Publisher’s Positions

By Steve Hunley

Who’s Running The Store?

Pete Drew was a member of the Knox County Commission and was elected to the General Assembly some years ago.  Drew actually won reelection as a Republican to the state legislature.  That wouldn’t ordinarily be considered much of a feat in Knox County, but when one considers Drew is a Black Republican who was running in the most Democratic district in the county, it made history. Drew is also the only Black Republican on the ballot this November in Knox County.

Drew is running for the state house again this year against Representative Sam McKenzie.  Pete Drew has been actively campaigning and says he was promised financial support from the Knox County Republican Party.

According to Pete Drew, Erik Wiatr had been talking to Drew and told the former state representative that the people who had donated the money intended for use in Drew’s campaign would prefer it would be spent anywhere other than The Knoxville Focus.

Yet again, this raises some very interesting questions.  I picked up the telephone and called Janis Crye, acting treasurer of the Knox County Republican Party and asked point blank if the executive committee had voted to select Wiatr as the county party’s political director.  Ms. Crye replied that it most certainly had not.  Those same questions were posed to Knox County Republican Party Secretary Rob Gray who confirmed exactly what Ms. Crye had said. I then asked if anyone was able to spend or appropriate money without the proper authorization, to which Ms. Crye replied most certainly not.  So just where is the money Erik Wiatr is forwarding coming from and what exactly does it have to do with the Knox County Republican Party?

Pete Drew has been around too long to meekly accept such treatment and acknowledged he might have said a few things he oughtn’t to have, pointing out that once money was contributed, he would spend it where he thought it was most needed.

There is a serious transparency problem with the current leadership of the Knox County Republican Party, which is not getting any better.


The Politics of Diversion

To quote the Knoxville News Sentinel, “As a two-year spike in gun violence turns into a three-year spike, Knoxville’s leaders have turned to a national expert to understand who’s doing the shootings, who’s getting killed and why the cycle continues here despite changes in policing and additional tax dollars spent on potential solutions.”

Part of that hardly requires an “expert” to discern who has been gunned down and killed, nor is it a great mystery who has committed these acts of senseless violence.  And it doesn’t require an overpaid “expert” to figure out perhaps the changes in policing haven’t been especially productive and “the additional tax dollars spent on potential solutions” weren’t allocated all that well.  For instance, at the prodding of Mayor Indya Kincannon, the city council spent $1 million on a supposed organization that was expert in healing community violence.  Evidently not so much as the City then promptly cancelled the contract.

The City’s expert wants to lay the blame “of a broken system where some groups of people have to fight through barriers such as economic disadvantages and structural racism.”  The City’s expert has divined through his study of Knoxville’s shooting statistics, at least according to the Sentinel’s Angela Dennis, “that you can’t fix an issue until you know the details intimately.”  Well, the “expert’s” reading caused him to tell the leadership of the City of Knoxville that the gun violence “is concentrated in a few neighborhoods” rather than the city as a whole.  That hasn’t always been the case as there have been deeply tragic shootings at schools, West Town Mall, and the Unitarian Church.

We’re told it has “nothing to do with drugs,” which I find to be an astonishing conclusion.  Nor are “gangs” “a problem in the traditional sense.”  Evidently, the gangs in Knoxville are merely “affiliated groups of people who happen to know each other or gather together.”  So, in other words, it’s just like a regular gang except there’s no clubhouse or membership dues.

Perhaps it’s pure coincidence that the three-year spike in homicides just happen to coincide with the exact amount of time Indya Kincannon has been mayor of Knoxville.  According to the wokesters while there’s a passing admission Knoxville has more homicides than some cities of a similar size, it has little or nothing to do with anything except for racism and economics.

Let me be the first to explain economics has almost always been the most pertinent factor in violence since the beginning of time; virtually every war ever fought had something to do with economics or one country wanting the resources of another.  Economics is also at the heart of thievery; thieves want money and steal to get it.

What Ms. Dennis refers to as “social unrest” following the murder of George Floyd is more accurately described as complete violence: killings, burning, looting and the destruction of literally billions of dollars’ worth of property.

Safety of law-abiding folks and the rising wave of crime has become a primary issue in the midterm elections and tomorrow we’ll know how much of an issue it has become.  The soft-on-crime policies that have become orthodox policy to the far left progressives – – – the elimination of cash bail, support for district attorneys who refuse to prosecute criminals for having broken the law, and not allowing the police to do their jobs – – – when added to the left’s demands to defund the police, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what the problem is.  But then again, asking the same people who claim there is no inflation presently to live in the real world and face the root of the problem and solve it is like expecting Joe Biden to tell the truth.

Police and sheriff’s departments across the country have seen recruiting efforts bottom out as law enforcement officials receive far less consideration than criminals.  Law enforcement professionals have been demeaned, dehumanized, and derided by the left and their allies in the left wing news media.

Many of those same elitists sit in the comfort of their homes, which sit behind gates.  Those who suffer the most from violence and crime are the poor and middle class.  Those are the victims in our society, but the left would have use believe the real victims are the criminals themselves.

None of this requires an expert of any kind.  It requires allowing law enforcement professionals to do their jobs and remove those district attorneys from office who will not follow the very law they are sworn to uphold.  It’s just as simple as that.