CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The head of the Tea Party of Bradley County said Tuesday that Mayor Tom Rowland should resign after taking a stand against a flier -- written by a tea party member -- that says the city wants to destroy the homes in some Cleveland neighborhoods.
Donny Harwood, local tea party chairman, said Rowland thinks he is king.
The Cleveland City Council also voted unanimously to request a police investigation into the flier, a decision that Harwood says is "to basically manhunt down the source of the flier and have him arrested or brought up on charges."
Harwood said the man who put out the flier recently joined the Bradley tea party and is "now in fear of his safety and well-being. I had to listen as his family wept in the background on a phone conversation because this mayor unjustifiably put out a bounty on his head!"
In his emailed statement, Harwood said the mayor and all the City Council, plus city planner Greg Thomas, should resign.
Rowland said Tuesday that "the job of city government is to protect its citizens and that includes misinformation that could put fear into senior citizens."
Rowland has said there is no plan to destroy homes in the neighborhoods through a plan being developed by Bradley County, Cleveland and Charleston to accommodate growth for the next 25 years.
"The neighborhoods where the fliers were circulated are established neighborhoods where people have lived for two or three generations," Rowland said. "They should not be given misinformation that creates fear.
"The council simply asked for an investigation to determine the source of the fliers so they can be given correct information. Of course, if any criminal laws are violated, that is a different matter," Rowland said.
Calling the city government "runaway," Harwood said that if he or the man who put out the flier are harmed, that the mayor, the council and Thomas "should be held responsible and investigated to the fullest extent of the law!"
Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...