Thu
Jul 14 2011
07:01 pm

Today was my last meeting as an MPC Commissioner. Although I only served 2 years (the term is 4), I was appointed to fill the balance of an unexpired term and so my term was up. Mayor Burchett decided not to reappoint me.

I'm posting this for two reasons. One is because I often post here on land use matters, and while I certainly will still be doing that, I want everyone to know that I will no longer be doing it from the vantage point of a sitting Commissioner.

Before I get to the second thing, I want to say this: although I was disappointed not to be reappointed, I am not upset in any way. The decision was entirely Mayor Burchett's to make, and I respect that.

However - and here's the second thing - I AM upset that I am not being replaced by someone from south Knox county. In the recent past, MPC has had 2 appointees from south of the river - one City appointee and one County appointee. A couple of years ago the City appointee decided he was ready to step down, and he was replaced by someone not from south Knoxville (I wasn't happy about that either, as Bill Lyons can attest to). Now I'm being replaced by someone from west Knoxville. Which means that MPC will have 15 Commissioners, not a single one of whom lives south of the river.

I want to emphasize that MPC Commissioners are NOT appointed to represent districts like county commissioners or school board members. But it is helpful to have geographic diversity on the panel, in the same way that it is helpful to have people with different professional backgrounds. All Commissioners benefit from hearing from others with different experiences, knowledge, and pts of view. I know I did.

Is it any wonder that south Knoxvillians have a bit of chip on their shoulders about being red-headed stepchildren?

KnoxCatLady1's picture

Sorry

Rachel, while we have somewhat divergent views on some political matters, I am truly sorry South Knoxville has no representation on the MPC. It is difficult to imagine how either the city or county governments can ignore one of the four quadrants of the county. Your point is entirely correct.

R. Neal's picture

Why am I not surprised. Thank

Why am I not surprised. Thank you for your public service.

knoxvegas99's picture

Rachel, you made a comment at

Rachel, you made a comment at MPC today of which I took special note. You said (I'm paraphrasing) sector plan amendments are enacted in response to changed or changing conditions. (Note: Shades of the Fansler-Midway ruling) You went on to say you were concerned that we're (the commission) saying the current usage does not accord with the sector plan so the sector plan must be wrong.

Sadly, such subtlety was lost on most of your fellow commissioners, but kudos for making the effort.

LVG

Rachel's picture

Thank, LVG. This is

Thank, LVG. This is something that has come up in several meetings recently and it makes me uneasy.

Sector plan amendments have to be justified on the basis on changing conditions (as LVG says, see: Midway). Lately we've seen a few cases where staff (or in one case, Commissioners) says the justification is that the sector plan doesn't agree with the current use so that an error was made when the plan was created.

That is certainly possible - but it's also possible that the sector plan (which is supposed to look out 15 years) differs from the current use because that is the direction in which it was decided we want to move.

In this particular case, I don't know which way the truth lies. And neither does anybody else who wasn't part of creating the sector plan in question. Unless someone can demonstrate to me that the sector plan is definitely incorrect, I think we should err on the side of caution and assume it's not.

I chose today to bring this up cause it was my last opportunity. At least a few folks got it (I saw the blonde across the way nodding), but I'm not sure how many.

Lisa Starbuck's picture

Fansler Ruling

Rachel was one of the few who understood the primary thrust of the ruling by Chancellor Fansler. The Knox County Code is very clear on the sector plan amendment process. Section 6.30 of the Knox County Code says that:

"The proposed amendment shall be necessary because of substantially changed or changing conditions in the area and zones affected, or in the county generally."
(emphasis added)

This prescription had been totally ignored for years until the 8th District Preservation Association pressed the issue. All the Chancellor did was point out that MPC and County Commission never even tried to meet this standard.

Since the suit, MPC staff has added a new section to their staff recommendations to point out substantially changed or changing conditions before recommending a sector plan change. In my opinion, many of them are so thin that if they were challenged in court, they would not stand.

I'm sorry to see Rachel go - we didn't always agree, but she always did her homework, which is more than I can say for some of them.

rikki's picture

thx fr yr work

I'm glad you got one final chance to vote in the minority. Your studiousness will be missed, and I think you made a number of other commissioners work harder and be more thoughtful. Hopefully they will continue to do so.

