Category Archives: Local News

Lynn vs. Elam?

Is it on?

The Tennessean thinks so: Susan Lynn files to reclaim former state House seat.

My new district

Susan put this map up on her Facebook account.

On the other hand, just a few months ago, former Rep. Lynn was complaining on Facebook that the legislature had deliberately drawn the new district lines to move her out of her former district and into the the 46th (currently held by Rep. Mark Pody).

See here: Susan Lynn: I can see my house from my old district.

Pull up a chair. Pop some popcorn.

This should be entertaining.

38 Comments

Filed under Local News, Tennessee Legislature

City Attorney Jason Holleman leaving?

That seems to be the implication of this story:

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120115/NEWS01/301140075/Bill-Purcell-Jason-Holleman-Jim-White-open-public-policy-practice?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|News

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Filed under Local News, Mt. Juliet City Commission

A last-minute surge of votes for Mike McWherter?

If you followed the election returns a few months back, you probably noted one of the least surprising results of the night – Bill Haslam handily defeated Mike McWherter in the race for Governor of Tennessee.

In Wilson County, according to the unofficial results posted at 10:31pm on the website of the Wilson County Election Commission, Haslam received 25,024 votes to McWherter’s 8,650. McWherter won only 2 of the 37 polling places across the county. The results at Mt. Juliet High School were typical – Haslam got 547 votes to WcWherter’s 144. West Wilson County is, after all, very Republcian.

Something changed between election night and the certification of the election results several weeks later. The certified results turned in to the Tennessee Secretary of State showed a remarkable result for McWherter at Mt Juliet High School. According to the certified returns, in that one precinct,  McWherter received 8,045 votes, beating Haslam’s total of 547 almost 15 to 1!

This was an especially astonishing result, given that the Election Commission’s unofficial returns showed only 1,379 voters registered to vote at Mt. Juliet High School. The difference between the election night unofficial returns and the certified returns from Nov 16th almost doubled McWherter’s vote total for the whole county, to 16,625. Still not enough to beat Haslam’s 25,217 but making the race much closer.

Now, it’s extremely unlikely that the discrepancy in the vote totals was the result of any intentional attempt to change the outcome of the election. But it takes multiple levels of careless inattention to let these results be certified and submitted to the Secretary of State.

The Secretary of State’s office noticed the anomaly and wrote the election commission requesting an explanation. Here’s the Election Commission’s response:

Here are the certified results from November 16, 2010:

Here are the unofficial results posted on the website at 10:31pm on November 2, 2010:


At this point, it should be noted that both the Election Administrator, Lynn Harris and the Assistant Election Administrator, Martha Ann Sutherland (who took responsibility for the error) notified the Election Commission of their intentions to retire, effective 12/24/2010, at the Nov 16th meeting during which the election returns were certified.

An 8,000 vote error (in a precinct with less than 1,400 registered voters) is no small thing. It would be one thing if this error occurred in the confusion of election night and the posting of preliminary returns. But this error was made in the certified election results.

The local papers have been uninterested in this story, of course. It doesn’t fit the narrative that the evil Republicans want to replace the most competent election administrators ever with partisan hacks.

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Filed under Local News, Wilson County Commission

Chancery Follies 2010

Chancery Follies of 2010 – a farce in one act

Scene: Wilson County Chancery Court

BAILIFF: All rise! Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! Chancery Court of Wilson County is now in session, the Honorable C.K. Smith, Chancellor presiding.

JUDGE SMITH: Call the first case.

BAILIFF: City of Mt. Juliet vs. City of Mt. Juliet

JUDGE SMITH: Bailiff, quit horsing around. Call the first case.

BAILIFF: That is the first case your honor.

JUDGE SMITH: Don’t be ridiculous.

BAILIFF: That’s the first case, your honor – see, right here in the suit – City of Mt. Juliet vs. City of Mt. Juliet

JUDGE SMITH: This is not another one of those cases where the City of Lebanon is suing Wilson County and the Mayor of Watertown is the attorney for both sides is it?

BAILIFF: No, your honor. The case is “the City of Mt. Juliet vs. the City of Mt. Juliet.” Each side has a different lawyer.

JUDGE SMITH: Alright, will counsel please identify yourselves?

FRANK LANNOM: Frank Lannom, esq, your honor, representing the plaintiff, the City of Mt. Juliet

KATHRYN SASSER: Kathryn Sasser, esq, your honor, representing the defendant, the City of Mt. Juliet

JUDGE SMITH: Mr. Lannom, why is your client suing itself?

FRANK LANNOM: Well, your honor…

JUDGE SMITH: And before you go any further, I see the City Attorney for Mt. Juliet sitting in the courtroom. Mr. Holleman, aren’t you counsel for the City of Mt. Juliet?

