published Sunday, August 7th, 2011

That Smell

about Clay Bennett...

The son of a career army officer, Bennett led a nomadic life, attending ten different schools before graduating in 1980 from the University of North Alabama with degrees in Art and History. After brief stints as a staff artist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times, he went on to serve as the editorial cartoonist for the St. Petersburg Times (1981-1994) and The Christian Science Monitor (1997-2007), before joining the staff of the ...

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sandyonsignal said...

Don't give Mayor Littlefield any suggestions. He may implement this wasteful and temporary idea, instead of fixing the problem.

August 7, 2011 at 12:11 a.m.
Salsa said...

That smell is just part of the usual dung from Littlefield's administration.

August 7, 2011 at 12:32 a.m.
alprova said...

payingattention wrote: Educate me folks what is the source of the odor?

"Jerry Stewart, the city's director of waste resources, said the problem is Chattanooga's storm and sanitary sewers lines are combined. When it's dry, there's nothing to flush out the solids."

It's kinda gross when you think about it. And what's this "sanitary" sewer lines stuff? Doesn't seem too sanitary to me.

August 7, 2011 at 1:03 a.m.
memphisexile said...

Hilarious Clay. I agree with Sandy. Fix the darn problem and be done with it. In the long run temporary fixes that are cheaper will add up and then you will just have to pay to fix it correctly anyway. I think not having downtown smell like a$$ is a goal all Chattanoogans can support.

August 7, 2011 at 1:53 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...

At 5:30am it saya "13 comments" but I only see five (those posted 12:11, 12:32, 12:37, 1:03, and 1:53 am)?

And none of the "related articles" ("The Supporter," "Slender Wrap," "Homefinder - February 2011") have anything to do with downtown smell? But I do recall an article (a day or two ago?) about the downtown smell noticed by a car writer who came here to check out VW.

August 7, 2011 at 5:39 a.m.
rolando said...

We seldom agree, alprova, but this time you are on-target. The problem is, indeed, the "sanitary sewer lines", aka raw toilet-flushings [sewage].

Since the city seems to be mixing its raw sewage in with the rain runoff water drainage, it all flows -- untreated -- directly into the Tennessee River. This is a concept and operation that pretty well ended during the 1930s in the rest of the US. Which says a lot about Chattanooga's priorities.

The city evidently cannot be bothered with required upgrades to separate the sanitary sewer lines from the storm water runoff lines. So we will continue to have the smell -- and the health hazards...pity anyone who gets fly-/mosquito-bitten downtown. They will get a direct injection of someone's sh...well, you know.

Cost to upgrade is not -- or should not -- be a consideration. City health is a bit more important, in my mind, than electric vehicles, for instance, or good-ole-boy payoffs, or new furniture, or whatever.

August 7, 2011 at 8:01 a.m.
rolando said...

Mr Lohr -- I understand that removing comments, for whatever reason including self-removal, do not reduce that number.

August 7, 2011 at 8:03 a.m.
rolando said...

Great cartoon with high local-political import, Clay. Bordering on the activist...

Funny, too.

August 7, 2011 at 8:06 a.m.
nucanuck said...

I spent more than thirty years in a part of downtown Chattanooga that suffered from both under-capacity and combined sewers. The area businesses talked, pleaded,and begged to have the problems addressed. Nothing has changed and as far as I know there is still a building moratorium in that area because of the problem.

The amount of money that would be required is large and, citywide, might be something that would require a major tax increase.

No politician wants to touch this problem.

August 7, 2011 at 9:11 a.m.
Oz said...

I can't believe anyone would buy a condo or boat slip at Cameron Harbor or stay at the new Springhill Suites at that location. I know the problem is not a daily occurence but 8 or 10 days a month is too much.

August 7, 2011 at 9:32 a.m.
dude_abides said...

Hey teAA+ party! How do you renaissance thinkers suggest we take care of this problem? Cutting taxes? lol Every administration since the lynching of Ed Johnson has put this kind of thing off on the next bunch, and so will this bunch. Everybody runs from the dreaded "T" word. The blame can be placed directly on the voters who want things to magically be fixed for free, while being serenaded by the "low tax" politicians. We've gone from "old factory" problems to olfactory problems! Go tell that on the mountain.

