By Steve Hunley

Who’s Doing the Misleading?

Mike Arms, former Chief of Staff to Mayor Mike Ragsdale, was to good government what Colonel Sanders was to the welfare of chickens. Arms has been on a tour of public offices peddling the notion of making the law director’s office an appointed office rather than elected. Arms tried to sell the members of the Knox County Board of Education on the idea, telling board members they would get to hire their very own lawyer. Next thing you know Arms and Scott Davis, who also served a term on the Knox County Commission and ran for county mayor against Tommy Schumpert, along with veteran political fixer and lawyer John Valliant, appealed to the Knox County Election Commission for help. They don’t like the way former Law Director Bud Armstrong worded the ballot question. These guys have been around a long time and all of them have bought into Mayor Glenn Jacobs’ idea of appointing the law director. Every mayor, except Tim Burchett, has pretty well liked the idea of having Knox County’s lawyer accountable to the mayor instead of the people and Jacobs is no exception. Well, Arms and company complained about the wording of the ballot question to the election commissioners. The wording basically asks if citizens would rather change the law director’s office from an elected office to one appointed by the mayor. That is exactly and literally what Mike Arms and his political posse are proposing. Yet they complain the no-frills and direct ballot wording is “misleading.” The heck it is; it is precisely what is being proposed. The only folks who would complain about the wording are those who hope to mislead the voters in the first place. If you want to make the law director’s office an appointed one, rather than one bestowed by the people, why not just say so?

Now here are a bunch of folks who have been in government and seem not to realize how the process works. The county’s charter clearly gives the law director the right to word ballot questions and now we see why. A law director elected by the people is independent of other politicians, which is exactly why Jacobs, and his cronies had problems with Armstrong. Clearly, a handful of ex-politicians appealing to the Knox County Election Commission to change the wording of the ballot question proves they have no clue how the process works. The process has always worked that way since our charter government took effect. If they don’t know how things work, how can anyone trust them to make things work?


Ring Around the COVID

The Knox County Board of Health has issued a new mandate requiring all bars and restaurants to close by 11 p.m. Following the Board of Health’s action, the Knoxville News Sentinel solemnly intoned, “Friday begins a new phase in Knox County’s COVID-19 fight…” Yeah, right. That’s only if one overlooks the fact, as far as I know, every establishment serving alcohol is inside the City of Knoxville. The same Knoxville News Sentinel telling us a new phase has begun also published a gallery of 26 photos showing “Knoxville nightlife after bar curfew during the COVID-19 pandemic.” That was a mighty interesting panorama of what appeared to be, at least in some instances, of hundreds of UT students congregated in bars along the Strip. In most of the pictures, I didn’t see anyone wearing a mask. Our young people were sauntering down the breadth and length of the Strip and the Old City in search of a good time, which is nothing new. I will confess I was pretty surprised to see just how many students were flocking to these places; I was even more surprised to discover they were open well after the 10 p.m. curfew, which is proof positive Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon has simply ignored the curfew. Okay, you progressives can say she’s not quite ignored it, but clearly she hasn’t done a thing to ENFORCE it.

Now progressives love to say those on the right don’t believe the coronavirus is a thing. Yet there are everyone’s kids and grandkids running around the campus, not wearing masks — and I thought that was practically a death penalty offense amongst leftists (probably only if it’s a Republican not wearing a mask, otherwise who cares?) — and certainly not socially distancing. Now, from what I am given to understand, the numbers of COVID-19 cases are on the rise, especially around campus, but I haven’t heard anyone tell Indya to get up off her duff and actually enforce the law. And if COVID cases are on the rise at UT, do you imagine there’s a connection between the rise in cases and the fact the young’uns are all running around, enjoying Knoxville’s vibrant nightlife without social distancing and not wearing masks? Seems pretty likely to me there’s a pretty direct connection.

I realize we have a lot of elected officials across the country now — all Democrats by the way — who won’t enforce laws, won’t protect the homes, businesses and lives of law abiding people from protesters and rioters who, incidentally, only wear masks when they wish to hide their identity while burning buildings down to the ground. So if Indya isn’t bothering to enforce the 10 p.m. curfew, what difference does it make that the Knox County Board of Health has instituted an 11 p.m. shut down order? I’m curious to know what the new phase in the fight locally against COVID in the City of Knoxville is exactly? Whatever the “new phase” is, I doubt very much it will make a difference if Knoxville’s mayor refuses to enforce the curfew.

Well, imagine my surprise to read Knoxville Police Department Chief Eve Thomas made the statement she needed a legal definition of what a bar is. I hope to the Lord I misread that, otherwise I’m going to have to send a billboard-sized photo of Big Junior’s Bar & Grill to Chief Thomas. You’d think the city law director’s office could have that whipped up in a jiffy. As the mayor of Knoxville appoints both the chief of police and the city’s law director, I reckon if Indya made a phone call, the law director’s office could probably provide Chief Thomas with a legal definition of a bar and perhaps the City of Knoxville could make an effort to enforce the curfew. It looks to me like nightlife in Knoxville during a pandemic is pretty darn lively.

Greg Isaacs, the high-priced attorney, has been retained by a bevy of restaurant-owners to challenge the latest order (and the new phase, I suppose) from the county’s Board of Health. Greg isn’t likely to overlook Indya’s failure or refusal to enforce the curfew. That particular failure to enforce the curfew on the part of the City of Knoxville is going to be pretty hard to explain away, especially in the face of a great lawyer. I’m not sure the cops waiting on a legal definition of what is a bar will look too good. Speaking of not looking too good, the more publicity that gets, the more likely the incumbent members of the Knoxville City Council are going to be embarrassed for sitting there like knots on a log and not saying a blessed thing. The economic impact of having to close down the University of Tennessee ought to be apparent to just about everybody who isn’t a moron. While I realize most leftists think money exists merely to tax and give away, UT shutting down would be devastating.

Either there is a pandemic or there isn’t; the leftists can’t have it both ways and ignoring the curfew — not enforcing it as is clearly the case from the photos published by the Sentinel — should have every progressive in Knoxville up in arms, yet they’ve been as silent as the grave. Indya Kincannon was the same woman who piously said there was no prize for being the first to reopen as county Mayor Glenn Jacobs was pushing to reopen the economy. If Knoxville is serious about stopping the spread of the virus, the curfew should be enforced. State Representative Gloria Johnson told us all during the recent city mayoral election that Indya Kincannon would always do the right thing. Really?


Speaking of Higher Taxes

If you like higher taxes, Joe Biden is your man. Biden’s platform, which is evidently the “Santa Claus Express”, proposes to raise taxes by a whopping $3.4 trillion. That’s more than double what Hillary Clinton proposed four years ago. Biden’s platform proposes to increase federal spending by even more than he intends to take from Americans, increasing the budget by $5.3 – $8 trillion. That would amount to more than 24% of America’s gross domestic product by 2030. Biden’s proposed increase in federal spending is, according to the Wharton Institute, the biggest since George McGovern proposed a minimum national income in 1972. Joe Biden will change your tax bill.

If you came out ahead under Donald Trump’s tax cuts, Biden proposes to scoop that back up, as the government surely can be trusted to spend your money better than you can.