All God's Children Need a Lawyer
Look for both County Commission and County Clerk Cathy Quist to seek to hire their own lawyers this month in simultaneous but apparently unconnected moves.
Commissioner Howard "Nookie" Pinkston said that he, Commission Chair Leo Cooper, and Commission Vice-Chairman Billy Tindell are filing a resolution to hire outside counsel, rather than continue to use the office of County Law Director Richard Beeler.
"We just feel like we need our own attorney," Pinkston says. "We had talked about it some time ago, and we would like to have outside counsel, kind of like City Council. It's just come to that point, and it's no slap in the face to Richard." City Council is represented by attorney Charles Swanson.
Quist, however, is a different matter.
"I am asking permission to hire my own lawyer because of a substantial conflict of interest with the law director, because of his threats, and his wife's threats to sue me." Quist ran afoul of Beeler last year when two of her first acts upon assuming office were to hire, and then fire, Beeler's wife, Debbie Pryer.
Beeler calls the County Commission's desire for outside counsel "unnecessary" and Quist's request "even more" unnecessary. Last summer, however, Beeler approached the commission offering his services as outside counsel. The law director considered resigning if the commission would hire him as a private attorney.
Beeler insists his offer to resign came in response to the commission's push for outside representation. The law director worries that the commission could hire outside counsel with little experience working in government.
"If the commission adopted a resolution, I said I would be interested," says Beeler. "Not to be boasting about it, but I said, 'You need someone like me.'"
Who's Going to Write This Story?
A labor union-paid radio spot running on WNOX-AM this week takes dead aim at a local company for its refusal to bargain in good faith and its moves to reduce sick leave benefits and deny raises.
"You know the media is always telling everybody else how to behave," the ad says. "...Maybe the News-Sentinelshould practice what it preaches..."
(Hint to N-S employees: see the "Bug in our Ear" note at the bottom of this column)
Catch the (Orange) Fever
In a column by Peter Gammon in the Boston Globe last Sunday, Knoxville's own David Keith, who was spotted behind home plate at Fenway Park during the American League Championship Series playoff games sporting a Yankees cap and Tennessee orange, said:
"Being at Fenway was one of my most enjoyable experiences. Boston fans are so knowledgeable. So are Yankee fans. It reminds me of the rivalry between Tennessee and Alabama. Class. It's not like Tennessee-Florida, because of those lower-life Florida people. Red Sox-Yankees is what sports rivalries should be about."
Bad News Dept.
If it weren't lousy enough that Davis-Kidd Booksellers announced this week that it will be closing, upscale Italian restaurant Tuscany also shut its doors and declared bankruptcy. The longtime favorite of local gourmands, Tuscany had just recently moved into a new location a few blocks over from its original Kingston Pike address (now the home of By the Tracks Bistro). Of course, that may have been a fatal decisionthe new spot was the foreboding location of many ill-fated restaurants, including Rhapsody, Keng's Garden, Merlot's, and Miz Sissy's. Perhaps that curse has yet to be lifted...