Jul 24 2015
12:54 pm

I was leaving the city county building in September of 2013 and was walking through the parking lot behind the old court house and noticed this bumpersticker on a car that was in the parking space reserved for Foster Arnett:

Arnett Parking Space

With the facebook posts this seems par for the course the attitude of our county clerk, which is a shame. What's more of a shame is the lack of coverage by the Knoxville News Sentinel, who pulled this article down from their site:

Sentinel story

I called a reporter from the Sentinel to inquire about this yesterday evening- and was told to call Jack Mcelroy. That was certainly a waste of time, as I spoke to him this morning. He would not discuss their coverage of this issue nor would he discuss why they pulled down this story.

This whole thing stinks to high heavens.

Knoxhegel's picture

McIlroy should have given you

McIlroy should have given you a reason why the story was pulled. Elected officials shouldn't be sporting bumper stickers questioning the intelligence of the voting populace for more than one reason. I guess this guy doesn't get the irony.

CcDavis's picture


This guy used to be a journalist so is probably using his good ole' boy network to try to keep this story swept under the rug. That won't work Mr. Arnett, your comments were too egregious to keep contained. The only thing left for you to do is resign.

drive by's picture

News Sentinel Charities, Inc.

News Sentinel Charities, Inc. Board of Directors

Foster D. Arnett, Jr.
Knox County Clerk


ArtWagner's picture

Oh, Now I Get It

I don't have much respect for the NS, but I never imagined they'd stoop this low to cover for one of their crowd.

Knoxhegel's picture

Arnett used to be a

Arnett used to be a journalist? Where? Maybe he will resign and go back to his origins, writing some crappy column that doesn't deserve even an inch of print. I can't think of any other former elected-officials to go that route.

DisgustedDude's picture


Arnett has no respect for his workers and is a total chauvenist. His delay tactics when the Supreme Court decision legalized gay marriage are indicative of his abuse of power. His nonsensical decision to then reduce the offices where marraiges could be performed from all 6 to just one because the offices were 'slammed' with an influx of marraiges is another example of his bully tactics. He just used the word 'streamline' with the media to try to mask the fact that these tactics were motivated by biggotry and are the equivalent to a child's tantrum in response to the long overdue cultural shift taking place in this country.

Knoxhegel's picture

I'm not all on-board with

I'm not all on-board with Obama's decisions, but I wouldn't put a sticker on my car basically calling more than half the voting populace "stupid." Arnett is a f***ing idiot. His FB memes are what I expect from my completely uneducated FB friends who suffer the most for electing republicans and would benefit the most from electing non-neoliberal democrats. Keep putting those stupid bumper stickers on your car, Arnett, and thank your lucky stars that stupid people vote for you!

Left TN's picture


Obama was re-elected and elected in electoral landslides. The MAJORITY of the electorate voted for him, not half.

I just don't get it. Why do people like this guy not accept the positive presidency that our president has worked for?

Tamara Shepherd's picture


I had to take a look at election result archives to jog my memory as to Arnett's term. Looks like he ran unopposed in 2014.

Short of a recall effort between now and 2018, wonder if Greg MacKay would have any interest in the job next go-around? He's someone who's already proved himself to be a public servant respectful of every citizen he serves, don't you think?

PowellIsRed's picture

How did your research go? It

How did your research go? It seems that you were called out for lacking research skills. Arnett wasn't wasn't unopposed in 2014

Elwood Aspermonte's picture

Foster is just riding it out waiting to be term limited away

In my opinion he's the poster child for what is wrong in Knox County politics, elected offices and leadership in general, a child of privilege growing up in Sequoyah Hills (much like Victor Ashe) he's fumbled and futzed around town, when he really should have left town, landing in spots that his dad's connections and family recognition can take him.

Knoxville and Knox County remain a frumpy little spot in the road mainly because you've got a bunch of incapable and unqualified people put into roles that are way over their head and capabilities.

DisgustedDude's picture

Padgett Opposed Arnett

Democrat and former County Clerk Mike Padgett ran against Arnett in 2014.

Knoxhegel's picture

Have to agree with the last

Have to agree with the last sentence of El As.

