Budget ‘Straight Talk’ comes from Folts
Your May 29 “Straight Talk” about our “contentious budget debate,” tried to kill the messenger bearing urgently needed “straight talk.” Two days later, your editorial laments the lack of a 21st century Davy Crockett in our midst.
“Withering Heights lost credibility with your singular identification of professor Matt Murray as “associate director of the Center for Business and Research at UT.” What Joel Davis failed to tell his readers is that Mr. Murray also is “chairman of the Economic Development Board of Blount County,” part of the Blount Partnership, a player in the county budget discussion.
Mr. Murray wears two hats — both very well. Was he wearing his academic hat or Chamber of Commerce hat? Mr. Murray’s comments were skewed to cast doubt on the integrity of Commissioner Folts’ research. For The Daily Times to print so many contradictory statements from Mr. Murray without properly identifying his Blount Partnership position creates a credibility vacuum for the entire discussion.
Mr. Murray and Joel Davis both disparage Mr. Folts’ efforts to draw comparisons between Blount County budgets and those of three other Tennessee counties of similar size, valid apples to apples comparisons. It’s when Davis and Murray introduce figures from several other counties with different characteristics that apples versus oranges confusion develops.
Tuesday’s editorial asks, “Where are the David Crocketts of the world when we need them? ... What if we could bring back people like Crockett ... would they be able to cut to the chase on Blount County’s contentious budget debate?”
Well, Jim Folts is no Davy Crockett but at least he deals in “straight talk,” none of it for personal gain.
Folts does not have a relative on the county payroll. Can Human Resources Committee members make that statement? Nepotism is not in Jim’s vocabulary. How many others in Blount County government can say that?
Know why I admire Commissioner Folts? Besides him being smart and determined, Jim Folts has integrity. He knows only the truth. Also, he has the fortitude to stand tall in the face of pressure from powerful, special interests. That’s why he’s my “Davy Crockett.”
3151 Hardy Blvd.
Louisville, TN 37777