Mayor Cunningham is on a roll with the letters!

Look what just popped up at the Daily Times website, re: the Sister City program - ((link...))

Cunningham, who also sent the letter to two county commissioners, said, “I have little love lost of the Russian government in particular” because Russia supplied armaments and advisors to the Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam war, which killed several of his buddies.

*Update: Lawsy day, the DT has now posted the full text of the letter! ((link...))

**Second Update: WVLT Reporter Steve McLamb reported on the Mayor's letter on the 5:30 p.m. news tonight. ((link...)) They've also posted a photocopy of a "copy" of the original letter on county letterhead on their website at ((link...)). Strangely, Cunningham told McLamb it was a private letter. Hmmmm. Private letter on county letterhead?

The DT's communist reporter

Iva Butler's (the person who wrote the article) first name is the feminine Russian form of Ivan which is known as John in Englisch. Hmmmm, could it be that the DT sent a Russian in to report the story?

viva Evo Morales


I'm biting my tongue about ole Cunningham but I have come to the conclusion that he sucks. What an idiotic thing to challenge, especially bringing in his personal feelings about what happened in the past. Uh Jerry, that's one of the reasons for the Sister City program - to bring together sides that have been in disagreement before.

Jerry, you are embarrassing us, the tax paying citizens. Can you please go to your office, close the door, and shut the f%$k up???????

Where is the letter?

Now it is up. I see they corrected Jerry's spelling of Putin.....

How nice of them!

I fully expect Jerry to send them a thank-you note for correcting his spelling. I know the DT wouldn't want to embarrass a distinguished, hometown citizen. Very professional of them.

The Big Red Scare

“People are complaining. I’m getting calls from Sevierville people asking why we’re sending all the Russian kids up there to take jobs away from Sevier County kids and Blount County kids,” Cunningham said.

Is there anyone the mayor believes should be working in Blount County that doesn't have a pure Blount pedigree? From a man who is always griping about "illegals" that aren't illegal, to now chastising those here legally looking to learn a trade to take back home. I'm pretty sure a teen could get the same cashier job at Belk they could get at Five Oaks. For the mayor, Belk is the old Proffitts - for you who only see it the way it was.

Cunningham, who also sent the letter to two county commissioners, said, “I have little love lost of the Russian government in particular” because Russia supplied armaments and advisors to the Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam war, which killed several of his buddies.

Didn't we also have a war with Japan? Is the mayor going to attack Denso next? He's also proven the Civil War is something he's not over; "Even someone from New York can understand that." (link...)

“We need to take care of our kids first. That’s just how I feel,” he added.

So let him be the biggest advocate builders have ever seen. He helped lift the 4 lot limit and overcrowd the schools - FOR OUR KIDS! Isn't part of his duty is to bring new jobs to Blount? Or something close to Blount, as we know the bulk of recent job incentives work has been for Loudon County boating.

Blount County provides no funding for the Sister City program.

Again, the mayor interjects himself where he needs not be. If he doesn't approve of the program, don't be part of it as a citizen. We certainly can do without the mayors editorials on his xenophobic world views.

As someone who has made Russian friends, I'm embarrassed. As someone who likes to travel internationally, I'm embarrassed. As a Blount Countian, I'm embarrassed. As someone who was taught Southern hospitality, I'm embarrassed.

I'll sum it up by repeating the Farmer " of the reasons for the Sister City program - to bring together sides that have been in disagreement before."

Only someone who is an embarrassment wouldn't recognize that.

simply appalled

Is anyone else as outraged as I am by these hateful, racist comments? My goodness, whatever happened to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS MUCH AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF? And I do believe that includes Russia.

It's official.

Yes. His letter makes it official. Jerry Cunningham is a buffoon. I know. It's not nice to name-call. Forgive me for the unkind words toward our mayor. Then again, I'm almost sure it's the only language he understands.

Speaking for everyone?

...will take into consideration what I feel to be the vast opinion of the majority of folks in Blount County that these kinds of visits need to be few and far between.

I must not be part of the majority!

