It was either the tranquilizers, the boredom or the ADHD, but something kicked in and I turned off last night's Knoxville mayoral forum, went outside and shot myself in the head a couple of times, before taking a nap.
I'm OK now; thanks for asking.
I can only comment – not that you asked, nor do I care, but you know who you are – on the first 17 minutes of the muck.
The four candidates (the fifth couldn't raise the necessary coin to participate so he was barred, banned and censored) were asked about their vision.
Madeline Rogero talked about working to create jobs, removing blighted properties, whatever. She also said something about “wanting a sustainable Knoxville” and installing solar panels on city buildings. Now THAT I would like to see. Heh.
Joe Hultquist started out his vision speech with some kind of cliché'. Something like (I'm paraphrasing): “A leader is measure not so much by what he's said but what he's done.” OK then, what have you done? He also said he “walked and prayed over the city I love.” (For some reason that gives me the creeps.) Then he rambled about the nation “teetering on the brink of insolvency” and I tuned that part out because I'm tired of folks bringing national crap into the local realm. He also said he'd focus on four key areas: economic development, accountability, transparency and a high quality of life. None of that really says much. He did say he's working with a company in Switzerland (something to do with transportation). And by “working” I think he means that he's had two conversations with the business in the past 10 years.
Mark Padgett once again bragged about some minuscule business he started that he has over and over and over and over again failed to really get into detail about, and how all that will make him a leader of some 2,000 employees. He said now is not “the time to make a U-turn.” Whatever the hell that means. I hope he wasn't talking to the dude riding the bicycle (the one carrying his “vote for me cause I started a business” sign) who almost crashed into a car on Gay Street. He also said he wants to recruit comparable businesses that already have a presence in Knoxville. HUH? Screw that, man. Go out and get businesses that we don't already have. Like a casino. A legal one. (Cause the Man with the Badge keeps busting up all the card games.)
Ivan Harmon also wants to create jobs and make Knoxville a place to raise families. He'd tap the resources of UT, the TVA, etc., etc. to do that. This observation for the highly obvious is truly remarkable. Come on. That's all you got? Oh yeah, he said he'd put a good team in place (that's actually a good idea because you wouldn't believe how many people wouldn't do this) if elected.
Bo Bennett said . . . . NOTHING. Click right smack here for a funny picture of Brian Moneyhun explaining why Bennett said nothing.
At some point, they got to pensions, since the city programs are expected to grow to as much as $30 million by 2019.
Pretty Boy Padge said he wanted an open and transparent process (lame); to honor the commitment made to the employees already on the program (no kidding dude – state law says you have to) and doesn't want reform on the backs of taxpayers. Seriously. Nice spin. The whole idea of reform is to NOT have it on the backs of taxpayers. Repeat the obvious. Be remarkable.
Ivan the Republican said he'd work with the task force committee that's already looking into the pension problem.
Rogero (who is my biggest fan) said she'd also let the task force do the job before drawing conclusions. Or something like that.
Sooooooo. In other words, neither of these three had the guts to publicly say how they feel about the city's pension plans.
Joe, however, did. He wants to start offering new employees a 401(k) plan. He even felt that the task force will “kick the can down the road so that the (pension problem) is not an issue right now.” Ah, like Mickey said to Rocky in Rocky II: “Ya got the heart kid, but you ain't got the tools. So forget it.” (No, Joe isn't going to pull off an upset.)
Finally, Bo said . . . . Oh yeah. He didn't get to say anything. Cause he wasn't invited.
There's my take on the first 17 minutes. I'm sure you all feel a little dumber now if you managed to get this far.
Have a good weekend.