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Ear to the Ground

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What If You Threw An Election and Nobody Came?

You'd think Mayor Victor Ashe would be quite content with (or maybe even an accessory to) the lack of media attention that contributed to the low voter turnout in the mayoral election—which in turn contributed to Ashe's easy victory. But in a morning-after postmortem, the mayor had nothing but brickbats for the media. "Except for Hallerin Hill on Talk Radio 990, the media didn't live up to their obligation. Channel 10 didn't have a Sunday panel show on it, and the News-Sentinel didn't even run profiles of the candidates or the sort of questions and answers on the issues that they've done in most local elections in the past."

(On an election side-note, residents of Fort Sanders who think the Ashe administration has been unresponsive to their concerns probably ain't seen nothin' yet. Councilman Danny Mayfield, who won just 12 percent of the overall vote, actually carried the Fort with 56 votes to Ashe's 40 and Randy Tyree's 26. Will Ashe let bygones be bygones? Has he ever?)

Sunshine Rules

Stung by recent accusations of Sunshine Law violations in the wake of the media storm over ousting Jim Haslam from the Public Building Authority board, Knox County Commissioners are a little sensitive about the subject. Especially when dealing with reporters who have been lately suggesting that the commissioners might be talking too much amongst themselves.

Even the normally mild-mannered, professorial Frank Leuthold, who was questioned by a reporter regarding the fate of the Justice Center project:

"This unnamed member of the media asked me what the sense of the Commission was concerning going ahead with the project," Leuthold says.

"I said 'How the heck am I supposed to know?"

Men in Black

Channel 10 is to Tim Hutchison as ESPN is to the Tennessee Volunteers, roughly speaking, as the station aired a string of less-than-flattering stories on the once-again-beleaguered sheriff. We figured it was just a matter of time till he fired back, so to speak.

Last week, Hutchison's deputies nabbed an accused child rapist within 24 hours after he allegedly attacked a 9-year-old girl who'd just gotten off the school bus. The arrest was made as a result of Sgt. Ed Rose spotting a tan Cadillac with a temporary tag which matched the description of the rapist's car, not far from the crime scene.

Viewers of Channel 6 and Channel 8 knew almost immediately that Jeffrey Shawn Williams had been taken off the street because Hutchison did a live telephone interview with each station on the evening news. Why just those two, we asked?

"They were just diligent and on the scene," answered one of Hutchison's minions.

All About Town

By all accounts, Circle Modern Dance's "A Walk With Angels"—unconventional interpretations of downtown sites through live music and dance, from the First Presbyterian graveyard to the Rowboat Man—was successful beyond all reckoning. An estimated 500 spectators turned out for the extravagant performance, which included professionals and younger dancers from various community groups. For some, the high point of the rare event was the dancers' interpretation of the old Whittle Building's courtyard, once open to concerts and other lively cultural events, but not under the stern custody of the Federal Courthouse. The artists expressed their frustration by dancing just outside the locked gates, tangled in several yards of red tape.