Tue
Jul 17 2012
12:04 pm

My brother in NJ sent me this link and asked me what I thought of it. He's considering retiring down here, but this story unnerved him:

(link...)

Summary: because voting numbers are dropping, and population isn't growing within the city limits, Knoxville is dying. Never mind when you see a revitalized downtown, with movie theatres, farmer's markets in Market Square, people milling about EVERY EVENING downtown... just ignore all that, because the city is dying, OK?

I told him it was ignorant on both counts:
- Voting numbers down because people are happy (and complacent) after 10 years of great mayors and strong development. Local politically active people still vote and participate, but Average Joe doesn't vote because he's happy.
- The City isn't growing in population because we're all built out, and the new housing development is all done in the County and outlying areas. I explained that the MPC had recently run all the numbers and shown how much we can grow under certain zoning regs.

I could analyze his other errors, like his absurd comparison of current budgets to 1980 (dude, ever heard of inflation? Houses and salaries go up over 30+ years).

My brother asked "Who is this George Korda guy, then? Does he even live in Knoxville?" I responded:

> Well, every village has an idiot, I suppose. Most people
> around here don't take George very seriously. His
> analysis is shown to be wrong > 90% of the time.

But this article in CityView really does harm to Knoxville. What he heck is his motivation? Is it a swipe at Rogero?

But I think I kept two potential retirees considering Knoxville over Asheville. You're welcome, George.

92
like
JCB's picture

Do you live in Knoxville Reform4?

(link...)

Apathy is a measure of viability. Knoxville isn't a viable city. If you have a home worth over $300k Knoxville is a poor return on what you pay to live there. People don't vote because their vote doesn't matter. Knoxville is stupid. It can't manage its budget. It can't figure out what people want.

It sucks so bad you won't live there Reform4. Which is pretty funny when you complain so much about where you do live.

And for someone who thinks they are so smart Reform4, Korda compared the population to 1980. He compared the budget to 2002. 10 years is not 30 years Einstein.

As far as Korda being wrong. He isn't wrong about this:

"Ten years ago, the operating budget for the City of Knoxville was $130 million. The proposed 2012-2013 operating budget: $180.5 million. This is a $50 million increase in a decade when the population is essentially the same size as in 1980.

The city’s debt is just under $186 million. One heavy weight is the convention center’s continuing debt. The debt service on the convention center alone in 2012-2013 will top $10 million."

Knoxville is a slot machine that never pays off. The only thing that has ever done "harm" to Knoxville is the people elected to run Knoxville. And why does that happen?

Korda is right. At least on this article. Knoxville is dying. Because people in Knoxville don't care to even vote. It is easier to move than it is to care. How long have you lived in the county Reform4?

reform4's picture

Lived here all my life, son.

I dont know why Korda would choose two different markers for population and budgets, so let's consider the 2002 budget vs. 2012 budget... AND population at the same time:

2000 population about 169K
2010 population about 180K, about a 6.5% increase

If you look at the budget document, you'll see a chart on page 35/65 that shows the budget in constant dollars (e.g., adjusting for inflation).

2002-2003: $138 Million
2012-2013: $137.8 M

Wow, a 6.5% increase in population with a slightly smaller (let's call it level) budget when adjusted to constant dollars!

Wow, that's like the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of what George would have you believe!!

Facts are incredible things when you actually USE THEM.

To George's credit, I'm not going to argue his knocking the Convention Center.

JCB's picture

"Wow, that's like the

"Wow, that's like the COMPLETE OPPOSITE of what George would have you believe!!"

What Korda wrote about was apathy. Something you should know about, like the apathy people had voting for you for Commission. Ironically, the place you would do the best with your politics is the city. A place you refuse to live.

reform4's picture

I would love to live in the city...

.. and plan to someday. However, certain family, legal, and fiscal limitations exist that prevent me from moving right now. But I do own property in the city, and happily participate in City events and in the last election.

Unlike making it personal, my posts relate to what George wrote, and anyone who can read can see that he indeed wrote what I referred to. Why would he cite budgets and population in the same sentence if he was just talking about voter apathy? Your defense of George is weak and silly.

R. Neal's picture

His figures seem to show

His figures seem to show population growth from 1990 to present.

He fails to mention the local banking collapse, school consolidation, and businesses fleeing downtown that occurred from 1980 to 1990. Hell, we fled the state.

metulj's picture

Korda couldn't offer a cogent

Korda couldn't offer a cogent analysis of a sunrise.

JCB's picture

You're the guy that has his

You're the guy that has his kids in private schools and you do your drive by trolling on school board issues. You and Reform4 have a lot in common.

metulj's picture

What? I am a staunch

What? I am a staunch proponent of public schools. True. Sending my children to Catholic school as a matter of religious conviction does not change my advocacy of public schooling.

alan swartz's picture

Do you believe in God? Or is

Do you believe in God? Or is it your wife who does? Or you just don't want your kids in those public schools? I don't sense much conviction of any kind here.

metulj's picture

Keep trying.

Keep trying.

Average Guy's picture

Gentrification

It will happen in the City residential areas. This and the next wave of homeowners will force it. Five years ago, you could get a new home in the county for $100k. You were not going to get a new home in the city for that.

Now, since home lending is no longer falling like manna and development has slowed, the new "new" home likely will be a $70k home with $30k in renovation and upgrades. That, and sprawl and 4,000+ sq/ft homes don't seem to appeal to this generation as much as it did their parents.

In a bet, I'd put money on the city outpacing the county during the next twenty years.

Rachel's picture

n/t

n/t

holler-dweller's picture

Cityview has opinions?

A few facts = tenuous conclusions.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

*

"Ten years ago, the operating budget for the City of Knoxville was $130 million. The proposed 2012-2013 operating budget: $180.5 million. This is a $50 million increase in a decade when the population is essentially the same size as in 1980.

