Pam's Points: Recall fever needs cold shower, ACA ruling big for Tennesseans

Pam's Points: Recall fever needs cold shower, ACA ruling big for Tennesseans

February 2nd, 2014 in Opinion Times

Chris Anderson

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

Chattanooga seems to be getting into the tea party fervor of petitions and recalls, so let's open up the floor.

If Charlie Wysong, who doesn't even live in the city's District 7, can spearhead a recall petition to oust Councilman Chris Anderson because Anderson sponsored the city's domestic-partner, same-sex benefits ordinance, then why not just have a government turnover free-for-all?

Who's got a petition out there to recall Larry Grohn just because you don't like his continually out-of-order questions about the same things over and over and over?

Or how about a petition to recall Carol Berz, the council's only woman, because you just don't like women?

Maybe someone should circulate a petition to recall Moses Freeman simply on the basis that he's spent most of his life in government service. Or maybe Chip Henderson, Russell Gilbert or Ken Smith should face recall because they do or don't like backyard chickens.

Wysong and tea party leader Mark West already had won a bid via petition to get the domestic partner question on the August ballot during the Hamilton County general election. The new city ordinance instructs the city to offer benefits to city employee's gay or straight partners -- something many cities, some states and the federal government already do. But now Wysong and crew see the need to take on the sponsor of the ordinance, too?

Funny how the 'don't tread on me' crowd wants to tread on everybody else. Extending those benefits would increase the city's benefit cost by only 1 percent, or about $163,000 a year, so the recallers can't really claim this is a fiscal issue. Maybe they're just on a roll with recall-mania after failing twice to oust former mayor Ron Littlefield?

Here's the real fiscal issue: We elect leaders at election time, and for specific terms. Governing is never a pretty process, but the last thing we need is more election cost, more confusion, more obstruction, more rabbit trails to turn residents against government and against civic involvement.

Voter turnout in the last Chattanooga city election was pathetic. If voters didn't care then about city roads and taxes, they likely don't care now about who sleeps where and with whom, who goes to what church, or even who wants chickens in the back yard.

Within the past year, a USA TODAY/Bipartisan Policy Center poll examined why Americans -- especially young ones -- are souring on politics and particularly souring on the idea of serving in government. The top reason among those younger than 30 was that politics is "vicious" and "nasty." Yep.

And with that said, Chris Anderson is a thoughtful, smart, fair-minded, principled young council member that Chattanooga very much needs to keep.

The fight against health care

Listen up, Gov. Haslam and Tennessee lawmakers: A federal district judge has ordered Missouri to stop enforcing the state law they adopted last year to obstruct the Affordable Care Act and its "navigators," or counselors.

The Missouri law heaped extra and unnecessary requirements on the counselors and forbade state and local officials from cooperating with the federal insurance exchange.

The ruling is important -- especially given bills now pending in Tennessee that would, out right, make it illegal here to help people enroll in what has become known as Obamacare. The judge said the Missouri law harmed the public interest of a federal law.

Listen up, consumer advocates in Tennessee: Get to the courthouse quickly with a challenge to Volunteer State obstructionist hijinks.