The metropolitan siren songWBIR-TV in Knoxville is to be commended for its recent television special The Knox County Files, during which the news department examined the extreme level of corruption at all levels of Knox County government, corruption that has been exposed here in some detail for many months. WBIR's cameras even appear to have caught Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale calling former Knox County Auditor and concerned taxpayer Lewis Cosby a showboat, a charge the Mayor had denied.
Perhaps most disturbing, however, are the results of an opinion poll sponsored by WBIR and the Knoxville News-Sentinel. Most of the poll questions reveal things you might expect. A majority of those surveyed feel that Knox County Government is badly managed. Over 2/3rds of the people give county law enforcement high marks, however-which would explain in part why the Sheriff's Office has always had the upper hand over Mike Ragsdale. Over 75% of the people gave the Knox County Commission a negative rating, and even more give Ragsdale the thumbs-down.
The shocker comes when the question turns to the issue of whether the City of Knoxville and Knox County should consolidate government. According to the poll, a metropolitan government is supported by nearly a 2 to 1 margin. I suspect that many respondents think that this will simply mean a merging of services, but many may not be aware that if consolidation were to occur, Knox County as an autonomous and free entity will cease to exist. This is especially dangerous to people who live in parts of Knox County that are struggling to maintain a more rural way of life. Consolidated government will almost certainly bring the days of a largely-agrarian East Knox County to an end. The major proponents of metropolitan government in Knox County dream of an urban paradise, in which the interests of both the people and the landowner are superseded by the interests of the government official and the real estate and business developer.
Democrats await the notion of consolidated government in Knox County with baited breath, and the poll proves it. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to support consolidation-and no wonder: Mass urban governmental units breed government dependency and discourage individualism and personal freedom. Large cities with intrusive governments are the breeding grounds of modern liberalism and neo-Marxism, and are also (not coincidently) the epicenter of many of the ills of our society. It is no wonder that the modern Democratic Party-a Party which thrives on dependency and the welfare state-supports the urbanization of almost everything. Then after these people achieve their urban paradise, they bemoan that lack of green space and the pollution that results from their enlightened urban living.
I'd be willing to bet the ranch that the Republicans and independents in the WBIR poll who live in the county are not fully aware that Knox County as they know it will cease to exist under a consolidated government. Why do I have such an interest in this when I now live in Jefferson County? If Knox County goes Metro, it has an effect on everyone in all the counties around it, especially if urban development began to proceed in the manner that I would expect.
Labels: Local politics