By Steve Hunley

Bud Armstrong will be the People’s Judge – Not the Lawyer’s Judge

Georgianna Vines of the Knoxville News-Sentinel and Jesse Fox Mayshark of the online publication The Compass, seem to be stuck on the fact Richard “Bud” Armstrong did not receive the overwhelming backing of Knoxville’s attorneys. Georgianna, like a myna bird, has repeated over and over Bud was rated last by those attorneys who chose to participate in the Knoxville Bar Associations poll rating those aspiring to be a judge. So, too, did Jesse Fox Mayshark express dismay over the fact attorneys had not expressed a higher opinion of Bud Armstrong.

Less than one-third of those attorneys belonging to the Knoxville Bar Association bothered to participate in the poll Vines and Mayshark seem to believe is some kind of holy relic. Vines did finally publish a column on precisely why some lawyers in town are piqued with Bud – – – because as law director, he left the trough empty for legal hogs and instead funneled it back to the county’s treasury.

Bud Armstrong has long been popular and respected by the people of Knox County. I will be the first to acknowledge Bud has not been equally popular with those on the Left, like Georgianna and Jesse. The Sentinel has routinely bashed Bud at every opportunity, real or imagined. Jesse is an apologist for Indya Kincannon and was a highly paid aide to former city mayor Madeline Rogero. Neither Georgianna nor Jesse seem to grasp the fact most Knox County Republicans don’t look to the Sentinel or the Compass or Rachel Madcow for news.

Both the Knox County Commission (who appoint judges of the General Sessions Court when there is a vacancy) and the voters have routinely ignored the recommendation of the Bar Association in picking judges.  Most of the Bar, as well as the Knoxville News-Sentinel, strongly preferred Bud Armstrong’s opponents in both of his races for law director.  It didn’t matter then and it doesn’t matter now.  The fact that less than one-third of the members of the Bar bothered to participate in the survey is telling, too.

It is certainly true I have supported Bud, but again, so have a majority of Republicans in Knox County.  They did it again just a couple of weeks ago.  For the record, I believe Knox County is very fortunate to have two outstanding chancellors: John Weaver and Chris Haegerty.  Shortly, there’ll be a third: Bud Armstrong.


Slatery Retiring

Herbert Slatery has reportedly told members of his staff he will not seek another eight-year term as Tennessee Attorney General.  Slatery served as chief legal counsel to Governor Bill Haslam before being named attorney general in 2014.  Slatery has been an excellent attorney general.


Wrong Court, Robby

Robby Starbuck, California carpetbagger ruled off the GOP ballot by the Tennessee Republican State Executive Committee, has filed suit in a federal court.  Judge Waverly Crenshaw of the Middle District of Tennessee has not seemed overly impressed by the arguments of Starbuck’s legal team when they appeared in Crenshaw’s court for an emergency hearing.  Judge Crenshaw wondered why Starbuck’s lawyers filed suit in a federal court rather than a state court.  Starbuck’s lawyers are asking the judge to void the decision of the Tennessee State Republican Executive Committee and restore the California carpetbagger’s name to the primary ballot.  “I don’t see a federal question, do you?” Judge Crenshaw asked at one point during the hearing.

At another point, Judge Crenshaw said, “We can all agree the bylaws create no federal question.”  The judge was referring to the bylaws of the Tennessee State Republican Executive Committee.  Crenshaw repeatedly asked Starbuck’s attorneys why they had not filed their case in a state court.

Nor was Judge Crenshaw especially impressed by Starbuck’s timing.  “Mr. Starbuck took his time to ask the court for injunctive relief,” Crenshaw said.  One of Starbuck’s lawyers attempted to debate that point but was halted by the judge snapping, “You knew since April 19.”  “Starbuck knew that,” Judge Crenshaw added. “If I’m a member of a club, I know the rules.”  So, too, did the judge point out Robby Starbuck still has the option of running as an Independent on the general election ballot.  At one point during the conversation, Judge Crenshaw wondered if Starbuck believed the Tennessee Republican Party “should have less rights than him?”

It doesn’t look very promising for Robby Starbuck.


Gas Prices Keep Climbing

Another thing that doesn’t look promising is the fact gas has hit record-high prices in Tennessee and Ohio.  According to the latest reports, gas went up by 8 cents in three days last week alone.  The average cost of a gallon of gas in Tennessee was $4.12, all courtesy of Joe Biden and the Democrats and their war on energy.


Two Great Public Servants Pass Away

Last week our community lost two notable citizens who served the people in different capacities.  Judge Charles D. Susano, Jr. was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals by the late Governor Ned McWherter where he served for more than 25 years.  At the time of his retirement, Susano was the longest-serving judge on Tennessee’s Court of Appeals.

A man with a sunny disposition and possessed of great intellect, Charles Susano suffered an accident that would have broken the spirit of a lesser man.  Susano was sleepwalking when he fell from a second-story window and was paralyzed from the waist down.  Yet Susano went on to be appointed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals and was the recipient of the Spirit of the ADA Award in 2007.  That award was bestowed on the “person whose life exemplifies the spirit of the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act).  That person was one who is recognized in his or her community as “an empowered individual in the community, and an inspiration to other people” as well as one who has “overcome physical and attitudinal barriers.”

Judge Susano’s accident occurred late in his life, which made his recovery and activity all the more remarkable.  A former chairman of Knox County Democratic Party, Charles Susano had as many friends on the Republican side of the aisle as he did Democrats.

A man of dignity and integrity, Charles Susano was also a man of exceptional warmth and unfailing kindness.  Judge Charles Susano served the people faithfully and well.  Susano’s life was literally a testament to those who have suffered a terrible accident and an inspiration for living yet again.

Judge Susano leaves behind his wife of many years, Carolyn, and children Stephen, Charles and Maria, as well as several grandchildren.  To the Susano family, we extend our deepest sympathies.  Judge Susano’s loss will leave a void in the lives of the family and in those of every person who had the pleasure of knowing him.  Charles D. Susano, Jr. truly will be missed.

Jack Sharp served 28 years on Knoxville’s City Council and was an institution in local politics.  Sharp and his wife, Doris, married for 65 years, rarely missed any community event, whether it was the arrival of a president of the United States or the birth of a baby.  Sharp was an at-large member of the Knoxville City Council and his tenure was only shortened by the adoption of term limits.

Jack was a lively personality and even well after his retirement from the city council, the former councilman could be seen attending any number of community events.  I honestly don’t know if Jack Sharp was a Republican or a Democrat, but the fact I don’t know says something about how successful he was in being elected citywide.  Jack really was one of those rare persons who loved other people and had a heart for public service.