August 7, 2011 at 10:20 a.m.
Clara said...

And I was thinking of detouring through Chatanooga when and if I ever got a chance to go to Atlanta to visit a friend.

August 7, 2011 at 10:36 a.m.
tderng said...

clara...come on,just not during the summer during a dry spell!!

August 7, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

This is a classic example of a government that is so busy trying to create an image and be politically correct that they exhaust resources that should be used for infrastructure.

That is why the city wants its hands on tax dollars from the county, so we can help bail them out after they squandered their resources on the multi-cultural chambers of commerce, health clubs, golf courses and pharmacies. They will promise savings from consolidation of redundant resources that will never materialize. They will push people off perfectly functional septic systems so they can pay inflated sewer bills to fund the work needed within the city limits. They will force people who elect to stay on septic to pay for the sewer running past their property even though they are not providing a service.

Chattanooga should be forbidden to annex another acre until they have demonstrated that they can manage their current responsibilities.

August 7, 2011 at 11:34 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

A good cartoon bringing up an important topic. If Clay was not such a big government advocate he could make a career of pointing out its failures.

August 7, 2011 at 11:37 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

If Chattanooga sold the golf courses how far would that go to pay for sewer upgrades?

August 7, 2011 at 11:43 a.m.
rolando said...

Part of the problem seems to be identifying those private homes and businesses that have their raw sewage lines connected to rain runoff/storm drains.

Seems like a little modern forensics and old fashioned police work should solve that part of it. Then make the home-owners/businesses pay for the sewer connection -- as others do. That should save bundles.

August 7, 2011 at 2:04 p.m.
fairmon said...

Put deodorizers on the sculptures rented by the Arts and Crafts department. Build more bike trails making sure they are down wind. Would more parking lots help? By all means build a library and develop the Brainerd area before fixing the odor problem. Perhaps at the next election voters will correct the stink around city hall. Wasn't our fine mayor a city planner? Who in the h#@$ made this planning decision? He apparently doesn't think it is a problem? I guess it would be politically correct and take some heat off the city council to just criticize the reporter for noticing and including it in his article and embarrassing us.

What is the cost to fix the problem? How much revenue would selling The Chattanoogan, two golf courses, a marina, a drug store, a theatre, an auditorium and a lot of unimproved real estate generate? Do voters prefer an elaborate web site and a health and fitness center for city employees and council members over odor elimination and improved sanitation? They must that is what they are getting. Ever wonder what happens when storm drains over flow, what is it they are common with?

August 7, 2011 at 6:10 p.m.
dude_abides said...

You don't want to pay taxes for sewer infrastructure. You don't want to pay taxes for more police. I smell a riot coming on.

August 8, 2011 at 12:02 a.m.
fairmon said...


We just had a huge increase in clean water run off fees, sewer fess and property taxes. I support more and better pay for fire and police. These services are equally important to and benefit all citizens, If fixing the sewer and storm drain problem requires more taxes instead of a change in in spending priorities then let the riots begin. Take a tour and look around at the inefficiencies in some city operations and bond obligations and unfunded future liabilties.

August 8, 2011 at 6:06 a.m.
Tax_Payer said...


August 8, 2011 at 6:43 a.m.
Clara said...

As I remember, I believe Jacksonville Florida had a sewage problm REALLY bad around 30-50 years ago. Don't remember the details but sure do remember the smell. I think they did something about it but I don't know that, either.


August 8, 2011 at 9:17 a.m.
rolando said...


Your "comments count" is down, Clay. Time to blame something on the GOP, Sarah Palin, or the TEA Party.

Those are your forte, aren't they? Guaranteed hits with this crowd...

No little gold stars for this one.

August 8, 2011 at 9:27 a.m.
dude_abides said...

this crowd, rolando? I had to lift the mask on my klan hood to take another look at that post, and I'm one of the lefties here.

harp, the huge increase is relative and came after many years of neglect. Around here you're better off pushing the problem to the next crowd rather than facing issues that will require funding. Yes, ideally there would be NO waste or corruption or nepotism, but we always seem to put humans in charge, and we know about humans don't we? We need a hen house guard, and there ain't nobody here but us foxes.

