published Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Recallers gather enough to force election

by Cliff Hightower

An effort to oust Mayor Ron Littlefield has forced the first Chattanooga mayor recall in history.

“We don’t stop,” said Jim Folkner, with Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield. “We’re going to keep getting names, we’re going to keep getting signatures.”

Election officials confirmed late Friday they had counted 9,071 valid signatures out of 14,078 submitted. The number needed to force the recall is 8,935.

Recall groups have until 4 p.m. Monday to turn in more signatures.

Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield, the Chattanooga Tea Party and Chattanooga Organized for Action have been working for months to oust Littlefield over a 19 percent property tax increase in June and a stormwater fee hike in April.

Charlotte Mullis-Morgan, administrator of elections, said the Hamilton County Election Commission could meet early next week to officially certify the numbers.

“It probably goes to court,” she said, just minutes after counting the last signature on Friday.

Littlefield’s spokesman, Richard Beeland, didn’t say Friday whether the mayor would contest the issue in court. He said Littlefield plans to “absolutely run again and run harder than ever.”

Questions have been raised about whether state law or the City Charter controls how many signatures are required to force the issue to a vote. Under state law, the number of required signatures is about 16,000.

Beeland said Friday the mayor would not comment until the election commission acts.

“The election commission verifies it when they meet and we’ll see when they meet,” he said.

Mark West, president of the Chattanooga Tea Party, said he is sure the court system will expedite the matter if that’s where it lands.

“We would hope the court realizes the seriousness of the will of the people,” he said.

West and Chris Brooks, an organizer for Chattanooga Organized for Action, said they expect the recall effort would prevail in court.

“We think we’ve done everything to the letter of the law,” West said.

Election officials have said there is a tight timetable leading up to the Nov. 2 general election.

Any potential mayoral candidates must qualify by Sept. 9. The ballots are to go to the printer by Sept. 14.

Election officials have said the mayor will continue to serve until the general election.

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Tax_Payer said...

I didn't vote last time, but in November I will makes sure that I do vote against Littlefield.

August 28, 2010 at 12:38 a.m.
babygirl said...

I hope that Jim Folkner will put his name on the ballet he stepped up to the plate and started the recall effort to stand up to our local government and has shown that everyone can make a difference. He helped bring many groups together for one cause making our government accountable for their actions.

August 28, 2010 at 9:41 a.m.
xsiveporsche said...

If I new how to qualify for the election I might just run against Littlefeild. There is way to much waste in Chattanooga and to much money going to places it should not go.

August 28, 2010 at 11:08 a.m.
dcruncher said...

This article says the reasons for ousting Littlefield involved the propert and stormwater taxes..That would be some people's main focus, but mine is the mayors blatant disregard for the separation of powers when he made light of emailing a judge and trying to persuade a favorable outcome for the city. The man also wants to use tax money to build TVA a new parking deck which is insane when there's going to be a big void in the TVA building when Cigna moves out in Dec. Why spend 6.5 million now for a promise made in "84?

August 28, 2010 at 1:04 p.m.
chrisbrooks said...

Chattanooga Organized for Action's main focus was NOT taxes - it was the lack of transparency (the Mayor's office violated the law on several occasions by refusing to comply with Open Records Requests and illegally charging citizens for their inspection), corruption (as in the Farmer's Market land deal, the Walnut Street Land deal, the City Attorney scandal, etc.) and cronyism (the mayor actually thinks that he has the divine right to dictate how judges should rule in court cases!). Transparency, Corruption and Cronyism are not partisan issues, they are the result of a system where elected officials feel they are above scrutiny and beyond accountability. The lesson to be learned here is the power in organizing, that when people come together and decide to act on their shared interests they can make real change happen. Anyone can be a part of the movement, all you have to do is show up!

August 28, 2010 at 2:08 p.m.
slr3 said...

This recall effort is a breath of fresh air!! Now we need to carry the same passion to state & national elections.

August 29, 2010 at 10:54 a.m.
zacklittlefield said...

Hi Chris Brooks -

Still (and for the 8th week now) waiting for your facts and proof on "corruption." That is a word you shouldn't us lightly.

August 30, 2010 at 11:35 a.m.
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