Berke: "We Will Reduce Crime In Our City"

Friday, January 11, 2013

Mayoral candidate Andy Berke told the Brainerd Kiwanis Club on Friday, "We will reduce crime in our city."

He said everywhere he campaigns he hears tales of residents who have had their car broken into, seen new graffiti down the street, or have a problem house in the neighborhood.

Mr. Berke said, "Our crime rate is too high. We have way too much crime."

He said it is not only violent crime, "but property crime" affecting many Chattanoogans.

The candidate said the consequences for those caught committing crime "should be immediate and severe.


He said there needs to be an overall approach to crime, including steps taken by the Gang Task Force.

Mr. Berke, who is an attorney and former state senator, said, "The police department must have the tools to do their jobs and have complete support of the mayor."

He said his administration will set goals for crime reduction.

On another topic, he said he is "incredibly excited" about a number of entrepreneurs starting new businesses in Chattanooga."

He said, "We need to make sure it reaches all segments of our community."

He stated, "We will support business in every way we can."

Mr. Berke said the city faces some budgetary challenges, including having to deal with a $250 million EPA consent decree on sewage handling.

He said, "Our budgeting will be based on outcomes. If a program doesn't work, let's cut it."

On city-county cooperation, he said, "Let's find ways to work together to help peoples' lives. We can disagree without having bickering and pettiness."

Mr. Berke said while he was in the Legislature, every morning he would make the rounds of the chamber and shake everyone's hand.

On metro government, he said his first focus will be Chattanooga. He said he is open to ways to bring efficiency to government.

On annexation, he gave a similar answer - not ruling it out, but saying his aim will be meeting the current residents' needs.  

Asked about whether the city should continue to own the Chattanoogan hotel, he said, "We will take stock of our assets and liaibilities."

26,228 Cast Ballots In First 5 Days Of Early Voting In Hamilton County

In the first five days of early voting in Hamilton County, 26,228 have already cast ballots. That includes 2,200 ballots received by mail. There were 5,157 who turned out at early voting sites on Wednesday and 5,083 on Thursday. The total on Friday was 5,011, and it was 3,818 on Saturday. The turnout on Monday was 5,552. Sites: Brainerd 1,084, 1080, 1,030, 816 ... (click for more)

John Wilson To Autograph New Hiener Photo Book Of Historic Chattanooga On Tuesday At Zarzour's

John Wilson, publisher of, will autograph the new historic photo book being published by on Tuesday at Zarzour's Restaurant from noon until 2 p.m. Paul Hiener's Historic Chattanooga Photos features a wide range of interesting old Chattanooga pictures ranging from the Civil War to local personalities. Mr. Hiener, a longtime Chattanooga printer ... (click for more)

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Picture a sold-out baseball game at Wrigley Field or Nationals Park packed with 40,000 fans. That image represents roughly the same number of women and men who die from breast cancer each year.  In Tennessee alone, an estimated 900 women will die from the disease in 2016. It is a sad statistic, but there is some good news: thanks to early detection and improved treatments, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What Southerners Sing

Barry Norris plays the organ at Birmingham’s East Lake United Methodist Church and two days ago the church hosted what we used to call “A Singing on the Grounds.” Today it is called a “Hymnfest” and, believe it or not, it is has to be just as fun today as it was 100 years ago when our forefathers tied their horse and wagon to a tree. It just so happens I know a little bit about ... (click for more)

Vols' DB Kelly Expects Another Tight Game With Gamecocks

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs, defensive lineman Kendal Vickers and safety Todd Kelly Jr. spoke to reporters Tuesday at an on-campus press conference. Dobbs, Vickers and Kelly discussed several topics, including how the No. 18/18 Vols (5-2, 2-2 SEC) spent their bye week and what the team has seen so far on South Carolina (3-4, 1-4 SEC) in film study. ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Draws Top Ranked Greeneville, CCS Opens With Madison Magnet

For the second year in a row, Notre Dame drew the top-ranked Greeneville in the opening round of the TSSAA Class A/AA state tournament.  Notre Dame is scheduled to play Greeneville on Wednesday at 8 p m. (EST)  in Murfreesboro. CCS will play Madison Magnet in the first round on field #1 at 7:30 p.m. (EST) . CCS and Greeneville met in the state championship game ... (click for more)