Saturday, January 28, 2012

January 28, 2012 CFA (Citizens for Accountability) Pushes To Protect Voters and the Integrity of the 2001 City Referendum on MUC

The letter is in the mail...Click on the image to enlarge, read, copy...

Morristown-Hamblen Citizens for Accountability recently sent letters to Morristown voters with history, background, and current information on the effort by five Morristown City Councilmembers (Paul LeBel, Kay Senter, Bob Garrett, Chris Bivens, and Claude Jinks) to overturn the votes of the 3,202 people (72%) who voted for a series of changes to the Morristown Utilities Commission in a 2001 referendum.

The Five have set in motion their plan to do an end-run around the MUC appointment process that  3,202 voters put in place with their votes FOR the  2001 MUC referendum question!

These Five have decided that they don't like the MUC appointment process that was among the MUC changes put in place by 3,202 VOTERS in 2001. So...the Five have decided that THEY will overturn the voter-approved MUC appointment process all by themselves---without going back to the people in a referendum to see if the PEOPLE want to leave the current appointment process in place or want to make a change.

The Five apparently don't care about the integrity of the referendum as the voice of the people. The Five think that they are justified in overturning the votes of the PEOPLE and changing the MUC selection process to what they want because...well...just because they can and they want to...

And because George McGuffin is sitting on the sidelines and oh-so-quietly cheering them on.

Monday, January 23, 2012

January 23, 2012 Bluff City Traffic Cameras Bring in More Money Than Property Taxes

Very interesting article here about money and traffic/speed cameras in Bluff City, TN.

No mention of safety. No mention of a reduction in property taxes as a result of the huge windfall of new money from the traffic cameras.

Friday, January 20, 2012

January 20, 2012 DEA Agent Accidentally Shoots Himself in the Leg: Video Goes Viral

A DEA agent lecturing community youth accidentally shot himself in the leg (above).  

With self-control and presence of mind, he hung in there and attempted to turn the accident into a teachable moment about gun safety. 

With YouTube, this portion of the 2004 lecture has been seen by thousands.

[A federal court recently rejected the agent's claims that his privacy had been invaded by the release of the video.]

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January 18, 2012 David Wild and MUC Manager Jody Wigington Show Up To See City Council Reject Wild's Appointment to MUC Board

The LeBel Five will not compromise. David Wild, Mayor Thomas' eleventh nomination to the Morristown Utilities Commission Board of Commissioners, went down in flames yesterday. [Click on video]

Without discussion, the LeBel Five (Paul LeBel, Kay Senter, Bob Garrett, Chris Bivens, and Claude Jinks) set the fire and voted to reject Wild's appointment to MUC.

Mayor Danny Thomas and Councilman Gene Brooks supported Wild.

Wild came to the council meeting with MUC manager Jody Wigington to see his rejection. Pictured above are Jody Wigington in the suit and tie and David Wild in the blue sweater. "News"paper reporter Bob Moore is pictured in the background.

Wild knew his nomination would be rejected and really didn't care.  Wigington knew and wanted Wild to be rejected because Wigington supports the "overall game plan" of the LeBel Five.

What is the game plan?  An end-run around the votes of the 3,202 people who set up the current appointment process as part of the 2001 MUC REFERENDUM. 

Goerge McGuffin, who considers it vitally important that he keep the MUC seat that he has had for 34 years already, is the coach. LeBel is the quarterback. Senter, Garrett, Bivens, and Jinks are the offensive line. The coach and quarterback have called for an end-run around the voice of the people.

The goal is to keep Coach McGuff in charge of MUC and that will be done by overturning the votes of the 3,202 people who set up the current appointment process as part of changes approved in the 2001 MUC REFERENDUM.  The votes of 3,202 people are viewed as a necessary casualty in this struggle to hold on to power.

