Public Safety Is Why I’m Voting For Ken Smith

Monday, February 25, 2013

I, along with many others in Hixson, have been greatly disappointed by Pam Ladd’s leadership during the past four years. Today, we have roads that have gone neglected due to underfunded budgets supported by Pam Ladd.  People are scared in their own homes because gangs and crime problems were ignored far too long by Mayor Littlefield and Pam Ladd. These issues are real, and they are top of mind as people consider who to support in the upcoming city election. 

This week I received an automated call and a mailer from Pam Ladd touting her strong support of our public safety officers and their needs.  Unfortunately, these words ring hollow to those who know Pam’s voting record on this issue. Despite voting to increase our property taxes by 19 percent nearly three years ago, the City Council continues to underfund the essential needs of our city services, especially fire and police.

For example, the police staffing levels have remained flat during the past four years.  During this same time period, the police department had to cover a larger area due to annexation and service a larger population during a period when local crimes and gang-related shootings were dominating the headlines. Yes, the City Council has recently funded a police academy, but the police and fire departments are still understaffed based on independent, third-party recommendations and will only worsen when a large number of senior police officers and firefighters are scheduled to retire later this year. I question Pam’s vote to park police cars, which lowers the level of police presence on our streets and in our neighborhoods.  I also wonder why she voted against giving police officers and firefighters the same percentage pay raise that she voted to give all other city employees.   

And, Pam voted to eliminate overtime benefits and reduce injured-on-duty benefits for our police officers and firefighters.  This is Pam’s real voting record, and this voting record does not represent someone who supports fire and police on the key issues that affect them and their families.

As public awareness of the public safety issues increased, some of our local officials actually said the city’s crime rate was not as bad as some critics were saying. I did some research to find out what the facts say on this issue, and the stats are scary.  While the homicide and burglary rates may be down slightly in 2012 compared to 2011 (down 4 percent and 3 percent respectively), the number of felony crimes is generally up in key areas, such as rape (up 19 percent), robbery (up 23 percent), aggravated assaults (up 17 percent), larceny (up 6 percent) and auto theft (up 23 percent).  In all, the overall crime rate for the city has increased 6.9 percent when compared to 2011 stats while the number of calls for service increased by 4.19 percent.  These are facts that cannot be disputed.

My point is crime is a serious issue that has and continues to impact everyone in Hixson and throughout our city.  During her four years on the City Council, Pam has not led on this issue as she tried to claim in her campaign materials.  When comparing both candidates in the District 3 City Council race, all three public safety unions – the Chattanooga Firefighters Association, Local #820; the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, Local #673 and the Fraternal Order of Police Officers, Rock City Lodge #22 – unanimously endorsed one candidate in this race – Ken Smith.

The members of all three public safety groups work the front lines every day to protect our homes and serve this community. They are the “true experts” on public safety, and they understand the challenges and public safety issues our community face today and will face in the future.  Local police officers, firefighters and their families are supporting Ken Smith because they believe he has the right vision for our community and is the best person to represent their concerns and our public safety concerns on the City Council. 

I encourage you to join me on election day as I stand with local firefighters and police officers and cast my vote for Ken Smith to be the next District 3 City Council representative. 

Vince Butler
Hixson


What Is Conservatism?

 What is being a conservative really all about? Of late more and more of the news is talking about conservatives in D.C. wanting - urging really - for the country to embrace being a conservative.   I really don't know what that means. In the world around us those that speak the loudest are the few with money, lots of it. Koch Brothers, Mercer Family and even ... (click for more)

My Experience With The Assessor’s Board Of Equalization

According to the Hamilton County Website, the County Board of Equalization “hears appeals from citizens who do not agree with their property assessments.” That sounds good. I sure don’t agree with mine. It “exists to give every property owner a chance to be heard. The goal is not to be an appraiser, but to decide values based on consistency, equity, and evidence. When properties ... (click for more)

Girlfriend Says Wright Was Driving Her PT Cruiser When He Left With Pair Whose Bodies Were Found At Cemetery

The girlfriend of William Howard Wright testified Tuesday that Wright and "Little Tony" were with two youths whose bodies were afterward found in a cemetery at Shepherd. General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck bound two counts of criminal homicide and especially aggravated robbery to the Grand Jury against Wright. A 17-year-old is facing similar charges. The girlfriend ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police Pay Increases Announced

Chattanooga Police officers will be earning more under a $1.4 million pay improvement plan announced Tuesday. New officers would get increases in each of their first six years with the department, which has been dealing with a number of newly trained officers going to other cities. City officers now make $35,913 upon joining the force. Under the plan, they will receive about ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Gets Revenge With Boyd-Buchanan

The Notre Dame volleyball team may have felt they let one get away in the championship match of the Hixson Invitational Saturday afternoon against the Boyd-Buchanan Lady Buccaneers, but they were bound to not let it happen again. At least, not during a home match against these same Lady Bucs Tuesday evening in the rowdy confines of their Jack Steiner Sr. Gymnasium. The Lady ... (click for more)

Despite Sloppy Finish, Lady Raiders Sweep McMinn

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Cleveland High School’s volleyball team came close to completely satisfying its coach Tuesday. The Lady Raiders then got lazy. Coach Trish Flowers, who has another state tournament contender on her hands this season, let the squad feel her displeasure in the postgame huddle. “I was within just a few minutes of being in a good mood,” said Flowers, ... (click for more)