State Rep. “Fast Eddie” Smith (R-Knoxville) just “filled in” his caption bill, HB2361 last week in the House Transportation Subcommittee and the “amendment that makes the bill” as they say in the legislature, looks like it’s gonna help La Raza Randy make more millions.
Think of the caption bill like a shell game. It identifies the shells, but doesn’t necessarily tell you what’s really going to be underneath them. And somehow, the intended filling isn’t disclosed until very late in the legislative session, hidden from controversy until it’s simply rushed through the system.
So the bill that Smith filed at the start of the legislative session was supposed to be about reporting the number of automobiles owned or leased by the state government that could use alternative fuel. By the end of the Subcommittee hearing last week, the bill was about a public-private partnership to bring light rail to the greater Knoxville area and voting power to create a Central Business Improvement District that could be based on high land value ownership.
Coincidentally (or not), two years ago, while serving as Commissioner of Economic & Community Development, multimillionaire Randy Boyd bought about 7 acres of property in what Knoxvillians call the “Old City” for $6 million in pocket change.
At the time, Boyd was coy about his plans for the property but mentioned that the site could become “a new commercial or residential development, a public park for Old City residents and pet lovers, or a new sports complex.” Boyd already owns the Smokies baseball team and his wife owns a bar which is also located in the “Old City.”
While Boyd isn’t a great communicator and you don’t always come away understanding what he really means (like, I’m against illegal immigration except I support and work with organizations that advocate for illegal aliens), he did admit that he and his wife “have been and continue to be very opportunistic buying property there for redevelopment.”
Anyone think that light rail or some other kind of mass transit plan that would just happen to pass by Boyd’s redeveloped property and ferry drinkers to his wife’s bar, might be an oh so very profitable outcome for the Boyds?
It looks like the bill that “Fast Eddie” Smith is trying to pass would set up a Transit Improvement District which supposedly would include…Boyd’s 7 acres, and the map for the proposed district looks like he could be the largest value landowner in the deal.
Oh, and “Fast Eddie” just happens to be supporting Boyd for Governor. That’s the same Boyd that gave Smith $9,000 in campaign donations between 2016 and 2017. “Fast Eddie” is running again for his House seat and will probably be in another close race against former incumbent Democrat Gloria Johnson. Don’t be surprised if the Boyds make 2018 donations to
helpful Republican candidate Eddie.
“Fast Eddie’s” newly minted bill will be voted on in the full Transportation Committee this week run by none other than bill rammer State Rep. Barry “Boss” Doss (R-Leoma), whose greatest accomplishment as a state legislator was ramming through the governor’s gas and transit tax bill. And the “amendment that made the bill” and which was passed by the Subcommittee? Not even posted on the legislature’s website just in case prying public eyes actually wanted to see what these guys are up to.