letters to the editor

We do not need apartments, more stores, at Biddle

When we bought our home in Farragut over 20years ago it was because of the “town” atmosphere we found here. We did not want to be in a city, but rather in a town. We delighted in finding everything we needed in our town. Even when Turkey Creek was added, the town didn’t change.

We lived in a self-contained area that had everything we needed. We were still the Town of Farragut. We had the conveniences of a city, but in a town setting.

And now you want to change all that. We do not need these apartment complexes and additional stores in an already congested area! Please ... listen to your citizens! You were elected to office to “work” for us -- and the great majority of our citizens DO NOT want this change you seem so determined to push through in spite of opposition from the citizens of Farragut. Everyone is happy with things the way they are! Why do you want to change a good thing?

Farragut has a charm that is missing in so many other places, and what you want to do will destroy it! Everything else in our world seems to be changing ... . Isn’t there this ONE THING that isn’t forced upon us. Weren’t you elected to do the will of the people? And the people of Farragut DO NOT want this new complex to bring more traffic into an area that is already becoming a traffic nightmare.

Please don’t do this! Bring in the voting machines and let the citizens vote! Don’t just push this through over the objections of the majority of the population. Yield to the will of the people who are crying out, “Don’t do this!” We don’t want this complex! We don’t need this complex! We deplore even the idea of this complex! HEAR THE PEOPLE!

I just write to join my voice to the many citizens who are begging you not to push this complex through over the opposition of those who voted you into office.

This is something you will come to regret if you proceed in this direction. By doing this you could actually kill the town that I believe you must love. We all love Farragut. We’re not against change ... but it has to be the right change ... a change that is keeping in the character of the Town of Farragut.

Please listen to the people! We don’t seem to have a vote ... so at least let us have a voice.

I would appreciate it if you would read this letter at your meeting before you vote. I believe I represent the voice of the people!

Jean Coleman


Local COVID-19 prevention efforts often ignored

Having listened to this topic in the news previously while fighting our way through this COVID pandemic, it angers me now as much as it did then. Maybe even more now that we have had more time to see the impact of this virus. Months of watching our infection and death rates rise from minimal going into lockdown to headline-making numbers. Being featured on national news as having the worst rates for our city/county compared to the nation.

Simultaneously, watching local news discuss plans by several County Commissioners and Mayor Jacobs to dissolve the Knox County Board of Health due mostly to economic concerns from COVID safety mandates. I read of clashes over mandatory masks, distancing, group gatherings and closures/limited hours of operations of businesses, particularly restaurants and bars and initially others with distancing difficulties.

In a county where the rates of infection and deaths have risen dramatically since easing lockdown conditions, our best weapon against this worldwide deadly virus and its new variants is science based slowing of its spread until it can be controlled by scientific methods.

However, as lockdown started, I have personally observed masks, distancing and business closures/limited schedules being mocked and ignored. I have been in stores where enforcement was nonexistent due to a lack of support. I watched people ignore safety precautions, while the county commission and mayor assembled legislation to dissolve or control the Board’s ability to create safety mandates, which government should have been supporting!

The rise in covid rates and disregard for safety rules that I’ve witnessed, shows that many people do not make science and community-safety based decisions on their own. I hear repeatedly that wearing masks in public and stores is a ‘personal choice’. They did not grasp that their ‘personal choice’ could seriously impact or end the life of another local person. These are voters that we have to protect from themselves, as well as protect the public. The best way to protect economic interests and personal rights is to band together to fight the spread of the virus. It’s also the best way to save lives.

Authority to assess and implement health/safety mandates should remain with an impartial group of health experts. A group of science/health based people doing their job simply because it is their job, conferring together to effectively address health issues without politics.

The proposed vote is to remove the authority of the multi-person Health Department Board and give it to only one member, its Director, who then can be singled out, pressured, dismissed or replaced by the elected county mayor if he does not agree with the Director’s mandates. The result of this proposed change is to effectively silence 9 board members and make its new single representative vulnerable to the political will of the county mayor. This new method goes against science and the consequences could be increased risk exposure, infections and deaths. All of which will have negative economic impacts. This is a back door method of turning nonpolitical, science-based safety decisions into political decisions.

The elected county government officials are best tasked with the job of supporting and enforcing public health emergency safety measures, as well as using their offices to create financial assistance and support to our suffering small business owners and citizens during this epic health crisis.

