If the dollar has little value, then donate a few.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Bill Back In

Fellow Knoxvillian and state rep Bill Dunn is back in the race to lead the republicans in the house .Bill had previously said he could not do it because of work and family but the good people at Cortesee tree were able to work with him to make this possible and his family blessed the entire idea so Bill joins the race with Glen Casada,Harry Brooks,Jason Mumpower,Paul Stanley and Curry Todd.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Why Nov 1 ??????

Chris Newton said yesterday he will step down from office (effective Nov 1 so he can collect 3 months pay at $800.00 a month, plus office expense $1,000.00 per month, plus gas 33 cents per mile mileage, plus $141.00 per deum for every day he goes to his office) .

But wait it gets worse by waiting till Nov 1 he will get another year of pension pay $80.00 more a month, plus he sticks it to the republicans who have been hard on him for years because one day less and we get a special election (a race a republican will win) one day more it goes to the democrat county commission for appointment as they see fit (guess what party they will pick) Jimmy Neifeh gets one last gift and a democrat gets to raise money as an incumbent for this race in a year.

Now he is going to plead guilty to charges of accepting bribes tomorrow but sentencing wont be till after Nov. so we cant get him out until that happens unless we impeach him. If he gets impeached and then gets sentenced he will looses his pension of $880.00 a month for life Not so if he steps down previous to impeachment or sentencing (Sorry we cant retro change that law. )That is also why Ford left when he did .Ramsey had the votes to impeach in session and Ford wanted to save his pension.

We would need a special session called by the Gov. before Nov 1 to impeach or if we can get 66 votes by the house members to impeach prior to him stepping down.That will take democrat votes and you can forget that.So Chris needs to see the light on his own before Nov 1.

The options are slim our other hope is Chris has a "change of heart" if you would like to encourage Chris to change his time line you can call him at his house at(423)338-7630 or his work at(423)476-5677 his fax numbers is (423)476-2232 I am sure Chris would love to hear from his constituents any time 24/7 for the next few months.Mail can be sent to 236 Randolph Samples Road Cleveland Tn. 37323.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Newton to step down

Indicted legislator Chris Newton will step down from office effective Nov 1 .I have heard of at least 2 people looking to fill his position in the republican primary one is a local reporter for fox news the other is a police officer .From what I have read Newton is still going to fight his case and from what I have heard and read he has the strongest hope of success (see my last post).That may not mean that much if people roll over as they usually do on this sort of thing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Slip the noose?

It seems the Tennessee Waltz investigation is well on its way, with more names or indictments to possibly appear. There are many ways however that the accused might be able to slip through the noose so to speak.

If any of the theories mentioned below should work in the failure to convict, it becomes even more obvious the desperate need we have for ethical governance in the Tennessee State Legislature. Here is some of the theories I'm hearing:

1. The accused accepted the money from a non-registered lobbyist or non-owner of a real or registered company. It is possible such acceptance of money may not be considered a bribe as defined by the law.

2. The proof that they actually took what the bagmen said they took can be questioned in some of the cases. Criminals testifying on other crimes in order to reduce their own sentences don't make the best witnesses. The argument can and I suspect will be made that some of the accused never received the supposed "big money" in envelopes. Perhaps the accused might even argue there were only papers of drafts of a bill in the envelope and that the bagmen pocketed any money they were given.

3. Some may say that the bagmen pocketed the money and are now just trying to save their own skin or possibly work on a movie or book deal.

4. Some may say that if they did receive money, they planned to put it down as a cash contribution on their next filing but forgot to report it this time-hence, a simple reporting mistake. Happens all the time, right? The penalty for errors on campaign disclosures is far less damaging than the penalties for accepting a bribe. The federal government will probably have to prove that money in fact influenced legislation, and that could be tough. The accused may say they would have been a sponsorer on the bill even if no money changed hands, as others did .

5. When the money exchanged hands could be the key. If it was given before January 1 and reported, then it might possibly be "legal." If it was given between Jan 1 and the start of session, the money can be accepted and not reported until the next filing deadline legally. If it was given during session, it will be easier to prove it was illegal.

