This wasn't an appeal.
Appeals are never heard by the same judge whose ruling is being challenged.
Appeals are ALWAYS heard by a different judge, because the judge whose ruling is being questioned would obviously have a bias in upholding his own ruling, and thus could not serve as the judge in an appeal without bias and prejudice towards preserving his own ruling, and violating half a dozen judicial ethical standards and practices.
This was simply a procedure required by TN state law as a courtesy to allow the judge to have an opportunity to rethink his decision before it goes to an appeal.
If this was an appeal, and it was actually ruled on by the same judge whose ruling is being challenged then the city has even bigger problems than it can imagine.
More smoke and mirrors.
Robert T, the most vocal critic of this City's current administration and council, is magically replaced on WGOW live and local by McGary.
"Benson says he doesn't know how McGary can do both jobs."
The rest of the City Council pretends to be worried if McGary can do both the radio show and serve on the council, while in reality they are grinning ear to ear, since they now have one of their own in place to speak to the dumb masses on the airwaves.
Perhaps, now McGary has outlasted his usefulness, and will be offered up as the new target or pawn sacrifice in this political chess game to give the public the illusion the council is dealing with internal corruption, while the truly wicked power mongers hold onto their thrones.
Politics is a lot like pro-wrestling, they all insult and accuse each other, threaten to kick each other's posteriors, but at the end of the day they are all the best of buddies laughing all the way to the bank on the taxpayer's dime.
And people wonder why a recall attempt was made?
Growing pains of a city, perhaps?
As the city population grows, it becomes harder for a corrupt power base to maintain control over more people. So, if the mayor follows through on his plans to annex the entire county, there will be 90,000 or so new city residents, all too eager to chant the antithesis of Obama's slogan and tell city government "no you can't" and "enough already" when they see stuff like this happen.
I know that convicted felons are prohibited from voting, but are they also not prohibited from donating to a campaign while serving their sentence?
Ward Crutchfield was still on probation when this donation was made.
He was sentenced on January 17, 2008
A judge sentenced the former Chattanooga lawmakers to 2 years of probation and 6 months of home confinement
So, if there is any law restricting political donations from convicted felons on probation would he have not violated the terms of his probation?
Crutchfield's claim that she needed to start up her "hobby" LLC, BE online magazine, to market her City government department is dubious at best.
The City already had a "city magazine", called In the City. So it would have been easy to set up an online version of that existing magazine instead of start a new one as a private LLC- IF the budget approved by the City Council allowed for it.
How quickly we forget:
"Missy Crutchfield set a course for EAC to begin a new magazine In the City, ..."
I am assuming In the City Magazine is now defunct and axed from the budget, hence the reason Crutchfield sought to bypass the City Council and set up her own private city magazine.
Even if BE Magazine never earned a profit, the fact that she, as a city administrator, used her own private firm to provide a service (marketing) to her own city department, without going through the state mandated bidding process violates both state and city laws.
Not that she would have been allowed to bid to provide such marketing services in the first place, since as city administrator she is prohibited from having her own LLC participate in bidding on city government contracts by law, since it is a conflict of interest.
Just a little observation of the obvious but often forgotten while we are following the bread crumbs / money /audit trail:
Is the DiStefano on the audit committee any relation to the Dr. DiStefano that was a regular advertiser in the On the Move magazine Missy was in charge of while at Chattanooga State?
Another of the auditors, Jennifer Goodman, works for Decosimo & Co., which also was an advertiser in the Chattanooga State's On the Move magazine.
I'm certain all of these CPAs are fine people but if they or the firms they work for have a tie to Crutchfield, be it a donation or support to her or any project she worked on past or present; or supported her Ward's, Kinsey's, or Littlefield's campaigns; then they should recuse themselves from the audit committee to remove even the slightest hint of bias, possible conflict of interest, lack of impartiality or having a predetermined agenda.
This is why a a truly independent audit by third party with zero ties to city officials is needed to ensure no one has a friendship with Crutchfield, or bias in favor of her or against her on the audit committee no matter how remote the 6 degrees of separation.
Maybe the TFP can do a bit more investigating to follow that bread crumb trail regarding the audit committee.
The emphasis on the city's Department of Education Arts and Culture
not having marketing budget is a bit deceitful.