JASON HOLLEMAN: Your honor, the city commission decided to engage these two attorneys to bring the action to the court.

JUDGE SMITH: Mr. Holleman, please approach the bench. [whispering loudly] Why didn’t they ask you to do it?

JASON HOLLEMAN: Your honor, my bringing an action in the court would require me to actually form an opinion and express it – and I believe the city commission did not want to press me to take an action that I have no experience with…

JUDGE SMITH: hmpph… Sit down Mr. Holleman. Alright Mr. Lannom, you may resume. Please explain to me why the city is suing itself.

FRANK LANNOM: Your honor, last July, the Mt. Juliet City Commission passed an amendment to the City Charter which was submitted to the voters and approved by them In November. But the City Commission does not know what the amendment that it passed means. They have filed this action asking the chancellor to tell them what they meant when they passed the amendment.

JUDGE SMITH: The city commission does not know what an amendment that they wrote and passed means?! Really?

FRANK LANNOM: That is correct your honor.

JUDGE SMITH: And I’m supposed to tell the City Commission what they meant by the amendment that they wrote?

FRANK LANNOM: Yes, your honor.

JUDGE SMITH: What does the charter amendment say?

FRANK LANNOM: I believe you have a copy, your honor…

JUDGE SMITH: Summarize it for me.

FRANK LANNOM: The charter amendment forbids members of the Mt. Juliet city commission from holding any other elected office.

JUDGE SMITH: Very well done Mr. Lannom. But now I really am baffled. You clearly understand what the amendment means. I believe the voters understand what the amendment means. It seems the only people who don’t know what it means are the Mayor and commissioners of the City of Mt. Juliet. And they’re the ones who wrote it!

FRANK LANNOM: Objection Your honor! The question before the court is, “when does the amendment take effect?”

JUDGE SMITH: Mr. Lannom, this is a court of equity. You do know what a court of equity is don’t you?

FRANK LANNOM: Yes, your honor.

JUDGE SMITH: I don’t think you do. A court of equity hears cases where one party alleges that it has been treated unfairly, or inequitably by another party. Now, in what way does the City of Mt. Juliet feel that it has been treated inequitably, or unfairly by the City of Mt. Juliet?

FRANK LANNOM: It’s not clear to the City Commission when the amendment that they passed takes effect.

JUDGE SMITH: Does the city commission read the newspaper?

FRANK LANNOM: I beg your pardon?

JUDGE SMITH: Does the city commission read the newspaper? Did they notice that there were several stories a week or so ago reporting on something called an election. It occurred on a Tuesday in November, I believe.

FRANK LANNOM: Your honor, the city agrees that the charter amendment passed in the election, but it’s not clear when it takes effect.

JUDGE SMITH: Does the city commission know when their terms of office begin?

FRANK LANNOM Your honor I’m not sure I understand…

JUDGE SMITH: They do know when their terms of office begin, don’t they? A new city commissioner or a new mayor is elected as soon as the vote is certified, are they not? What’s unclear?

FRANK LANNOM: The problem is that one city commissioner already holds an office on the county commission and the mayor has just been elected to the state legislature.

JUDGE SMITH: Ah, so it is really the Mayor and a city commissioner who want to know if the amendment will apply to them.

FRANK LANNOM: That is correct, your honor.

JUDGE SMITH: Well, where are they? Where is their counsel?

FRANK LANNOM: Your honor the action before you has been brought by the City of Mt. Juliet. Mayor Elam and Commissioner Bradshaw are not parties to the lawsuit.

JUDGE SMITH: I see Linda Elam and Jim Bradshaw sitting in the courtroom. Will you both please approach the bench.

JUDGE SMITH: Ms. Elam has the city brought this action on your behalf?

LINDA ELAM: Objection your honor!

JUDGE SMITH: Objection? I was just asking you a question. What could you possibly object to?

LINDA ELAM: Your honor, I insist that you refer to me at all times by my title. I am MAYOR Elam. I worked really hard for that title, I’m entitled to it, and I insist that you use it when you address me.

JUDGE SMITH: Ms. Elam, are you a party to this lawsuit?

LINDA ELAM: OBJECTION! I insist that you refer to me as MAYOR ELAM! Unless you refer to me as Representative Elam. That would be acceptable.

JUDGE SMITH: Are you a party to this lawsuit?

LINDA ELAM: No your honor, I am not. I am here only as a matter of academic interest. Also because I need a field trip for my continuing legal education class.

JUDGE SMITH: Please sit down Ms. Elam

LINDA ELAM: That’s MAYOR ELAM!

