You know, it's disappointing to watch political campaigns any more. Not that there are any more prevarications bandied about, mud being slung, or hypocrisies now than during campaigns of yesteryear, especially for those of us who can remember being told we'd have to go to school 6 days a week if John F. Kennedy was elected, but one might think these would decrease with the times and as technology gives us ever greater mechanisms of communication, not to mention fact-checking ability.
I've smoked many a cigarette on the back stoop at 1413 N. Concord Road in Chattanooga... the lady who owns the joint doesn't allow smoking inside. For several years I've also known that when in the East Brainerd area I could always stop in for a cup of coffee and, if they weren't busy, some conversation with pretty girls who wouldn't toss me out on my ear. There's probably a better than even chance of being put to work, though, and so far as I know she's honored her pledge never to tell about that one bead of sweat appearing on my forehead that July day she had me pulling yard signs out from under her office. I'm absolutely certain it wasn't mine.
I don't remember how long ago I met Sabrena Turner, seems like forever sometimes. Being the people watcher I am, she's been an interesting victim. You see, I watch the little things people do, listen to the little things they say, and have been known on occasion to compare walk with talk.
We hadn't met back then, but I know when Sabrena found herself without a husband any more, yet three young children at home, she needed to do one of those "to the right flank... march" maneuvers and change careers all of a sudden. She was an ultrasound technician then became a real estate agent so she could more easily work around her children's schedules... and has been quite successful at both, in my opinion. Her kids all worked through high school. Until they could afford wheels of their own she ran Mom's Taxi Service, as we've all done, while building her business.
Three teenagers... that's enough to drive anybody nuts isn't it. I imagine that "Mom Look" of hers helped keep them in line, the one that can curl the blood stripes and melt the creases out of the Dress Blue uniform of even the toughest Marine Corps Drill Instructor. As a matter of fact I'm sure it did, but teenagers are still a challenge requiring attention to detail and consistency, aren't they. I only saw that look once, aimed at a kid who'd gotten in trouble at school. Well, there was that time I started picking on her about allowing her first born to enlist in the Army, and she cautioned me right away not to start with her... but I've been married. I know when to stuff a sock in it.
There's a reason I call her SargeBaby...
We hear a lot about community service, don't we. I've watched it. I remember receiving a call, back when VW was still playing Alabama against Chattanooga to see who was going to bid the highest, "Pack those girls in that hot-rod of yours and come over here to brainstorm with us a little." I think there was also some mention of chow, something more substantial than a can of beanie weenies or raviolis, and that really got my attention. Chick was bound and determined to sell Chattanooga, with or without VW.
One ringie dingie, two ringie dingie... "Hello?" It was Sabrena, "What are you doing Saturday week?" "Not much, maybe working" said I. That was a mistake, big time. "Good. Well let me tell you what I have for you over here at Hub Fest..." and she proceeded to explain she'd arranged for a booth, tent, table, and chairs for me to do voter registration. It took a couple more years to extricate myself from that one and I began to believe my favorite TreeHugger is right, maybe there is a tattoo on my forehead that only pretty girls can see... the one that says "Sucker!".
We hear a lot from elected officials about leadership, most proclaiming loud and far what great leaders they are too, don't we. Admittedly, I have a bit different take on leadership than most but I've also lived and worked around some of the greatest leaders in the world. In so doing, I've learned a little about leadership.
I've learned that a leader isn't a bully. He doesn't stand menacingly over a seated opponent pointing a bony, accusatory finger of iniquitous indignation in her face. Nor does he throw his religion into everyone's face as one of his campaign creds, then whine over someone asking questions about it. Or tout his government creds, stating his service on both the school board, an appointed position at the time, and his service on the Waste Water Treatment Authority, another appointed position, qualifies him for elective office more than others, does he. A leader is willing to prove his creds by performance, and being removed from the school board certainly is not... nor is using the influence of his office to ensure friends from half way across this great nation of ours are hired before equally, perhaps even more qualified homies as discussed in Barbara O'Reilley's column on page A3 of the 21 February 1991 edition of the Chattanooga Times, is it. Violate the "Sunshine Law" and then treat the infraction as no big deal as Mr. Smartt did to Janni Benson in the 21 July 1989 edition, page A1, of the Chattanooga Times? Oh my. That's enough to cause a body to wonder what happened behind the scenes at the WWTA. Was John Anderson, Esquire, the WWTA attorney during his tenure? One must wonder how that one came about, just as we tax paying, and sometimes voting, citizens must wonder how much influence the WWTA, especially on Mr. Smartt's watch, exerted on development in Hamilton County as he admitted in his opinion piece right here on the Chattanoogan.com [http://www.chattanoogan.com/2014/3/4/271060/The-Other-Candidate-Who-Fought-Against.aspx
Can anyone cite for me a Judeo-Christian denomination that encourages violation of Caesar’s law, using official appointments to favor its own over another denomination, arrogance, or bullying? I didn't think so. If we aren't going to abide by the tenets of our religion, perhaps we shouldn't wear it on our sleeve.
