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Views from elsewhere in Tennessee

Views from elsewhere in Tennessee

By: The Associated Press

The Messenger 06.13.08 The following is a roundup of recent editorials from Tennessee members of The Associated Press. In some cases, the editorials have been edited for length. They do not reflect an editorial position of the AP but represent the opinions of the newspapers from which they are taken. ———— The Commercial Appeal, June 6 Bishop William H. Graves of Memphis won a great symbolic victory this week with his confirmation as a member of the Tennessee Valley Authority, but the long-awaited confirmation goes far beyond symbolism in Memphis and the Mid-South. A day after Barack Obama became the first African-American to sew up a major party presidential nomination, Graves became the first African-American to win a full five-year term on the TVA in its 75-year history. At the rate things are going, the first African-American to (fill in the blank) will soon no longer be newsworthy. But in the meantime it’s important to note that Graves, 71, senior bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, has broken through another barrier to full participation by minorities in the political and economic life of the region. Graves’ cause was championed by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., after his nomination was blocked by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid because Graves, although he identifies himself as a Democrat, co-chaired the Shelby County Bush-Cheney re-election effort in 2004. Alexander used his hold on a Reid-supported nominee to the Institute of Peace as leverage to break the ice for Graves. His confirmation also represents a first for Memphis. Although Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division is TVA’s biggest customer, a Memphian has never served on the board, helping decide the direction of an agency that sells power to 159 local agencies that serve 8.8 million people and 650,000 businesses and industries in seven states. That’s a heavy responsibility, which Bishop Graves has earned through many years of service in a guiding role to so many people in Memphis and the Mid-South over a long and distinguished career. -tva/ ———— The (Columbia) Daily Herald, June 8 “Wasn’t hardly anything to it.” That’s how Mt. Pleasant Commissioner Bob Shackelford, speaking to a Nashville TV crew, described a fight in which he repeatedly struck fellow commissioner Steve Kirk and dragged him to the floor at a budget meeting before being restrained by the city manager. Shackelford admits the fight was an embarrassment to the city and has apologized for his actions, but he says he has no intention of resigning. “I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I’m staying as a city commissioner unless they have some impeachment proceedings.” We disagree with Mr. Shackelford’s assessment of his situation. We think there was a lot to his attack on Kirk. The shocking display of violence exposed him to the world as a bully and a hothead. Elected officials, especially those who are 72 years old, are supposed to use much better judgment. They’re supposed to have some self-control. To put it mildly, Mr. Shackelford’s credibility as a city leader is shot. The idea that he can calmly return to his commission seat and effectively handle city business — side by side with the victim of his outburst — taxes the imagination. At best his presence would be a sideshow and a distraction. We assume Mr. Shackelford got elected to city commission to serve the citizens of Mt. Pleasant. The best way he can serve them now is by stepping down. dit.txt

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