published Friday, February 15th, 2013

Chris Anderson talks fast and covers a lot of ground

Chris Anderson, District 7 candidate for Chattanooga City Commission, answers questions during a meeting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press editorial board.
Chris Anderson, District 7 candidate for Chattanooga City Commission, answers questions during a meeting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press editorial board.
Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

He is full of thoughtful energy — something needed on the Chattanooga City Council, and particularly in the District 7 communities of St. Elmo, Southside, East Lake, Alton Park and portions of Downtown.

Problems in that district have often been bypassed in the city's rush to work on sexier fixes in other communities. Instead, the district -- now represented by incumbent Manny Rico -- has become increasingly known for crime.

Anderson, the director of food and beverage services in the Bluff View arts district and executive committeeman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, is concerned about crime. He is especially worried about what appears to be a rising gang problem.

"We spent $210,000 on a gang study two years ago to find out what we knew 20 years ago," he said. "We need more police ... We're showing up after crimes occur because we're not staffed properly."

He's done his homework, and he says there is no one solution. Although the city has annexed new areas and the number of city officers already is down, the police department faces more retirements this year than there are cadets in the current police academy.

But just boots on the ground won't make enough difference.

"There's no solution to crime without a jobs component," he said. "We also need to keep kids occupied. ... The city can't do a whole lot about schools, but in the afternoons we can offer positive activities [sports, art, music and mentorship programs] in the recreation centers we already have."

The way to finance fixes, he told Times Free Press editorial writers recently, is to prioritize and cut money wasted on "crony capitalism." He recommends a merger of the Education, Arts and Culture Department with the Parks and Recreation Department.

Another money saver is the Memorial Auditorium. Sell it or lease it, making sure there are stipulations for some low-cost public programing, Anderson said. At the very least, he said, manage it correctly so that event-goers can use a credit card. Currently only cash is accepted, and the auditorium's ATM has recently been broken for months, he said.

"When I hear that we lost $680,000 in revenue last year at the Memorial Auditorium, and the concession stand only takes cash and there's no ATM? I think that's a really quick fix," he said.

Incumbent Rico has been on the city council eight years.

It's time for a change, and Anderson is the man.

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dfreezy said...

Anderson says he wants more police while running in a district that is terrorized by the police. Know your constituency. Pretty obvious that you don't actually talk to anyone in district 7.

February 15, 2013 at 12:16 a.m.
dfreezy said...

"the district -- now represented by incumbent Manny Rico -- has become increasingly known for crime."

even though the crime rates in the westside and east lake are the same as the rest of downtown chatt. It's actually known for crime because the racist media thinks a majority of black people are criminals.

February 15, 2013 at 12:18 a.m.
TirnaNOG said...

More police, or boots on the ground aren't the answer.

The above strategy has already been tried and failed. It created more problems than anything else in many neighborhoods. As police and some community leaders formed an unholy union to run certain residents from the community. In the community which I live, those more boots on the ground actually came in dividing and polarizing the community often along racial lines especially in racially mixed communities. Police stopping, frisking innocent citizen, following them for no specific reason other than the color of their skin. Stalking basically.

They actually created volatile situations suspiciously expecting an explosion at some point.

Pitting neighbor against neighbor. They spread false rumors about certain targeted residents, creating an air of fear, hostility and suspicion about targeted residents and advising newcomers to the community to avoid certain people. They basically advised the newcomers to the community "not to interact with those people which eerily turned out to be the darker residents living in the community. They told them basically it was too dangerous. Call us instead if you suspect something or if the neighbor's grass is too high or dog barks too often, they advised.

What they didn't realize is our history dates way back. To the founding of many of these communities many of the residents relationships, regardless of color, were so intertwined that many are blood related in some way, regardless of skin color, class or economic status.

It's not the quantity that counts, but the quality and professionalism of policing that can either make or break, unite or polarize and divide an entire community.

February 15, 2013 at 3:11 a.m.
dfreezy said...

Just goes to show that Anderson doesn't know his constituency. Also THERE ARE TWO OTHER PEOPLE RUNNING IN DISTRICT 7.


The times free press has failed to mention them yet again. Useless reporting. Objective my nuts.

February 15, 2013 at 12:57 p.m.
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