The Whup Ass Vote

Metro Pulse would like to point out that one candidate for the interim school superintendent job stands out among the rest. That would be Assistant Superintendent Roy Mullins, the only candidate named in the infamous "Whup Ass Man" tapes. Mullins got a phone call several years ago from an Ohioan demanding to know if he was "the" Roy Mullins on "those" tapes. Mullins politely explained that the voice on the tape claiming to be Roy Mullins just before unleashing an outrageous stream of redneck invective was that of the late, legendary John Bean, a former chemistry student of his at Gibbs High School. Undeterred, the Ohioan said he'd be coming through Knoxville shortly and would like to stop by for a chat. Mullins said sure and thought no more about it until one Saturday morning when a Winnebago with Ohio tags pulled into his driveway and a guy toting a video camera got out and came to the front door. We feel quite sure that Bean, whose credentials included a day of substitute teaching in a Knox County high school under the pseudonym "Dr. Les Moore ("because I'm more or less a doctor"), would not only support Mullins, but would be calling up school board members offering to whup anybody who doesn't vote right.

The More Things Change...

Anybody remember the firefighters' lawsuit against the city of Knoxville, the mayor, the former fire chief and a couple of deputy chiefs? The one about political retaliation against and harassment of firefighters who supported Mayor Victor Ashe's opponent Ivan Harmon during the 1995 mayor's election? The one in which Ashe testified in deposition that he'd ordered the actions because he was "hurt" upon learning that certain firefighters had changed their allegiance? It hasn't gone away; a federal judge is in the process of setting a court date. Meanwhile, the 1999 mayor's race is fast approaching and complaints are rumbling through the Knoxville Fire Department that the current chief, Gene Hamlin, has been attempting to determine which fire- fighters are likely to support Ashe's likely opponent, Bud Gilbert.

Oh, Won't You Stay...

Knoxville's about to hit the national cable circuit with a tourist-oriented 30-second commercial that will air on The Nashville Network and Country Music Television. Not a bad idea, given the new "Cradle of Country Music" tour the East Tennessee Historical Society introduced this week. Still, given the shaky state of downtown as a whole, it's hard not to hear a note of desperation in the campaign's slogan: "Stay Here." Stay tuned for the next spot, tentatively titled, "Please? Pretty please with sugar on top?"

Who's Counting?

County executive candidate Scott Davis has been having a rough time with facts and figures this week. First there was the baffling assertion that 3,000 school administrators work in the Andrew Johnson Building (stacked horizontally, maybe?). Told the real number was closer to 176, Davis said he was just trying to illustrate a point. Then, he wrote Melissa Ziegler, head of the recently-maligned Development Corp. of Knox County, asking for the names and addresses of six companies who supposedly dropped Knox County from consideration for locating new factories or headquarters. "Understanding why prospects have chosen to go elsewhere will help us do a better job of addressing prospect needs in the future," he wrote. True enough. But, as Ziegler informed Davis in a return letter, of 13 recent prospects, only two eliminated Tennessee from consideration; one decided not to move at all, two have been referred to the Chamber Partnership, and the Development Corp. is still working with eight. Of course, six "lost prospects" sounds better than two, so watch for it to turn up the next time Davis has a point to illustrate.