Ed Shouse had a significant and convincing victory over Trustee Craig Leuthold in the May primary for Knox County Trustee.
His margin of victory was generally consistent across Knox County with the exception of Sequoyah Hills, West Hills, Deane Hill Recreation Center and Bearden, where his margins were almost 4 to 1 or greater. Leuthold has his best margins in the Farragut and Cedar Bluff areas.
It is less than 60 days to the Aug. 7 statewide general election for judges. You can vote for retention or replacement of three state Supreme Court justices (Cornelia Clark, Sharon Lee and Gary Wade, all Democrats) as well as numerous appellate judges.
Republican Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has openly and strongly argued for a replacement vote in part to secure that a Republican be chosen as state Attorney General. Tennessee is the only state to require its Supreme Court to elect the Attorney General every eight years. All other states have either a direct popular election or gubernatorial appointment.
If there was any doubt that Mayor Rogero is seeking reelection, it ended with invitations being sent out for a $250 suggested donation for a fundraiser on Wednesday, June 11, at the Kingston Pike home of former Rogero deputy Eddie Mannis.
The event has a 70-person host committee of both Democrats and Republicans. It is an impressive group, although it does include several persons who do business with the city. Light hors d’oeuvres and wine will be served, according to the invitation. All current council members have been invited by Mannis via email to be guests at the event (meaning they do not have to pay).
Troy Whiteside, who has been a political operative for many years, usually as a Republican, was indicted for a murder that occurred almost five years ago in 2009. Since then his trial date has been deferred time after time for a variety of reasons. It has not gone to trial.
The victim was not considered one of Knoxville’s more reputable citizens, but murder is still a serious offense regardless of who the victim is.
If anyone is on a glide path to easy re-election it seems to be state Rep. Gloria Johnson, who squeaked out a 299-vote win 18 months ago to win a seat in the House of Representatives. It was a district Mitt Romney carried by 1,100 votes, but several Romney voters pushed the button for Johnson, who has become one of the most popular legislators among Democrats and least popular among Republicans (who control the House by a 71 to 28 margin.)
The district is located mostly inside the city of Knoxville, stretching from Alice Bell to Sequoyah to South Knox County.
As City Council reviews Mayor Rogero’s proposed 34-cent property-tax increase, several proposals merit a closer look as specifics are missing. They include the $1 million for greenway corridors and $500,000 for historic preservation. Both are laudable topics but blank checks for now.
Both are also areas where the Rogero administration has been weak if not AWOL.
Mayor Rogero’s 34-cent property-tax increase is not necessary except to fund the inflated city pension plan that Rogero refuses to address. In fact, Rogero has also strongly opposed any attempt to reduce city operating expenses such as the Della Volpe effort to remove the mandatory 2.5 percent annual pay raise for employees without regard to merit, performance or current economic conditions. Council members Wallace and Grieve backed him.
This tax hike was first predicted in this column six weeks ago.
Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will hold his third annual policy retreat June 12-14 in Park City, Utah, which is in the mountains outside Salt Lake City, and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is one of the speakers. Knoxville business owner Randy Boyd, a strong 2012 Romney supporter, has attended previous get-togethers, usually 200 or so Romney backers.
Several potential GOP candidates for president in 2016 will attend including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. New York Jets owner Woody Johnson will attend.
The August election for the state Supreme Court, normally a sleepy affair, could become highly contested in the next 100 days. It may revolve around who the next state attorney general is and whether the Republicans can win it.
Three justices are seeking retention (retain or replace vote). All are Democrats – Cornelia Clark from Middle Tennessee and the two East Tennessee justices, Gary Wade of Sevierville and Sharon Lee of Madisonville. The two other justices announced their retirement.
Nick Della Volpe, serving his second and final term on Knoxville City Council, deserves high praise for bringing up the politically tough issues he has been raising lately. While he hasn’t been successful, he is educating the public as to several city policies that are financially costly and would never happen in the private sector.
On April 1, he urged the council to repeal the ordinance that gives all city employees a 2.5 percent automatic pay raise regardless of what the economy is, what city revenues are or even what the employee’s performance is. County, state and federal employees do not enjoy this tax-paid benefit.