6. How much was given many help prove or hurt the cases against the indicted. The max a person (non PAC) can give is $1,000 per period. The maximum a PAC can "give" is $2,500 primary + $2,500 for the general. If the numbers were smaller then the $2,000 or $5,000 total, it will be tougher to prove it was a bribe and not a contribution.

7. A legislator may also claim that they thought a lobbyist "bundled" donations from several donors and gave it as one "bundled" gift to exceed the cap.I am not sure if bundling is still legal in Tennessee but some may say that in the confusion with E-Cycle, a lobbie firm and a few different lobbyists and/or people giveing and accepting money for their campaign they or their people got confused by the sevral different firms or people donating. A simple mistake by a egar to help campaign worker who thought they were sevral seprate donations or a legislator who has tons of donors and just got confused.

I have been talking with other legislators and they think that up to 10 more legislators may be "people of interest" for the Tennessee Waltz case. This number came up in the final days of session when the FBI was grabbing legislators and several legislators did not show up for regular session .

The theory is they may have been scared or were being questioned at the time. Many legislators feel that more scandal may come out---not just about E-Cycle---but more so about TennCare and Lottery contracts that the FBI had been questioning legislators about before the Tennessee Waltz sting became public.

Many think the FBI probably scared a few of the Waltz "fish" away by heavy questioning about other scandals leading up the Waltz. Only time will tell.

Although some of these people may slip away from the law and perhaps even get re-elected again-the harshest judge will be the one each sees in the mirror.

I suspect some dread looking in the mirror in the morning and others should .

Friday, August 19, 2005

NRA dinner

I went to the East Tenn.friends of the NRA dinner last night ,it had a good crowd of I guess about 1,000 people . Lots politicos were present, The governor showed up ,Lamar! came and a few congressmen had their reps stand in for them as well as lots of state legislature people .Van was their working the room the entire night but I did not see any of the other US senate people there (to be clear I did not show up until 6:30 and the doors opened at 6:00 so they may have come and gone before I got to the event) .This is a strong event and NRA people vote in ALL elections and lean republican, they are almost as strong a block as the military. I can not think of a better place to work a room for republican votes .I found it odd all the candidates were not present in full force the entire night or at least have a rep present .Maybe B4B or C4C will say where they were.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

More on tre'

Tre's new job was news to me .I heard about it yesterday like most other legislators. Do I wish he had waited one year after stepping down to take the job ? Yes.
Do we need to pass a revolving door bill? Yes.
The good side is that Tre' always supported this bill and maybe now it will have more bi-partisan support. Sure many Dems are already calling us Hippocrites ,but the funny part is these are the exact same people who were the ones that killed the bill that would have stopped it last year (Ulysses Jones).Where were they when it counted?
Not that I mind people who complain but at least be willing to do something to change it if you don't approve.

Today Charles Seargent called on Bob Tuke to step up to the plate and deliver the votes to implement a revolving door policy .The same bill that failed in committee on a 6 to 3 party line vote (6 democrats against a policy brought by republicans 3 republicans for a policy)can be brought back up in the special session. Until then, like it or not, it is still legal.

Did anyone ask Ulysses if he was willing to change his vote now that the shoe is on the other foot ?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Tre' Steps Down

Tre' Hargett the house republican leader has decided to do the right thing and step down from the house to take a job with pfizer as the head of state relations for Tennessee and one other state( I think he said Alabama or Georgia I am not sure ). I wish him all the best.Tre' did a great job as our leader and should do a great job for his new company.

What Tre' did was the right thing to do when taking a job as a lobbyist .Kim McMillan and the other legislators who are married to lobbyists should watch and learn from his high ethical standard.

Names to replace him are swirling about. 3 have stepped up already and more may be announced soon (I have heard 3 other names so far).I will wait till the list is complete ( Probably 24-36 hours) before announcing any names to see who shakes out.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Knox news column

I Did a column for the Knoxville news sentinel on eminent domain pro/con I did the con side of the argument. I will post it below if you want to read it or you can check it out at www.knoxnews.com and then click the opinion section . I will also be on George Korda's radio show on FM 100.3 or on the internet www.newstalk99.com today from 12 till 2 talking about the same subject.

When I introduced legislation during our last session to stop eminent domain abuses, I quickly met with opposition from the Tennessee Municipal League and other legislators who felt that the interests of strip malls and sports stadiums exceeded those of an average, everyday Tennessean. While I fully understand the concept of "public use" with regard to eminent domain seizures such as for schools and roads, stretching the boundaries by changing the terminology to "public benefit" has a limitless potential for abuse.

