local government

Memphis mayor disputes CNN pundit’s ‘blistering critique’ of city and its leadership

After CNN pundit Angela Rye unleashed a blistering critique of Memphis and its leadership during a taxpayer-funded speech Saturday, Memphis’ Mayor Jim Strickland took the unusual step Monday of issuing a rebuttal to “defend our city,” reports the Commercial Appeal.

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Bill to give legislators oversight of airports stirs flap in Northeast TN

Legislation introduced by Rep. Matthew Hill and Sen. Steve Southerland would create a board of state legislators to oversee – and overrule, if they wish – decisions made by regional airport authorities. The bill involves the Tri-Cities Airport Authority’s use of a $4.1 million state grant and is stirring controversy in Northeast Tennessee.

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Nashville Council approves May referendum on $5.4B (or $8.9B) transit referendum

The Metropolitan Nashville Council has voted 34-2 to give final approval to adding Mayor Megan Barry’s transit referendum to the local primary election ballot on May 1, reports The Tennessean.

But bucking the administration, the council tweaked the referendum language to list both the transit proposal’s present-day cost of $5.4 billion as well as the estimated amount of long-term revenue needed for the project, $8.95 billion. The mayor’s office had lobbied for only the lower amount to go on the ballot. 

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TN Supreme Court rejects refund of liquor stores’ overpaid taxes

Press release from Administrative Office of the Courts

Nashville, Tenn. – In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that a taxpayer must pay disputed municipal taxes under protest before suing for a refund.

The city of Morristown, based on a state statute, adopted an ordinance imposing an inspection fee on licensed alcoholic beverage retailers. The city set the fee at 8 percent of the wholesale price based on the county’s population. By 2011, the county’s population increased, and under the ordinance, the inspection fee should have decreased to a maximum fee of 5 percent of the wholesale price. However, from 2011–2014, the city of Morristown continued to charge alcoholic beverage retailers 8 percent inspection fees instead of the authorized 5 percent fees.  Continue reading

Gubernatorial candidates talk on local control versus legislature

Excerpt from the Times-Free Press report on a gubernatorial candidate forum Thursday:

In response to a question about cities’ and towns’ complaints about the General Assembly’s propensity to wade into their operations on issues like guns in public parks, removal of Confederate statues and education, (Democrat Craig) Fitzhugh said, “I believe in local control” and put the blame on the Republican-run Legislature.

“It seemed to me that for many years, the Republican view was the best government was at the local level, but here recently at the Legislature, the majority party has taken it upon themselves to sort of get into cities’ business and counties’ business on various things. I think they had it right the first time.”

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More on Nashville mayor’s extramarital affair

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry says her extramarital affair was with Metro police Sgt. Robert Forrest Jr., who heads her security detail, and began in the spring or summer of 2016, just months after she entered office the previous fall, reports The Tennessean.

Forrest submitted his retirement papers Jan. 17. His final day was Wednesday.

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Nashville mayor acknowledges extramarital affair

Press release from Nashville mayor’s office

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (January 31, 2018) – Mayor Megan Barry has released the following statement regarding an extramarital affair:

“Today, I have acknowledged publicly that I have engaged in an extramarital affair with the former head of my security detail.

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Sen. Lundberg tangled in flap over firing of policeman who ticketed his daughter

Bristol city officials were concerned about “political interference and retaliation” by state Sen. Jon Lundberg after his daughter was ticketed by a police officer who was subsequently fired, reports the Bristol Herald Courier.

The Bristol Republican says he did not try to get his daughter out of the ticket and has actively opposed dismissal of officer Phil Kiersnowski – though he contacted the city police chief at the time to jokingly remark on his wife and daughter both being ticketed  by Bristol police on the same day.

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Lawsuit accuses county trustee of cattle rustling, womanizing

Hamblen County Trustee John Baskette is accused of cattle rustling in a lawsuit, reports the News Sentinel. The further contends Baskette used the money from the cattle sales “for his womanizing.”

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Nashville getting Major League Soccer team

Press release from Major League Soccer

NASHVILLE – (December 20, 2017) – Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber today announced that the historic and culturally dynamic city of Nashville, Tennessee has been awarded an MLS expansion club.

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