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Fourth and Fifth Districts
North Knoxville extending from Fountain City to Holston Hills. Represented for the past 10 years by Carlene Malone.
FRONT RUNNERS: Jim Cortese and Rob Frost
THE Fourth & Gill neighborhood at the district's southern tip contains less than 10 percent of its population, but both of the high-profile candidates to succeed Carlene Malone live there. Both are reaching out, however, to avoid the gentrified, urbanist stereotype associated with that neighborhoodto the point where they sound at times as if they are trying to be all things to all people. "I'm very pro-neighborhood and very pro-business," says Cortese, the 47-year-old owner of Cortese Tree Service. But he then adds that, "if a business wants to move into a neighborhood, it's their job to convince residents why they are going to be better off. The day of pushing neighborhoods over is gone."
Frost, a 32-year-old attorney, stresses his lawyer-like skills and diligence in mastering all aspects of an issue. "I believe I'm the only candidate for Council who has a copy of the zoning regs, and I know I'm the only one who attended the city's budget hearings," he says. Historic preservation is a passion, and he serves on the city's Historic Zoning Board. But when it comes to his campaign themes, the list starts with, "Progress throughout the city" and ends with, "Forward thinking about how to better the city."
To his credit, Frost appears to have put a lot more thought and effort into his campaign up to this point. There's scarcely a public or neighborhood association meeting he doesn't get to, and he's also gotten well organized. "I've gotten two script writers and a TV ad producer on my team," he boasts. And behind them lies a lot of organized support that reportedly includes the backing of both Ashe and Malone. "This may be one of the few times that Carlene and I agree on something," quips the mayor.
But Cortese is no political novice. He ran, unsuccessfully, against Rep. Harry Tindell for the state Legislature in 1998 and gained a lot of name recognition in the process. As a highly successful businessman, he'll have no problem financing his campaign and believes his business experience will stand him in good stead. "I feel we need more business acumen on Council. I believe we can reach for the stars as a city, but we need to keep our financial feet on the ground."
Above all else, though, Cortese, stresses his people skills. "I have a great deal of respect for Rob," he says, "but I feel I'm more in tune with the average person. I don't have all the ideas. That's not my forte. But I'm very good at taking a hundred people's ideas and working with them."
LONG SHOT: Albert Baah is a 50-year-old native of Ghana who came to Knoxville in 1973 to attend UT, where he earned a degree in fine arts. After going back to Ghana for a time, he returned to this country and became a U.S. citizen. Since 1993, he's lived in Holston Hills and worked restoring classic cars, among other things, while continuing to paint as a pastime. He says he's running for City Council because, "I felt I had a duty and an obligation to show my appreciation to this country which has been very good to me."
Prospective candidates Don Ault, Shaun Rowles and William Warwick did not return phone calls.
The northerly expanse between the Third District and the Fourth including Beaumont, Lonsdale, Lincoln Park and Inskip.
This seat, represented for the past 18 years by Larry Cox, is on a different election cycle. Along with Council's three at-large seats, it will next be contested in 2003.
May 31, 2001 * Vol. 11, No. 22
© 2001 Metro Pulse