Eric Satz has modest record for TVA board

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Mayor Rogero appropriately issued a statement of condolence and concern for the tragic stabbing that occurred May 3 on the Third Creek Greenway and pledged to increase police presence on greenways.

The questions that need to be asked are how many additional officers will be deployed and what is their schedule in general terms? Secondly, how long will this increase in police activity on the greenways last? No one asked that of our mayor’s communications office.

Greenways are an important part of what makes Knoxville special. Users must feel they are safe. Chief David Rausch is an able police officer who deserves to have regular weekly meetings with our mayor.

■  President Obama has slighted East Tennessee by nominating Nashville resident Eric Satz to the TVA board to replace Neil McBride, whose term expired two years ago. East Tennessee now has no one serving on the nine-member board while Middle and West Tennessee have four members.

It is very important with the TVA headquarters being in Knoxville that at least one member be from Knoxville or the surrounding area. If Satz is confirmed it may be two or more years before Knoxville and our region sees a board member.

Satz merits scrutiny by our two senators given his modest record for serving on the board. His own U.S. Rep., Jim Cooper, a Democrat and Obama supporter in 2008, does not know him and was not consulted by the Obama White House on this appointment. Satz is also considered difficult to work with and high maintenance for staff. He is not good at returning phone calls. Is he a nice guy?

My inquiries tell me he is the recommendation of Democratic fundraiser Bill Freeman, who is now running for Nashville mayor. Freeman is a mega-bundler for the Obama campaigns, which apparently counts for more than what our congressional delegation thinks.

The good news is that the U.S. Senate is under new management and must confirm the Satz choice if he is to go on the board. He is a venture capitalist with at least one failure on his record. That was Plumgood Food, a grocery delivery service in Davidson County for organic and natural foods. It folded in 2008, which Satz blames on the economy and not on the work of him and his wife, Kate. Forty people lost their jobs. There should be extensive research into his qualifications.

Hopefully Sens. Corker and Alexander will hold out for an East Tennessee appointment. They have the power to halt this nomination from going forward.

■  Bob Gilbertson, owner of Bob’s Liquor and Wine Stores on North Winston Road, has sold his store to a Nashville firm effective in July. Gilbertson achieved international attention last year when he refused to sell Russian vodka in protest of Putin’s invasion of Crimea. It’s unclear if the new owner will maintain the same policy. He has owned the popular store for 43 years.

■  House Speaker Beth Harwell, a potential GOP candidate for governor in 2018, will be at a fundraiser for state Rep. Roger Kane from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (May 14) at Don Gallo Mexican Grill on Hardin Valley Road off Pellissippi Parkway.

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