published Saturday, February 16th, 2013

McGary for District 8 City Council

Andraé McGary speaks at a news conference at the Hamilton County Democratic Party headquarters.
Andraé McGary speaks at a news conference at the Hamilton County Democratic Party headquarters.
Photo by Alyson Wright /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

After losing a bid for Tennessee's 10th District state Senate seat to Republican Todd Gardenhire, District 8 City Council member Andraé McGary recanted on a decision to retire from the council. The Free Press is glad he decided to throw his hat back in the ring and endorses his re-election to city council.

McGary isn't the most fiscally conservative member of the City Council, but he certainly has proven that he respects tax dollars. He looks for places to save money, he has voted against a property tax increase and, most importantly, he is a leader in reforming the Chattanooga budget.

His plan for implementing a zero-based budgeting system would force city leaders to come up with goals first and then decide how much taxpayer money is necessary to meet those ambitions. McGary estimates that, if adopted, zero-based budging could cut cost by 20-30 percent, saving taxpayers millions.

The former WGOW talk radio host is also sensitive to the crime, homelessness and affordable housing issues that affect all of Chattanooga, but are particularly challenging in District 8, which encompasses a number of disadvantaged areas of the city -- including Avondale and Bushtown. Unlike other council members, however, McGary seems to understand that addressing those challenges isn't government's responsibility alone. He prefers to incorporate nonprofits, community organizations and religious groups when developing solutions to those problems. That philosophy both respects tax dollars and increases the likelihood of success.

McGary's opponent, Moses Freeman, is a longtime community activist and public advocate. He has an impressive history of service to Chattanooga's children and low-income population.

In his endorsement interview with the Free Press, though, we could almost hear the cha-ching of cash registers going off as Freeman listed off a litany of ways he hoped to spend Chattanoogans' tax dollars. Freeman believes the city should use public funds to entice people to buy houses in downtrodden areas and he wants the government to install video cameras to police the streets (and spy on unsuspecting residents).

Freeman sees no opportunities to reduce spending in the city's expansive $209 million budget, and admits that he would have no problems voting for tax increases.

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nucanuck said...

Looks like you editorial folks have been told to keep your editorials focused on local regional topics. Some of that is fine, but a steady diet, week after week, seems...well...pretty weak.

February 16, 2013 at 1:50 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...

Since early voting is already going on, how about posting a complete list of your endorsements now, even if you only offer details day by day?

February 16, 2013 at 4:54 a.m.
Gidget said...

Nucanuck - I don't know what's going on in Canada these days, but here in Chattanooga we have an important local election. I'm glad they are taking the time to interview and endorse candidates for this election rather than writing about national issues, which I can read about anywhere. And, the paper is called the CHATTANOOGA TFP not the National TFP.

AndrewLohr - if you just go to the Opinion homepage you can see the endorsements for every city council race (here's the link:

February 16, 2013 at 10:01 a.m.
nucanuck said...


While you make a valid point about the local elections, my observation was meant to be far longer term than just this election cycle. Watch over time and see if you agree.

February 17, 2013 at 12:04 a.m.
Lr103 said...

If the right supports McGary it's because they see him as someone they can use and manipulate, then pull out some dirty file and throw under the bus when he doesn't produce to their satisfaction.

February 17, 2013 at 3:51 p.m.

Nonsense Lr103. Did you read the endorsement, my friend? Unlike the Times endorsement, the Free Press chose to weigh carefully what I ACTUALLY said. Figures, especially since Harry Austin didn't have the you-know-what to show up for my editorial interview. No wonder he commits to sloppy soundbites as a basis for his endorsement. Fortunately, the citizens of District 8 are better readers of character and my record than he is. They know who clearly is the best choice.

February 17, 2013 at 8:18 p.m.
TirnaNOG said...

Candidates should shrive more to know all their constituents and their needs, wants and other issues . Unfortunately they do not, and end up catering to that small fraction that shows up at their meetings and only want to control. Many aren't even from the district or even the city. They've just formed a pack with one another to give an appearance of unity and numbers, because numbers and the appearance of unity impress.

February 18, 2013 at 9:07 a.m.
timbo said...

McGary is not perfect..he will at least listen. The other guy is so far left he can kiss his own butt. If Harry Austin doesn't like must be doing something right.

February 18, 2013 at 3:29 p.m.
Lr103 said...

"The other guy is so far left he can kiss his own butt"

The above statement by timbo is why McGary should be conscious and leery of his supporters. As supporters and constituents are necessarily one and the same.

Today when anyone mentions their disdain for leftists they're usually using their code word for 1. I hate minorites (McGary IS a minority), immigrants, any and all programs and assistance that help the poor, frail, elderly and sick. They only change their strategy but not their goal because they were turning off too many, even some of their own orig. supporters.

They come from that prior crowd who openly professed their hate for the homeless, poor, old anyone living in public housing and who blocked everything the present mayor attempted to helpthem

  1. They're that same crowd who turned on the mayor because, in their own words, they wanted him to allow authority to "Round up all the poor and homeless then dump them across the stateline" and he refused.
February 18, 2013 at 6:38 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Why is everyone picking on poor Dre Dre...we have to remember he has never held a job for any substantial length of time...He has to be able to afford all those kids he and the Mrs keep bringing into this world...I find it strange that McGary would run for state senate when that salary is less than what he makes does he and his family actually survive in these times?...Unless he is receiving govt assistance (based on his family size and income he does qualify)then he must be beholden to someone can you say Crutchfield the corrupt...there is something very fishy about Dre Dre why did he pick our city to begin his political career?

February 19, 2013 at 10:09 a.m.
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