Wed
Jan 16 2008
05:45:pm

Make sure you see the post by Robert Wilson below. I'll leave this notice up here for a day or two in case the original post scrolls off the front page.

Blount Today article

Thanks to the forum administrator for calling special attention to my post on the article I am writing.

And I appreciate the responses posted on this site. But I cannot use these posted comments in my story. There must be a person-to-person, verbal interview, most likely by telephone. I must know the name of the participant if his or her comments are to be included in the article.

Thus, if you are willing to be part of this story, e-mail your name and a phone number where you can be reached to rlwilson2594@charter.net. If you desire, we can withhold your screen name from the story. But we do not print unattributed or anonymous quotes.

So far I have only one e-mail from a prospective interviewee. It would seem a shame if that person, though an apparently responsible commentator, became a spokesperson for all Blount County bloggers by default. I would like a broader spectrum of thought than that. Please join the conversation

Robert Wilson

the significance of blogging

I understand the standards of professional journalism and the reason(s) you require people to identify themselves. What I don't understand is the apparent contradiction between not intending to address 'issues' while simultaneously intending to address 'the other side' -- unless what you mean by addressing 'the other side' is simply that you will be asking people why they don't blog? If on the other hand you will be talking to people who have been the subject of bloggers' comments and critique about the issues, then you are also obligated to talk with bloggers about the issues.

From the perspective of civic engagement, it would be more interesting if you explored the extent to which active bloggers engage with the policy-making they observe and comment on: are bloggers also civic activists? do they participate in community input opportunities and public hearings? do they attend County Commission, Planning Commission, City Council and Board of Education meetings? do they communicate with their elected representatives (local, state, national)? are they involved in electoral campaigns? are they involved in local issue and advocacy organizations?

The growth of the cyber universe has opened up new channels of virtual communication, but in many parts of the country civic engagement continues to diminish. Some theorize that blogging is a form of expression that does not require having a face-to-face conversation with someone who holds different views, and therefore we are no closer to shared understanding despite all the blogging. Others despair that on-line activism means people blog and/or sign electronic petitions and think they need do nothing more to effect change. Social change in the US has always depended on activism of another kind.

What do BlountView readers and posters think?

Again, the post and replies

Again, the post and replies are what they are. If you see that someone has something say that rings true, I would say they are involved. If what is said has no context, then they are probably not.

Like the post titled What the State Audit Report really says - 28 missing Sheriff's Vehicles that contains this link (link...). That link contains more provable state and local documents than I have ever seen in either local paper in regards to this ongoing story. If the local papers are able to get the BSCO side, I would hope they would cite an equal number of tangible documents.

Personally, I would say anyone who post or replies here would be more involved in county government than those who only read press repeats, err, releases.

Reasons

I think most on this site have no interest in doing news paper reporting. Obviously, you and other reporters have visited this site to see what the other "other side" is saying. At times, bloggers on this site read the local papers and come up with questions. Like some of the questions in this thread (link...) or this (link...) one. I don't care if the answers come from Blount Today, Daily Times, local TV news, newsletters, this blog or a blog the "other side" might create to get out their point of view. In fact, I'd love to hear it. Although, the other side may need at least two blogs as it seems the GOP faction doesn't always agree with Republicans who seek accountability.

I personally think our local government is wasting around $10 million of my and my fellow tax payers money. Currently, most all the work being done in the gulf right now is being done by volunteers. I'm pained to know how much better our community would take care of our own if we only had the extra money to do so.

So when I hear things like, “No further investigation,” Bennett said, “is warranted or planned.”; I know that any communication with my government is going to end up in "that's old news" or we'll communicate with CTAS and get back to you on that. Remember all the discussion about the vehicle inventory before Bennett claimed all is well? Of course you don't, because commissioners that asked were told by the Sheriff that wasn't something he intended to discuss. So if our representatives can't get strait answers and the press can't get strait answers - what makes you think individuals can? A blog not only lets these questions openly linger, with constant answers that sometimes lead to more questions, but they can also be a historical point of reference when the truth (or some semblance of it) is exposed.

The story is not about who - it's about what. If you find something here you don't know the answer to, there may be a story there. If you deem it's not newsworthy, disregard it. If you find something that is newsworthy - try to get it printed for a larger audience. That's all this blogger ask.

Great idea, Robert but...

SeeJaneRide
As you are well aware Robert, the GOB in this community will stop at nothing to maintain their power positions. For the safety, and I do mean safety, of posters with the real goods, it's important to maintain anonymity. Just ask anyone who has called this administration into question. Some have been followed home, some have had sheriff's cruisers "block" their cars from leaving public meetings, some are flat-out threatened. For example, last night at the commission meeting, the sheriff was overheard (with his finger pointing in the man's face) threatening to sue an elderly man who had questions about the still-missing cars. These people play for keeps, and they have no problem doing whatever it takes to keep power securely in their grip. Be careful who you "expose" in your article. You will be setting them up for harassment, or worse.

You're kidding, Jane?

Is it even possible for a public official to sue a member of the community? I didn't think "libel" or "slander" extended to public officials and I can't think what other grounds an official would have.

For example, last night at

For example, last night at the commission meeting, the sheriff was overheard (with his finger pointing in the man's face) threatening to sue an elderly man who had questions about the still-missing cars.

