19-vote margin was thus bogus.

Then Congressman Davis commended the Democrats for taking the seat away from the Ramsey ally. Payback is a bitch.