JUDGE SMITH: Mr. Bradshaw, are you a party to this lawsuit?

JIM BRADSHAW: I wasn’t invited to any party, no sir.

JUDGE SMITH: Sit down Mr. Bradshaw.

JUDGE SMITH: Mr. Lannom – Who is paying your legal bill in this case?

FRANK LANNOM: The City of Mt. Juliet, your honor.

JUDGE SMITH: Ms. Sasser – Who is paying your legal bill in this case?

KATHRYN SASSER: The City of Mt. Juliet, your honor

JUDGE SMITH: So, all the attorneys in the room on this case today are being paid by the city of Mt. Juliet, is that correct?

CHORUS: Yes, your honor.

JUDGE SMITH: They may need a property tax after all.

I understand why this lawsuit was brought in the name of the City of Mt. Juliet, counselors. I’m sure you’re all aware that it be illegal for a City to file a lawsuit for the personal benefit of an elected official. But it does raise another question.

FRANK LANNOM: What’s that, your honor?

JUDGE SMITH: You do know what a court of equity is don’t you?

FRANK LANNOM: Your honor, please…

JUDGE SMITH: Because, I’m still not sure you do. If Ms Elam…

LINDA ELAM:[shouting] MAYOR ELAM!

JUDGE SMITH: . . . believes she has been treated unfairly by the City then she can bring an action in this court and ask the Judge, as a matter of equity, to require the defendant in her action to do something to correct the inequity.

FRANK LANNOM: Your honor, I represent the City of Mt. Juliet. . .

JUDGE SMITH: Then tell me, counselor, what injury or damages have been suffered by the City of Mt. Juliet? And what action does the plaintiff, the City of Mt. Juliet, wish me to order the defendant, also the City of Mt. Juliet, to take?

KATHRYN SASSER: If I might your honor? [judge nods]. I represent the defendant, the City of Mt. Juliet, and in my brief, answering the complaint of the plaintiff, the City of Mt. Juliet, I have requested that you declare the charter amendment not to take effect until 2012 and to order the plaintiff, the City of Mt. Juliet, to swear in Commissioner Bradshaw for his new term of office and to allow Mayor Elam to continue to serve as Mayor after she is sworn in to the state legislator.

JUDGE SMITH: Well before I start probing your reasons for declaring that the results of the 2010 election should not take effect until 2012, I have a question for you.

KATHRYN SASSER: Yes, your honor?

JUDGE SMITH: If the defendant, the City of Mt. Juliet, wants the plaintiff, the City of Mt. Juliet to swear in Commissioner Bradshaw for a new term, why don’t they just do it?

FRANK LANNOM: Your honor, if I might respond? The Plaintiff, the City of Mt. Juliet, asks this court to declare that the charter amendment took effect upon the certification of the referendum approving it and to order the defendant, the City of Mt. Juliet NOT to swear in Commissioner Bradshaw for a new term and NOT to allow Mayor Elam to continue to serve as Mayor after she is sworn in at the legislature.

JUDGE SMITH: Mr. Lanom, I’ll ask you a remarkably similar question. If the plaintiff, the City of Mt. Juliet, wants the defendant, the City of Mt. Juliet NOT to swear in Commissioner Bradshaw for a new term, why don’t they just do it? Or not do it? (as the case may be)

FRANK LANNOM: Your honor, the effective date of the amendment is not clear.

JUDGE SMITH: You keep saying that. Mr. Lannom, am I correct to assume that Mt. Juliet still has the City Manager Commission form of government?

FRANK LANNOW: Yes your honor.

JUDGE SMITH:  Mr. Holleman, would you approach the bench.

JASON HOLLEMAN: Yes your honor.

JUDGE SMITH: How long have you been a City Attorney, son?

JASON HOLLEMAN: Almost 4 years.

JUDGE SMITH: Do like the work?

JASON HOLLEMAN: Yes, I do.

JUDGE SMITH: Have you ever read section 6-21-202 of Tennessee Code Annotated? It is the section that covers the duties and compensation of a city attorney.

JASON HOLLEMAN: Yes I have your honor.

JUDGE SMITH: I have, too. Let me read from (a)(4).  “The City Attorney shall advise the board and committees or members thereof, the city manager, and the heads of all departments and divisions, as to all legal questions affecting the city’s interest.” Mr. Holleman, do you think you have fulfilled your duties as city attorney with your advice on this issue?

JASON HOLLEMAN: Yes, your honor.  It was my advice to hire two opposing attorneys to present this case for you to decide.

