It’s a long way, baby

Sandra ClarkLet's Talk

Whenever I relax, I get jolted by something that causes me to wonder if we’ve made any gains at all. By we, I mean anyone not a white, heterosexual male.


This week Hubert Smith phoned to relate how the vote/election for officers at the Public Building Authority went down. Who cares? ask the straight white guys. Say what? ask the other 70% of the population.

Hubert Smith

Smith has been around awhile. He’s a longtime member of Knoxville transit board, has run for city council and has been secretary of the PBA for a few years. Here’s his story:

Jayne Burritt (a staff member – chief executive officer) announced at the December meeting that the election for PBA officers would be in January. She asked anyone interested in an office to let her know and she would include them on the ballot.

Scott Davis would be termed out as chair after three consecutive one-year terms, but would remain on the board. Chuck Severance was vice chair and, by tradition, would move up to chair.

So, that left three positions to contest – vice chair, secretary and treasurer.

Hubert told Jayne he wanted to be vice chair. Apparently, so did Steve Maddox and a new guy, city-appointed Jon Clark. No one applied to be secretary or treasurer. Jayne then compiled a ballot and emailed it to all 11 board members, who then emailed their choice for vice chair back to Jayne.

When she read the results at the January meeting, the vice chair vote was tied, 5-5-1. Jon Clark had one vote and was dropped.

That threw the election into the open – no secret ballot. On that vote, Steve Maddox beat Hubert Smith, 6-5.

I asked Hubert how folks voted. He said Maddox got his own vote plus those of Scott Davis, Chuck Severance, Shane Jackson, Jason Legg and Jon Clark.

Hubert got votes from himself and Daniel Brown, plus Heather Anderson, Jennifer Holder and Keena Strickland.

Uh, do you see a pattern here? I asked Hubert. He just chuckled.

Every white male had voted for Steve. Both Black males and all the women had voted for Hubert. Amazing.

Legal 101: Next week we’ll remain shut down for Covid and be mesmerized by the second Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Rachel Maddow made an interesting observation. Seems Trump won’t call himself the former president – and won’t let those around him do it either. So, his lawyers are calling their client, “The 45th President Donald Trump.”

Meanwhile, Republican senators, not wanting to debate whether Trump actually incited the violence that killed five at the Capitol, are hanging their defense on the notion that the Senate can’t convict Trump because he’s already out of office.

And the dilemma cuts both ways. While Trump loyalists argue that he’s the legitimate president because of election fraud, the House impeachment managers will be arguing that he’s the former president but, just in case, let’s throw him out again and say he can’t come back.

Politics. It’s more fun than the Super Bowl.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.

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