published Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Alison Gerber: Hot races will make a lively 2013

Political fights for the presidency and plunging over the fiscal cliff may be in our nation’s rearview mirror. But locally, things are about to heat up when City of Chattanooga voters elect a new mayor and council members in March.

The mayoral race promises to be tame; it appears that Andy Berke’s run for mayor will be more of a walk. But in the council races we’ve got all the ingredients for a lively election: A crowded field, open seats and incumbents facing challengers. Get ready for some good, old-fashioned politicking.

Incumbents are not running in District 1 and District 2, leaving those seats wide open. Council members Jack Benson, Pam Ladd, Andraé McGary, Peter Murphy and Manny Rico all face challengers who want their jobs.

Several of the council seats have generated a bunch of interested (and interesting) candidates. Candidates include a number of former government officials and some folks who made names for themselves in business.

The slate of candidates includes such recognizable names as former City Councilman Yusuf Hakeem; Jim Folkner, who founded Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield; former city administrator Moses Freeman, former Signal Mountain High School Principal Tom McCullough; former City Parks and Recreation director Jerry Mitchell; Ken Smith, chief information officer for The Johnson Group; Roger Tuder, president and CEO of Associated General Contractors of East Tennessee; Tramble Stephens, former Howard School principal, and Chris Anderson, food and beverage director at Bluff View Art District.

And these are just the best-known candidates in the council races. There are a total of 27 running for council seats and three for mayor.

Reporter Cliff Hightower will have a report in Monday’s newspaper about the races, and the Times Free Press will be there to cover every step, spat and spirited debate.

It happens often — someone is in the news a lot because they were involved in some sort of controversy. Or they were the victim or perpetrator of a crime, or they achieved something spectacular. Or maybe they spent years in political office and then retired or were defeated.

Then time passes and their moment in the headlines fades away. But we still hear from readers who want to know what happened to the once-newsworthy person.

Starting today, the newspaper will begin a new feature called “Whatever happened to …?” in which we’ll catch up with someone we once covered. We’re starting with Mary Cody, the mentally disabled, epileptic woman who was homeless in 2011 when a stranger stopped on the street to help her. Reporter Pam Sohn’s story about Mary won awards and, even better, generated a huge response from readers.

See the feature on page B1. And please feel free to offer suggestions on people you’re interested in who may have dropped out of the public eye.

Just a few days into 2013 and it’s already time to update the Times Free Press’ “13 to Watch in 2013” list.

The list that ran on New Year’s Day stated: “TVA’s nine-member board suddenly has no quorum, thanks to Congress’ partisan bickering. Five board nominations have been pending for months in the U.S. Senate.” Late Tuesday night, the U.S. Senate Tuesday approved four new TVA board members, giving the utility a quorum.

The list also included leadership vacancies at UTC, mentioning that the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has been without a chancellor since September. On Wednesday a search committee announced that it has selected five finalists to bring to campus for open forums.

That was quick.

Alison Gerber is the managing editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Reach her at Send suggestions to

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
aae1049 said...

Yes Ms. Gerber,

I am concerned about mo Ward Crutchfield in our gov. They run it already, but shhh!

Jerry Mitchell, Candidate for District 2 city council is a Crutchfield family plant. Ward Crutchfield's grand daughter is managing the campaign, the Crutchfield and Skillet group, with the Allied Arts group two blocks from where I live are helping. To my elected official friend that is helping them, you are off my friend list. You can expect, whistle blowers to convey all we know about this. There is more.

Further, Jon Kinsey and Ken Hayes, who did not like the political outcome for their southside parking garage with public bond issue dollars last year, are running a block of candidates with Paul Smith and Ward Crutchfield group. No worries, we have proof.

I am certain Crutchfield was a broker in this deal. We must learn for our city's corrupt history, and break the cycle.

Hearts from Little Chicago.

January 6, 2013 at 1:23 p.m.
aae1049 said...

Candidate Jerry Mitchell, District 2 left lies in our neighborhood.

1) Claims he Created the Recreate Plan for our community. False: A consulting firm from Atlanta was hired by the city for that purpose. Jerry Mitchell just signed the checks. We got the plan.

2) Claims other candidates have conflict of interest. False: Former city employee candidates for District 2, Priscilla Simmons and Jerry Mitchell, claim they are running against what they facilitated, corruption. Blah Blah. They have more conflicts of interest than any other candidate. Jerry Mitchell wants to complete his retirement time to being vested in the city's retirement system. A personnel file check supports this finding. Mitchell needs more years, which he would acquire as a Council person.

January 6, 2013 at 5:39 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.