Tag Archives: Chattanooga City Charter

Seven of nine

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.

Extreme makeover: recall edition

On November 6, 2012, Chattanooga voters opted to amend their city charter by repealing one section and inserting new language having to do with recalling an elected official.

Or, put another way, Chattanooga voters simply made official what a state appellate court has already decided: that the requirements pertaining to validation of petition signatures have been set by the Legislature.

Several provisions in Chattanooga’s recall procedure were out of line with state law, but the one change that motivated this amendment—from requiring 50% of the number of voters in the last election to requiring 15% of registered voters—is one of two* pieces the state statute leaves flexible. Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-5-151 (j) carves out the ability for qualified municipalities to set their own numeric thresholds, if they enact or amend charters after June 1997.

Do you feel like you just went in a circle? Hold tight and get something to clench your teeth on, because this post is going to get wonk-y. Continue reading

The August election losers

Of course you can find the complete results of Thursday’s state primary and county general elections posted on many media outlets’ websites and at the Secretary of State’s site. My aim isn’t to replicate that information here, but to point to some of the outcomes that I count as painful reminders that not all goes well.

THE NUMBER ONE LOSER: People who didn’t vote. Some races are so close that we’re not sure who won. Others are so lopsided that it’s a viable assumption that a balanced cross-section of people wasn’t present. It may be a cliché, but it’s no less true that every vote counts. Uninformed voting is perhaps just as bad as abstinence, so the trick here is to avail oneself of knowledge and then vote. Even if one’s chosen candidates don’t prevail, it’s a win for the democratic process of effectively improving our government. If you don’t vote, you lose. Period.

LOSER: The Democratic Party. This loss goes back in part to prior legislative defeats that led to redistricting impacts. Reps. Tommie Brown, Mike Kernell, and Jeanne Richardson, along with Sen. Beverly Marrero, are among the casualties. Yesterday made it real. But even given these circumstances, multiple other failures are evident both locally (Chattanooga area) and statewide. The party comes across as fractured, incoherent, and unable to offer voters a convincing reason to look to them as champions of popular values. The U.S. Senate primary results left many party members asking, “Who?”

PARTIAL LOSER: The Tea Party. Yes, there were some victories (think Debra Moody in House District 81 CORRECTION 4:40 p.m. EDT I am advised that Rory Bricco had the Tea Party backing in Tipton County), but a closer look reveals that special interest spending likely had a lot more to do with some wins than grassroots galvanization did. And then there were losses: Sen. Doug Overbey handily defeated his rival Scott Hughes in District 2. Dawn White beat Richard Garvin in House District 37. And Zach Poskevich, who along with Brenda Lenard courted the Tea Party vote in the U.S. Senate primary, was obliterated by U.S. Sen. Bob Corker.

LOSER: Citizens of the City of Chattanooga who desire a truly transparent and accountable government. The internal audit setup we have now is far less than ideal, but the one we just voted to approve is worse in several ways. Yes, we needed to fix it, but not in this way.

SORE LOSER: Scottie Mayfield. After it became clear that U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann had won nomination for re-election, Mayfield refused to concede the election, and asserted that the Hamilton County Election Commission surely had made a huge mistake, since the campaign’s polling showed different results than the actual ballots cast. Granted, there are a few troubling questions about the election commission’s tallies (more on that in another post, should time allow), but Mayfield’s handling of the situation struck some observers as petulant and amateur. (UPDATE 2:00 p.m. EDT: Mayfield has now conceded to Fleischmann.)

LOSER: Your humble blogger/webmaster. I could tell from visitor paths that people weren’t landing on the pages that contained information that best answered their search queries. Additionally, I was more surprised than I should have been by a few of the results, and that shows that I need to seek out and analyze information in better ways. I count process improvement as one of my strengths, though, and am committed to applying those principles to increasing my acumen and my delivery of information.

Others? Let me know.