...or "A-list" or "Who's

...or "A-list" or "Who's who". Apparently these are the only folks the mayor consults with. After these people are done chatting at their Christmas parties, I can't wait to have them tell us who we need to hate next. I imagine even this already small group is starting to get even smaller and smaller for ol Jerry.

For those politicians who continue to hitch their ride to Cunningham, we're watching.

Majority? I don't think so.

Majority? I don't think so.

This would seem to hurt the Chamber's recruiting efforts

I will have to respectfully disagree with the mayor on this one.

Regarding the issue of international visitors in general, I'd have to say that in this day and age we really don't have the option of withdrawing away from the outside world. As another poster pointed out, a significant number of local jobs come from international companies. This is the case with Denso, for example, along with other companies.

In order to stay competitive in this global economy we need *more* interaction with international people, not less - and in order to attract other high quality international employers we need to have a welcoming atmosphere. How much luck will the Chamber of Commerce have in international recruiting efforts if the executives of these companies think that as foreign nationals they are unwelcome? It seems to me that the Mayor's letter will hurt the Chamber's efforts in this direction - I am concerned that recruiters in the other cities and localities that we are competing with for new business will actually use it as ammunition against us, to sway firms to locate elsewhere. That phrase "Now I understand that there will be an expansion, not only of Russian delegations, but from other countries as well" seems particularly damning viewed in this light. If I were an international firm considering Blount County as a location, I'll have to say that a letter like this from a public official like the Mayor would make me think that foreigners are unwelcome, whether Russian or otherwise, and make me think twice about locating here.

The state is not helping either

This law that came in effect Oct 1 2007, not only affects large companies but many companies that use legal contract workers. Most H2A ag workers are now not allowed to drive legally as these are seasonal jobs and visas are usually for 6-9 months.

We don't want to teach ESL in schools then complain that "they need to speak English". (DT poll)

We take away a legal worker or immigrant's ability to drive and be insured, and then complain that "they have no license or insurance."

From Tennessee Dept of safety website:

In order to qualify for the Temporary Driver License, the applicant will be required to provide the department with proof of temporary legal presence and authorized stay in the United States. Such proof must indicate the applicant’s length of authorized stay in the United States. Applicants must have at least one (1) year of authorized stay remaining at the time of application. If authorized stay expires in less than one (1) year the applicant will not qualify for the Temporary Driver License in Tennessee.

Today's story from the DT

Another story I came across from KnoxNews:
Study shows Hispanic drivers stopped more


When was the last time any secretary to any County Mayor in the USA ever had to type the letters KGB- just like this... KGB?

Now I understand that there will be an expansion, not only of Russian delegations, but from other countries as well.

Who next? The French? The Italians? Those cut and run Australians or the Brits?

I said earlier he is a one term mayor. Now I would love to see him resign before we have a real international incident on our hands. We do welcome the world to Blount County. Jerry, you do not speak for me.

From another recent article regarding this very delegation and more on the Sister City program (link...)

Sister City Co-coordinator and Alcoa Assistant City Manager Bill Hammon presented them with plaques from Alcoa Mayor Don Mull containing crossed American and Russian flags commending them for fostering mutual understanding in the initiative for world peace.


I guess this kind of un-does the plaque Overbey gave them!

What about that new Industrial Park in Jackson Hills - any Russian companies/engineers recruited to locate there? They may think again.

Not sure about which country but

Not sure about which country but this article from the DT and that danged Rick Laney pretty clearly shows some of those who we expect to come and create new industry in Blount County.


Most local residents are not aware of Blount County's efforts to attract international companies to East Tennessee.

More importantly, from the Summer 2007 newsletter.

89 foreign based companies from 19 countries employ more than 16,000 workers up and down Innovation Valley.


Private Letter?

On County letterhead?

Typed by a county employee?

On county time?

Mailed with county postage?

Memo to Jerry- dude, learn to use the interwebs and your party will gladly eat all evidence of them thar private letters....

Whose kids are next?

“I’m also getting calls from Blount County parents as well that Russian kids are taking Blount County jobs. We need to take care of our own kids first. The Russians should take care of their own kids. I don’t see the Russians offering jobs to our kids.”

Mr. Cunningham's solution for Russian kids outright contradicts Judge Young's remedy for Ms. Calixto's children.

