Lynne Fugate Kicks Off Campaign at Posh Reception

By Steve Hunley

Former media maven Cynthia Moxley has recorded every single last tittle and jot of Lynne Fugate’s reception on her Blue Streak blog in opening her campaign for reelection to the Knoxville City Council.  Fugate, a former member of the Knox County Board of Education, seemed to emphasize her credentials as a denizen of Sequoyah Hills; none of that silly “woman-of-the-people” pretense for Miss Lynne.

The Fugate kick off occurred at the “bright and noisy rooftop lounge” of the Hyatt Place Hotel, as I reckon the holiday season has jump started at the country club.  Just the sort of place where a hip sixty-something politician would have an event.  Moxley, as always, detailed the food served to guests, which included “Wagyu beef sliders” and “chicken drumlets.” Wagyu beef is Japanese beef and hideously expensive.  Certified Wagyu beef can come in at $200 per pound.  No plain fare or Tennessee beef-cattle for the delicate palates of those gathering together to honor Lynne Fugate.

Moxley carefully threaded her report by gushing about how nonpartisan Fugate’s event was.  Of course, City elections are indeed nonpartisan, which may not be the boon to Fugate’s candidacy Moxley thinks it will be.  Fugate was one of two Republicans who won election to the Knoxville City Council at-large almost four years ago.  Fugate only barely managed to beat Charles Lomax and since that time hasn’t done much to improve her political standing with much of anyone except Indya Kincannon.

On the Knox County Board of Education, Fugate was known for her devotion to then-superintendent Jim McIntyre, he of the imperial superintendency who managed to alienate every constituency while here.  Fugate stubbornly supported McIntyre to the bitter end.  Perhaps McIntyre’s most controversial action was his intended outsourcing of the school system’s custodians, an effort this newspaper fought with everything we had.  The optics of the overpaid McIntyre (he earned more than the then-vice president of the United States and the chief justice of the U. S. Supreme Court) trying to save money at the expense of those employees who made the least was terrible.  Even Indya Kincannon, then a member of the Board of Education, finally gathered what a truly awful idea it was and voted against it.  Not Lynne Fugate; she stuck with Jim McIntyre.  Fugate represented toney Sequoyah Hills and didn’t pretend to worry about the custodians.

Fugate told people she intended to oppose Kincannon’s whopping big property tax increase and then went back on her word.  From there, Kincannon has moved in behind Fugate’s candidacy, necessitating a new coat of paint on the good ship Fugate.  In turn, Fugate has become Kincannon’s self-appointed protector on the city council.  Lynne Fugate takes it upon herself to try and deflect any criticisms heaped upon the mayor’s sensitive brow by that self-described socialist, Amelia Parker.

Just how diverse Fugate’s support is remains, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder.  From here, it looks like the remnants of the old West Knox Republican country club set of inherited or married money.  It is hardly surprising to find Lynne Fugate surrounded by old colleagues from her days on the school board as it was the moneyed-interests who brought Jim McIntyre here in the first place and installed him in office.

As of this column, Fugate faces a different kind of opponent in the coming city election in Cameron Brooks.  Basically, Brooks is the polar opposite of Fugate.

The one thing you aren’t going to hear discussed at meetings of the Knoxville City Council is just how policies affect the people of Knoxville.  What has been absent for far too long from the conversation is any consideration for the people who pay the taxes.  The median income earned by working families is FAR less than that earned by the bureaucrats who run the city government.  There’s no mention and even less concern that the 40% increase in property taxes sought by Kincannon and granted by a majority of the city council has had the effect of raising rents and mortgages inside Knoxville.  In the meantime, the City government spends $1.5 million on a piece of “art” and subsidizes an office to deal in art with taxpayer dollars.

The leadership of the city of Knoxville never seems to think for a moment of what it could live without, but rather is always looking ahead to spend even more.  That common language spoken and understood by working families knows no partisan home, but my guess is it won’t be Lynne Fugate speaking up for the least of these.