By Steve Hunley

Municipal Judge: Experience Matters

Some folks are shaking their heads wondering why the Sierra Club would endorse a candidate for Knoxville’s Municipal judge.  Just what threat to the environment is represented by traffic court?

The incumbent John Rosson has served ably and with integrity.  Rosson comes closer to being nonpartisan than any other public figure I can think of and has broad support from Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

There are three candidates challenging Judge Rosson this year, all of them Democrats.  Mary Ward, I am told, has a thriving practice mainly at Knoxville’s Juvenile Court and is well-liked by those who know her.  Friends tell me Ms. Ward was a prosecutor at some point in her career.

Andrew Beamer has been around for a while is supposed to be an active Democrat, but to all appearances, the leadership of Knox County’s Democratic Party has not-so-quietly lined up behind attorney Tyler Caviness.  Not because he’s sweated bullets by attending rallies, working for Democrat candidates, passing out flyers or doing any of those other candidates.

The reason seems to be because of Jack Vaughn, the twenty-something campaign consultant who sits on the State Democratic Executive Committee.  Evidently, Vaughn has managed to pull in some of the local party leadership behind Caviness, a former public defender.  That likely also explains why the local Sierra Club endorsed a candidate for municipal judge, who has as much to do with the environment as the Man in the Moon, even though the Caviness campaign supposedly put out an impressive video.  The endorsement is meaningless, except it allows for a gushing email to be blasted out.

John Rosson has presided over literally hundreds of thousands of legal cases.  Both Mary Ward and Andrew Beamer have experience in Knoxville’s courtrooms.  The candidate with the least experience appears to be Tyler Caviness.  The Democrats have also lined up behind a candidate who hasn’t ever bothered to vote in a city election.

Caviness’ campaign is being run on political sleight of hand, kind of like a magician with the palsy.  Rather than looking at his lack of courtroom experience, he talks instead about those things that are supposed to resonate with Democrats.  Judge Rosson has already embraced technology and has improved the efficiency of the court, which is precisely why he’s been able to hear and decide literally hundreds of thousands of cases while others watch old episodes of Perry Mason, as surely no good Democrat would watch any TV show called “Law & Order.”  The best Caviness can do is utilize virtue signaling like promising he will be “involved in the community by recognizing the social issues that the Court can positively influence.”  What does that mean exactly?  Does it mean if an illegal alien is hauled into the court for causing an accident and has neither insurance nor a drivers’ license, he/she will be let go by the judge?  Mayor Indya Kincannon has already cut services after having jacked up property taxes 40% by refusing to allow KPD officers come to the scene of traffic accidents.  In a city where crime is rising, is some social justice warrior with little practical courtroom experience who Knoxvillians really want to sit on the bench?

Evidently local Democrats have little in the way of loyalty to those who have been active inside their party and flock to somebody who just showed up with consultant in hand.  It’s no surprise candidates hire consultants for their contacts.

Gaetz Grills Wray

Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz mauled FBI Director Christopher Wray who appeared before the House Judiciary Committee last Wednesday.  Gaetz perfectly summarized precisely why so many Americans believe there is something profoundly wrong about the agency.  Wray tried to fend off questions about the targeting of parents at school board meetings, inappropriate and highly questionable FISA inquiries, and the FBI possibly targeting Catholic churches.

Gaetz read the now infamous message sent by Hunter Biden to Henry Zhao, a Chinese businessman, which many have interpreted as “shakedown.”  The message states Hunter Biden’s father is sitting next to him as he sends the message and mentions his ability to forever hold a grudge.  When Congressman Gaetz asked Wray if he thought the message was a shakedown for money, the FBI director said he didn’t want to comment on the subject.  “Are you protecting the Bidens?” Gaetz wondered.  Wray managed to dredge up some indignation and squeal, “Absolutely not!”  Wray insisted the FBI has no interest in “protecting anyone politically.”  That is how the agency is supposed to behave, but there are millions of Americans who either no longer believe that to be the case or have their doubts about it.  A recent poll indicated 4 out of 5 Americans think there is a two-tiered justice system in this country.  A poll conducted by the Trafalgar Group showed 79% of those polled expressed a belief “there are two tiers of justice: one set of laws for politicians and Washington, D.C., insiders vs one set of laws for everyday Americans.”  Fewer than 12% of Americans believe the justice system in this country serves all Americans equally, according to the poll.

The same survey showed almost 60% of Americans believe the federal bureaucracy is too big and bloated.  More than 58% of those surveyed said they agreed with the statement many agencies of the federal government like the CDC, EPA, and IRS “have grown too large and only serve their own political interests.”  Only around 1 in every 3 Americans said they believed the agencies were “useful and effective.”

Congressman Matt Gaetz pointed out the Inspector General and court rulings have noted hundreds of thousands of instances where the FBI has used illegal FISA inquiries.  Christopher Wray said he didn’t know the number while Gaetz reminded him the inspector general stated there were 3.4 million such inquiries with more than a million in error.  Gaetz said the court stated there were 200,000 such instances while Wray has been director of the FBI.  “Again, I don’t have the numbers as I sit here right now. . . “ Wray mumbled.

“Seems like a number you should know – – – how many times the FBI’s breaking the law under your watch – – – especially if it’s, like over a million – – – to know that number?” Gaetz told Wray.  “And I’m worried about your veracity on this subject as well.”

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people worried about the director’s veracity at this point.


School Board Approves Religious Release Time

The Knox County Board of Education last week voted 7 – 1 to allow high school students to receive a full credit in religious courses taken outside of school during the regular school day.  The Tennessee General Assembly had changed state law earlier this year to give students a full credit rather than half a credit.  Parents can request for their child to be excused from school to attend a religious course for one hour every school day under the law and policy.   The course is an elective one.

I believe the board made the right decision.  Students are released from school for any number of activities and out of 22 credit hours, three are electives.