There is more at stake in today's District 4 runoff election than who will represent one of Chattanooga's most affluent districts on the City Council.
The election is an opportunity to replace incumbent Councilman Jack Benson - and his bad ideas, poor voting record and anachronistic views of government - with Larry Grohn, a principled, energetic, thoughtful and trustworthy conservative whose principles and platform will serve Chattanoogans well.
Grohn and others argue that Benson is slow to respond to constituents and is often ill-prepared for council meetings. In an interview with Times Free Press editorial writers, Benson all but admitted he doesn't give the council a full effort, arguing that he shouldn't be "tied up" with handling his City Council duties if city staff can do them.
A greater problem is Benson's mindset. His way of conducting the public's business is rooted in a time in which politics were conducted in smoke-filled back rooms.
His no-questions-asked rubber stamping of Mayor Ron Littlefield's acts of cronyism, his tax and spend habits and his practice of voting in ways that, more often than not, reflect the desires of his largest donors weren't unusual years ago.
Today is a new day in Chattanooga. Voters want transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility, all of which Grohn champions and Benson rejects. As a result, Grohn deserves to be the next District 4 council member.
- Drew Johnson