Dec 18 2007

There is an interesting game of finger pointing going on over in Knox County. Seems like I remember something going on here in Blount County about bonus payments from overtime accounts.

Dec 18 2007

I wonder if the Pellissippi Parkway Extension controversy prompted this?

When: Thu. January 1, 1970 12:00 AM

It is the holidays and Medic says they are short of blood. They usually become short this time of year.
I gave yesterday (Dec 17) when I stumbled into the bloodmobile here in Maryville.

Here is the link to the Bloodmobile schedule:
It appears they update it every few weeks.

Forrest (Holiday Giving, the gift of life) Erickson

Dec 17 2007
By: Dumping Ground  shortURL

If doctors found a way to cure amnesia and/or Alzheimer's, but could only bring back one lifelong strain of taught memories, what would you choose between religion and education?

* Joe Biden
* Hillary Clinton
* Chris Dodd
* John Edwards
* Mike Gravel
* Dennis Kucinich
* Barack Obama
* Bill Richardson
* Other
* I'm voting in the Republican Primary
* I'm not voting



TACIR released a report on Tennessee voting systems last week. Read a summary and commentary at TennViews. Also, Joe Powell raises some good questions.

Just got a look at a draft of Mayor Cunningham’s “State of the County” speech, to be presented at the January commission meeting. Actually, he plans to change the name of it to the “State of the Counties” speech, since he has already issued an emergency decree appointing himself Mayor of Sevier county, to allow him to deal directly with “the problem of all those Russian children”.


Dec 16 2007

OK, folks, so what do those obscure German words in the title mean? A German sociologist named Ferdinand Tonnies coined these terms in 1887 to refer to two normal human association types. Roughly speaking, gemeinschaft refers to "community" and gesellschaft refers to "society." What does this mean in theory?

Gemeinschaft is a system of social relations where everybody knows everybody else, decisions are made through informal (as in not written down in law) though traditional and often ritualistic forms. The most important relationships are kinship networks; who your daddy was and what group he belonged to mattered more than what you ever did. Insiders control things; outsiders mean nothing (and the definition of outsiders is strict). Gemeinschafts are often highly inegalitarian, with social structures determined by "organic" notions of economy, family organization and religious grouping. Think small town, pre-industrial, Old South, Appalachian, feudal, high school, etc. These are all different kinds of gemeinschafts - some are more egalitarian (Appalachian) than others (plantation Old South) but they share the same sense of organic "community."

Gesellschaft is a system of social relations characterized more by formalized, bureaucratic, individual-driven processes. Law and money matter more in a gesellschaft than traditional social position or kinship networks. Gesellschafts accept change very easily, but they tend to be more alienating as "nobody knows anybody" outside their small circle of co-workers and friends. Insiders vs. outsiders matters little in a gesellschaft; but there is little sense of local tradition, heritage or pride. It's more possible to achieve success and "move up" in a gesellschaft, but neighborhoods are more likely to be segregated by class, architecture more generic, and people are more likely to be crassly materialistic. Think of a major city, new suburbs, the North, modernity, large university, etc.

These two sociological formulations are not static. And quite often one type morphs into another. After the US Civil War many Southern communities underwent this sort of transformation from plantation-driven gemeinschafts to capitalist-oriented New South cities like Birmingham, Atlanta and Dallas.

But here's where it gets interesting. To smooth the transition from gemeinschaft to gesellschaft, editorialists in favor of the new order - like Atlanta's editor Henry Grady - threw a major cultural bone to the old order in the form of the Lost Cause. The same newspaper that celebrated industrialism in late 19th century Atlanta (the Constitution) printed Uncle Remus stories celebrating the Old South and offered editorials in favor of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. To smooth the way for the new bourgeois order, capitalists had to pay their respects to the plantation lords of the past.

Why do I bring these sociological terms up? Because I think the best way to understand changes in Blount County these days is to think of our community as one changing from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft. You can even think of Jerry Cunningham and the County Commissioners as the sort of bridge. They're sold out to the developers who are profiting off the transformation even as they lament the loss of their own traditional authority (think of the complaints about the "new" Daily Times). I see evidence of this painful shift all the time, including: complaints about traffic and "rude" drivers, outsiders not being totally excluded but not sure if they're really accepted either, a pending Director of Schools decision pitting an insider against an outsider, a revitalized downtown received with some ambivalence by old-timers, etc.

Anyway, I wanted to put this out there because I think this website is a progressive response to the tensions over transformation from gemeinschaft to gesellschaft. Some posters here are old-timers who never liked the traditional, Republican power structure, but also don't feel comfortable with the way the county is changing. Others (like myself) are outsiders who want to help the community develop in a progressive direction but are unsure about how hard to push for fear of being labeled an interloper.

I'd love to hear other thoughts on this from BlountViews members. Sometimes it's helpful to step back and look at all the changes from a sociological perspective. At the very least, Cunningham's rants make more sense in this context.

Dec 16 2007

A weekly sampling from some of Tennessee's best and brightest bloggers at TennViews.

Dec 16 2007
By: mello  shortURL

NW Blount County reporting in... it is snowing right now!

Dec 15 2007

The Daily Times has an article on the upcoming 2008 primaries and elections.

It incorrectly states that the last day to register for the Feb. 5th primary is January 4th.

The last day to register is Monday, January 7th, according to the Blount Co. Election Commission website and the Tennessee Secretary of State website.

The Blount County Election Commission has an online voter registration form that you can fill out, print, and mail or hand deliver. I'd recommend hand delivering it to the Election Commission office at the courthouse (383 Court Street, Maryville) due to the holidays and possible mail delays. You can print blank copies to give to others who need to get registered.

Mayor Cunningham is on a roll with the letters!

Look what just popped up at the Daily Times website, re: the Sister City program - ((link...))

Cunningham, who also sent the letter to two county commissioners, said, “I have little love lost of the Russian government in particular” because Russia supplied armaments and advisors to the Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam war, which killed several of his buddies.

*Update: Lawsy day, the DT has now posted the full text of the letter! ((link...))

**Second Update: WVLT Reporter Steve McLamb reported on the Mayor's letter on the 5:30 p.m. news tonight. ((link...)) They've also posted a photocopy of a "copy" of the original letter on county letterhead on their website at ((link...)). Strangely, Cunningham told McLamb it was a private letter. Hmmmm. Private letter on county letterhead?

TN AG Opinion OP163 is just out regarding the use of SRO money.



* Vote For the Property Tax Freeze
* Vote Against the Property Tax Freeze
* Vote to amend the current program by adding $50 to the break received
* Vote to amend the current program by adding $100 to the break received
* Follow the budget committees recommendation to postpone, table, or differ until 2008
* I don't know
* I don't care
* Form the committee mentioned by the County Technical Advisory service to gather more facts


Dec 14 2007

The Maryville Daily Times responds to Blount Mayors:

We merely seek to cover the news and information relating to Blount County so that readers can draw their own conclusions and make intelligent decisions about the issues facing them. Doing these things makes us a positive force in the community to which we aspire every day.

There's lots more.


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