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“I got your term limits right here”

We now have people that want to do away with the Knox County Charter because they think that less government is better government and it is such a pain and a difficult duty to have private acts passed in the Tennessee Legislature that dumb ideas like the “Jobs Now Program” or the 5 million dollars to a Blount County industrial park would be impossible to do with private acts. According to this line of thought doing away with the Charter is a good thing.

That is muddled thinking. Home Rule is a great advantage and we need to keep it. Keeping government local is what Home Rule and the Charter is all about. We have the right to control the laws of our County. That is why we need the Charter.

The charter is not the problem. The Weaver ruling is the problem.

This whole issue could have been fixed in a single day. Weaver could have suggested that Knox County hold a Charter commission meeting. Add one phrase, Constitutional Offices are defined in the State Constitution. Send the amended Charter to the Secretary of State. We are done.

But nooooo, that’s not the way we do business around these parts. Let’s put every Knox County taxpayer at risk, risk the bond rating, have hundreds of lawsuits, drive everybody crazy, and at the end of the fools errand declare victory and stop to admire and reflect upon the imaginary leadership of the County Mayor and County Commission.

An excellent analysis of why Weaver’s ruling is flawed can be found here.

Why should Weaver’s ruling be overturned? There are many reasons. One of the most important is that of severability which means you do not throw out the baby with the bath water. The legal definition of severability is, “A clause in a Charter that allows that any portion of the Charter deemed to be unenforceable does not affect the validity of the rest of the Charter.”

The Jarvis decision to have this Charter fast tracked to the Tennessee Supreme Court is the right decision. Weaver’s ruling must be appealed as soon as possible and overturned. It must be overturned because it is a bad ruling. What ever popularity the Weaver ruling had it has lost any appeal when people now understand how the Charter actually benefited them. Whether you like or dislike Adult Book Stores or Strip Clubs most people in Knox County do not want one next to their home. The same could be said for a Methadone Clinic or a Homeless Shelter. Do you think people now understand the value of the Charter? The Charter allows a more local input into local ordinances.

When you vote this August exercise manual term limits. Say to these incumbents who ignore the law and sue to invalidate the Charter, “I got your term limits right here” and vote for their opponent. They do not deserve to serve.

2 Responses to ““I got your term limits right here””

  1. David Says:

    Well, you might like home rule right now, but just wait until they do something like Denver and decide they want to ban handguns, “assault rifles” etc., then I think you’ll realize the problems with home rule.

  2. chris Says:

    I respectfully disagree on pretty much all points.

    If anyone disagrees with the opinion, they should do so on a point by point basis and not on a policy basis.

    It is a legal opinion, not a policy directive.

    The “analysis” to which you linked is a policy-oriented rant, not a legal analysis – not even close for that matter.

    The insinuation in that rant that the Sheriff has intimidated Chancellor Weaver is preposterous.

    Chancellor Weaver is an exceedingly bright and analytical jurist, and it took no small amount of courage to render this unpopular opinion.

    Judges (are supposed to) rule on the legality of matters before them, which are the crux of the disputed issues, and not on policy matters.

    They call balls and strikes and should not set public policy.

    Ironically, we conservatives complain the most when judges venture into the area of policy- oriented (e.g. the international community’s opinion on this matter is that …. or this practice violates many international laws).

    Judges are supposed to determine the facts, the operative law, and the application of the law to the facts.

    This case involves statutory construction – nothing more.

    Judges should not issue advisory opinions and recommendations (e.g. the County Commission should ….. to cure what it failed to do in enacting the Charter).

    If judges gratuitously exceed the scope of reviewing the legality of the facts before them (e.g. and make recommendations), it is usually in the form of nonbinding dicta.

    Addressing what it should do now to fix what it didn’t do in 1994 is the job of the County Commission, which, for that matter, now seeks to do so AFTER the upcoming elections.

    If anyone actually reads the analytical approach embodied in the opinion, I challenge them to set forth the LEGAL reasons why it is wrong.

    It may be wrong, and it appears that the Tn Supreme Court will have the chance to make that determination.

    However, based on my review of the opinion, I am hard pressed to make the case that the County Executive and County Commission followed the required statutory proceedures to establish a County Charter.

    Quite simply, they messed it up badly (to put it charitably), and they, and not Chancellor Weaver, should remedy the situation and account to their constituents.

    Lastly, the notion of severability usually applies to contracts and not to statutes, but, even if it did, it would be applied in a manner which disregards an ERRONEOUS (e.g. unconstitutional) provision – not a part of a statute that somecne consciously chose, or unwittingly failed, to follow.

    FWIW, I agree with your position on home rule and the ridiculous nature of the situation in which Knox County currently finds itself.

    Its elected officials (including some who are no longer in office) created this mess, and the County Mayor and the County Commission need to resolve it and account to the people of Knox County.

    I hope that the Tn Supereme Court affirms this decision, but time will tell.