Wednesday, May 12, 2004

POLITICS

POLITICS

Posted By on Wed, May 12, 2004 at 4:00 AM

DRIVING, NOT FLYING NASHVILLE -- In the end, it was about a routine matter, handled routinely, but a brief dialogue in the state Senate last week clarified a matter that Shelby Countians (and Tennesseans at large) may have been curious about. State Senator Steve Cohen had introduced an amendment to a bill on travel reimbursements for state employees. It provided that “in emergency situations, purchase of air tickets in excess of the standard coach fare would be allowed if approved by the comptroller but otherwise no state appropriated funds or university funds would be used to purchase air tickets in excess of standard coach fare.” To everyone’s evident surprise, Cohen’s Memphis colleague John Ford objected. He maintained that the provision assigning supervisory authority to the comptroller rather than, in a senator’s case, to “the Speaker” (Lt. Gov. Wilder) would be “a slap in the face.” Ford pointed out possible variations in applying the term “standard coach fare,” expressed doubt that legislators charged taxpayers for flights where champagne was served, and said of Cohen’s amendment, “You’re really messing up the situation.” Finally, Ford disclaimed any personal interest in the matter. “I don’t fly from here to Memphis,” he said. “I drive Ð though some of you may describe that as flying.” Ford’s objections notwithstanding, the amendment passed handily. Two Against Violence Steve Moore (or “Stevie,” as longtime friends call him) is a familiar presence in political affairs. He’s worked for the Ford organization and numerous local politicians as a campaign manager and strategist, and he’s especially close to Criminal Court Judge J.C. McLin, whom he helped to an upset victory in a 2000 special election. McLin’s name is first on a long list of luminaries -- including mayors Willie Herenton and A C Wharton, numerous legislators, councilmen, and county commissioners, and other public officials -- who have lined up to support Moore in a public campaign of his own. Moore has organized a “Save Our Children Rally,” set for the Overton Park Shell at 1 p.m. Saturday. The free event is , according to a flyer printed up to support it, “designed to highlight the magnitude of youth violence and youth death in our communities,” and “will feature leaders in government, law enforcement, religious leadership and entertainment from various gospel groups.” The rally is sponsored by an ad hoc organization founded by Moore, Freedom from Unnecessary Negatives (F.U.N.N). The element of painful irony in that acronym is magnified by the powerful underlying reason for Moore’s commitment to the project: His son Prentice Moore was shot to death a year ago as young Moore left a now shuttered troublespot, the Denim and Diamonds Club at Mendenhall and Winchester. Steve Moore perseveres. And he understands that not only is no man an island, neither is any human being’s tragedy an isolated event. So he’s using his well-honed political skills to put together an event that promises, at the very least, to be a powerful consciousness-raiser. “We strongly believe, Ôenough is enough Ð we must stop the killing.’There is far too much killing, crime and neglectful death in our community today. It is time to take action,” says Moore in a letter.
  • The Angela Kyle Memorial Award, named in honor of the young woman slain in the parking garage at Oak Court Mall at Christmas of 1997, is annually given for “Commitment to Victims’ Services” to a master’s degree recipient by the University of Tennessee College of Social Work, from which Kyle herself was a graduate. This year’s honoree is Kerry Fulmer, a transplant from New Jersey who happens also to be the first cousin, once removed, of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry of Massachusetts. Fulmer, who received the award along with her Clinical M.S. degree in Social Work at a UT commencement ceremony Monday night, has been working for the last three years with victims of domestic violence as a court advocate in criminal and civil court and with the Women's and Childrens program for children who have witnessed domestic violence. She also counsels victims of domestic violence at The Exchange Club Family Center.
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