The Chattanooga city election is Tuesday, March 5. Early voting is ongoing. Below are the previously-announced endorsements by the Chattanooga Free Press editorial page.
Russell Gilbert Sr.
On Tuesday, Chattanooga residents will select a new mayor and as many as seven new City Council members to serve on the Chattanooga City Council. Below is a recap of the candidates we endorse for Chattanooga mayor and City Council, based on their responses to our questions, their principles and their vision for Chattanooga.
• Mayor: Guy Satterfield. Unlike front-runner Andy Berke, Satterfield has a clear vision for Chattanooga. No mayoral candidate has offered better plans to address crime, confront government waste and corruption, make the city budget more taxpayer-friendly and improve Chattanooga's business climate than Satterfield. In each case, his plans are reasonable and fiscally responsible.
• District 1: Chip Henderson. Henderson's dedication to getting the city out of businesses that the private sector does better has been missing from city government. His goal of selling city-owned boondoggles - like insolvent golf courses - and his vision for combining city services to make them more efficient are the types of solutions Chattanooga needs.
• District 2: Priscilla Simmons. As the former manager of the city's Finance Department, Simmons knows the city budget better than anyone. In fact, Simmons has outlined a number of opportunities where she believes she can save the city millions of dollars. She wants to put those savings toward needed infrastructure repair. Simmons' budgeting experience and watchful eye would be a great asset on the council.
• District 3: Ken Smith. Smith wants to trim the city's bloated budget by thoroughly evaluating city departments and agencies to determine which ones are failing to spend tax dollars responsibly. He then plans to help prioritize the city's spending so that essential services aren't shortchanged because tax dollars are diverted instead to pet projects.
• District 4: Larry Grohn. Grohn believes that Chattanooga has too many city employees for a city its size. He hopes to save tax dollars by streamlining departments and letting unnecessary positions go unfilled. With some of the money saved, Grohn hopes to fully staff the police department and put more officers on the streets.
• District 5: Russell Gilbert Sr. Unopposed.
• District 6: Carol Berz. Unopposed
• District 7: Chris Anderson. Anderson's commitment to making city government more transparent and accountable, stopping the city's careless annexation, selling off the city-owned Memorial Auditorium and pushing for the Parks and Recreation Department to reassume the Department of Education, Arts & Culture function are all worthy of praise.
• District 8: Andraé McGary. In his time on the council, McGary has found places to save taxpayers money, voted against a property tax increase and led efforts to reform the Chattanooga budget. He prefers to incorporate nonprofits, community organizations and religious groups when developing solutions to the city's problems. That philosophy both respects tax dollars and increases the likelihood of success.
• District 9: Peter Murphy. As a council member, Murphy voted against the 2010 property tax increase and pushed back against a ridiculous TVA policy regarding tree trimming that unnecessarily destroyed residents' trees. He also pledges to work to privatize the Memorial Auditorium - a move that would save millions of tax dollars and improve the experience of those attending events at the venue.
• Ordinance No. 12677: For the Amendment. This constructive Charter amendment simply updates instances in which state law now supersedes city rules and strips archaic regulations, like ones that prohibit firemen from legally taking the amount of vacation days they are entitled to, penalize "Sabbath breaking" and provide subsidies for railroads. Nothing in the amendment would grant the city additional powers, increase costs or result in tax hikes.