Manny Rico has been in City Council since the beginning it seems. If you just watch the news at any new business Chamber event or anywhere there is free food he is.
What has he done for the city of Chattanooga. Does he just want to be seen? His "monument" store is always closed. He, like many others, loves the River City Company and others like it, but what is the River City Company and others doing for the South Chattanooga/St Elmo area? Nothing.
Manny, stop eating all the donuts and do some actual work for the people you represent. I want to see Chattanooga continue to get better and it is, but there are untouched areas that need attention. People don't vote for Manny Rico because of what he does for his constituents - they vote for him cause they see him in every picture that he can possibly be in.
Time to start packing the office up, Manny. You have wasted my tax dollars enough.
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I find it remarkable that anyone who pays attention could credibly suggest that Manny Rico does not do his job with passion, energy and devotion to his city and his constituents.
I want to provide just one simple but remarkable example of Councilman Rico's dedication.
A few years ago there sat an abandoned foundry sand landfill in the middle of Alton Park. This site was not far from residences and from Howard High School. It was a remnant of prior foundry operations and it sat idle and looked more like the surface of the moon than a neighborhood parcel of property.
A developer from Birmingham came to Chattanooga and attempted to convince our city's leadership that they should turn this parcel of property over to him so that he could own and operate a construction and demolition debris landfill. The landfill he proposed would've been the tallest structure between Lookout Mountain and missionary Ridge and would've contained not only construction debris but also animal carcasses and other unspecified waste.
The site of this parcel rested squarely within Councilman Manny Rico's district. He fought very hard to resist the overtures from the Birmingham landfill operator and ultimately that person went away.
That would be a great story in and of itself and it speaks volumes of Councilman Rico's dedication to his district. But the story does not stop there.
Federal Express was looking for a new location to place a logistics facility off of interstate 24. The city of Chattanooga was very fortunate that Federal Express was considering a location in the Southside in addition to locations in Georgia. This competition was definitely squaring up to be intense as both Chattanooga and Georgia very much wanted Federal Express.
If you travel down Alton Park Boulevard today and look to your right a few blocks down from Howard High School you will notice a 160,000 square foot Federal Express logistics facility which employs hundreds of people and which operates 24-7 in a part of our city that is in need of and deserves as much urban renewal and partnership with quality national companies as it can possibly obtain.
During the competition and the planning and design efforts that were necessary in order to bring Federal Express to Chattanooga's Southside, I personally watched Councilman Rico work day and night to make the effort a success. He frequently was asked to come to planning and design meetings on less than half hour's notice. When he was asked, he stopped what he was doing and he came. His enthusiasm was noticed and remarked on specifically by the out-of-town developers. They were very impressed with his dedication and work ethic.
So in response to the reader's question "what does Manny Rico actually do?" He makes things happen and brings success to Chattanooga. That's what he does.
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Mr. Stephens, your attempts to come across as sounding cute actually make you appear a very small minded person. Personal attacks such as the ones you made against Councilman Rico are unnecessary and a turn off. In the words of Mayor Booker, such attacks really are nauseating.
I've lived right down the street from Mr. Rico for more than 30 years. I've had my disagreements with him and let him know it too, but I never have, nor will I ever result to such hateful and personal attacks just to help someone win an election. If I called him for something he's never hesitated to come down, and if he disagreed with me he's never hesitated to let me know.
Such mean spirited and hurtful attacks just create levels of irreparable division and resentment that will last long after whatever it is you're attempting to accomplish is over and done with. Primarily because of what I've sometimes written to the Chattanoogan, I've personally been called everything in the book and then some from "adults." Then we wonder where the youth get their ideas to hate, insult and bully.
Today it seems the more ugly, demeaning, insulting and base the attacks, the louder and louder the cheerleaders cheer urging on all the ugliness. One thing's for sure about human nature, it's predictable. You can't unjustly say nasty things about someone, believing you can turn the page at will, pretending nasty, hateful words didn't leave a lasting impact. .
So keep the insults out, because we've all got to come by this way again, and we'll want someone to say something nice about us one day. Intelligent people are turned off by hateful insults. Wise people know the outcome. Only those individuals with poor self-esteem, and already struggling with their own internal demons are turned on by hurtful and insulting words against others.
This is not an endorsement of Rico or anyone. As I've not made up my mind. However, a sure fire way to turn "enlightened" people off from voting for someone you support is to nastily go after his/her opponents with personal insults. Especially insulting someones' physical characteristics and name calling.
At his Inaugural Address, January 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson said: "How incredible it is that in this fragile existence we should hate and destroy one another. There are possibilities enough for all who will abandon mastery over others to pursue mastery over nature. There is world enough for all to seek happiness in their own way." And we don't have to cut anyone down to achieve that goal.
My father, now deceased, always said "treat people as if you may not get a second chance to say I'm sorry. Either one of us could be gone in the blink of an eye." He also said, "The people you step on while climbing the ladder to success may be the only one's willing to cushion your fall as you come tumbling back down."
I realize some of you are on these private social networks, where no one can access unless they're cleared to be a member, pumping one another up and shouting "sic'em." Urging that base that's been created like high school cliques, but none of you are children anymore. You're adults who are suppose to be setting good examples. Politics, trying to score points and win an election is no excuse for being ugly and demeaning to others.
Do the right , honorable and noble thing, Mr. Stephens, apologize to Councilman Rico.
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Questioning the positions or non-positions of an elected official is fair. A personal put down of one because of appearance takes away from those questions.
I noticed the name of the first responder as Michael Mallen, an attorney for Black Creek concerning the very unpopular, questionable, multi million dollar, illegal in California at present, TIF money handout to York Capital, the billion dollar company that owns the Black Creek project.
Manny Rico voted to pass the TIF for York Capital, Michael Mallen defends Manny Rico when questioned in this forum about what he does in office, he has that right.
Trust me, more people realize what Manny Rico and others do while in office than you think and approving the TIF was wrong and only helped a very wealthy corporation at the expense of the general population. What I described shows Mr. Rico is a busy man voting on some subjects, even those the majority detest. Keep this in mind at election time.
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Let me tell you one other thing Manny Rico has done. When a young 30-something, freshly elected Council person from District 8 needed direction and assistance navigating the difficult waters of politics, Councilman Rico took his time to answer my questions and lead me down the right path. As a result of his help, I was able to develop as a representative in a manner that would have taken significantly more time if I were to go about doing so on my own.
To all his detractors, bear this in mind: what is printed about a man or what people see rarely tell the whole story. Manny and I have had our disagreements, however my gratefulness to him for his needed assistance during my first years in office endures.