incoming (2006-44)

K. M. Moore

Sheriffs Need Beachfront Property, Too

If the Sheriff is to be considered an employee and is eligible for retirement benefits, then the amendment should be voted down until it can be altered to specifically exempt the holder of the constitutionally defined Office of Knox County Sheriff. The amendment should also be voted down until it is changed to read that pensions will not begin until age 55 or 60. The taxpayer has no business paying [for those of a] working age to not work regardless of how long they have been in the Sheriff’s department. I also disagree with the provision that ties the retirement benefit to just two years of service (the highest paid years) instead of a broader term that better represents the overall service the individual provided to the department.

The county deputies and officers do deserve a retirement and disability plan, but this one is just a little too broadly packaged.  

The holder of the office of Sheriff does not deserve any type of retirement plan. This county is large enough that the office is an administrative, not an enforcement, position and should be filled by persons thinking to fulfill a civic duty, not providing for a personal career. (I know, just how naïve is this fella?)

Jerome Prahl

Insights Not So Insightful

Sullivan asserts that Corker, despite all his wealth, has never lost touch with the “common man.” I want to believe that sentimental claim, but it’s a bit of a stretch to convince me that a man living in a house with the appraised value of slightly over $3 million (no telling what the market value of Corker’s house might be) still has the common touch.

Sullivan warns the reader that he really doesn’t know very much about Harold Ford, Jr.—a cautionary note well deserved. A member of the “old aristocracy” of Knoxville and a member of the Cherokee Country Club, Sullivan seems bent out of shape that Ford has enjoyed some privileges and entitlements. Indeed, Ford even acquired an elite education (B.A., Univ. of Pennsylvania; J.D., Univ. of Michigan). I cannot recall that Sullivan has ever worried aloud about the fact that Sen. Bill Frist received his B.A. from Princeton and M.D. from Harvard; nor has he seemed perturbed that Sen. Lamar Alexander earned his B.A. at Vanderbilt and his J.D. at New York University. So what’s going on here? Is it all right for whites and Republicans to enjoy elite education but not blacks and Democrats?

Sullivan seems to be quite disturbed that after 20 years in the House, Harold Ford, Sr. “anointed” (Sullivan’s word) his son to assume his congressional seat. But I distinctly remember that the voters of that district elected Ford, Jr. It strikes me as  both amusing and ironic that any resident of the 2nd Congressional District could cast stones at the Ford family and the Memphis district. After all, some of us recall how in 1988 John Duncan, Sr. (after 24 years in the House), through various machinations, arranged for John Duncan, Jr. to assume his congressional seat! The two Fords have held the Memphis seat for a total of 32 consecutive years (1974 to the present) and the two Duncans have held the 2nd District seat for 42 consecutive years (1964 to the present). Frankly, I discern little difference in these two situations.

Apparently bereft of other arguments, Sullivan introduces the sectional or regional claim. That is to say, Ford of West Tennessee cannot possibly understand or represent East Tennessee in the Senate; therefore we need Corker. (There may be an inadvertent slight here to East Tennessean Lamar Alexander.) Another way to examine the sectional argument is to note that since the defeat of Sen. Kenneth McKellar of Memphis in 1952, there has been no U.S. senator from West Tennessee. Meanwhile, during the 54-year drought that has followed, East Tennessee has had at least five senators: Kefauver, Walters, Baker, Brock, and now Alexander. If you want to push the sectional argument, perhaps it’s time for West Tennessee to have a U.S. Senate seat.

Sullivan is a man of integrity and accomplishment, as well as a notable journalist, whose columns I read regularly and benefit from. I wish that he had given more serious thought and care to the case he has attempted to make in his essay.

Paul H. Bergeron

Elephant Leavings

How plausible is it to suggest incompetence on the part of the same leadership that arguably stole at least the 2000 election and incomprehensibly failed to prevent 9-11—after ignoring sufficient intelligence warnings and the capture and identification of actual “cell members”—the same leadership that encouraged Enron’s excesses and bungled the invasion/occupation/security phase of Iraq after salivating over the place for a decade? The same that can’t find the anthrax criminals or properly run the Ethics Committee, the same that rammed bill after unpopular bill through Congress and nominated Bernard Kerik for Homeland Security Director? This is one prodigious streak of GOP fecklessness, and is hard to view as such when so many of their ranks are promoted and protected.

Our military has lost $2-3 trillion from the Pentagon budget, and our provisional government in Iraq lost $9 billion that was not even ours. Halliburton’s over-pricing in the Middle East seems to win them additional contracts to build detention facilities inside the U.S.  Now that the Democratic Party may regain congressional majorities, we can sample their brand of “incompetence.” We will see if they have more than redistricting and incumbency in mind. They have done very little, after all, in the way of posing real opposition to the corrupted Republican control of government; even their rhetoric is anemic.

The GOP model is dangerously autocratic and top-down: don’t let them tell you that “Bush is not on the ballot.”

Nate Arthur

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