By Steve Hunley

The Old Switcheroo

Folks in South Knoxville are doing their best to fight off a developer’s effort to repurpose his property at the old South Knoxville High School.  Rick Dover owns the South High Assisted Living Facility, which is right smack dab in the middle of a residential area.  Nothing new about that.  Most schools were built in residential areas, especially inside the city.  The controversy arises from Dover’s hope the Knoxville City Council will rezone the property to allow him to sell it to Helen Ross McNabb for a drug rehabilitation center.  The proposed drug rehab center would be near two elementary schools.

It’s not surprising some folks in South Knoxville feel betrayed.  Several South Knoxvillians worked tirelessly with Knox Heritage to designate the building as a historic edifice.  The Lindberg Forest neighborhood raised money to stabilize the old South High building.  The precedent of going around the zoning laws in place because the buyer and seller want to use property for a different purpose is a slippery slope.  Should that become a precedent, every neighborhood inside the City of Knoxville would be at risk.  It also raises the question of should a developer get all the benefits that go along with a designation of one thing, only to repurpose it later for something entirely different?

Cameron Brooks, who is running against Lynne Fugate, for an at-large seat on the Knoxville City Council has issued a statement supporting the South Knoxvillians in their fight.  Brooks makes the valid point every candidate is a supporter of neighborhoods and neighborhood associations at election time.  When not on the ballot, or when there is a pitched battle with a special interest, not so much.  Dover, was one of the sponsors of Fugate’s campaign kickoff event with Wagyu beef and a smattering of the Sequoyah set milling about.  That raises another interesting question.  How many drug rehab centers are there inside a neighborhood like Sequoyah Hills?  None, not a one.  Those necessary “public projects” are reserved for less affluent neighborhoods.  Would the city council dare to rezone a historic building inside Sequoyah or West Hills in a residential area for a drug rehab center?  I doubt it very much.

The same class of hypocritical do-gooders who chatter endlessly about “affordable housing” have produced nothing except for higher taxes and raising rents and mortgages in the process.  Just how raising rents and mortgages by increasing the local property tax 40% makes things more affordable has never been explained by anyone.  It must be a work in progress, or it could just be BS.  I’m quite sure it is the latter.

One truism is you get what you vote for.  When an elected body like the city council jumps when millionaires and billionaires crack the whip, voters ought to stop and think just who are they representing?  You’ll know when the council members choose between the people and a special interest.


Penalized For Good Credit

Another spectacular innovation relating to “affordable” housing has hit the ground with a big thud.  New home buyers, did you know that you are paying so that people with very bad credit can get mortgages?  The Biden administration is changing the mortgage fee guidelines for people considered “riskier” – – – meaning people with a credit history of not paying their bills – – – and those with good credit will pay for it. The two lending agencies, known as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, began operating under the new guidelines on May 1, which will affect those mortgages acquired at private banks nationwide.  The end result is that it will affect the interest rate of those with good credit.  Ultimately, it means higher monthly payments for folks financing mortgages with good credit.  Supporters say, “It’s only about $40 buck a month!”  Over a mortgage of 30 years, that’s more than $14,000 of your money to help pay somebody else’s mortgage, somebody who hasn’t been paying their own bills.

That will come as a nasty shock to many homebuyers.  Having good credit isn’t accidental; someone with good credit had to work hard to get there.  The truth is even people with not-so-good credit will be subsidizing those with really bad credit.  It’s another attempt to redistribute income.

Doubtless it will also revolutionize the banking industry, which will be expected to lend money to people who are notorious for not paying it back.  Surely that wouldn’t lead to more failed banks!

It may be time to put cash back into the mattress.


TVA Fesses Up

TVA just released a report about the winter storm with its first rolling blackouts in the history of the agency which came into being in 1933.  The report was released last Friday and states the cost was $170 million.  TVA was caught unprepared by the bitterly cold temperatures which plummeted during the days before Christmas and had not anticipated the demand for electricity.  At a time when the border is open and some 10 million people have poured into this country – – – which is more than the current population of every state in the nation except for California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia and Michigan.  Both Michigan and Georgia have just over 10 million residents.  Millions more people obviously means a greater demand for electricity.  In fact, it means a greater demand on every aspect of this country’s infrastructure and services from welfare programs to schools.

TVA covers a seven-state region and supplies 153 power companies.  The rolling blackouts affected around 10 million people and 750,000 businesses.  Water pipes froze and burst throughout the region.

TVA’s lack of preparedness drew the attention of lawmakers, including our own congressman, Tim Burchett.  Like many others, Burchett experienced frozen pipes after the rolling blackouts turned off heaters.  TVA had badly underestimated the demand for power as well as the severity of the extreme cold.

The report merely confirmed the suspicions of some, but it stated what was obvious to many of us.