Bringing light in a season of darkness

Sandra ClarkLet's Talk

Wow. I just watched four evenings of the Democratic national convention, and next week will bring the Republican counterpoint. I’m a proud political junkie and have been all my life. I’ve never been to a national convention, but I’ve watched every one since television came to East Tennessee (I like Ike in ’56).


I loved this fast-paced techie convention of 2020, the spontaneity of the losing Democratic candidates telling Biden stories on Zoom. Think of the time wasted over the years, watching people in funny hats marching around with placards; bursting into applause after every third word, stretching a five-minute speech into a half hour.

Instead of the obligatory balloons dropping down on delegates in a stale-air arena, we saw fireworks shooting upward from a parking lot with families in their cars, flashing their tail lights. The ending light show tied directly to the theme of Biden’s address – bringing light in a season of darkness.

  • I almost felt sorry for saying before his speech, “I wonder who Joe will plagiarize tonight?” Almost.
  • And can you believe Bill Clinton was held to five minutes? That’s a first.
  • It felt good to see so many women in key roles – not just a token or two.

So, now the Republicans get a week to make their case. And I’ll be back next Friday to reflect on it.

Another bite at the law director apple

The county charter review committee has adjourned. It’s like those obscure comets that come around ever so often and nobody goes out to watch. Mike Arms (former commissioner, former chief of staff to Mayor Mike Ragsdale) invited everyone over to the Bistro for a beer, saying he would buy the first round.

Arms could be effusive. He won on his key issue – getting a vote on the Nov. 3 ballot to take away the county’s elected law director in favor of one appointed by the county mayor. If adopted by voters, the change would be effective with the 2024 election, so recently elected David Buuck would get his four-year term.

The vote was instructive. Note: Each commission district had three members – the commissioner, someone appointed by the commissioner and someone appointed by Mayor Glenn Jacobs. The motion needed 14 votes; it got 15 with no real drama.

Commissioners (by district)

  1. Evelyn Gill – No
  2. Michele Carringer – Yes
  3. Randy Smith – Yes
  4. Hugh Nystrom – Yes
  5. John Schoonmaker – No
  6. Brad Anders – Yes
  7. Charles Busler – No
  8. Richie Beeler – absent
  9. Carson Dailey – No

(At-Large commissioners don’t serve on the committee)

Commission Appointments (by district)

  1. Jered Croom – No
  2. Daniel Davis – absent
  3. James Corcoran – Yes
  4. John Gill – Yes
  5. William “Bill” Johns – No
  6. Gary Drinnen – Yes
  7. Sandra Sexton – No
  8. Lisa Starbuck – No
  9. Barry Neal – No

Mayor’s Appointments (by district)

  1. Sam McKenzie – Yes
  2. Amanda Benedict – Yes
  3. Mark Mamantov – Yes
  4. Scott Davis – Yes
  5. Mike Arms – Yes
  6. Daniel Herrera – Yes
  7. Rachel Sanders – Yes
  8. John Valliant – Yes
  9. Nick Pavlis – absent

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.

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