Sunday, August 31, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

Original photo at:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Rockwood,TN: This is Ridiculous.

Democracy -- Good ’ole boy style

Democracy is a system of government by which political sovereignty is retained by the people and exercised directly by citizens. It is a system in which the people have a voice through their elected representatives. Abraham Lincoln spoke of "a government of the people, by the people, for the people" in the Gettysburg Address, and that is what we as a nation have aspired to – at least most of us. ..

Fast forward a couple of hundred years and visit Rockwood, Tennessee – the city where we have fought for EIGHT months against an ordinance that NO ONE in the city wanted... that is no one who wasn't a member the city council.

What started out as a pit bull ban in December 2007 evolved over eight months time to an ordinance that regulated pit bulls, rottweilers, dobermans, German shepherds, chows and, oh yeah…every other dog over 30 pounds. Yes, you read that right... Any dog over 30 pounds would have had to adhere to the vicious dog regulations, which included a kennel that was buried two feet in the ground and had a roof, insurance, etc.

Last night, the city finally dropped the breed specific language from their vicious dog ordinance. After taking every opportunity to point out that it was outsiders – and not Rockwood residents – who were fighting this ordinance, they got a big surprise last night. Rockwood residents came out in force to make it very clear that this ordinance was not wanted, it violated their rights, it was unfair and it focused on the wrong end of the leash. Even more importantly, not a single person spoke in favor of the proposed ordinance.

Even after several Rockwood residents voiced their opposition to the council, Councilman Grover East stated:

I don't think we need to listen to anybody. It doesn't matter what anybody says. I think we should pass it. We are the city council, and we are the voice of the Rockwood citizens. We need to pass this for Rockwood.

Government by the people, for the people…??

Mr. East, your constituents spoke and you failed to listen. It is shameful that you would turn a deaf ear to the people that you represent – quite possibly the very same people who elected you - in an effort to carry out your personal agenda.

Speaking of having personal agendas. It was Councilman James Watts who drafted the latest version of the ordinance. He stated that he researched the issue on the internet for "hours and hours" while drafting the ordinance. When put on the spot by several people in attendance at the meeting – including council members – he was adamant that the ordinance was not breed specific. He said this was evidenced in that the ordinance did not ban breeds. How odd that someone who researched for hours and hours and months and months still did not know the basic definition of breed specific legislation. Obviously, regulation of a specific breed (as opposed to banning a breed), doesn't change the fact that it is, in fact, breed specific legislation.

Nonetheless, Mr. Watts lied to everyone in the room last night as he insisted over and over that the ordinance did not name breeds. An older gentlemen stood up, his voice quivering, and he made this statement. "You lied to me, Mr. Watts. You told me this ordinance would not name specific breeds" Again, Mr. Watts stated the ordinance did not name breeds. You be the judge:

Amendment No. 1 to §10-204

Vicious Dog Definitions: There shall be added

(c) The definition of "restricted breeds" shall include:

(1) Staffordshire terrier breed of dog;

(2) The American pit bull terrier breed of dog;

(3) The American Staffordshire terrier breed of dog;

(4) Dogs of mixed breed or of other breeds than above listed which breed or mixed breed is known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs or pit bull terriers; or

(5) Any dog that has the appearance or characteristics of being predominantly of the bull terrier, staffordshire bull terrier, american pit bull terrier, american staffordshire terrier, chow chow, doberman pinscher, rottweiler or german shepherd or any dog commonly known as a pit bull, pit bull dogs, pit bull terriers, or a combination of many of these breeds.

I had the opportunity to speak at great length with Mr. Watts after last month's meeting. Despite the fact that the very first thing he stated to me when I approached him was "I don't care about statistics," I actually thought we made some headway with him that night. He even stated he could not think of a single specific problem with pit bulls in the city. After reading his ordinance, however, it became very obvious, very quickly, that he was telling the truth. He really did not care about statistics – not at all. Anyone who took facts or statistics into consideration could not possibly have drafted that piece of garbage he called a "fair compromise."

Oh yes, finally, we get to the garbage. Mayor Mike Miller. Where do I start?

Mayor Miller announced in December 2007 that he wanted to ban pit bulls from Rockwood. There had been no incidents in town. No dog attacks. No action to warrant this. It is my strong belief that Miller pursued a ban as the result of Jennifer Lowe's death in Knox County immediately prior to Miller's announcement of the proposed ban. He denies this, but if no incident in Rockwood sparked this desire for a ban, did he just wake up one morning and say, "I think we should ban pit bulls from the city."

