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Wait For Missy

Officially, official Knoxdom is horrified that anyone would already be talking about how to fill the late Danny Mayfield's City Council seat—and more to the point, who should fill it. Mayor Victor Ashe harrumphed on the K2K Internet forum about the "inappropriateness" of such talk, even though sources within the city acknowledge that the discussion has been going on for a while. The alleged preference in some quarters was to name former Councilman Bill Powell to finish out Mayfield's term (which expires this fall). That prompted a rush of outrage from Mayfield friends and supporters, not least because Mayfield labored like Hercules to defeat Powell in 1997. Email petitions started circulating urging Ashe and City Council to consider naming Mayfield's smart, opinionated and much-admired widow, Melissa, to the seat. Melissa (Missy to her friends) understandably has had other things on her mind this week, and she hasn't said whether she's interested in continuing her husband's public service. But before leaving town last weekend to take Danny home for burial in New Jersey, she reportedly served notice on both Ashe and Vice Mayor Jack Sharp that she'd appreciate it if they don't make any decisions without talking to her. Not that the mayor would ever do anything so, um, inappropriate...

PBA Annex

At County Commission Monday all hands signed a resolution honoring seven former Public Building Authority employees who were laid off after PBA lost its contracts to manage school building projects. One of them was architect Vernon Patterson, who volunteered to be let go when he was instructed to lay off employees from his department.

Greatly respected by County Commission members, the plain-spoken Patterson obviously did not enjoy the same status among school board members and Superintendent Charles Q. Lindsey, who decided to dispense with his services just two years after a headhunter recruited him to come here from Arlington, Va., where he managed the school system's capital improvement program.

Patterson has grown to like Knoxville, and he and two other former PBA employees, Larry Robinson and Sharon Harper, are starting their own program and project management business—Partners Collaborative Inc., with an office on Harriet Tubman Street.

Griess Grease

When John Griess isn't wearing his County Commissioner hat, he's probably wearing his Holrob real estate suit. But he'd better try a suit of armor, or at lease a flak jacket next time he goes out to try to sell the Alice Bell-Spring Hill Community Council on a mega-Target store he's trying to put together on Washington Pike.

Last week, Griess met with homeowners, who were joined by someone who almost certainly will be the most formidable roadblock to his plan—City Councilwoman Carlene Malone, whose political career began in the late '70s with a losing battle to save a historic Fountain City home from being razed to put in, yes, a Target.

The homeowners vetoed Griess's plan by a vote of 95-2 or so. He says he'll be back, that the property will inevitably go commercial some day.

I'm pretty confident that some day that property will have a commercial use on it. What these rezoning fights are saying is the market is talking to us."

Malone: "Market speaking, my butt. Mr. Griess is selling the theory of real estate predestination... What we have here is Mr. Griess's client who bought the property when it was zoned residential, and who now wants more money for it zoned office, and doesn't care about the effect on the greater good of the community."

March 29, 2001 * Vol. 11, No. 13
© 2001 Metro Pulse