(Is Jerry Cunningham still backing Judge Young 110% or have I missed something?)

"Ana Calixto said she then asked the judge what she should do with her two children — both legal U.S. citizens — and the judge reportedly told her there were Americans here in this country who could take care of her children."

... just not Blount County Americans, right?

Do these selfish, haughty attitudes by men in authority positions send out RED FLAGS to anyone else? And I have never seen this question asked, but is Judge Young even a parent himself? I know that if I were parent with concerns that directly impacted my children like Ms. Calixto, I would not want to stand before a judge who was not a parent him/herself. Sorry, but would be difficult if not impossible to truly empathize with a parent's plight if you've never been there. All the more reason for an empathetic "been-there" judge, especially in child custody situations.

DT, keep up the good work but Rick needs to make a comeback ... quick.

“I’m also getting calls

“I’m also getting calls from Blount County parents as well that Russian kids are taking Blount County jobs.

I don't know about Jerry but I have worked very hard my entire adult life so my children would not have to. My daughter has 3 years of university work on her resume. My son excels in his chosen career.
Both my children are in their 20's and work in air conditioned places. They get to dress nice and look good. I am not sure what jobs Russian kids are taking, but I feel certain they are not competing for the jobs my children have.

WVLT link with quotes


"It certainly doesn't express how I feel about what's going on in Blount County," said Wendy Pitts Reeves, a Blount County Commissioner.

As our world becomes a more globalized economy, with the way things are going in this community, we need that kind of input," said Reeves.

Yes! Commissioner Reeves gets it! She knows about all those foreign owned companies that employ Blount County residents!

"I think it's not fair to those visitors to judge them about their present national leader," said Dr. Bob Proffitt, a Blount County Commissioner.

Yes! Commissioner Proffitt gets it! I know I don't want to be judged by my national president.

"I probably wouldn't have said it like that, but I highly respect the mayor and his use of the language," said Dr. Robert Ramsey.

Hands up! Who thinks Dr. Ramsey deserves the Blount County Nice Guy award for 2007?


Mayhaps, willing Commissioners would show up at the next televised get-together in a Red Blouse/Shirt with something Yellow applied? That would be a discreet show of solidarity.

viva Evo Morales


I think Mayor Jerry read that post. He was at the mall yesterday in a bright red vest.

The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming

Maybe Jerry saw that 1966 film too many times. Or wasn't it a biggy for high school productions... And he didn't realize it was a comedy.


The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!

Sounds like he may need a little one on one counseling to get over this phobia. I belieive it might be safe to say that he has lost his mind. Funny, but I don't recall going to any stores, restaurants or other
local businesses and being besieged by all the Russian kids working there! Besides he should know that you can't judge the people by their leader, or we'd all be moronic jackasses.

Sounds like he may need a

Sounds like he may need a little one on one counseling

The county health plan provides for this. County employees have a nice selection of mental health professionals that they may choose from.


PLEASE don't judge US by the guy leading OUR country, ahem, I mean, county.

Oh heck... don't judge us by either one of these guys...

Final Straw?

Watching all this is troublesome. Thought provoking. Hopefully, this will not receive international attention or get on any wire service. The comments of JC would be disturbing if coming from a private citizen but take on a new meaning coming from an elected official. Did no one working with him point out this might be something he wanted to think about first? Or perhaps they knew how it would play out---the straw that might break the camel's back. In an interview with author Richard Ford, he commented: Quit "looking to the right or the left, and thinking that's good enough." ...we seem to be "shedding responsibility in this country. People need to say,'What I do matters not only to myself but also to my loved ones and to people I don't know.' " "we're caught up in the doing of things and not very much caught up in the consequences of our act."

you mean

You mean you hope that this TOO does not make international news. The Ana Calixto story went around the world several times over. Not just once but twice. The second time was when the Commission talked about a resolution in support of the Judge.

wow...I would hate for

wow...I would hate for citizens of Russia to judge US by our political leaders!

Hmmm I have yet to run across one job stealin' Russian kid in the years I have lived here.

Cunningham needs to face facts-we live in a GLOBAL economy...we need to think and act globally...

I gotta agree with the person who called hima buffoon....

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