Tom Decosimo galvanized the Pachyderm Club on Monday by warning the conservative gathering of the UnifiEd group, saying it was “recruiting some left wing progressives to run for the School Board.”
He told the club of the importance of controlling that board. He said, “The School Board had a 7-2 vote to pass through a $34 million school budget increase. That never goes away. That’s $34 million in perpetuity.”
He told the group that UnifiEd lobbied each commissioner and was attempting to get the five conservative voters to support the tax increase.
“In all respect to Jim Coppinger, he just floated a tax increase,” said Mr. Decosimo, “We were in real trouble. All they needed was five commissioners.” The 34-cent property tax increase ultimately was voted down 5-4 by the County Commission.
Mr. Decosimo pledged his support for the school system. But for one of the founders of the “Better Government Coalition,” the solution for failing schools is not “pouring money” into the Department of Education.
“We have, in the inner city, broken families. We don’t have the family unit. We’re not going to solve the issue by pouring more money into the school system,” said Mr. Decosimo, “You’re not going to hire a social worker that’s going to solve all of those child’s problems.”
His idea for the coalition, whose goal is to get conservative figures in government, came about when he and others decided to join forces in order to fight a liberal bent. While he said he was not an “alarmist,” he expressed his immense concern over the state of politics in Chattanooga.
“How are we going to stop the tax increase, and how are we going to let people know that this county is being taken over by the left,” said the speaker. “By golly, someone’s got to be alarmed. What are we going to do? We didn’t have anywhere to turn.”
“I don’t need anyone bringing UnifiEd coming in and having this leftist agenda,” said Mr. Decosimo. “As conservatives, we need to take care of the city of Chattanooga. The city mayor position is incredibly important. We want conservatives representing us in the mayor’s position."
While he said he vehemently disagrees with the tactics and beliefs of UnifiEd, he acknowledged how effective the organization could be.
“Don’t think for a minute that UnifEd, with a $700,000 budget, can’t do some damage with that. They have nine full-time people not promoting conservative causes,” said Mr. Decosimo. “They’re promoting a left-wing agenda. They’ll be working at least as hard as we are to get on that left progressive track. That’s it in a nutshell.”
Commissioner Sabrena Smedley was in attendance, and she corroborated what her conservative ally said. When discussing how UnifiEd and the School Board attempted to pass a tax increase, she said, “I was blown away with witnessing what was happening. It was a liberal agenda.”
“We don’t need a leftist, progressive agenda in Hamilton County,” said Mr. Decosimo.
The Pachyderm Club will not meet next week in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.