Can the Jones boys overcome Black Wednesday?

Sandra ClarkGossip and Lies

“Black Wednesday is so far in the past that it won’t be an issue” in the 2018 races for Knox County mayor and sheriff, said George Korda on April 16 on WATE’s Tennessee This Week. “What most people know, or think they know, is that it’s a sale at the big department stores.”

Sheriff Tim Hutchison and others were removed from office when a court upheld voter-adopted term limits, a vote previously ignored by county officeholders. The county commission met Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007, to replace them.

With a power struggle between Hutchison and then-Mayor Mike Ragsdale, commissioners swapped votes to select replacement commissioners. They picked their spouses, parents, kids and campaign treasurers.

Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones was appointed to succeed Hutchison. He quickly hired Hutchison as a top deputy, enabling Hutchison to max out his pension. Now Jones is running for county mayor in 2018, and he’s bringing along some of his rowdy friends.

Lee Tramel, Jones’ hand-picked candidate for sheriff, was appointed to the county commission on Black Wednesday. Scott Moore was the commission chair. He now works for Jones, as does Ivan Harmon, another Black Wednesday commissioner. Greg “Lumpy” Lambert and Mark Cawood, both Black Wednesday commissioners, are court bailiffs.

Jones and his posse were in Halls recently at a community event; Jones running for mayor, Tramel running for sheriff and Moore and Harmon talking about running for county commission. It was Black Wednesday revisited. We looked around for Chucky Bolus and John Valiant on his cellphone.

Have voters forgotten Black Wednesday? Only until someone reminds them.


Response to KnoxTNToday has been phenomenal. Three emails speak to the personalities involved.

Shannon Carey: “Clark, are you on Facebook liking our posts? Somebody who’s an administrator is liking us. That’s like liking yourself. It’s bad form.”

Clark: “Absolutely not. I’m busy and I don’t know a tweet from a torque.”

Cynthia Moxley: “Hey, we’re up to 300 likes and I’m developing carpal tunnel syndrome.”

Gossip and lies

Blaming Beth: State Rep. Harry Brooks’ bill to fund vouchers for private schools in Memphis failed in a House subcommittee leading to a harsh press release from Tommy Schultz, national communications director for the American Federation for Children. Schultz blasted the “leaderless lower chamber” for failing to pass a bill that had sailed through the state Senate. “With her mishandling of this legislation, House Speaker Beth Harwell’s lack of leadership has never been more on display.”

The Legislature has, however, made life a bit easier for people who shampoo hair. According to Rep. Brooks, persons in the shampooing business must submit an application, pay a fee and take 300 hours of education at a cosmetology school before being able to offer their services to the public. New legislation eased those requirements.


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