By Steve Hunley

I was trying to remember which presidential candidate promised “a chicken in every pot” and checked with our residential historian and my memory was correct, it was Herbert Hoover. Hoover, enjoying the “Republican prosperity” of the 1920s, won a huge victory in 1928. Seven months after he was inaugurated, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began.

Knoxville just had another mayoral forum, which was awfully enlightening. Perhaps the most interesting thing Indya Kincannon said during the mayoral forum was her support for a widespread building of housing for the homeless in every area of the city. That is practically a revival of the extremely unpopular ten year plan to end homelessness in Knoxville, a wildly expensive program which was put to sleep by then-county mayor Tim Burchett. Also keep in mind, under Recode Knoxville there are two kinds of affordable housing; that for the homeless all across the city as proposed by Kincannon, as well as the HUD subsidized housing that can be drastically expanded after Recode.

Some Democrats holler that electing Indya Kincannon would be the culmination of incumbent Madeline Rogero’s third term. Kincannon will usually announce that she attended Princeton within thirty seconds of meeting you and has bragged endlessly about her master’s degree in urban and regional planning. That makes her no more qualified to be mayor of the City of Knoxville than her leading opponents, one a businessman and the other a lawyer. Eddie Mannis has built and run a successful business, paying taxes, providing good jobs to Knoxvilians and expanding the local economy. The only recent job Indya Kincannon has had is the one Madeline Rogero created for her as a launchpad to run for mayor.

Kincannon claims to have doubled the graduation rate at Fulton High School during her service on the Knox County Board of Education all the while sending her children to attend schools outside of her own district. Her children attended schools in West Knoxville and they certainly did not graduate from Fulton. Last time I checked, the board of education was comprised of nine members and Kincannon certainly cannot legitimately claim the credit for bogus graduation rates in Knox County. Does she claim the credit for the abysmal preparation rate in Knox County? For instance, of those students graduating Fulton High School, fewer than 20% of them are prepared to either further their educations or get a job. Kincannon, who was one of the most devoted rubber stamp votes on the board when Jim McIntyre was superintendent, also says she saved the custodians from outsourcing. I seem to recall the most vocal member of the board of education against outsourcing the custodians was Mike McMillan and some of you may be surprised to learn The Focus editorialized against this outsourcing, helping save the custodians’ jobs. I took the trouble of asking Mr. McMillan if Indya Kincannon deserved the lion’s share of the credit for having saved the custodians’ jobs. McMillan said it was true she finally voted against McIntyre with “great reluctance.” In other words, Kincannon saved the custodians’ jobs like Colonel Sanders saved the chickens.

Kincannon followed McIntyre like a puppy in supporting the biggest single proposed property tax increase in Knox County’s history. Despite support from the Knoxville News Sentinel, favorable coverage by most of Knoxville’s television stations, a $50,000 advertising campaign by the Chamber of Commerce and their minions, it was so unpopular with the public no county commissioner would even dare to make the motion after angry voters had collapsed both the internet and phone systems in the City-County Building. Kincannon has always been a big spender and there are some progressive candidates running for city council who bemoan the fact there are many Knoxvillians who are having difficulty paying their utility bills. Utilities are not regulated by municipal governments. The so-called affordable and subsidized housing will still have utility bills and there’s not much the city mayor can do about that. Some candidates for the council appear to be so uninformed that they have no idea that is one area where they can’t soak the rich. Every rate payer in the City of Knoxville shares that burden through their utility bills.

City taxes may have to rise in any event as the city’s pension system is under-funded and its beneficiaries receive regular cost-of-living raises. Kincannon’s only experience with a budget is asking for more taxpayer money to spend.

While Indya Kincannon takes credit for things she didn’t do on her own, she’s riding her bicycle around town promising a chicken in every pot when her vision for the future kills more hope than it raises. It certainly does sound nice, but use your head for a moment; if Knoxville becomes a Mecca for the homeless because we are going to provide them with free places to live, free groceries, free everything, do you suppose they’ll ever stop coming to Knoxville? Under a Kincannon administration would Knoxville become another Sanctuary City for people who produce little but consume a lot of tax revenues?

Indya Kincannon hasn’t run so much as a peanut stand and the challenges Knoxville faces are going to be difficult and hard. Knoxville needs a mayor with a real vision for Knoxville to ensure that there is a bright future for everyone, not a hallucination from someone who thinks there’s a bottomless pit of money. Knoxville needs a mayor who has met a payroll, who has had to make hard choices and cuts when necessary. Knoxville needs a mayor who cares more about the working poor and middle class people instead of a limousine liberal whose personal hobby has been politics. If Indya Kincannon is elected mayor, it won’t be long before you don’t even have a pot, much less a chicken.