Ear to the Ground: Let's Try Again

Let's Try Again

Look for a suggestion at a Knox County Commission committee meeting next week that proposed charter amendments be put on the ballot. Confusion over the bundled items in the two charter petitions has prompted re-thinking about putting them on the ballot. There may be a proposal at the Commission Intergovernmental Committee meeting next week to offer each of the items as a separate ballot initiative and put them on the ballot for the November election.

Some voters are angry that commission failed to put the items on the ballot and some are concerned about parts of an amendment they favor being lumped in with items they do not. The proposal will be made at the committee meeting in order to get a sense of other commissioners' feelings on the matter and to gauge public reaction.

Meanwhile, the commission will discuss at its July 28 meeting what to do about filling the post of Criminal Court Clerk, left vacant by the death of Martha Phillips. The election commission has plans to schedule the seat for the November election, but some commissioners argue the unexpired term of just over two years should be filled by commission appointment. A state Attorney General's opinion has been requested.

Get 'Em Out Early?

There will likely be a special ceremony to swear in new Knox County Commissioners as soon as the August election is certified. Such an early maneuver would prevent interim commissioners from attending the commission meeting on Aug. 25.

Traditionally, newly elected commissioners take office Sept. 1. But once the election is certified, a newly elected commissioner can request they be sworn in immediately. The commission will have had committee meetings and set the agenda for the Aug. 25 meeting.

Interim Commissioners like Elaine Davis, pushing civil service reform, William Daniels, criticizing the mayor's office and staff, and Victoria DeFreese, who has urged County Mayor Mike Ragsdale to resign, would be replaced. Newly elected commissioners are expected to be less hostile toward the administration. The swearing in is scheduled to occur Aug. 18, when the election is certified.

Davis' civil service reform is up for a final reading at the July meeting. Should it be bumped a month, she may not be around to push the matter at the August meeting.

Here We Go Again?

A flyer is being stuffed in county mailboxes urging voters to turn out anyone with experience in county government. The flyer urges voters to remember "Black Wednesday" and repeat in August what voters did in February—turn out incumbents.

The appointment of county officeholders in January 2007 was overturned after a jury ruled the Sunshine Law was violated. The appointments were made to replace officeholders turned out by a Supreme Court decision upholding term limits.

Spare a Dime?

The stock of the parent company of Knoxville WATE television station has rebounded somewhat after an announcement that the company is for sale.

Young Broadcasting stock has been down to a dime a share recently, but is back up to over a quarter with the prospect of the sale. The Knoxville station makes money, but Young Broadcasting has been strapped by debt after purchasing KRON-TV in San Francisco at the top of the market.

The company has been trying to unload the San Francisco station, but hasn't had any takers.