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presstalk 671-TALK


• In regards to the “Farragut’s ‘Smoak‘in’” article on the front page today, Dec. 17, just getting a kick out of the “lack of people skills,” and of course, concern for financial experience with the gentleman who is in this office now [Interim Town Administra-tor Gary Palmer]. I don’t really know what’s changed, because you get lack of experience and no financial skills in politics in general. I mean, that’s all we got right now [laughter], whether it be in Farragut, Knox County, the state or federal level. I just kind of find that a joke. And also, in regards to the gentleman finding another job, they could give him a job at parks and recreation. That business seems to be good in Knox County or even Farragut, for that matter. Anyway, that’s my two cents. Just got a good chuckle out of this, this morning.

• Funny [indiscernible] when you wait long enough, the truth always comes out. [Capt. Ben] Harkins, who is retiring from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, is getting the job as red light manager. Ben Harkins, who was the voice of the Town manager to get the red light program put in Farragut. Now everyone can see he has no reason to be for or against the red light cameras, since the Town managers are paying him to run the program and the citizens of Farragut didn’t want the red light cameras to begin with. Now the people of Farragut can see the concern for their safety. And that’s really not a safety concern, but a job concern. And another revenue source. Happy voters can change all that. Three thousand tickets in a month. Imagine that.

Editor’s Note: The red light camera trial period was 45 days.

• I think I figured out what the Farragut Board [of Mayor and Aldermen] just did. Mr. [David] Smoak was hired [as Town Administrator] because he smiles more than the experienced [Interim Town Administrator Gary] Palmer, and because Palmer has nowhere to go due to the poor job market. And if Smoak isn’t as advertised, Palmer will replace him, but only if he hasn’t found another job. So if Ms. [Melanie] Purcell and the Board didn’t mention these facts, thank you for your service Mr. Palmer. And if they didn’t smile and express it, welcome to weird, wacky and oh-so-decisive Farragut, Mr. Smoak.

• Yes, I’m calling about the [Grigsby Chapel Road] calming islands. I just waited 15 minutes; it’s about 8 o’clock p.m., Friday night, the 18th. A car just had a blown-out tire, because it hit the calming island curb. Let’s try to get these things taken down before someone gets hurt.

• Yes, I’d like to know why the Farragut town Mayor [Ralph McGill] parks in the handicapped [parking space] at Town Hall when he comes to Town Hall and there is no one in his car handicapped. I’ve seen it twice, so I’d like to know why he does that. Thank you.

• I was just wondering, I’d like to know why town of Farragut engineer [Darryl Smith] does not know the difference between a sewer pipe and a drain pipe, and he closes down the Town Hall for a day. I’d just like to know the answer to that.

• Via e-mail: As a Farragut citizen I have a question for our town members to consider: Are the new red light cameras truly for reducing accidents or for raising money? It seems incredible that over 3,000 violations were recorded in just 45 days ... at $50 per fine, that’s a lot of money! If the goal of the cameras is to change behavior and reduce intersection accidents such as the “T-bone” type of side-impact, will the number of rear-end accidents not increase? I’m not really sure either but I think the town ought to be accountable to disclose the number of accidents prior to and after the installation of these lights for a six-month period on either side of a set date. Only then can we determine as to whether the cameras are worth their investment. It sure seems like a money racket for the town and for the company who sold us the equipment. It also seems like an invasion of my privacy to be monitored by cameras. If my math is right, the cameras collected over $150,000 in their first 45 days. The more I think about it, the angrier I get at how obvious the motives are behind these cameras. I suspect the lure of easy money could be at the root our town’s installation of these cameras. I certainly hope my anger is misplaced ... time will tell.

Editor’s Note: It does seem incredible that more than 3,000 drivers were caught violating the law — turning right-on-red without coming to a full stop first is a violation of the law. All 3,000-plus were not tagged, so the Town would not have collected money from this trial run from which only warning citations were issued. The Town did not buy the equipment. The equipment belongs to Redflex.

• Via e-mail: “Red-light cameras catch 3,000-plus in 45 days” I thought the cameras were all about safety, not revenue. How many lives were saved? What is the reduction in the number of T-bones? How about even reduced number of fender-benders? No? Perhaps Geico will give me a discount because I live in a town with traffic cameras. Or, perhaps not. All I was able to learn in this article is the revenue split and number of tix. That’s not at all related to safety.

• Via e-mail: Whenever I read about all the problems with barking dogs in neighborhoods I’m reminded of my friend that had a similar problem. Her neighbor had just acquired some dogs that proved to be quite vocal at night, so much so that she could never seem to get a good night’s sleep. Being the good neighbor she mentioned the problem to the dogs’ owners on several occasions, but to no avail. The neighbors seemed quite surprised when the air horn started going off, repeatedly, during the middle of the night, throughout the week. Finally having reached their limit of sleepless nights they confronted my friend about how rude her husband was for awakening them in the manner he did. My petite little friend calmly informed the neighbor that it was her, not her husband that was responsible. She then went on to explain HER new policy, which was, “If I don’t sleep, YOU don’t sleep!” The dogs were gone three days later!

• Via e-mail: I drive Grisby Chapel road several times a day. I am not in favor of the traffic islands but they are here to stay. So why is the irrigation company doing the work from Maryville and the landscaping company from Lenoir City? So much for doing business in Farragut.

Editor’s Note: Municipalities, such as the town of Farragut, are required by law to bid out projects such as irrigation systems and landscaping and accept the lowest bid as good stewards of taxpayer monies.

 

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