August 8, 2011 at 9:57 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

It seems like the most prolific Clay supporters are not from the area so they have a hard time getting into the local issues.

August 8, 2011 at 10:49 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

This should fire up the Clay Bennett supporters

What Amilya Antonetti has to say is typical of what I hear from most business owners...

August 8, 2011 at 11:39 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Obama is scheduled to talk on the economy at 1 PM ET today. What do you want to bet he will add the "Tea Party Downgrade" to his long list of excuses for his lack of leadership and failure as a president?

Anyone recognizing a pattern here? Obama is the "Woe is Me President". How weak!

August 8, 2011 at 12:18 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

dude_abides said... “ I smell a riot coming on.”

Interesting. Riots in other countries seem to be brought by those that are demanding not to do their share to help ease the fiscal crises that most countries are going through. Leadership advocating for entitlements have shown a pattern of whipping people into frenzy in part through their constant dialogue promoting wealth envy and lack of “fairness”.

Now it would seem the problem is coming to America.,_ps,_there_was_a_massive_race_riot_in_wisconsin_last_week

The left went to great lengths to try to mischaracterize the Tea Party as a potentially violent crowd. Now we see where the violent tendencies lie. Dude has insight into how the mind of the left works. Should we take his instinctive warning seriously?

August 8, 2011 at 1:32 p.m.
dude_abides said...

BigRidgePatriot said... "Leadership advocating for entitlements have shown a pattern of whipping people" ...Do you have proof of this whipping of citizens?

BRP said... "Dude has insight" ...Thank you BigRidge

Hey, this lifting of phrases out of context is kinda fun.

BRP has insight into the mind of the Syrian government which is murdering it's own citizenry, should we take his fascist threats seriously?

August 8, 2011 at 1:46 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

I'm just saying...

dude is a leftist so one would expect him to have insight into how the leftist mind works.

Or what are you calling yourself today dude? The leftists, progressives, liberals, socialists are forever changing their name!

As for the proof, all you have to do is watch an Obama speech and you will see him dividing the country into factions and pitting them against each other. The rest of the left eagerly follow their leader and it seems the dialogue gets more dangerous the farther you get down the chain.

August 8, 2011 at 2:11 p.m.
dude_abides said...

What you're "just saying" is that people who don't agree with you are dangerous.

"The leftists, progressives, liberals, socialists are forever changing their name!" exclaimed the man with the changing avatar.

Tell us some more about the violent tendencies of others, one who posts images of others with brands on their foreheads. Why don't you use Thomas Friedman with a star of David burned into his face the next time you change how you present yourself.

I believe the republican party would be the most recent "rebranders" b/t/w.

August 8, 2011 at 2:25 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

dude_abides said... "What you're "just saying" is that people who don't agree with you are dangerous."

No dude, I am saying that dividing the population into groups and encouraging one group to feel like they are being victimized by another group is dangerous. I predict that if and when violent mobs or riots occur they will come from the "victim classes" that have been created by the Democrat' Party.

August 8, 2011 at 2:33 p.m.

I wonder how much could have been done to address this issue had we not wasted millions on the "multicultural" chamber of commerce....

August 8, 2011 at 3:18 p.m.
dude_abides said...

But not from the "Tree of Liberty" people, right?
They haven't been "preached" into a lather, right? Are all victims "created classes" in your book? Did our forefathers drum up some bogus claims to whip the colonies into an uproar? Were the real Tea Party participants encouraged to feel victimized? What about dividing the republican party with teAA+ parties?

August 8, 2011 at 3:20 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...


What the heck are you prattling about? Stop and take a breath before you pop a blood vessel!

August 8, 2011 at 4:01 p.m.

When "the smell" covers the north end of downtown, which it frequently does, it is not from the combined sewer system, it is from the sewage treatment plant itself. The smell drifts across the TN River and blankets the north end of downtown, like a fart in the wind, literally. I agree with Oz. It doesn't happen daily, but 8 to 10 times a month is too much. When you catch "the smell" south of 5th to 6th Street, then it would be from the combined sewers. If the City owned the water company, they could get rid of most of the problem by opening some strategic fire hydrants and flushing the sewer lines out.

