Last week, I received three emails all pointing to the problem created by the homeless inside the City of Knoxville. All of the writers were, to the best of my knowledge, residents of Knoxville and one asked the question, “When is enough, enough?”
It’s an excellent question.
For those complaining about the problems brought about by the increasing number of homeless roaming throughout Knoxville, City officials seem to have gone deaf or are just plain uninterested. Unfortunately, too many of the current administration and Mayor Indya Kincannon are more interested in virtue signaling to the woke Left than solving the problem. None of the current members of the city council seem to be interested in doing anything about it, other than making comments carefully crafted not to offend the woke Left.
Homelessness and its solution are certain to be issues in the coming city election and should be. The virtue signaling always begins with no one should be homeless. In an ideal world, that would certainly be true, but in the real world, it’s a different story. Of course, the statement doesn’t offer the first scrap of detail on just how that would be accomplished, and the reason is very simple: it can’t be and won’t be.
The truth of the matter is some people on the Knoxville City Council worry more about taking care of the homeless than they do the people who elected them and those who pay for every penny of service and salary paid by Knoxville’s government. Amelia Parker suggested carving out “safe spaces” in the out-of-doors for the homeless like some herd of prized rare buffalo on the plains to be admired from the safety of one’s car.
Providing free housing for the homeless isn’t financially feasible. Knoxville has already increased its property tax by 40% and seems to have a need for money like an addict, while actually diminishing services to taxpayers. Clearly, taking property off the tax rolls, as the City proposes to do for its $70 million bridge to Nowhere, and mind you, it’s $9 million worth of property presently being taxed, as well as taxing those who work for those who don’t, isn’t sustainable.
Obviously, the more “free” services the City of Knoxville provides to the homeless, the more they will be attracted to come here. California, one of the most woke states in the nation, leads the country in cities with homelessness and the problems associated with the homeless population. Los Angeles alone has 63,706 homeless people living on the streets. San Jose, San Diego, and San Francisco round out the four cities in California with the biggest homeless problems out of six nationally, with the other two being New York City and Seattle. It is a growing problem in big cities, all of which are, coincidentally, governed by Democrats. Some of the problem has to do with the rising inflation, which Democrats insist really isn’t that bad. Rising rents have displaced people, but the Kincannon administration refuses to acknowledge raising taxes also raises rents and mortgages and that is a fact.
The issue is complicated by three serious factors that haunt many of the homeless: addiction, mental illness and poverty. For the truly poor, there are government welfare programs in place to help them. Commissioner Kyle Ward has been urging the Knox County Legislative delegation to try and locate a mental health facility in Knox County where those homeless people who are mentally ill can be taken by law enforcement officers. City officials have said nothing.
Were there some city in the United States that has resolved this serious problem, it would be hailed as the accomplishment of the ages and shine like a golden beacon of progress and hope throughout the world. Have you seen it or heard about it? Neither have I, because nobody has resolved the problem, despite pouring literally billions of tax dollars into trying to solve the problem unsuccessfully. All of which is being exacerbated by the national administration keeping our southern borders wide open, making the housing crisis more acute and the drug pipelines flowing with deadly abundance. Drug deaths in every category are up across the country.
A city government must manage between what it wants and what the taxpayers can afford, otherwise people start to leave the jurisdiction. With the increased drug deaths have come rising crime, and ever more homelessness. The defund the police movement, as well as making law enforcement unattractive to young people as a profession, has taken a terrible toll on American citizens. That too has been inflamed by woke prosecutors who refuse to prosecute criminals, leaving a trail of blood and destruction in their wake. The best recent example is the teenage girl, an athlete with a promising future, who lost both legs after being hit by a driver who was awaiting trial on a very serious charge and who had violated his bail or parole some 104 times altogether. The woke Left will hardly acknowledge that girl is the victim of both the prosecutors who have failed utterly to protect the people who elected them, as well as the criminals who prey upon them.
We have seen American cities in this country deteriorate into modern-day dung heaps. It didn’t just happen. Someone led it there and voters installed officeholders who failed them while others merely sat at home, too apathetic to bother to vote. Don’t ever believe Knoxville is immune from the same thing.