Mayor Miller had never taken the time to meet with or interact with pit bull owners, especially those who defend the much maligned breed. And when given the opportunity to do so, on more than one occasion, he declined. When asked if he would meet with pit bull owners, he stated that we could meet with any of the council members, but we should not be offended if he didn't attend. He was a family man, you know, liked to spend all his extra time with his family, and he certainly didn't have time for us or our concerns or to maybe learn the truth about a breed he wanted out of his city. Experts Karen Delise and Jim Crosby offered to speak with him. Again, Mayor Miller declined.

At every city council meeting I attended, Mayor Miller went out of his way to make me feel unwelcome. He was rude. He rolled his eyes and blew air and played with papers in front of him…he made every effort to make sure I knew he absolutely DID NOT care what I had to say. While seated right next to his fellow council member, James Watts, who boldly lied to his constituency repeatedly, Mayor Miller chided me last night for being "sarcastic" when I referred to Mr. Watts statement of not being interested in statistics. He also implied I was lucky to have been able to speak at the meetings at all.

I have attended city council meetings across the state of Tennessee over the last few years, and I have never been treated so rudely as I have in Rockwood. The following is a blog from one of the city council meetings posted to the Roane County site immediately following last month's council meeting:

I have beat my head against the wall about this ordinance. Personally, I don't like "PitBulls", but I do respect a responsible dog owners' right to have any dog of his choosing, as most of you know. I will not vote for any ordinance banning any specific breed, however I only have one vote. One other coucilman also agrees with me. I have kept the people informed of what is going on and urged their participation, and I sincerely apologize for the way Ms. Preis was treated at our meeting Monday night. It was rude, red-necked and certainly disrespectful. My opinion is that some Councilmembers absolutely do not want any "outsiders" at the meetings, although they welcome their spending and the tax dollars from our local Wal=Mart. I appreciate what folks are doing and only wish that ANYONE from Rockwood would be there, it is absolutely ridiculous that some people drive a hundred miles, and others won't drive a block or two. What I would suggest is another petition drive happen, but this time instead of shoppers at Wal-Mart, who are again mostly out-of-towners, concentrate on houses and voters in Rockwood. If a group went door to door in town and asked for signees, this would certainly carry a lot of weight as I am sure one or two of the Councilmen are considering an aspiration to be a candidate for Mayor next year. Maybe they will listen to the voters moreso than "out-of-towners. Please don't take my blog the wrong way, as I will certainly NOT vote to ban or any mention of ANY specific breed, but I am only ONE. We need at least one more NO vote, then with a PASS we can defeat Councilman Watts proposed ordinance. Ray Collett

Elected officials are public servants. The last I checked, I was a member of the public. Do you treat everyone this way, Mayor Miller, or do you reserve it only for those who can't vote for you?

Mr. Collett, as well as Mr. Evens, have been the only two voices of reason throughout this entire ordeal. They asked questions. They showed an interest. They researched the issue. In fact, Mr. Collett was firmly for the passing of a pit bull ban in December, but after researching and actually TALKING to people, he came to the logical and reasonable conclusion that any ordinance should focus on people and not dogs. My sincerest thanks go to both Mr. Collett and Mr. Evans for their ability to be open minded and use simple common sense.

The truth is, I don't have to go back to Rockwood, but the citizens there still have to deal with this same city council. I can only hope they do a better job at "being the voice of their constituents" than they did this time.

*Repost of Jodi Preis write up about the Rockwood,TN's proposed ban on quite a few common dog breeds. Jodi is very knowledgeable on this topic, and runs a Pit Bull Rescue group called "Bless the Bullys".

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tomato Work...

is still hanging at Art & Invention. Here are my pieces; they ended up being just straight-forward tomatoes, no clever interpretation.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Paint or Die But Love Me

French designer, John Nouanesing,
came up with this table concept. I think it's irresistible. I read some comments on other blogs that are not so positive, but maybe they're just jealous!
Apparently it is structurally sound and will be produced in small numbers- put this on my Christmas list.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fall Stuff to Lust After

This doesn't mean I want summer to end- but if it has to at least I can look forward to a new season of rich, dark wardrobe accoutrement, right? I don't really know if that makes sense; I just really wanted to use "accoutrement" in a sentence. This is what I'm thinking of...

New things I'm excited to wear:
black peep- toe booties (another fun, but not- oft used word)
purple tights
gray nail polish
dark jeans and gladiator stilettos

New things I will enjoy from a distance:
Henry Beguelin sweaters and boots
Gucci's studded shoes

Monday, August 11, 2008

And Then Some

On the "Southern Belle"

I saw this cute guy...
... and the art museum- I love it's design!

