Category Archives: Betty Bean

Betty Bean’s posts.

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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Bye-bye sidewalks if developers prevail

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Mayors and planners across the state are lining up to oppose a bill that would require local governments to pay developers for right-of-way acquisition.

“We need to maintain the ability to require developers to dedicate that right of way – their developments contribute to creating the need, and we want them to contribute an equitable share of the costs of making those improvements. This bill would make it very challenging for local governments to finance road improvements,” said Gerald Green, executive director of the local planning commission.

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The unshakable Frank Bowden

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Frank Bowden’s funeral was over before I knew he was gone. I learned of his death when I saw his obituary in a stack of papers I’d set aside to read when I got the time, and although I knew him pretty well, there was a lot I didn’t know about Frank Bowden, because he really didn’t talk about himself much.

He would have turned 90 this year, which means he was one of the youngest of the Greatest Generation, having served in the U.S. Army in Germany and France. This would have placed him in some of the fiercest fighting of the war at age 18. When I knew him, some 50 years later, he was one of those “Stand me up at the gates of hell and I won’t back down” guys that Tom Petty sang about.

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Will rezoning bring resegregation?

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

While some worry that the proposed middle school rezoning plan will undo years of desegregation efforts and land Knox County Schools in federal court, the two players most likely to be on opposite sides of the courtroom look at the issue from very different perspectives, but do not seem overly concerned about that possibility – for now.

“This (plan) is a good first step, as far as it goes,” said NAACP president John Butler, who filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights after the agreement to build a new Gibbs Middle School was unveiled.

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John Butler to run for City Council

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Knoxville NAACP president Dr. John A. Butler will be a candidate for City Council in this year’s elections.

Butler is presiding elder of the Knoxville District, AME Zion Church, and pastor of Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church in Mechanicsville. He will contend for the district seat now held by Daniel Brown, one of five term-limited incumbents who will step aside in December.

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Wrestler Kane ponders mayor’s race

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

The race for Knox County mayor could take an interesting turn in about a month, and it’s not the rumored impending entry of Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones that’s going to shake things up.

It’s unlikely that Bob Thomas, the county commissioner who started distributing Thomas for Mayor yard signs nearly a year ago (and who should not be confused with the Bob Thomas who’s considered a frontrunner for the school superintendent job) is going to do anything unexpected like pulling out of the race. And neither is County Commissioner Brad Anders, who also has been mulling the prospect for a good long while.

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Bearden’s Latus is multifaceted achiever

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Karen Latus teaches Spanish at Bearden High School, but her mission is to help kids learn life skills.

“I consider Spanish the platform for what I do, but in the end I’m in the classroom to help kids grow up. We’re learning about how we interact with each other and how we manage our emotions and how we deal with conflict. For me, that’s what it’s about,” she said.

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