Tag Archives: AC Wharton

Mayors Speak Out


The mayors from Memphis, Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville are letting the legislature know that they do not want that state interfering in city business. Knoxville mayor Madeline Rogero said the state doesn’t like federal mandates and the same thing goes for local government when it comes to state mandates. LINK


Rogero cited some example of pending legislation that could have a negative impact on local governments. One is HB3386, which would prohibit local governments from requiring city contractors to provide a specified level of benefits to employees.

Memphis, for example, now requires city contractors to pay more than the federal; minimum wage. Knoxville does not and Rogero said there are no plans to do so.

“Whether we do it now or not is not the issue,” she said. “It’s another of those bills that preempt local authority. We would like to have more autonomy on the local level and have the state let us make the decisions on what’s best for us.”


In a Jackson Sun editorial, community colleges are being discussed as an alternative. LINK


As the economy improves and new jobs come online, workers will find that many of yesterday’s jobs are gone forever. To be employed or re-employed, they will need new skills and more education. The challenge for students, young and old, is whether they will be prepared for higher learning. Mastery of basic math, reading and writing is a must to qualify for such apprenticeship and community-college programs.

Such education efforts are not new. Henry Ford took poor kids off the streets of Detroit, put them in ties and white shirts, fed them lunch and trained them in apprentice programs to be machinists, pattern makers and mechanics to work in Ford factories.


Occupy Nashville’s actual occupation of War Memorial Plaza may be coming to an end but protesters tell Jonathon Meador that their fight is far from over. LINK


For weeks, the Tennessee General Assembly has debated legislation that would effectively evict Occupy Nashville from the plaza, citing a familiar chorus of complaints centered on the protesters’ bodily functions. The most notable of these was Rep. Eric Watson’s comment that the protesters “need to be peed on” – a reference to an alleged public-urination incident hotly denied by Occupiers. Last week, Watson’s HB 2638 sailed through the House, 70-26. The bill means to levy a jail sentence of one year and a $2,500 fine against anyone – whether Occupiers or any of Nashville’s approximately 6,000 homeless individuals – caught with “bedding for the purpose of sleeping … including tents, portable toilets, sleeping bags, tarps, propane heaters, cooking equipment and generators.”

As of press time, the General Assembly is expected to vote Thursday on the Senate version of Watson’s bill, SB 2508, sponsored by state Sen. Dolores Gresham, which would make camping in the vein of the Occupy movement a misdemeanor offense and permit the seizure of the offender’s private property by the state.



Gannett papers are going behind a paywall. What this means is that finding out news from the state capitol may become a little bit more difficult although there are independent newspapers and television that will get the traffic for people who live outside the 440 Loop. LINK


The vogue for digital paywalls sweeping the news business has made it all the way to the top:Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, is planning to switch over all of its 80 community newspapers to a paid model by the end of the year, it announced during an investor day held in Manhattan Wednesday.

Quick Hits

  • Katy Graham has a new blog called Lavender and Cheese. She discusses the realities of health insurance where she had to make a choice for financial reasons. LINK
  • Eric Stewart also has a new campaign blog.LINK
  • The latest legislation in Nashville which Betsy Phillips writes at Pith in the Wind that our lawmakers didn’t think all the way through. LINK
  • Jackson Baker has the latest on redistricting and District 90′s John DeBerry at the Memphis Flyer. LINK
  • Cara Kumari writes about Gov. Bill Haslam’s Top To Bottom review. She says it is quite lengthy and broken up into sections. LINK
  •  Proposed legislation for term limits for Tennessee representatives has died in subcommittee and sent to summer study.LINK

Rock, Paper, Scissors


Redistricting in the House was passed yesterday. Here is a little inside baseball on how one House democratic leader made a deal to save three house members. And yes, it came down to rock-paper-scissors as the picture from yesterday above shows on who would vote with the republicans which ultimately helped three democrats: Sherry Jones, Harry Tindall and Eddie Bass. LINK

Republicans agreed to accommodate Democrats, redrawing district lines to help three incumbents keep their seats. In return, they asked Democrats to go along with speeding the plan through the House this week. And one more thing: they demanded that either House Democratic leader Craig Fitzhugh or his top lieutenant, Mike Turner, vote for the plan.

“I thought it was worth doing that to save a couple of our members,” Turner said a few minutes ago after the House voted 67-25 for the plan. “We discussed this back and forth, which one of us was going to do it. We did rock-paper-scissors, and I lost.”


Tom Humphrey has the presser from Sen. Eric Stewart who wants Republican leadership in the Senate to take another look at the 4th District. LINK


State Senator Eric Stewart sponsored an amendment Thursday to restore counties within a Congressional redistricting proposal that will go before the Senate on Friday.

“We can make this plan both legal and fair to counties so that they might stay whole and within their current districts,” Stewart said. “I would hope such a plan would receive a fair look in what has been an otherwise hurried process.”  

Under Stewart’s amendment to Senate Bill 1515, Coffee County would be included once again in the Fourth Congressional District, where it is currently. Under the proposal before the Senate, Coffee County would be in the Sixth District with counties like Sumner and Wilson.

A bill was withdrawn about bathroom use. Yes, you read that right but not before the online community went ballistic. One senator backed away from the bill. LINK



Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, this afternoon withdrew the Senate version of a controversial House measure prohibiting transgender people from using use public bathrooms and dressing rooms that don’t match the gender listed on their birth certificates.

Watson, who is chairman of the Hamilton County legislative delegation, said he sponsored the bill as a standard courtesy to local House members, in this instance, Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, the House sponsor of the measure.

“I understand Rep. Floyd’s passion about the issue, but we have more pressing issues before us that we need to focus our attention on and we don’t need to get sidetracked,” Watson said.


A letter to the editor at the Jackson Sun from Michael Cooper of Sharon. He has been participating in teleconferences but never gets a question to the congressman. LINK


I have been called at least four times to take part in Rep. Stephen Fincher’s telephone town hall meetings. I listened in and requested to ask the congressman a question three times. They were tough questions such as: Why does he sleep in his office, but charges the taxpayers for living expenses in Washington? Why does he travel back to his home district every weekend at taxpayers expense, but never seems to have any scheduled meetings where he can be questioned by 8th District voters?


Mayor AC Wharton has concerns about the new redistricting plan in Memphis. Bill Dries with the story on the blurry lines in Memphis. LINK

“Memphis has never been divided,” Cohen said earlier this week noting the exception of some of Frayser that is in the 8th District and part of Parkway Village in the 7th District.

“As the Poplar Corridor has grown it has become a second major retail business area for Memphis – a second Downtown,” Cohen said. “To take that area out and put it into a rural district represented by Congressman Fincher from Frog Jump, who has rural interests at heart and rural knowledge and no experience in Memphis is a very surprising factor.”

Wharton’s concerns about the redistricting plans mirror general concerns he had at about this time in 2011 as the legislature debated changes to laws governing the consolidation of school systems. Wharton was vocal in his belief that the provisions that created the schools consolidation transition planning commission were unfair because they did not include appointees to the body to be made by the Memphis mayor.


Quick Hits

  • Jackson Baker looks at the newly-drawn districts in Shelby County. LINK
  •  One Memphis writer is not surprised by the Governor’s endorsement of Mitt Romney.LINK
  • Bruce VanWyngarden has a suggestion onhow to schedule primaries. LINK
  • The Pulse in Chattanooga interviewed Weston Wamp this week. Read the first three questions and fear for the future of journalism. LINK
  • Understanding SOPA and how to stop it.This is a must read if you have a blog, a twitter or Facebook accountLINK