Can we expect you to become more candid about MPC now? Oh, wait, that's not possible. You've always treated public work like it should be done in sunlight. Thanks for that.

Rachel's picture

Candor

I'm not likely to be more candid about MPC. However, I might be more candid about some other subjects I've held my tongue on for the last 10 months or so.

jbr's picture

Thanks for serving. No South

Thanks for serving. No South Knox representation, both city and county, is a serious wrong in my opinion. As I have said before, I don't think much of mayors having full sway on appointments to this commission. That is a problem with the system. However they do make ok appointments at times, like yours.

So who are the current active commissioners?

Rachel's picture

Current commissioners

City:

Art Clancy
Bart Carey
Ursula Bailey
Nate Kelly
Jack Sharp
Michael Kane
George Ewert

(Bart, Jack, and Michael were just reappointed to a new 4 year term.)

County:

Laura Cole
Becky Longmire (vice-chair)
Wes Stowers
Stan Johnson
Robert Anders (chair)
Mose Lobetti
Brian Pierce

(I was the only county appointee up for reappointment this year.)

Then there'll be the new guy, but his appt has not been approved by the state yet (yes, the state approves MPC appts), so I don't think it's appropriate for me to release his name.

More info (backgrounds, dates of terms) at (link...). All terms are 4 years and run from July 1 to June 30.

jbr's picture

"Then there'll be the new

"Then there'll be the new guy, but his appt has not been approved by the state yet (yes, the state approves MPC appts), so I don't think it's appropriate for me to release his name."

You shouldn't have to. I think the system should make the name known.

bizgrrl's picture

Thanks, Rachel. I'm sure your

Thanks, Rachel. I'm sure your attention to details will be missed. It's sad that South Knoxvillians get used to this type of treatment.

rht's picture

thanks for your service

thanks for your service rachel. i felt more confident about MPC with you there.

rht/t3p

Rachel's picture

One thing I neglected to say

One thing I neglected to say in the OP and should have: after conversations over the past couple of years with Bill Lyons, I am confident that City administration would appoint someone from south Knoxville if a vacancy opens up.

Sylvia Woods's picture

South Knoxville representatives on city and county boards

Rachel, I would be interested in knowing who and how many South Knoxville residents serve on boards across the city and county. Nick Pavlis had me appointed to the Public Assembly Facilities after he took office. That Board has a representative nominated by each city council person plus the mayor gets two appointees. I am sure the information is somewhere on line.

Now that we have a pretty good group of neighborhood associations, maybe we should have them be on the lookout for people willing to serve in positions and commit to make themself knowledgeable and be active participants. I know I felt better about you serving on MPC and letting us know what was going on.
Sylvia

Rachel's picture

Thank you Sylvia. I know

Thank you Sylvia. I know some southies who serve on city boards. My husband is on the city Board of Environmental Appeals. There's a south Knoxvillian on City BZA, on city Better Building Board, and on the Solid Waste Board. And of course we have representation on the city Neighborhood Advisory Council, but that's mandated (e.g. the NAC has so many reps from each part of town).

I know there's a south Knox countian on county BZA, but beyond that I'm not sure about the county side.

KnoxCatLady1's picture

South Knoxville

South Knoxville certainly needs and deserves representation on all governmental boards. It is important we have a voice in our community.

jlynn's picture

Adding my 'thanks for your service!'

Rachel, I couldn't agree more with those who have stated they felt better about MPC with you 'on board' - so to speak.
You have been diligent in researching issues and making sure your vote is in accordance with guidelines that govern issues.
While indeed the county mayor can appoint whoever he wishes, he should not remove an individual that has done an outstanding job in service. bleah... I really don't have much good to say about the county mayor.
The fact that there is no SoKnox representation on this board is reprehensible!

Rachel's picture

Ya'll are making me

Ya'll are making me blush.

Just want to emphasize once again that I am NOT complaining about not being reappointed. That is totally up to the Mayor.

My concerns are entirely about the fact that south Knoxville and south Knox County no longer have representation on MPC. If the Mayor had appointed someone from south of the river to replace me, I wouldn't have started this conversation.

JHayes's picture

Read the Knoxville Focus

It says Councilman Pavlis has wrote a letter to both County Mayor Burchett and City Mayor Daniel Brown regarding the issue:

(link...)