Karen Alexander


Get over voter fraud issue; prepare for ’22

I write in response to the Jan. 21 letter to the editor about purported voter fraud in the 2020 election. The author may be correct that many of Donald Trump’s 74 million voters “believe” that their vote was stolen. This, however, does not make it so.

We might consider Trump’s own history on the issue. In the 2016 Republican presidential primary, after losing the Iowa caucus to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Trump claimed that the vote had been rigged and that Cruz had cheated. In the lead-up to the general election match-up against Hillary Clinton, Trump proclaimed that if he were to lose, it would mean that the vote had been rigged.

After his surprise win in the Electoral College, he claimed that the process had perhaps not been as rigged as he had thought, but blamed his popular vote loss on millions of undocumented immigrants voting for Clinton.

He put together a commission, which investigated the matter for months, which then disbanded after finding no substantive evidence of illegal voting.

In 2020, weeks before his matchup against Joe Biden, Trump proclaimed in advance that there could only be two legitimate outcomes: either Trump would win re-election, or the vote would be rigged. This is not a history that suggests that Trump’s claims of voter fraud after Biden’s win have been made in good faith.

Sidney Powell, whom the author mentions, is an adherent of the fringe QAnon conspiracy theory, and has also made wild accusations that the Republican governor of Georgia accepted bribes from Venezuela to throw the state to Biden.

Powell’s claim that 450K votes nationally for Biden with no down-ballot voting would be impossible is easily discredited. In 2016, in just one state — Pennsylvania — 64,000 fewer voters voted in the highly contested U.S. Senate race than in the presidential race. The accusations about voting machines flipping votes are also unfounded. Georgia, which has received such accusations from Powell, has a paper ballot system that creates a hard copy record of every vote, which are then tabulated by machines.

When the 2020 election was complete, the state completed a hand recount of every single paper ballot, which largely matched electronic voting totals. This would be an impossible result if machines flipped votes after they had been cast.

Much more likely is that, in the two years after the very close 2018 gubernatorial race, Democrats organized enough new voters in Atlanta, Columbus and Savannah to turn the state blue.

Trump’s other attorneys, Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, while making similarly wild accusations of mass fraud in public press conferences, have studiously avoided saying such things in their actual legal filings, as there are consequences for making unprovable claims in court.

Instead, the Trump campaign’s lawsuits in state and federal courts primarily targeted the legality of the measures put in place during the pandemic, such as expanded voting by mail. Courts uniformly tossed these lawsuits, ruling that these were reasonable accommodations during our current public health crisis. It is telling that Trump’s legal team only targeted these measures in states he lost, and not in Florida, Ohio or Texas, where similar practices were implemented. If securing the integrity of our voting system was the goal, as the author suggests, this was a strange way to go about achieving it.

The solution for conservatives disappointed by the 2020 results is the same as that for liberals disappointed in 2016: prepare for the midterm congressional elections in two years, and the next presidential election two years after that.

Michael Camp


Alderman lists his ‘pro-Biddle’ Town Center reasons

Farragut residents can hear first-hand my reasons for approving the proposed Town Center apartments and commercial development, on the “Old Kroger” portion of the Biddle Farm, by watching on-line Board of Mayor and Alderman (BOMA) meetings. The meetings occur bi-monthly on the second and fourth Thursdays at 7 p.m. For resident convenience, I summarize my reasons for approving this development below:

1) The Old Kroger portion of the Biddle Farm has been zoned for commercial development for years (most likely before Farragut was incorporated). The Biddles have the right to develop their property 100 percent commercial should they choose.

2) As an Alderman, I will not prohibit Farragut residents’ property rights, as outlined in Town ordinances, whether they own a farm, home or commercial property.   

3) Currently, almost no traffic is generated from this property because it is used for agriculture (although it is zoned for commercial). Therefore, any development, regardless of type (i.e. park, church/school, subdivision,or big box store like a Lowe’s) is going to increase current traffic volume. 

4) Industry engineering standards show commercial property generates more vehicle traffic than residential property. The proposed residential (i.e. apartments) & commercial development will increase traffic by a lesser amount than 100 percent commercial development.

 5) In order for businesses on the commercial portion to be successful, residents must live within a convenient walking distance and serve as a “built-in” customer base. Without this customer base, these businesses will struggle to compete with Turkey Creek businesses.  

