Cotton Can Stay On Commission If He Chooses

Friday, September 30, 2005

County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said William Cotton can stay on the County Commission even though he was arrested by the FBI on Thursday morning for extortion.

Attorney Taylor said, "He can stay on unless he is convicted or pleads guilty."

The county attorney said if Commissioner Cotton decides to step down, then it will be up to the other eight members of the commission to name his replacement.

He represents District 4.

Cotton was released from custody early Thursday afternoon. He rushed past reporters into a waiting van without making any comment.

County Commissioner Curtis Adams, who often sparred with Cotton, said, "I regret this happened. I regret it for him and for his family.

"We were political enemies for 12 years, but it was never personal. It was over issues."

Commissioner Adams said, "When something like this happens, it is a black eye for the entire commission."

Commissioner Fred Skillern said the arrest "is a black mark against the whole commission."

He said when he was chairman, he had been approached about E-Cycle, but "I refused to meet with them."

Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Stuart James had this statement:

"As chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party I am once again deeply saddened to hear of another arrest in the Tennessee Waltz. The latest news of the arrest of William Cotton for taking bribes as a government official affects our community, our government, and both the Democratic and Republican Party of this community. It seems news of corruption affects our local community, our state government and our nation - particularly with yesterday's news of the indictment against U.S. Rep. Tom Delay.

"However, as I have said when I learned of the news to the indictments of state Rep. Chris Newton and state Sen. Ward Crutchfield - an indictment is a charge, it is not a conviction. Under our Constitution, all people are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The presumption of innocence is one of the greatest protections our Constitution gives to the citizens of our country. From William Cotton to Tom Delay the same standards apply.

"As we learn of this latest news, this is the time when the political parties of our community must ask for meaningful and enforceable ethics reform. As chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party I believe it is time for the Republican Party and our party to come together, to unite, and ask our governor, our Legislature, and the United States government to enact meaningful reform. We must take affirmative action to restore the faith and confidence that government needs from its people.

"As I have said in the past, an indictment does not mean you are guilty. If, however, an elected official chooses to plead guilty I do believe that that elected official should immediately resign. If, however, an elected official proclaims his or her innocence that official has the option to remain in office until convicted or acquitted. I do believe, however, it is important for an elected official to weigh his or her alternatives when they are facing the serious charges. True leadership requires decisions to be made on behalf of the public good, placing the public good before an individual elected official’s own welfare.

"It is time for local, state and national leaders to enact rules of self governance that have consequences if they are broken."


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAMS, MITCHELL LEE  716 EAST AVENUE CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 40 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga PUBLIC INTOXICATION --- ANTHONY, CHRISTINA LOREEN  5730 LEE HWY RM 129 CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 35 years old Arresting Agency: East Ridge POSSESSION OF ... (click for more)

Attic Of House Near Graysville Road Catches Fire

The attic of a house near Graysville Road caught fire on Friday evening. At 6 p.m. the Chattanooga Fire Department responded to a residential structure fire at 8709 Oak View Dr.. Fire crews arrived at 6 :07 p.m. T he homeowner stated that everyone was out of the house and that there was a fire in the attic. The homeowner said that they had smelled something burning ... (click for more)

Don't Make A Mockery Of Memorial Day - And Response

We're told Memorial Day is the day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order that we, as Americans and others around the world, might live free, unshackled (invisible or otherwise) and without oppression. But how is that so when so many in America continue to be denied those freedoms? Others whose family and friends made the ultimate sacrifice? Their surviving families ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Great Orthopedic Success

Mark Freeman, the chief of orthopedic surgery at Erlanger Hospital, shared a dazzling look at our area’s Level One Trauma Center Friday morning. Yet, as he described the dramatic changes that have occurred in just the past 12 months, the promise of what will happen within the next year was even more appealing. Believe this, our flagship hospital is getting well in a hurry. “If ... (click for more)

Baylor Beats GPS 6-4 For D-II Softball Title

MURFREESBORO – Oh, what a difference a year makes. The GPS Bruisers came through the losers bracket a year ago and beat Baylor twice after losing the first five times they played, but those two were the biggest as it gave the team in blue a state D-II softball championship. The situation was similar a year later, but the results a bit different as the Lady Red Raiders beat ... (click for more)

Dickson County Ousts Ooltewah, 6-5, In Epic 12-Inning Thriller

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – For Ooltewah, more heartbreak followed heartbreak. After a tough loss to Wilson Central on Thursday, the Lady Owls fought furiously with Dickson County in an epic 12-inning marathon Friday before the Lady Cougars’ Keely Buchanan laced a game-winning single up the middle to end  the game and Ooltewah's masterful season. Dickson County, which lost ... (click for more)