published Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Our pick for Chattanooga mayor: Guy Satterfield

The race to decide Chattanooga’s next mayor has looked, at times, more like a coronation than an election. While it’s true that Andy Berke has raised a tremendous amount of money and receives overwhelming attention from the media, he is not the best person for the job. Guy Satterfield is.

The Free Press strongly endorses Satterfield to become the next mayor of Chattanooga.

Satterfield has four decades of public works experience in Chattanooga, including 33 years of service at the Moccasin Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant. His extensive knowledge of sewer and wastewater infrastructure prepares him better than anyone to tackle Chattanooga’s most pressing challenge: repairing the city’s flawed sewer system in response to the $250 million consent decree slapped on Chattanooga by the federal government.

Satterfield also plans to take on crime, confront government waste and corruption, make the city budget more taxpayer-friendly and improve Chattanooga’s business climate.

According to Satterfield, “The city does not have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem.” It’s hard to argue the point. During Mayor Ron Littlefield’s eight years in office, the city’s annual general fund budget has exploded from $150 million to nearly $210 million — a rise of 39 percent, during a time when inflation increased just 17 percent.

No candidate has been more detailed at pointing out ways to trim wasteful city spending and streamline departments that could be operated more efficiently and effectively than Satterfield. Specifically, he plans to return the discredited Education, Arts and Culture Department to the oversight of the Parks and Recreation Department. Satterfield also proposes leasing the Memorial Auditorium and Tivoli Theatre to private operators, saving city taxpayers hundreds of thousands annually.

Satterfield vows to eliminate Littlefield’s unproductive Office of Multicultural Affairs, and trim unnecessary positions in the mayor’s office, including the deputy mayor.

Satterfield says the city’s police department “has been gutted” in recent years. In order to meet the city’s law enforcement needs, he proposes to grow the police force by working to draw more qualified people into the police academy. He also plans to deal with high turnover in the department by improving morale among police through making good on pay increases that were promised, but never awarded.

Perhaps the most appealing plank of Satterfield’s impressive platform is his pledge not to raise property taxes. Satterfield makes it clear that the city government already has more than enough money to do everything it should be doing and does not need to take additional money from struggling taxpayers.

Satterfield’s promise to not increase property taxes as mayor is in stark contrast to Andy Berke’s stance on taxes. In an editorial board interview with the Times Free Press Berke said tax increases are on the table.

After being criticized for failing to provide details about his platform and specifics about his goals if elected mayor, the Free Press expected Berke to address a number of policy issues during the endorsement interview. Shockingly, he refused.

Berke spoke of “goals” for the city, but failed to outline them. He claimed to have a “comprehensive crime policy,” but wouldn’t go into specifics. Platitudes about “accountability,” “priorities” and “vision” poured from Berke’s mouth, but they were accompanied by no actual ideas to back them up.

Perhaps Berke is hiding his plans for Chattanooga until after the election in the belief that if he told voters what he actually hopes to accomplish, most would never vote for him. Maybe he plans to become mayor, then leverage the post into a higher office — following in the footsteps of Bob Corker, Phil Bredesen and Bill Haslam — and has failed to consider the needs of the city and is ill-equipped to develop policies to address them. Whatever the case, Berke’s evasiveness about what he would do as mayor is unnerving.

Until Berke is willing to present his goals and outline plans to accomplish those objectives, he is simply not someone that any Chattanoogan should be comfortable electing as mayor.

Berke is bright. He has experience. But he is not the best candidate — and he would not make the best mayor. Guy Satterfield, with his responsible platform of specific, attainable ambitions for Chattanooga should be elected on March 5 to lead our city.

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AndrewLohr said...

Thanks for the word.

February 17, 2013 at 1:14 a.m.
aae1049 said...

Agree, but the power structure will crush him, and his campaign, even underfunded, hardly notable.

February 17, 2013 at 8:47 a.m.
timbo said...

Ditto. aae1049...

February 17, 2013 at 12:27 p.m.
GameOn said...

Berke will take care of the good ole boy network and need on the job training. Satterfield has the experience and will not be a yes man for the power structure. Guy Satterfield will make logical solutions for the people of Chattanooga instead of profitable decisions for the good ole boy network.

