published Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Appeals court says judge was wrong to not allow petition for Mayor Littlefield's recall

by Cliff Hightower

Do you think Mayor Littlefield should be recalled?

The Tennessee Court of Appeals handed down a decision today saying a Circuit Court judge was wrong in not allowing the Hamilton County Election Commission a chance to certify a petition to oust Mayor Ron Littlefield.

“We find that the trial court acted without jurisdiction,” the appeal court’s opinion states.

The appeal’s court has thrown out the complaint, according to the opinion.

Circuit Court Judge Jeff Hollingsworth handed down a decision last year stopping a recall question to be placed on the November 2010 ballot. Littlefield had sued, asking the recall be stopped.

Jim Folkner, with Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield, appealed the decision, which was handed down today by a three-member appeals court panel.

For more information, read tomorrow’s edition of the Times Free Press.

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CBIKAS said...

Nicely done, Mr. Folkner. Nicely done.

November 3, 2011 at 2:07 p.m.
wethepeople said...

"We the People" of Chattanooga have been vindicated in our just outcry against the hurtful policies of Mayor Ron Littlefield and the tainted and unjust decision by Judge Hollingsworth.

November 3, 2011 at 2:09 p.m.
bill238 said...

HOORAY to Jim Folkner and all the recall workers and those that signed the petition! Pack your bags Littlefield and take your buddy Judge Hollingsworth with you.

November 3, 2011 at 2:25 p.m.
chrisbrooks said...

History of The Recall of Mayor Ron Littlefield:

When the avenues for public participation are shut down and the citizens are shut out, there are those who will say “you can’t fight City Hall.” Chattanooga Organized for Action knows better.

The summer of 2010 saw the City of Chattanooga in a political uproar. Ron Littlefield, entering his last term as Mayor, had written a harsh budget balanced on the backs of the city’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. With a proposed 33% property tax hike guaranteed to make rents and mortgages climb even higher in the midst of the Great Recession, citizens from across the entire political spectrum demanded accountability and answers, but citizens’ questions were met with silence. The Littlefield Administration exhibited outright disdain for demands of transparency. The Chairman of the Chattanooga City Council harshly shut down citizens trying to speak at Council meetings with the words “we don’t have to listen to anybody!”

The grassroots people of Chattanooga sprung up in active resistance. They decided to do the unthinkable – force the democratic removal of Mayor Ron Littlefield.

Moving from protests at City Hall to the streets of Chattanooga’s communities, members of the newly-formed Chattanooga Organized for Action allied with individuals and organizations from all across the political spectrum to form a truly post-partisan coalition to force change and begin a push for real grassroots democracy. From college students to city workers, from businessmen to the clergy, the everyday people of Chattanooga decided to take action and educate themselves in the democratic methods of change in order to accomplish their goal: the Recall of Mayor Ron Littlefield.

Armed with petitions, clipboards and pens and with only their singular determination to guide them, a massive volunteer team took to the streets and entered the pages of Chattanooga history.

November 3, 2011 at 2:50 p.m.
chrisbrooks said...

What started as the sighs of exhaustion and frustration with an unaccountable government soon became the biggest grassroots volunteer effort ever co-ordinated in our city’s history. With little to no knowledge in the methods of canvasing, meeting facilitation or volunteer training, hundreds of Chattanoogans gathered 15,559 signatures in less than 60 days, getting the agreement of over 1 out of every 10 city residents that Chattanooga deserved change. Despite the malicious attacks by the Mayor against ordinary citizens leading the effort and despite the patronizing warnings of the city’s only newspaper to not sign the petition, the all volunteer effort gathered thousands of signatures weekly. With less than three days remaining until the petition deadline, members of Chattanooga Organized for Action turned in the final amount of signatures needed to force the first recall election in Chattanooga’s history.

In a desperate attempt to hold on to power, Mayor Littlefield “lawyered-up” and took the voters of Chattanooga to court. The case, heard in Hamilton County’s Circuit Court, was cited as being one of the most important trials in Chattanooga history. In a stunning denial of the rights of ordinary citizens, Judge Jeff Hollingsworth threw the recall petition out and allowed for Mayor Ron Littlefield to stay in office.

While Littlefield was temporarily successful in winning a court order to stop the election, the case went to the Tennessee Court of Appeal in Knoxville. There, the Appeals Court sided with the grassroots citizens of Chattanooga.

