By Steve Hunley


The results of the City of Knoxville election presents a clear choice for voters. The two top vote-getters in the mayoral primary election were businessman Eddie Mannis and former Board of Education member Indya Kincannon. Mannis, a first-time candidate, proved to be a strong candidate. There were few surprises in the election results for the city council races which will pit Janet Testerman and Amy Midis against self described “Democratic Socialist” candidates David Hayes and Amelia Parker. Lynne Fugate and Charles Lomax will proceed to the general election with the former Board of Education member remaining as heavy favorite.

One glaring difference between the two mayoral candidates is their widely divergent backgrounds. Eddie Mannis grew up in a working class family, genuinely knowing what it was to do without. Indya Kincannon grew up as the privileged daughter of a career government bureaucrat who eventually was elevated to head the U. S. Census Bureau.

Over the years Mannis has built up a hugely successful business, employing approximately 150 people. Kincannon was elected to the Knox County Board of Education where she supported then-superintendent Jim McIntyre as he overspent his budget. While boasting that she saved the school custodians from being outsourced, Kincannon usually sided with management against labor, especially when it came to teachers. Indya Kincannon has already admitted in one interview a string of regrets for not having sided with teachers during McIntyre’s reign. Kincannon also backed Tracie Sanger, another McIntyre supporter, on the Knox County Board of Education  against homeowner advocate and community activist Jamie Rowe.

Mannis knows how to set a budget and live within it, something Kincannon had difficulty accomplishing as a member of the Board of Education. Kincannon’s annual fix for the school system was to petition the county commission to increase taxes for an entity that spends over half a billion tax dollars yearly.

All social progress usually comes down to one factor: MORE MONEY. Your money, your tax dollars. You can’t help people without money. Most leaders accomplish that through balancing available revenue and resources, but there are also those who insist we have to help by spending tax dollars without it being subservient to the budget. Properly translated, that means spending what the government doesn’t have or raising taxes.

Another big difference between Eddie Mannis and Indya Kincannon is their respective views of the Rogero administration’s “Recode” vision. According to Knoxville’s longest-serving mayor, Victor Ashe Recode is less a cleaning up of existing zoning ordinances than it is the most massive rezoning ordinance overhaul ever conceived in Knoxville’s history. It also has a lot to do with the dream of urban leftists to remake cities in their image. In an interview with WATE-TV, Kincannon says she supports the “Housing First” approach and said, “Give people a roof over their heads and then give them the support they need to deal with the other issues they’re facing.” A noble notion to be sure, but what damage will it do to existing neighborhoods and how much will it drive up taxes? “The other issues” many of the homeless are facing, mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction and more besides, are big mountains to climb and costly to treat; so much so the State of Tennessee largely gave up. The City of Knoxville doesn’t have the kind of money to invest in a huge housing program to be extensively sprinkled throughout existing neighborhoods.

Eddie Mannis has called for a delay in implementing Recode, which is facing serious legal questions as it is; Mannis has offered a logical plan to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again.

Make no mistake about it, Recode isn’t just about housing; urban leftists dream of utilizing it to accomplish several cherished goals, That particular dream also is designed to affect carbon emissions and Councilwoman Stephanie Welch has already confessed one of the prime goals of Recode in Knoxville is to have people drive less. David Hayes, running for City Council, has already stated he prefers tearing down single-family homes, stated his opposition to condominiums, but was completely silent when asked his opinion of apartments.

Those candidates proclaiming themselves as “Democratic Socialists” rather than “Socialists” make a distinction that is not a difference. Kincannon has aligned herself with those candidates and the voters of Knoxville will ultimately determine the future of the city government. It is vital every voter participate and have a voice in determining Knoxville’s future direction.