Deconstructing Berke's Signs, I Realize I Am Safe, City Secure - And Response

Thursday, February 7, 2013 - by David Tulis
Berke sign
Berke sign

Driving along a city street this Lord’s Day, my family and I noticed the placards for Chattanooga mayoral candidates Guy Satterfield and Andy Berke along Highway 153 in front of the Hixson Lowe’s store.

The difference between the two billboards is striking. Mr. Satterfield’s sign is in plain lettering and offers only words. “Satterfield mayor[;] accountability in government.” As an idea, “accountability" is not flashy. It suggests stewardship, conservation, tight-waddedness, a sort of civic-minded stinginess. Possibly, Mr. Satterfield cares about reform, a tightening of the purse strings.

Mr. Berke’s sign shows a great deal of thought in a contradictory direction.

The marketing work for Sen.

Berke makes you feel good about Mr. Berke — and yourself. It places confidence in his ability to breathe a sort of spiritual life into the city and its people. and your privilege to share the same oxygen. “Renew Chattanooga,” the wording under his name, promises that very thing. Not reform so much, but renewal.

For those are the words under the word “Berke” on his of his campaign. Renew. Most helpful to conveying the concept of unity, compassion and togetherness are two halfcircles over his name, circles whose bottoms are cut off so that they hang like upside down soup bowls over the name.

The name is under protection, as it were, of umbrellas. Of tents. Emanating from the poster, in a flash that touches the emotion of the passerby, is the sense of togetherness and unity. I'm feeling better already.

Optimism galore


And what is there not to feel optimistic about? A barometer of national economy, the stock market, closed above 14,000 Friday for the first time in five years. A good sign affecting the psychology of investors, analysts are are quoted as saying. But Monday it fell nearly 130 points. And what about Mr. Obama? He instills confidence in many people, and that is his daily goal. And what about confidence in Chattanooga? Hey, that’s you, that’s me. Confidence in ourselves.

Mr. Berke doesn’t need to express confidence merely as a graphic show. Mr. Berke, in the same party as that working man, Mr. Obama, has raised $647,000 from donors since May, and he has spent $143,000 on graphics, printing, telecom, advisory and other services. The state senator and defender of union-controlled public education and other blessings, has the race sewn up, it would seem. Mr. Satterfield is in the poorhouse; he has himself posted signs, but has raised no money.  A third candidate, Chester Heathington, is also in the race. But he, too, is welcome under the Berke umbrellas; there’s plenty of room.

Recently city council candidate Jim Folkner made an interesting statement to contradict a comment I’d made to him about my interest in ideas in politics and other spheres. “I wish ideas controlled,” Mr. Folkner said, “but too much of the time it’s the money and the personalities and the way they want the money spent that control the decisions on our city council.”

His fundraising prowess make clear Mr. Berke’s intelligence, his connection to well-heeled and well-meaning donors and activists who want him to serve as Chattanooga mayor. His logo tells he intends to appeal not just to the head to bring about a continued liberal and globally oriented municipal government, but the heart — using the eye, at least partly.

Mr. Satterfield, whom I plan interview today at 1:30 p.m. on AM 1240 Copperhead radio, seems very much concerned about restraining the political office of Chattanooga mayor, curbing the exercise of its ambition under Mayor Ron Littlefield. How far can a man of plain ideas go in a race against a man whose argument for liberality by government is so well supported financially, and so graphically argued? Perhaps he will tell me.

— David Tulis writes for Nooganomics.com, which explores local economy and free markets online and on the airwaves.

* * *

I believe Mr. Tulis' misguided article fails to mention the following important points:

1. Voters should be careful not to judge a candidate based on the amount of money he/she raises in a campaign. One may also be curious as to why a candidate for mayor of Chattanooga has donations coming from Nashville and Knoxville.

2. The city is in debt over $400 million. We - the taxpayers - need some "tight-waddedness" at city hall.

3. Mr. Satterfield is in the "poorhouse" by choice. He is running primarily a self-financed campaign. Until recently he did not accept donations and currently donations are limited to a maximum of $200 per donor. To quote Mr. Satterfield: "My campaign is not about taking money from people but rather it's about letting people keep more of their money by not raising city taxes".

4. Finally - money, signs, debates, etc., don't decide elections. Voters decide elections. This is a lesson Mr. Berke (and Mr. Tulis) will learn on March 5th.

Tom McConnell

Chattanooga


During A Martin Luther King, Jr. March Is Not A Time To Campaign

It truly amazing what Martin Luther King, Jr. accomplished at just 39 years of age. He changed an entire country. Dr. King was not in elected office or in any position of power. Yet, he accomplished more than any politician.  To me the Martin Luther King, Jr.'s vision was an expectation of life centered in education, hard work, and accomplishment that in time would evolve ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: What Else $3 Can Mean

Orchard Knob Middle School, located on North Highland Park Avenue in Chattanooga, led every other secondary school in the state of Tennessee last year with 6.8 percent of its students expelled. So as people are working feverishly to keep the school from being taken over by the state’s Department of Education, allow me to pose a question. Last Friday during the last period of ... (click for more)

Man Killed By Officers After Pursuit Tuesday Night In Soddy Daisy

A man was killed by officers on Tuesday night after a long chase that ended in Soddy Daisy. The shooting incident happened around 7 p.m. The chase started shortly after 5 p.m. Hamilton County Sheriff's Office deputies were involved in the shooting. No officers were injured. The Sheriff's Office said m ultiple law enforcement agencies responded to the ... (click for more)

City Council Told Cost Has Soared For Moving Sewer Line Off Tubman Industrial Site

City Council members were told on Tuesday that the cost has soared for moving a sewer line completely off the Harriet Tubman industrial site. Bill Payne, city engineer, said it initially was around $1.5 million, but is now pegged at over $4 million. Councilman Chris Anderson, who heads the council's economic development committee, said the assertion brought "stunned looks" ... (click for more)

Tyner Outshoots Brainerd In Big 6-AA Battle

Brainerd’s Jackson-High Gymnasium was filled to capacity long before the girls game had ended Tuesday night, but the overflow crowd had come to see the second meeting between Tyner and Brainerd and a battle for first place in District 6-AA. Both are ranked in the latest state Class AA poll with Tyner listed sixth and Brainerd ninth.  Brainerd had won all four meetings ... (click for more)

No. 3 Cleveland Sneaks Past Walker Valley 59-51

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – State-ranked Cleveland blew most of a 13-point second-half lead, but got clutch field goals from Deontae Davis and KK Curry down the stretch and managed to stay unbeaten in District 5-3A high school basketball action with a hard-fought 59-51 victory over rival Walker Valley on Tuesday night. Walker Valley’s girls defeated the Lady Blue Raiders 43-39 in overtime. ... (click for more)