published Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Pam's Points: Let's hear it for citizen ideas on county change and bicycles

The Skillern, Thurman tag team

Help me, Rhonda.

Help me understand why you and Fred Skillern are apparently joined at the hip and determined to push stubborn and sometimes backward ways on Hamilton County. Help us believe you are not just feeling like a sore loser after Skillern was defeated by Randy Fairbanks for his longtime District 1 County Commission seat?

If you're not a sore loser then why are you mounting a write-in campaign against Fairbanks in the August election? Did you expect Skillern to retire in a year or two and get you appointed to his County Commission seat?

And should you win in your write-in effort, who might fill your unexpired term on the school board? Might you and some county commissioners appoint Skillern to the school board?

Let's hope Fairbanks campaigns hard in Soddy-Daisy and Sale Creek. Fairbanks, an accountant, can put real analysis on money questions, like whether hoarding cash to get an already-achieved AAA bond rating is smarter than actually funding school projects before rising costs makes them more expensive.

Skillern served long and mostly well. But he was far too taken with his reputation as a penny-pincher when he actually was often pound foolish. And he steadfastly refused to learn new things -- like using an electronic tablet for county business rather than making the county spend extra dollars for reams of paper to prepare commission reports and documents.

Like Skillern, Thurman, a loud voice on the school board and longtime Skillern ally, is more a needler than a thoughtful watchdog for our money and our children.

On Tuesday, Times Free Press columnist David Cook suggested several local new words for the dictionary, and one of them was Skillerned -- a verb "used to describe a total and unquestioned beat down, political or otherwise."

His example was: Fred Skillern, for decades known for his "strong-arm politics. Few people tangled with him. Even fewer won. ... You got Skillerned."

The people of Hamilton County, don't need to be Skillerned anymore. Or Rhondaed, either, for that matter.

Bike Plan B — and C

Chattanooga traffic officials had planned to narrow Broad Street from three to two lanes on both sides of the road from M.L. King Boulevard to Second Street -- a $215,000 plan aimed at giving bicyclists a dedicated lane of their own, complete with flexible barriers, to separate them from cars. But state funds the city hoped to win went instead to Cleveland and Athens, Tenn. City officials there thought to seek support from state lawmakers.

Here's what seems strange. It's not safe enough for cyclists to ride with cars on the six-lanes-wide Broad Street, but it is thought safe enough for them to ride on curvy, two-lane mountain roads like the W-Road where drivers have no way to give cyclists the law-required three feet clearance without breaking another law by pulling into oncoming traffic.

Lawmakers: I hereby request that you put a word in to city, county and state officials to close the W-Road and other two lane mountain roads to all bicyclers. I also am pleading with city officials to seek funding and partnerships to make a dedicated bicycle race course on the planned new taxpayer-funded road up Aetna Mountain (think flexible barriers here, too, if you like) -- and extend dirt or paved trails into the wildlife refuge on the mountain that recently was barred to four-wheelers.

Unlike the rowdy, noisy, four-wheelers, cyclists are good outdoor-enthusiasts who are not going to cause erosion, and they are quiet and generally nature-loving.

Chattanooga's Aetna is an outdoor and sports mecca and destination in the making. Stop trying to pretend no one will be hurt or killed on too-windy, too-narrow car roads and build something amazing on Aetna for our strong and brave-hearted cyclists.

Anderson petition signers under probe

There is little more vile than the possibility of falsified signatures on a voter's petition.

So, kudos to the Hamilton County Election Administrator Kerry Steelman and to Executive Assistant District Attorney Neal Pinkston for pursuing concerns and forwarding to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation their finding of some petition names in alphabetical order and far too similar handwriting. The names in question were on an unsuccessful petition to recall Chattanooga council member Chris Anderson, the city's first openly gay council member.

Convenient of those petitioners to line up in ABC order before they signed, wasn't it?

Election officials have said about two-thirds of more than 3,000 names were thrown out as invalid or questionable. The petition ultimately fell about 400 names short of 1,600 needed for recall.

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conservative said...

My, somebody needs a nap.

May 21, 2014 at 7:44 a.m.

Yes, you do need a nap. May I suggest Forest Hills or Chattanooga Memorial Park?

May 21, 2014 at 10:52 a.m.
timbo said...

blah, blah, blah...we hate Rhonda...blah, blah,....we hate Fred...blah, blah, blah

Why not come up with something new?

Do you hate fellow democrat Geno Shipley for running as a write-in in District 1? Is that "sour grapes." Or do you just hate conservatives that do it?

Rhonda did not run in the primary..Fred did. The very reason for the write-in candidacy is when something occurs that is against the best interests of the people. Rhonda is the better choice.

The only bigger idiot at the TFP than Pam Sohn is Bennett.

