knoxville

Rogero credited with paving the way to majority rule by women in Knoxville government

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero won’t say so out loud, but her election in 2011 and the efforts of a group called Women’s March Knoxville, helped pave the way for a transformation of city government in last week’s Knoxville elections, according to the News Sentinel.

For the first time in city history, four women will sit on the council. With Rogero included, the city’s representation will be five men, five women.

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Council breaks tie vote in former Rep. Tindell’s favor

The Knoxville City Council voted Wednesday to break a tie in recent Council primary election results and declare former state Rep. Harry Tindell winner of a place on the general election ballot, reports the News Sentinel.

In the Aug. 29 city primary, Tindell, who served 22 years as a Democrat representing House District 13, and community activist Amelia Parker both got 488 votes in the Council District 4 contest.

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Knoxville event draws few Confederate monument backers, many counter-protesters

Demonstrators supporting a Confederate monument in Knoxville Saturday were vastly outnumbered by counter-protesters, reports the News Sentinel. Both sides were generally peaceful.

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Mayors clash over Bible-quoting plaque at Knoxville police headquarters

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero are at odds over a city decision to take down a plaque quoting a Bible verse that now hangs inside a Knoxville police department building.

From the News Sentinel report:

Burchett, a Republican, made the comments in a rare public critique of Rogero, a Democrat, Thursday morning, a day after she announced the city would remove the plaque hanging in the department’s Safety Building.

The plaque quotes Romans 8:31 and includes, “If God be for us, then who can be against us?”

The city is planning to take down the plaque during a Friday morning ceremony and move it to a Hall of Inspiration inside the building that will be a place where multiple quotes and sayings will be displayed.

The East Tennessee chapter of the Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a complaint about the plaque and threatened a lawsuit if the city did not remove it.

Burchett said the Constitution protects his Christian views, adding the city should allow the group to take them to court.

“Mayor Rogero is my friend, but I would fight this one. I wouldn’t yield to extortionists,” he said. “Ultimately, I have to answer to God not some outfit from out of town who make their living just suing people … “What I don’t understand is with atheists if they don’t believe in God, what do they care? It just doesn’t make much sense to me,” he said.

“At some point folks that follow my belief systems are just going to be legislated out of existence and to me it is discrimination against me and my beliefs,” he said.

… Rogero issued a statement in response to Burchett’s comments Thursday afternoon.

“I’m happy to clear up some misunderstanding and overreaction to this issue. My friend Mayor Burchett will be glad to know the plaque is not being removed, it is merely being moved from one side of the doorway to the other, where it will share a room with other inspirational quotes,” Rogero said in the statement.

Note: Burchett, a former state senator, is considering a run for the 2nd District Congressional seat now held by Rep. John J. ‘Jimmy’ Duncan Jr.

Knoxville alternative newspaper shutting down (as did its predecessor)

The Knoxville Mercury, established as an “alternative” weekly newspaper and website after the the alternative weekly Metro Pulse was closed in 2014, is now shutting down as well. Editor Coury Turczyn, formerly editor of Metro Pulse, writes in a website posting that the last issue will appear July 20.

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Columnist Victor Ashe: Pro wrestler a serious contender in Knox County mayor’s race

Glen Jacobs, perhaps better known as the masked professional wrestler “Kane,” is one of at least three Republicans running for the nomination as Knox County mayor and former Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe writes in his weekly column – after an interview — that he’s a serious contender.

The GOP primary will be May 1, 2018. Besides Jacobs, Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones and County Commissioner Bob Thomas are running, says Ashe in the Shopper News column (which now also runs in the News Sentinel). County Commissioner Brad Anders is a possible candidate.

Jacobs has lived in Knox County in Halls for four years with his wife, Crystal, and two daughters, Arista and Devan, who are nurses… He owns an insurance and real estate company on Maynardville Pike. His wife runs the realty company.

…Jacobs compliments Mayor Tim Burchett (who can’t seek another term) for not raising property taxes and pledges “to hold the line on taxes” if he is elected mayor. He calls county Finance Director Chris Caldwell “a very smart guy.” He is conservative in his political views.

He said he has been looking for more than a year at running for mayor. He said “lots of people are tired of the status quo” and upset “that their voice does not matter.” He has been active in the WWE, which is the largest wrestling organization. He has been in active wrestling for 22 of his 50 years and won three world championships.

Bryan Hair is his campaign manager. He attends Gospel Baptist Church in South Knoxville. He feels he needs to raise $150,000 to $200,000 to run an effective campaign.

(Three waitresses asked for Jacobs’ autograph after he and Ashe talked in a restaurant, then four other people came up and did the same)… Jacobs has star quality his competitors can only dream about. Jacobs is a contender to be taken seriously.

Knoxville settles lawsuit over guns at city park

Knoxville officials will relax the gun ban at the city’s Chilhowee Park under an agreement to resolve a pending lawsuit, reports the News Sentinel. Under the deal, there will be no ban except when a scheduled event is underway at the park.

“If somebody wants to avail themselves of the facility on an average day (when no events are scheduled), it’s fine for them to have a handgun,” city Law Director Charles Swanson said Friday. “Otherwise, no guns will be allowed.”

Loudon County resident Pandora Vreeland sued the city in October 2015, saying she was afraid to attend that year’s Tennessee Valley Fair at the park when she learned she wouldn’t be allowed to carry her gun into the park — even though she holds a valid carry permit. The city bans guns from being carried at the fair or any other ticketed event there.

Vreeland and her attorney claimed the ban violated state law, as laid out in a July 2015 opinion by Attorney General Herbert Slatery. Changes to the law that year overrode any city and county ordinances barring permit holders from bringing guns to local parks. The attorney general determined that change applies even during ticketed events such as a concert.

The city insisted the Chilhowee property off Prosser Road isn’t a park — despite its name — but a “public assembly facility” not managed by the Parks and Recreation Department and not open to the general public during special events and that the law therefore doesn’t apply.

Under the settlement filed Thursday in Vreeland’s lawsuit, the city sticks to its guns that Chilhowee isn’t a park — despite its name — but admits the city “has historically allowed the public to access and use the outdoor facilities … when those facilities are not leased or otherwise in use for an event.” Swanson said that means permit holders who want to visit the site at those times can feel free to bring their guns.

…The settlement doesn’t affect a separate lawsuit filed last year by Kimberly Bergeron, a 57-year-old grandmother and permit holder threatened with arrest if she brought her gun to the fair last year. That lawsuit remains pending, with no hearings immediately set.

Former Rep. Tindell seeks city council seat

Former state Rep. Harry Tindell, who also once served on the Knox County school board, says he will run for a Knoxville City Council seat held by incumbent Nick Della Volpe in this year’s nonpartisan city elections, reports Georgiana Vines.

Tindell represented the 13th House District as a Democrat in 1990-2012. He didn’t seek re-election after reapportionment by the Republican-dominated Legislature made the district more Republican. Democrat Gloria Johnson won the immediate term following his departure and Republican Eddie Smith now represents the district.

Tindell, 56, chaired several committees on budget and finance and state and local government while in the House. An employee benefits insurance broker who also consults at the state government level, Tindell was a member of the school board in 1986-1990.

Note: Tindell has been doing some lobbying since leaving the House. He registered for two clients last year.