Getting closure: Old Marine returns to Vietnam

Sandra Clark

Gary Koontz, along with wife Vicki, is a one-stop real estate shop. He buys, builds and sells; he partnered in development of Fountainhead on Tazewell Pike, Kinley’s Kanyon in Corryton and Urban Park in West Knox.

And he shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, he rarely leaves town, so you can imagine the stretch of his return visit to Vietnam after fighting there as a Marine some 50 years ago.

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Jones must overcome history to win

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones will be a credible candidate for county mayor, if he runs, and will keep Commissioner Bob Thomas and perhaps Glenn Jacobs, if he enters the race, busy. However, Jones will need to overcome the impression that he is only a sheriff.

Three previous sheriffs tried to transition to executive or legislative office in Knox County and failed. They were Archie Weaver for city mayor in 1965, Bernard Waggoner for state senator in 1974 and Tim Hutchison for county mayor in 2010. Democrats do not yet have a credible candidate, and the GOP primary in May 2018 will decide who the next county mayor will be.

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Could city council become all white?

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

The map of Knoxville City Council’s sixth district looks like a cartoon drawing of a long-nosed, pointy-headed man stretched out on an east/west axis from Burlington to Lonsdale, nose pointed south. The district was drawn to encompass Knoxville’s African-American neighborhoods and business districts in 1969 with one clear objective in mind:

“So that a black person would stand a chance,” said Knoxville historian and longtime political activist Bob Booker, who, thanks to a similar redistricting in 1966, was serving in the state Legislature when the city redistricting took place.

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