January: Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs accepts a challenge from Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon to a no-holds-barred wrestling match on Market Square. In a bruising five-minute struggle, Kincannon bounces back from a Jacobs chokeslam and pins the county’s chief executive in front of a disbelieving crowd of rabid fans. “I slipped,” Jacobs said of the surprising outcome. Gracious in victory, Kincannon praised Jacobs’ effort, saying he gave her “nearly as much trouble as Eddie Mannis.”
February: Kincannon declines Jacobs’ request for a rematch “in a county venue.” U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, a close friend of Jacobs, then issues his own challenge. Kincannon says she “might consider” a tag-team format for a match later in the year. She declines to name a partner, but sources close to the Knoxville mayor say state Rep. Gloria Johnson’s name has surfaced in informal discussions.
March: At-large Knox County Commissioners Larsen Jay and Justin Biggs stage a “sit-in” at a meeting of the Charter Review Committee. Barred from formally participating on the Review Committee under the existing Charter, they present commission chair Hugh Nystrom with a formal letter of protest. “Our voices deserve to be heard,” Jay says. When Nystrom refuses to accept the protest letter, the slighted commissioners produce kazoos and play a chorus of “We Shall Overcome” followed by Little Anthony and the Imperials’ classic ballad “I’m On the Outside Looking In.” Pandemonium ensues and that day’s session is canceled.
April: Mike Arms, former county commissioner and chief of staff during Mike Ragsdale’s stint as county executive resigns his position on the Charter Review Committee. “The degree of cronyism shown by Mayor Jacobs’ Committee selections is unprecedented,” Arms says. “I can’t be a party to such flagrant abuses.” Asked for a response, Jacobs says he will meet Arms “anywhere, anytime in the ring, city or county venue.”
May: Foiled in his attempt to join the Review Committee, Commissioner Larsen Jay turns his energies to filmmaking. He announces casting calls for “a blockbuster of an exposé.” Jay promises details would be announced soon.
June: To cries of “Down with Socialism,” a group of disaffected city residents styled “The Anti-City Council Movement” storms a meeting of the Knoxville City Council. The ensuing melee is short-lived as Mayor Kincannon and council members Amelia Parker and Seema Singh rout the startled protestors. “I am woman, hear me roar,” quotes Kincannon, as Parker and Singh demonstrate their slightly modified version of the chokeslam to the press corps.
July: Larsen Jay tells assembled reporters that he now has the first draft of the screenplay and a working title for his new film project. “We’ll make history with this film,” he says. “Everyone associated with it will feel proud. My working title is ‘Citizen Kane.’”
August: Jay sues the estate of the late Orson Welles. “I don’t know how he did it, but somehow the late Mr. Welles stole my film title. Until this is settled, I’m revising the working title to ‘Gone with the Wind.’”
September: In a testament to high expectations for the UT football team, city and county elected officials cancel all business for the month of September.
October: Alabama defeats UT 56-10.
November: The long-awaited Jacobs-Kincannon rematch is held at Madison Square Garden, an agreed-upon neutral site. The pay-per-view revenue is enough to wipe out all debt for both city and county governments. Kincannon triumphs again and claims the prize, the original “Kane” mask. Jacobs refuses to speak with reporters.
December: Commissioner Jay changes his film project’s working title yet again. “I’m certain that ‘High Noon’ is safe,” Jay says.
Happy New Year everyone!
Larry Van Guilder is the business/government editor for KnoxTNToday.