Knoxhegel's picture

Would Padgett be better? I

Would Padgett be better? I mean he's probably politically savvy enough to not post such stupid stuff on social media, but would he be better? Idk. I'm just curious. It may be time to clean house.

Rachel's picture

Mike Padgett, not Mark. Mike

Mike Padgett, not Mark. Mike is a former clerk. Mark is his son who ran for Mayor.

And no.

Knoxhegel's picture

I never specified Mike or

I never specified Mike or Mark.

Factchecker's picture

What a brilliant piece of work he is

Is it better to have smart people voting for a stupid president or stupid people voting for a smart president? We get it, though; it's a non sequitur intended to state that Obama is stupid. This coming from someone who was undoubtedly a strong George W. Bush supporter, and who supports at least one of the current Republican hopefuls, ignoramuses as they all are.

Average Guy's picture

If a reporter can ever find Waldo Arnett,

I hope they ask him how he feels about being in the Party of Trump.

Or if he voted to put Sarah Palin second in command.

Then, we can discuss stupid.

Mike Knapp's picture

Threshold question

His comments harm the county and his office. The threshold question is - has his obvious prejudice adversely impacted people doing business with his office?

Four Florida police officers out after racist text messages

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*'re right, Disgusted Dude, that Arnett wasn't unopposed in the general. Guess I'd looked at primary results.

BTW, I notice that other bumper sticker on the car in Cameron's picture promotes Sequoyah Hills Presbyterian Church, which is a part of Presbyterian USA. Do you suppose the driver realizes that Pres USA ordains gay clergy and performs gay weddings? Presumably in Tennessee, too, these days?

Gave me a chuckle, especially since he's referring to other people as "stupid."

Dahlia's picture

A bumper sticker

calling 1/2 of Americans 'stupid' along side another one of his church.

What an immature, snotty brat he is. I am really embarrassed for him and his buddies who protect him.

jc's picture


"In my opinion he's the poster child for what is wrong in Knox County politics, "

The opinion being, of course, that there are just too many Republicans in local office. Do you really think any of his posts/stickers would irritate the average Knox County voter ?

I live over in Old North. It'd probably aggravate the 4 blocks surrounding my house and that would be about the end of it.

Now, if it were plastered with some of that nonsensical crap one finds on some of the cars parked at TVUUC and 3 Rivers then perhaps this pic might resonate with voters around these parts.

Rachel's picture

Calling part of your

Calling part of your constituency stupid is just, well "stupid." I suspect quite a few Democrats voted for Arnett because they weren't enamored of Mike Padgett. Won't happen again.

And more than that, it's just not becoming of the office. Public servants, whatever their personal opinion, should behave better.

And that's not even getting into the entire "goathumper" thing.

ArtWagner's picture

I'd be careful if I were you

Maybe you don't remember. The manifestation of what extreme right-wing ideology consists of played itself out at TVUUC several years ago with the loss of life. Arnett's bumper stickers and his Facebook posts are also the manifestation of that same conservative ideology of anti-liberal, anti-democratic hate and bigotry, just without the firearms. Of course, that's how it always starts.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Culture wars

Maybe you don't remember. The manifestation of what extreme right-wing ideology consists of played itself out at TVUUC several years ago with the loss of life. Arnett's bumper stickers and his Facebook posts are also the manifestation of that same conservative ideology of anti-liberal, anti-democratic hate and bigotry, just without the firearms. Of course, that's how it always starts.

What is it with your us vs them idiotogy. You seem to enjoy it and are playing into it as much as the pugs. Did you play war games as a kid - always choosing sides and railing against the enemy?

I've always appreciated that I live in a city where the left and right tend to live in harmony. If Rogero and Burchett can get along why can't we? IMO the fact that Arnett slunk away on "vacation" and hid the posts shows either remorse or more likely someone gave him a talking to.

I am curious if the hate continues unabated on the private posts.

And your comment about the shooting is beyond the pale. Using your logic all women are in danger in Lafayette, all military are in danger in Chattanooga.

ArtWagner's picture

Why are you being disingenuous?

Conflating the different, barely related sub-topics on this thread into one confused response indicates that you probably skimmed the comments without any comprehension. What concerns me more is that you complained about my "us vs. them" attitude when the actual topic is Arnett's "us vs. them" attitude.

