The Check's in the Mail, I'll Respect You in the Morning, I Won't Raise Your Taxes...

On Saturday, Knoxvillians received something called "The Pavlis Report" in the mail, extolling the accomplishments of first-term City Councilman Nick Pavlis. In the report, Pavlis rails against the fact that typical members of our community pay more than 45 percent of their incomes to the tax man. "I believe this is far too much. People can certainly spend their own money much better than government can..."

That crashing noise Tuesday was the sound of a campaign promise hitting the pavement. Pavlis rode to victory in the 1995 City Council elections on an earnestly delivered pledge not to raise taxes. This week, council—on a 7-2 vote—approved a 27-cent property tax hike. Pavlis was one of the seven who voted yes.

Billboard Heaven

City Councilwoman Carlene "Too Tall" Malone had Oliver Smith IV, president of the Knoxville Beautification Board, on the ropes during city budget hearings when she brought up the recent unpleasantness of Eagle Outdoor Advertising chopping down a bunch of dogwood trees so passing motorists would have a clear view of a billboard. The trees had been planted on state right-of-way by Maria Compere, and Eagle was merely exercising its right under state law (as written by billboard lobbyists) to whack them down. Malone wondered if the Beautification folk's silence on the issue was connected with a $3,500 contribution it received from Eagle shortly after the roadside deforestation. Smith said no.

Prophet Victor

It's an eavesdropper's paradise when Mayor Victor Ashe crosses paths with courthouse curmudgeon Ray Hill. The exchange approximated here occurred Tuesday when Hill, who will shortly be taking leave from his county job to spend the summer managing local GOP campaigns, debarked from an elevator and ran smack into Republican Ashe and Democrat County Executive Tommy Schumpert huddled in conversation.

Ashe to Hill: "Aren't you going to speak to the man you're trying to dislodge?"
Greetings ensue.
Hill: "It's a Republican/Democrat thing, Tommy understands that. (to Ashe) You're supposed to be a Republican, Victor."
Ashe: "I support the ticket."
Hill: "Then you're trying to dislodge Schump, too."
Ashe: "I support the ticket..."
Hill: "Well, good. We'll be calling on you to help."
Ashe: "It depends on how you call."
Hill, walking away as onlookers titter: "We'll call, because you support Republicans, on again, off again..."
Ashe, sotto voce: "We'll read that in Metro Pulse."

Sporting News

The News-Sentinel sports section took a major hit this week with the announcement that Jimmy Hyams, assistant sports editor and UT football beat writer, was leaving the paper after 13 years to replace Nashville-bound Mike Keith at WNOX-990. Sources say the News-Sentinel will go outside the current staff to replace Hyams, considered one of the best college football writers in the country.

Hyams, 42, started full-time in the newspaper business as the 16-year-old sports editor of a bi-weekly publication in Louisiana and eventually covered LSU football for the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate before moving to Knoxville in 1985. As executive director of sports at Dick Broadcasting Company, he will manage the department and co-host the popular SportsTalk call-in show with John Wilkerson, a roommate of Keith's at UT. Wilkerson will replace Keith on play-by-play of the station's Vol baseball coverage and Brent Hubbs will continue to cover UT football, where his aggressive reporting has earned him the nickname "Haldeman."