John Allen Brooks, a Democratic candidate for Hamilton County Commission District 6, said this week he served 48 hours in jail after being convicted of driving under the influence in 1991.
Records show he was charged Dec. 22, 1990, and pleaded guilty the following March. Mr. Brooks said he drank too much at a Christmas party and on the way home he pulled over and fell asleep. He said he was awakened by a police officer and charged.
He said the incident shook him up, prompting him to change his life's direction and begin practicing law.
"Sixteen years ago I made a mistake," he said in a statement in response to media inquiries about the incident. "I took full responsibility for my actions. I learned a valuable lesson. I became a better person. I have never tried to hide or run away from this mistake."
His opponent in the Democratic primary, Lou Miller, said she hoped any drinking problem was behind Mr. Brooks.
"If he's gotten help for it and he's over it, God bless him," Ms. Miller said. "Pick up the pieces and go on."
Mr. Brooks said he would stick to the issues facing District 6 residents.
"This is just old-fashioned mud-slinging, a political attempt to distract the voters by people who are afraid to confront the real issues facing District 6," he said in the statement.
CONLEY WANTS TO MOVE FORWARD
Terry Conley, one of three Republicans vying to replace Charlotte Vandergriff on the commission, was arrested last year on a boating under the influence charge that was dismissed in November.
Mr. Conley was pulled over Sept. 30 because a navigational light was out, according to an incident report. The report stated he was unstable on his feet, smelled of alcohol and was unable to follow simple commands and requests. The report states he failed a sobriety test.
Mr. Conley, who in 2004 ran unsuccessfully for the state House seat won by Rep. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, said it was a misunderstanding. He said he was near his boat dock at the time.
"It was one of those accidents that will never happen again, I guarantee you that," Mr. Conley said.
A TWRA attorney would not reveal the results of a breath analysis test, saying it would violate medical privacy regulations.
Mr. Conley said the incident was an embarrassment to himself and his family. He said he paid the fine on the navigational lights violation.
Mr. Conley called for the candidates to look forward in the race rather than backward.
"I'm not the type of person who gets drunk and goes out on the boat," Mr. Conley said.
He is running against Jim Coppinger and J. Al Smith, who both declined to comment.
EMISSIONS OFFICIALS TO MEET WITH COUNTY
Hamilton County commissioners likely will meet with officials involved in emissions testing in early June, Chairman Larry Henry said Thursday.
Mr. Henry said the goal of the meeting would be to get direction and guidance on how to address residents' concerns. He said county officials and emissions testing officials have the same goal of cleaning the air. He added that the county must balance environmental and economic concerns.
Also on Thursday, Mr. Henry instructed the commission's Legal Committee, chaired by Lou Miller, to help prepare for the meeting.
Ms. Miller said as part of that preparation, she wants residents to share their experiences and problems with the emissions program and how it could work better.
She said residents can share their experiences by mailing the commission's office at 111 County Courthouse, Chattanooga, 37402, or via fax at (423) 209-7201. The commission office's phone number is (423) 209-7200.
COUNTY SUES TO SHUT DOWN BEAUTY SALON
Hamilton County has filed suit in Chancery Court to close a beauty salon that continues to operate despite the County Commission's rejection of a rezoning request.
The beauty salon at a home on Ooltewah-Georgetown Road was already operating by the time the commission rejected the zoning request in January. The owner who applied for the rezoning, Karina Bromley, could not be reached for comment.
County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said the county waited 60 days after the rejection to ensure Ms. Bromley did not file an appeal but has since filed a lawsuit.
Neighborhood opponents said allowing the home to be used as a beauty salon would set a precedent in the neighborhood. Ms. Bromley's attorney said such businesses were the reason why the zoning designation (C-5 Neighborhood Commercial) was created.
Compiled by staff writer Ian Berry.
E-mail Ian Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org