You are extremely naive if you think the local political situation is one of harmony. The City government is officially non-partisan, operates efficiently, and has a fairly diverse range among office holders. The County government, of which Arnett is a member, is completely partisan and careens from inefficiency to scandal to injustice to actual corruption. The county's conservative officeholders have a huge majority and token opposition. Any appearance of harmony is just that-a false facade of make-do tolerance from progressives.

BTW, my mention of TVUUC stemmed from the original commenters reference to "nonsensical bumper stickers on cars at TVUUC." It pays to actually read the thread instead of just jumping to conclusions.

Up Goose Creek's picture


Let me try to phrase it more simply:

1) two wrongs don't make a right.
2) don't sink to the republican's level. *

Yes I realize there is a place for righteous indignation - go Sam McKenzie!

* If you want to effect change - how about recruiting and supporting good Democratic candidates for county offices.

Factchecker's picture

What Would Jesus Display?

I think "nonsensical crap" messages on car bumpers are not nearly as inappropriate as hateful political smears. Maybe the anti-Obama sticker is not the biggest lie displayed in that photo.

ArtWagner's picture


I wonder whether the folks at Sequoyah Presbyterian would agree or disagree with the sticker juxtaposition?

Hildegard's picture

Calvinists in the most

Calvinists in the most prestigious neighborhood in Knoxville? Can we lay bets?

Glasat's picture

Well, this Arnett business

Well, this Arnett business sure is frustrating. I've been residing in Florida for nearly 10 years, which is roughly 9 too many. I love Knoxville. I've been visiting socially every few months for the past 2 years and daily try to stay abreast of your town. I think a lot about moving there and adding to its progressive demographic. I even bought a vintage Martin from Parlor Music (yeah, I know, it's leaving DT).

Still, you folks have got to do better with your voting, please, so I can justify leaving this here godawful stinkhole of political perversion. Otherwise, joining your community will amount to no more than a sideways move...but, at least, you have seasons and the Blue Plate Special. So, please, your part. I'll be watching...and thanks in advance.

ArtWagner's picture

It's worth noting…

It's worth noting, and a rarely publicized fact, that the City of Knoxville precincts within Knox County have gone for every Democratic presidential candidate since Clinton. Obviously that is not the case for Knox County as a whole, which has shown the unfortunate opposite results.

So, if one lives, breathes, and socializes in the City, its pretty easy to forget that a few miles away lie hate and bigotry of surprising proportions. That's the way it is in a lot of urban areas of the South.

Glasat's picture

The specific reason for my

The specific reason for my social trips actually lives outside your Scruffy Powell. She's near both Crown College and the Temple Baptist Church. So, yes, Art, I definitely hear you, as relates to Mr. Arnett and his ilk. My degree's in political science (FWIW) and I like breaking down demographics. I'm actually a Yankee transplant (but at least I come from *southern* New England). Coincidentally, a 1st cousin of mine from that same N.E. town now lives somewhere in or near Powell, but she's turned into a meme-posting, Bible-ranting, Borg member and I refuse contact...she attends Temple Baptist, in fact.

I love what some these days call the Real South, though it's a subjective term. While there's plenty to vilify within it, there's much more to love & appreciate...and I do. My part of FL (Tampa Bay) isn't the Real South, but the corruption & utter stupidity at FL's state level makes Stacey Campfield seem sane. For me, Knoxville is the Goldilocks city....Nashville is too big and eating itself. I can handle the hate & bigotry to which you allude. Now, if only I could afford one of those downtown condo projects...maybe Marble Alley when it's done?

redmondkr's picture

There are those of us living

There are those of us living in the Powell area who refer to it as "Clown College". Probably their biggest claim to fame was the night one of their former inmates zealots tried to burn down the nearby adult bookstore.

Knoxgal's picture

We don't always have a choice

This is a County office. When it comes time to vote, often our only choice is between bad and worse.

Glasat's picture

Population Ratio

Knoxgal, it looks like the city holds 40% of the population within the county. So, I see your ultimate point, indeed. Elsewhere, I knew that Marble Alley is apartments, not condos...oops.

Somebody's picture


While the crass disrespect of Obama supporters is tacky at best, that's not really what is important here. He's a Republican and doesn't like Democrats. OK. Got it.

