Ear to the Ground: Market Correction

Market Correction

Regular patrons of the Knoxville Farmers' Market might have been surprised last Saturday to find that a private corporate event had pushed the Farmers' Market off of Market Square and into the confines of nearby Krutch Park.

OrthoTennessee, a consortium of orthopedic doctors, booked the use of the Square through the city's Office of Special Events, but a private booking shouldn't have gotten priority over the Farmers' Market, according to city officials.

"When this event was booked, the folks in Special Events were unaware that it [was] a private event," the city's director of policy development, Bill Lyons, wrote in an e-mail response to questions about the incident. "Otherwise it would not have been scheduled for that time. This was a slip-up and I apologize to the folks with the Farmers' Market and to those who shopped there or otherwise visited the Market Square area on Saturday morning."

Lyons says the conflicting events make it "clear that we at the city need to take a fresh look at policies governing the use of Market Square. We will be doing that in the weeks ahead."

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Seats Up for Grabs

Politically connected Democrats need to be dusting off their resumes, should their party win the White House in November as expected, because the incoming president will be making three new appointments to the TVA board.

It is becoming apparent to insiders that the Democrats who control the U.S. Senate will not confirm two re-appointments to the TVA board made by President Bush. Knoxville PR executive Susan Williams and Bishop William Graves of Memphis were re-appointed by Bush, but have had to leave the board given the Senate's failure to confirm thus far. When U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker went to the well recently to castigate the Democrats for not confirming the appointments, it was a signal that behind-the-scenes negotiations were going nowhere.

Skila Harris, a Democrat whose term is up this summer, is not expected to seek re-appointment. It is not likely Bush will appoint a Democrat to the seat, so that position will also likely remain vacant until a new president takes office.

As a former state Republican Party chair, Williams was not a surprise. Graves, however, as the first African American in history to serve on the TVA board, was less so. Although generally a Democrat, he volunteered to be a co-chair of the Bush re-election effort in Shelby County—it got him on the board, but it also seems to be keeping him from re-appointment.

The TVA board was changed from three full-time directors to a nine-person corporate-style board that took over in 2006. They serve part-time.

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Tapped Out

Nashville restaurant owner and hipster Benjamin Goldberg may not sign papers to buy the 2200 Cumberland Ave. property containing the Old College Inn and Tap Room by May 15—property owner Mike Clark, who will still operate the OCI if the sale goes through, granted him a two-week extension. But Tap Room owner Doug Pickens is done. He says he'll be all cleared out no later than the 15th.

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Body Language

The favorite parlor game around town of late has been watching newsmakers involved in county government imbroglios when they meet each other at public functions.

Does anybody sit at County Mayor Mike Ragsdale's table?

At the luncheon for Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam's budget presentation, insiders enjoyed watching County Chief of Staff Mike Arms and fired/resigned Community Service Director Cynthia Finch avoid each other, keeping most of the crowd between them. Oh, you're at the lunch line? I'll just talk to some people over here until you're done.

Ragsdale has taken to sitting in the back at County Commission meetings, rather than his usual perch at the tables down front—uncomfortably occupied by various news reporters. m