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presstalk 671-TALK

• By now, we all know that [Knox County] Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner has been arrested, turned himself in, whatever, concerning the charges of abuse of power and misuse of his office, apparently having to do with using illegal painkillers but buying them from a felon who came through his court. I, as a law-abiding citizen, and as someone who has had to spend 16 years dealing with the criminal justice system because my parents were murdered by people who broke into their house looking for money, jewelry and so forth so they could buy drugs, am highly offended that this man is being treated with kid gloves. No. 1, he’s a member of law enforcement. No. 2, he is a judge. No. 3, he [inaudible], in his position, knows better. He had many, many options he could choose from — he had the insurance; he had the financial means to do so. If he is given a plea bargain with no jail time, I, along with most of Knox County, am going to be extremely disgusted. However, it depends on who his friends are, and I think you all know what I’m talking about.

Editor’s Note: Judge Baumgartner pleaded guilty to official misconduct Thursday, March 10. He was placed on judicial diversion and received a two-year suspended sentence that does not include any jail time.

• Via Since we have now been made so much safer by having red light cameras, can all residents in ZIP Code 37934 expect their insurance rates to go down? It’s my understanding that ZIP Codes are one metric used in establishing an individual’s insurance premium. Perhaps some insurance agent could reply with an answer.

• Via Perhaps one reason that everyone is so upset at the red-light cameras is the way that the town pays for them. The fact that the red-light company is paid a “bounty” for each citation issued is what strikes me as rather odd. Since the system is operational 24 hours a day, my question is why the town doesn’t pay a flat fee for their use. I understand that the fees are on a diminishing scale, which is also strange. Why is a citation worth more to the red-light company if only a few citations are issued in a single period ... or why does the fee to the red-light company go down if there are a greater number of citations? The system runs the same regardless of the number of cars through the intersection or the number of “occurrences.” Are we trying to incentivize the red-light cameras to work harder by paying their company a fee per citation? If anyone notices any of the cameras slacking off, please notify the appropriate supervising camera, whose job it is to make sure that all cameras are working hard to generate the “occurrences.”

• Via e-mail: In response to reader comments last week: I live, work and trade in Farragut and am opposed to red-light cameras. I am not a “malcontent” lawbreaker. In fact, I’ve yet to be cited by a camera in our Town. These cameras must go, are there for reasons that go beyond safety, and inhibit traffic flow. Period. I look forward to voting either on them or those who support/oppose them in the next election cycle, and hope you will do the same.

• Via e-mail: For all you who don’t like red-light cameras because it’s “big brother” electronics eyeing you, have you gotten rid of your home security service that monitors your home electronically and calls the police for you? You should because, using your logic, you should have to be at home and catch a burglar yourself instead of using electronic devices. This is absurd, of course, but no more than you giving up your “liberty” to break traffic laws or make “rolling stops.” Talk about absurd!!

• Via e-mail: To the person who thinks it’s the pedestrians’ responsibility to not cross a walkway when you have the green or crossing signal, what ever happened to the pedestrian having the right of way? Oh, that’s right; Farragut drivers have the right of way over everyone else.

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That’s it. The forum is open for comments regarding anything you have on your mind — local politics, world affairs, sports, religion, community affairs, city-county unification or anything else.


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