Barber tells story of Gazan people

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

It’s going to take Brian Barber a while to get used to the word emeritus, but he will continue the work he’s been doing at the University of Tennessee for the past 30 years from his new home in Washington, D.C.

Barber, the founding director of UT’s International Center for Study of Youth and Political Conflict, studied a generation of Palestinian boys who grew up in the midst of violent political conflict in the territories of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. When he started, they were adolescents; today they are grown men, married with children of their own.

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Mannis considers mayoral race

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Eddie Mannis, deputy to Mayor Madeline Rogero during her first 18 months in office, is seriously looking at running for mayor. He is the owner and founder of Prestige Cleaners and a strong supporter of veterans.

Mannis would be viable if he decides to run, but the primary is not until August 2019. He has lots of time to think it over.

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Elect a planner, get a plan

Sandra Clark
Editor

Madeline Rogero’s degree in urban and regional planning is very handy as she starts her sixth year as Knoxville’s mayor. When she spoke at North Knox Rotary the other day, she listed several plans.

Parks and greenways? Plan. Public safety? Plan. South Knoxville? Plan. She’s the perfect extender of former Mayor Bill Haslam’s plans; but, of course, as director of community development for Haslam, she helped write them.

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Gas tax makes no ‘cents’

Scott Frith
Government/Politics columnist

Gov. Bill Haslam has announced a wide-ranging tax proposal that would add 7 cents per gallon on gasoline and 12 cents per gallon on diesel fuel. As part of the governor’s plan, the sales tax on groceries would be lowered by one-half a percent (a 50-cent decrease on a $100 grocery bill) and the Hall income tax decreased.

Most would agree that Tennessee’s bridges need work. Although our state ranks near the top of states in highway quality, we lie near the bottom in bridge health. In fact, one study by TRIP, a transportation research and lobbying firm, found that 19 percent of Tennessee’s bridges are “structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.” Supporters of the gas tax increase say that new revenue is needed to repair bridges and fund a backlog of state road projects. Also, they argue it’s only fair that drivers (who use the roads) pay for road improvements.

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