The Rhonda train has left the station and either get on or get off the tracks.

May 21, 2014 at 12:37 p.m.
BigRidgeGOP said...

Timbo... Timbo... Timbo... Can you share what exactly happened that is against the best interest of the people? Please enlighten me in how Randy Fairbanks is not a conservative and will not represent the views of District 1 residents?

I, along with many others, do not believe Rhonda would be a better choice by any means... the FACTS clearly show she is part of the GOP "Old Guard" establishment, many of which like to make decisions behind closed doors and without any public input or comment. On the other hand, Randy is a strong conservative (just like Fred and Rhonda) and will likely vote the same way on the key issues. What Randy will do is engage and listen to the community before making a decision on the key issues. This perspective is typically ignored by Fred and Rhonda.... it's their way or the highway!

Face it... the process does matter for our Party, and it should be respected rather than ignored for personal gain! The political reality is the D-1 community wanted a new conservative voice... plain and simple. Fred lost... it's time to move on!

Instead, Rhonda is now trying to rewrite history and change what the voters decided earlier this month. If she wants to hold this office, Rhonda should wait 4 years and run in the GOP Primary in 2018, just like anyone else could have done this year.

As for Gino... it now looks like he has realized a write-in candidate is not the best route to run for this office. Rhonda should do the same... stay focused on the public schools and wait to run in the next GOP primary.

May 22, 2014 at 2:16 p.m.
timbo said...

BigRidgeGOP....You asked, "Can you share what exactly happened that is against the best interest of the people? Please enlighten me in how Randy Fairbanks is not a conservative and will not represent the views of District 1 residents?"

That is an easy one. First of all, he promised everything to everybody to get elected. That costs money. Money for government comes from TAXES. He promised a fire hall for Mobray, computers for schools, rails for trails (what a conservative concept, taking private land used for commerce for liberals to take a walk), etc, etc. In other words, use the discretionary funds to buy votes, just like a good little democrat. Don't save for a rainy day or a big project like Fred...just give it out. Also, he is malleable. He will be easily manipulated by the Republican establishment. Without Fred on the commision, there will be no one to ask the right questions. I think he will vote for a tax increase next year for the sheriff and the schools. Is that enough? You want more? Let's give him the opportunity to answer a simple question...will you raise taxes for any reason?

The biggest joke of all is that Fred and Rhonda are members of the "Old Guard." Fairbanks has kissed every behind in the Republican party and his wife even worked at the headquarters. He is eaten up with establishment. Do you want me to print his donor list and embarrass you? You spin like a democrat.

If "the process matters for our Party" then why aren't you upset that 500 democrats decided the Republican nominee. You don't care because it came out just the way you wanted. "Process" is only important to you when it is something you don't like. As a matter of fact, "write-in" is on every ballot I have ever seen. IT IS A PART OF THE PROCESS. If you don't like it, change it.

The rest of your letter was more jingoistic spin.

Rhonda will not just "rewrite" history. She will make history as the first person in Hamilton County history to win a write-in campaign. I hope it is a trend that overcomes the spin and "process" that gets us all these fake conservatives. If District 1 wants Randy Fairbanks they can vote for him. The problem is that you and a lot of these establishment types no just how strong a candidate Rhonda is.

May 22, 2014 at 4:22 p.m.
timbo said...

BigRidgeGOP....Geno Shipley just dropped out and endorsed Randy Fairbanks. Congratulations to the DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR COMMISSIONER, RANDY FAIRBANKS. Delivering that same 500 votes the dems gave Randy in the primary won't be enough.

Are you happy now with the "process?"

May 23, 2014 at 9:23 a.m.
GaussianInteger said...

"Rhonda will not just "rewrite" history. She will make history as the first person in Hamilton County history to win a write-in campaign."

If she doesn't, how long before you start the recall effort on Fairbanks?

May 23, 2014 at 2:46 p.m.
mv said...

It is sad that the local GOP has fallen to the level it has. Principles do not matter. The local chairman can be chairman and also be the treasurer of a candidate in a GOP primary. A paid GOP consultant can partner with a liberal Democrat and still be the darling of the GOP. Manipulation is alive and well in the local GOP. This may explain the rise of Independents and the Tea Party.

May 24, 2014 at 8:46 p.m.
timbo said...

GaussianInterger.....Recall? You still don't get that a Write-in vote is just as valid as a vote cast any other way. Let me spell it out for you again. DEMOCRATS DON'T NEED TO PICK THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE AIDED BY POLITICAL SHENANIGANS FROM THE GOP ESTABLISHMENT.

Implying that this is "sour grapes" or some vast tea party conspiracy is immature and stupid. I am done with you.

mv.....dead on.

May 26, 2014 at 11:43 a.m.
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