Rachel's picture

Well, good for Nick

Well, good for Nick Pavlis.

Sandra Clark also mentioned it in Gossip and Lies in the Shopper News. She spelled my name wrong, but I forgive her. :)

jbr's picture

Nice work Councilman Pavlis.

Nice work Councilman Pavlis. Let's see if the mayors do the right thing.

What's the current community breakdown of representation on MPC now? Seems like South Knoxville and South Knox County should have at least one each and may three total?

Is it downtown, east, north, west city and county evenly splitting all 15 positions with south the only area with zero representation?

Rachel's picture

I wouldn't say the other

I wouldn't say the other quadrants of the county have equal #s on MPC. But south Knox county is the only quadrant with zero representation.

Rachel's picture

Let's see if the mayors do

Let's see if the mayors do the right thing.

You'll have to wait at least a year to see. Terms run from July 1 till June 30, so there will be no appts to fill until then unless someone steps down for some reason.

Rachel's picture

BTW, MPC will soon take up

BTW, MPC will soon take up the new South City Sector Plan. Next up after that - the South County Sector Plan.

How's that for irony?

Scarlett's picture

Rachels Departure

You like so many others on the MPC have shown your true colors. Don't let the door hit you in the ass. >:)

Rachel's picture

Scarlett, you're truly

Scarlett, you're truly classy. Thanks for the performance review.

vernon's picture

With all due respect you had

With all due respect you had one of the worst attendance records on mpc, perhaps that is why you were not reappointed. I hear you bemoan the lack of representation for south Knoxville but as a commissioner you only showed up for about half of the meetings you had a vote in.Where was the passion when your chair sat empty at so many meetings? I know you care about these issues it just really bothers me that you had a position like that and you wasted it.

Rachel's picture

Apparently, I'm not the only

Apparently, I'm not the only one with concerns about this.

Rachel's picture

Yet another take on the

Yet another take on the issue.

My hope was that when the Mayor heard concerns from elected officials (Nick Pavlis, Mike Brown) that he might acknowledge this as a legitimate concern, and suggest he would factor it into future appts (this is the response I've gotten from the City). Instead he appears to be doubling down.

Nice to know, tho, that he "has no animosity to the people in South Knoxville."

“I mean, they helped me get elected mayor.”

Sheeh.

R. Neal's picture

Wow. What a shameless suck up

Wow. What a shameless suck up to special interests. Also didn't realize you were so anti-growth. How long did you work on that planned growth project over there in South Knox?

Rachel's picture

Yeah, that part was just

Yeah, that part was just funny. Apparently if you advocate thoughtful and high quality growth and development, you are anti-growth and anti-business.

And yup, I spent a large chunk of 18 months of my life helping work on the South Waterfront Vision Plan and new zoning code. That sure was anti-growth all right. :)

Seriously, I think the underlying issue is that Burchett doesn't really believe in planning (just another of those things govt shouldn't be doing).

However - back to the original subject. This isn't about me. It's about the lack of south Knoxville representation on MPC.

bizgrrl's picture

Yes, Wow! Who voted for this

Yes, Wow! Who voted for this guy and why? Knox County could be in a bit of trouble. Knox County residents might be begging for another Ragsdale. :)

Somebody's picture

A lot of people. Mostly out

A lot of people. Mostly out of fear that Tim Hutchinson would be elected. Tim B. thinks all those votes were for him, rather than against Hutchinson. Once the primary was over, he had no credible competition. He shouldn't overestimate the stability of the votes cast in that election, either.

Rachel's picture

I will give Ragsdale credit

I will give Ragsdale credit for making some pretty dang good MPC appts, and I'm not talking about me. I'm talking about folks like Laura Cole and Becky Longmire, both of whom are smart, always prepared, and open-minded.

Bbeanster's picture

Two words: Mose lobetti

Two words:

Mose lobetti

Rachel's picture

I did say SOME.

I did say SOME.

jbr's picture

Who did Stowers replace? Who

Who did Stowers replace? Who appointed Stowers?

Looking at the page it seems like some of them have been on the committee longer than the dates indicate. Are those reflective of the entire term they have served?

Rachel's picture

Are those reflective of the

Are those reflective of the entire term they have served?

