Publisher’s Position: There Are Plenty of Puppets To Go Around

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By Steve Hunley

A hit dog always howls.

The recent appointment of John Fugate to the Knox County Board of Education caused some howling from a few County Commissioners, most notably Sam McKenzie and Amy Broyles.

Broyles was backing Rick Staples, a failed candidate in the recent City Council elections and a known Democrat. The Commission appointed John Fugate, a known Republican. There are two Democrats on the Knox County Commission – – – McKenzie and Broyles – – – and nine Republicans. Why it is surprising John Fugate was appointed is beyond me. McKenzie and Broyles whined that “politics” was afoot in the process, yet both Democrats voted for a Democrat. Somehow that was apolitical.

Broyles gave her usual tearful performance and compared the appointment to “Black Wednesday”, which is like comparing Peyton Manning to the circus fat lady. It was all a lot of self-serving hogwash. Broyles claimed Rick Staples was the “choice” of her district; Staples might well be the choice of a small core of Democrats including Broyles, but I refuse to believe he was the universal choice of the Second District. The voters will answer that question themselves in a special election to be held in November. Mr. Staples is certainly welcome to pick up a petition and run and my guess is he would lose and lose badly.

McKenzie called me a “puppet master.” which has amused me to no end. My views are well known; all one has to do is read The Focus. I had to laugh a little as I don’t believe Sam McKenzie has ever once referred to any of the Chamber bigwigs as a puppet master, but then again, McKenzie is a puppet of the Chamber crowd.

The Chamber folks are the very same folks who brought us Jim McIntyre as our superintendent of schools; they are the same folks who beg to exempt new businesses from property taxes while urging the County Commission to raise your own taxes in the name of school children; they are the same folks responsible for a score of half-filled industrial parks. McKenzie has never referred to Mike Edwards, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, as a puppet master. Yet every candidate for the Knox County Board of Education supportive of McIntyre just happened to receive thousands of dollars in contributions from a handful of well-heeled Chamber folk.

I don’t believe it’s right for the Chamber to advocate giving businesses tax breaks while at the same time trying to force through what would have been the biggest property tax hike in Knox County’s history a couple of years ago.

We’ve seen the politics of our community dominated for years by the Chamber folks and you have never heard a peep out of any of their puppets. But they sure do squall when they lose.

The Chamber crowd has owned more puppets than the Muppet Show. They still do.

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