By Steve Hunley

Is Christmas Coming Early?

City Councilwoman Gwen McKenzie launched her reelection campaign for next year with an announcement in the Knoxville News-Sentinel she is sponsoring a resolution to spend $100 million dollars for a nebulous repayment of those folks who were displaced through the eminent domain exercised by the City of Knoxville during the late 1950s and 1960s to build the Civic Auditorium and the Coliseum.  That’s simply a longwinded way of saying “reparations.”

McKenzie, wife of State Representative Sam McKenzie (yes, they are collecting two checks from taxpayers), is proposing a largely vague resolution committing the city government to spending $100 million over a seven-year period even though the families and businesses, displaced by the building were paid at the time.  McKenzie proposes the $100 million be dispensed through the recommendations of a proposed African American Equity Restoration Task Force.  All of this land, if we want to be blunt about it, at one time belonged to the Cherokee Indians.  Which member of the city council is going to propose an Indigenous People’s Equity Restoration Task Force?  Why doesn’t McKenzie sponsor another resolution offering to pay reparations to the Cherokees displaced?  Good Lord, that would have to cost at least half a billion dollars.

According to McKenzie, the $100 million would come “largely” through grants.  Let’s address that aspect; first of all grant money, whether it comes from the state or federal governments, is still money taken from taxpayers.  Just what are these grants and how does one get them?  How much of this money would come from local government, meaning City of Knoxville taxpayers.  We already have candidates running for city council who want to double or triple the size of the city’s budget to provide free housing and numerous other social services.  The only way to do that is through doubling, tripling or quadrupling city taxes.  What does that matter anyway when you’re spending other people’s money?  That means folks advocating more expenditures for social services, giveaways or freebies or even reparations are talking about increasing the tax burden of city residents.  Giving an unelected body the authority to designate just how $100 million of taxpayer money is spent seems like a bad idea.  One can wrap it up in a pretty little bow of social justice, but that doesn’t make it a good idea, much less fiscally sound.  Keep in mind, the adopted budget of the City of Knoxville was just over $336 million, so $100 million is a pretty big expenditure.

Taxpayers have forked over something like $17 trillion in social services and programs since President Lyndon Johnson got Congress to approve his Great Society and, unfortunately, society hasn’t gotten all that much greater that I can tell.

Gwen McKenzie’s resolution presents a real quandary for the incumbent members of the Knoxville City Council.  Several of them are likely going to be shaking in their shoes, fearful they will be viewed as racists lest they vote to approve McKenzie’s resolution.  Council members are also supposed to be stewards of the taxpayers’ money and that poses a political problem for them and might very well affect Gwen McKenzie.  McKenzie will have to run citywide in the general election and it may well be a goodly portion of city voters might not appreciate the idea of the vice mayor trying to jack up their taxes.

Mayor Indya Kincannon might be able to give council members some political cover by forthrightly coming out and saying the City can’t afford McKenzie’s resolution.  Of course doing so would require some political courage and Kincannon has all the courage of the Cowardly Lion. Nor is Kincannon a paragon of leadership.

Most folks don’t realize virtually every big sales tax producing business is inside the City of Knoxville’s limits, annexed by the city government for the revenue. The city provides residents with little more than fire and police protection, along with garbage pickup and Councilwomen Amelia Parker, Seema Singh and the Socialist Democrats want to defund or abolish the police and spend the money on social services.  It’s Knox County who operates the school system (yes, there are school buildings inside the city, but Knox County runs and funds the school system), the health department, the libraries and just about every other service you can think of.  By annexing businesses and buildings, the city government got a bigger slice of the sales tax pie, which largely came at the expense of Knox County.

One thing for sure is McKenzie’s resolution has certainly put her colleagues on the spot.  I wonder if some of them didn’t faint dead away?


Media Discovers Hunter Biden

Now that the 2020 election is over, the mainstream media has discovered Hunter Biden.  With the Biden Transition Team releasing a press release acknowledging Hunter Biden has been under investigation for the last two years, the mainstream media has finally begun reporting it.  The Daily Beast, a leftwing publication noted the Hunter Biden issue had gone “unnoticed”…no, it went UNREPORTED by people like the Daily Beast.  The Biden folks acknowledged Hunter was being investigated for tax evasion issues, while failing to mention Biden’s son is also being looked at for money laundering and God alone knows what else.

Apparently, since the election is over, it’s just hunky dory for the media to acknowledge Hunter Biden might be as pure as the driven slush.  There are an awful lot of people who are going to find it hard to believe the left is deliberately out to shove Old Joe Biden off the stage to make room for Chameleon Kamala.