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Friday, August 12, 2022
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Here we go again

Just when you thought we had moved past the “petty” politics that Clarksville is so famous for, the local newspaper runs a front page story with Clarksville Mayor Johnny Piper squarely in it’s sights. We have grown accustomed to this coverage of Piper from the newspaper since he first took office in 1999. The attention he gets is unprecedented, and is more aggressive than on any other mayor I can remember, and I have been covering local news and politics for over 35 years, so I kind of have an idea what I’m talking about. Granted, Johnny Piper is a “lightning rod” of controversy and accomplishment, the latter going virtually unnoticed. The facts don’t get in the way of a good story, it’s all about making things personal.

The latest involves an “alleged” threat made by Piper to Schools Director Michael Harris. Harris went public to “the newspaper” with details about a phone conversation he had with Mayor Piper concerning a transfer involving Piper’s wife, Donita.

Piper admitted he asked Harris for a favor by not going through with his proposed transfer of Mrs. Piper to another cluster of schools. Mrs Piper is a school psychologist, and has an outstanding 18 years of professional service and loyalty to the children she works with, and her employer. Certainly not out of line. People ask for and receive favors all the time. Harris reportedly told Mayor Piper that he would be glad to discuss the situation, but only with his wife, he was apparently not willing to discuss it with the mayor.

It was at that point of the conversation that Piper “allegedly” told Harris he “could make things difficult” for him. Harris decided it was time to run to the newspaper and “air” the dirty laundry of a private conversation that forces all of us to “choose sides”, and we never get caught up worrying about the facts. Then Mr Harris decides he’s “not going to talk about anything the mayor has to say” about personnel decisions within the school system. That’s his prerogative. He IS the Director of Schools, and those are his decisions. But the person in question is the mayor of the fifth largest city in the state of Tennessee, and not just some “Joe Citizen” who just walked in off the streets. He owed the mayor more than that.

I really like Michael Harris, and I really like Johnny Piper. I take more grief for liking Piper than I do for liking Harris. Wonder why? They’ve both got tough jobs to do, and they both have big problems to solve in the immediate future. I’ve had plenty of “on air” disagreements with the mayor and I’ve been on the receiving end of his temper, but he has single-handedly brought Clarksville into the forefront as a great city, while being held to a more stringent standard of accountability than any other public figure I can remember. He can’t blow his nose without the newspaper trying to make it into a controversy.

So lets get back to what upsets me about this story. We’re are just one week removed from a flood that has put many people out of business, cost families their homes, and will end up costing millions of dollars to repair. The 101st Airborne Division is deploying, the economy is struggling, and there’s not enough money to go around to fund the school budget without a tax increase. So what is everybody talking about? A phone call that only two people heard. A PHONE CALL FOR GOD’S SAKE! Get a life people. We’ve got much more serious problems to deal with and none of us knows who’s telling the truth. Typical Clarksville.

Hank Bonecutter
Hank Bonecutterhttp://www.clarksvillesmotorcycle.com/
Hank Bonecutter is a retired broadcaster and media consultant based in Clarksville, Tennessee. His career includes stints at WKDA/WKDF and WKQB Rock 106FM, WLAC-AM in Nashville. He concluded his career as owner/talk show host at WJZM-AM in Clarksville. Currently the President of Bonehead Promotions, he's an advertising consultant and media strategist. An avid motorcyclist, Hank blogs about his travels exclusively at www.clarksvillemotorcycle.com and www.clarksvilleonline.com You can follow Hank on on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/dodgintheroadkill/, on Twitter at https://twitter.com/?lang=en, and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/dodgetheroadkill/?hl=en  


  1. Ok but once again this bonecutter guy was favoring Piper on the radio and talk down the director of schools. Piper said teachers were talking to him about the system. what about city employee’s talking about his firing and threats. What about the hiring of the kids of FRIENDS!!!! This to the Fire Dept and Police Dept…

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