knox snooze

Succotash my Balzac, dipshiitake.

Everybody's buddy

In the new Metro Pulse, Joe Sullivan talks about what kind of job Bill Haslam has done in his first five months in office as Knoxville's mayor. Even David Patterson, the campaign manager for Madeline Rogero, Haslam's chief opponent in the race, thinks ol' Bill is doing a good job.
Bill Haslam has been doing fine. He spends time getting out with the public, and he made a big thing about looking at 6 percent budget cuts before proposing a tax increase, which is something Madeline thought would probably be needed. I’d say he’s handling things just right.
It's hard not to like Haslam so far. He's been mugging all over the city, and he is doing a lot of the little things right. Not to be too cynical or anything, but who wouldn't be pretty popular in his same situation? Knoxville hasn't really had any crises to deal with, other than the budgetary ones we inherited from Victor Ashe (and would we really know what to do with ourselves if we were operating in the black?). Congratulations, Bill. You haven't done anything really stupid.

One must admit, though, Haslam's vision for the future for Knoxville is one that most of us share: more efficient use of what we have, investing for growth based upon real results, and input from the broadest base of residents possible. His hopes for South Knoxville are also some I can get on board with.
On the other hand, Haslam hopes to grow an entire new neighborhood along the South Knoxville waterfront. Looking out across the river from his office window in the City County Building, he gestures expansively at an area east of the Gay Street Bridge that now looks like a tank farm and extends about a mile to the South Knoxville Bridge. “You have Holston Gases and the Marathon Ashland asphalt plant sitting right on the waterfront. Long term, can we find another location for them? I think there’s a great opportunity for mixed-use development and [the same for] the property west of the Henley Street Bridge leading up to Fort Dickerson.” With most older neighborhoods resistant to new development, and annexation no longer much of an option, Haslam sees the South Knoxville waterfront, the I-275 corridor and downtown as the prime target areas for growth that will augment the city’s revenues.
He's done well so far, and the measures he envisions for the near future are some that should have fairly broad support. Let's face it, his number one qualification is who he is not: Victor Ashe. But if former Rogero supporters and the other traditional detractors continue to show him the love, he should be in for a pretty smooth ride.
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