Election by endorsement is not proving one's creds, is it. And wouldn't it be wonderful if all of those were bona fide, legitimate, and not merely claimed endorsements?
I only met former Hamilton County Sheriff Billy Long one time. I walked away with a feeling that I needed to stop on the way home to pick up some lye soap and Purex to scrub down with, both of which would have wreaked havoc on my tender, sensitive skin. I just didn't get good vibes from him. I've been proved wrong in the past but Mr. Long certainly wasn't one of those instances. Would a leader unbutton his jacket as if to take it off while inviting others outside because they question his support of a person exhibiting Mr. Long's character failures, enabling, but probably not limited to, both illegal gambling in the community and drug trafficking to our children for a few bucks? And then write letters begging the court for leniency? No adult would. Most of us left such behavior back in high school. But most of us haven't been to the John F. Kerry School of Decision-making as Mr. Perkins has, have we. You know, the one where studii learn how to be for something, say annexation in front of the Chattanooga City Council where it might gain some personal favor, and then against it when they decide to run for office and must strut for the peeps... forgetting that we've gone on-record, like, in a black and white official document... with audio.
No, a leader, a true leader, would never do anything for personal aggrandizement, for the benefit of friends to the exclusion of others, or use funds other than his own to finance personal warm-fuzzy projects, would he. Neither would he ask anyone to do something he, or she, isn't willing to do himself, would he.
In contrast we have Sabrena Turner, who's gotten out and knocked on doors herself when she's been working on an issue be it chairing Hub-Fest, working in many capacities with Friends of East Brainerd, Bark in the Park, or the drive to stop Chattanooga from annexing their neighborhoods. I remember ragging on her about going back to school to get a, I don't remember if it was a BS in BA or a BA in BA, it was a baccalaureate degree in business anyway. I asked why she was going to that effort at her advanced age when she already had a successful business. What was it going to achieve for her? Her response was "I have 3 kids at home, all in high school. How can I encourage them to go to college if I'm not willing to do it myself?" She's worked as a poll watcher during several elections, been active in her political party, and had those kids helping her with a variety of campaigns for individual candidates.
Instead of using her religion like chevrons on a soldier's sleeve, she lives it. I know what church she attends, but have never been directly told because she doesn't wear her religion on her sleeve or shove it in other people's faces.
And lest there be any question... just some of Sabrena's negatives are that she has one of those frufru dogs, drives a Volvo, and, well, maybe I shouldn't mention that day several years ago when we caught her sitting next to, and merrily chatting away with, some dude whose hands looked like they'd never seen a callous and manicured fingernails... and clear coat.
When y'all boys, Messrs. Smartt and Perkins, decide to quit puffing out your chests, preening tail feathers, touting creds that simply aren't there, attempts at bullying and other aggressive behaviors, and the other superfluosity in your campaigns, perhaps even deciding to assist in locating who ever it was who stole all of Sabrena's signs, like every one of them, a week or so ago, you might take heed. She's a girl for sure, except for those baby browns oh my is she a girl... in a, uh, matronly, elderly married lady sort of way, but that doesn't mean she can't take an elbow once in a while. Or dish them out in return...
About 100 years ago there was an English writer, philosopher, poet, and lay theologian, one Mr. G.K. Chesterton, who wrote; The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.
Sabrena Turner has earned her own way, done pretty well for her family to date, and launched her precious progeny on their own life journeys. There's no reason for her to run for political office except for the futures of her offspring... and the grandchildren and great grandchildren who will one day appear on the scene. Observing their past behavior, one must wonder if her opponents have the same motivation.
And I still say that young man should have joined the Marines. He'd have been a good one...
Royce Burrage, Jr.
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Royce has really captured the Sabrena Turner we respect.
Sabrena Turner is the essence of self-made and a strong leader. I was so impressed with her during the 2010 annexation fight, where she represented the people’s right to be free of taxation by an overreaching city of Chattanooga government. Sabrena Turner is the only candidate in District 7 that has proven her willingness to represent the people on tough issues, against a well-funded city government. Let’s face it, when the people have to defend themselves against government gone wild with taxation and annexation, we need strong leaders like Sabrena.
Sabrena’s opposition are the go along to get along types. Thanks, but no thanks, there are enough of those.
Vote Sabrena Turner in District 7, we need more leaders just like her.