By Steve Hunley


Tax and Spend?

Indya Kincannon and a majority of the Knoxville City Council just finished implementing the biggest tax increase in years.  Then last week, they spent $450,000 to blast Turn Up Knox into orbit.  It is a violence intervention program which SEEED – – – the Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development group – – – was involved in assisting the City of Knoxville to plan an organization designed to stop gun violence before it starts at the grassroots level.

Certainly an admirable goal if it can be done.

Turn Up Knox is to hire 7 to 10 full- and part-time employees in areas of Knoxville known for higher incidents of violence.  The communities named at the Council meeting were Lonsdale, Mechanicsville, East Knoxville and South Knoxville.  Homicides inside the City of Knoxville have been steadily rising, especially under Mayor Indya Kincannon.  Homicides increased by 61% in 2020 over what they had been the year before; 2021 increased 16% above the new record.

The wave of emotion amongst council members in spending the money was in contrast to the stone-cold dead silence when Kincannon abruptly withdrew police officers from the schools.

The goal is a worthy one, but a combination of government funding and cooperation between the city and a private organization begs some questions, the first being would city taxpayers be held liable should any of Turn Up Knox’s employees fall victim to violence while trying to intervene?  Admittedly, it is a distasteful question, but still one that a good steward of the taxpayer’s money should ask.  Considering the nationwide difficulty of recruiting police officers and sheriff’s deputies since the Left’s campaign to defund police, it is probably wise to inform the prospective employees of Turn Up Knox they will be engaging in a potentially dangerous service to the community.

Councilwoman Amelia Parker inferred Denzel Grant, the head of Turn Up Knox, was unqualified.  “This city will find Black people who aren’t necessarily qualified for the job, because they’re loyal to the city leadership,” Parker sniffed.

The “street cred” Grant referred to in his remarks likely won’t be enough to end violence.  Newly appointed Chief of Police Paul Noel is right when he says there needs to be cooperation on every level.


Funding the Police

It seems too few of our public officials realize the need to do all we can to assist both the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and the Knoxville Police Department with recruiting.  There have been recent private conversations about adding armed guards at local schools.  Yet members of the board of education seem not to be aware that both the sheriff and the KPD are having a really hard time recruiting candidates to serve as officers.

Two members of the Knox County Commission, Kyle Ward and Justin Biggs, offered a boost that would have helped sheriff’s deputies considerably.  That same spirit was incorporated into Mayor Glenn Jacobs’ budget, which included a 12% raise for deputies.  That sure will help with recruiting efforts by Sheriff Tom Spangler.


Helsley Lacks Institutional Knowledge

Speaking of Mayor Jacobs, his opponent in the general election, Democrat Debbie Helsley, let loose her weekly press release, which toots that the county mayor is paid too much and if elected, she will cut her own salary by $50,000.  First of all, that’s about like Hillary Clinton saying if she’s selected as the next Miss America, she will sell her crown to bring about world peace.  Secondly, apparently Helsley, or more likely whoever is doing her messaging, is not aware that the county mayor, under the Knox County Charter, is to be the highest-paid government official.  The county commission sets the mayor’s salary and it cannot be changed during that term of office.  Helsley, if she was elected, could give away $50,000 of her salary, but as it is set by the charter, as approved by a referendum of the voters, and is set by the county commission, she cannot cut it.

It kinda helps to know these things.



Deceptive Democrats

Speaking of knowing things, one wonders what part of the Twilight Zone Joe Biden lives in.  His speech of last week shrieking that he’s tired of the “lies” about reckless spending and insisted “We’re changing lives!”  Yes, Joe, you have certainly done that, just not for the better.  Indeed, you made the lives of working people and the middle class substantially more difficult.  The average household in the United States is spending $450 more per month due to the raging inflation and ever-escalating cost of gas.  That’s $5400 a year.

The fact that the president has the unmitigated gall to blame the rising cost of gas on Putin’s war is astonishing.  There’s the rub.  Joe Biden revoked the ability for the oil companies to build new refineries when we are currently at capacity.  Trump had removed those regulations, which Biden restored before his wrinkled fanny hit the seat in the Oval office.  It was also Joe Biden who revoked leases in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.  Nor is it really about profits, that’s yet another lie told by the Left.  For the record, the biggest gas companies posted profits twice as much under the Obama – Biden administration as they are posting now.

In his defense, Biden probably believes what he’s saying.  All he does is try to read his teleprompter and likely believes what his speechwriters have written for him.

Leaving our border open has also complicated things and places an increasing strain upon our power grids and infrastructure.  All courtesy of Joe Biden and the Democrat Congress.

Even local Democrats want to talk about imaginary cutting of salaries, “bold” climate change policies and anything and everything that has absolutely little or nothing to do with local government.

The schools and the sheriff’s office consume literally ¾ of Knox County’s entire budget.  Every other entity – – – roads, the health department, parks, libraries, etc. – – – come out of the remaining quarter.  Mayor Glenn Jacobs has managed to give county employees one of the bigger raises they’ve had and a whopping 12% raise to sheriff’s deputies all without increasing local taxes by a penny.  Compare that to Indya Kincannon and her city council’s having implemented a huge increase in the property tax, while already plotting to increase the sales tax as well during the highest inflation our country has seen in 42 years.

The city provides basically three services; garbage is contracted out to a private company.  Outside of that, the city provides fire and police protection, yet Kincannon and her council manage to spend money like a drunken sailor on shore leave and concoct new social welfare programs to waste taxpayers’ money.