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presstalk 671-TALK


• If Farragut has royalty, they must live on Virtue Road. Going east on Kingston Pike, someone on Virtue pulls out in front of me probably every other week. It’s not a matter of visibility, as I can see them clearly. I see more dangerous rolling stops there than I ever saw at Smith Road. I’m sure some of the privileged Virtue Road folks believe rolling stops have been specifically legalized for them already.

• I think it speaks volumes that Vice Mayor [Dot] LaMarche would vote for future term limits on everyone else and then turn around and run for a third term as alderman herself. And to justify it now by saying she would have withdrawn her petition if anyone else had run is ridiculous. She only mentioned that plan after the qualifying deadline had passed. So much for political honesty and integrity.

• I’d like to say that I think State Rep. Ryan Haynes is a gentleman and a scholar. And anything he can do to counteract these red-light cameras that we’ve got is a good thing for Farragut. We’re running all the people off that buy in Farragut by putting up these red-light cameras. And you know, you can’t base truth on somebody that gets their money on whether or not the red-light cameras are paying their salary or not. And everybody ought to think about that too.

• I’d like to talk about these comments that this [Town Photo Enforcement Manager Ben] Harkins guy made: evidently, the red-light cameras are paying his salary, so he wants to get out and tell everybody about red lights. I think everybody ought to just go up to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and find out how many tickets this guy has ever wrote in his life, or how many accidents he’s ever worked. Because there’s a lot of things that don’t add up if you go up there and check. Have a great day.


• Uh. In regards to the question that Mayor [Ralph] McGill asked about what level of government has the responsibility for keeping people safe. There’s nobody in Farragut that has that responsibility; their responsibility is the law enforcement responsibility. And it’s each individual’s responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others around them whenever they’re using streets of the state of Tennessee.

• On the comments in the paper that the Mayor [Ralph McGill] made about giving all the money away. That’s not just exactly the truth, ’cause over half the money is given to the red-light company that put in the machines, that put the cameras in to begin with. And they also fund some other people that work in that program out of that money, and then whatever’s left is what they give to the other areas that need money for grants, if you want to use that word.

Editor’s Note: Redflex, the installer of Farragut’s red-light cameras, makes money off the cameras on a varying scale. Redflex is paid $18 per ticket if there are 150 citations or more paid per month per approach, $25 per ticket if there are between 101 and 150 citations paid per month per approach, and $39.50 per ticket if there are 100 citations or less paid per month per approach. Town Photo Enforcement manager Ben Harkins’s salary is paid from the revenues from red-light cameras; he earns $30 an hour, regardless of the number of citations issued. Harkins’s wages are the only wages paid from the Town’s revenue from the red-light cameras. The rest of the revenue goes to a community grant fund separate from the Town’s general budget. Those funds are doled out to community grant applicants every year. Redflex is a for-profit company as are companies that pave streets, produce curbs and sidewalks and create traffic signals and road signs.

• Concerning the trucks driving through Farragut, Kingston Pike or Grigsby Chapel, whatever, the semi-truck drivers who, very often, when they come to a downhill, love to use what are called [Jake] brakes, and as I understand it, that’s against the law. But if you are anywhere near the downhill on Kingston Pike alongside Willow Creek and Fox Den, almost any day you can hear them running their [Jake] brakes, which sounds like backfire, running down the hill. It’s a fun thing for a truck driver. And same thing applies when they do go down Route 40 alongside Farragut — they’ll run them down that hill as well. So if the police, sheriffs, are looking for ways to prosecute, I guess they could just try using the [Jake] brake item. As far as going down Grigsby and Kingston Pike, it’d be someway to maybe discourage them from coming through town. Thank you.

• An idea on the problem with the trucks bypassing the weigh station and coming down Kingston Pike and Grigsby Chapel: it may not be illegal for them to do that, but you might consider them using their [Jake] brakes, which as I understand is illegal, as they come downhill. All you’ve got to do is sit by Willow Creek sometime, the golf course, and see the guys coming down the hill and watch how many times they use those brakes to back off and make the old-fashioned exhaust pipe rattle. And they probably do the same thing on Grigsby Chapel. So that may be something the [Knox County] Sheriff’s Department could pay attention to. Thanks.

