Voting in Knoxville City Council District 4 is dominated by well-organized neighborhood groups – Fountain City Town Hall, Town Hall East and the Alice Bell Spring Hill Neighborhood Association. Dating back to 1993, the candidates backed by leaders of those groups have won.
Carlene Malone came on the council in ’93, replacing Milton Roberts Sr. In the spirit of term limits, she served two terms followed by two men with actual term limits, Rob Frost and Nick Della Volpe. So, we’ve had 24 years with three council members – all endorsed by Carlene Malone, a tall woman who casts a long shadow over District 4.
This year Malone has endorsed Lauren Rider, and this writer will not bet against her.
Lauren Rider has a solid record on a variety of issues. Think the housing stock is dilapidated? Hand her a hammer. Want sandwich shops close to neighborhoods? She will prod MPC to zone mixed use on commercial corridors. Worried about violence? Lauren wants more police officers and partnering with education and social service providers to address violence and its root causes.
Harry Tindell knows that “who votes” determines the outcome, and he will get his voters to the polls. He started running at age 26 (school board) and basically has run every two years since, never losing. As a 22-year state legislator, Tindell was well-liked and respected. He owns an insurance brokerage and consults on public affairs. On a council of newbies, Harry would quickly rise to leadership.
Amelia “Amy” Parker has a resume that resembles Mayor Madeline Rogero’s. Incredibly smart, she’s got three degrees (bachelor’s from UT and two law degrees) and a work history of community organizing. And she’s local: elementary school at Belle Morris, currently lives in Whittle Springs area. Amy is a founding member of Black Lives Matter Knoxville and has been working on school discipline disparities and cultural competency training for teachers.
Dan Davis lives in Fountain City and is an emergency telecommunicator at Knox County E-911, a job, he says, that gives him unique perspective on the needs of citizens. Dan wants tougher efforts to make Knoxville less attractive to homeless people; bigger budgets for police and fire; and he calls TIFs and PILOTs corporate welfare – a short-sighted and immoral way to grow the city.
Jack Knoxville wants to win, but at best is gaining attention for his issues. He calls himself the first openly transgender politician to run for office in Knoxville. He moved here from New York five years ago and “holds down four-five jobs” to make ends meet while doing community organizing. He says he loved Knoxville so much that he changed his name. Maybe he should have chosen “Haslam.”