Member of FCRGD responds to Mayor

In the Feb. 4 issue, the farragutpress ran a story titled “FCRGD-led 244 ‘table’ demands, requests fall short.”

In that story, unsubstantiated allegations from Farragut Mayor Ron Williams were quoted. Williams accused unnamed people in Farragut of harassment. Williams vaguely implied the local citizen Group Farragut Citizens for Responsible Growth and Development were at fault.

Why did the farragutpress print these unproven allegations? The story took on an ugly Op-Ed tone due to the unwarranted unproven charges by Williams.

What Williams did not say is that in the history of the town of Farragut, no single issue has had more community response than the three ordinances on the Biddle Farm in the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting on Jan. 28. 244 Farragut citizens wrote e-mail comments requesting that the vote on the Biddle Farm be tabled or voted down.

There was a change.org petition with over 1,500 signatures that the Mayor and Aldermen also ignored.

Not only did Williams falsely allege harassment, he further insulted the people of Farragut by claiming that this group of people believe they “have a monopoly on what is the correct vision for the future of the Town of Farragut.”

How is it wrong for the people of Farragut to want to be heard? This is America. Not Russia.

The truth is the Mayor and Aldermen want a monopoly on what is the correct vision for the future of the Town of Farragut. That was proven when the Mayor and Aldermen completely ignored the hundreds of people who told them they did not want the Biddle Farm project as designed.

What is so hypocritical is that the Mayor requires the following rules for the people of Farragut to send e-mail comments to the Mayor and Aldermen:

6. Comments shall address issues, not individuals or personalities;

7. Comments may support or oppose issues or measures, but the motives of those with differing views shall not be questioned or attacked

8. Personal attacks and malicious comments shall not be tolerated

Williams’ attacks and malicious comments to the people of Farragut are a gross double standard. The Emperor wears no clothes here. The Mayor owes the people of Farragut an apology.

Mike Mitchell, FCRGD member

Much praise for the late Rob Goebel, Horne

I would like to make a few comments, per our community, on various topics.

First and foremost, I would like to thank the farragutpress for its coverage last week of the passing of Mr. Rob Goebel. Mr. Goebel, along with Ms. Alexis Clayton, were both murdered by a coward Jan. 24 at a local eatery where they worked. I knew Rob professionally from his previous management duties of Calhoun’s at Turkey Creek. During the early 2000s to its conclusion in 2010, the Farragut Community Alliance held its board meetings, its Leadership Farragut program, and several candidate forums and open houses at Calhoun’s banquet room.

Rob was an incredible supporter and sponsor of the FCA and the Farragut community. Rob was always a joy to talk to and had a great sense of humor, but most importantly was consistently looking to help others in various ways. It was no surprise to hear of his heroic actions during his last seconds of life as told to me by his sister at his visitation, as that was the honorable type of man Rob was.

Secondly, I would like to thank Mr. Doug Horne for his lifetime commitment to the Farragut community in which he is a resident, investor and volunteer. Many communities do not have a local paper serving as the historical record of the community, and the farragutpress is delivered free without subscription each week by a dedicated team supported by Mr. Horne. We are very fortunate to have a premier local paper, as proven through the numerous accolades the farragutpress has achieved through the Tennessee Press Association, etc.

Local papers are facing incredible challenges in a post Internet/social media world, and especially during the past year with COVID-19/Chinese Virus, and as such our community is very fortunate of Mr. Horne’s continued investment not only in its paper, but with economic development opportunities. Mr. Horne has incredible national experience in various business matters, and has even served as a board member for the prominent and international not-for-profit Samaritan’s Purse, which many know through its “Operation Christmas Child” program.

Over the years, Mr. Horne has donated much to our community (time, expertise, artwork, land, etc.) without compensation. With all of this being said, it is very disappointing in comprehending the negative “tone” by some members of the community — towards the gracious opportunities Mr. Horne brings to his hometown — as documented, ironically, in his own paper over the past months. The community needs to be thankful for Mr. Horne on many fronts, including his continued investments and opportunities (Horne is owner of Republic Newspaper, Inc., parent company of (farragutpress).

Lastly, I would like to inform the community of a current public relations initiative that is preparing the City of Knoxville and Knox County elected officials for a proposed downtown baseball stadium. This is a great opportunity for any community EXCEPT for the use of public taxpayer money, tax concessions and bonds.

It is common (and extensively documented) knowledge that public funds for professional stadiums and similar venues is a horrible risk for communities. I have witnessed this firsthand in Memphis during the 1990s and researched such public-private partnerships as part of my Master of Public Administration program of that same era. Knox County government has no business in pursuing this fiduciary risk, and if I was the Knox County Mayor I would avoid this public partnership/investment at all cost.

Bill Johns, Farragut