Jan 13 2008

If you're reading this, you probably got State Sen. Raymond Finney's annual constituent preference survey in the mail. If not, it's also in today's Maryville Daily Times. If you don't have that, it's online at Senator Finney Listens.

Sen. Finney (R) represents the 8th Senate District which includes Blount County and Sevier County. I don't agree with most of Sen. Finney's politics, but I have always given him an A+ for constituent outreach. I can't really blame him for the fact that his views represent the majority view in his district. Instead, it is a challenge for the more progressive types in Blount County to educate voters on a better way forward.

The survey has an introduction with some background on several issues that will be before the Tennessee General Assembly, which just resumed session this week. He asks for your opinion on them, and shares his views on most.

A couple of things I found interesting:

• Last year, Sen. Finney said he would vote against the AT&T statewide cable franchise bill, but AT&T withdrew it for lack of support so it never made it to the floor for a vote. In this latest survey, Sen. Finney seems to have reversed his previous position and now appears to support it. There were some minor changes regarding local control of right of way, but it's essentially the same bill. It's a bad bill that will eliminate local control of cable franchises, regulate local franchise fees, restrict or eliminate customer service and quality standards, restrict or eliminate local build-out requirements, and threaten local public, educational, and government (PEG) cable access. (Note: his survey question on this is biased, because it implies that without statewide contracts local governments will only have one provider. There is nothing stopping AT&T or anyone else from submitting proposals, and in fact they have been invited to do so.)

• Sen. Finney appears to be for the Pellissippi Parkway extension as a way to address Alcoa Highway traffic problems. The survey question on this offers only three options: Build the PPE or build the bypass or do nothing. There should be a fourth option (which I believe TDOT already proposed as the least expensive) to "fix Alcoa Highway."

Anyway, be sure to complete Sen. Finney's survey if you haven't already. Make sure the Blount County progressive voice is heard!

P.S. Here are the results from Sen. Finney's 2007 survey and his 2006 survey.

Done. The survey was a

Done. The survey was a little biased.

Gave him in F

I don't care about his constituency service or communication strategy. He's a panderer to creationists and automatically fails in my opinion. Less Christianists please.

Yeah, and more guns

Yeah, and more guns everywhere, no immigrants anywhere, and English only. If you look at the results of his past surveys, the results are disturbing.

Not surprising

Anti-immigrant crap polls well everywhere there are small numbers of Hispanics. The great brown horde has increased from 3 to 5 people!!!

Actually, I found opposition to pre-K schooling more disturbing. There is so much evidence that pre-K makes a HUGE difference in getting kids prepared for school. It's especially necessary for kids whose parents didn't bother to read to them as toddlers. Universal pre-K is a fairly new concept, but it's a necessary one. Why do a majority oppose it? Cost? Or just suspicion of education?


It's especially necessary for kids whose parents didn't bother to read to them as toddlers.

The difference is whether or not it is mandatory.

My feelings on this is that

My feelings on this is that age 4 is a very tender age to be taking children from home to school, but on second thought, many 4 year olds are at daycare so maybe the mandatory pre-k is a good idea. My children were at home with me at this age and only recently have I realized how lucky I was that I could stay home with them at that time.
Plus, I did read to them and often.

Why mandatory?

I would HATE to see mandatory preK. Just because some parents don't read to their kids doesn't say to me that we deprive other parents of the privilege of doing so. The spouse and I work hard to lovingly educate our kidlings from birth.

These are important years for bonding with your mom/dad/siblings and just being a kid. I'm telling my age, but Kindergarten wasn't even mandatory when I was that age and my parents opted not to send me. I did manage, somehow, to become a semi-productive member of society.

So I wouldn't say it was "fear," Elrod - just a recognition that the needs of each family are unique. PreK is great for families with certain lifestyles, but kind of silly for a family with a perfectly capable and willing parent at home. Why remove a 4 year old from a mom or dad who can give that one-on-one treatment?


Think about a conversation the four of us had recently regarding the benefits of Headstart. For working mothers the biggest hurtle to participating was finding transportation for the child to go from daycare to the program.

Instead of making the programs mandatory, we need to find a way to fund the programs to include transportation for these children who can't go to Headstart due to lack of transportation.

The only mandatory thing should be that the state provide the funding for transportation for those who need/want to participate and leave the rest of us out of it. This would also require the state to fund additional Headstart programs.


I agree mandatory was not the best word to use. I do believe that transportation would be a big problem as we discussed.
I do not know but are children not read to and given some type educational experience in most daycares? If I have my granddaughter on Sunday and TV is on, it is on PBS, Sesame Street and such.
I don't know alot about this issue as my "baby" is 25. lol
I voted against the mandatory preK in Finney's questionare.

Readers breed readers

We were read to and we read to our kids- then they read to us. People I know who don't read simply for the joy of if would never think to read to their kids. They say isn't that what school is for?

Finney's questionnaire is only about his narrow views. More like these are the only choices I would make so which one do you like? Very similar to the poll in the MDT. Black and white questions do not fit my technicolor world.

