Some prominent Knox County Republicans, like Bobby Waggoner and Susan Richardson Williams, are lining up to support Nashville surgeon Manny Sethi as their pick to replace Lamar Alexander in the U.S. Senate. Tim Burchett appears to be moving in a different direction.
Burchett triggered considerable local buzz this week by escorting former ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty through the City County Building on Monday, introducing him to officeholders and pressing the flesh up and down the building. Hagerty, who was Gov. Bill Haslam’s initial commissioner of economic development, has long-standing ties to the more moderate, business-oriented side of the GOP.
But he’s also got President Donald Trump’s endorsement to be our next senator, which, if I were a betting woman, is more relevant to Burchett than a bushel of Bushes or a peck of Haslams. For example, on Wednesday, Burchett was one of a minority of House Republicans who hung with their POTUS and voted no on a resolution opposing Trump’s unilateral decision to end American assistance to Kurdish forces in Northern Syria. The resolution passed 364 to 60, with 129 Republicans joining with the Democrats to support the resolution.
The agency formerly known as the MPC (now the Knoxville-Knox County Planning Commission) won’t vote until January on a rezoning request that could allow Baxter Properties to wedge a beer garden onto a parcel formerly occupied by the Fountain City Diner.
This is because the planning commission director, Gerald Green, says amendments to the city’s one-year plan can only be heard quarterly, even though property owner Jennifer Baxter Reynolds only asked for a 30-day postponement.
Longtime land use watchdog Carlene Malone disagrees with this interpretation, which she ascribes to “an absence of institutional memory.” The beer garden would back up into the Adair Gardens neighborhood, where the neighborhood association strongly opposes the plan. The parcel is located on the corner of Sanders Lane and Tazewell Pike.
No sitting members of city council are up for re-election this year, but it’s doubtful that they are looking forward to voting on the hot-button issue of giving away nearly an acre of Caswell Park to Volunteer Ministry Center to build supportive housing for the homeless. The vote will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 5, Election Day.
*And speaking of elections, 2020 is already here for county officeholders. This week saw a flurry of candidates picking up petitions to run next year. Most are incumbent county commissioners Evelyn Gill, John Schoonmaker and Carson Dailey, plus incumbent property assessor John Whitehead and Chief Deputy Law Director David Buuck, who wants to run for the top dog spot.
Additionally, there’s John Meade, who is signing up to run for Board of Education, District 2. That will pit him against incumbent Jennifer Owen. Meade is co-president of the Central High School Foundation.
By now, most everybody knows that they’ll need one to get on an airplane after October 1, 2020, but thanks to ever-vigilant school board representative Jennifer Owen, we now know that we’ll need one of the new-fangled driver licenses to get into any building controlled by the federal government – court houses, military installations, the TVA tower that the county is hoping to lease for Knox County Schools. A standard driver license won’t be good enough. You’ll need one with a gold star just above your birth date.
The first places most folks think of to do driver license-related business are the state-run Strawberry Plains Driver Services and Reinstatement Center at 7320 Region Lane in East Knox County or the Knoxville/Knox County Driver Services and Reinstatement Center at 430 Montbrook Lane in West Knoxville.
These state-run offices also administer license testing services and tend to get jammed up at peak times, so one of the four Knox County Clerk’s offices that offer Real ID services – Halls, Cedar Bluff, East Towne and the main office in the Old Courthouse – can be a more convenient option.
Here’s a list of what you’ll need:
Either an active passport or a certified copy of a birth certificate
Proof of Social Security number (10-99, W2, original card).
Two proofs of address: A current Tennessee Drivers License, a vehicle registration or a bill with name and address (the bill must be no more than four months old).
If applicant’s name has changed due to marriage, copy of marriage certificate must be presented (unless passport has married name).
Knox County Clerk Sherry Witt has one caveat for those who want to use one of the clerk’s offices: avoid the beginning and the end of the month – that’s when tax bills are due, and there’s likely to be a crowd.
Immigrants and new state residents must use state-operated facilities.