By Steve Hunley
Who Woulda Thunk It?

Regular readers will remember I wrote last week the City Council Movement just doesn’t like cops. There are two members of the Knoxville City Council who are members of the City Council Movement – – – Seema Singh and Amelia Parker – – – and both are also socialists. To be fair, they describe themselves as “Democratic socialists” but the only difference between the two is a word. Last year, Parker scraped by, beating Amy Midis while her running mate, David Hayes, was handily beaten by Janet Testerman.

Hayes wanted to be appointed to the vacancy on the council, caused by the resignation of Stephanie Welch, which went to Tommy Smith, who was born and raised in South Knoxville and lives there still with his family. David Hayes posted on his Facebook page on May 27 at 2:25 p.m. the following comment: “If you still believe in increasing police budgets, instead of decreasing them, you are a willing advocate of white supremacy.” Wow. Mayor Indya Kincannon raised the budget of the Knoxville Police Department anyway. Amelia Parker, on the other hand, wanted to cut positions from KPD and reallocate them for other departments. From all reports, crime is rising, particularly in South Knoxville and is a prime concern for Councilman Tommy Smith. Hayes is a certain candidate to run again for city council in the South Knoxville district. It’ll be interesting to see how David tries to ride that wave.


Is She A Democrat?

How many geniuses are there on the Democratic State Executive Committee? None. Not a one. Evidently, the members of the Democratic State Executive Committee ran out of ordinary Democrats to serve as delegates or alternates to the Democratic National Convention. So what did they do? They named Amelia Parker as a delegate, who is a socialist and last I heard, most Democrats say they are not socialists. Well, first suggestion from Amelia: dump Joe Biden and pick a new nominee. That’s party loyalty, right?


The Rights of Parents & Education

Who would be against the rights of responsible parents to direct the education of their children? Nobody, right? WRONG! I can think of several groups that would be dead set against a crazy idea like parents having more say in the education of their own children, first and foremost would be teachers’ unions. Well, it looks like the U. S. Supreme Court is going to rule on a case that may be a landmark decision. Espinoza v. Montana will likely decide whether parents have the right to direct the education of their children. Look for a decision in early June.


School Board Budget Approved

The Knox County Board of Education approved a budget that was somewhat reduced, but hardly bare bones. It even included step raises for teachers, an idea Board member Mike McMillan thought was optically challenged. “The truth is teachers haven’t missed a paycheck, they still have jobs and will have jobs once schools re-open. That isn’t true for a lot of Knox Countians. Businesses have closed and some will never reopen. Folks have lost jobs, internships have been revoked from college students and graduating seniors have had job offers cancelled. I thought it just looked bad. Every so often I think we should consider the people who actually pay the bills,” McMillan said.

Apparently, the women – – – there are seven of them on the board of education currently – – – didn’t agree as board member Tony Norman was absent. The savings would have been enough so positions didn’t have to be cut.

The board had been flooded with emails from folks, primarily at Beaumont Elementary School and the L&N Stem Academy, both of which really are two of the best schools in Knox County, who feared budget cuts. Superintendent Bob Thomas had recommended a cut of something like $120,000 for magnet schools. Now, keep in mind, Knox Countians give the school system more than $500,000,000 of their tax dollars to spend annually.

Some think that the best tax is one you derive a benefit from and don’t pay.


Uh Oh

Well, while some folks are worrying about opening things back up, reality is beginning to sink in for some. The Tennessee State Supreme Court has issued a decree that eviction proceedings can once again be heard in courtrooms across our state starting June 1. Jury trials can resume on July 3, 2020.

According to the high court, “Deadline in court rules, statutes, and administrative rules that were previously extended until May 31 are extended only until June 5.” The State Supreme Court says it doesn’t anticipate any further extension of deadlines.



Uh Oh

If you live for the annual sales tax holiday, you best get over it this year. It can’t be a big surprise to anyone living in Realville with the dire economic situation, but it doesn’t look like there’s going to be a sales tax holiday this year. The sales tax has likely been too sick to go on vacation this year. Yet there are those who say we need to keep everything shut down…


Unemployment Facts & Figures

Our neighbors in Sevier County appear to have the highest unemployment rate in the state at 30%. Knoxville has the lowest unemployment rate of Tennessee’s four big cities at 14.7%. Sevier County, which is heavily dependent upon tourism to produce tax revenue, has been especially hard hit with the closure due to the coronavirus.


Frank Clement 100th Anniversary

June 2, 2020 will be the 100th birthday of the late Tennessee governor Frank Clement. The Knoxville Focus historian, Ray Hill, has a special column celebrating the life of Governor Clement, don’t miss it!


Nashville Woes

The legislature is back in session and the two houses are not exactly seeing eye-to-eye. The House of Representatives was due to hear a whopping 391 bills last week while the state Senate heard exactly none. Senators believe the legislature has one really important responsibility: pass a budget and go home. The House thinks there’s lots more to do with a slew of bills, some of which are going to be really controversial, to be heard. The two houses don’t even agree about who to let into the Cordell Hull Building. The House is granting limited access to lobbyists and the public, while the Senate has locked the doors to everybody but senators, staff and the news media.


Congratulations To Our Graduates

It has been a lot of fun watching the various ways folks are celebrating the young people graduating from our local high schools. Folks have shown a lot of creativity in celebrating these young people. From innovative photos of sons and daughters, which give at least a hint of their individuality and personalities, to small events and drive by greetings.

We here at The Knoxville Focus realize this is a really difficult time to be graduating. Hopefully, most of you are going on to further your education and take your place in the world. It really has been hard to watch as much of the summer employment our young people have depended upon has evaporated, but remember, there have been no people on the face of God’s Earth as resilient as we Americans. We join with your parents, families and friends in rooting for you.

Every person here at The Knoxville Focus offers his or her sincere congratulations on the occasion of your graduation from high school. We congratulate your mothers and fathers for helping guide you, provide for you and love you throughout your life journey to reach this important milestone. Be thankful for good parents and good friends.

Every generation has been molded by the events surrounding them and yours will be no different. Whether you graduated from Gibbs or South-Doyle, Carter or West, Farragut or Fulton, we pray that your road will be straight and wide rather than bumpy and narrow. We wish those graduating from private schools, all schools, the best of everything as you take that first big step in living on your own. Everyone here at The Knoxville Focus wishes you success and happiness.