City Councilwoman Carol Berz last week was cleared of a complaint that she misrepresented herself as a lawyer during her race for City Council District 6.
The grievance committee of the state Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission found that complainant Barry Abbott had not demonstrated that Dr. Berz, a mediator, had broken any commission rules, Dr. Berz's attorney, Roger Dickson, said Friday after the hearing.
"Now she can move on and serve the people of the community," Mr. Dickson said.
Dr. Berz, who won the February special election for District 6 over five challengers, has said she has a law degree but does not practice law.
Mr. Abbott filed the complaint based on information he got from fellow attorney Robin Flores, according to a Feb. 7 letter that accompanied the complaint to the state. Mr. Flores backed District 6 candidate Melinda Hickey in the special election.
Of plastic and automobiles
Using some Tupperware containers as props, a District 5 applicant touted her "independent sales" experience as the City Council considered candidates for the interim appointment last week.
Angela Clark brought out containers as she referenced her past as a saleswoman of plastic wares -- one of several previous jobs she ticked off in describing her work experience and how that would help her serve in city government.
"This would be good for a home, office, a City Council break room or wherever," she said.
Soon after, Council Chairwoman Linda Bennett urged Ms. Clark to finish up her presentation as she quickly approached her three-minute time limit.
As she closed, the applicant asked council members to look at her like a vehicle, both as an "Explorer" and a "Navigator."
"I will explore the facts, issues and policies, and (as a) navigator, I will give direction, guidance and information," she said. "So choose me as your next City Council leader."
After hearing from Ms. Clark, Beatrice Hicks, Thomas Scott, Walter Williams and Luther Shockley, the City Council selected Mr. Shockley for the District 5 seat.
Mr. Shockley, a retired principal, will hold the District 5 seat -- recently resigned by former Councilman John "Duke" Franklin Jr. -- until the fall. A replacement for the seat will be elected in a Nov. 4 special race.
Mr. Franklin has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from a federal drug investigation.
winters offers reward for missing signs
Jim Winters, independent candidate for Hamilton County sheriff, is offering a $500 reward for what he said was about $2,500 worth of signs missing from several areas of the county.
"It seems to be an organized effort throughout the county instead of random maliciousness," a Winters campaign news release states.
The release states that Mr. Winters contacted the sheriff's department to report the missing signs but no report was taken.
Likewise, he contacted the city's Public Works Department to ask if they removed the signs. According to the release, officials said they have not removed the signs.
Republican sheriff candidate Jim Hammond said he has had no signs removed. He did say, however, that he has been contacted by officials to remove some signs that were placed incorrectly.
Mr. Hammond has recently been campaigning on the social networking site Facebook.
Ads on the site feature a picture of Mr. Hammond and remind readers that early voting in the election is July 18 to Aug. 2.
In addition to Mr. Hammond and Mr. Winters, Democrat Greg Beck, independent candidate Tim Akins and write-in candidate Fred Fuson are seeking the office.
The sheriff election is Aug. 7.
paying not to pay
The Hamilton County Commission on Thursday gave preliminary approval to a resolution to spend up to $65,000 to help fight Tennessee-American Water Co.'s proposed 20 percent rate increase.
County Mayor Claude Ramsey said the cost is a one-time expense in the county's joint effort with the city of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Manufacturers Association to challenge the increase before the Tennessee Regulatory Authority.
The County Commission will vote on the resolution Wednesday.
The company's last rate increase, 12.3 percent, went into effect in May 2007. Company officials have said the requested rate increase likely would go into effect sometime in September, after the regulatory authority's review.
CHA's web site in transition
Around the same time the Chattanooga Housing Authority experienced financial problems resulting in the layoff of 56 employees, the agency's Web site at www.openingdoors.org also become inoperable.
The Web site which once included notices about upcoming board meetings, CHA properties and employment opportunities, is no longer working.
CHA's public information coordinator Cheryl Marsh said the Web site is in transition, but could not say when it will be working again. Several CHA employees have changed their e-mail address from the openingdoors.org domain to chahousing.org.
Overheard on the police scanner on the animal services channel from an officer talking about roadkill:
"He's just marinatin' in the sun with blow flies and maggots and all that stuff. All you gotta do is cut into it and pop goes the opossum."
Compiled by staff writers Michael Davis, Matt Wilson, Jacqueline Koch and Yolanda Putman.
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