Monday, May 16, 2011

Random thoughts on county stuff

So, did you miss me? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Been pretty busy lately. Hate that I didn’t update here, but I mostly do this stuff at home, and really – quite frankly – just didn’t feel like it.

No, what happened was Blogger, the platform or website or whatever this is that I use, went down. It deleted some posts, etc., so I didn’t want to put up anything else until the kinks got worked out.

Or whatever it is the greed-heads over at Google do when they’re not in a spitting match with Facebook.

Anyhoo, so I had a bunch of stuff, but I didn’t put anything on paper or monitor, so what you’re about to get is, ah, just some random shots, I suppose, while I wait for my pizza and put in the first season of Nurse Jackie. Is the show any good?

In other words, you get the quick ramblings instead of the long ones. Or whatever.

First up: I noticed the other day that county Law Director Joe Jarret started a Facebook page “Joe Jarret for Law Director.” Jarret, a Republican who was appointed last year by the county commission to replace Bill Lockett (man that was a disaster, wasn’t it), hasn’t filed an appointment of political treasurer form with the election office yet. And, petitions to run in next March’s election won’t be available until September. As it stands, though, he’s the first to – while not technically official – throw his hat in the proverbial political ring. I’m sure others will step up. I remember during interviews for the job I heard a lot of “he’s not from around here” BS from the other applicants. That attitude alone will bring out candidates.

Next up - and this one is to Laura Braden, who sends emails on behalf of Knoxville mayoral candidate Mark Padgett. I think she’s running his campaign or something. Laura, if Mark is too cheap to buy me those beers, then just say so. And that means actually picking up the phone and calling – not sending emails, cancelling his lunch appointments every time you/him/whoever run into “scheduling conflicts,” which oddly enough happens every time I pick on one of Padgett’s silly “news” releases. Oh well.

Third - and this is an old one, but I’ve wanted to say it forever. A few folks in the Deathstar forgot the Golden Rule: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Fourth - and this one goes to county Mayor Tim Burchett. The next time you propose full-time job cuts – and actual bodies get laid off – try to make sure they’re not all minorities and seniors. It just doesn’t look good when they are. Or when most of them are. (I imagine once this one gets posted I’ll get a call from communications manager Michael Grider refuting it. Update to follow. Heh.)

Fifth (and I’ll probably get slammed for this one but I don’t care): I was at the county commission meeting briefly today. Sentinel reporter Rebecca Ferrar was filling in for me, but I had to stop by to interview some folks. Apparently 20 people attended the budget hearing to speak out against the proposed funding cuts – about 92 percent – to the Beck Cultural Exchange Center.

The mayor has proposed a reduction from $150,000 to $12,000. Wow, that’s some major coin. Now, I know people are going to turn this into a West vs. East (where the center resides) issue or a black vs. white issue, or a whatever issue.

It’s not.

Look, Burchett is a Republican. And that’s not to disparage the guy, but – and I’m stereotyping here, I know – Republicans cut this kind of stuff. (At least more so than Democrats.) The administration is slashing prices throughout the Deathstar’s parking lot. (Except for schools because it really can’t, and in public safety because it doesn’t want to deal with The Man with the Badge).

And yeah, cultural centers, non-profits, whatever enhance the makeup of communities. But, they’re also the first things axed when looking for savings. Burchett campaigned on smaller government. He’s doing it (or attempting to) right now.

That’s a fact. He didn’t hide it. He said he was going to make some cuts people wouldn’t like. And he said he was going to lay off folks.

But I digress.

Anyway, the Beck Center and the county – under the Mayor Mike Ragsdale administration – had a deal where the county would help fund it, if Beck officials turned over the property (and go through the process like other non-profits). That never happened. In the meantime, the Beck Center received a ton of money. The county eventually backed out when Center officials didn’t hold up their end of the deal.

To Burchett – I’m assuming here, I admit – the Center is now a private, non-profit entity. And I think it’s an important center that serves the black community, but it’s not a county-funded operation, like – for example - a senior center.

Also – and I don’t know the answer to this – but I think you have to keep in mind just how much money the Center brings in. What is its economic impact (which is actually a silly way to measure things because most people just juice the numbers anyway)? If it doesn’t bring in the scratch, then It’s not going to get the coin.

I know it’s easy to be an armchair quarterback. And people aren’t going to agree. (Hey, we all know where to cut the budget, right?) But, whatever. We’ll know more shortly.

The commission next week will continue picking through Burchett’s proposed budget, and I’m sure – no, I know – the issue will be revisited.

I had a few more items to ramble about, but it’s getting late.

And I want to see if that show is any good.

1 comment:

Dan Andrews said...

i can save the Beck Center. It appears Shady dealings in the last deathstar administration torpedoed the deal. The reality is it could be very easily saved and cost the taxpayers almost nothing read my blog