On Monday, Feb. 18, I had the opportunity to attend a public forum for District 7 candidates. Both Councilman Manny Rico and Mr. Chris Anderson attended. I am thankful for their participation. I am also thankful for the opportunity to witness the dichotomy of these two men as they presented their cases for being elected. During the 45 minute exchange this is what I learned:
· VW came to Chattanooga because of a $30,000 blue rhino; something Mr. Rico supported.
· If your home is broken into, it’s your fault because you didn’t have an alarm system and security doors.
· Police can’t prevent crime, they can only respond to it after the fact.
· We have more police in Chattanooga now than ever?
· City employees have a “Cadillac” benefits plan but if City Hall could terminate more employees instead of ‘hiding’ them, costs could be lowered.
· It’s your fault that the street light outside your residence hasn’t been repaired, even though you called “311” multiple times.
· It is government’s responsibility to fund and operate entertainment venues that lose money.
· Alton Park is apparently where all the drug dealers live.
· Mr. Rico is the ‘rainmaker,' so you need to come to him to get anything done.
· Public safety is a core tenant for the existence of government. A multi-faceted approach to combating crime which includes job creation, among other elements, is required.
· The Police and fire departments need appropriate staffing and sound fiscal policies to endow them to perform their services.
· Proper police presence can and does prevent crime.
· Public/private partnerships are important to both economic development and the support of the arts.
· Government consolidation of political patronage assignments is needed as part of an overall effort to bring fiscal discipline back to City Hall.
· The diversity of District 7 is an asset to Chattanooga and Mr. Anderson recognizes the humbling honor that comes with serving its residents.
At the end of the forum I was left with a prevailing feeling of loathing for our current district representation. The arrogance and grandiosity displayed toward those present and all the residents of the district is disappointing. It is the same arrogance and pomposity that has oozed from City Hall for the past eight years. Coincidence? I think not.
Mr. Anderson clearly has a vision for District 7 and the city. He is well versed in facts and is eager to learn more. He is also unpretentious enough to recognize the honor that comes with serving fellow citizens.
I have had the opportunity to meet and interact with both men on several different occasions. The zeal and courage that Mr. Anderson has exhibited is prodigious. As I went to the polls today there was no choice…..District 7 ?Chris Anderson