Last night citizens did their very best. They appropriately came to the defined public process prepared and with articulate spokespersons and compelling arguments – in large numbers. They stood together as neighbors and spoke in one voice, pleading with their representatives for relief.
They even brought along their high schoolers for a civics lesson and one precious, very brave little eight year old girl stepped to the mic, her mommy at her side and her neighbors behind her to ask the commissioners to keep her neighborhood and school healthy and safe. It was not to be.
Sadly, the big developer friendly commissioners led by Randy Smith and buttressed by Kyle Ward and Charles Busler worked in orchestrated concert to send the citizens away – not just discouraged and we suspect heart broken, but thoroughly chastened when Larsen Jay then harshly scolded the group for not agreeing to higher taxes and thereby bringing on the onslaught of dense and sprawling new residential development.
Commissioners disputed and then ignored the expert economist/engineer who earlier in the open forum session showed them in precise detail that contrary to their specious argument that new homes bring in tax revenue, how Knox County is actually losing $4,800+ per home in related costs being passed directly and indirectly to the taxpayers.
Please take a look at these news stories for the details. Better, go to CTV and watch the proceedings. Bring your handkerchief and your valium.