Candidates For Mayor, City Council Invited To Experience Ash Wednesday With Homeless

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Believing that homeless Chattanoogans are no less important than any other group of constituents, CHANGER (Chattanoogans and North Georgians for Economic Human Rights) has invited the candidates for Chattanooga's mayor and City Council to experience homelessness for a day with a 24-hour Urban Plunge.

This event will partner the leaders and candidates who accept this invitation with a homeless person for an immersion into homelessness in Chattanooga. For 24 hours, these political candidates will face situations that homeless Chattanoogans regularly encounter.

The Urban Plunge will begin on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25, at 6 a.m. at the Community Kitchen and will conclude the following morning with a round table discussion and press conference.

"We believe this opportunity is a gift,'' said Brother Ron Fender, spokesman for the CHANGER and outreach case manager at the Community Kitchen, which has endorsed the Plunge. "This is a gift because it allows these candidates, who are elected as servants to the people, to bridge a tremendously wide gap and learn more about citizens who live in the lowest depths of poverty."

The Urban Plunge is a nation-wide experience. In 2007, the mayor candidates in Nashville were invited to Plunge and experience homelessness for a day. The candidates accepted the invitation, and their Plunge made national news.

"The Plunge is designed to help people with homes understand the lives of those who don't have homes,'' said David Cook, a member of CHANGER. "It is not only a material experience, but a spiritual one as well, and Plungers will find in the course of 24 short hours, their beliefs on homelessness, poverty and wealth will change dramatically.''

All candidates accepting this invitation will need to respond to Brother Ron Fender on or before Monday, Feb. 23, to receive further instructions and be matched with an appropriate homeless guide.

CHANGER is the local arm of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, an international movement based around the UN's Declaration of Human Rights that all people are entitled to housing and shelter.

"Housing is a human right, and poverty should not be a crime,'' said Brother Fender. "We believe our public servants will find the compassion and humanitarian courage to take this plunge.''

City Of Chattanooga Public Works Revises Refuse Collection Center Policy

The City of Chattanooga’s Public Works Department is revising the policy at the City’s Refuse Collection Centers and upgrading technology to continue to provide this crucial service to citizens and to reduce improper use of the center by some landlords and contractors. Currently, all landlords and contractors are not permitted to dispose of items at the Refuse Collection Centers ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police Department Increases Traffic Enforcement Efforts

Chattanooga Police are working to change driver behavior and address traffic violations throughout the city. Increased enforcement efforts by CPD’s Traffic Unit addressed infractions on I-75, I-24, Highway 153, and Highway 27 on Wednesday.  The increased enforcement is conducted in areas determined by data models generated through CPD’s Crime Analysis Unit and complaints ... (click for more)

Signal School Study Says Under Own School System Much More Could Go To The Classroom; Lennon Says Getting Land, Buildings A Major Issue

A panel studying a new school system operated by Signal Mountain concluded that much more money could go directly into the classroom, helping students further increase their potential.   However, County School Board member Kathy Lennon said how the town would be able to acquire the land and buildings is a major issue.   A group of Signal Mountain residents ... (click for more)

Man, 39, Shot Late Friday Night In The Vicinity Of North Chamberlain Avenue

Police said a 39-year-old man was shot late Friday night in the vicinity of North Chamberlain Avenue.   He was identified as Ruben Williams Sr.   Officers with the Chattanooga Police Department were informed just before midnight that a shooting victim arrived at a local hospital via personal vehicle.   Officers made contact with the victim who advised ... (click for more)

CVB Should Share Financials With The Home Folks

The recent debate over the Convention and Visitor's Bureau's funding and budget has gotten ugly. A Hamilton County commissioner has asked questions and made comments about the CVB. The director of the CVB has organized a campaign to dismiss the commissioner's questions and comments. The children on the playground are choosing sides and nothing useful seems to be happening. It's ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Trump's Latest Delight

I was quite amused this week when Donald Trump’s administration “locked out” several news organizations from the daily press briefings at the White House. The reason I loved it because in the 50 years I have spent in the news business, I have been locked out of press conferences, too. To be truthful, I am a longtime veteran of a bunch of “you versus me” squabbles and, if I do say, ... (click for more)