From Friday's (2/22) TFP article, "Crime High Among Concerns in Chattanooga's District 8" - "Freeman said he wants to be on the council's Safety Committee and start collaborating with other council members, the police department and neighborhood groups to bring down crime. He also said he will try to put more police officers on the streets and consider what technology is available to help fight crime. And he wants to increase penalties for boarded-up homes and increase lighting to make neighborhoods safer."
What Moses Freeman fails to understand is:
1. His comments indicate he does not understand how the City Council works. All Councilpersons are on every committee. If Freeman had attended a past Safety Committee meeting he would already know this.
2. His comments indicate he does not know what Council has done within the last year. I have collaborated with other Councilpeople to increase both lighting and security in our most troubled neighborhoods. I have even made the motion that these high-tech lights be installed in our most crime-ridden neighborhoods in District 8 first.
I have also worked with the current Council to increase the number of police officers. When I took office the number of police officers was a little over 400. That number has jumped to 487 and that number will be over 500 before summer.
3. His comments indicate he does not understand the role of the City Council. The city of Chattanooga cannot increase penalties for boarded up structures. If we could, we would have done so a long time ago. That penalty is set by the state. I have been happy to raise my voice together with this current Council to our state delegation to see penalties stiffened. We have done it before, and we will continue to do so until we get results.
It is clear that Freeman's own comments indicate a poor understanding of the history, work, and scope of the Council. If Freeman wants to bury his hand in the sand and say the sky is falling that is his business. But he shouldn't expect the good citizens of District 8 to take him or his candidacy seriously. Ultimately, what Freeman fails to understand is that facts matter. Instead of dispensing fiction, he would do well to brush up on the facts. Before he applies for this job, he would do well to read the full job description first.
Councilman Andrae McGary
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It is not the number of police, or quantity, that makes or breaks/divide or unite a community and its people, but the quality of policing that counts. Over the years, I've personally witnessed quantity policing basically go into communities and destroy in only a short time what quality policing took years to build.
This is something most all candidates running for office just don't seem to grasp. And leaving it up to community group leaders to dictate to the police what they want often only serve to enhance the problems. As many have already preformed groups and exclusive "cliques" that have their own personal agenda, belief system, values and levels of tolerance/intolerance of others they've come together to decide "those individuals just don't fit."
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Moses Freeman isn't a politician and never has claimed to be. You also claim to not be a politician, but have been a force in the Chattanooga political scene since 2009. Freeman is a former Equal Employment Opportunity director and Neighborhood Services director for Chattanooga. Instead of trying to solve issues as they come up, he has taken employment in positions where he curbs the crime rate on the front end.
You boast of what the City Council has accomplished in the past year in regards to crime. What has Chattanooga done for crime in the past year? We still have one of the highest crime rates in the state. There is nothing to boast about.
We need a councilperson who will work for Chattanooga and stick to his or her word. Moses Freeman is a man that will. You, sir, promised us that you would not run for City Council this year. Please keep your word, Mr. McGary.