Led by Chattanooga Organized for Action, the history of our city will never be the same.

November 3, 2011 at 2:50 p.m.
Salsa said...

Can't wait to see what sort of tantrums and hissy fits the Mayor throws over this.

November 3, 2011 at 3 p.m.
sandyonsignal said...

Interesting, will there be a recall election then? So many crazy things have happened of late, instead of Littlefield trying to mend bridges he did more ridiculous things, such as: a 328k website, when they had already paid the highest price ever once before on a $300 k website. That smacks of favoritism. Then the whole Paul Page ordeal, he should never have lasted as long as he did. Well, maybe Littlefield will go the way of Page.

November 3, 2011 at 3:40 p.m.
ScoopAway said...

Mayor Littlefield's Reaction:

"This recall effort has been a costly distraction and a deterrent to the unprecedented progress that we have accomplished in this community. The Court of Appeals simply ruled that the election commission was entitled to make a final decision regarding the issues surrounding the recall ballot prior to judicial review. Please note that the Court of Appeals made no decision what-so-ever with regard to the sufficiency of the recall petition and those issues are left to be judicially resolved another day," says Richard Beeland, spokesman for Mayor Ron Littlefield.

"Mayor Littlefield is confident that the Election Commission has the courage and capacity to come to a legally-correct decision on how to proceed, especially in light of the inaccuracies and inconsistencies pointed out to the Circuit Court following the filing of this lawsuit," Beeland adds.

November 3, 2011 at 3:47 p.m.

It might be too late for the recall but it's never too late for tar and feathers and ride out of town on a rail.

November 3, 2011 at 4:21 p.m.
ScoopAway said...

I'll wait until the working class gets off work to see positive comments!

November 3, 2011 at 4:29 p.m.
docspop said...

Looks like you need to get the Tennessee Court of Appeals in your back pocket too Ron.

November 3, 2011 at 4:45 p.m.
sandyonsignal said...

You hope there will be positive comments.

November 3, 2011 at 4:45 p.m.
01centare said...

It's the understanding the original purpose of the so-called recall was because Mayor Littlefield refused to cave in when the city's "elite" wanted him to run the homeless out of town and uproot and displace Chattanooga's poor population, scattering them to points unknown, to make way for the return of the suburbanites who agreed to return if, and only if, they didn't have to live next door to those people.

November 3, 2011 at 4:49 p.m.
fedup350 said...

@01centare, you have to be one of Littlefield’s cronies. I think he might have 10 people in the whole city that supports him and that includes his wife. The other 9 are on his “special” payroll. This man has been an absolute disaster for Chattanooga. He governs by vindictiveness and spite and has not done one good thing for this City. I have news for you 01centare, it wasn’t the city’s "elite" that signed the petition for his recall. It was the cities corrupt "elite" that kept this incompetent man in office. Where do you come up with this nonsensical crap that you post. What twisted world do you live in that you could support Ron Littlefield?? Simply amazing. I have an idea, when he gets thrown out of Chattanooga and slithers back to N. Georgia (if they will let him cross the state line again) then you can hop on the sinking ship and ride it down with him.

November 3, 2011 at 5:39 p.m.
fedup350 said...

I say lets go ahead and recall the whole Chattanooga City Council too while we are at it. They all live in some kind of blue rhino fantasy world anyway. Theirs is a world of spend, spend, spend and don’t worry what you spend it on because it is not our money. If it runs out we can just raise taxes again. Throw out the whole group with Littlefield!

November 3, 2011 at 5:50 p.m.
ChattanoogaVol said...

Time for another fundraiser to pay those legal bills Ron.

November 3, 2011 at 6:09 p.m.
Marathon5454 said...

Hollingsworth should also be recalled--That ruling that he made was shady

November 3, 2011 at 6:35 p.m.
sangaree said...

“We find that the trial court acted without jurisdiction,” the appeal court’s opinion states.

The appeal’s court has thrown out the complaint, according to the opinion

Can someone explain what the above two sentences actually means? OK__I can understand the first one, but it seems in the same breath the higher courts actually threw out the complaint?

Does that mean, or imply, the higher courts agree the judge didn't have jurisdiction to rule, but they actually threw out the complaint for the recall? if so, why's everyone celebrating? just ax-skin'

November 3, 2011 at 7:26 p.m.
MasterChefLen said...

Ron, don't let the door hit you in that butt on your way out.

November 3, 2011 at 8:58 p.m.
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