Political candidates who promise transparency in their actions if elected should be careful not to ignore campaign laws intended to ensure financial transparency. That lesson was apparently lost on Ken Smith, candidate for City Council District 3. Despite his campaign rhetoric arguing for more openness in city government, Smith neglected to file the last financial disclosure statement before next week's election by Tuesday's deadline.
Disclosure statements are not complicated; you simply list the names of campaign contributors and how much they gave, disclose how much the campaign has spent and for what, sign the document and turn it in.
So it's worth asking why the Smith campaign dropped the ball on a requirement that goes to the heart of his purported transparency pledge. Are there contributors Smith doesn't want to disclose before the election? Is the campaign paying PR flacks posing as ordinary citizens to write letters attacking District 3 incumbent Pam Ladd? Many such letters are usually replete with half-truths and, yes, non-truths. But letters attacking Ms. Ladd are no substitute for a campaign whose candidate doesn't know what he doesn't know.
Smith's unfamiliarity with details of a key District 3 development -- the Community Center at the former Hixson Middle School building -- was, well, transparent at the recent Hixson Chamber of Commerce forum. He argued for more public input into further development of the Center when in fact the city and Ms. Ladd have provided extensive opportunities for residents to make their wishes known. And he's reportedly complained that the Center is competing against private businesses by offering, for example, free dance classes for those who can't afford private lessons. Is elitism at loose in District 3?
Pam Ladd has compiled an outstanding record of accomplishments in her first term that reflects her hours of hard work on behalf of District 3 residents. No surprise that her timely filing of the campaign's financial disclosure statement contrasted sharply with Smith's opaqueness.
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There is no question that Pam Ladd should continue to represent District 3 on the Chattanooga City Council.
The membership on the Council is a job to her – a full time job. She takes her work seriously and represents her constituents well. She talks with people, returns emails and actively solicits opinions and advice from those in her District. She is an organized thinker who is also a researcher. She digs into questions from people in her district, explains the answer and gives the reasons behind it. Most important, Pam listens to our concerns and works with us.
In my Valleybrook Park neighborhood, Pam always has responded to our requests including attending association meetings to hear our concerns, arranging for the city to put up traffic speed monitors, and providing increased police patrol.
The improvements over the last four years in District 3 under Pam’s representation are numerous: Northpoint Boulevard connecting Hamill Road to Hixson Pike, detouring around Highway 153 and Northgate has opened; a new recreation center in Phase 2 of an 8 phase community plan has opened. Other projects are in the works for the near future including repairs and repaving on Hamill Road and Lakeshore Drive have been approved and will begin in the spring, while a new fire hall is being built in the northern part of Hixson to serve increased populations in that area.
The new mayor will bring changes to our city. Pam Ladd is an experienced Council member who will be able to continue the work that is already before the city government. Council members represent their own districts but vote on items that affect the entire city. They must respond to and modify the administration’s proposals and make changes that will be fair to all parts of the city. Pam understands the importance of attending committee meetings, considering all options, and knowing the facts before voting.
District 3 residents, please vote for Pam Ladd on March 5 so she can continue the work we started together.
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Interesting, the Crutchfield Party of Dem is in full force on this thread complaining about transparency, when indeed, these folks are the gatekeepers of the Mecca of Tennessee Waltzers. In fact, Brenda Nunn and friends greet Ward Crutchfield and Cotton Club at their door every regular meeting.
So, if you throw rocks. Brenda Nunn and friends, I suggest you abate the Tennessee Walters sitting in your clubhouse every meeting.
Ken Smith is a solid candidate for District 3 that is formally endorsed by all fire and police organizations, even your Dem unions. Smith is endorsed by the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Chattanooga Firefighter local, Citizens for Government Accountability and Transparency, and of course my favorite, Little Chicago Watch group.
Vote Ken Smith District 3 for better government.
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After reading the above responses attacking my transparency, I felt the need to respond accordingly. For the record, the Hamilton County Election Office has my financial disclosures for the 3Q 2012 and 4Q 2012 on file. Can the same be said for Pam Ladd?
As for the latest financial disclosure, which covers the Jan. 1 through Feb. 23, it is also on file but was not included in today’s media coverage. If voters want to view this disclosure form, I not only posted it to my campaign’s Facebook page but will happily provide it here as well:
Ken Smith, Candidate District 3 City Council
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Much has been made lately about Pam Ladd and her votes of support on public safety. As a matter of transparency, I work on the front lines of this issue as a member of the Chattanooga Fire Department. I have also seen the impact that the votes from Mayor Littlefield, Pam Ladd and others on this City Council have taken during the past four years, and this is why I strongly encourage people to support Ken Smith for District 3 City Council.
While serving on City Council, Pam Ladd has been a rubber stamp for Mayor Littlefield on multiple issues, including key decisions that directly impacted firefighters and our families. Whether it’s voting to park city cars for firefighters, deny needed pay raises that other city employees were given, reduce our health care benefits or cut our disability and overtime pay, these decisions not only damage department morale but make it harder to recruit and retain the best and brightest people to be Chattanooga firefighters.
Ken will bring needed leadership to the City Council and will work to change how city government is run today. He is committed to strengthening the essential city services and funding the needs of the Fire Department. He also wants to prioritize city spending so we can ensure the needs of the Fire Department are funded as a top priority so we can do our job of protecting citizens' lives and property. The same cannot be said for Mayor Littlefield and this City Council during the past four years.
As a local firefighter, I believe Ken is the right person to advocate for our concerns and yours on the City Council, and this is why the Chattanooga Fire Fighters Association and the other public safety unions are unanimously endorsing Ken Smith for the Distract 3 City Council race.
I hope you will join me in supporting Ken Smith for City Council as he is the best choice for me, my family and for the citizens of Chattanooga.
Jack Thompson, President
CFFA Local 820