Ryan Haynes will resign his post as state GOP chair a few weeks after the Nov. 8 election. Haynes, a former state legislator who represented Farragut and West Knox County, has been unhappy with the position. He is a more policy-oriented person and does not like the internal GOP politics on the state executive committee. He was also blindsided by Gov. Bill Haslam’s rejection of Donald Trump, which fell on him to explain.
When Gov. Haslam repudiated Trump, the party headquarters was swamped with irate Republican calls and Haynes was attacked, too. He received only six hours’ notice on the Haslam move to prepare when it hit the media.
Alvin Nance, former executive director of KCDC who left to work for Lawler Wood Housing Partners, has applied for his old job back at Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation as Art Cate is retiring as director. Nance will have to compete with at least 38 other applicants, and the process will likely go into 2017. If he prevails, this will be the first time the same person has served twice as KCDC chief.
Nance was highly regarded at KCDC and would be a safe and respected choice for another tour. He would not need on-the-job training. He also would not be running for mayor in a special election in 2017 or the regular election in 2019.
Early voting begins Wednesday, Oct. 19, and although the ballot is headlined by one of the most explosive presidential contests in American history, there are other matters to be considered – like state legislative seats and four proposed amendments to the Knoxville City Charter.
The proposal that will be the most noticeable to voters will adjust the date for city elections.
The UT settlement of the Title IX lawsuit for over $2.5 million has risen to $4 million plus the amount of money paid out in legal fees and settlement costs. While this resolves this specific lawsuit, it does not end UT’s problems or lawsuits on these issues over the long term. In fact, one can argue that UT, by settling every single gender and sexual assault lawsuit to date for high figures, has issued a silent notice to litigation-happy attorneys and clients that UT is ripe for the picking as it were. If you sue, they will settle in a generous way.
Many may feel now that all one has to do to win $400,000 or more is to sue UT over these issues in Nashville, survive a motion for summary judgment and dismissal and UT will quickly settle. UT’s first response was a strong denial of allegations followed by a pledge to fight in court. It appears the pledge to fight is only good until a settlement is achieved. This is not the end of these lawsuits as long as there are qualified plaintiffs out there willing to hire a litigious attorney.
Vice Mayor Duane Grieve only has 17 months left on City Council, but next year could be a busy one for him should Rogero vacate the mayor’s office by accepting a position in a possible Hillary Clinton administration. If that happened, Grieve would immediately become interim mayor for 10 days until City Council meets to set the date of the special election to elect a new mayor for the unexpired term and to pick a longer-term interim mayor, which could be Grieve or one of the other eight council members.
In this case, there would be a special citywide election to fill the post as more than 10 months are left in the Rogero term (it runs to December 2019). Both council members Marshall Stair and George Wallace are considered potential candidates. Others mentioned include former mayoral aide Eddie Mannis, current mayoral aide Indya Kincannon and Alvin Nance, former head of KCDC. Grieve, too, is mentioned.
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.
■ Indya Kincannon, former chair of the Knox County school board who now works for Mayor Rogero, is back in Knoxville after she and her family lived for a year in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Her husband, Ben Barton, a University of Tennessee law professor for 14 years, was on a Fulbright Scholarship at the University of Ljubljana teaching comparative law.
Over coffee at Old City Java we discussed her exciting year in Slovenia, formerly a part of Yugoslavia. She taught Spanish, writing and history at the international school there.