The Berke Campaign Platform Versus Reality - And Response (4)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Andy Berke campaigned for mayor on a platform that stressed five Issues: 1) Economic Development, 2) Education, 3) Government Accountability, 4) Public Safety, and 5) Transparency and Civic Engagement.

City voters were seldom given details by Candidate Berke during the mayoral campaign on how he planned to accomplish his platform objectives.

During the mayoral race he did not campaign on extending health care benefits at the expense of city taxpayers to partners of city employees who are unmarried or same-sex couples.

This is the reality we now know:

1.       Economic Development: seven months after the mayoral election, the city is still in debt over $400 million. The city unemployment rate has steadily risen from 7.4 percent in March 2013, the month the new mayor was elected, to its present 7.9 percent.

2.       Government Accountability & Transparency: The city will spend $100,000 to contract with an out-of-town accounting firm associated with the mayor’s wife to complete a city budget.

3.       Public Safety: Mayor Berke proposes cutting fire and police pensions to save money but yet believes the city can afford to pay for ity employee same-sex and unmarried partner health care benefits. Chattanooga’s shootings and gang-related crime activity continues unabated.

Our city is heading down the same road of debt and careless spending that plague our nation.  Let your City Council representative and the mayor himself know how wrong these proposals are for our city.

Brenda and Tom McConnell 

* * *  

Approximately two years ago, the city of Chattanooga voted to cut health insurance benefits for retirees as a cost saving measure, and now the city is cutting the pension of the fire and police.

At the same time, the city is working towards expanding health insurance benefits to the roommates of city workers.  Bizarre.  Does the city just hate older workers, or believe that the roommates of city workers deserve the health benefits more than the employees that served the city for 20 plus years.
 
The problem here is the city has consistently reduced benefits for the older workers through loss of retirement health insurance and is currently reducing their pension, and then giving millions to the roommates for workers.   Why is the city taking directly from the older workers?
 
Yes, just two years ago, the city took away health retirement benefits directly from older workers, some in their 50’s that had worked their entire career for that benefit. After taking the health insurance from older workers, they are willing to expand health insurances to the roommates of workers. 
 
The actually workers lose retirement benefits, but the roommates of workers gain.  
 
Absurd nonsense absent of logic.
 
April Eidson 

* * * 

I have a very different take on Berke's job performance. I think he has been delivering on everything he campaigned on. He has added more officers to the force and obviously its working, because I just read that they arrested dozens of thugs today. 

He has been responsible with dollars, something I never thought I'd say about a liberal. The mayor asked people to look at the fire pension because it was already underfunded and it will just keep getting worse. Everyone knows that. Just look at Detroit. 

He took McKamey to task for missing funds and he didn't increase the overall city budget this year. When Tubman got too expensive, the mayor bailed because he knew the property wasn't worth that amount. When was the last time a politician bailed on a pet project because it would cost the taxpayers too much? 

And one more thing that people keep getting confused on. Berke isn't proposing same-sex benefits, City Council is doing that. So I'm not sure what all the complaining is about except for people wanting to have something to complain about.

Martin Knowles

* * *


I thought April Eidson was against gubmint handouts.  Former Chattanooga city employees drawing a taxpayer funded pension, and taxpayer funded insurance plans; are living off gubmint benefits funded by the taxpayers.  

Free market wisdom would ask why you have Chattanooga city funded retirement plans in the first place. Adding new people onto the present Chattanooga city employee insurance plan will generate new funds because there will be a corresponding increase in the insurance premiums.  

I can see the logic in this clearly.  City employees will be paying more premiums for being able to add people to their insurance plans.  City retirees only mooch off the gubmint anyway. Right?

Stephen Durham (freethinker1963@yahoo.com)

* * *

Loyalty from employees is expected. However, the city of Chattanooga failed to be loyal or respect those persons having worked over two decades for the city. The removal of insurance coverage was  a major error by the former mayor. If anything should be considered  this long promised benefit should be restored. 

Restoration of this benefit would be the right thing to do. The city makes promises and should keep those promises. Yanking away a promise, again, after 20-plus years is not a minor thing when people make plans based on this promise and try to budget survival on retirement on expectations from a promise.   

Larry Turner




Not A Good Ole Boy

Roy Exum continues to reload his poisonous pen.  Yesterday he wrote some untruths about me and some of the other board members that just happen to be educators as well.   For the record, one cannot run for school board if one is a teacher at the time of the election.   He said that I was still teaching when I was on the school board-not possible.  I retired in ... (click for more)

Legislative Survey Is Biased

Recently I received a survey from Gerald McCormick. I started to complete the survey but discovered that numbers 2 and 3 were so biased that any results are invalid. The voucher question (#2) is extremely biased with a very leading question, 3 "Yes" responses framed in positive language, and one "No" framed in negative language.  McCormick is using faulty data and sweeping ... (click for more)

Arrests Made In Connection With Fire At Brainerd Trophy Shop

Fire investigators Captain Moore and Captain McElvain made two arrests Friday night in connection with the fire at the Brainerd Trophy Shop that occurred  on Friday  morning. Gene Wegg and Pamela McNabb, have been arrested and charged with arson by the Chattanooga Fire Department. The two allegedly broke into the Brainerd Trophy Shop and set fire to the building, ... (click for more)

TBI Case Leads To Charges For Woman In Death Of Whitwell Boy

A joint investigation by special agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Whitwell Police Department has resulted in charges for a Whitwell woman in connection to the death of her boyfriend’s son. At the request of 12 th  District Attorney J. Michael Taylor, TBI apecial agents began investigating the death of six-year-old Lucas Michael Dillon on March 29, ... (click for more)

Red Bank Beats Pigeon Forge For A-AA State Duals Title

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Red Bank Lions finally reached the mountain top as far as high school wrestling is concerned. The Lions had finished second to Bradley in the State Duals back in 1995 and it had been 16 years since the Lions had been involved, but they put an exclamation point on a strong dual-meet season by winning the Class A-AA title here at Williamson County Agricultural ... (click for more)

Bradley Whips Soddy Daisy For AAA State Duals Title

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Bradley Bears have won more state duals titles than anyone and they added another one after going four years without being in the championship round. It’s been a remarkable season for the Bears, who beat region-rival Soddy Daisy by a 52-21 margin for their latest state title. Saturday night’s   match was never really close as the Bears had a ... (click for more)