Hey, Roy. You don’t call, you don’t write?
I must start by stating that Mr. Exum has never called or emailed in any attempt to contact me. It is interesting that he can be so disparaging while having taken no time or effort other than a “Google search” to get to know me personally. I suspect he may not truly be interested. I have always believed a good reporter or commentator gathers all the facts before writing an article. It seems that Mr. Exum managed to forget this time around. Maybe one day.
A Google search would show anyone who is interested that I am a retired educator, having taught science and social studies in middle and high school. They would have also learned I am, and have been involved, in K-12 scholastic chess, in Colorado, Georgia and Tennessee. I also play, manage and coach baseball. However, it seems Mr. Exum’s biggest complaint about me is that “He’s lived in one place after another.” My wife, Carol, served the United States as an Army officer and nurse. The military does tend to move soldiers to different posts around the country, usually every three years. Carol also served in the Middle East during the 1st Persian Gulf War as part of the first hospital to arrive in the war zone. While she was gone I worked as logistics purchasing agent during that war under a Department of Defense contract at Ft. Sill, Okla. Finally, if someone really wanted to know more about me a Google search would have turned up my website: www.ElectLarryGrohn.com. My campaign site has a wealth of information, including a personal bio page. It appears Mr. Exum was more interested in supporting his friend than truly writing an article which would shed light on the mysterious Larry Grohn.
It is difficult to know where to begin in responding to Mr. Exum’s lengthy endorsement of his longtime friend for the 4th District seat. His efforts do echo Harry Austin’s recent piece in the Chattanooga Times which started off with an incorrect statement concerning the “40 percent of the vote” Mr. Benson garnered on March 5th instead of the actual 34 percent he did receive. Each piece then included a long list of service to the community. However, my issues in this campaign deal with what Mr. Benson has not done for the citizens of District 4 - primarily receive a good return for their tax investment in the city.
I would welcome a call or email from Mr. Exum. I can respect his and Mr. Austin’s loyalty to their long-time friend. But please spare the voters the biased endorsement without doing even the slightest amount of investigative reporting.
Mr. Benson is like a seasoned heavyweight fighter with a long career who doesn’t know his best years are behind him and it is time to exit the ring gracefully. Doesn’t Jack have friends or family willing to tell him he should retire with dignity? Mr. Benson could have nurtured our relationship and taken the time to learn my “history” and concerns about the city government. It would have been so easy since I have regularly been in the council audience for over three years.
I have tried to have private meetings with Jack, but have been brushed off and told, "He'll speak with you after the council meeting."
I will close with this quote from Pete Cooper. In 2009, Cooper, then executive director of the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, said “The culture of the city has changed. We have momentum . . . and Chattanoogans have always proven they are up to the task. A NEW set of leaders and funders will emerge.” He closed by saying, “You don’t have to have lived here 50 years or be rich to be a leader.” In 2013 Chattanooga is poised and on the brink of a new era with new leaders. I want to be one of those new leaders, serving the people and being a good steward of their money.
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Despite your wonderful credentials, your affiliation with the Tea Party is enough to convince me that Jack Benson is the lesser of two evils. Thanks, Roy, for pointing out this important fact in your column.
Jack's 35 years of experience in education would be plenty enough to get my vote if he was in my district.
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Does Jack, who votes to significantly raise property tax during the country’s worse recession since the Great Depression have the people’s interest at heart?
Does Jack, who votes to annex surrounding residents into Chattanooga without their consent have the people’s interest at heart?
Does Jack, who places a large busy apartment complex and business strips right on top of nice neighborhoods and next to an already saturated state highway have the best interest of the people?
People do know Jack – Jack needs to pack.