Give Orange Grove The Money - And Response (10)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How has the City Council turned into such cold-hearted dictators? Orange Grove missed a deadline for their budget request. A deadline that had been changed by the City Council. So, regardless of the value received for money spent, Orange Grove has been kicked to the curb.  

No appeal process is in place, so our representatives have chosen to ignore all the good this agency does. We are busy building walking parks on Main Street clogging the sidewalks with rusty hunks of metal, oops, I mean art, so now we can keep the $32,000 that Orange Grove would have just wasted on things like teaching people how to fit in when the world is a little different than they are.  

Is the Council so staid in their rules and regulations that human kindness no longer matters? What kind of city have we changed into? I hope a sense of kindness and reality seeps back into the minds of enough City Council people to realize the value of having Orange Grove in our city. 

The decision to deny the application based on a changed deadline is reprehensible. Give them the money.

Harry Presley
Chattanooga
 

* * *  

Mahatma Gandhi once said, "A society can best be judged by how they treat their weakest members."  Thirty-two thousand dollars stands between a successful rehabilitation center and a nebulous deadline for grant submission. The City Council has made so many exceptions to deadlines throughout the years, this boils down to plain meanness. The city already has the money. What better cause will they spend their extra $32,000?

It is beyond belief that Pam Ladd actually uttered the words, "They should have had the proper management in place keeping an eye on this." Ms. Ladd, you come off sounding callous, apathetic, officious and totally ready for the exit door. 

Jack Benson parrots the same sentiment with "I think we should stand by our deadlines...." In case you Ebenezer's haven't noticed, Orange Grove is not a rehabilitation center for paper pushers, excuse makers and buck passers, much like the minimum requirements for a council seat.  

The City Council failed miserably in reaching a drastic decision when there was no need for it. Elections are due and it is my fervent hope that this disingenuous decision is the start of the blood-letting the Littlefield cronies deserve. Yes, there were a few favorable votes. But as a whole, our current City Council has shamed Chattanooga. Take it to the polls, folks.

David D. Fihn, Sr.
Hixson
 
* * *  

Those folks on your City Council who voted not to give them a break on paperwork need to "get over it."  Orange Grove is a treasure of this city and needs more rather than less for all they do for many many clients and their families.   

In a time when Joe and Josie Q Public are fed up with politicians and their egregious actions (or lack of actions) I would think Ms. Berz et al would be more sensitive to the needs of a wonderful organization such as Orange Grove.   Paperwork?  Chattanooga's Orange Grove and what they have done and are doing for our special citizens.......  I repeat, paperwork?   City Council of Chattanooga, step up to the proverbial plate and have a heart.  

Citizens of Chattanooga and all whose lives Orange Grove has touched: notify the council and let them know how you feel.    

Sara Wilson
Chickamauga

* * * 

I wholeheartedly agree with the above opinions that the Orange Grove Center indeed should have their $32,000. 

Many years ago, I had the privilege to work at Orange Grove, and had a sister who was a client there prior to her death. 

Orange Grove does nothing but good for their clients and our community. It's a wonderful asset to this region, so all we need is for 320 individuals to give $100 each. 

I'm in for the first one hundred bucks. Who's with me? 

Chip Chapman

* * * 

I had the opportunity to meet some of the Orange Grove officials last October when we inducted Tom Caldwell into the Chattanooga High School Hall of Fame. They are some of the most dedicated people I have ever met in providing a valuable service to our community.  

To withhold $32,000 from their facility for missing a bureaucratic deadline is atrocious. Sell one of our art works downtown if you need to for the funds. Orange Grove is a true city treasure. 

Douglas Jones
North Chattanooga

* * * 

So how do you feel about such requests going to the United Way to decide how our tax dollars will be allocated now under the Council's new rules?  I do not want United Way to have anything to do with my tax money.   

I suggested an open-ended contract with Orange Grove that could only be changed by mutual agreement of both parties and go ahead and give them the $32,000.  That didn't fly either. 

I suppose the mayor needs every penny he can latch onto for his proposed water and sewer authority, his new city-county firing range on property owned by city taxpayers, work required by the consent orders to keep him out of jail, the highway up Aetna Mountain, critical repairs to the riverfront, and all the other myriad of loose ends so numerous to remember at one sitting.  How about bus fare out of town come April?  

