By Steve Hunley

The Austin City Council slashed the budget for their police department by a third.  The end result was the loss of more than 150 police officers and the highest murder rate the Texas capitol has ever experienced in its history.  The Council reversed itself and restored the funding as the “defunding the police” movement turned out not only to be not practical, but downright stupid.  Who could have guessed?

Part of the reason the Austin City Council restored the funding was a new law passed by the Texas State Legislature which withholds state funding from those municipalities and counties who choose to defund law enforcement agencies.

The relentless campaign waged by socialists and the Far left to destroy law enforcement in this country, aided and abetted by the national news media, has certainly taken its toll.  Cities like Austin are losing about 15 police officers each month.  Young men and women are not flocking to law enforcement as a career and nobody can be surprised by that, especially in light of the dehumanization of law enforcement professionals by the Left and their allies in the national media.  Both the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and the Knoxville Police Department are understaffed and likely to stay that way for some time.

In Austin, the newly appointed Chief of Police announced, due to understaffing, the department would no longer respond to citizen calls about some crimes, which include burglaries in instances where the perpetrator has already left the scene, auto theft, and other thefts.

As is always the case, the actual victims are not the criminals, but those upon whom criminals prey: law abiding folks who work for what they have.


The Biden administration is in the process of identifying a new batch of domestic terrorists: parents interested in the education of their own children.  Biden Attorney General Merrick Garland is using the FBI to weaponize the Department of Justice to harass parents in an attempt to silence them.  Garland is responding to a demand made by the National School Boards Association, which is little more than an extension of the teacher’s union.  In fact, Tennessee school boards have recently opted out of the national association as it doesn’t reflect the priorities of those elected to represent taxpayers and families in the Volunteer State.  The letter, addressed to Joe Biden, declared boards face an “immediate threat” which requires intervention by federal authorities.  The crux of what worries the unionists is parents who are upset about school systems inserting the teaching of critical race theory into its curriculum and the continuing debate about masking in schools.

We’ve reached a point in time that has to astonish many Americans.  The Taliban is deemed to be “business-like” while parents, concerned about the education received by their children, are treated like domestic terrorists.  A person can loot, burn down an entire community in the name of protest, but evidently in Joe Biden’s America, a parent can’t offer any objection to what his or her child is taught.

Rioters, thieves, arsonists, and violence has been ignored by the Left; keep in mind, violence against others IS against the law.  Violence against a public official, teacher, administrator or even a student IS against the law currently.  So what exactly is necessitating this action unless it is to stifle protests.  I thought the Left loved protests.  Of course I realize all too well the Leftists are authoritarians and want to outlaw dissent against their policies.

Local boards of education are perhaps the frontline of where democracy begins in this country.  Far too many voters pay little attention to those candidates seeking to sit on local school boards.  That HAS to change and change now.

Simply consider, locally, members of the Knox County Board of Education determine how FAR more of the public’s tax dollars are spent than the county commission.  The school system currently spends more than three-quarters of a BILLION dollars annually.  With the hundreds of millions of federal tax dollars for COVID, we may well have reached the billion dollar mark or even surpassed it.  The commissioners, on the other hand, allocate and spend what’s left over.  Two-thirds of every tax dollar collected and spent in Knox County goes to the school system.  Literally everything else – – – law enforcement, roads, parks, libraries, etc. – – – comes from the remaining one third.  Nor do the commissioners really have any say as to how the Board can spend the money they have at their disposal.  A judge has ruled years ago,  and it was never appealed to a higher court, that the commissioners may not direct how the board spends the money it is given.

The idea that parents are not welcome in determining the education of their respective children is completely foreign.  Totalitarian societies are state-run societies and nobody is allowed to question the state.  For the time being, this is still America, much as the Left wishes otherwise.  This is yet another Leftist attempt to grab more power and shut up the people who should be the most important advocates for children: their own parents.  No system, school administrator, or teacher will ever supplant a good parent, nor should anyone wish them to.




Judson Mason showed a lot of courage, not to mention a great deal of maturity in dealing with a serious health issue.  Mason also did the responsible thing as far as he and is family are concerned, but also as far as the people of the Seventh Commission District are concerned.

Knox County needs more young men and women who want to serve their community and place a high value on faith and family.  Everyone here at The Knoxville Focus wishes Judson Mason a speedy and complete recovery.  As Chuck Severance indicated, I feel sure we will be hearing a great deal more from Jud Mason in the future.