By Steve Hunley


The Sentinel Squalls

The Knoxville News-Sentinel has launched a series of print attacks against The Knoxville Focus.  The reason is because the Knox County Commission is considering a resolution they feel threatens their near-monopoly on the county’s legal notice business.  To put that into perspective, you’d need to know for decades, daily newspapers had legislated prospective competition out of the legal notice business.  The first attack was launched by Jesse Fox Mayshark, who publishes the web publication The Compass.  Mayshark is a former employee of the Knoxville News-Sentinel, as was Mayshark’s partner Scott Barker.  Mayshark worked in the administration of former Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and I think it’s pretty safe to say, Jesse doesn’t much appreciate our newspaper’s point of view.  Jesse kind of proved the point of the Commission resolution when he had to put his story out from behind his normal paywall for anybody to be able to read it.  It was an acknowledgment not as many folks were going to see or read it behind the paywall.  As far as I know, that’s the first time The Compass has ever set out a story from behind its normal paywall.

The second barrage was from Tyler Whetstone of the Knoxville News-Sentinel, which referred to me and our newspaper as “Republican boosters.”  By and large that is true, although The Focus did support Madeline Rogero during her first mayoral campaign.  Of course, the Knoxville News-Sentinel can pretend not to have a point of view, but that would be a lie.  The News-Sentinel is definitely on the left of the political spectrum and promotes leftist policies in its own newspaper.  Just a week or so ago, former County Commissioner Mark Harmon, who I hear is going to run for Congress against Tim Burchett, published a column in the News-Sentinel saying Mayor Glenn Jacobs didn’t deserve to be reelected due to his supposed attitude about masking in Knox County.  Georgianna Vines’ column in the News-Sentinel is more complimentary to Democrats than Republicans.  Nor has the News-Sentinel had a cross word to say, as far as I know, about the City of Knoxville government and its masking policy even after it published a gallery of 28 photos showing the lively nightlife enjoyed inside the city by University of Tennessee students, none of them socially distanced or wearing a mask.  And just where was the heart of the COVID outbreak inside Knoxville?  Why, the University of Tennessee.  The News-Sentinel concentrated on Knox County and the Board of Health, but ignored the fact the City of Knoxville was doing little or nothing to enforce those edicts.  Yes, The Knoxville Focus has a point of view, just as the Knoxville News-Sentinel does.  The difference is we will admit it while they won’t.  Nor has anyone at the News-Sentinel mentioned they are paid to print The Focus, but I’ll tell you in the interest of transparency.

Whetstone wrote in his article I didn’t return calls to the Knoxville News-Sentinel.  That’s not true; I didn’t call Tyler, but I did call publisher Joel Christopher.  I even left a voice mail message.  Evidently Christopher doesn’t bother to talk to those reporters still left on the News-Sentinel’s dwindling payroll.

The Focus is read in all 50 states of the union, and at last check, in 73 foreign countries.  Everything about The Focus as far as consumers are concerned, is FREE.  Not only that, but our advertising costs are generally less than that of the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel has gobbled up around $223,000 in legal notices as compared to $8,300 for The Focus.  The News-Sentinel, for the most part, sits behind a subscriber paywall.  Navigating the News-Sentinel website requires a guide dog, a sled team, a prayer and a Google map.

I have never communicated with any County Commissioner or Mayor Jacobs about the resolution under consideration.  It was not introduced at my behest.  Legal notices are largely governed by state law.  The News-Sentinel is squalling because it is fearful it will lose the legal notice business despite being the biggest hog in the pen.  When has the Knoxville News-Sentinel cared about saving the taxpayers money?  I can recall the exact date from memory – – – the 12th of Never.  In fact, the only tax I recall the News-Sentinel being against was applying the sales tax to advertising, otherwise the News-Sentinel was all for it.  The News-Sentinel isn’t interested in saving consumers money now and nothing they say has changed the fact The Focus is free to everyone but advertisers, period.


City Tax Hike?

A tax hike is imminent for City of Knoxville residents due to the fact the city government spends more than it takes in; yet Indya and her council are still spending like sailors on shore leave.  That means look out for a tax increase next year.  Indya Kincannon and the city council just spent $50 million new tax dollars for social justice programs.  Those advising the City administration from Knox Justice say the $50 million is merely “a start.”  I am ready to make a prediction: if the socialists continue to have their way with the city government, you will see everyone who can afford to do so, leave the City of Knoxville.  With an emphasis on welfare state programs, businesses aren’t going to locate in Knoxville and others will move away.  So, too, will residents.  If you don’t believe me, look at the exodus from “blue” states like California and New York.  States like Tennessee are being flooded with new residents who are Blue State refugees.  People are leaving California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan and other states because of the high taxes, the urban decay and fiscal irresponsibility of blue state governments.  Working people have flat gotten tired of paying for people who don’t work.

Does the City of Knoxville have better things to spend its money on?  Why, yes, it does.  Some estimate the City of Knoxville is as much as 30% down in the Knoxville Police Department, meaning (and who could be surprised), young men and women aren’t choosing law enforcement as a career.  Normal attrition and those already leaving the profession have caused a squeeze inside the city that will eventually be felt by residents with unpleasant consequences for Knoxvillians.  Those same consequences are likely to include longer response times, ever increasing crimes, including violent crimes, and police simply not able respond in a timely manner.  Who do you have to thank for this Woketopia on Earth?  Why, Incompetent Indya and her minions on the city council.

The Great Incompetent and her council members could much more easily sell a tax increase had they allotted some money to the KPD for retention and recruitment of new officers.  But of course that is apostasy to the Left and socialists, so we can’t have that.  The council members who voted for that wonderful budget this year, who are running again, are: Tommy Smith, Gwen McKenzie, Lauren Rider, Seema Singh and Andrew Roberto.

Yet City voters can take heart from the stellar accomplishments of the Great Incompetent.  The Knox County Democratic Party leaped onto Facebook to proclaim the bold deeds of the Incompetent One.  The KCDP sang hosannas to the fact Indya and her city council funded social workers “in co-responder teams with KPD.”  You might remember the woke and the socialists believe we can replace police officers with social workers.  The KCDP hailed The Incompetent One and her fellow incompetents on city council who – – – with your money and don’t forget they had to reach into the rainy day fund to do it – – – made the “Largest investment in solar power of any city in the southeast.”  I only wish I could replicate the emoji to go with it.  Oh, and let’s not forget the City has initiated a new Economic Disparity Study to support diversity businesses.”  Keep spending more than you take in, keep raising taxes and you won’t have to worry about diversity in business.  In fact, you won’t have to worry about business, period.

Scratch a liberal or a woke person and 9 times out of 10, you’ll find a hypocrite.  On his first day in office, Joe Biden killed the Keystone pipeline and all the jobs that go with it.  Then we had the Colonial pipeline crisis and folks are finding it difficult to fill up their gas tanks.  And remember the hue and cry by every Democrat and leftist on the planet about Trump and the Russians?  All we heard for four years was collusion!  Collusion!  Collusion!  Yet, it was Donald Trump who would not sanction Putin’s pipeline from Russia to Germany.  Joe Biden just did, in spite of his fears about the dangers of climate change.  Do you suppose Chinese tanks and planes run off electricity or wind mills?  Biden thinks it’s just fine for Europe to have a gas pipeline, just not Americans.  Evidently, Europeans don’t need all those green jobs and the United States can endlessly borrow all the money it needs from the Chinese, who are also the biggest polluters, by far, in the world.

Well, that’s all for this week.