Wow! Are we citizens suppossed to sit back and shut up when this type thing happens? (the missing cars?)
The elderly gentleman was showing his testicular fortitude and the sheriff did not approve. I thought that this is what the mayor ask, was that people have the testicular fortitude to ask questions face to face.

Apparently, public officials have sued members of the community

Greetings:

Apparently, public officials have sued members of the community in other states . . .

See, (link...)

Disclaimer: I am not aware of any legal decisions in Tennessee that have allowed such suits, although I have not thoroughly researched the topic, and the link above is dated.

Further observation: Since the County Mayor has, indeed, brought the fortitude issue to the forefront by public comment, perhaps a legal defense could be raised that the critique of the public official(s) in this particular jurisdiction (i.e. Blount County) was waived by the highest ranking executive officer in the jurisdiction.

Food for thought.

TFM

Thomas F. Mabry
P. O. Box 52385
Knoxville, TN 37950

Fax 1-888-215-3119
Phone 1-865-271-9224

No, I'm not.

SeeJaneRide
No kidding here. That's what was overheard at the meeting. The GOB are anything but Good. Perhaps a better description for them would be SOB's--but before you assume: SOB translates into Sinister Ol' Boys.

Not Kidding

Wouldn't you love to the see Berrong in front of 12 of his peers? "Could you please explain why this (link...) exhibit is not correct?"

If the county wants to raise revenue, put that on pay-per-view.

12 peers

Yes, but wouldn't the 12 peers be selected by Tommy Hatcher and wouldn't the Judge be Dale Young? I'm guessing Berrong isn't shaking in his boots at the prospect.

P.S. And the District Attorney would certainly recuse himself from the matter, as per usual.

The threats are real...

There are stories of serious threats and intimidation all over the county, but no one will talk to you, Mr. Wilson, nor any of your peers, nor would we suggest that they should. The risk is too great; the danger too real.

The BCSO - A Love Bug Story

Many bloggers and others online have ventured out to take a look at the disposition/acquisition forms that "put to rest" the issue of the BCSO cars found here (link...) (Select under the heading "Public Safety" patrol cars disposed 36. This may take a minute or two to load)

While the problems with this "inventory list" are too many to address here, one easy question for the local press could be why out of 36 cars, only 6 were actually disposed of in FYE 2006. Maybe the local press can figure out how a car sold in 1997 (page 31) helped reconcile a count for FYE 2006.

Or maybe not; (link...)

If you do choose to look at the list; print it, then save it. These type things have a tendency to go lost or suffer changes.

In plain sight

Daily Times owned Blount Voice has entered the blogasphere. It looks to be a gathering place for their reporters and editors to get news out. Shame they have no other outlet.

I found an article by a local reporter who gives his 3 laws of Journalism. Number 2 is;

2) If it's in plain sight, it's probably not a smoking gun.

(link...)

I guess we can assume this reporter has looked at the BCSO car inventory and decided it's typical for receipts not to have dates (pg 28, 33, 35, 37, 39 etc) or that faxes don't have fax id (pg 10) or that the purchasing directors dates don't match BCSO claimed sale dates (pg 22, 27, 29, 38 etc)? (link...)

I guess it could only be many, many, many paper work errors. Kind of like being physically harassed at dinner only constitutes a bad meal. I guess only a smoking gun that's visible is something to worry about. I mean that pdf is 86 pages, who has the time?

Also, on the linked Blount Voice page to the left you will see links to other resources. But not this blog or other Democrat blogs. Who is the Daily Times/Blount Voice serving?

The funny DT ah la BlountVoice

Hum... they are really taking a gamble putting a link to Mike Thomsom's blog. I wonder if Jerry would approve of that? Geeze, they link to Walker's blog and not Reeves? Spooky stuff!

While we are at it... as presented to the Commissioners, the legal contract with the Air National Guard pdf was filled with extra pages. I guess the motto for BC Courthouse should be "if you can't amuse, CONFUSE!" Or perhaps, HIDE it it plain sight...

Blount Voice....

Got a email yesterday requesting to link to my blog....I assumed they were tagging all of the local blogs....R.Neal??

tagging?

Links are one thing. RSS is another but man O'man, it looks like what they are putting on their frontpage is not little RSS headlines but nearly entire articles. I saw the craigthomas thing and thought he was writing just for them. Clicking the link then takes you to CTs blog with the exact same content from him. Highly strange.

Commissioner Walker, any

Commissioner Walker, any thoughts on the vehicle report?

"...any thoughts on the vehicle report?"

Yep, but I would consider them personal opinion and not reflective my constituency, so for that reason I will keep them to myself.

Respectfully,

Mike

Doesn't look like

Doesn't look like BlountViews is linked, and I haven't heard from them. But then, I've never heard of anyone asking permission to link to a blog. I guess that sort of gives you an idea where they are in their evolving understanding of blogs and blogging.

...understanding of blogs and blogging

I would agree, this is evident simply from the DT now posting "Breaking News" in the middle of the day. Thanks for the update.

Doesn't rise to the Federal standard

it's typical for receipts not to have dates

It's my understanding the IRS won't even consider receipts with no dates. This "accounting" looks like it was done by 5th graders.., not very smart 5th graders.

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