Too bad this pic is fuzzy, it was just a really cool sight.

Check out this dork on the "O Thern Bell".

Nashville Woman Turns 31, Is Still a Bad Ass.

These are the details:
Rank in my Age Group: 21   Rank Overall: 387 (out of 700)
Time: 1hr 4min 18sec
Swim- Rank:16 Time: 9min 35sec
Transition Time- Swim to Bike: 4min 38sec
Bike- Rank: 22 Time: 30 min 29sec
Transition Time- Bike to Run: 1min 38sec
Run- Rank:14 Time: 18 min

The Rundown

Thanks, Alene, for loaning the cute vintage dress!

Thanks, Baisden, for the delicious foliage!

And thanks, Nicki & Aaron, for the latest in the "Desert Prince Romance" series.

My 31 st birthday has come and gone, and as it usually goes with birthdays- I don't feel much different. I don't know many people who do actually "feel older", after a birthday;
that's never been what they mean to me. The typical significance of 30's birthdays seems to be something not alot of people are excited about; like it's disappointing to admit you're in your 30's.
Why would it be disappointing? Because of a couple extra pounds or wrinkles or stretch marks? REALLY??! For realz though, it seems to be the time when you really know yourself and can own it. You tried different paths and made decisions in your 20's that brought you to the place you are now. Hopefully, for you reading this, it's a happy place. For me it is. I am proud and thankful of the place I am in my life, and this birthday has been a reminder to me of the things I am blessed with in life.
Early last week, I received a package in the mail from my parents. Inside it was a ring we had looked at when they came to visit in July; they had remembered and gotten it without me noticing. On Friday (my birthday) evening Jon and I went up to Boscos with several friends. It meant alot that friends wanted to celebrate with me. I feel lucky to have such good people around me. Saturday morning, Jon and I drove to Chattanooga. The plan was to drive directly to the riverfront and go on a riverboat cruise departing at 2. Unfortunately, I forgot about the difference in time zones and we missed the boat, literally. Jon's sister, Rachel, and her husband, Jay, live in Chattanooga so we got to visit with them Saturday evening. Sunday morning at 5:30, I woke up ready to go. The past couple of weeks I had been so nervous and pessimistic about doing my first triathlon...but when I got up that morning I knew I could do it. Outside it was so dark and cool, but by the time we arrived at the Chickamauga Dam starting point the sun was coming up over the water and my excitement was building. I was so unsure of what it would be like swimming with hundreds of people and then transitioning to the bike, and would I have any energy left when it came time to run? Well, the swimming was fine. I did get kicked (and kick others) but it was all fairly gentle and non- violent. Transitioning was simple, I wore the same clothes (bike shorts & swim top)- no complicated outfit changes. My bike and I were slow comparatively, but held up well. When I racked my bike and started running through downtown, I had so much adrenaline going through me, that I didn't even want to slow down or stop. We ran across two bridges, and the early morning sun sparkled off the river beneath us- it was quite a scenic route. When I finished I felt great; it's safe to say there will be more triathlons in my future! After a quick shower and breakfast, Jon and I went back to the riverfront and successfully boarded a sightseeing cruise. Good stuff. Then, we cruised on out to Monteagle Mountain. A generous friend loaned us his cabin on the mountain for the night. It was cuter than I could have imagined: cozy one bedroom, fireplace in the living room, big front porch with a swing, and the most incredible view out over the valleys below it. And here we are. It's Monday, and we still have not left. I am writing this, looking out off the bluff, and loving all the beautiful pieces that form my sometimes puzzling life.

***written this morning***
p.s. prepare for picture bombardment soon to come.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

3 days until my first triathlon! I 've been really intimidated by it lately, and have pictured all kinds of awful scenarios of things that could go wrong. What if I crash my bike? What if a 70 year old woman passes me up? What if I'm one of the last people to finish? I think all these things and it makes me feel so discouraged I haven't been very motivated with training. It's interesting to see, though, because I think thats a behaviour pattern for me when I'm stressed. But, I didn''t commit to the triathlon thinking I would "win"- I just want to try it, and I will on Sunday morning, bright and early!
Oh, and tomorrow's my birthday!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Don't Forget!

Today is the first Saturday of the month: GALLERY CRAWL TIME! Get yourself to Nashville and see some new art from 6- 9:00 at all the downtown galleries! If you're not sure where to go, send me a message and I 'll get you started. See ya soon!