Category Archives: Scott Frith

Scott Frith’s posts.

Sunshine law empowers Burchett in budget talks

Scott Frith
Government/Politics columnist

It’s budget time in Knox County. Mayor Tim Burchett has proposed a budget and county commission will soon decide whether to approve, amend or reject it.

Outright rejection is unlikely. Long gone are the days of a strong county commission willing to ignore the county mayor (formerly the county executive) and pass a budget of its own.

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The politics of voting and photo ID

Scott Frith
Government/Politics columnist

In politics, the truth rarely gets in the way of a good argument, and few issues have become more political than requiring photo identification to vote. The Tennessee Voter Identification Act, more commonly known as the photo ID law, requires nearly all voters to provide a Tennessee or federal ID before they can vote. As a result, many Democrats (and a few Republicans) have alleged that the law keeps indigent or low-income folks from voting because they can’t afford the cost of a photo ID.

It would be a good argument if it were true.

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Pet ordinance reflects misplaced priorities

Scott Frith
Government/Politics columnist

On this month’s County Commission agenda, commissioner Jeff Ownby has a proposal to modify the local animal welfare ordinance. In media coverage, Ownby claims the proposal will help authorities better protect pets in extreme weather conditions.

Of course, pets already have legal protections. State law prohibits a person from failing to reasonably “provide necessary food, water, care, or shelter for an animal.” If you fail to do so, the police can issue you a citation and seize the animals until the matter can be addressed in court. Even further, Knox County has an ordinance making it unlawful for a person to fail to provide an animal “sufficient shelter and protection from the elements” and medical attention “when it is sick, diseased or injured.”

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The politics of ‘sunshine’

Scott Frith
Government/Politics columnist

If you paid attention only to local media, you might be forgiven for believing that the most pressing problem facing our community is a lack of openness and transparency in government. Each breaking scandal, it seems, involves a county commissioner, city council member or public board member violating the Open Meetings Act (sunshine law) by sending an email or lobbying a fellow board member outside of a public meeting.

The Open Meetings Act states that “… the formation of public policy and decisions is public business and shall not be conducted in secret.”

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It’s time to rethink Knoxville elections

Scott Frith
Government/Politics columnist

What if you threw an expensive birthday party for a friend and no one showed up? Would you do the same thing the next year or would you try something different?

Knoxville city elections are coming up this fall. They are expensive and few people vote. Unlike state and county contests, which are held in even-numbered years (2014, 2012, 2010), the city has stand-alone elections in odd-numbered years (2015, 2013, 2011) for offices like mayor, city council and city judge.

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