Unfortunate recall conflict

Unfortunate recall conflict

September 2nd, 2010 in Opinion Free Press

It is very unfortunate for our community that the residents of Chattanooga and Mayor Ron Littlefield have been drawn into a conflict about whether the mayor should be recalled from office, a challenge which, if successful, would require a new election for mayor.

There is no indication that Littlefield has committed any act that is illegal, improper or immoral. The objections to the mayor are based solely on policy differences that have aroused substantial dissent among our citizens. Such differences may be justified - but they do not justify a recall.

The mayor was elected to a four-year term. Lacking substantial improprieties, he should serve out that term.

The recall effort is highly complicated by the fact that state and city laws regarding a recall differ in substantial ways.

Recall advocates have filed their petitions. Littlefield has filed suit in Circuit Court in Hamilton County to block a recall election. So the next step will be a hearing in court concerning the conflicting laws, requiring a decision by a judge as to the legal proprieties.

We are fortunate in our system of law and government that the people have the right to elect our officials, from the president of our nation to local officials.

Few officials at any level please "all of the people all of the time."

We have the right to express our views - in support or dissent - and thus seek to influence policies and actions by our officials from the local level to the national level.

But to establish and maintain stable and responsible government at all levels, citizens should abide by majority rule in the terms for which our officials are elected - unless an official violates the law.

Many Chattanoogans disagree with the mayor on several issues, as many disagree with officials from the president on down. But a proposal to remove any official in mid-term should not be made lightly. Mere policy disagreements should not be sufficient.

Lacking substantial evidence of some illegal action - and there is none - our citizens should allow our officials to serve out the terms to which we have elected them, at which time we may make whatever choice we prefer.