Let's be honest, for limited government types, the pickings in the contest for the District 9 City Council seat are a little slim. While some council races, like District 1 and District 4, offer a number of candidates that would work to get government out of peoples' lives, Peter Murphy and Yusuf Hakeem each have track records of infusing more government into our community.
That's not to say, however, that each man hasn't been valuable to Chattanooga. Murphy, the incumbent, isn't afraid to get his hands dirty in his district. Working on neighborhood cleanup efforts, Murphy puts in more hours of community service than Lindsay Lohan (although, unlike Lohan, Murphy's good deeds are by choice).
Former three-term City Council Chairman Hakeem served 15 years on the council and a decade on the former Chattanooga Board of Education. He resigned from the council to serve on the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole.
While often considered a rubber-stamper during his time on the council, Hakeem's long history of public service to Chattanooga is commendable. Hakeem points out that, as council chairman, he played valuable role in creating the McKamey Animal Center and helping Chattanooga land Volkswagen.
In this face-off between a current city council member and a former one, the Free Press is more impressed by Murphy. In his time on the council, Murphy almost single-handedly prevented storm water fee increase, voted against the 2010 property tax increase and, last year, pushed back against a ridiculous TVA policy regarding tree trimming that unnecessarily destroyed residents' trees.
Murphy, a Social Security disability attorney by day, is also one of a number of candidates who pledges to privatize the Memorial Auditorium -- a move that would ultimately save millions of tax dollars and improve the experience of attending events at the venue.
The Free Press endorses Murphy to retain his seat on the City cCouncil. However, we encourage him to look at additional ways to reduce the expense and harmful impacts that city government has on Chattanooga residents.