For the past two and a half years, the City of Knoxville has been nudging along one of the most comprehensive and sweeping plans surrounding property use. Known as “Recode,” this nefarious plan has gone through more incarnations than the Devil himself. Citizens have had a hard time keeping up with all the drafts and changes and, as best as I can tell, we are on the fifth version so far.
For all its imperfections, and there are many, there has been a push by the city administration to approve Recode this summer. Now, thank goodness, it looks like Little Boy Recode has been abducted by Big Bad Politics. You see, there’s an election this year in the City of Knoxville and Mayor Madeline Rogero cannot run to succeed herself. The three most serious candidates for mayor of Knoxville are Eddie Mannis, owner of Prestige Cleaners and a former deputy mayor under Rogero; Marshall Stair, city councilman and scion of an old Knoxville family, as well as a constant practitioner of the art of the politic wiggle and roll; Indya Kincannon, who served ten years on the Knox County Board of Education and was largely known as a cheerleader and rubber-stamp-in-chief for former superintendent of schools Jim McIntyre. The candidates are diverse in their experience, or lack thereof, as well as their thinking.
Eddie Mannis grew up poor and risked everything he had to make a success of Prestige Cleaners. Mannis was successful and has consistently given back to the community with his activity honoring American veterans through Honor Air. Eddie Mannis is sort of the embodiment of the American dream come true. Stair, born into a well-to-do family, has been on the Knoxville City Council for the past eight years and is term limited and his campaign for mayor is less due to a burning desire to make a difference in the lives of Knoxvillians than the seeming next step. Stair hasn’t especially distinguished himself as a leader and has recused himself more times than I can count in order to avoid controversial issues.
Aside from the Board of Education, Kincannon’s qualifications to be mayor are as sparse as scales on a duck. Kincannon had a job that Mayor Rogero created for her, as an educational liaison or some such, which is pretty odd considering the City of Knoxville operates no school system and its habit of annexation drained county tax revenues that otherwise would have gone to support schools. Kincannon only grudgingly abandoned Lord Jim when the imperial superintendent attempted to outsource the custodians, otherwise she was only too happy to give McIntyre whatever he wanted. Now attempting to represent herself as a woman of the people, Kincannon is hoping most folks forget she didn’t even bother to send her own children to the schools inside the district she represented on the Board of Education, but rather sent them to West Knoxville instead. Kincannon is representative of one thing, however, pertaining to Recode: she rides her bicycle everywhere she can, most surely hugging trees all along the way. Councilwoman Stephanie Welch didn’t just let that cat out of the bag, but pretty much throttled the poor cat to death when she admitted Recode was as much social engineering on the part of the city administration as planning when she said it was hoped folks would drive less.
Kincannon is attempting to sell herself as not only the logical successor to Rogero, but serving Rogero’s third term. Indya Kincannon is all in for the Recode document while Stair is doing the shimmy, saying he’s for it, but he’d much rather postpone voting on it until after the election since he just happens to be running for mayor and doesn’t want to make anybody mad.
Eddie Mannis is the ONLY candidate who has come out against the Recode plan and explained its deficiencies. Mannis has acknowledged it’s a topic much on the mind of voters. Mannis has also offered solutions and described how the process ought to be and it was almost too logical to be uttered inside a government building. Frankly, THAT SHOWS LEADERSHIP.
Evidently the City Council has been hearing from folks, too. For most people, outside of our children, our homes are our biggest investments. It matters what happens in our neighborhoods and fundamentally altering that will forever change the quality of life for people who reside inside the City of Knoxville. When the government, local, state or federal start social engineering so that citizens drive less, that government has gone too far. Citizens, especially those 60 and older can’t ride a bicycle to pick up dry cleaning, get groceries, or take their pet to the vet. The City of Knoxville has created an urban wilderness, bike lanes just about everywhere, green spaces on every corner and there are so many they can probably be seen from the moon. Recoding, increasing density in existing neighborhoods, putting some businesses out of business instantly, trying to keep folks from driving to their destinations and the like sounds like planning by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. A new Monmouth poll says 60% of independents don’t like socialism and perhaps those wild-eyed do-gooders in the City of Knoxville will find out Knoxville is not quite a socialist utopia yet.
Trifling with people’s homes, businesses and their ability to use their cars to go where they want just might get some folks riled up. Mad folks sure do vote.