By Steve Hunley

Kincannon’s Budget And More

City Mayor Indya Kincannon sent out a press release with her budget presentation last week. If it wasn’t quite revisionist history, then it was certainly rearranging the facts. Kincannon bragged about the fiscal health of the city and claimed the lowest tax rate since 1974. What she omitted mentioning was the fact she increased property taxes by 40% in the previous budget, raising rents and mortgages across Knoxville. The city’s fiscal health will probably be good for another year or two before Kincannon tries to raise taxes again.

Kincannon’s budget was full of virtue signaling, as well as spending. In an administration full of bureaucrats earning $100,000+.

As I wrote last week, Demolition Debbie Helsley  wants to tear down neighborhoods and rebuild them like they would in Europe. The goal is to keep people from living in single-family homes and the city administration would much rather folks take the bus everywhere. It’s the same in China; few people own a car there and most live in multiplex housing.

Kincannon brags about law enforcement inside the City of Knoxville, claiming an increased number of solved cases under the new police chief. One of those doesn’t appear to be the hit-and-run death of Buddy Burkhardt’s younger brother, Don. Don Massengill was traveling home on his motorcycle when he was struck from behind. Massengill was hit so hard that he and his motorcycle were knocked to the side of the road, where he was left to die in the weeds. From the facts available, the KPD identified the driver, but she was NOT charged with hit and run and too much time had passed to tell whether or not she had been drinking or worse. The case will go to the grand jury under our District Attorney Charme Allen who was elected county-wide.

Neal And Corcoran Off And Running

Barry Neal is meeting with folks and exploring a race to succeed Carson Dailey as South Knoxville’s county commissioner. Neal has worked for the University of Tennessee for more than 30 years, has long been active in the South Haven Neighborhood Association, and is a life-long resident of South Knoxville. Dailey is term-limited and won’t be running in 2024. Barry Neal should be a very strong candidate. The Democrats appear to be ready to recycle candidates. Both Dylan Earley and Annabel Henley are rumored to be considering the race. Earley, a first-time candidate, got the stuffing beat out of him last year when he challenged County Commissioner At-Large Larsen Jay. Henley ran for the board of education against Board Chair Kristi Kristy, but ultimately lost the race.

Two other candidates have emerged for county commission races as well. D.J. Corcoran is running for the seat currently occupied by Richie Beeler in the Eighth District, which is East and Northeast Knox County. Beeler is voluntarily retiring to concentrate on his responsibilities in the county clerk’s office. Corcoran is retired from the Knoxville Fire Department and is well-known throughout the community for his time as a spokesman for the department. D.J. Corcoran and his wife, Wendy, are two of the greatest people in any community locally.

Garrett Holt, who ran an unsuccessful first race for Knoxville City Council a couple of years ago, is preparing to run for the county commission next year. County Commissioner Kyle Ward, a successful businessman, and his wife, Katie, have a new baby boy. Ward announced he would not seek a second term on the commission as he felt it important to spend more time with his wife and son. Holt was an excellent student and athlete at West High School and, if elected, would likely be the youngest member of the county commission.

Boys Charter School Approved

It took two tries, but after Susan Horn returned, the Knox County Board of Education approved a new charter school for our community in a 5-4 vote. The all-boys Knox Prep School will be our community’s first single-gender school when it opens its doors next year. There have been discussions about a similar school for girls as well. Horn was absent from the first meeting where the board deadlocked 4- 4 on the issue of approving the new school. At the second meeting, Susan Horn was back, and the measure was approved. Daniel Watson carried much of the water in opposing the new charter school. Watson is up for reelection next year and all indications are he will face formidable opposition in the general election. It will be interesting to see whether Watson will run as a Democrat or as an Independent. Daniel Watson has been one of the more talkative members of the board and has alienated some of the support he had at the beginning of his term.