Chris Anderson Has Been A Distraction - And Response

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Councilman Anderson has been a distraction for progress on the Council since he arrived. 

His proposed chicken ordinance was a group effort and draft outside the light of the Sunshine Law that was immediately endorsed by the mayor as soon as the newspaper published the story before it came before the Council for consideration.

His proposed same-sex partner benefits fiasco, now the subject of much discussion, was conceived with the knowledge of the mayor who came out publicly and endorsed it as soon as Anderson announced it by stating, "It is the right thing to do," before it was brought before the Council for action and public comment. 

All this time the Council waited patiently for a budget so they could determine where the mayor was taking the taxpayers and the City financially as well as organizationally.  My question is why the mayor is not being recalled at the same time for abuse and misuse of the power of his office to influence public opinion in Anderson's favor.

We should remember Anderson's violation of protocol by raising himself above his status to the limelight by writing a formal, public letter on his city stationery to the President on behalf of all Chattanooga citizens and reiterating our excitement in anticipation of his visit to Amazon.  But we remember most Anderson's comment that the mayor is his "friend."  His exact comment that followed was, "I've known Andy a long time."  That put his position in perspective for many of us.

In my view, everything concerning Councilman Anderson's proposed recall and his lawsuit challenging the suit should be "at large" insofar as legal proceedings are concerned so the population that has been injured by Anderson's actions can vote.  I would hope that Judge Hollingsworth would throw the lawsuit out.  After all, Anderson is an elected official in the city of Chattanooga and therefore will be suing himself in his latest maneuver. 

As I have stated before on this site, the matter concerning Anderson and his same-sex benefits initiative has nothing to do with gay rights insofar as I am concerned.  It has everything to do with money being taken by law and by way of taxation from my monthly Social Security and retirement benefits to pay benefits for a same-sex partner of a city employee who does absolutely nothing for me or the city to justify such action.  The intent of the "fraud" is to hand over my money to a stranger for an act that violates religious principles of the majority of the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths that respect marriage as being between a man and a woman.  That is the law of the State of Tennessee.  Making same-sex benefits into law is prohibited by Article I of the Constitution and smells of taxation without representation.

It is time for Chris Anderson to resign.  He has lost credibility as a public servant. 

Charlotte Parton

* * * 

I can appreciate Ms. Parton's desire for perfectly antiseptic politics, and the adherence to any protocol or policy with which she agrees. 

The portion of Chris Anderson's service she considers a "distraction" is precisely why we need Chris Anderson on our city council.    

So let's take this point by point. 

Chicken law outside the "sunshine" rules:  I'm going to dismiss this as a legitimate concern.  Talking about chickens in Tennessee, formally or informally, isn't a political firestorm about which I can invest much of my time.  I like chickens, preferably as teriyaki.  I raised them as a child.  I am fond of eggs.  

Ms. Parton states the mayor should be recalled, invested too much time supporting Anderson, the City Council was "waiting on a budget" and the mayor was trying to influence public opinion on behalf of Chris Anderson.   This paragraph from Charlotte flew off the rails very early on, and never quite recovered.  If the mayor is not allowed to have or promote opinions, or express thought in the public square, I have not much response.  I would grade this paragraph with a strong "Do Over", and instruct Ms. Parton to visit a civics class at Chattanooga State as quickly as her schedule might allow.    

Ms. Parton states Chris Anderson violated protocol by sending a letter to the president on his letterhead.   Chris Anderson is an elected official.  It is his letterhead.  President Barack Obama is an elected official.   The letter was largely ceremonial.   Chris Anderson represents Chattanoogans.  Chris Anderson is a Democrat.  Exit stage left on this one.  From a standpoint of concern in the context of a recall, file this with the aforementioned chickens.    

Ms. Parton wants the recall to be "at large."   Wait, what?   You want to take an elected official to the woodshed over yard chickens and perceived minor protocol, yet reserve for yourself the right to rewrite election law?   No, Charlotte, you cannot contradict your intentions and have the city and state mold its laws to suit you.  Class dismissed.   

In her final paragraph, Charlotte Parton essentially takes a large number of words and throws them in a blender.   To wit:  "It has everything to do with money being taken by law and by way of taxation from my monthly Social Security and retirement benefits to pay benefits for a same-sex partner of a city employee who does absolutely nothing for me or the city to justify such action.  The intent of the "fraud" is to hand over my money to a stranger for an act that violates religious principles of the majority of the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths that respect marriage as being between a man and a woman." 

Wow, where to start.  Let me catch my breath. 

1.   The city does not receive money from your social security and retirement benefits.    

2.   Benefits for a spouse or partner allow them to live their lives, and are a common element of society.  What does a married, heterosexual spouse of a city employee do for you, Ms. Parton?   For me, benefits for the spouse or partner allow the city employee to live a stable life.  This is why spousal medical benefits are allowed by most employers.   Civil partner benefits are on the increase, rapidly, nationwide.   Your problem is this societal fact, not specifically with Chris Anderson.   He represents something you don't like, therefore he is bad.  Right? 

3.   Your issue is rooted not with Chris, but your religious beliefs.  Not once has Chris Anderson advocated for the reduction, elimination or disrespect of your religious convictions.   However, you believe your religion is violated if someone does not agree with you and legislate accordingly.  You would have done well in the Middle Ages during the Crusades, but not today.  The amount of money partner benefits will cost the city is negligible.  This is a biblical issue with you, and one you are entitled to make.  I respect your beliefs, and probably share a good many of them.   Chris Anderson respects your beliefs, too.   

4.   You placed the word fraud in quotes, referenced a number of religions and your belief marriage should be between a man and a woman.   Guess what?   People disagree with you.  In fact, many people disagree with you.    

For all these reasons, we need Chris Anderson in office.   Charlotte Parton rails against him for representing a social constituency which includes those outside his physical district.   Then she states the recall should be at large, or citywide.  Every council member serves their district, and the best interests of the entire city.   Voting is a matter which occurs by district, and the council member must tend carefully to the needs of his/her direct electorate.  So many people like Charlotte Parton want to rewrite legislation and social protocol while demanding their specific religious views be exclusively adhered.   Anyone else is a heretic, and must leave the room. 

I would place Vegas on money on the fact Charlotte Parton has never called Chris Anderson, never attempted to communicate with him or learn what drives his desire to serve his district and all of Chattanooga.  He will talk to you, Charlotte.  Would you give him the time?   

I was torn over the District 7 race because I believe so strongly in both Chris Anderson and Manny Rico.   Both are good men, and both are solid (albeit polarizing) public servants.   They both love Chattanooga very much, and about that no doubt can exist.   

To address your issue with any protocol, no matter how elementary, have you considered new public servants have a learning curve?  I may not have the same protocol concerns regarding Anderson as you, but let the man have some time to acclimate to the full range of municipal operation and his place in it.   

Ms. Parton, your anger is largely generational and religious.   You are banging on your kitchen table wondering why the world is changing around you.   Your numbers don't add up, and your arguments would be difficult to defend at any podium.   Yet, I respect you.   I want you to be heard and your thoughts part of the larger public debate.   This is also why I want Chris Anderson in office.  Keeping contemporary and changing thoughts out of the public square is not a way to grow as a city, or as people.   We need Chris, and Chris needs us. 

Jason Walker

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