August 8, 2011 at 4:22 p.m.
dude_abides said...

lol. I don't feel prattly. I'm afraid the stock market is the entity at risk for vessel popping, now that the tea party has gotten what they wanted. Hard for them to claim victory if this is the spoils thereof. To redirect, we know where all the wack jobs come from don't we? It's intrinsic in the "self sufficient, libertarian, cold dead fingers" mentality, isn't it, really? You know, the Yosemite Sam types?

August 8, 2011 at 4:31 p.m.
fairmon said...

dude_abides, Our leaders tell us how great they have done and how the city has grown. Organic growth would increase revenue without increasing tax rates. I don't see the increase as relative or necessary. The increase is effective so it should be spent wisely and not like a spend thrift with a new credit card. I don't think the fact they are human is justification for their economic stupidity. The percent of citizens wealth and spendable income extracted from them has gone up. The political attitude is you voters will have to do with less because we don't want to, we have to fund our nonessential wants. Every dollar the government takes from people is a dollar they will not have to spend at local businesses. We need to elect people with significant business experience that understands cost to benefit analysis and willing to make difficult decisions that may not play well with special interest and influential individuals. The challenge is finding anyone intelligent enough to do the job dumb enough to accept it.

August 8, 2011 at 4:38 p.m.
dude_abides said...

rwa... It's not the sewage treatment plant so much as the local golfers (guilty) stinking the place up. The juxtaposition of a golf course, a sewage treatment plant, and (until recently) a mental health facility is not just happenstance.

August 8, 2011 at 4:39 p.m.
dude_abides said...

harp... surely the local media could do a better job of outlining the backgrounds and positions of the candidates. I'm afraid many voters just cast their ballots on name recognition... he with the most signs wins.

August 8, 2011 at 4:46 p.m.

"I'm afraid the stock market is the entity at risk for vessel popping, now that the tea party has gotten what they wanted."

Dudeabides, You should read the S&P report. It is enlightening and reveals how much of an idiot your comment makes you out to be. Here is a sample for you: "Republicans and Democrats have only been able to agree to relatively modest savings on discretionary spending while delegating to the Select Committee decisions on more comprehensive measures. It appears that for now, new revenues have dropped down on the menu of policy options. In addition, the plan envisions only minor policy changes on Medicare and little change in other entitlements, the containment of which we and most other independent observers regard as key to long-term fiscal sustainability."

I believe the tea party plan was to cut, cap and balance. The S&P report indicates that is exactly what they wanted to see.

Linkage for you

You should start using your mouth to communicate instead of talking out of your.... assumptions.

August 8, 2011 at 5:15 p.m.
fairmon said...

I don't care for Fleishman or those in congress allegedly aligned with the tea organizations that support those considered politically conservative even if they are economics idiots. I think Obama and his staff are AAA economic idiots as well. My question is how can a group not in congress until a few months ago be accused of causing the national debt or the downgrade of the countries credit rating? I don't agree with the tea'rs but I don't make the connection. I can see where prior members of both parties and administrations caused the problem.

August 8, 2011 at 5:21 p.m.
dude_abides said...

purple steeple eater...Cuts without taxes, baby. Did O'bama get what he wanted? the teAA+ party even gobsmacked Boehner. S&P would be happy with one king and 300,000,000 serfs.

August 8, 2011 at 5:41 p.m.
fairmon said...


We are off subject but the odor in D.C. is similar to the local issue of stinking the town up literally and politically. Do you really believe Obama is a competent leader and if he were king and could have his way he would know how to right the ship? What experience does he have in economic analysis, running any for profit business or what education does he have in such matters that gives him that knowledge, skill and ability? Can he get people to follow him for any reason other than promises of personal gratuities? I would like to find one member of congress or the administration that demonstrates a grasp of what and why we are in a depression. I have yet to hear specific actions instead of philosophical rhetoric. Hello, screw the jet buyers and those that make them, maintain them, fly them, fuel them etc. Taking full credit the first year instead of amortizing was one stimulus item that seemed to work. And, let the tax cuts expire, these do very little.

