NAACP Asks Cleveland City Councilman Charlie McKenzie To Step Down

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - by Tonya Brantley

Bradley County NAACP President Lawrence Armstrong addressed the Cleveland City Council Monday afternoon regarding racial slurs Councilman Charlie McKenzie allegedly  made while working as a sheriff’s deputy.

Mr. Armstrong said, “I want the council to consider the information that’s before them in reference to Mr. McKenzie’s statement. I know there were questions earlier as to whether or not this is a matter of the council. Every one of you took an oath of office. In that oath, morally you have an obligation to the community.

I just ask that you each look at this particular situation. It is a sense of hatred that this demeaning language has been used. These are actual statements that were submitted by two police officers. Again, Mr. McKenzie has never denied these allegations. I’m asking that you hold him accountable.” 

Member of the city of Cleveland Parks and Recreation Department Hiawatha Brown addressed her statement to Councilman McKenzie. She said, “I don’t know you and you probably don’t know me, but as an elected official, we hold you to a higher standard. Those are the same type of standards that we hold each elected official. I am not from your district, but I have family members that live in your district. As a citizen of this city, I’m appalled at the information that I read. Yes, it may be a witch hunt and there may be political undertones, but the statements that I read from sworn members of the police department cannot be overlooked. I’m asking you to resign as city councilman of your district.”
 

Councilman Richard Banks responded, “Sometimes perception is stronger than the truth. This council is in an awkward position. Charlie McKenzie represents the constituents in his district with many issues. He said some things that were very upsetting. We are at a disadvantage because we don’t know under what context he said those things. We are, as our city attorney said, limited by what we can do by our city charter. There was not an official act by Charlie that we can do anything with.

"How we are perceived is very important. Mr. Armstrong was obviously upset because of the timing of Charlie’s apology. We have in the past had some contentious issues and people from both sides come together and meet to talk about their situations. That’s what I suggest you do. A meeting with Charlie to see if there’s been any misunderstanding about the words that were said and then make a decision on what you think he ought to do. Clearing the air would be an important thing to do. This is an important matter that needs to be resolved.”  

Councilman George Poe said, “I represent all the people of the city. I’m an At Large councilman. All the things going on concerning this issue are rumors to me. All my life, I’ve heard rumors with no way to prove them. I feel bad saying we should be running the sheriff’s office. All I know is rumors.”
 
Councilman Bill Estes commented, “Richard Banks is right in saying there needs to be a conversation. Context should not matter with words like that. This doesn’t end today. Everyone has moral values.”
 
Mayor Tom Rowland said, “Communication is one of the better things we can do.”
 
Resident Jonathan Porter addressed the council saying, “As city council members, all of you are held accountable to the city.” He asked Councilman McKenzie, “You didn’t say whether I said that or not, did you? You said if I did say it I apologize. That’s not answering, that’s if I did, so it’s an if.”
 
Councilman McKenzie agreed to meet with Mr. Armstrong, Mayor Rowland, constituents and other council members to discuss the matter.
 
In other business, several rezoning requests passed unanimously. They were final passage of zoning ordinance No: 2013-03, rezoning 5673 and 5693 Mouse Creek Road NW from R2 to CN. The Planning Commission approved the decision 7-0; 1 member absent. Zoning ordinance No: 2013-06 correcting the zoning map error by rezoning property abutting Morningside Drive NE and Pryor Road NE near Gale Drive from R1 to R3. The Planning Commission approved the decision 9-0, and zoning ordinance No: 2013-07 denying rezoning property at 432 Mason Road SW and 452 Mason Road SW from RA to CH. The Planning Commission denied the decision 9-0.
 
Cleveland City Offices will be closed on Monday in observance of President’s Day. The Cleveland City Council will hold its next voting session meeting Monday, Feb. 25, at 3 p.m.

Many Waldens Ridge Scenes Featured In Stokes Picture Book

A number of early views of Waldens Ridge are among the rarities found in the Stokes Photo Collection. There are many photos of the roads up the mountain showing streetcars, wagons and early autos. There are scenes at Rainbow Lake, Falling Water Falls, Signal Point and other scenic spots. Several photos are included of the Signal Mountain Hotel. The more than 700 photos ... (click for more)

Corker Urges U.S. And Other Nations To Accelerate Efforts To Stop Ebola Outbreak In West Africa

Senator Bob Corker issued the following statement on Tuesday, after speaking with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah about the U.S. response to Ebola in West Africa. “As we address this problem, the most important thing for us to do is to contain and stop Ebola in West Africa, and for that reason, I talked with Administrator Shah to receive ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Has Lost Its Most Popular Citizen - Luther Masingill

Chattanooga has lost its most popular citizen – Luther Masingill. Although we are saddened we cherish the memories.  All of us have a Luther story.  Mine is the first time I met Luther.  This was before TV and all of Chattanooga listened to Luther on the radio.  I was 12-years-old.  Some of my buddies and I had gone to the State Theater in downtown ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: An Election Day Fable

Every day I am peppered with emails that friends send to me from across the country so I am unsure of where the fable you are about to read originated. But with early voting for the November general election now in full swing, I think everyone who will -- or will not -- take part in freedom’s greatest privilege should read this story because I believe there is a great lesson contained ... (click for more)

Mihaescu, March Win Region 3-A/AA Cross Country Titles

The weather wasn't quite as nice as it was last week, but it was still sunny and warm on Tuesday afternoon for the Region 3-A/AA cross country championships, which were held on a flat course at Camp Jordan in East Ridge. Sequoyah senior Danielle March was the female winner as she toured the 5K course in 21 minutes, 46 seconds to win by almost a minute over KiAnna Queener, ... (click for more)

Boyd-Buchanan Defeats East Ridge 7-1 In Soccer Semi

The Boyd-Buchanan girls’ soccer team has already made history this season, but coach Todd Ledbetter’s Lady Bucs are hungry for more. After winning the school’s first district title last week, they moved a step closer to another championship with a Region 3-A/AA semifinal victory at home on Tuesday. Boyd-Buchanan, the 5-A/AA champion, defeated District 6 runner-up ... (click for more)