By Steve Hunley

By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them

Let’s look at Chicago—the last Republican mayor of the “Windy City” was William Hale Thompson who left office in 1931.  So, for the last 89 years, Chicago has been governed by Democrats.  Now an animal shelter is having to release 1,000 feral cats to deal with the explosion of rats in the city.  According to the pest control company Orkin, Chicago has ranked number one on its list of “rattiest cities” in America.  By May 1, Chicago has had 187 murders, 31 more than at the same time last year.  769 people were murdered in Chicago during 2020.  Chicago’s eight pension funds carry more debt than 44 states in our country.  Those pensions are presently carrying $46 billion in debt.  Pension funding consumes 29% of the Illinois State budget.  The last time the City of Knoxville raised taxes it was in part to keep its pension fund solvent for retired employees.  The next tax increase will be, in large part, to fund Indya Kincannon’s spending habits and the defined benefits packages of city employees.  A pension apocalypse is just around the corner for Chicago and Illinois…


Not the Tennessee Waltz

Washington, D. C. has never had a Republican mayor, not ever.  Folks in Washington are not allowed to dance at weddings by order of its boneheaded mayor, allegedly due to the coronavirus.  Strippers can dance, and so can people at yoga classes, just not at weddings.


Sound Familiar?

Jimmy Carter was president when Americans sat for hours at the gas pump during the last gasoline shortage.  Déjà vu all over again!  Joe Biden immediately killed America’s position as one of the biggest energy-producers in the world, to once again make us dependent upon foreign powers, while killing hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs.  Where are the “green” jobs Biden promised?  Wait, many of us are still sitting in line at the gas pumps.

The Carter era was also known for sky high inflation and Joe Biden appears to be Jimmy Carter 2.0.


What’s My Line?

Daniel Watson, the resident social justice warrior of the Knox County Board of Education, doesn’t seem to understand his role on that body or how to accomplish anything.  For the past several weeks, Watson has been trying to pass an elaborate resolution outlining a process of his own invention to involve the community in reviewing the Memorandum of Agreement between the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Knoxville Police Department to staff schools in Knoxville and Knox County.  While it is true the school system has its own security officers, they do not carry the legal authority or the same training as either the officers from the sheriff’s office and the KPD.  In an emergency, it is the sheriff’s office or the KPD that would be called and expected to respond.

Watson’s virtue signaling resolution included language calling for a “facilitator” as well as the involvement of various groups and community involvement in reviewing the MOA.  Doug Harris, a former chairman of the Knox County Board of Education, sent an email to every member reminding them of the process adopted by the school board at the time.  The MOA, Harris pointed out, was the result of community hearings following the tragedies at Columbine and Sandy Hook.  Almost certainly, Daniel Watson had no idea what went on at the time, who was involved, or that the community had had ample opportunities to speak out and give their opinions, which they did.  Harris recalled there was not a single protest from any parent in Knoxville or Knox County in having officers from the sheriff’s office or the KPD stationed at schools.  Quite the contrary, there was an outpouring of support for the idea.  Mike McMillan, who was on the board at the time, confirms Harris’ recollection.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to the meeting. Daniel Watson got run over by a bus driven by Mayor Indya Kincannon.  Kincannon caved to the few, albeit loud, voices of the leftists who are the same folks demanding the KPD be defunded.  Kincannon sent a letter stating she was withdrawing the 14 KPD officers inside schools.  Thus far, to my knowledge, only one solitary member of the Knoxville City Council, Gwen McKenzie, has said she isn’t crazy about Mayor Kincannon’s decision.  Kincannon reputedly never even bothered to consult the council members before making the decision.  All heck broke loose and parents, rightly, lost their minds. Nobody would come right out and say they were for withdrawing the officers from the school.  Some parents reminded board members Anthony Thompson Jr. did take a loaded gun into Austin-East High School as well as extra ammunition clips.  Daniel Watson moved as fast as a scalded cat to disassociate himself from Kincannon’s decision, although as far as I know, he never came out in opposition to the city mayor’s actions.   Nor could anybody with a brain not on life support be surprised by Kincannon’s backing water almost immediately.  The city mayor’s apologists in the local media attempted to say what Indya really meant was we ought to have some conversations and other meaningless tripe aside from her stated intention of withdrawing the 14 officers from the schools.  There were references to the fact the City needs those 14 officers out on the streets.  Well, if that is true—and I do know there is a shortage of recruits in the KPD—Indya has $50 million of NEW spending in her budget with mighty little to attract young men and women to a law enforcement career.  Nope, instead Indya is spending it on social programs and hails “programs” like “violence interruption.”  I wonder if they’ve tried that in Chicago?  Maybe they’ll do that after the cats clean out the rats.  Council members like Tommy Smith run around telling anybody who will listen what a great budget it is (and it will cause taxes to go up the following year), but nothing about keeping the officers in the schools.  You’d think that would be an important consideration for a young father.

Indya’s announcement knocked Little Dan’l Watson for a loop.  A majority of the board didn’t much like the idea of his resolution and they pretty well clubbed it to death at the last meeting.  The “honey badger” of the board of education, Mike McMillan, who had proposed public meetings in the various districts, scoffed at the idea the board needed a facilitator.  McMillan scolded board Vice Chair Virginia Babb, reminding her the board was elected by the people, directly responsible to the people who elected them from their respective districts, not the teachers, principals, or school bureaucracy.  McMillan says the board leadership, Chair Susan Horn and Vice Chair Babb, were elected by the other members of the board and well able to preside at public meetings.

McMillan is exactly right and Little Dan’l is wrong.  Only the board members are elected and directly accountable to the people.  The notion the board needs a facilitator to instruct it on how to listen to the people who elected them is nothing less than idiotic.  There is nothing to prevent people from communicating with board members to share their thoughts as it is; board members have received hundreds and hundreds of emails about the masking policy as well as school security.  Board members have sat and listened to people pretty much endlessly.

The board better keep one thing in mind: there’s nothing wrong with hearing what the public thinks, but if you want a document the sheriff will sign, it’s likely best not to try and hamper law enforcement professionals doing their job.  Everybody in the country seems to be able to tell us how everything should be and how some event could have been so different if only from behind the security of their computer screen.  Unfortunately, much of this public conversation and dialogue isn’t about the charge of the school system protecting the students, faculty and staff in our schools; it’s about a group of folks who want to use a tragedy, not to effect real change, but rather to win political advantage.  After all, if you support defunding the police, there’ll be NO officers on duty anywhere, much less protecting our children in schools.  “Honey Badger” McMillan is right; it’s time for the board to handle its own business and make its own decisions.  The people of South Knoxville, Gibbs, Carter, Central, Halls, Karns, Powell, Hardin Valley, Farragut and Bearden have voices, too.  Let them be heard.