Times Free Press Exclusive: E-mail exchanges show angst of mayor at growing movement

Times Free Press Exclusive: E-mail exchanges show angst of mayor at growing movement

September 1st, 2010 by Cliff Hightower in Politics Local

A series of e-mail exchanges between Mayor Ron Littlefield and the president of the Chattanooga Tea Party show the mayor's growing anger at the group's recall effort.

Littlefield says the actions of Tea Party President Mark West are "in violation of the laws of God and man."

"You have raised the hate level in Chattanooga to 'red' and contributed to a very toxic situation among the population in this community," Littlefield wrote two weeks ago in an e-mail.

A series of e-mail exchanges between the mayor and West were released to the Chattanooga Times Free Press after an open records request was filed almost a week ago with the city. At least three e-mail exchanges between the mayor and West were not included in the original open records request.

West also released more e-mails Tuesday, showing his response to the mayor's allegations that he was not following Christian principles.

The e-mail exchanges occurred as the two debated whether there should be a meeting between the two and if the recall effort was personal in nature.

West, in his two-page letter, said the recall effort was never personal and a matter of policy differences.

"The issues are your policies as a mayor," West wrote. "The petition clearly lays out the grounds for the recall and they deal solely and exclusively with policy."

West also wrote that he spoke to several pastors and men of God and none found any basis for the mayor's claims that West is in violation of the "laws of God and man."

He writes his organization only decided to get involved in the recall effort after the City Council approved a 19 percent property tax hike in June.

At one point, in a response to West, the mayor quotes several biblical scriptures and suggests Scripture to West. At the end of the e-mail, the mayor gives his own advice.

"Finally, let me respectfully suggest that you need to decide today what is more important to you: politics or Jesus," Mr. Littlefield wrote.