After four decades with the Shopper News, I hit pause for a month to launch a new venture. You’re reading it now.
KnoxTNToday will feature Marvin West, Betty Bean, Jake Mabe and Lynn Pitts writing weekly; Jim Tumblin and Scott Frith writing monthly; and Sherri Gardner Howell, Betsy Pickle and Shannon Carey covering community news. It’s free to readers: no paywall, no subscription, no corporate ownership.
Like Willie sings, we’re a band of gypsies rolling down the highway … making music with our friends. We can’t wait to get on the road again … and we invite you to come along.
Commission candidates scramble
The Republican Primary of May 2018 is underway.
Larsen Jay, founder of Random Act of Flowers, is a candidate for Knox County Commission at-large Seat 10, now held by Bob Thomas, who has announced his candidacy for county mayor.
R. Larry Smith, former commissioner, has announced his candidacy for at-large Seat 11, now held by Ed Brantley. Brantley had been mentioned as a chief of staff for Thomas, but Brantley later said he had made no decision about running.
Smith has started saying he is running for commission at-large (dropping a reference to a seat). And now two foes of Smith have launched an email campaign to encourage Brantley to run for re-election.
“We need him on commission,” wrote Bruce and Lillian Williams. “He is one of the best commissioners that we have right now and is certainly a work horse for this county.” They urge making Brantley’s phone ring with support at 865-321-1016.
Meanwhile, Larsen Jay sees Smith edge closer to Seat 10. One could say it’s a Random Act of Politics.
Gossip and Lies
Phil Ballard, who served eight years as property assessor, remains in the real estate business. After being term-limited, Ballard has joined Keller Williams Realty. Reach him at 865-851-6075.
George Will, writing in The Washington Post, had a neat turn of phrase. He says President Trump’s “almost Sicilian sense of clan imparts new meaning to the familiar phrase ‘family values.’”
Budget grows: in the mid-1970s, Tennessee’s roughly 4 million residents operated with a $3 billion budget; in 2017, the state’s population has grown to 6.6 million residents, and the Legislature is debating a $37 billion budget.