Council to skip meeting

Council to skip meeting

August 3rd, 2010 by Cliff Hightower in Politics Local

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT

What is National Night Out? According to its website, there are four things the organization tries to publicize. They are:

* Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness.

* Generate support and participation in local anticrime programs.

* Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.

* Send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized.

Source: National Night Out 2010


TAKING PART

Chattanooga police have confirmed six neighborhood associations are participating in this year's National Night Out.

The Murray Hills Neighborhood Association will hold a parade, food, games and membership drive from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Murray Hills Walking Track, 4100 Melinda Drive.

The Highland Park Neighborhood Association will have barbecue, pot luck, a guest speaker and poster contest for children ages 8 to 12 from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at Tatum Park on the corner of Union Avenue and North Holly Street.

The North Shore Neighborhood Improvement Association will have a parade, ice cream and music from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Frances Wyatt Recreation Center, 406 Colville St.

The Ridgedale Community Association and Oak Grove Neighborhood Association will have food, crafts, bubbles and maybe music from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at Ridgedale Park, 2413 E. 12th St.

The Villages at Alton Park Neighborhood Watch will have food, games, membership drive, music and a raffle from 6 to 9 p.m. at 3750 Hughes Ave.

The Churchville Neighborhood Association will have a program from 6:45 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the intersection of Jackson Street and N. Orchard Knob Avenue.

City Council members drew criticism for canceling a regularly scheduled business meeting so they can attend National Night Out events across Chattanooga tonight.

"It bothers me they won't do city business," said Jim Folkner, of the group Citizens to Recall Mayor (Ron) Littlefield.

The City Council voted 7-1 three weeks ago to cancel the meeting, with Councilman Jack Benson voting against doing so. National Night Out is a nationwide event held every year by different civic groups that focuses on crime and drug prevention.

Benson said he voted against the measure for a reason.

"It bothers me not doing city business," he said.

The council will hold its 3 p.m. committee meetings but not its usual 6 p.m. meeting at which members vote on business matters.

In years past, the City Council has met on this night. Council members usually try to rush through the meeting before heading out the door to attend various programs throughout the city.

Council Chairman Manny Rico said Monday it is completely appropriate for the council to cancel the meeting. He said members need to attend the meetings because their constituents ask for it. Many of the council members, including him, have half a dozen community meetings to get to, he said.

"These people raise money, have food, they ask us to be there," he said.

Folkner raised a question about whether council members were feeling pressure from different civic groups that have attended Tuesday meetings.

"It seems like it's getting a little hot for them," he said.

Rico scoffed at that idea, saying the council will not be threatened.

"We ain't feeling the heat from nobody," he said. "This group cannot be intimidated by anybody."

City officials said Monday this would be the first time the council has canceled a meeting other than the usual Christmas break. The council usually takes two weeks off at the end of the year.

Rosemary Porter, president of the Neighborhood Watch Committee for The Villages at Alton Park, said she supports the decision. Her elected council member is Rico, and she said it is good for him to be at the event.

"We helped put him in office, so he should show his appreciation," she said.

Continue reading by following these links to related stories:

Article: National Night Out planned for Aug. 3

Article: Residents commit to crime prevention on National Night Out

Article: Molly's Meadow in spotlight for Night Out