The dates reflect the year they were first appointed, and the year that their current term expires.

jbr's picture

I don’t think she represents my personal philosophy

From the Metro Pulse article ...

“I don’t think she represents my personal philosophy about things,” Burchett says. “[Roth] comes from a pro-business background, and I think that’s very important in this economy.”

“You need a committee to consider the community as a whole,” says Johnson. And Burchett says that was his thinking when it came to selecting Roth."

So which one is it? Burchette's personal philosophy or the community as a whole.

His personal philosophy should have nothing to do with it.

MPC commissioners should be representative of the community as a whole. We look to be drifting back to an atmosphere several years ago that seemed to cause problems.
article

vernon's picture

Toby exposes good ol boys

On what facts do you base that statement? Who is giving him marching orders?Please tell us.

vernon's picture

Yes I do have things to do

Yes I do have things to do but no where near Tennessee, just waiting on a dinner reservation and thought I d check in, the problem you have in Tim Burchett is that the guy is so honest he has no cronies.Its a problem if you don't like him.

yours truly,

Bucko

Rachel's picture

Tim Burchett is that the guy

Tim Burchett is that the guy is so honest he has no cronies.

Ok, that's funny.

As far as I know, Burchett is honest. He certainly was honest in the MP interview. No dodging the questions.

But cronyless??? Srsly???

Rachel's picture

So which one is it?

So which one is it? Burchette's personal philosophy or the community as a whole.

I noticed that contradiction as well. If he's really going to appoint folks who consider the community as a whole, that's great. I totally agree that's what should happen.

But in order for that to happen, you have to have people with different backgrounds. You can't just have an entire panel of white business owners from west Knoxville (exaggerating here for effect).

BTW, since Burchett laid emphasis on Roth being "pro-business", I assume he thinks I'm "anti-business" or something. Which of course I'm not. That would make me stupid. I may be lots of things, but I'm not stupid.

Also, I'd like to say that I feel bad for Mr. Roth. He's done absolutely nothing wrong, and may well turn out to be an excellent Commissioner. None of this should be taken as a slight on him.

rht's picture

south knox folks gave

south knox folks gave burchett a decent earful about this tonight at his forum at south knox senior center. He said that while he was deciding who to appoint to MPC, nobody mentioned south knox representation to him as a potential issue -- to which a member of the audience responded "well did you ask?" He also said that his appointee, roth, at least lived in south knox for a while while growing up

bizgrrl's picture

Hah! He may avoid south Knox

Hah! He may avoid south Knox from now on.

Rachel's picture

Ok, I'm trying to be polite

Ok, I'm trying to be polite about this, but that's crap. He was given a list of names of possible candidates from south Knoxville, which he acknowledged in the MP story.

Rachel's picture

n/t. Sorry.

n/t. Sorry.

vernon's picture

80 % of success is showing up

80 % of success is showing up

Rachel's picture

Vernon, Ok, you don't like me

Vernon,

Ok, you don't like me or the job I did. We get it.

The real issue here is whether it's ok for south Knoxville to have no representation on MPC. What's your Loudoun County opinion on that one?

vernon's picture

personally I think your

personally I think your pissed that you did not get reappointed,I think you wrote your little farewell to stir the pot and you used the " I m not mad , I just hate to see all the folks in south Knoxville not have representation"bit to throw blame at the Mayor. I am amazed at how you take no responsibility for the situation. How many people can show up for a job half the time and then cry foul when they are fired? If I m wrong post your attendance record and we ll drop it, but if you only showed up 50 percent of the time, then you need to set aside the incredibly high opinion you have of yourself and accept some of the blame for the change.You love to tell us how smart you are,show us how honest you are.

SnM's picture

“I think it’s important just

“I think it’s important just to get the best people for the job—people who understand growth and want to see it happen,” Burchett says. He also makes no bones about why he didn’t reappoint Craig, who has a master’s degree in urban and regional planning. “I don’t think she represents my personal philosophy about things,” Burchett says. “[Roth] comes from a pro-business background, and I think that’s very important in this economy.”

rht's picture

vernon, please give it a

vernon, please give it a rest. Burchett said things tonight at south knox forum, similar to his earlier statements quoted by SnM, making it crystal clear he chose his appointee based on pro-development philosophy. He went so far as to say he subscribes to a libertarian view.

