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Clarksville City Council Ward 9 race gets personal

Election 2012Clarksville, TN – The race for Clarksville City Council in Ward 9 turned ugly this week.  What had been a fairly low key, non eventful door to door campaign among four candidates, has been turned up a notch between challenger Jeff Robinson and the incumbent Joel Wallace.

During a TV taping this week  for the Leadership Clarksville Political Forums, Wallace called out Robinson for his handling of the Parking Authority while serving on that board, then questioned Robinson for hiring an out of town attorney to handle his bankruptcy following the 1999 tornado.

Robinson and his wife own the Blackhorse Pub and Brewery in downtown Clarksville.

Jeff Robinson on Clarksville in Review
Jeff Robinson on Clarksville in Review

Wallace’s comments were in response to Robinson’s closing statement at the forum, where he questioned the hiring of Nashville attorney’s by the current administration for legal work.  Robinson said he was blindsided by the attack but not surprised.

” I should have known something was up when Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan’s husband, Chancellor Larry McMillan, showed up for the TV taping.  There’s hardly ever anybody in the audience for these things, and it should have tipped me that this was going to get ugly. Judge McMillan has allowed Mr Wallace to put political signs on his property during this campaign, and I question the ethics of that, but more importantly, they need Mr. Wallace to win this race so mayor McMillan can keep her balance of power” according to Robinson.

Wallace denies he attacked Mr. Robinson.

“I think people should just watch the political forums when they air, and judge for themselves.  I didn’t try to make this race personal, I just tried to address the issues over attorneys which he had raised.”

Robinson has questioned why the City of Clarksville continues to hire Nashville law firms to do it’s legal work, when there are plenty of qualified attorneys right here in Clarksville.  He notes that the city hires one particular firm in Nashville where Mayor McMillan has worked prior to becoming mayor.

“I also think it’s clearly a conflict of interest for Mr Wallace to be the chairman of the finance committee, while the law firm he is a partner in, does business with the City of Clarksville. ” stated Robinson.

Wallace responded to that concern.

“I don’t profit individually or otherwise from any work my law firm does with the City of Clarksville.  I, nor any other member of the city council has no input, or makes no decision on the attorney’s the city hires to do it’s legal work.  I would encourage anyone who believes that I have done anything unethical, or broken any laws to report it to the proper authorities.  I obey the law, and I challenge anyone to accuse me otherwise.” said Wallace.

When Wallace pointed out, during the forum, that Mr Robinson hired a Murfreesboro, TN attorney to handle his business bankruptcy at the Blackhorse following the 1999 tornado, that issue struck a nerve with Robinson.

“We were trying to save our business after the devastation of that tornado.  I had employees who needed a paycheck just to survive.  I had one employee who survived the storm while hiding in a bathtub.  Mr. Wallace was probably at the University of Memphis having a beer, and I was trying to save my business and my employees.” said Robinson.

Mr. Wallace had not comment on what he was doing at the time of the tornado, and says he stands by his comments at the forum.

Robinson said he has been “soured” by the process, and got into the race to bring a different, “businesslike” perspective to city government. “I’ve served on various boards and committees and the city council is the ultimate body of decision makers. I retired here out of the military, raised my family, started a business here. I am fully invested in this community, and I’m not happy with the direction we’re headed. I campaigned diligently for Mayor McMillan, and now, I can’t even get a return phone call from her.”

There are two other candidates in this race. Keith Fain, a former mayoral candidate, and newcomer Brandon Knox.

To hear the entire interview on 1400 WJZM, visit the podcast archives.

Wallace has agreed to a full interview on WJZM, news talk radio.  Candidates interested in being interviewed, need to submit their request, with contact information, to

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  

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