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UNION COUNTY

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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UT administrators paid well in retreat

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

The current controversy on high pay for UT administrators who return to teach as faculty could not come at a worse time for the university, as it suggests waste through inflated salaries that are not genuinely earned or deserved.

To retire as chancellor, president or provost and then earn 75 percent of your salary with no limit as to how long it lasts and no connection to duties, workload or ability seems fundamentally misplaced. It is not fiscally conservative. It is wasteful. UT is often asking for more money and telling the Legislature not to micromanage. This weakens their argument as the board of trustees allowed this to happen.

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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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Difference of opinion

Marvin West
Sports

In comparison to recent athletics directors, John Currie may be cause for celebration. He brings an actual track record. He is relatively modern. He uses the word “cool.” He has personality and doesn’t do sun lamps or hair dye.

Now that the music has stopped and noise has subsided, let us seek what passes for the truth. What we have here is a guarded difference of opinion about the new man at Tennessee. There is high praise, mostly from far-away places. There are biting local undertones but they do not sound lethal.

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