Pam's Points: Reversal of fortunes was the theme this week

Pam's Points: Reversal of fortunes was the theme this week

February 22nd, 2014 in Opinion Times

It's not over yet ...

The United Auto Workers on Friday filed an appeal with the National Labor Relations Board over what it termed "interference" by politicians and outside special interest groups in the election last week at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant.

The appeal cited assertions by U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., a new product line would be awarded to the plant if workers voted against UAW representation.

The appeal says, "Sen. Corker's conduct was shameful. ... The clear message of the campaign was that voting for the union would result in stagnation for the Chattanooga plant, with no new product, no job security, and withholding of state support for its expansion."

The NLRB now must determine if there are grounds to set aside the election results and hold a new election for Volkswagen workers. The workers' vote last week was 712 to 626 to reject the UAW's bid to organize the plant.

Voting by social media

Wow! If all it takes to change a county commission vote about camera speeding tickets in just a matter of hours is a few phone calls and a "barrage of criticism on social media," I would be happy to direct some of my usual online naysayers and commenters toward local politicans.

Public backlash against photo-speeding enforcement was so overwhelming and "brutal" that three commissioners within 24 hours of their 5-4 vote Wednesday said they will put the question back on the agenda and change their vote.

Marty Haynes, who represents much of Hixson in District 3, said, "The firestorm over this has been pretty -- well, pretty brutal."

Chester Bankston, who represents the northern part of the county east of the river -- District 9 -- also was licking his wounds: "I'll make the motion, or second it, or whatever, next week. I already told someone today, I don't have any butt left."

Larry Henry, of District 7 in the county's far southeastern corner, has now decided the numbers don't make sense: $12.50 of each ticket wouldn't be enough to pay for the driver education program which he says was his original reason for a yes vote. "I'm man enough to admit a mistake. And yesterday was a mistake," Henry said.

Do you hear this county parents and grandparents? Clearly you have been too nice and far too quiet about what you think of Hamilton County public schools and the county's school funding.

Pick up those smartphones and get them hot! The May 6 partisan primaries are just 10 weeks away, you know.

Religious bigotry - er, freedom

Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, also made a quick turn-around this week.

On Tuesday, Bell shelved a bill he decided last week to sponsor after another lawmaker dropped it. The bill would give Tennesseans a new right -- the right to discriminate in the name of religion.

The actual summary of the bill reads a bit differently, stating it is aimed at "protecting" wedding-related businesses from lawsuits for refusing service to a same-sex couple if their wedding violates the owners' religious beliefs.

Refusal of services in the name of belief and bigotry used to happen in the 1960s, too, when hotels and restaurants and other businesses refused to serve blacks.

Bell picked up SB 2566 after Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, withdrew his sponsorship. Kelsey, the bill's original prime sponsor, said he dropped the measure after he received conflicting messages from constitutents.

And at a Tuesday Senate Judiciary Committee where several dozen gay-rights advocates showed up to object to the measure, Kelsey gave Bell some cover, saying it wasn't necessary to act on the bill yet because no court has ruled Tennessee's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Bell, of McMinn County, agreed to Kelsey's request.

But Bell didn't have the good grace to say that he, too, has constituents who don't like it. Instead he claims now that the legislation isn't necessary: "I'm convinced that current law protects people of faith," Bell said.

Yes, Senator. It protects all citizens. Even gay ones.