The EAC does have a budget of well over 2 million dollars:
$2,086,089 in 2009 (actual)
$2,208,590 in 2010 (projected)
$2,283,882 in 2011 (proposed)
see page 8 of 56 of this document
How else do you think the EAC is able to run all over the city putting up
$85,000 abstract lawn gnomes- oops I mean public art,
which benefits the citizens of Chattanooga in no other way
than people pause in front of them and ask,
"What idiot tossed this pile of abstract welded scrap metal on the lawn?"
If the City Council did not give the EAC a marketing budget, then it meant the EAC was not to market itself. It meant the EAC was to use it funds elsewhere, not on self promotion of Missy's own job.
Nonetheless, Missy sets up a private company
that she admits in her own words
was established to market / promote her own day job:
"On Saturday, Crutchfield and Turner posted a message on their site saying they had "come under scrutiny" for using a "powerful communications tool to enhance our marketing and communications for our day jobs."
(see above in the article)
So she set up a private company to bypass state mandated bidding laws
regarding external companies providing marketing and promotion services for the city,
circumvent the authority of the City Council,
and basically toot her own horn about how valuable her own position is to the city.
The EAC is a useless department.
Chattanooga abandoned it's interest in public education
when the City and County Schools merged under
the Hamilton County School Board decades ago
and lawn gnomes should always take a back seat
to Police Academies, and dealing with the city's growing crime problem.
The EPA mandate is to fix the storm water drains and retention basins, that should involve raising the money ONCE and then making the necessary repairs to bring the storm water drains into EPA compliance, and after- simply maintaining the system faithfully instead of slacking for over a decade as they have.
There is absolutely not one ounce of logic in the city needing an additional $22 million in storm water fee revenue each and every year to maintain the storm water drain system.
The initial repairs, due to the City Council neglect, may cost that ONCE but ONLY ONCE, HOWEVER! to maintain it after the necessary repairs are made should be more in line with the $600k per year Hamilton County spends to maintain their storm water system each year.
The City Council is basically adding an additional annual "selective" property tax by stealth and disguising it as a "fee", and exempting their pet projects such as Volkswagen, which amounts to property tax discrimination.
They tried to pull this same crap and property tax discrimination by fee with their attempt to charge license and permit fees to residential property owners in the city that have "wooded areas".
This has to be the most corrupt fleecing of the public by taxes masked as fees this city has ever seen.
Time for a clean sweep of city government in the next elections before they tax and fee us all into poverty.
Yet another screwup that happened on this current City administration's watch with the burden for their incompetence, lack of accountability,and negligence in failing to act in a timely manner being shifted onto the average tax payer and struggling businesses.
All this will do is further hurt Chattanooga's struggling economy and motivate business now based in Chattanooga to look at the obvious tax, profit margin and overhead cost advantages of moving south across the Georgia state line, taking jobs with them as they do.
Would not be surprised if there is also a mass exodus of residents to south of the border.
City Government is becoming more burden than blessing with each passing day.
Amazing that Hamilton County managed to stay in compliance for only $600k per year, while the city needs to $22 million per year and up to straighten up their mess.
The City Council also heard from Volkswagen officials concerning a property tax abatement proposal. The agreement calls for a 30-year abatement on property taxes with Volkswagen continuing to pay the school portion of such taxes.
should be a front page article on the cover of Times-Free Press.
It's blatant discrimination by the Chattanooga City Council against every private citizen and other business that owns property and pays the full property tax within the city limits. It's the Chattanooga City Council showing a blatant bias and favor towards a corporation, and it should be stopped.
As the largest land owner in the city limits VW should have to pay their fair share of taxes. If they did the City budget would be back in the black overnite and much of the City budget worries would be solved.
If the Chattanooga City Council allows this to stand they will only be shooting the city's budget in foot and creating future economic struggles for local city government for the next 3 decades.
I just read this again:
"The stormwater fee increases are expected to generate around $22 million a year. Two-thirds of the money will help pay for debt, inspections and water quality testing, said Mr. Norris.
One-third will be used for capital improvement projects like new drainage ditches and pipes, city officials said."
They need to sort out their priorities! Only 1/3 towards actually fixing the problem? 2/3's for inspections, more so called expert opinons and testing?
more pockets getting lined than drains being built