February 17, 2013 at 2:38 p.m.
Lr103 said...

I thought Sattefield was a black guy. Didn't TFP or some news outlet show a black guy showing up at that councilman candidate meeting as Sattefield over there in E. Chattanooga recently.

February 17, 2013 at 3:55 p.m.
nucanuck said...

GameOn,

Is this power structure anybody that you would care to name? Who are these people that can tell Mr Berke what to do? Does a defined power structure really exist or is it more myth and perception.

Do you have any information that Mr Berke has ever made a decision that knowingly profited a friend and associate. You imply that he would and if that is just a loose comment, it is very irresponsible on your part. Words have consequences.

Again as on another thread, I ask you to tell us the good things about Mr Satterfield rather than impugn Mr Berke unless you have some explicit revelation that is pertinent to Mr Berke's character.

February 18, 2013 at 12:09 a.m.
Lr103 said...

nucanuck, don't waste your time. To attack, insult and attempt to defame are the only strategies these people have. Otherwise, they don't have a clue or a platform. They're just trying to divert attention away from that fact.

February 18, 2013 at 6:46 a.m.
timbo said...

nucanuck....Berke is buying the mayor's office. Mayor is an executive position. He has NO executive experience whatsoever. NONE. He hasn't run anything. He is a local version of that dumbass Obama.

Just being a liberal that talks in vague platitudes is not enough. Making a backroom deal with Republicans to eliminate conservative opposition is not good enough either. I guess it is a "coincidence" that there is no well financed conservative opposition to Berke. Yea, right. This was a quid pro quo for dropping out of the state senate race and leaving it wide open for Republicans.

Local politics is full of political cross-dressers. There is only one party. The power structure party which is full of so-called Republicans and Democrats sucking public money into their own pockets.

By the way, I don't have to insult, attack, or defame a light-weight like Berke. I just have to tell the truth about him.

FOR SALE CHATTANOOGA MAYOR'S OFFICE

February 18, 2013 at 3:07 p.m.
nucanuck said...

timbo,

Littlefield had executive experience and he has under-performed. Good and talented people usually succeed at whatever they undertake. Slugs like Littlefield do not.

Berke has no real challengers because those who might have run were reluctant to take Berke on...Rob Healey for one. Money goes where the talent is and that is what has happened in this Mayoral race.

Berke probably dropped out of the Senate because the whole Nashville crowd has been over-run with knuckle-draggers. He was in a hopeless dead-end situation.I assume that Berke has long-term political aspirations and performing well as Mayor could be a good launching pad...nothing wrong with that.

If Berke is the lightweight you claim, are you the new featherman?

February 18, 2013 at 4:08 p.m.
fairmon said...

nucanuck said... GameOn,

Is this power structure anybody that you would care to name? Who are these people that can tell Mr Berke what to do? Does a defined power structure really exist or is it more myth and perception.

Like D.C., follow the money. It has always been "he who has the gold rules". It is not one well organized structure but multiple influential groups. Littlefield did not resist, we will see if Berke is independent enough to listen to the regular hard working people that can't afford to put more in the till and need more jobs that provide a decent living. Will he be concerned about all the empty business locations through out the city?

February 19, 2013 at 6:44 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

After my preferred candidate Rob Healy dropped out, I became a Satterfield supporter...Burke will be more of the same, Mayor Littlefield has really done nothing for this city other than find jobs for his cronies once he leaves office...He truly had very little to do with VW locating here but yet wants to take all the credit...Much like the nation, our city will follow the same hell in a handbasket downhill progression with Burke...I guess Missy's job is safe if Burke is elected...As the editorial states the CPD has been gutted and now violence in our city is rampant and the only thing he can think of is bringing in gang "consultants"?...Burke has yet to bring any constructive ideas to the table to address ANY issue...I make the rather accurate anaolgy that Andy Burke is nothing more than the Scenic City equalivent of Barack Obama...much like the nation, too many are drinking the Kool Aid

February 19, 2013 at 9:57 a.m.
patriot1 said...

The properties mentioned in today's (Sunday) headlines owned by the Berke clan is in stark contrast to properties owned by previous Mayor and now Senator Corker. Is this what we have digressed to?

February 24, 2013 at 8:46 a.m.
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