Charlotte Parton

* * * 

Maybe the City Council can sell 'Blue Rhino' or one of the many other 'artworks' they so easily spend taxpayer money on and give the funds to Orange Grove. On of the few truly great and deserving organizations for all of Chattanooga, far more valuable than 'public art', but Orange Grove gets the shaft.  

Shame on the City Council. 

Stephen Greenfield

* * * 

I have spent the majority of two evenings emailing and calling the City Council to ask them to rescind the deadline for Orange Grove.  It is with much sadness that all appeals have fallen on deaf ears, save Council Member Manny Rico, with a slight nod to Council Members Peter Murphy and Sally Robinson.  Thanks, Manny. 

I personally spoke with Council Members Jack Benson and Manny Rico last night.  Although Mr. Benson and I have always, and sometimes frequently, had frank discussions about issues facing our neighborhoods and city, it was to no avail.   

I received a emails from both Council Members, Deborah Scott and Pam Ladd.  I was personally offended by the way Ms. Scott provided her scathing response and by the way Ms. Berz uses euphemisms to make her point.  Perhaps our Council members should think before speaking.  Although Ms. Ladd's response was provided in a more professional manner, it provided no hope for the residents and staff of Orange Grove. 

The issue before us appears to be denying funding for Orange Grove.  In part, that is true.  However, the real issue is accountability of the City Council by those of us who live in each Council member's district.  For much too long, we have stood in the shadows and followed our elected officials blindly...meekly bowing to the whims and wishes of those officials.  Now is the time to change that.  Speak up.  Get involved.  Contact your Council member and let them know where you stand.  The voice of one rarely does little, but the voice of many can do amazing things. 

The true losers in this situation are the residents and staff of Orange Grove.  To you, I apologize on behalf of the many concerned citizens who appreciate the wonderful assistance you provide. 

Perhaps we'll all get lucky and the incumbent Council members will be unseated in the upcoming election?  Get out there and show them that we mean business.

Rusty Munger
East Ridge

* * * 

Thank you, Orange Grove, for the generous donation of the tree to replace the beloved courthouse giant that was recently felled. 

I wish that other organizations that receive funding would be so generous to the community that they serve. 

Apparently, being generous is an attribute that government entities have lost...or never had. 

Roger D. Gibbens
Chattanooga

* * * 

I reluctantly join this discussion, being torn on the issue. I love Orange Grove, going back to Vine Street in the 70's and helping find a site for the latest group home five or six years ago. I will gladly send $100 for the cause. But, I also appreciate the Council's decision that you must follow the rules. If you miss the deadline, you don't compete. 

Let me cite a few examples from my experience:
-- In 1967, being a rookie at the planning commission, I was sent to Atlanta with a huge application for HUD with a noon deadline. I found the place with an hour to spare. If an hour later, we would have lost out on a $31 million grant for the massive Orchard Knob Urban Renewal Project as I found out later. 

-- In 1994, Sue Knapp and I broke every speed limit going to Knoxville after a night at Kinkos, getting in a $91K drug elimination grant application checked in at the last minute. Morristown came in behind us, but missed the time cut. We got the grant. 

-- In May, 2000, I harassed Mayor Kinsey into signing HOPE VI documents at the East Brainerd exit, so I could catch a plane to Miami to finish the $35 million application for Alton Park/Villages. Thirty-six hours later, we got the application on Delta Dash with an hour to spare. We got the grant. 

-- On Dec. 10, 2004, we faced a four hour window to present evidence of land control to THDA in Nashville , with a $22 million final phase of The Villages at stake. Thanks to Reuben Taylor, we made it with an hour to spare. It got built. 

This is not bragging, but to emphasize that rules and deadlines do count. I'm not sure which grant was at stake (assume it was HOME funds), but I don't think the Council should be criticized for following its own rules. There have been some suggestions in previous comments that the Council made exceptions for others. If that is the case, who/what were they, and what were the circumstances, precedent and rules? 

Sorry to be a skeptic with well wishers, but would appreciate other opinions. 

Mark Rudisill

* * * 

Apparently our City Council has lost sight of what’s important in Chattanooga and maybe in life itself.   

I’m ashamed to say that Jack Benson represents my district and I also own a house in Carol Berz district.  Both of whom voted against giving Orange Grove the money that they need and deserve.   

The City Council seems to be okay with buying a bunch of junk and calling it art but deny these monies to a good charitable cause.  It sickens me to say the least.   

Mr. Benson, Mrs. Berz, Mrs. Ladd, Mrs. Scott……shame on you. 

Ken Snyder
East Brainerd


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