6) Town government cannot intervene in residential occupancy agreements. Just as BOMA cannot prohibit Farragut homeowners from long-term renting out their houses, BOMA cannot prohibit other property owners from renting out their residential property — even if it is a 4-story building with multiple residential units. Further, I believe Farragut residents have the right to choose whether to rent or own property without fear of governmental discrimination or public backlash.

7) Knox County Planning Commission ratios and projections regularly show high density residential property (i.e. apartments) generates a lesser number of students than lower density residential properties (i.e. single family homes).

8) The proposed development meets the vision of a Town Center that consists of retail and residential properties. This vision has been communicated to Farragut residents for over a decade through normal communication methods, and I promised to bring this vision to fruition during my 2018 Alderman campaign. 

Despite the above, I share resident concerns about congested traffic and school overcrowding. I’ve seen too many severe traffic accidents and vehicle traffic backups. As a parent of a 16-year-old daughter, who has room to improve her driving skills, I am also very concerned about vehicle speed on Farragut streets. Further, as a former educator, I believe class size and school amenities have a significant impact on how and what a child learns.

I believe the Town’s future traffic-control stop lights and proposed staggered school start times will impact traffic. I also believe newly constructed schools in Hardin Valley will ease Farragut school overcrowding.

However, I’m skeptical of the long-term impact of all of these remedies. Should they fall short of significant, long-term traffic and school overcrowding improvement, then I will seek Farragut resident input on other, more extensive, remedy options.

Alderman Scott J. Meyer

Farragut, North Ward

A call to stand up against hate in Farragut

We dodged a ballistic missile. I am so thankful to have a competent and professional administration. One where different perspectives are welcomed, not fired. One where appointments are based on experience, not personal fealty. A democracy and not a kleptocracy with consolidation of power in one family. I am so relieved not to repeat my family’s WWII experience in Europe. Character matters: honesty and respect. We have a responsibility to avoid sources that spread baseless conspiracy theories. Those with mental illness (psychoticism) are especially vulnerable. What are the effects on children who are raised in an ecosystem of hate and mistrust? After moving to a new neighborhood in Farragut and displaying a Biden sign, we received a hate letter telling us to leave. Sadly, we assume it was from a child echoing his/her parents’ prejudices or those of screaming heads on TV. Is this what we want for our children? Please, Farragut. Lets find the courage to stand up to hate and change the channel.

Yetta Jager, Farragut

Reader wants advisory board for elected officials

The Knox County Board of Health keeps pushing and pushing for unelected, unchecked power in our community. I do not agree with one person, in this instance Dr. (Martha) Buchanan, having 100 percent reign when it comes to county health regulations. The health board of 10 individuals can be productive to our county if they serve as an advisory committee. Other than Mayor (Glenn) Jacobs, this board is not elected and has no Constitutional authority to make laws for the citizenry of Knox County.

To dissolve this board in favor of having one and only one voice concerning any health-related matters before us is an absolute misuse of power.

Please consider the voice of the people in this decision. I’m thankful for the wisdom of our Founding Fathers for their guidance, through our Constitution, in situations much like these, which effect the citizens of this community.

Please consider a 10-member advisory committee for our Board of Health in Knox County. Many minds working on a problem are far better than one. Then turn the law making over the elected officials who have to answer to their constituents.

Angel Ray, Farragut

Not a viable discussion issue: is pro-Health Board

I find it hard to believe that this is even being discussed, considering that almost 400,000 people have died from COVID to date. I understand that we need to “keep the economy going,” but at what cost. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is an expert, states that two of the worst places to go right now are bars and restaurants. I believe that this is the impetus behind this state and local push to dissolve the health board.

As far as I know, Glenn Jacobs has no experience or education in public health. Neither does Jason Zachary, whom I’m embarrassed to say is one of my legislators (he does not have a four-year degree, either). Martha Buchanan and the other members of the health board are trained in this and I am sure they are taking their lead from the NIH.

Would you want a doctor preparing your tax return? Would you want your county mayor performing your surgery? I have contacted (state Sen.) Becky Massey (R-District 6) about this, who is typically non-committal. I’ve also contacted John Schoonmaker at the local level (5th District County Commissioner), who has not bothered to respond.

Kathy Bulmer, Concord