Rachel's picture

Vernon, think what you want.

personally I think your pissed that you did not get reappointed,I think you wrote your little farewell to stir the pot and you used the " I m not mad , I just hate to see all the folks in south Knoxville not have representation"bit to throw blame at the Mayor.

Vernon, think what you want. I hope you don't imagine that I give a damn.

I suspect that the Mayor also believes this is my motivation for speaking out. Some people - and you're obviously one - can't understand that some of us can separate the personal from policy issues.

I'd like to remind you that I've also said that I was not happy when the City lost its only south Knoxville seat on MPC. However, my discussions about this issue with City officials garned me the response that they thought it was a legitimate concern and would look to address it when filling vacancies.

That's all I really wanted to hear from Burchett. Instead, he insists on doubling down.

BTW, if the Mayor had bothered to contact me to discuss whether or not I would be reappointed, I would have told him about my concern for south Knoxville. I did share that concern with another member of the administration back in early May. And I'm pretty sure that was communicated to the Mayor, since he was given a list of potential candidates from south Knoxville, which he said he ignored.

To this day, nobody from the Burchett administration has contacted me to discuss whether or not I was being reappointed. Since they knew I wanted to be reappointed, I assumed that would happen. I kept waiting for someone to call me until a a few days before the July MPC meeting. At that time, I called a member of the administration to ask whether I should review my agenda packet or toss it in the trash. I was told at that time that the decision had been made not to reappoint me and that Dean Rice would be calling me. He never did. Now THAT I do take personally. Pardon me for saying so, but the adminstration's (non)communication with me on this matter was unprofessional and just plain rude.

However, as I have said repeatedly, if the Mayor had appointed someone else from south of the river, I would never have gone public with any of this. Believe that or not - I absolutely don't care. The people I respect believe it, and that's all that matters to me.

Nelle's picture

crafty time

I hope you don't imagine that I give a damn.

I'm gonna cross-stitch that on a pillow for you, Rachel.

Rachel's picture

I promise to display it in my

I promise to display it in my living room.

Clyde Cole's picture

Commissioners attendence record

How many people can show up for a job half the time and then cry foul when they are fired?

I'm new to the Knoxville area. Is there some place that I can check out the attendance record of the MPC commissioners? If in fact this commissioner did blow off this many meetings, she is just spurting sour milk and needed to be fired. Not showing up is just throwing away your vote.

Rachel's picture

A review of last night's

A review of last night's meeting.

I'm sorry I missed it, but I was at the Council/Commission Hillside/Ridgetop mtg. Will post a report on that one ASAP.

bizgrrl's picture

Thanks! As I've said before,

Thanks! As I've said before, many people can underestimate the residents of South Knoxville.

Up Goose Creek's picture

ethnic group

Mayor Burchett would have no problem finding libertarians in South Knoxville/ south Knox county. He should have told Grant Rosenberg that's what he was looking for.

It was bad enough he snubbed south knox county, but his subsequent comment couldn't have been any less diplomatic.

Maybe we need to get ourselves declared an ethnic group to get some representation.

fischbobber's picture

Ethnic Groups

Maybe we need to get ourselves declared an ethnic group to get some representation.

How about Peppermint Loungonians?

(Am I dating myself here?)

Rachel's picture

Maybe we need to get

Maybe we need to get ourselves declared an ethnic group to get some representation.

Ok, THAT's funny.

R. Neal's picture

Maybe we need to get

Maybe we need to get ourselves declared an ethnic group to get some representation.

Ok, THAT's funny.

Indeed.

For many years we and our pals felt that way. We wore it as a badge of honor. Unfortunately we had to move on for economic/opportunity reasons.

It's still in our DNA, though.

Rachel's picture

oh, never mind.

oh, never mind.

jbr's picture

If all members of a committee

If all members of a committee are supposed to think the same way and they can all be from same part of town, what is the point of having 15 of them? Knock it down to three. In fact why did Burchett replace Rachel. Just whittle down to who you want and say that's my committee.
From what I gather is Burchett's interpretation, just have one person.

Rachel's picture

State law says there have to

State law says there have to be 15 Comissioners, 7 from the City and 8 from the County.

