HEADLINE: Deborah Scott not running for Chattanooga City Council

THE RECAP: Councilwoman Deborah Scott announced Thursday that she would not seek the District 1 City Council seat for a second term.

Scott said in a news release her decision was made because of personal reasons and the enormous amount of time it takes for the job. She said she spent 60 to 80 hours a week working as a council member.

DREW'S VIEW: Losing Deborah Scott on the Chattanooga City Council is a tremendous blow to Chattanoogans who value a responsible, transparent government.

She has worked tirelessly to make the public aware of how the city spends tax dollars and awards contracts. She sounded the alarm about the city's crumbling sewer system long before others took the issue seriously. She continues to fight for government accountability by promoting term limits for council members and expanding the city government's website to include minutes, agendas and budgets for city boards and commissions

Councilwoman Scott is the rarest of politicians: A concerned citizen activist who continued serving the interest of everyday Chattanoogans at the highest level of city government. We hope that her important ideas live on in the council even after she returns to private life.


HEADLINE: Indiana GOP Senate candidate stands by rape comment

THE RECAP: Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said Wednesday that he is standing by his statement that when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape "that's something God intended." He says some people have twisted the meaning of his comment.

Mourdock, who has been locked in one of the country's most expensive and closely watched Senate races, was asked during the final minutes of a debate Tuesday night whether abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest.

"I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen," Mourdock said.

DREW'S VIEW: Before his bungled rape comment, polls showed Mourdock carving out a small lead over his Democratic opponent, Joe Donnelly. That lead, however, was barely more than the margin of error and it's likely that it will be entirely erased by Mourdock's insertion of his foot into his mouth.

This is the second U.S. Senate seat that will likely be handed to Democrats as the result of an ill-advised statement about rape and abortion by a GOP candidate this election.

Rep. Todd Akin's infamous "legitimate rape" quip will surely cost the GOP the U.S. Senate seat in Missouri that it was prepared to wrestle from Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, as well.

There are two proper Republican responses when dealing with the questions related to a candidate's stance on abortion in the case of rape - and neither of them involve claiming that the rape was God's will or that a woman's body prevents unwanted pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape."

The proper GOP response, depending on the candidate's view of abortion in such circumstances, is either: "Rape is horrific and the women should have the right to abort the unwanted child," or "Rape is horrific, but abortion should not be an option even in that terrible circumstance."

Republican candidates, if you feel the need to say anything other than one of those two sentences, put your hand tightly over your mouth and shut up. Boneheaded, illogical and offensive comments about rape have already cost the party two senate seats. Conservative Americans can't afford to lose any more power in Congress because another GOP candidate comes across like a buffoon.


HEADLINE: Etowah passes pit bull ban despite opposition campaign

THE RECAP: The City Commission in Etowah, Tenn., approved an ordinance banning pit bulls by a 3-2 vote at its meeting Monday night, despite a campaign by pit bull owners against the measure.

The ordinance, which the City Commission already approved once in a first reading, singles out pit bulls as a particularly dangerous breed with a strong fighting and chase instinct.

The ordinance grandfathers-in existing pit bulls. But owners would have to take a variety of steps, including registering animals with identifying photos, posting "beware of dog" signs, obtaining $100,000 in liability insurance, keeping the dogs muzzled on short leashes when outside of the home and keeping them confined indoors or in a locked pen or kennel at home.

DREW'S VIEW: This ridiculous ban on pit bulls is an example of government at its worst. Pit bulls are typically only aggressive when mistreated or trained to attack or fight -- and there are already dozens of laws making animal cruelty and dog fighting a crime. These laws, if properly enforced, make it absolutely unnecessary to outlaw a generally gentle and loving breed of dog from a city.

The worst part about Etowah's pit bull ban and the tough conditions required to keep current pet pit bulls will be the unintended consequences. Current pit bull owners who can't afford the $100,000 liability insurance or can't meet the city's other outrageous requirements to keep their dogs may be forced to dump them. As a result, there will be more pit bulls roaming the city and, ultimately, put to death. Judging by the ordinance, I imagine that killing as many family pets as possible was the commissions' goal all along.

"Drew's views" is a weekly roundup of Free Press opinions about topics that appeared in the Times Free Press over the past week. Follow Drew on Twitter: @Drews_Views.

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