The real Andy Holt

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Maybe the early Seventies weren’t the best of times to be a student at the University of Tennessee, but anybody with a functioning brain knew that the rattiest booth at the Roman Room was infinitely preferable to the accommodations at Fort Polk, Louisiana – AKA Fort Puke, next stop Vietnam. Protesters and self-proclaimed freaks faced off against YAFFers (Young Americans for Freedom) and the specter of war shadowed us everywhere.

Nevertheless, lots of students liked Andy Holt, even though many weren’t crazy about some of the UT president’s old-school, paternalistic ways, particularly the time he invited Billy Graham to preach in Neyland Stadium and bring noted theologian Richard Nixon along, too. A World War II veteran born in 1904 (which means he enlisted even though he was well past draft age), he’d lived through two world wars and had a different perspective on life than did most Boomers.

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Four new state senators? Possibly

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

When state Sen. Mark Green is confirmed as the new Secretary of the Army (probably this summer) he must resign his state Senate seat, which triggers a special election to fill it until his term ends in 2020. Montgomery County Commission will appoint an interim senator for four months.

State Sen. Mark Norris, current majority leader, is widely mentioned as a new federal judge in Memphis, which would remove him from the governor’s race. He is 62 – older than what the Trump administration is looking for in new federal judges – but he has influential backers and could be tapped.

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Homey stay or animal house next door?

Nick Della Volpe
Features columnist

The hot zoning topic these days is about the potential benefits and problems of Short Term Rentals (STR), more commonly referred to as AirBNBs. These include stays at a residence for a short weekend up to a 30-day rental. To judge by comments at the city’s April 4 neighborhood meeting to discuss the draft regulations, this is all the rage among new homesteaders interested in owning and rehabbing older neighborhood homes for such business.

They argue that short-term rentals can help raise funds needed for the rehab, or to support a more leisurely lifestyle in semi-retirement. Tough questions need to be explored before Knoxville will have answers and a workable set of STR regulations.

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