Madeline Rogero’s degree in urban and regional planning is very handy as she starts her sixth year as Knoxville’s mayor. When she spoke at North Knox Rotary the other day, she listed several plans.
Parks and greenways? Plan. Public safety? Plan. South Knoxville? Plan. She’s the perfect extender of former Mayor Bill Haslam’s plans; but, of course, as director of community development for Haslam, she helped write them.
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.
Mayor Madeline Rogero called for $2.7 million for sidewalks and crosswalks across the city, when she presented her budget last week, including $750,000 for sidewalks within school Parental Responsibility Zones and another $750,000 for new sidewalk construction.
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett will present his budget Monday, May 9. We’ll see then what he proposes.
Knoxville resident Susan Richardson Williams, a Jeb Bush candidate for delegate on March 1, was appointed as an alternate for Donald Trump by the GOP state committee at its April 2 meeting. Williams has served on the UT Board of Trustees, TVA Board of Directors and as commissioner of personnel under Gov. Lamar Alexander. She will serve along with former state Sen. Stacey Campfield as an alternate for Trump.
Other Knoxville residents going to the GOP national convention as delegates and alternates include former Sheriff Tim Hutchinson for Trump, Sam Maynard for Trump, Ken Gross for Trump, Karen Brown alternate for Cruz, this writer for Rubio, Michael Hensley for Rubio, Party chair Ryan Haynes for Rubio, Ted Hatfield alternate for Trump, Mike Arms alternate for Rubio and Gov. Bill Haslam for Rubio. Former Knoxville resident and UT student body president Steve Gill is a Cruz delegate.
What is going on with our TDOT Commissioner John Schroer, who is once again advocating the very expensive extension of the James White Parkway across the urban wilderness of South Knoxville?
Schroer works for Gov. Bill Haslam. How is it he comes to the governor’s hometown, where he was mayor for seven years, to advocate a controversial project? Was this with or without the governor’s approval?
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.
If the first week of construction on the Cumberland Avenue Corridor Project is a sign of what’s to come, business owners and their employees, workers at two nearby hospitals, plus West Knox and Alcoa Highway motorists getting into and out of downtown better hunker down for a long, bumpy ride.
The project has begun with utility work in the westbound lanes of Cumberland and on side streets between Volunteer Boulevard and 22nd Street, where the road has been narrowed to two lanes.