Sit down with Charlie Moore, and he’ll soon be sharing some of his best stories about Jonesborough’s more colorful past politicians.
He acquired many of these in one-on-one conversations with various town figures during his two stints as Jonesborough alderman, from 1994 to 1996 and then from 2000 to 2002.
Others he gleaned as a young boy growing up in Jonesborough.
“My parents lived in Johnson City,” he explained. “But always, as I was growing up, I was closer to my mom’s Jonesborough family.”
A current resident of the town, Moore now finds himself drawn back into the political ring, this time in the race for mayor.
“I love it here,” Moore said simply. “I love Jonesborough.”
He also has concerns for his hometown and thinks he can help put it back on track.
Two of those concerns have to do with water — both Wetlands Water Park and the drinking water supplied by the town.
“(Wetlands) has drained the town’s money,” said Moore, who was on the board when the park first opened. “It has been in the red ever since opening day. It has never actually made money.”
His solution, he said, would be to sell the park to a professional company more familiar with running such an enterprise.
“It would still be there,” he said. “And you’re not selling the walking trails or the nice picnic areas.”
As for the town’s drinking water, Moore believes the recent announcement sent out to all Jonesborough water customers to inform them of higher levels of halocentric acids in the water may be a sign of something more serious.
Though the town reported that the problem had been addressed and further testing was well within appropriate limits, “this is not something that just cropped up,” Moore said. “I think we do some water quality tests up and downstream from the intake to see what we are dealing with.
“I think we need have a long hard look (and ask) can we not do better on our water system?”
The town’s infrastructure, including its water, are what Moore calls definite “priorities” if he were to assume the post of mayor.
When it comes to the proposed Jackson Theatre, “I applaud the mayor and what he’s done (in putting up his own money) and I love to go watch plays there,” Moor said. “But how far are we going to take this thing? I have no doubt we can borrow some grant money, but after a while that pot does run empty.”
He said that green spaces, theaters and other such improvements are wonderful, but he is afraid they may be detracting from some more important needs.
“When it comes to spending money, are we really taking care of our infrastructure,” Moore said. “And if we don’t take care of that, we’re going to be in sad, sad shape down the road.”
Moore advocates a total overhaul, if needed, of the town’s current water system. He is not convinced the recent changes announced by the town have done nearly enough, and wants to ensure that the town’s water supply is solid, both now and in the future — even if it means raising taxes.
“Anything comes with a price,” Moore said. “Hopefully we wouldn’t have to raise taxes to do it, but I think people would be on board if they knew exactly what their money was being used for.”
In a sense, Moore is calling for what he sees as a return to the basics. He wants a solid infrastructure, good roads and well-maintained ball fields.
“The ball fields down there need a lot,” he said. “They have been neglected and its like neglecting our youth. They just need some good old-fashioned maintenance.”
Moore also likes the idea of working with and expanding upon the town’s disc golf course.
“There is money to be made,” Moore said.
Mostly, however, Moore said he is intent on being responsive to whatever town residents need.
“I never met a stranger,” Moore said with a smile. “I always want to talk and I always got in trouble for talking too much.
“As time has gone on, though,” he promised, “I’ve learned to be a better listener.”