Apropos of nothing … here’s some Monty Python

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UT prof goes to D.C. to talk small business investment vs. consumer protection

Sometimes as a reporter you realize that there are topics on which others are far more well-versed than you. This is one of those times.

Joe Carcello, a University of Tennessee Department Head and EY and


Joe Carcello

Business Alumni Professor in the Department of Accounting and Information Management, is the former Audit Committee chairman for Knox County – and one sharp guy.

He made a trip up to D.C. this week to talk about protections for investors vs. making it easier for small business to get investors.

The making-it-easier part would deal in part with publicly-traded companies and the regulations they have to face from the SEC – and all this is put really simply, mind you. Carcello, for his part, leans toward that of the investor advocate: if the protections are removed for these smallish businesses (and we’re not talking about the local hardware store or ice cream shop here), then investors can potentially be open for more risk.

Anyway, for those who want to know more about what the House financial services committee did or heard on Wednesday, here’s the link to their hearing landing page, with bios and some briefings. What grabs me – as is the case with nearly all legislation in Congress – is the tidy names each of the proposed bills have. So often they are not an accurate indication of what lies within the bill itself. Not saying that’s the case here, but the titles of legislation has humored me for years.

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“No permits, no problem” or “You don’t know what you don’t know”

Real quickly:

  • A local political blogger posted about a business on land that the county mayor owns.
  • It gets some attention, we do a story that went online.
  • Within the same day day the business owner calls and says, in short: oops.
  • Papers should be filed soon.

Floyd’s Garage

Angela Taylor is running her vintage shop in North Knox County, over off Amherst Road. With it being the physical location for her online shop, and presumably her first venture of the sort, she didn’t know what kind of paperwork should be filed. She’s been running the business since May.

Taylor said the circumstances weren’t ideal, but the end result of the story could be a little more interest in what she’s got going on at Floyd’s Garage. (IMHO, it looks like a nifty/groovy thing she’s got happening there.)

She takes consignment business, and sells vintage-y stuff that’s popular with the Pinterest crowd. The music events, with food trucks and classic car or motorcycle clubs is an effort to get people out of the house, she said.

“That was just an idea of mine to cross-promote,” she said. “There are a lot of people in the area who don’t have the opportunity to come out and experience the things that happen in downtown Knoxville.”

Oh, I tore a page out of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show for today’s blog post. And while this won’t make it into the print story, but the new word learned today is chattel. The thesaurus is not extinct, folks.

In completely unrelated items, I just realized that Pink Floyd popped up on my little trip out to Floyd’s (Pigs, specifically). With an interview from Tim Floyd Burchett today, that’s enough for a Floyd hat trick. Hope that shows up in my reporter stat line.

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Do a quiz to see how Dem/GOP/GDI you are … really cool

I took this quiz a few different ways to see if I wound up aligned with one candidate or another, so it’s legit.

What’s most striking is the detail used in the questions. If you click on the radio button for “More Stances” You end up getting more nuanced answers. For people who aren’t into politics, but want to figure out who you align with, this is good.

For the nerds out there who want to drill down into positions from candidates, you can go all the way to the source material upon which a candidates position was stated.

This may be one of the most useful tools for the independent or unsure voter. And at the end of the quiz, they don’t try to sell you something! Enjoy!

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Go vote! Knoxville early voting ends tomorrow

… in this low, low terribly low turnout election for Knoxville City Council. And the mayor.

But let’s be honest. This thing was over before it started. You heard it here first (or second, or third), incumbents will take the day.

Short story: I talked with a friend last night about a Council race in her neighborhood. The race from a challenger to unseat a well-known incumbent has misrepresented some information, according to what she relayed. That’s about all I can say on the matter, other than to make sure you know your candidates.

We’ve written on these city elections repeatedly in KNS, and it’ll be covered by our very capable city reporter, Megan Boehnke, on Tuesday.

Even with the turnout low, go vote. Because in these races, your vote is like having two votes (or something like that). I’m going to peg the over/under at 9 percent turnout. And take the under. Prove me wrong, please. Tomorrow is the last day for early voting.