Although in principle I agree that if you're not going to have diversity, there's not much point in having a large panel.

Rachel's picture

Attendance

Ok, I'm going to comment on this once, and that's it. I'm done on the subject of attendance. Y'all can keep throwing rocks if you want.

I'm not proud of my attendance record. It wasn't what it should have been, and I'm not happy about it. I have legitimate reasons for every meeting I missed (I certainly did NOT blow them off, especially after spending hours preparing for them), but I'm not going to whine about those reasons in public.

I would also just like to mention the numerous meetings I attended that aren't on public record. Like all the workshops, meetings out in the community on various subjects (e.g. sector plans), etc. There's a lot more to being a Commissioner than showing up for a meeting once a month.

However, none of that is to excuse missing meetings.

However, the Mayor said nothing about not appointing me based on attendance. He said I didn't represent his personal philosophy - that he wanted someone who "understood growth" and why it was important, and who was "pro-business."

(I would argue that I understand growth and development pretty darn well, and I am in no way anti- either of them. I simply advocated for qualify development and growth in the right places. As for being anti-business, as I've said before, that's just stupid. Nobody with a lick of sense in anti-business.)

Based on the Mayor's statements, I would not have been reappointed if I had a perfect attendance record.

However, as I keep saying repeatedly, this isn't about me. I'm ok with not being reappointed. I'm not ok with reducing diversity on the panel, and excluding south Knoxville is certainly doing that.

Clyde Cole's picture

I am confused by your logic...

Title is:

MPC and me

Comment is:

"However, as I keep saying repeatedly, this isn't about me."

Rachel's picture

Ok, bad title. I was trying

Ok, bad title. I was trying to be cute.

Fixed now. Happy?

Shannon S's picture

title

Perhaps the first title was more accurate.

Clyde Cole's picture

Fixed now

You can fix your title, but can you fix your scorned heart?

Definition of SCORN

1: Open dislike and disrespect or derision often mixed with indignation.

2: An expression of contempt or derision.

3: An object of extreme disdain, contempt, or derision : something contemptible.

Hopefully you can come to terms with the loss of your commission seat.

fischbobber's picture

Clyde

Is that your real picture?

Rachel's picture

+1. I was wondering the same

+1. I was wondering the same thing, but didn't want to antagonize him by asking.

Rachel's picture

Clyde:

Nice to see someone uses dictionaries these days.

bizgrrl's picture

Clyde, Shannon, I don't know

Clyde, Shannon, I don't know who you people are, but it is obvious you do not understand the passion some have for South Knoxville and the need to overcome how that side of the river is treated. Rachel is an excellent advocate for South Knoxville whether she is on MPC or not. Therefore, why don't you give it a break. We need to encourage the powers that be in Knoxville and Knox County to give respect where it is due.

Burchett doesn't have a clue as to the need for representation throughout the city and he needs to be told about the need. He's even blaming his inability to chose someone to represent South Knoxville on the MPC and Knox County Commissioners, as if he didn't know he was leaving that section of town unrepresented.

Bbeanster's picture

Hmmmmmmm. This could have

Hmmmmmmm.
This could have some real interesting implications for the mayor's race,
Think this could make SoKno turn out for a candidate who lives among them?
(And no, I wasn't thinking about Hultquist)

Rachel's picture

Shame on me for not thinking

Shame on me for not thinking of that. If I were the Rogero campaign, I might find some way to use this.

Shannon S's picture

Committed

She is too busy trying to figure how to implement social justice on Knoxville.

From the Rogero for Mayor Website:

“Committed to volunteerism and social justice…”

Shannon S's picture

define do-gooder

It is all in ones perception of what good is.

Shannon S's picture

moral relativism

It is less fattening than cream and sugar or the left-wing cult of moral relativism. Nevertheless, thanks for pointing out that the mayoral race in the city is as much about political ideology as it is about performing executive branch duties.

Bbeanster's picture

Hey, Shannon: Eagerly

Hey, Shannon:
Eagerly awaiting your brilliance on the Hillside/Ridgetop thread.

Bbeanster's picture

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, nooooooooooooo!!!

Volunteerism and social justice?
We're dooooooooooomed. Once again Shannon has proved that it is a genius (see its deep thoughts on slope protection).

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