by Flyer Staff
I guess its my background as a defense attorney, but , said Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton in an interview with the Flyer Saturday, Im not ready to write off Tom Jones. Indeed, said Wharton, if current allegations against Jones are dispelled, Ill be the first to give him an apology and would be ready to offer him a substantial position in county government. The former Public Defender and newly inaugurated county chief executive acknowledged that he had badly wanted to employ Jones, a chief adviser to former mayors Bill Morris and Jim Rout, in his own administration and was dissuaded only by the enormity of the public reaction to a controversy over possible credit-card abuses that caused Rout to suspend Jones with only a week to go in the Rout administration. I just was unwilling to spend the first year of my administration dealing with this, Wharton said of the controversy over Jones, now under investigation by the District Attorney Generals office for purported use of his county-issued credit card for private purchases. Jones is also accused of improperly accessing a county fund set aside for liaison with a Chamber of Commerce project. Meanwhile, Wharton says, he has chosen not to replace Jones in the uniquely authoritative position which, under Rout, saw Jones occupy multiple positions -- including public affairs director and deputy executive assistant. (For more of the interview with Wharton, see this weeks print edition of the Flyer.)
Ill be a congressman, she said categorically while attending a picnic in East Shelby County Saturday. In the state senate, I havent been a Ôsenatress. Ive been a senator.
While serving as a senator, Blackburn won wide recognition as a determined opponent of a state income tax, and that reputation, plus some assiduous campaigning in Shelby County, won her an easy victory over five GOP opponents in the August primary. She finished second in Shelby County, in fact, where she maintains a part-time residence on Highway 64.
Blackburn, who is opposed in the general election by Democrat Tim Barron of Collierville, indicates she may be a mite more flexible than some observers would have believed. Like many Republicans in this depressed stock-market era, she has backed off the word privatization in relation to Social Security, though she still calls for a portion of an individuals Social Security account to be administered as the individual sees fit.
And, though she wants President Bushs tax-cut package to be made permanent, she acknowledges that unforeseen expenditures of the war on terror could justify a continuing-resolution vote that would leave that outcome for future consideration, especially if action against Iraq (which she would support) takes place.
Vans history is to go hard, hard negative in the last month of a campaign, and thats what hes doing here, said Bredesen after addressing attendees at the monthly Dutch Treat Luncheon at Willinghams Restaurant at Perkins and American Way.
Former Nashville mayor Bredesen, who has emphasized his non-support of a state income tax, both implicitly and explicitly, said that 4th District congressman Hilleary was attempting to mislead voters by making the issue about taxes. Bredesen defended a recent TV commercial of his own, criticized by some Democrats, in which he called his opponent by name and defended himself against Hillearys income-tax charge. That may violate the canon of political-advertising practice, Bredesen acknowledged, but Ive never been unafraid to violate political canons.
In his presentation to the conservative-oriented luncheon group, Bredesen emphasized what he said was his superiority to Hilleary in three areas: management experience, support of education, and job creation. He re-emphasized his opposition to legalized gaming and welcomed the recent Supreme Court decision calling for equalization of teacher salaries in Tennessee as a good thing.
The ruling would prove beneficial to the state if Tennessee is allowed to make one move at a time to implement it and if the state works within the structure of the existing Basic Education Plan to incoporate the funding changes.
For the record, Ford issued a statement doubting administration claims of a connection between Iraq and Al Quaeda but endorsing the idea that America's national security is at stake and supporting the presidents call for national unity.
Off the record, one observer acquainted with Ford noted a distinction between the current congressman and his father, former Rep.Harold Ford Sr., who voted against a similar resolution in 1991, but pointed out, Harold Sr. wasnt planning to run for the Senate in 2006 in a Republican state.
Even in his preparations for the operation, however, the 2002 GOP nominee maintained his partisan connections. When Vice President Dick Cheney, who has had a similar operation, visited Memphis recently, Flinn asked him for an opinion as to how he should proceed. He told me who should do it, and I did it his way, and, politically, I should be as good as he is, Flinn joked to Saturdays attendees at the Dutch Treat Luncheon.