The city’s debt is just under $186 million. One heavy weight is the convention center’s continuing debt. The debt service on the convention center alone in 2012-2013 will top $10 million."

JCB, it seems to me that we need some sort of context in which to consider these increases in municipal budget and municipal debt and it would also seem to me that the most meaningful context would be to consider them within the context of the increased incomes of the taxpayers ultimately responsible for paying them.

I don't have any data at my fingertips to suggest how the incomes of local taxpayers have changed over the last ten years, but I can tell you that my own household's income has increased 57% over this timeframe.

It appears that the city's "income" (i.e., its budget) has increased by a lesser percentage, 38%?

Similarly, taxpayers routinely owe one year's income in debt--and our mortgages alone routinely comprise two or more year's debt.

It appears, though, that the city's debt is likely lower relative to its "income" (i.e., its budget) than is the case among most of its taxpayers' debt relative to our individual incomes. The city owes just one year's "income?"

I sometimes hear this same outrage expressed WRT the county's higher budget and higher debt, relative to some point in the past, but I don't profess to understand the outrage.

It looks to me like our local city and county governments have both done a better job of keeping a lid on costs than have most of either entity's residents?

rikki's picture

snake oil

I don't profess to understand the outrage.

Korda is not in the business of getting people to understand so much as just hoping they'll swallow.

Tess's picture

So, what is he selling?

Metro government? A good snake oil salesman at least plants a suggestion or image into his/her spiel.

fischbobber's picture

What George is selling

George is selling George.

We've gone from 2.5 to 65 miles of greenway. Downtown is redeveloped. The North side waterfront is a neat (nearly completed) place and the South waterfront will , well o.k. I don't know what the hell it will do.

Our city neighborhoods, from 4th and Gill, to Holston Hills, to Fountain City to Northwest to West continue to revitalize. Our city's expansion has come from forsaking residential annexation.

George is, and has been for quite some time, irrelevant and full of shit.

Factchecker's picture

Hey, JCB

It sucks so bad you won't live there Reform4. Which is pretty funny when you complain so much about where you do live.

And for someone who thinks they are so smart Reform4, Korda compared the population to 1980. He compared the budget to 2002. 10 years is not 30 years Einstein.

You need commas separating those words. It's the difference between "Let's eat, Granny" and "Let's eat Granny." See the difference?

Now continue to explain why everyone except for you is stupid.

Up Goose Creek's picture

Population

As Reform4 points out, the population HAS been growing - at least in the last 10 years. I suppose Korda could write a column about how population fell between 1980 and 2000 but what's the relevance?

I'm wondering - what's the obsession about population growth? Do we want to become another Atlanta? There's something to be said for getting better rather than bigger.

bizgrrl's picture

There's something to be said

There's something to be said for getting better rather than bigger.

Exactly.

gonzone's picture

Seconded

I would very much prefer quality over quantity.

SnM's picture

Population growth

Might have something to do with growing the tax base so more funds can be brought in without raising taxes. Consider the projected funding shortfall for the city pension plan. It will have to be addressed somehow.

cafkia's picture

I will start by saying that I

I will start by saying that I have no special insight where Korda is concerned nor do I routinely have other than electronic access to him (and that is, thankfully, fairly infrequent).

That said, I would note that in the struggle that several of the unwashed citizens undertook to ensure a rational path forward, we had to fight the efforts of many who remain in positions of power and influence. Some of those are the direct beneficiaries of public money and others have a bit more indirect path to the public teat. Those folks though, would seem to be the most likely to contract for Korda's services and are most likely to be the group with whom he socializes. I suggest that for us to have been right and the city to be successful as a result of our efforts, pretty much requires acknowledging that TPTB were wrong. Whether you know them as the "12 White guys" or, "the old boys club" or whatever, if you want to protect their legacy then we have to have been wrong. We have to have been bad for the city. We have to have failed in our cause(s).

I suspect that our past policy of ignoring and/or working around those affiliated with the GOBs should not be abandoned but instead, continued to be implemented with renewed vigor.

AC's picture

A friend sent me a link to

A friend sent me a link to this article a day or so ago. Definitely a rather bizarre head scratcher, even by Korda standards. I'm not really sure what his point is. Is he advocating metro government? More annexation? More investment in our infrastructure to support stronger growth? It's very curious, and the poor analysis and conclusion clearly paints an inaccurate and unfortunate picture for anyone who doesn't know any better.

Both Chattanooga and Nashville have had the benefit of planned and targeted strategies and public/private investment that has been key to fueling growth in their communities. They have taken the principles in Richard Florida's "The Rise of the Creative Class" to heart in trying to create cities that are truly attractive to young creative entrepreneurs in the arts and technology. One extraordinary example is the ArtsMove Chattanooga Relocation Incentive, which provides strong incentives for artists to relocate to that community. That some leaders in that community have recognized the value of this speaks volumes. The commitment in both of these communities on the part of community leaders to funding - both publicly and privately - that supports cultural infrastructure and programs is pretty extraordinary. By contrast, Knoxville has been pretty slow to recognize the strong role that the arts and cultural tourism in the new economy and how essential they can be to new economic development incentives. However, just a quick visit to Nashville, Chattanooga, Asheville, and Louisville can be very eye-opening.

I love Knoxville. It's a great place to live. And it is growing in a nice organic way that belies Korda's "analysis" and conclusion. But there's no question that it has been lagging behind its neighbors for many years now in recognizing the qualities that will help to insure its vitality and vibrancy in the future. Those qualities are present almost in spite of themselves, but they are fragile and need to be nurtured.

gonzone's picture

True

Yes, we still suffer to a degree from "Cas Walker-ism" but I've been hopeful lately with all the improvements I've seen.

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