The recent Kelo v. New London decision by the U.S. Supreme Court has touched off a firestorm of opinions across the state of Tennessee. Prior to the Magna Carta, it usually took physical strength to protect against the lawlessness and abuse that ruled the day. Our forefathers risked everything to embark upon a bold experiment that would leave the lords and serfs of a feudal system behind, and instead built in individual property rights as a cornerstone of liberty in our new society.

The American dream of owning your own land, home or business is now threatened under the Kelo shadow-for it plants seeds of insecurity and doubt when no one knows if their property may be subject to seizure for the "economic good" of the community.

Such action returns us to pre-Magna Carta times, except the battles for property will not be won by the physically superior, but rather by the wealthiest or most politically connected.

The Kelo decision has served to highlight an encroachment on personal rights; however, the firestorm of the Kelo decision was started by numerous smoldering cases in local communities all across Tennessee and this nation. Sometimes, as in the case of elderly Knoxville resident Dan Hale, the seized property is resold before the owner has ever moved out.

Most victims of eminent domain seizures have been too scared or financially unable to legally challenge such seizures in the courts of law as well as public opinion.

Many residents of Knox County take pride in the local flavor of its businesses, in the small town feel of some its communities. Kelo offers no hope for smaller independent businesses, only fear. Churches as well as other non-profit agencies are especially vulnerable to seizure. If such organizations fail to abide by the political agenda of those in charge of economic development, such organizations might someday find themselves the victims of such abuse. The very fact that these institutions seldom produce much tax revenue for cities and counties highlights their vulnerabilities.

The list of vulnerable citizens is long-from farmers, to the elderly and poor, to churches and non-profits, to the corner deli, to unsuspecting families in their dream homes. No one is immune.

We should be extremely careful not to value one person over another. We should constantly remind ourselves of the words written over 200 years ago by our founders, that "all men are created equal."

We don't want to look back and say "when they took the property from the businesses on Western Avenue I did nothing because I wanted a grocery-store. When they took the property on Jackson Avenue I said nothing because I wanted condos. When TVA resold the seized lakefront farmland for millions I said nothing because it was never my land. When they took the small corner church I said nothing because I didn't go there. When they came for my 3 bedroom, 2 bath stucco house I tried to get help to stop them but no one was left to help me."

It is not too late however. There are still precautions, guidelines, and blockades we can build into our state government. I am optimistic that the amount of interest by my constituents and by fellow Tennesseans from across the state can serve as a catalyst to legislative action in our next session.

It is time to tell your state legislator to stop this greasy slippery slope--of justifying the seizure of your private property for "public benefit" . It will surely lead to more infringements on your life and liberty in the name of public good. Ask your legislator to take an active role in this issue before we create a cynical, hopeless society that looks back to the lives of our ancestors as the good ole' days when we all had equil rights.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Sorry

Sorry I have been gone on vacation ,Got some good stuff on the way. Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Quake?

Do you feel the earth shaking? No?

You should from all the knees that are knocking in Nashville. One of the Tennessee Waltz crew just started the “rollover” process and from what I hear, is turning states evidence to secure a lighter sentence.

Now I am no law enforcement official or lawyer, but I doubt they are giving him a pass because of his nice smile or because he is going to verify what they already know.

I expect some new names and faces to come forward.

A fellow blogger asked me to find out how much we pay Rebecca Paul to oversee the lottery. She made a base salary of $350,000 with a 65% bonus of $227, 500 for a total of $577,500.00 for this year.

For 2006 her base goes up to $364,000.000 with a potential to make over $600,000. I thought we had a state requirement to win some sort of sports title to get paid that kind of money, but I guess not.

Who knew that enticing people to gamble would be so difficult? You would think with that kind of money, we would get verified vendors to do the printing. (see Thaddeusmatthews.com on July 17, 31 for the full story.)

I need to check this site more and plan on adding him to my blogroll soon. He has a nose for news and will really work a story. He has another story developing that may turn some heads regarding the new arena in Memphis. I apologize to all the tech people, I haven't gotten the hang of the link thing yet!)