published Saturday, February 11th, 2012

No winners in push to recall Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield

However the recall effort against Mayor Ron Littlefield turns out, there will be no real winners.

The mayor won a round Friday with a ruling by Judge Jeff Hollingsworth halting the planned August recall election. But an appeal of that ruling is likely.

And even if the mayor staves off the recall, it will be a limited victory. The recall push -- which has dragged on for a year and a half now -- has required an inordinate amount of his attention and reduced the time he has to focus on productive pursuits, such as economic development.

By the same token, even if the backers of the effort to remove Littlefield succeed, what will their victory be? The mayor's term in office will be reduced by only a few months.

City workers certainly aren't winners. They are reportedly under a great deal of strain as they wonder how long their current boss will be in office and who might replace him if a recall succeeds.

But most of all, the city and its residents will not be winners.

Chattanooga is undergoing a remarkable period of progress and transformation. Even before investments such as the Volkswagen plant at Enterprise South industrial park, signs of that transformation were all around. The amazing development along both sides of the Tennessee River and in other areas of the city has helped Chattanooga graduate from the South's best-kept secret to a city that is very highly regarded and frequently talked about worldwide. People from all over the globe want to visit, and companies want to locate here for reasons ranging from a good local workforce to the area's natural beauty.

That puts Chattanooga on the cusp of potential further development such as we can scarcely imagine.

But those prospects are to some degree jeopardized if outsiders see Chattanooga engulfed in bitter political strife and instability.

"We look like a city in chaos" as a result of the recall push, City Councilwoman Pam Ladd said in November. We're afraid that's still true, and that does not bode well for further progress in Chattanooga.

It's not that there are no reasons to object to some of Littlefield's policies. But those differences are best settled through regular elections that will be coming soon in any event.

It is unfortunate that process could be short-circuited.

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Rtazmann said...


February 11, 2012 at 1:21 p.m.
aae1049 said...

The TFP Editorial page is not editorial journalism; rather it is the strongest lobby in the City of Chattanooga for a power structure that detests citizen movements and efforts. The TFP is also an enabler of bad behavior in local government. What would move me to allege such a thing? Facts, sir, facts.

Let’s start with the fact that the TFP intentionally withholds information that could be adverse to a local government that is riddled with land deal and contract corruption. In fact, the TFP withheld valid research on the Farmer Market land. Yes, TFP you are an enabler of this conduct by chronically failing to report it as responsible journalism dictates. Bad government counts on your enabling silence, which you so willingly provide.

The fact that you work so hard at extinguishing grassroots citizen’s movements, while enabling bad government behavior through silence, speaks volumes about your own credibility.

April Eidson

February 11, 2012 at 2:22 p.m.
aae1049 said...

Lady Justice is a Circuit Court PAC Member!

Little Chicago Watch, a citizen watch group, wishes to share very reasonable concerns about an appearance of impropriety in the case of the judicial recall hearings.

We issue the following findings of fact:

Fact 1

42% of Judge Hollingsworth’s campaign contributions are from Mayor Littlefield’s legal firm.

Fact 2

Judge Hollingsworth was employed by Mayor Littlefield’s legal firm prior to election.

Fact 3

City Attorney Mike McMahan selected Mayor Littlefield’s legal firm through blank check resolutions that do not have “not to exceed amount provisions,” after the firm filed a lawsuit to stop the recall election in 2010. Our watch group has filed an open records request to quantify the compensation Mayor Littlefield’s legal firm received from the City through Resolution No. 26633 March 22, 2011 and Resolution No. 26469 Oct. 5, 2010. There is an appearance of a windfall of contracts to Mayor Littlefield’s legal firm after the lawsuit was filed to stop the election.

Fact 4

City Attorney Mike McMahan is representing the City at the taxpayer’s expense, but is not defending the City Charter enacted by a referendum by the citizens of our city (City Minutes, Feb. 2012).

Little Chicago Watch is concerned that Lady Justice may have her blind fold off.

February 11, 2012 at 2:27 p.m.
MountainJoe said...

You know, Ron Littlefield could have spared the citizens all this turmoil by just resigning when a recall petition was provided to the Election Commission containing the signatures of more voters than voted for him in the last election. We could have had a new, productive mayor all this time. But it seems to be an ego thing with him.

February 11, 2012 at 2:47 p.m.
01centare said...

Is it arrogance or stupidity of the highest order that someone would attack the mayor for fighting the recall rather than the idiots who brought the recall about in the first place? This recall was about an attempt to shame and humiliate the mayor. His term would have been up and he would not have been able to run again anyway.

It's due time for an investigation on these recallers. After all, they go around investigating everyone else, even innocent citizens, in an effort to try and dig up dirt they think they might use against them. What's really their agenda?

February 11, 2012 at 5:12 p.m.
aae1049 said...

01centare, Why do you feel that citizens do not have the right to question our government when they bypass bid processes and engage in fraudulent land deals? Do you think this deal on the Westside is up and up?

February 11, 2012 at 6:16 p.m.
01centare said...

To many the reason for the recall eventually came across as personal. That's what turned a lot of citizens off. Many now feel they were misled in order to obtain their signatures. Overtime, the recall appeared to be an act of revenge. I just hope all those involved have deep pockets just in case the mayor and city decides to sue.

February 11, 2012 at 9:29 p.m.
wethepeople said...

MountainJoe, the Mayor could have saved the city and its citizens the turmoil and expense of the Recall if he had been willing to consider the plight of his citizens in 2010 and resort to the same budgetary approach that all of them had to take -- belt tightening. But rather than approach a budgetary shortfall with the idea of "let's see what we can cut" Littlefield took the easy way out and raised everyone's taxes. It's always easier to spend than it is to cut. But good leaders don't shirk the hard stuff. This is where Littlefield has failed and his legacy will confirm this, in my view.

February 11, 2012 at 9:52 p.m.
chioK_V said...

@wethepeople. The county raised property taxes long before the city. Then they, the county, went out a purchased spanky brand new furniture, thanks to yours and my property tax dollars. Where was the outrage then? In fact, the county had raised property taxes several times prior to the city doing the same, and has raised them again since. Again, where's the outrage?

It would be interesting if the feds were brought in to take a closer look at those signatures gathered on those recal petitions.

February 12, 2012 at 1:27 p.m.
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