Vote No To City Charter Recall Amendment On Ballot

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Our government watch group simply marvels at the nonsense set forth by our City Council to amend the recall provisions of the city charter. Why? The recall provision is currently in the city charter because an appointed committee from the Mayor’s office drafted the current recall provision. Then, the city council approved the recall provision, and voter’s approved the recall provision by referendum on a ballot. The current recall provision exists due to direct action of City Council.

The last recall against the mayor was not the first, there was another effort, and never a day, did the City Council question the recall provisions of the charter. Why? They knew the early recall organization was not large enough to get the signatures, so they just ignored and left the recall law in place, with no action. If it was bad or flawed law then, why didn’t the City Council act to repair years ago?

By formal vote of the City Council, the current recall provision was placed in the charter. Yet now, the same elected body deems the recall ‘flawed.” Understand, the current recall provision is only being declared flawed, bad law, because citizens exercised their rights to use the recall provision. Their mindset seems to convey that it is perfectly acceptable to have accountability measures, as long as no one uses the measure. The City Council actions speak volumes to this fact.

The city charter recall provisions are less stringent than the state recall provisions, because that is what the city council and voters wanted, a strong measure of accountability for elected officials.

Interestingly enough, the City’s recall provisions were not deemed “flawed” until citizens were successful in acquiring an adequate number of signatures. At the end of the court battle, the Appeals Court correctly ruled that the city charter was the governing recall documents. The lower courts were wrong, the state law was not applicable, the city charter was. The recall failed on technicality on dating each signature, rather than the entire page.

In any petition measure, without a doubt, 20 to 40 percent of signatures collected are lost to voters address from moving, district issues. The pages were dated, but not each line. I have worked other petitions for a ballot, and these problem are common. However, anyway you dice it, 10,8000 voters wanted a recall election and the Election Commission confirmed the signatures. The people spoke.

It is also an undisputable fact that more registered voters, signed the recall petition, than votes to reelect Mayor Littlefield in 2009.

In the 2009 mayoral election, the Hamilton County Election Commission archives report that 17,913 Chattanooga citizens voted in the 2009 reelection of Mayor Littlefield. Of the total 17,913 votes in 2009, 57 percent or 10,234 voted in favor of the reelection of Mayor Littlefield. Again, it is undisputed that over 10,800 registered voters signed the recall petition. The number of recall signatures represents 106 percent of the total number of votes for Mayor Ron Littlefield to be re-elected in March 2009, and 60 percent of the total voter cards cast.

In the 2005 runoff election, the Hamilton County Election Commission achieves report that 28,140 Chattanooga citizens voted in the 2005 runoff election of Mayor Littlefield. Of the total 28,140 votes in 2005, 54.11 percent or 15,224 voted in favor of Mayor Littlefield. Again it is undisputed that over 10,800 registered voters signed the recall petition. The number of recall signatures represents 71 percent of the total number of votes for Mayor Littlefield to be elected in 2005, and almost 40 percent of the total voter cards cast.

The City Council now wishes to remove the recall provisions that citizens voted by referendum and approved to be in the city charter.

The charter provision for recall is only flawed law if citizens use it, right?

Vote No to the charter amendment for recall that appears on the current ballot.

April Eidson, Spokesperson

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