Finney's survey belongs on an RBG monitor.

Question did not say mandatory

I don't think Finney's survey asked about mandatory pre-K. This is what it said:

"Is universal pre-K education (pre-K classes made available for all four-year old children in the state) an appropriate course of action and an appropriate expenditure of Tennessee public education funds?"

Clearly the issue according to Finney is cost, not opposition to pre-K per se. But it strikes me that universal pre-K - that is "free" pre-K - is much more beneficial down the road than continuing with the current system. I can say from personal experience that pre-K options in Maryville are woefully inadequate. They are either completely filled up years ahead of time, extremely expensive, little more than day care, or radical religious indoctrination centers. I want a secular pre-K that's affordable and available. It will cost taxpayer money, of course. But it's absolutely worth it, considering the benefits to education down the road.

Senator Finney's survey questions on PPE & upcoming TDOT meeting

The inaccuracy of the Senator's representation of the PPE and Alcoa Parkway proposals is disturbing. The PPE won't remove significant traffic from Alcoa Highway (even TDOT's figures concur) and no one with any knowledge of the history of these proposals has suggested that the choice is between one or the other (nor has TDOT). Also the options the Senator offers in the survey (build PPE, build Alcoa Bypass, or do nothing) are not the same as what TDOT is telling the general public. We continue to press for improvements to existing roads, which are already inadequate (lack of shoulders, sight lines, turn lanes) and which will be carrying even more traffic if the PPE is built. If you have not yet completed the survey, ask the Senator why he is not asking his constituents which of TDOT's options ((1) No-Build; (2) Transportation System Management (TSM) activities; (3) Transit; (4) Upgrade existing roadways in the northeastern part of Blount County; and (5) a new four-lane roadway on new location) they prefer?

TDOT is holding another public meeting, this one on Feb. 19 at 5pm at Heritage High School. TDOT is asking local officials to be present to answer our questions about the impact of the PPE on the county budget, when the anticipated development that will follow the PPE requires more schools, more road improvements, more law enforcement, and more water. TDOT should be conducting an economic impact analysis as part of the federally-required EIS, and local officials should be asking TDOT these same questions so that they can make informed decisions about what the PPE would mean for our community, the County budget, and our tax rate.

Some readers still think the PPE will ease traffic congestion through Maryville. Even TDOT's own traffic study shows this will not occur. Sure, we need improvements to our road system: add a center turn lane to east Broadway; re-design the PPE terminus to accommodate the R&D park, Jackson Hills, Clayton, and on-off traffic; fix the Lincoln Road/Wright Road/East Broadway intersection. The PPE is no substitute for any of these needed improvements and will make some of them worse.

Thank you, Ms. Gregg. Great

Thank you, Ms. Gregg. Great information you have added to the discussion. I will be posting an event entry as a reminder of the TDOT meeting.

Going back to Pre-K

Like I have posted before on this issue, the pre-k IS NOT mandatory. The state gave Blount County School board for 6 classrooms ONLY. That is 120 students that the state paid for, while the tax payers have to pick up the cost of the rest of the 304 students enrolled at the beginning of the school year with that number increasing. The cost that was given to BCSB was $482,293.14. So 9 classrooms is $723,439.91 and the start of the school year numbers make it 9.2 classrooms. So we then have 10 schools babysitting.
Carpenter's Elem. 10
Eagleton Elem. 20
Eagleton Mid. 80
Fairview Elem. 25
Lanier Elem. 60
Mary Blount Elem. 28
Middlesettlements 20
Rockford Elem. 28
Townsend Elem. 20
William Blount Mid 13
So in all respect, there are more teachers and every classroom has one or two teacher's aids. Then add the insurance and benefits. The real reason is not if it is a good thing or not to have but the overall expenditures is cost effective for the county right now financially. Headstart started for the handicap and then went to low income families. Now it is open for all. My kids are enrolled in the "friends" after school program and were told that the cost would be to pay for the teachers and expenses but that is not really true either. We got our yearly cost to date for 2007 and we paid over $5,000. Just another insight on what is going on and why all the added money coming in each month for more and more. The addition at Townsend Elem. that the county commission approved for 2 classrooms was not told that it was going to be for Pre-K either.

Senator Finney's survey questions on Gun Carry

I like the Gun Carry laws he's preachin. if he can just get those passed.

Gun carry: At least two bills may be considered:
Granting the holder of a gun carry permit to carry his or her
gun onto state-managed parks for defense only. State park trails
and campgrounds may be isolated and rugged. Law enforcement
officers are few in number. Visitors may risk being victims of
homicide, rape, or robbery. This law would permit a valid gun
carry permit holder to carry his or her weapon onto state park
property for purpose of defense, but not for hunting,
poaching, or target practice.
Granting the holder of a gun carry permit to carry his or her gun into a
restaurant for defensive purpose only, provided he or she does not
drink alcohol while on the premises.

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