Greenway project drags

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

The First Creek Greenway, announced by Mayor Rogero in her first budget in 2012, still has not been built two years later as she prepares her third budget. Perhaps no one at city hall is really pushing it, so little delays become long delays and people spend time on other issues.

New city press spokesperson Eric Vreeland says the greenway is actually ahead of schedule with a completion date of December 2016. Surely he jests, but actually not.

Announced in April 2012 and not going to be completed for 4 1/2 years and that is ahead of schedule? Apparently, if you set the completion date far enough out then any project will come in ahead of schedule. If Rogero is not re-elected in 2015, her successor will be cutting the ribbon in 2016.

It’s stunning that a green­way takes 4 1/2 years to construct. Someone is not on top of this … or maybe no one.

■  Ted Welch, Nashville and national Republican fundraiser, died March 8, marking the passing of an era. He was commissioner of finance for Gov. Winfield Dunn. He was national finance chair for the GOP. He was close to every major Republican officeholder since 1970 including Lamar Alexander, Bill Frist, Bill Brock, Winfield Dunn, Fred Thompson, Don Sundquist and others.

Former Gov. Dunn said of Welch, “If Ted had lived to be 100, it still would have been a premature death.”

Dunn himself is 86 and in excellent health.

■  State Rep. Steve Hall will face an active summer if West Knoxvillian Martin Daniel turns in his petition to run for state representative and they face each other in the August primary. Hall is a strong backer of state Sen. Stacey Campfield and often sponsors Campfield legislation such as the bill to sell Lakeshore Park before it was transferred to the city of Knoxville.

Hall has generally been an invisible member of the General Assembly except when he defends the controversial Campfield.

Interestingly, Daniel lives in the Rocky Hill precinct off Northshore Drive that Hall insisted on being placed in his district so his district would be overwhelmingly Republican instead of going to the Gloria Johnson district where it would have tilted that district toward the GOP. Consequently, Hall faces a stiff challenge this summer due to his insistence on protecting himself.

Hall should remember the old adage, be careful what you ask for, you might get it.

■  It has been eight months since the special court appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam heard arguments in Nashville on the John J. Hooker lawsuit challenging the selection method for appellate judges, and there has been no decision. Why is this? Are they purposely slow-walking their decision? What is their motive?

Eight months is plenty of time for five people to write their decision (whatever it is) for a single case. Two of the five special justices are from Knoxville: former city law director Morris Kizer and former U.S. attorney Russ Dedrick.

Some wonder if the panel is waiting on the legislature to adjourn so this session cannot react to their decision with legislation. Some wonder if they plan to wait until after the constitutional amendment is voted on this November to change the judicial-selection process. There is no deadline on writing opinions for the state Supreme Court. Retiring Supreme Court Justice Bill Koch has taken as long as two years to write an opinion on cases assigned to him.

The fact is, this was a case where the opinion could have been written in days. Have they reached a decision that is unanimous or divided? One also wonders why the mainstream media has not jumped on the lengthy delay here. They should have issued an opinion months ago if they were doing their job properly.

■  John Gill, former U.S. attorney and top aide to District Attorney Randy Nichols, contrary to some speculation, will not be retiring Aug. 31, but will continue working for the new district attorney general elected this August. Gill is married to Margie Nichols, top aide to University of Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy Cheek.

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