This diagram of the end-run:

1. The LeBel Five ask the Tennessee General Assembly to let the LeBel Five change the MUC Private Act and overturn the current appointment process that was set up by the people in the 2001 MUC REFERENDUM.  (DONE)

2. The LeBel Five get Rep. Don Miller and Sen. Steve Southerland to sponsor the changes to the MUC Private Act in the General Assembly, allowing the LeBel Five to change and overturn the appointment process that was set up by the people in the 2001 MUC REFERENDUM. (DONE)

3. The LeBel Five get the Tennessee General Assembly to go along, thus helping and allowing the LeBel Five to change and overturn the votes of the 3,202 voters who supported changes to MUC, including the current appointment process, in the 2001 MUC REFERENDUM. (IN PROGRESS)

If they can get the General Assembly to go along and allow the FIVE to overturn the REFERENDUM, the LeBel Five can then quickly appoint their one and only acceptable person--Coach George McGuffin--to MUC for another 5-year term. 

While the goal is to keep McGuffin on MUC, the bigger issue is the raw power grab that is exhibited by overturning a REFERENDUM. What's next?  What other Referenda are they willing to overturn when they suddenly decide that they don't agree with what the people voted FOR?

If personalities and politics and raw power are set aside, how can anyone stand up and say that it is moral and right and just for five people to overturn the results of a REFERENDUM just because THESE FIVE suddenly decide in 2011/2012 that they (and their Coach) don't like the MUC appointment process that was approved by 72% of the voters in the 2001 MUC REFERENDUM?

More to come...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January 17, 2012 Special Judge in Baumgartner's Misconduct Hearing Urges Knoxville Legal Community To Report Misconduct

Last Thursday, Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood denied the request by the Knox District Attorney's Office to immediately appeal Blackwood's ruling that the four Christian-Newsom torture-murder defendants must be retried due to "structural flaws" in the initial trials presided over by former Knox Criminal Judge Richard Baumgartner. 

Baumgartner, who finally resigned from office and is now drawing a handsome $4900/mo pension from the State of Tennessee, was found to have been taking various drugs and engaging in other misconduct during the Christian-Newsom and other trials.

Blackwood chastised members of the DA's office and others who apparently knew that Judge Baumgartner appeared impaired in the courtroom but who did not report it and thus let the trials--that will now have to be re-done--continue.

Blackwood sent a message to the entire legal community: "There is a canon of both the (state) Board of Professional Responsibility as well as a canon of judicial ethics that it is a mandatory duty to report a lawyer or judge whenever their fitness is called into question."

[Blackwood didn't mention that he himself failed to read the entire TBI file before agreeing to the plea deal that granted Baumgartner "diversion." ]

The News- Sentinel article is here.

A previous post and other links are here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

January 16, 2012 McGuffin: Ready To Beat Down #11 To Keep the "McGuffin Seat" on MUC

In late December, the Morristown Utilities Commission did the vetting and picked its ELEVENTH list of nominees for a seat on the MUC Board: George McGuffin (who has already served on the Board for 34+ years and who desperately wants to stay on that Board), David Wild, and Chris Horne.

On January 17 Mayor Danny Thomas will submit one of those names to the Morristown City Council for approval or disapproval.

If history repeats itself, the Mayor's nomination of either David Wild or Chris Horne will be voted down by these five councilmembers: Paul LeBel, Kay Senter, Bob Garrett, Chris Bivens, and Claude Jinks.

Wild or Horne will then join the list of TEN persons (Mike Minnich, Glenn Thompson, Carroll Fowler, Wally Long, John Allen, Mike Davidson, Bruce Sluder, Jerry Isaacs, Gene Lynch, and Steve Henrikson) that The Five have rejected over the past seven or so months.

But McGuff and The Five view all this as just a temporary setback. The Five are moving to change state law just for McGuff so they can put him back in right away instead of serially rejecting other MUC-recommended candidates. 

McGuff and The Five don't care that the people set up the current appointment process and that MUC ran pricey paid political ads to get the people's (72%) support for this and all the MUC changes in the 2001 Referendum.

