The hours are ticking away, Chattanooga! Tuesday’s city election will be a big one, as we’ll see the election of a new mayor and as many as seven new City Council members.
If you have yet to decide which candidates to vote for, consider my handy list. Or don’t. My main concern is that you show up to vote, no matter who you show up to vote for.
Let’s start with my picks for Chattanooga City Council:
District 1: Chip Henderson—As you’ll see, most of my picks are candidates like Henderson, who look to aggressively draw a line between the private and public sectors in an attempt to boost government efficiency and reduce government waste.
District 2: Priscilla Simmons—Priscilla Simmons says she can outline several ways to save the city money. I have to wonder, however, why she didn’t push harder with those ideas when she served as manager of the city’s Finance Department. I do, however, believe in second chances and recognize that, despite my reservations, she’s the still candidate most qualified to make such determinations and suggestions if elected to City Council. Now, let’s see if she takes advantage of the chance to do so.
District 3: Ken Smith—Pam Ladd may be thoughtful and experienced, but Ken Smith’s tenacity and willingness to attack the city’s pressing financial issues are much in need right now. I say give him a chance.
District 4: Larry Grohn—Larry’s last name rhymes with something I do when I imagine Jack Benson serving another term. Benson has been both needlessly and inconsistently obstructive in some cases and exceedingly generous with the public’s money in others. Grohn’s desire to take a back-to-basics approach in regards to city spending—especially in terms of finding cost-efficient ways of getting more, desperately needed police officers on the streets—is refreshing.
District 5: Russell Gilbert and District 6: Carol Berz (both unopposed)—I don’t like to see unopposed races in any election, and the fact there are two in this race is troubling. And it has nothing to do with Gilbert or Berz. It’s the apathy I can’t stand. I guess when people won’t even turn out to vote, asking them to run for office is even more futile.
District 7: Chris Anderson—If you are going to miss Mayor Ron Littlefield, vote to keep Manny Rico in office. If you are looking for a forward-thinking candidate who’ll strive to make government more efficient and responsible, vote for Chris Anderson.
District 8: Moses Freeman—I am firmly convinced that Andraé McGary wants to do a great job for the residents of his district. I am also firmly convinced that he would also love to do a great job in another role representing other folks somewhere else. Freeman, who brings with him a longtime, grounded dedication to Chattanooga, knows the city’s politics but has led too busy and productive a life to be concerned with playing them.
District 9: Peter Murphy—Yusuf Hakeem served on the City Council for 15 years and now wants to come back. He appears to be a man who has run out of things to do. Murphy’s a man who’s just getting started and whom I can’t imagine ever wanting to leave—which is good for Chattanooga, as he has fought back against raising property taxes and is (wisely) in favor of privatizing the woefully underutilized Memorial Auditorium.
And, last but not least, my pick for city mayor:
Guy Satterfield—I know a lot about Andy Berke. I know he served honorably (though albeit somewhat quietly) as a senator in the Tennessee General Assembly. I know he has “energy and vision”—some even go so far as to call him as a “visionary.” I know he’s a nice guy. I know a lot of people love him. I know he loves his family, community and the music of Bruce Springsteen. I know that most people I know are planning to vote for him and that he’s probably going to be Chattanooga’s next mayor.
The fact that he won’t be more specific about his ideas—and that Chattanooga apparently doesn’t care—bothers me. If it’s because he doesn’t think he has to be more specific in order to be elected, that bothers me even more.
I don’t know much about Guy Satterfield, but I do know more about what he plans to do if elected, and I know that his ideas speak more to me than Berke’s. Satterfield has specific plans for eliminating government waste, fighting crime and building upon the region’s recent business growth.
Berke will likely do a fine job—or, at the very least, a better job than Littlefield. Satterfield would probably have done an even better job. Not that anybody really seems to care.
Bill Colrus writes about (in no particular order) local news, culture, music and media. You can find him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.