First, a programming note: I’ll be on the radio with Andraé McGary on Live and Local on WGOW-FM (102.3) at 1:00 next Wednesday afternoon. I expect tough, but fair, questions, and I’m sure I’ll have a great time talking about the issues.
Tonight I went to a meeting of Chattanooga Organized for Action. The group is dedicated to working for social justice for the people of Chattanooga, and they were discussing three issues about the future of Chattanooga:
- The recall of Mayor Ron Littlefield. Mayor Littlefield’s management managed to annoy both the left-leaning COA and the right-leaning Chattanooga Tea Party to where both groups worked to get enough signatures for a recall election–or not, depending on whether you think the Hamilton County Election Commission needs to follow city or state guidelines. The hearing on this is Friday morning, and it will be interesting to see how it turns out.
- The fight by Hill City residents to be fully included in the Normal Park Magnet School zone. My understanding of the situation is that the Hill City residents were promised inclusion and the Hamilton County School Board reneged on the deal and have proposed a lesser deal that doesn’t guarantee future access to the school. As a general rule I trust people over the government, but I must admit that I have a personal interest in seeing the Hill City people lose their fight, as I have a four-year-old daughter in the lottery for a slot at Normal Park. Every Hill City student admitted is one less chance for Zari. Having said that, my opposition to the magnet system is on record, but I’m going to do whatever it takes to get a good education for Zari, even if it means being a hypocrite. The Hill City residents want the same thing I want, and I can’t blame them one bit for fighting tooth-and-nail to get it.
- The introduction of “Purpose Built Communities” into Chattanooga. Simply put, low-income housing is being demolished in Chattanooga, to be replaced by upscale developments. By removing affordable housing from Chattanooga, many senior citizens and low-income Chattanoogans will be forced to move out of Chattanooga. In my “big picture” view, this is going to force them to commute from the suburbs, increasing traffic problems–with the corresponding environmental impact–and destroying communities that many of the “elites” don’t appreciate. There is already a shortage of low-income housing in Chattanooga–I know of several people commuting from over forty-five minutes away for jobs that, frankly, aren’t that great–and the city needs to address this before destroying what little is left.
The COA people were very welcoming, and seemed happy that I was there to listen to them, rather than to impose my views on their time. I learned much from them, and I feel I have a much better understanding of the wants and needs of Chattanoogans as a result. I thanked them then and I’d like to thank them again now, and I repeat what I said then: If you have any issues that you think I should address in my campaign, please send them my way, and I will give them my full attention.