What is Progress?
Let me get this straight: regarding proposed further interstate building in and around Knoxville ["Should a Freeway Run Through It?" by Joe Sullivan, Vol. 9, No. 2], the prevailing assumption is that in order to make Knoxville a more acceptable place to live, we must wipe out more farmland, wetland, and other green areas?! All of the developers and business people that you quoted seem to be implying that unless we bring more business and traffic into this area, we will somehow become an unfit place to live. Huh?
Well, yes, we have outgrown the highway system we already have, and something must indeed be done, but why MUST we use further industrial development to justify change? Why can't we MERELY IMPROVE the quality of what we have? We are paying precious little attention to our cultural life, education (what an embarrassment!), and other quality-of-life issues. Not to mention, the previous interstate design engineers have created monstrous problems, and the Metropolitan Planning Commission hasn't yet demonstrated it understands what comprehensive "planning" means, so why the hell should we trust any of those people to take more care in the future?
Surely these wealthy developers have traveled around the country a bit, as I have, and have heard that though Knoxville is respected for its college sports, its friendly people, and its proximity to the mountains, it is derided for its poorly-designed interstate system, its pitiful downtown, its lack of progressive architecture, and its lackluster nightlife.
Yes, we here are modern in the sense that we have joined the national bandwagon of destroying nature to build houses bigger than anyone needs and to build new businesses that gobble up natural resources for the sake of a few more tedious jobs. But somewhere, somehow, someone needs to begin to question the definition of "progress." Do local developers ever read letters to the editor, heed national environmental trends, and do they care about the quality of life of people who are not rich? Do they ever change their minds, or have regrets? What can average citizens and the media do to say "ENOUGH!"
Consider the Possibilities
I would like to make a few points that should be considered before TDOT gives the final ruling to the highway project through Hardin Valley.
* First, what is the cost of expanding the existing I-40 to 10 lanes?
* Second, eliciting the unbiased opinion of people like David Crockett, city councilman of Chattanooga, could be helpful. He is right when he says there will be a donut-like hole in central Knoxville if we expand out to Hardin Valley. And who would profit? Business moguls who don't need the money.
* Third, has an alternative transit system, like rail or bus, been considered, or does TDOT do that?
* Finally, are we in Knoxville growing fast enough to warrant this move?
Hardin Valley is too precious to just throw away on a whim. Once it's gone, it's gone. Once the inner city is gone, and it's not gone yet, we will have our own example of the Bronx.
H. Charles Gehres
Yes or No
Thank you for Jesse Fox Mayshark's great commentary on the Zero Tolerance debacle in Knox County ["Zero Hour, Part II," Vol. 9, No. 2]. The public schools seem to want ALL problems to be either black or white, yes or no, or any way that they don't have to make a difficult decision.
I'm sure there are those out there who will take the father of the boy to task for "taking money from the taxpayers," but as Mayshark pointed out, the decision that led to this unexpected cost was made by the BOARD!
Public schools seem to be hung up on that definition of insanity, "continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results." If the public schools do not begin to change and rethink their policies and procedures, they will be swept away by parents who want the schools to educate their children, not simply to institutionalize them. Look at the growth of private schools and home schooling parents and you may see the future.