What is important is the fact that the County Clerk has publicly expressed an opinion that crudely disparages members of a particular faith. That disparagement raises the question that he might disrespect or even discriminate against constituents of that faith who come to his office to seek services. Muslims drive cars and get married. How can they now feel equally welcome when coming to the County Clerk's office to renew car tags or to get a marriage license?

Second is the fact that the Knoxville News Sentinel created a story that raised these questions, only to remove it a short time after it was posted. Lacking any other explanation for their actions, it would seem that the Sentinel is shielding Arnett because of his affiliation with their charitable organization. That suggests the worst sort of entanglement and conflict of interest for Knoxville's only daily newspaper.

WBIR ran a story about Arnett's original posting, noting that he did not or could not respond because he was out of town. Perhaps on Monday he will have returned, and will be available to respond to the legitimate questions raised by this series of events. I hope that WBIR will follow up and get a response from the County Clerk.

Average Guy's picture

If I were a KNS reporter,

I'd be fighting for a plum assignment in South Walton.

Dahlia's picture

Arnett posted on the KNS Kessling story this morning,

so he's at least back from his 'vacation' enough to be online, and to answer questions about his FB racist, hateful remarks, but I'm not holding my breath that we'll hear from him.

He can't hide forever, though, so eventually some reporter with balls will ask him to explain himself.

SnM's picture


Arnett isn't going to be ousted from office. Numbers just aren't there.

I understand that, before he figured out how to make his Facebook page private, his offensive posts went back further on his timeline than could be excused by someone hacking it while he was on vacation.

However, because he has now made it private, he can go with that excuse or the even more heinous and specious "it's my personal opinion," and the majority of Knox Countians will support that.

If, in fact, he holds these beliefs and has no qualms about expressing them, the only option would seem to be to widely publicize them outside of Knox County and Tennessee, to ensure the weight of negative attention falls on him, sad though it will be for our state to once again become a laughingstock for the nation.

Then again, we could perhaps start a national laughing stock export industry here, employing the almost dead people who can't afford insurance here.

Up Goose Creek's picture


A rental is best for you, anyway. You can show up, whine for a while, after a year you are free to move on to someplace with smug pollution and insult us from afar. Add to your arsenal of self righteousness.

Glasat's picture

I did come on a bit strong,

I did come on a bit strong, didn't I? My apologies.

danandrews's picture


The Boyd Cloud Saturday Morning Democratic Club will meet Saturday, August 1, at Shoney's Restaurant, 4410 Western Avenue. The meeting will begin at 8:00 a.m.

Our guest speaker will be Jack McElroy, editor of the Knoxville News Sentinel. Please join us as we welcome him. Mr. McElroy will discuss the News Sentinel's coverage of government and politics.

---------end of email----------------

OK, so for everyone on this board who has questions, comments, or concerns...see you at breakfast.

On a side note, I really love this club. They get solid guests, the location is great, and many times I have walked out with solid information.

So again, set the alarm clock. This is still one of the best organizations in politics in Knox County.

glostik's picture

It figures!

I can't be at Boyd Cloud Saturday because I have a Community Schools Round Table with Dr. Kronick, hate to miss that BC meeting though!

Up Goose Creek's picture


I'm not an expert on these things but have wondered if the "progressive demographic" that moved to NC affected the recent hard right turn of the NC legislature. A pushback perhaps?

I'll read snippets about them and feel they make our TN legislators seem moderate.

Has anyone lived in NC who can provide insight?

AnonymousJ's picture

He certainly has the right to

He certainly has the right to post his racist views on facebook. What worries me is the "sentinel" torpedoing the story to save one of their pals some public embarrassment/ scrutiny. Good journalism goes nowhere if you have bad corporate lackeys killing stories like that. Everyone should remember them for their hypocrisy when they argue they act in the public interest.

reform4's picture

I agree!

THAT is the bigger story.

Tamara Shepherd's picture


Wasn't Jack McElroy to have been the guest speaker at Saturday morning's Boyd Cloud Dem Club meeting? Was Jack asked about this story being buried? Details, anyone???

peixao's picture

Just curious

Did Mr. Arnett foot the lawyer bill for his courthouse mold lawsuit? And how much did that end up costing the taxpayers?

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