By Steve Hunley

Big Turnout for Bud

It is no surprise former Knox County Law Director Richard “Bud” Armstrong would draw a big crowd on his home turf.  Jack and Joyce Huddleston hosted a meet and greet at the Corryton Community Center in the 8th District last week for Bud Armstrong.  Jack Huddleston is the honorary Mayor of Corryton and a former member of the Knox County Commission.  Mayor Glenn Jacobs was on hand, as were Sheriff Tom Spangler and Chief Wes Norris.  Register of Deeds Nick McBride and County Clerk Sherry Witt, State Representative Dave Wright were greeting folks left and right.  Devin Driscoll, a candidate for county commissioner at-large, arrived and was well-received by the Corryton folks accompanied by Commissioner Kyle Ward.  State Senator Becky Duncan Massey was delayed in traffic but two former state representatives, Harry Brooks and Focus columnist Ray Hill moved through the crowd.  Folks enjoyed great music, food and fellowship.

Armstrong made a heartfelt speech that was sentimental, as his devotion to the home folks was very evident.  Armstrong, who is running for Knox County Chancellor Part II, pledged to serve with the deep belief that judges should adhere to the law, not legislate from the bench.  Armstrong is very qualified with impeccable character and possesses the demeanor to make a great Chancellor.

Commissioners and Sheriff Tom Spangler Work Together to Help Uniformed Officers

County Commissioners Kyle Ward and Justin Biggs are co-sponsoring an ordinance that will provide an annual 2.5% cost-of-living raise for sheriff’s deputies.  The commissioners point out the City of Knoxville already offers this benefit to those joining the KPD and the county must do the same to remain competitive in recruiting officers.  Both the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and the Knoxville Police Department have been hit hard by the national defund the police movement, which has targeted and demeaned and dehumanized law enforcement officers across the country.  The consequence of these constant attacks has been quite harmful to society.  There has been a serious lack of younger people choosing law enforcement as a career, which is causing a dearth of recruits nationally.  Ward and Biggs, two of the county commission’s younger members, argue that with natural attrition, local government needs to act quickly to fill the gaps in the number of vacancies existing in the sheriff’s department.  Likewise, the KPD is fifty-some officers down from a full force.  Depleted ranks mean longer response times and less protection for citizens and families.  Folks should take note the last class going through the academy was merely six people; three from out of county and three from Knox County.

Sheriff Tom Spangler has fought hard to support the deputies and had been seriously hampered in his recruitment efforts by the merit council.  The problem became so acute that the county commission finally removed the merit council from the recruitment process, which has helped immensely.  The annual cost-of-living raise is a big step in the right direction and greatly needed.

Nick Ciparro and Company Win Chamber Pinnacle Award

Nick Ciparro, candidate for the Republican nomination for the Knox County Commission in the Third District, was recognized by the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce as the recipient of the “Pinnacle Award,” which is an award recognizing a particular business for innovative business service.  The Chamber hailed Ciparro’s company Carbon Rivers LLC for its approach to resolving several problems.  The Chamber of Commerce hailed Carbon Rivers for its approach for innovation, as well as a business model that is environmentally conserving resources to greatly reduce the need to place some materials in landfills through new recycling technology.


Democrats Need Civics Course

Matt Shears, chair of the local Democrat Party, is squalling about Tennessee Republicans voting to stifle free speech in the Tennessee General Assembly.  Shears points particularly to state Representative Eddie Mannis, who remains a favorite target of local Democrats.  Matt scoffs that Eddie Mannis is a “moderate” but I wonder if a Left-winger is really qualified to identify moderates in any political party?  Aside from Joe Manchin, it is an extinct species inside the Democrat Party, as scarce as a living and breathing dinosaur.  When did Matt Shears ever raise his voice to decry the continuing assault on free speech led by Democrats and their allies in the news media?  Anything the Left dislikes is instantly labeled “misinformation” and promptly banned.  When did Matt Shears ever protest the social media giants banning accounts for disagreeing with Tony Fauci’s bouncing ball of COVID half-truths?  The cancel-culture is a child of the Left, born out of a growing authoritarian streak.

The fact is Democrats in America have done more to stifle free speech in this country than any other single entity. Free speech is a bedrock of liberty and rightly the principle from which all other American political rights are derived.

Matt, you have the same kind of credibility on that topic as the now disappeared Fauci.  Perhaps you should focus on holding seminars to educate some of your party’s candidates for public office.  Dylan Early, your candidate for commissioner at-large against incumbent Larsen Jay, seems to be alternately running for district attorney or the school board, depending upon the given day.  Early squeals he will subpoena the sheriff and investigate the sheriff’s department, citing the federal investigation into David Henderson, former Sheriff Jimmy “JJ” Jones’s head of the Narcotics Division.  Matt, you probably ought to let Dylan know one commissioner can’t subpoena a graham cracker to a pie crust.  Subpoenas require a vote by the majority of the county commission.

Dylan has also been promising a “massive” infusion of cash (presumably which would require a tax hike) into the school system, which has been rendered moot now because GOP Governor Bill Lee beat you to it.  Lee’s new proposal to put billions more into education and pump it directly to the student is not only a brilliant plan but a highly promising plan and long overdue.  Lee is directing the money to the students, not the bureaucracy or the teachers’ unions.

I reckon it’s nothing new for Democrats to promise voters things they can’t deliver, but Dylan would have benefitted from a basic course in civics. But then again, the public schools ceased teaching that some time ago.