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Something for the Resume

Mayor Victor Ashe is off networking at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, and although he is widely believed to be angling for a federal appointment should his college chum George W. Bush be elected, many politicos hereabouts are wondering if he will be able to elude the effects of a pointed ruling handed down last week in U.S. District Court. Magistrate Bob Murrian reversed his own earlier decision and placed Ashe under a permanent injunction not to muck about with the civil rights of city fire fighters. Ashe may be the only mayor in the country to be under such an injunction.

Reading Murrian's 32-page opinion leaves a clear impression that the judge, who is perhaps the city's most respected jurist, was unfavorably impressed with the Ashe legal team's post-trial TV appearances. (City Law Director Michael Kelley denounced the finding that Ashe had violated the civil rights of five fire fighters—"The jury was wrong!"—and Kelley and Ashe claimed victory because the jury had not awarded punitive damages.)

"There has never been a clear, public acknowledgment of responsibility for violation of the plaintiffs' civil rights from either defendant adjudged responsible...Neither has there been an assurance to city employees that it will not happen again. Moreover, it needs to be emphasized in a most clear and effective way that the freedoms of political belief and political association are hard-won and precious freedoms which are not to be trifled with, and that the federal courts are able to effectively deal with those who attempt to do so.

"It is time for such activities to cease."

Mayor Sweetface?

Since Ashe is in his last term, he has only three more years to labor under the court order. One person who hasn't been mentioned as a potential mayoral successor was seen lunching with former Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen at the trendy Music City eatery The Tin Angel. Lawyer Greg Isaacs played coy when asked if he was discussing the ins and outs of mayoring, saying not much more than that he and Bredesen found that they had a lot in common:

"When he arrived in Nashville, he was unemployed and broke. When I arrived in Nashville to attend David Libscomb University, I was likewise unemployed and broke."

Suffer the Little Children to be Annexed

Former mayoral mouthpiece George Korda uses a Nixonian analogy to explain his former boss's current appetite for annexation. Just like Tricky Dick attempting to bomb North Vietnam back into the Stone Age, Tricky Vic, Korda is explaining on his numerous radio, TV and cyber gigs, is annexing the hell out of the county because County Commission has refused to give the city growing room. (Both the city and county have submitted growth plans as required by the new Growth Policy Act, but the county's plan doesn't allow the city to grow past its current boundaries.) The city annexed more than 60 parcels in July and has a similar number lined up for August. Among those slated to be annexed are County Commissioner John Griess's church—All Saints Catholic—as well as the adjacent Catholic High School. McKennah Francis is only 3, but she had her dad, lawyer/politico Dennis Francis, go on the radio to protest the annexation of Nanny's Nursery, on the grounds of Ft. Sanders Park West, where she goes to daycare.

Round One

Meanwhile, Knox County scored something of a preliminary victory in its fight to challenge the Growth Policy this week. Although many lawyers pooh-pooh the suit authorized by County Commission, lawyer Steve Roth was successful in staving off the state of Tennessee's effort to remove the case from Knox County Chancery Court. Chancellor Daryl Fansler ruled against the state, and will hear the case here.

August 3, 2000 * Vol. 10, No. 31
© 2000 Metro Pulse