City Council Declines To Repeal Domestic Partners Ordinance; Voters To Have Say In August; Petition Group Hits Decision

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The City Council has declined to repeal the Domestic Partners ordinance, setting up a vote on the issue in August.

City Attorney Wade Hinton on Tuesday night told council members that his office had reviewed the process in which there was a petition drive to overturn the ordinance. He said there were "no material deficiencies found."

He said the council had two choices - either repeal the ordinance or have the August vote.

Council Chairman Yusuf Hakeem asked if any council member wanted to make a motion. No one did.

Chairman Hakeem said the finance office would be dealing with costs of the election.

The council earlier voted 5-4 to allow city employees with same-sex partners or live-in boyfriends or girlfriends to extend the benefits to the partner.

Charlotte Mullis-Morgan of the election office said it was too early to say what the city's cost may be. She said that is the only item from the city on the ballot thus far.

Mark West, who led a petition drive that gained enough signatures in a two-week period to get it on the ballot, said, "In failing to do so, the city council missed an opportunity to acknowledge the voices of approximately 8,000 Chattanooga certified voters (nearly half of the total votes that were cast in the previous mayoral election) and reverse their support of this highly unpopular and controversial ordinance. 

"As a result of the council’s inaction though, Chattanooga voters will now have the opportunity to have the final say on whether the city of Chattanooga should extend healthcare benefits to the non-employee girlfriends and boyfriends of city employees.

"During the two-week period in which we interacted with over 11,000 citizens who signed our Petition, we heard and witnessed a consistent strong and impassioned opposition to the city council’s Domestic Partner ordinance.  Citizens were not only eager to sign the Petition, in many instances they sought us out to pen their names.  Nearly every signature reflected a strong disapproval of the ill-advised decision of five Chattanooga city council members.  As a result of the sentiments expressed to us, we anticipate that there will be a continued groundswell of voters who will be eager to reject the ordinance in August 2014.”

He said, "CGAT will continue to lead the effort to educate and inform voters of the impact the unfair and destructive ordinance would have on Chattanooga.  For more information citizens are encouraged to go to www.ItsYourVoteTN.com to receive ongoing updates about the effort to reject the Ordinance at the ballot box.  They may also contact CGAT at 423-499-1284." 

.



HCDE Announces New Administrative Appointments

Hamilton County Department of Education Interim Superintendent Dr. Kirk Kelly announced on Tuesday three new principal and two central office appointments. “Strong school leadership is essential to student success. Great school leaders are the key to ensuring there is an excellent teacher in every classroom.  We are confident that these principals will provide outstanding ... (click for more)

Town Hall Meetings On Canyon Ridge Resort Development Planned In Walker County For June 5 And 7

Walker County residents and others interested in learning more about the proposed Canyon Ridge Resort development on Lookout Mountain are invited to attend a town hall meeting. The town hall meetings will take place on Monday, at 6 p.m. and again on Wednesday, June 7, at 6 p.m. at the Walker County Civic Center, 10052 North Highway 27 in Rock Spring. The program ... (click for more)

Tennessee Business Expansions On Rise Across State

In 2016, Tennessee was named State of the Year for Economic Development by Southern Business & Development Magazine based on project totals and the variety of industries that invested in the state and created jobs. To a great extent, Bradley and Polk Counties have benefited from that investment.   From February 2015 to February 2016, Cleveland/Bradley County led the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Public Defender And The Mental Health Court

I am holding in my hand a list of the names of 50 very real people who cost the taxpayers of Hamilton County a combined $3,037.090 in incarceration charges before July 2015. These people live in our county and I dare say it is not completely their fault that they were put in the county jail. Each has a professionally-diagnosed mental illness and today, most regretfully, the County ... (click for more)

Lennex Walker Wins A-AA State Pentathlon

MURFREESBORO -- The final Spring Fling is off to a roaring start for CSAS senior Lennex Walker. The most decorated track and field athlete ever for the Lady Patriots, Walker got the ball rolling with a victory in the Class A-AA Pentahlon at the Dean Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium Monday afternoon by winning three of the five events and finishing first with 3,306 points. Unicoi ... (click for more)

Boyd-Buchanan Reaches Class A/AA State Soccer Tournament

The setting was nothing new for the seven seniors on the Boyd-Buchanan boys’ soccer team, but this time the Bucs got to celebrate a different outcome.   Playing in their fourth consecutive Class A/AA state sectional, the Bucs put three years of heartbreak behind them by earning a 1-0 victory over Merrol Hyde and a trip to this week’s state tournament in Murfreesboro. ... (click for more)