Girls Indeed - And Response

Saturday, May 8, 2021

There is trouble at small city, dysfunction junction once again.  The drama of the small cities of Hamilton County is cyclic. Hamilton County lifelong natives know this, and so do the two primary local governments, they say, here goes Red Bank again, or here goes Collegedale.

It is expected drama, subject of local mockery, and mostly ignored by the majority of Hamilton County residents, especially for those of us that don’t live in the small cities.  The locals call them, “circus without a ringmaster.”    

That is until their dysfunction spills over, littering Hamilton County with backwards insults, and personal attacks. 

My coffee friends and I were taken by the insult to Mayor Hollie Berry and Commissioner Dalton that occurred in a formal public commission meeting.  

According to Chattanoogan, Commissioner Jeno stated verbatim in a public meeting, “This is just another stunt from you girls - or women.” (reference to Hollie Berry and Dalton)

To the credit of Jeno, she self-corrected her inappropriate insult, but it speaks volumes that Jeno also knew it was an inappropriate. Otherwise, the end correction of “women” would not have been required.

The mayor and vice mayor are hardly “girls,” a surface search of these women shows they are savvy, educated, and accomplished business women. Mayor Berry is becoming famous for her unique art that is widely sought after, hardly a “girl.”  They are likely Democrats, and were duly elected in a landslide victory.

In this case, the Democrat women are acting fiscally conservative with other people’s money.  Sometimes Democrats can surprise.

Referring to accomplished grown women as “girls” is absolutely marginalizing language towards the city’s mayor and vice mayor.

Let’s reverse the insults to test and measure the appropriateness.

What if Mayor Berry referred to Commission Jeno as old girl?  How do you think that would have been received in a public meeting?

In fact, let me try a gender-age based insult on Commission Jeno, you are a “mean old girl,” or “listen old girl” don’t disrespect the mayor.

Was that appropriate?

Great politicians attack issues, not people. 

Politicians that dare to venture off into attacks on people, instead of issues, are the lowest bar of elected class and lack substance to take on issues. Further, engaging in gender based language creates liability, and losses of circuit court summary judgement, right?

Mayor Hollie Berry and Vice Mayor Dalton, go forth fearlessly and lead, and know many people were embarrassed by the published “girls” reference towards you.  

April Eidson

* * *

I was reading through the Opinion section this morning. This particular one stopped me in my tracks. I live in Red Bank and have followed the recent goings on at the Commission meetings.

Recently, it has come to light that the mayor and vice mayor have been scheduling meetings of city manager subjects but never invite the city manager. This does not make any sense because the mayor nor commissioners have anything to do with the job of the city manager. This is so unprofessional. Why do it? 

The city manager has poured his heart and blood into Red Bank for 35 years. Tim was born and raised in the community. He is a Red Bank High School alumni. He has gained respect and gratitude for the loyal service to the community of Red Bank. Last week's Commission meeting was proof. The Commission chambers were packed with long time residents who wanted to show support for our city manager.
The meeting revealed the stories of the "city manager meetings" without the city manager. The hush fell over the huge crowd. I watched the commissioners as they too were beyond shocked. Why the ugly treatment towards someone who has gone beyond his job to make Red Bank
a wonderful place to live? Is it because he is from Red Bank and knows what makes it tick and run smoothly?
Tim helped with the James Avenue ball fields. In 1998, The field was dedicated to the Church League President and league founder Mrs. Norma Cagle. The community of Red Bank made Declaration for the field to forever be named Norma Cagle Field.  After our church league folded in 2000, the fields sat vacant after a gentleman tore everything down and then left in vacant. The property sat there. Only drug dealers and trouble makers used the area. The community of Red Bank and Rivermont Recreation took on the task and rebuilt beautiful ball fields on the James Avenue property. After the land swap, the Red Bank Girls Fast Pitch League uses the Norma Cagle Complex as home fields. The original fast pitch fields were destroyed to make room for the new Red Bank Middle School.
Tim saved the city of Red Bank over $300,000 as he does three jobs instead of one. Why make the city manager so miserable that he wants to step down? Something is fishy.

A lot of long time residents remember soon after the election, Hollie Berry and Stefanie Dalton went after Red Bank's then Mayor and demoted her to Commissioner. How does that happen within a very short time span after an election? Many have asked, how many neighborhoods did they actually visit? None of my neighbors knew who they were. Many saw the women weaving through voter lines as they spoke to the voters and offered water.

As I watched the Commission meeting, I saw people walk up to the podium and give their speeches. It was warming to see the love and support that they showed for Tim.
Red Bank was built many decades ago as Dry Valley but later was officially named Red Bank for the red clay dirt in the yard's bank. Our community was built on the backs and brows of it's residents. Those residents raised children and grandchildren to show respect to one another. These same residents' families came to support a young man who gained their respect and admiration for the 35 years of hard work and dedication to their hometown.
Some spoke of uncertainty of bringing their businesses into Red Bank because of the "behind the back" politics. One gentleman stated that the mayor and vice mayor need to be held accountable their actions against the city manager. If their actions happened in a non-political business, they would be talked to and then fired.

It all boils down to the fact that the mayor nor the vice mayor has any business scheduling "city manager style" meetings without  the city manager being there. Again, why the attack on the city manager all of a sudden? I (like many) do not understand why? His record, career, dedication and loyalty speak volumes above anything. Is this how they treat the loyal Red Bank employees? As much as I love my hometown of Red Bank. I would not want to work there.

Throughout the decades, Red Bank has caught its fair share of bad jokes, ridicule, nasty remarks, challenges, miscues, but it has raised up above all the critics. The price on houses and property in Red Bank is soaring through the roof. New housing developments are being built as well. Our schools are doing quite well. My family gets many daily calls about our  homestead in Red Bank. It is in a nice spot according to many realtors.
We as a community need a mayor that we can trust. We have been blessed with many down through the decades. The community of Red Bank needs their government officials and departments to work together as a well-oiled machine. Apparently, there are several doubts that the mayor nor vice mayor has Red Bank's best interests at heart. Time will tell.

Laura Crane

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