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Ear to the Ground

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Turkeys Need Lawyers Too

One after another, the citizens of Knox County stood to denounce Tennessee Public Chapter 1101. During the last few public hearings, the so-called "Urban Growth Bill," which was passed by the General Assembly in 1998 to control annexation and combat urban sprawl, has been massively criticized by homeowners' groups, individual county residents, home builders, and real estate developers. At one recent meeting, power broker John King, who was there representing the Turkey Farm (a large and valuable piece of property owned by the Bailey family in Toole's Bend), opposed the bill as well, until he heard one speaker declare that the legislation would effectively abolish the Metropolitan Planning Commission.

"Hey, what'd he say? Abolish MPC? I believe I'm for it now," King said, grinning broadly. King, who frequently represents developers, frequently does battle with the planning body. MPC director Norm Whittaker didn't look worried.

The Powell Sign Project

First he gets it from the pagans, now he's hearing from the Christians. What's a long-suffering county bureaucrat to do? Engineering and Public Works head Bruce Wuethrich caught H-E-double-toothpicks recently when he hesitated to issue an Adopt-a-Road sign to KAPOW (Knoxville Area Pagans and Wiccans) after they had met the legal requirements to qualify for the program. KAPOW members had cleaned up the stretch of Central Avenue Pike they wanted to "adopt," and they were waiting for the sign memorializing their efforts. They finally prevailed, Wuethrich issued the sign and everything was beautiful, right?

Wrong. There's a church nearby the pagans' stretch of highway, and members are peppering the county with complaints. County Commissioner Larry Stephens declined to elaborate on the calls he is receiving, beyond the following rhetorical question:

"What would you guess they are saying about that sign being erected with taxpayers' money?"


A sometimes reliable source checked in to tell us that Victor Ashe said on a morning radio show he was going to take the gloves off during his last term as mayor, and we'd see the "real" Victor—no more Mr. Nice Guy. This was such an intriguing and scary notion that we set about to find out what folks thought about it. Here are some of the answers we got:

Tim Burchett: "I've never known Victor to be nice."

Danny Mayfield: "I think that is great. Everybody ought to be willing to show their true colors, and I'm willing to help him."

Ray Hill: "He'll still get along with me."

Jim Haslam: "Victor wants to get that convention center built and get downtown redeveloped, and to do that it's going to take all his energy's the most important thing that will happen here in the 21st Century."

Jack Sharp: "That reminds me of a picture I saw of Hitler that said 'When I come back, there'll be no more nice guys.' "

Victor Ashe: "Of course I never said such a thing. I intend to be nice to everybody. Nice is the best way to go."

God Bless Us Every One

Those jolly elves at the Tennessee Conservative Union (AKA Two Guys and a Fax) had their Christmas bash and bashed all the usual suspects—Don Sundquist, "Panama" Howard Baker, Don Sundquist, Lamar Alexander, Don Sundquist.

The Cas Walker 'I'm agin' it and that's that!' Award: Eighty percent of the citizens of Tennessee.

The Louis Donelson Lifetime Achievement Award: Louis Donelson.

Best performance by a high tech device: TCU's fax machine.


A hearty congratulations go to former Metro Pulse contributor Katie Allison Granju whose book, Attachment Parenting: Instinctive Care for Your Baby and Young Child, won the #7 slot in the top 10 parenting books of the year, as chosen by the editors at bookselling powerhouse It's also worth noting that out of 45 customer reviews on the Amazon webpage, Granju averaged a 4.5-star rating (out of a possible 5). What better holiday gift for new parents, we ask you?