Of course, many of them have a government job in Oak Ridge or at TVA. They drive every day on a road built by the government, stop at a red light installed by the government, and go to sleep in a home paid for with a government-backed loan. On Saturdays each fall, they spend their afternoons cheering for the government-run University of Tennessee football team.
Hey candidates! Give us less baloney and more meat and potatoes.
Although the first votes won’t be cast until 2018, county commissioner and radio personality Bob Thomas kicked off his campaign for county mayor this month with a baloney cutting at Howard Phillips’ real estate company in Powell. The location was no coincidence. In 2009, Tim Burchett announced his campaign for mayor there as well.
Everyone complains about money in politics. Republicans object to the money funneled into campaigns from big labor. Democrats complain about money coming in from big business. Lately, folks in both political parties complain about so-called super PACs and their billionaire donors.
We’re used to money in politics. Last week, we learned there can even be politics in money.
Gloria Johnson is running for the Legislature again. Johnson, a one-term Democrat who represented District 13, was defeated in 2014 by Republican Eddie Smith. Now Smith is running for re-election and (so far) is the only Republican seeking the seat. The filing deadline is April 7 at noon.
Interestingly, Johnson may have a democratic opponent. According to the election commission, Don Daugherty, a former county Democratic Party chair, has picked up a petition to run as both a democrat and an independent. He can’t run as both. Instead, Daugherty will have to choose to run as a democrat, independent or not at all.
Donald Trump won the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary on Saturday. It was a dominating win. Most pundits agree that Marco Rubio has the best shot to defeat Trump if he consolidates so-called establishment support. My guess is that Trump’s biggest opponent isn’t Marco Rubio or Hillary Clinton.
It has to be tough to be a Democrat in Knox County.
The governor is a Republican. Both U.S. senators are Republicans. No Democrat has represented Knoxville in Congress since 1855. A Republican super-majority controls the state Legislature. No Democrat currently serves in a countywide elective office.
As you probably heard, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump came to town last week to rally campaign supporters. Thousands of folks turned out for Trump at the Knoxville Convention Center. It was great theater.
In case you missed it, Peg Hambright owns Magpies Bakery on Central Street near the old Sears building. It’s a great business that’s thriving in a long-neglected area of Knoxville. Hambright has been trying to install dancing butter and egg cartoon characters (affectionately known as Mr. Butter and Ms. Egg) on the rooftop of Magpies.
In case you missed it, the Knoxville city primary election is underway, and early voting is finishing up this week. On the first day of voting, 145 votes were cast. You read that correctly. In a city of about 183,000 people, only 145 folks bothered to show up on the first day of voting.
You’ve got a problem when more people show up at the Shoney’s breakfast buffet than at the polling place. (In fact, voter turnout was so low that Jeb Bush thought it was a big crowd!)
We live in one of the most scenic areas in the country. With the Great Smoky Mountains, the Cumberland Plateau and countless rivers and streams in between, our region is perhaps best known for its ridges, waterways and (of course) Dolly Parton. Yet, too often our local governments have made shortsighted decisions that fail to take advantage of our area’s natural beauty. In fact, more often than not, we’ve taken it for granted.
My favorite example of shortsighted planning is the waterfront of downtown Knoxville.