It's kind of funny to imagine how all this plays out in jokes on the golf course, at the Club, and at the elite parties.

Hey, David (Wild), do you really think you can get LeBel and Bivens and Senter and Jinks and Garrett to vote for you?  Have you had "the talk" with Bivens to let him know that you're just a strawman nominee who's not really interested in taking Daddy McGuff's seat---so it's OK to vote against you?

Hey, Chris (Horne), we admire you for letting your name be put out there for the LeBel Five to reject. After you "lose one for the McGipper," your name can be added to the Guinness Book of World Records under "most MUC rejectees ever."

Hey, George, remember those cute political ads that MUC ran in the "news" paper back in 2001 to get people to vote for MUC changes? Guess you're pretty happy that you have the clout to get your council buddies to cancel out those 3,202 votes without blinking an eye! 

Of course, some people wouldn't dare kid George about his obsession with holding onto the MUC seat, but they just might have some thoughts like...

Can you believe that McGuff is so obsessive/compulsive that he won't let go of his MUC seat after 3-1/2 decades and just move on?

Taking over the sewer and having control of all utilities in Morristown must be really important to Daddy McGuff and a lot of others. All that power and you don't even have to run for election!
Wow! Daddy McGuff, Momma McGuff, and Frank McGuff took Frank's loss to newcomer Danny Thomas in the Mayor's race so hard that Daddy McGuff now has his buddies on City Council trying to change the law just for him so Daddy McGuff can stay on the Morristown Utilities Commission.

Yes, it looks like money and power can make an individual and elected officials arrogant enough as to be willing to overturn the votes of 3,202 people in a referendum.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January 11, 2012 Former Knox Judge Richard Baumgartner: Public Misconduct, Diversion, State Pension of $4900/month

The fallout from drug use by former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner continues as many of the criminal cases over which he presided while using drugs are challenged.

Citing Judge Baumgartner's impairment, retrials have already been granted to the four defendants convicted in the 2007 torture-murder deaths of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom.

A TBI probe into alleged drug use by Baumgartner began over a year ago.  Al Schmutzer, a former East Tennessee DA, was eventually appointed as special prosecutor.

A plea deal was announced on March 10, 2011.  Baumgartner pled guilty but was granted judicial diversion by Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood.  With diversion, the sentence was suspended and  Baumgartner was placed on probation for two years. If Baumgartner remains clean during the probation period, his record will then be wiped clean.  Click here.

The diversion and the ability to wipe the slate clean cleared the way for him to draw a state pension. On March 11, 2011, one day after the plea deal was entered, Baumgartner began drawing a state pension of $4,900/month.

Judge Blackwood, who admitted that he did not read the entire TBI file at the time he graned diversion, granted new trials to the four individuals who were convicted in the Christian-Newsom torture-murder deaths. Click here and here.

The Board of Professional Responsibility disbarred Baumgartner. The BPR file is here..

The redacted TBI file is here.

As all try to distance themselves from this travesty,  Schmutzer claims that he was stunned by the diversion. Click here

A defense attorney who is trying to get a retrial for his client, a convicted child-rapist, has asked the Knox District Attorney's office to step aside since employees of the DA's office were interviewed during the Baumgartner investigation and some may have/should have known of Baumgartner's impairment. Click here.

One certainty at this point is that more convictions will be appealed and more "what did you know and when did you know it" questions will be asked.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

January 5, 2012 Daily Bread

Sue and Hobe Williams operate the Daily Bread Community Kitchen on Cumberland Street. They were honored for their work by the Morristown City Council in November. Click here for the video of that award.

Here is a video taken at the Daily Bread on December 17.  Outside entertainment included music by individuals or groups and Santa sitting in a big chair under a tent----while inside a daily meal was being served, children were allowed to pick out gifts, and food bags were distributed.

Monday, January 02, 2012

January 2, 2012 Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!   2012!

Another year passes...and 2012 is here. Best wishes to all for a healthy and happy new year!