When the media fails or picks and chooses which candidate to cover, to the exclusion of other legitimate candidates, it does a disservice to the community. It is also an abrogation of its responsibility and role to disseminate information vital to the community.
As I have taught in my political science classes at the University, there are four branches of government.
As related to local government, those four branches are:
1. The People
2. The Mayor
3. The City Council
4. The City Court System
With the people together, all four play a vital role.
But intertwined in these four entities is the media. It is the spoke that drives the dissemination of information to the public.
When the media disseminates accurate, timely and unbiased news, it serves to inform and to alert citizens to what otherwise they would not be privy.
When it is biased or fails to report or allow opportunities to be heard and for vital information to be disseminated, it then no longer serves its purpose. But rather, it is a disservice to the public, because it withholds information that is crucial to the decision making process that ensures informed voters.
I have been disappointed in some of the local media who have abrogated this duty.
It is noted that I am a write-in candidate. But this does not and should not exclude reporting on my candidacy.
I had more than the required signatures, but came up short of two. This was mainly due to the failure of signatures matching the addresses on file, because of a failure to update address changes.
Nevertheless, I have done what is legally required with the Hamilton County Election Commission to be certified as a bona-fide write-in candidate.
I am also bound by the same financial disclosure requirements set by Hamilton County and the State of Tennessee.
The only difference is that my name has to be written in as Lady J or Jean Howard-Hill.
As reported in a previous article by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, according to the Administrator of Elections Scott Allen, "Lady J" or "Jean Howard-Hill", is listed as a certified write-in candidate and can receive votes.
Therefore, "if voters wish to cast a vote for a write-in candidate, they simply need to darken the oval next to the write-in box and write the name of the candidate in the space provided."
"We [The Hamilton County Election Commission] will accept different variations of spelling for the qualified write-in candidates as long as we can determine voter intent."
He also pointed out that I was the only certified write-in candidate for the March 2 election.
What is also disheartening, is that I prepared an extensive package which was distributed to all local media. But with the exception of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, none of the local television networks have responded with coverage.
I am also grateful for the Chattanoogan.com for the opportunity to submit news.
This is mind boggling.
Because the package delivered to media sources, going back to 1977, included extensive media coverage from all local sources - including all three local television stations.
It also included work I had done for the city as a consultant.
In fact Channel 9 sent back to me my package, not once, but twice! Hopefully there is a rational explanation for this.
Nevertheless, with or without media coverage, I shall get her message and qualifications out to the public - even if I have to do so through the grassroots dissemination level.
It's a task. But nothing has ever been easy for me. So I just see this as another battle to add to a life-long list - which I shall overcome.
Mayoral candidate, Lady J - Jean Howard-Hill.