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City Charter Video – A Follow Up

Based on the emails I have received, I feel that a follow up is needed to address some the issues raised about the video I posted in my last article.

First, I found the video clip while researching an article I am working on highlighting current bills before the legislature.  Like many of you, I was shocked after viewing the video and I thought it should be shared.  However, I did not want to revisit every twist and turn that has occurred in the multiple year  journey of the charter revisions.  I simply did not have the time, and the local paper has published numerous articles on the topic.  My first thought was to merely post the video without commentary.  But since local elections occur this year, I decided to loosely tie the video into a quick pitch for citizen’s to get educated on local issues and cast an informed vote.

Not reporting all the exhaustive details of the charter’s legislative  journey has led a city council person to accuse me of “duping” readers using Michael Moore sound bite type tactics, failing to tell “the rest of the story.”  To those readers, I say I cannot fail at what I did not attempt.   I clearly state in the article and in my subsequent comments, that the article is not addressing the charter’s legality.  To imply that I conscientiously left out information because I wanted to paint the local administration is just poorly constructed political spin.

Several readers emailed my article to numerous elected officials and other citizens.   I realized the article was being viewed as one sided.  In response,  I took two actions (this article should be counted as the third action.)  I sent out a link to the 12/30/09 Leaf Chronicle editorial  in support the charter revisions.  I did this to give the readers more information than I included in my article.  I would provide you the link to this editorial, but as of today, it is 30 days old and  users must pay to access it.

I also emailed several folks the attorney general’s opinion.  The AG’s opinion says the charter revisions do not appear to violate the state’s constitution.  This answers many of the question posed by the members of the subcommittee.  The AG’s opinion is dated after the subcommittee meeting seen in the video.  The AG opinion does not mean that local folks are okay with the charter; indeed several council folks voted against it and our local newspaper has had several letters to the editor opposing the charter revisions.  The AG opinion does not rubber stamp the subcommittee approval.    Here is the link to the AG’s opinion-

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In my haste to post the video, I did not poll city elected officials and ask why they did not attend the subcommittee meeting.  I said earlier that several readers emailed my article their city council folks.  Some readers forwarded me the council person’s response.  Only one provided a reason for not being at the meeting, stating that the council was notified of the meeting after the fact.  Fair enough.

The subcommittee will meet on February 24, 2010 at 8:30 am to revisit the charter revisions.  I encourage everyone to watch the video and see what is said, how people act, and what will become of the revisions.  To watch the video live, go to the following address at the appropriate time and click committee video:

http://www.capitol.tn.gov/house/committees/government.html

Should that not work, you can use the following link, and the Local Government Subcommittee should have a link available on the page at the time of the meeting:

http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/livevideo/

I encourage anyone with differing views or the time to write a history of the charter’s revision to take advantage of this sites free access and write an article explaining the process better or explaining your opinion to all the readers.

Now I am going back to researching my upcoming article about bills being presented in the current legislative session.

Blayne Clements
Blayne Clements
I am a 30 something graduate from Austin Peay State University, where I graduated in 1997 with two majors (Accounting and Finance). I am a very happily married man, with one beautiful daughter. I enjoy a professional life of public service and a personal life of travel, reading, music, and always trying to learn from others.
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4 COMMENTS

  1. I have read Mr. Clements’ article with interest and commend him with wanting “citizen’s to get educated on local issues and cast an informed vote”. As I pointed out in the comments section to his previous story, very important details had not been included which countered or answered many of the questions presented in the video he cited.

    Mr. Clements claims that the absence of more recent and relevant facts concerning the charter was not intentional, as it was not his “attempt” to inform readers of such information from the start. He also claims he was not trying to “paint the local administration” as an “image” of embarrassment at the state legislative level, although he cites the upcoming elections and a chance for change. In addition, both the article and subsequent comments to the article by Mr. Clements hammers a point that no one from the city bothered to attend the state committee meeting and that this should be of interest to those who had an anti-incumbent attitude. Mr. Clement admits he did not bother to ask why no one attended. He concludes that all of the questioning of his intentions to include or exclude pertinent information is “poorly constructed political spin” against him. I concur there is political spin, but not in the direction presented.

    Based on his explanations, it would seem that others read more into Mr. Clements article than he intended. A contributing author to Clarksville Online, and local community activist, placed such faith in the currency and relevance of the article that he used it as a cited source of reference in emails that were sent out. These emails went to Governor Bredesen, along with other state and local political representatives, with the statement “Mr. Mayor and City Council Members this is an embarrassment to us all”.

    If the local activist was not “duped” he was certainly mislead as to the current relevancy of the article, the research that went into it and its intent. Given that Mr. Clement has cleared up the level of research and intent, I hope another email citing this article is sent to the governor, state and local representatives. Perhaps with the statement of the embarrassment they felt for having sent out the first email.

    Thank you for allowing me to comment.

    Bill Summers
    Clarksville City Councilman

  2. Bill

    Thnaks for particpating in the conversation.

    When I write an article, I send a link to the article out to my email list. When I sent this second article, I requested everyone forward it like they did with the link to my first article.

    I have read your comments on my articles and some of the emails you sent others responding to the orginal article. You have not stated why you were not at the meeting. Readers would like to here you speak to that issue.

    Thanks for your interest in my posts and service to our city, and I look forward to more of your contributions to the website.

    Blayne

  3. I was not at the state committee meeting due to not hearing about it until after the fact.

    In addition, we addressed all issues and questions raised by our local state delegation during their review of the proposed charter. We provided them examples, rationale and sourced other city charters in the state that provided procedures which we found would be of benefit to Clarksville’s charter and operations.

    There is not one proposed Clarksville charter change or update that had not already been approved by the State of Tennessee for use by other cities in our state. That fact, along with not having our local state delegation tell us of any further issues or questions, led us to believe that we would have full support at the state level.

    Our local state delegation did not inform us that they believed there would be any major issues or problems that we should be prepared for at the committee level. Previous small changes to the charter had been handled without issues or a request by our state delegation to have the council attend.

    On Dec 29 2009 we worked with our state delegation again to answer questions and provide data and facts. They requested time to review our information in preparing for the next state committee meeting, which will be Feb 24 2010. As of today they have not come back with problems or issues they may have. Members of the council and the charter committee will be there.

    I hope this additional information sheds light on the depth of effort and study that has gone into updating a city charter that has not seen a complete overhaul in more than 50 years.

    Thank you

    Bill Summers
    City Councilman and Charter Committee member

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