I’d intended to write about business today, but I’ll delay that until tomorrow. Today I need to express the complete wonder of last night in our city. Yesterday I encouraged everyone to come out to support the addition of several groups, including sexual-orientation to our non-discrimination ordinance. The issue had gotten negative attention in the Knoxville News Sentinel in a column written by Greg Johnson and I feared our less tolerant neighbors might attend and attempt to sway the council.
It’s not fair to, or often accurate to look around a crowd and decide who is who, but it was pretty easy to find the supporters of the change: they wore purple. Very helpful. As I scanned the crowd I knew there would be small opposition, if any, since the purple crowd out-numbered the more ordinarily dressed citizens by about four to one. I noticed Bill Lyons wore a purple shirt and tie – very dapper – and our very own Mayor was decked out in the color, as well.
When the issue was presented, two people had asked to speak. The first identified himself as a representative from Alcoa Aluminum. I knew this had to be a good thing because it would in no respect be advantageous for them to oppose the change. In fact, the gentleman spoke quite forcefully for the changes noting that it is not only the correct thing to do in human terms, but also it is good for business, allowing them to recruit the best employees to come to our city regardless of any factors save their talent for the job required.
The second person was dressed in purple leaving little drama as to his perspective. He identified himself as a spokesperson for the purple people and had everyone stand who had attended to support the changes. Nearly everyone stood. It was a smart move and a cool moment.
A couple of council members spoke, mostly thanking the Mayor for bringing the changes forward and taking leadership on the matter. Finbar Saunders noted that she had personally spoken to each of them regarding the importance of the measure. She had made it clear that this was a campaign promise she intended to keep early. She called for a vote and it passed unanimously which lead to a standing ovation.
I understand the group moved the party to the Bistro and I was tempted to go there for the photos, but I decided it felt like a jazzy kind of night and Urban Woman and I enjoyed hummus and crackers on Market Square to the sounds of Greg Tardy and Vance Thompson along with Keith and Kenneth Brown and Clint Mullican. (Special thanks to Preservation Pub for their wireless connection making this blog possible! )
It was a great evening with stellar jazz from an amazing quintet a gentle breeze keeping an appreciative crowd pleasantly comfortable. Prestige Cleaners (featuring new downtown resident Eddie Mannis) and the City of Knoxville. It’s not Sundown in the City: it’s cooler. The series will continue through the summer every Tuesday night from 8:00 to 10:00 weather permitting. Somehow jazz just seemed the perfect ending to an evening in which our city showed it can be – can I say this out loud – almost modern and sophisticated.
And just in case Greg Johnson is reading this, don’t worry Mr. Johnson, city council is also working on the pension, they’ve solved the mulch problem and – did you notice – Mayor Rogero proposed a budget which includes no tax increase! That has to warm the heart of a small government guy like yourself. How about writing about that? No? I didn’t think so.