JUDGE SMITH: Mr. Holleman, in these times you are extremely lucky to have a job. Especially a job where no one compels you to do the work associated with the job. I’m sure these Lebanon Attorneys are grateful that the City of Mt. Juliet is willing to spend taxpayer dollars to stimulate the Wilson County Bar Association, but I’m not particularly amused to have so much of this court’s time taken up with a matter you ought to have settled yourselves. You may sit down Mr. Holleman. I have heard enough to reach some conclusions about this case.

JUDGE SMITH:  Let me preface my remarks by saying that I think you’re all wasting the court’s time. Let me remind all of you. This is a court of equity. I could understand how Linda Elam…

LINDA ELAM: MAYOR ELAM!

JUDGE SMITH: . . .or Jim Bradshaw might feel they had been treated unfairly by the city – if the city had actually made a decision to not swear them in. I could understand how the citizens of Mt. Juliet might feel THEY had been treated unfairly by the city – if the city had made a decision TO swear them in. what I DON’T understand is how the City of Mt. Juliet has been unfair to the City of Mt. Juliet!

 

JUDGE SMITH: Here’s my opinion:

1.                   The City of Mt. Juliet has no standing to bring an action in chancery court because they haven’t been injured by anyone.

2.                    The relief requested by both sides renders the lawsuit frivolous, if not downright ridiculous. The City is requesting that the Court order the City to do something. The court’s response is, “Make up your own damn mind!”

The case is dismissed. And now I am going to render a solomonic decision. The costs of this action are to be apportioned 50% to the plaintiff, City of Mt. Juliet and 50% to the defendant, City of Mt. Juliet.

And gentlemen (and ladies). . . do not waste my time in this fashion again.

FL & KS: No your honor. We promise. Next week we’ll find a new way to waste your time!

JUDGE SMITH: Oh, and Mr. Holleman? The idea that you can fulfill your obligation as City Attorney to give the City of Mt. Juliet legal advice by advising them to hire two more attorneys and seek legal advice from Chancery Court. . .

LINDA ELAM: That was MY idea!

JUDGE SMITH: Well, whoever’s idea it was. . . it’s too smart by half.

31 Comments

Filed under City Charter, Local News, Mt. Juliet City Commission

NewsChannel5: Mt. Juliet Going To Court Over Dual Offices

On camera quotes from Commissioner Hagerty and City Attorney Holleman.

Commissioners could have relied on an opinion from city attorney Jason Holleman, but he said that’s not the best idea.

“I can render a legal opinion, but the commission is not obligated to follow my advice, so it may not resolve the issue even if I were to provide a written opinion to them,” Holleman said.

Haggerty said $10,000 is just a starting point. He believes it could be more. He said there’s an easy way out and it won’t cost taxpayers.

“I think they should take the high road and the right thing and step down,” Haggerty said.

Mt. Juliet has hired two attorneys to represent each side of the case. They are Frank Lannom and Kathryn Sasser.

The city hopes there will be a hearing and then a decision by the end of the year.

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Filed under City Charter, Local News, Mt. Juliet City Commission

Susan Lynn lets all of her supporters know that the NRA has endorsed Mae Beavers

You can’t make this stuff up. On the evening of July 14, 2010 Susan Lynn sent out an email to all of her supporters proudly announcing that she had received an “A+” rating from the NRA. At the end of her press release, she invited readers to click on a link to the NRA website for further information.

And there, on the NRA web site it does show that, indeed, Susan Lynn has an “A+” rating. And two lines above Susan’s Lynn’s name is Mae Beavers’ name, also with an “A+” rating, but in larger, bold type, underlined, and with a big check mark next to it, indicating that she has received the NRA Endorsement in the primary race for the 17th Senate District.

And now, all of Susan Lynn’s supporters know that too.

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Filed under Local News, Tennessee Legislature

Financial Results for the 57th

All candidates have filed their financial disclosures for money raised and spent on the campaign to represent the 57th district. For now, the race is focused on who will get the Republican nomination. There are three candidates: Linda Elam, Robert Fields, and Adam Futrell. Here’s how they’ve done over the past 6-9 months:

Fields and Futrell have each raised about $5,000 in contributions. Elam has raised $550. Futrell has spent $11,500 on the race; Fields – $4,462; and Elam $3,245. The biggest difference between the three is the amount each candidate has invested in their own campaign in the form of a loan. Futrell has loaned his campaign $15,000; Elam has loaned her campaign $5,000; Fields has loaned his campaign $-0-.

It’s possible that Elam could put more of her own money into the campaign at the last minute, but it is hard to make a big impact in the closing weeks.

It’s quite possible that Elam will finish third on August 5th.

Early voting starts on Friday, July 16th and continues for two weeks.

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Filed under Local News, Tennessee Legislature