Hamilton County consists of several municipalities, of which Chattanooga is the largest. A municipality has been granted Home Rule through a State Charter under and governed by the state constitution. Unless otherwise stated in the municipal charter, elected positions are to be non-partisan. This dictates that a candidate run as an independent and not representing a party interest. Because there is no party representation, there is no need for primary elections.
Hamilton County government does not have a Home Rule Charter and answers to the state and therefore is a partisan election process. Candidates run as a representative for a defined party. So, Hamilton County must have primary elections.
To merge county and municipal elections and conduct both patrician and non-patrician processes simultaneously would be dysfunctional and create confusion for the voters. While one might think there would be economy of scale to combine elections of two forms of government, the frustration for voters and additional expense to administer such an election would not be worth the small financial savings that might be realized.
Instead, I would love to see an elected official propose a research panel developed by the county and municipalities to examine the feasibility of metro government. Talk about economy of scale. Money saved by reducing duplicate departments across the county could better fund education, public health, essential non-profit services, and the jail. Allow an independent panel to study this form of government and how strategies for implementation have evolved and pros and cons that exist. Now, that is a game changer.
Metro government would require sacrifices and compromise. I believe changes in turf and control would benefit the good of the whole. This form of government is worthy of our strong consideration.
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No surprise that former city councilwoman Pam Ladd would be against allowing more voter voices to be heard in a greater turnout election. I guess Ms. Ladd and city incumbents enjoy their special low-turnout special election, where 700 voters can determine a district council election. I say this respectfully because I do vote for great Democrats on occasion.
Let’s tell the truth, local lefties love their special interest low-turnout election. Higher voter participation has never interested the incumbents on the City Council, as it would defy their self-interest. It is very enlightening to review archived voter turnout in historic city elections that can be viewed on the Hamilton County Election Commission website.
The turnout is so low; it is ridiculous I say with Acme Hour inflection.
What are you afraid of the local left, that the election of council members will be more representative of a cross-section of city voters and more than 700 votes in a district?
I certainly hope that the state of Tennessee legislature intervenes and mandates that the city move their elections to a higher turnout in August or November, county, and state. Come on Hamilton County delegation, mandate that the city election is moved. The city-elected incumbents are all about self-interest, instead of doing the right thing for the voters and stopping the waste of funding the special interest elections.
Senator Todd Gardenhire, the Hamilton County delegation was considering a mandate bill that these city incumbents move their elections long ago. I remember this well. Former councilwoman Deborah Scott also worked on moving the city election, and the city incumbents voted no to merging with higher turnout elections. It is all about the elected incumbents. self-interest over gaining elected that truly represents a cross-section of voters.
Down with the Metro government idea, Hamilton County residents like our separation from Chattanooga, and don’t want the litany of fees associated with city government, or double property taxation. The city doesn’t even have schools and has a tax rate similar to Hamilton County. What does the city do with all that money? Oh, wait I know, the creation of new departments every election, and growing government on political ideology instead of paving streets and funding public safety.
Y’all have a blessed day, whatever it may bring.