published Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Recallers knocking on election door

by Cliff Hightower
  • photo
    Staff photo by Dan Henry/Chattanooga Times Free Press - Charlie Wysong, the recall effort coordinator, left, speaks to Charlotte Mullis-Morgan, the Administrator of Elections, at the Hamilton County Election Commission August 18, 2010 after handing in 2500 signatures of signed petitions in an attempt to recall Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield.

Chris Brooks stands beside a sport utility vehicle, holding up a 2-inch-thick sheaf of papers.

“This is what 2,500 signatures looks like,” says Brooks, an organizer for Chattanooga Organized for Action.

On Wednesday, members of three organizations dropped off petitions with about 3,000 signatures at the Hamilton County Election Commission in an effort to recall Mayor Ron Littlefield.

The recall effort by Chattanooga Organized for Action, the Chattanooga Tea Party and Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield has been under way for more than a month. Organizers have until Aug. 30 to gather about 9,300 signatures, said Charlotte Mullis-Morgan, administrator of elections.

As of Wednesday, they had turned in around 8,600 signatures. Mullis-Morgan said that of 5,600 dropped off last week, 4,059 have been determined to be valid. Another 3,000 came in Wednesday.

The others were thrown out for various reasons, she said, such as incorrect addresses or signers who lived outside Chattanooga.

Charles Wysong, a member of the Chattanooga Tea Party, said he’s confident the city will be holding an election in November for a new mayor.

“We will have the recall,” he said. “Yes, we will.”

Richard Beeland, spokesman for Littlefield, said Wednesday that “everything right now is speculative.”


* 8,600: Signatures on petitions turned into the Hamilton County Election Commission as of Wednesday

* 5,619: Signatures checked by the Election Commission as of Wednesday

* 4,059: Number of certified valid signatures

Source: Hamilton County Election Commission

The mayor’s office will comment further after the process is completed, he said.

If the recall succeeds, Beeland said the mayor “absolutely” will run again.

Members of the recall effort said they have talked about recruiting someone to run against Littlefield.

Brooks said there is so much animosity in the city against the administration, “I don’t think we have to worry about” finding someone to run.

Tobiah Tillman, also with Chattanooga Organized for Action, said he’s heard many comments from people as he’s gone door to door, asking for signatures.

“I’ve heard a lot of people say, ‘You get this guy out, I’ll vote,’” he said.

Mark West, president of the Chattanooga Tea Party, said the city needs a new direction.

“This is not a personal attack against Ron Littlefield,” he said. “This is a difference in opinion on policy.”

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Tax_Payer said...

I really do believe if this recall was not happening, the city commission would of ignored the residents on Hunter Road, with that planned apartment complex. Yep, the Tea Party can probably go out there and get the rest of the signatures to remove the dictators that run Chattanooga.

August 19, 2010 at 9:31 a.m.
harrystatel said...

This recall is a referendum on Littlefield, his administration, his political patronage, his disregard for fiscal responsibility, his lack of ability to fix the sewage discharge problem (twice), his unbridled attempt to coerce county residents into a system without redress, his disregard for releasing public documents as required by law, his suspicious Farmer's Market land purchase, loosening the City's fiduciary belt while taxpayers tighten theirs . . .

Removing Littlefield from office will not solve all problems of government in Chattanooga. There will always be problems with political power, regardless of who is in command.

But it's a great place to start. Exposing elected officials and their appointees may have the effect of making others fear the bright, blinding light of transparency in all government activities.

Thomas Jefferson said, "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

This is a step to return to the high ideal of making government fear the citizens.

I'm no pollyannish fool. There will never be any government without corruption, influence peddling, under-the-table deals, etc.

But it is time for people to be treated as citizens, not subjects. Removing monarchies, whether Church or State, is an admirable goal. That was the goal of the Founding Fathers—that is still my goal today.

Harry Statel

August 19, 2010 at 10:32 a.m.
Allison12 said...

Tax_Payer you are absolutely correct. Rico and Benson do not want 2,500 more signatures and more recallers joining the effort, so they killed the Hunter Road project as a matter of self preservation in elected office. The player in the Hunter Road development are famous for the zoning lobby, and approval no matter who they hurt along the way. Hunter Road can thank the recallers for this one.

August 19, 2010 at 11:50 a.m.
slr3 said...

While we are recalling , I would like to see ALL the councilmembers who voted for the 19% property tax increase recalled. Along with the current two under discussion BENSON and RICO, I would suggest if we really want to clean house and get a fresh start we should also recall LADD,ROBINSON and BERZ.

August 19, 2010 at 1:07 p.m.
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