August 8, 2011 at 6:40 p.m.
alprova said...

Harp3339 wrote: Do you really believe Obama is a competent leader and if he were king and could have his way he would know how to right the ship?

Who's giving him that chance? All you read and hear is what a lousy leader the man is, from certain people that is.

What experience does he have in economic analysis, running any for profit business or what education does he have in such matters that gives him that knowledge, skill and ability?

What President elected in the past 50 years or more has had such experience or knowledge? Jimmy Carter comes the closest. His family ran one of the most successful businesses in the south.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born into wealth.

Lyndon Baines Johnson was a teacher before he became a career politician.

Richard Nixon was a lawyer before he became a career politician.

Gerald Ford's background included law, the military, and then he went on to become a career politician.

Jimmy Carter spent some years in the Navy, then he took over the family business, expanded it and ran it very successfully until he started his political life.

Ronald Reagan began his career as an actor, appearing in more than 50 films. He had a meager military background, then spent 8 years as California's Governor. He ran for and was not elected President in 1976. He succeeded in dethroning Jimmy Carter for president in 1980.

George H.W. Bush was involved in oil ventures, set up by his father before he became a career politician.

Bill Clinton's major achievement up until he was elected Governor of Arkansas, was that of a practicing attorney.

George W. Bush for all practical purposes was only a career politician with both a minimal military and business background prior to entering politics.

Barack Obama was a practicing attorney as well, prior to entering the political field a decade and a half ago. He's just as qualified as most all the other Presidents that have led this nation over the past half-century.

Can he get people to follow him for any reason other than promises of personal gratuities?

It's what politicians do, or haven't you figured that out yet?

I would like to find one member of congress or the administration that demonstrates a grasp of what and why we are in a depression.

The answer to that question will be debated for the next 50 years.

I have yet to hear specific actions instead of philosophical rhetoric.

The man is trying to do his level best and that has been the case since he took office. He has had to deal with people fighting him on a daily basis.

Hello, screw the jet buyers and those that make them, maintain them, fly them, fuel them etc. Taking full credit the first year instead of amortizing was one stimulus item that seemed to work.


And, let the tax cuts expire, these do very little.


August 8, 2011 at 8:02 p.m.
alprova said...

Why Congress and S&P Deserve Each Other

Having Standard & Poor's downgrade the creditworthiness of the U.S., and warn the country about further downgrades, is a little like having the Catholic Church lecture Scout leaders on the proper behavior toward boys. The moral authority seems to be wanting. S&P, you may recall, is one of the ratings agencies (the others being Moody's and Fitch) that greased the skids of the financial crisis by awarding AAA ratings to tranche after tranche of mortgage bonds called collaterized debt obligations, or CDOs. Recall that, unlike U.S. Treasuries, backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S., CDOs were underwritten by garbage mortgages — that is, backed by no-documentation “liar loans” and other Alt-A subprime pond scum handed to borrowers who otherwise couldn't get a nickel's worth of credit at their local dry cleaner...

Read more:

August 8, 2011 at 8:18 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

It is comical to watch Democrats and Bennett fans try to “shoot the messenger”. We have a government that cannot even create a budget and is borrowing $0.40 for every dollar it spends. Any rational mind would know this is a recipe for fiscal disaster and would advocate reigning in the spending. Only the mind of a leftist would continue to ignore the insanity and try to vilify or marginalize anyone who would raise an alarm.

According to the leftist, the Tea Party, the small business roundtable, most world leaders and now Standard & Poor’s are all members of the “radical fringe”. The rest of us know the truth.

August 8, 2011 at 11:12 p.m.
fairmon said...


Your listing those that participated in getting us where we are proves my point that Obama lacks the KSA to achieve the desired results. Kennedy, Clinton and Reagan did a much better job than others in selecting department heads. Carter screwed that up bad by thinking some good old boys from Georgia could handle it. He may have been the most intelligent and moral but weakest with the worst results of all listed.

August 9, 2011 at 7:44 p.m.
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