One more story: I moved from one Knoxville district to another this year. Early voting is really good for those like me who have moved but not updated their registration information. So do that if  need be. I’ll be out today to cast a ballot.

Otherwise, wouldn’t it be great if Election Day were a national holiday? Wouldn’t that be cool – to go vote, have the day off and then have a long lunch or hang out with the family and watch returns come back? What would that do for turnout?

And while we’re in the election spirit, go check out this movie if you like irreverent comedy. It’s streaming on Netflix now, and hilarious:

From Paste magazine on Election:

Year: 1999
Director: Alexander Payne
A high-school election for student body president turns into a darkly comic satire on politics and sexuality in one of Alexander Payne’s uproarious takedowns of Midwestern values. The election turns into a struggle of wills between Matthew Broderick’s wormy high-school teacher and Reese Witherspoon’s overbearing know-it-all Tracy Flick, but resentful mediocrity doesn’t stand a chance against relentless ambition. With a hyper-capable schoolkid surrounded by hilariously flawed characters, Election could be Rushmore’s cynical classmate.—Curt Holman

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Big Brother was listening to you – kind of

We’ll stop far short of it being called Orwellian, but for a little while there, a government authority was recording your conversations.

At a doorway.

In three Knox County government buildings.

But not much farther than that.

Still, it was unsettling to a few people who would rather protect privacy. Or at the very least, not have a government entity peering (or listening) over your shoulder. Because hey, people are already being watched in the City County building and Old Knox County Courthouse. Video cameras in there aren’t a new thing.

So here’s the story that ran in today’s KNS on audio recording recently happening at entrances to the City County Building.

Jayne Burritt

Jayne Burritt

Property management director at the PBA, Jayne Burritt, who appears to be the likely successor to outgoing PBA director Dale Smith, installed the recording devices in an effort to be sure security screeners were doing their jobs right, and that people coming in who had complaints had a log of interactions.

Enter the law of unintended consequences. Burritt in her role has authority to run the buildings as she sees fit; and Smith isn’t a micromanager. But once Smith heard of the recording devices he was not warm to the idea. The mics are shut down until further notice.

A few attorneys we talked with yesterday weren’t pleased, either. Lawyer Arthur Seymour, Jr., in general, doesn’t like the idea of reduced privacy for the public.

“The security people are very nice … they do their jobs, they do it very professionally,” he said. “That’s a public building, but I always thought maybe we had too much security.”

Knoxville attorney Mike Whalen – who called after deadline yesterday – had this to say:

“The only thing I would say is I think we ought to be a little careful about giving up our privacy, even if it ain’t much privacy … especially if the reason to give it up is so tenuous that we can give it up and take it back.”

So is this an intrusion of privacy, or monitoring a public building? The PBA’s attorney is looking into it. Until then, speak freely at entrances to the buildings. The PBA is still watching, but it’s not listening – for now.

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Into the numbers: Detail on the county’s $4M surplus

Foster Arnett wants to move. Well, kind of.

In today’s KNS, we had a story on the county’s surplus. It’s a fairly typical thing – for good financial managers – to have a little coin left over at the end of the year. Chris Caldwell, the

Chris Caldwell

Chris Caldwell

county’s finance director, is one of these types who budgets conservatively under the direction of Mayor Tim Burchett.

When the books close on the year, then it’s time to see what’s left over. Here’s the full sheet: Summary of surplus spending.

Coming back to County Clerk Foster Arnett, he’s looking at a potential move with Halls and Farragut options involved. If so, then there’s $175,000 there to be spent on the move.

“The clerk is possibly looking to relocate two satellite offices,” Caldwell said. “This doesn’t mean that they’re going to relocate. They’re exploring the options. I’ve put money aside to use in case they do relocate one or both offices.”

This money set aside is like the $500,000 in hold for potential salary adjustments as the county moves its employees to a new pay grade system. Caldwell said that money would help bring county employees to a correct level after a salary survey. It may not all be used, but the money is there in case it’s needed.

Here’s the rest from today’s report. And this is from last year’s surplus, in case you’re itching for the greatest hits.

And while we’re talking greatest hits, here’s something to listen to while you peruse the spreadsheet:

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