Desperate Tactics In Criminal Court Clerk's Race - And Response

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Two months remain before the Hamilton County general election and already Vince Dean's effort to replace our Criminal Court Clerk Gwen Tidwell is showing signs of desperation.
 
His speech last week to the Pachyderm Club shows he is willing to use any "red meat" political tactic, including personal attacks and innuendo, as campaign tactics. It's  "strategy" intended to divert the public's attention away from Dean's lack of knowledge about the operations of the office he is seeking.
 
As evidence of his unfamiliarity with those operations, he implies that Gwen Tidwell is for gay marriage. This is a ridiculous and outrageous non-issue because the Criminal Court clerk has absolutely nothing to do with marriage or marriage laws or marriage records.  I neither know nor care whether she is or isn't, Just as I don't know or care whether she is for or against any of the other hot button issues that have nothing to do with the Criminal Court clerk's office.
 
Dean questioned whether Tidwell has modernized the office. He noted that in the last weeks she had asked the County Commission for "approval to accept credit cards in the office," and added that the "other larger cities in Tennessee have been accepting credit cards for years."  He is either unaware that Criminal Court Clerk Gwen Tidwell's office has been accepting credit card payments for years, or he deliberately misrepresented the facts.
 
Dean underscored his lack of knowledge with the office's day-to-day functions by claiming he wanted to improve how the office staff interacts with the public. This implies that he considers the staff rude and inefficient. And, in case anyone missed the insult, he explained the staff could (and should) be taught to treat customers like teen-aged fast food workers are taught.
 
I am an attorney who does business with Ms. Tidwell and her office, and I have done so for well over 30 years, both as a previous assistant district attorney and as an attorney in private practice.  Therefore, I am familiar with the Criminal Court clerk's office prior to Ms. Tidwell and after she was elected. I know she has improved the office and continues to do so. I know that she runs her offices in a very professional manner.  I know that her employees are all well trained, able and willing to assist everyone politely and efficiently. Over the years I've worked with clerk's offices across the state and Ms. Tidwell's office should be used as a model to which others should aspire.
 
Stan Lanzo

Attorney-at-law

* * *

I was at the lunch presentation of Vince Dean, candidate for Criminal Court clerk.  There was no such "desperation" as claimed by Mr. Lanzo.  Unfortunately, he has apparently relied solely on the media for his information.

The facts are simple from Vince Dean's comments:  1) The news media in Chattanooga reported just three weeks ago that the 20-year incumbent is just now having staff enter the 21st century to allow credit/debit cards be used to pay fines in the court office while more than $50 million in uncollected fees have accumulated.  2) In response to the Democratic incumbent's claim to be "conservative," Mr. Dean read an article quoting verbatim the incumbent's personal remarks on social issues that she volunteered.  At no time did he state she supported gay marriage.  3) In listening to the speech Mr. Dean gave, it was obvious to everyone in the room, he was very familiar with the office and its functions.

The failed record of a 20-year incumbent is demonstrating the opportunity and need for new leadership.  It's that simple.

Brad Tucker


Back To School Time In Tennessee

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, if you are a parent. For teachers, so much for the three-month vacation, huh? Most students are eager to get back to a schedule and see their friends. And for taxpayers, it is the announcement of a pending tax-free holiday. It is back to school time in Tennessee.  The truth is for most educators, public education has become a year-round ... (click for more)

Lest We Forget

Just after 9/11 I saw a cartoon of two aged veterans walking down a street lined with American flags in the window of every home and cars on the streets with flags in the windows.  One of them turned to the other and said, “You know,  this is the most colorful fall I can ever remember.”  It took a while but the patriotism waned.  Let’s not let that happen ... (click for more)

Zaxby's To Go In Across From Bass Pro Shop At New I-75 Exit 1 Development In East Ridge

A new Zaxby's will be built across from Bass Pro Shop at I-75's Exit 1 in East Ridge, developer John Healy said Thursday night. He said other restaurants and hotels are also coming to the Jordan Crossing site at the entrance to Camp Jordan Park. Mr. Healy said he hopes to make a "significantly larger" announcement soon. The East Ridge City Council, at a special called meeting, ... (click for more)

Young Man Involved In Incident That Led To A Murder Gets Diversion, Praise For Testifying

A young man who was involved in an incident that led to a murder has been given diversion and praised for testifying against co-defendants. Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman said a conviction for facilitation of an aggravated robbery can be expunged if Dustin Hayes gets in no further trouble for six years. The judge said, "We wouldn't be dealing with 40 shootings a year ... (click for more)

Robert Powderly Still Active After All Of These Years

It didn’t take long for Robert Powderly to get fully involved in the running boom back in the late 70s. Millions of Americans joined the parade back in those days where running was their main source of physical fitness and Powderly was a big part of it. Powderly is now 68 and retired from U.S. Pipe where he worked in the accounting department.   He’s also had a couple ... (click for more)

Owls, Eagles Look Back Differently At 2014 Showdown

For the first time since they played in the second round of the 2014 Class AAA state football playoffs, a few Ooltewah and Rhea County players were together Wednesday at the Region 4-5A media day at The Bridge in Ooltewah. The Owls and Eagles, obviously, have polar-opposite thoughts on last year’s second round game in Evensville on a brutally cold Friday night. That’s because ... (click for more)