Feb 25 2008

That's what Joe Gallagher says. Commenting on the Children's home controversy, Joe says: "Pure and simple, the developers want the property for commercial use. The Mayor and Chamber (also Economic Development Board), as servants to the developers and bankers -- not the public -- are maneuvering to acquire the property."

He is also critical of the recent sale of the Highway Department property near Hamilton Crossing to the EDB for $3 million, who will in turn sell it to a Knoxville developer. Joe says "I wonder if $3-million is even close to the fair purchase price the County should receive. I believe the property should have been appraised by an independent firm with no ties to Blount County."

Sounds about right

Mr. Gallagher is a real asset. I wonder how Blount County would be operating today if Cunningham would have had the nerve to debate Joe.

But after a year and half of watching what Cunningham does and hearing what he says, it's no surprise why the GOB didn't want him speaking publicly.

Solutions for Conflicts of Interest

The suggestion of inappropriate governmental action per Mr. Gallagher's comments is interesting given Mr. Cunningham's recent statements that he desires a more transparent Blount County government.


Appearances of impropriety abound when a conflict of interest becomes a plausible explanation for governmental action or inaction. Mr. Gallagher's suggestion of an appraisal "by an independent firm with no ties to Blount County" would address this appearance of impropriety. Such an appraisal would end the controversy unless the government acted in marked opposition to the findings of the independent appraisal.

The same is true for the legislative and judicial branches in other controversies where there is an appearance of impropriety. One of the reasons that I began making comments in this forum is summarized by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor:

I believe the long-term solution to the politicization of the judiciary process is education. Children, voters, policymakers and lawyers all should be informed about the importance of a fair, impartial judiciary.


Whether I agree or disagree with Justice O'Connor's legal decisions is not relevant to her ideas on education of the public to seek an impartial judiciary. Whether I agree or disagree with Joe Gallagher's political views is not relevant to his desire to have an informed and fair decision making process.

In essence, decisions can be made in conformity with thoughtful, unbiased and disinterested facts by thoughtful, unbiased and disinterested individuals, with "all deliberate speed."

What has been present in the political process in BC and Knox, and the judicial processes of BC that have been the subject of significant attention? The appearance of conflicts of interest regarding the beliefs of the parties or affiliations with the parties.

What has been missing? The transparency of government promised to the electorate: reliable and available information. That is the education that Joe Gallagher suggests that governmental officials need before decisions of million-plus dollar magnitudes are made.


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

Fax 1-888-215-3119
Phone 1-865-671-0598

Smell Test

Mr. Mabry, as usual, your teaching efforts have left me a bit smarter in regard to the law. I would like your take on something totally off topic, but has bothered me since I saw the chart, and that is the restructuring of the DOJ by Bush/Gonzales. As you will see in this chart (mid page) (link...), there seems to be a large difference in the structuring of White House / DOJ communication between this administration and the last. It worries me that "kids" from Pat Robertson's Regents Law School described by Bill Maher here (link...), are now the ones directing US Attorneys all across the country. As we have seen through the Gonzales investigation, US Attorney appointments seem to be influenced heavily by politics.

Is this something out of the norm? Should we be doing something to try and correct this?

Mayor Cunningham formerly on the board of the Children's Home

If you check the League of Women Voters' candidate surveys, you will see that Mayor Cunningham lists under service and civic groups that he was once on the Board of Directors for the Blount County Children's Home. (link...)

This is an interesting disclosure. You would have thought that this would have come up in all the press coverage and letter exchanges. (How many times have we heard about his military service?) Seems strange for him to omit this.

Does having served on that board himself give him unique insight on how to best screw it in the name of the citizens of Blount County? Does he have sour grapes about a primarily state-mandated change of direction? What does it all mean?

"I think it would be a good idea."
-Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization

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