City Councilwoman Deborah Scott gave an enthusiastic introduction on Monday at the Pachyderm Club for District 4 City Council candidate Larry Grohn, saying he “will be ready to serve on Day 1.”
Ms. Scott, who is retiring from her District 1 seat, said the District 4 incumbent, Jack Benson, “boasted publicly that he doesn't have to read the agenda.”
Ms. Scott said Mr. Grohn has been attending council meetings faithfully for at least three years. She said, “He pays close attention and he's very thoughtful. I think he'll make a good City Council person.
Also at the meeting, former state GOP Chairman Robin Smith said on Saturday she saw "a group of young Democrats" get out of a car and start campaigning for Andy Berke and Jerry Mitchell.
Mr. Mitchell, former city administrator of parks and recreation, is seeking the District 2 City Council seat being vacated by Sally Robinson. Ms. Smith has been aiding the campaign of another candidate, Roger Tuder, who was at the Pachyderm Club meeting.
Mr. Grohn said Councilman Benson will likely raise a lot of cash for the election - “mostly from developers and a lot from people who don't even live in the district.”
He said Councilman Benson on one occasion during a discussion on a complicated land swap “asked, 'Why does everybody know about this except me?'” He said other council members had read about it in their agenda packets.
Mr. Grohn said city police are understaffed. He said two police academies are needed per year at $1.2 million per academy just to keep up with those leaving the department.
He said he hears many harrowing tales of citizens suffering as crime victims, including eight homes being burglarized on the same East Brainerd street in eight days, an individual being pistol whipped beside his/her vehicle at Hamilton Place Mall, and an individual being followed home from the mall and robbed.
He said similar crime problems are cropping up in Hixson.
Mr. Grohn said the city has been spending too little on upkeep of streets and roads. He said experts had recommended spending $5 million per year, but he said the amount last year was $1.7 million.
He said the city was using a “band-aid” approach to dealing with wastewater problems, including using 20-pound deodorant bars to try to camouflage smelly sewers.
The candidate said a project for the new Main Terrain park next to where the club was meeting would only handle 300,000 gallons of runoff at a cost of $1 million. He said an inch of rain downtown would bring 17.5 million gallons of water.
He was asked by Dr. Joe Dzik, who had considered getting in the District 4 race, how he would pay for higher spending for police, roads and wastewater.
Mr. Grohn said one step would be to reduce unnecessary expenses. He mentioned a department with 25 employees and he said the administrator makes as much as those with hundreds of employees.
The candidate was born and raised in San Antonio, Tex. He said he and his wife, Carol, a retired Army officer who served in the Gulf War, chose to settle in Chattanooga because of its amenities and revitalization.