Amidst doing some cleanup on the sidebar the other day, I discovered that the “Add to Google” button still was pointing to the old Chattablogs site’s RSS feed. This has been corrected. The feed URL is http://tennesseeticket.com/feed/.
Here are the winners in Tuesday’s elections for Chattanooga City Council:
District 1 – Chip Henderson
District 2 – Jerry Mitchell
District 3 – Ken Smith
District 5 – Russell Gilbert
District 6 – Carol Berz
District 7 – Chris Anderson
District 8 – Moses Freeman
Three incumbents were unseated. Two others—Jack Benson in District 4 and Peter Murphy in District 9—weren’t able to reach a majority, so a runoff election will be held on April 9. It is theoretically possible that after it’s all over, only the two unopposed council members would remain. No matter the runoff outcome, a majority of the Council will be new when they are sworn in.
Surprising no one, Andy Berke handily won the mayoral race.
Voters approved by a wide margin a charter amendment that would remove “archaic provisions” among other updates.
Chattanoogans go to the polls on Tuesday to elect a new mayor and city council, as well as to vote on a charter amendment.
Two sitting council members are stepping down, leaving seven incumbents vying to stay on. Two of those incumbents failed to draw even nominal challengers, leaving seven contested districts.
Turnout was embarrassingly low during early voting. Given that the mayoral race surely is a shoo-in, voters mistakenly assume that they don’t need to show up. One doesn’t need Nate Silver’s analytical models in order to forecast light turnout for Tuesday.
Even so, Chattanooga’s city council affects its residents’ daily lives perhaps more than any other elected body.
Though often seen (rightly or wrongly) as merely a rubber stamp for the mayor, the Council actually does have the final say on local legislation. Broadly speaking, individuals who make up local governments can range from true servant leaders to out-and-out charlatans, so the act of choosing them is not one to be taken lightly.
I realize that the most often vocalized requirement for a local (or any) government representative is basically “keep taxes low.” I personally think that the job is more complex and requires a few more qualities besides thriftiness.
The very competencies that leadership comprises are just as causal to being an effective legislator as they are to being a good executive. Negotiation and persuasion, excellent communication, creativity, motivation, and a willingness to listen and adapt approaches are just some of the ideal characteristics.
An alderman, commissioner, or council member ideally will use these competencies to balance the public need against the people’s rights. We all may have slightly different ways of measuring success along those lines, but there is a positive aggregate effect of our paying attention and holding our representatives accountable.
As a member of the voting public, each of us is given the chance to interview job applicants before making our hiring decisions. How carefully we conduct those interviews (with the help of the press), and whether we participate in choosing, is up to each of us.
But we all have to live with the consequences.
(Programming Note: Gentle reader, you are not forgotten. Being a grownup calls for occasionally having to put down the blogging toys for uncomfortable stretches of time.)
Meanwhile, the Chattanooga municipal elections are charging past at a good clip, and I don’t much like not being able to discuss them, and everything else that’s going on in local and state government, with you.
Fortunately for Chattanooga voters, the cool kids over at the Lamp Post Group and Nooga.com have created a new interactive voter guide complete with a social component. It’s called Keen Citizen, and you are advised to check it out.
Oh, my thoughts on the election? Well, I agree with pretty much every editorial writer and pundit who has expressed disappointment in former Sen. Andy Berke, the ostensible far-and-away frontrunner in the mayoral election, for being so light on specifics about his likely future term.
Can he get away with it? Sure. Do I still wish we could have a frank and somewhat detailed discussion about the city’s current issues and future direction? Of course. I’m not discounting the times Berke has held community discussions on crime and other topics; but the campaign message itself could have been clearer about his goals.
The Chattanooga City Council elections merit their own separate posts. Maybe by the time Election Day gets here, we’ll have had a chance to chat about them.
Thanks for being responsible citizens.