Crossville recall efforts stall days before crucial deadline

Wyatt, left, and Harris.
Wyatt, left, and Harris.

CROSSVILLE – A press release issued Tuesday by Howard Burnette of Crossville, the man behind the recent efforts to recall two of the city’s sitting council members, says he is no longer perusing the ouster of Danny Wyatt and Pamala Harris.

The letter cites a number of reasons and outlines issues with city councilman Jesse Kerley, including incidents previously reported on social media that he had confronted Burnette at the Crossville flea market a few weeks ago.

Burnette’s letter says that he believe ending the campaign “is in the best interest” of his safety and that of his family. The timing of the letter is interesting considering the group had only four more days (June 24) to come up with the necessary 2,225 signatures needed to put the recall on the ballot for Nov. 8 election.

Burnette’s letter alleges “threats and actions by council member Kerley.” Burnette also wrote that he had witnessed what he called, “the assault on council member (Pete) Souza” and described alleged vandalism incidents at the Mockingbird Drive home of J. R. Blankenship. None of the items brought up in the letter have resulted in any known charges.

The UCBJ attempted to reach Burnette hoping to find out how many signatures the group had actually collected, but when he returned the call, he said he had told all his supporters to stop their efforts. Burnette said he did not know how many signatures they had. There has been much speculation that the group was still short of the necessary number of signatures.

The call to action was initially spurred by a citizens group, Crossville Citizens for Good Government, following recent moves to ouster City Manager David Rutherford, and what some say are behind-the-scenes efforts to kill the Horizon Initiative, a community-wide effort to bolster economic development, tourism and reduce drug use and crime.

Councilman Danny Wyatt, one targets of the recall efforts, commented on the end of the recall efforts, “There’s no hard feelings. I’d like to thank Howard and his supporters. They exercised their First Amendment rights and did what they thought was right. I’d especially like to thank the people of Crossville that supported me and didn’t support the recall.  I think we need to dust off and try to continue to make Crossville be the best place that it’s been for years.”

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