• Via presstalk@farragutpress.com: Can anyone tell me why the side entrance to Farragut High School from Campbell Station Road has not reopened now that the construction is complete? I have called the high school [that] referred me to the town of Farragut. I have called and left messages with the town of Farragut as well as sent e-mails, but can get no response from Farragut.

Editor’s Note: Michael Reynolds, principal of Farragut High School, has refused to reopen the Campbell Station Road driveway to FHS until the Town either installs a traffic signal at the intersection or an island at the mouth of the driveway in order to prevent FHS students from making dangerous left turns across three to four lanes of CSR traffic. This was covered by farragutpress in issues dating Nov. 18, Dec. 9 and 16, 2010.

• Via e-mail: Hallelujah! Finally someone in state government with some sense! I am writing to LOUDLY SUPPORT State Rep. Ryan Haynes and House Bill 64, that legalizes the rolling stop on red. Just as a yield sign is used all over the state to allow drivers, themselves, to determine when it is safe to turn right, this bill will allow drivers turning right at a red light to proceed as if it were a yield sign. When the change was made years ago to allow drivers to turn right on a red light, the doomsayers all wrung their hands and bemoaned the bodies that were going to be stacked in the street. They were wrong, and the people who oppose this law are making the same mistake. According to the article published in the Knoxville News Sentinel recently, the red light cameras are taking AT LEAST $20,000 out of the pockets of the citizens for EACH accident allegedly saved. Way too expensive! Don’t confuse being legal with being safe — they are different things. For instance, it is perfectly legal to turn right on a green light without stopping, but if you don’t see the pedestrian crossing the road, you’ll still hit him, green light or not! And how many times have you been waiting at a red light as the only car at an intersection that has no other cars approaching it, yet the law says you can’t go. It’s time to restore some sense to our laws. Let responsible people decide for themselves whether it is safe to proceed. They’ve been doing it for years with a high degree of safety, they just weren’t getting ticketed for it until the red light cameras came along!

• Via e-mail: I couldn’t believe the front page story in this week’s farragutpress about “rolling stops.” The funny part about it was Wednesday morning as I was driving down McFee Road, I came upon two of Knox County’s finest in their patrol cars side by side, one in the center lane and the other in my lane. I would assume they were talking. After slowing and finally getting their attention, they pulled off. Each made a “rolling stop” at the stop sign at McFee and Old Stage roads, turned right and proceeded to the traffic light at Kingston Pike. The first KCSO car rolled through the red light turning right without stopping. The second was forced to stop because of oncoming traffic, after which, he too turned right and sped along Kingston Pike in excess of the speed limit. I estimate that statement since I also turned right and was going the legal limit and their cars left my sight quickly, all with no lights or siren. I guess they have privilege or think the law has already changed. After consulting the TCA, the laws still read that police cars have to obey all traffic laws unless running under lights and/or siren. There have always been three sets of laws in Knox County — the law for the wealthy, the law for the police and the law for the working man.

• Via e-mail: A bill has been introduced that would eliminate Tennessee’s 6 percent tax on dividends, interest and capital gain distributions from mutual funds (the “Hall tax,” as it is known). The Hall Tax was passed in the 1920s with a deductible of $2,500 per married couple — at that time a sizeable amount. It was never intended to apply to small investors as it does today. Clearly, it is time to repeal the Hall Tax. Doing so would bring relief to all savers, especially retirees who rely on their investment earnings to live. It would also encourage more retirees to move to Tennessee (thus creating jobs in services, construction and other areas). The lost revenue of $62 million would be made up as retirees and others pumped more money into the economy. Eliminating the Hall Tax is really a win-win for the state and its citizens. Please contact your representatives to support repeal of the Hall Tax. 

 

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