published Friday, November 4th, 2011

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield may again face a recall election


by Cliff Hightower

Poll
Do you think Mayor Littlefield should be recalled?

Mayor Ron Littlefield could once more be facing a recall election.

The Tennessee Court of Appeals on Thursday threw out a lawsuit by Littlefield challenging the number of signatures on recall petitions from 2010. The Court of Appeals said a local Circuit Court judge shouldn't have stopped Hamilton County election commissioners from having a chance to certify the petitions.

"We find that the trial court acted without jurisdiction," Appellate Judge John W. McClarty's opinion stated on behalf of the three-member appeals court panel.

McClarty said it's now up to the Hamilton County Election Commission to decide whether to certify the recall petitions.

Jim Folkner, with Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield, one of the groups that gathered the petition names, expressed jubilation at the court's ruling.

"The election commission will have to certify it [the recall] and set an election date," Folkner said. "At this point, Mr. Littlefield is a recalled mayor."

But Richard Beeland, the mayor's spokesman, said the issue is much fuzzier and many factors will affect whether a recall election takes place. The court "simply ruled that the election commission was entitled to make a final decision" and made no decision on the "sufficiency of the recall petition," Beeland said.

"Those issues are left to be judicially resolved another day," he said.

In the summer of 2010, the groups Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield, Chattanooga Organized for Action and the Chattanooga Tea Party began a petition campaign to oust the mayor. The groups gathered more than 15,000 signatures and the election commission validated more than 9,000 of them.

Before the election commission voted to certify the results, Littlefield filed suit. In October 2010, Hamilton County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Hollinsworth halted the recall, saying not enough signatures had been gathered under state law.

WHAT'S NEXT


The Hamilton County Election Commission will discuss the Court of Appeals decision when it meets at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

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State law dictates that more than 14,854 valid signatures be collected, while the Chattanooga city charter calls for more than 9,600.

Election commission attorney Chris Clem said Thursday the appeals court's decision did not give the commission a lot of direction. The commission will talk about the ruling at its next meeting Wednesday, he said, and decide whether to vote on the petition results in December.

The commission must decide whether to follow state law or the city charter, he said.

"I think it's possible that, whatever the election commission decides, it will be sued" by either the mayor or Folkner, Clem said.

Under state law, voters first are asked if they would like to recall the mayor. If a majority votes yes, a recall election is held.

Clem said the first recall question could appear on the March 6, 2012, county primary ballot.

Hal North, Littlefield's attorney, said he felt the court's decision was virtually a tie.

"Neither side prevailed," he said.

He said the election commission will be able to ratify the results of the petition drive but still could end up mired in another lengthy court battle.

Folkner's attorney, Frank Pinchak, said he didn't see the ruling as a tie and a dismissal of Littlefield's lawsuit was "the most we could have gotten." He expects the election commission to certify the petition results and his clients to have their day at the polls.

"I think they are ready to go on with the recall," he said.

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tn_phil61 said...

littlefield is in the same catagory as the obama regime.. they all are money hungry asses

November 4, 2011 at 1:50 a.m.
Haiku said...

They just hate the mayor because he wouldn't run the homeless out of town and the blacks from the inner-city.

November 4, 2011 at 2:40 a.m.
dennis said...

Littlefield, Its time for you and all of you worthless regime to leave our city. You have been nothing but trouble since you arrived here. You can see by the numbers that the people of Chattanooga have no use for you. What can you point to, that you have done for the City of Chattanooga since you became mayor. All I can see is that you have tried to tear the city apart. Breeland, if the situation looks fuzzie to you, put your dam glasses on and look at the numbers. Littlefield's days as mayor of Chattanooga are few, and hopefully he will take you with him. Maybe you and Littlefield and Paul Page will have to go and stand in the unemployment line for a long, long time.

November 4, 2011 at 8:33 a.m.
chrisbrooks said...

History of The Recall of Mayor Ron Littlefield:

When the avenues for public participation are shut down and the citizens are shut out, there are those who will say “you can’t fight City Hall.” Chattanooga Organized for Action knows better.

The summer of 2010 saw the City of Chattanooga in a political uproar. Ron Littlefield, entering his last term as Mayor, had written a harsh budget balanced on the backs of the city’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. With a proposed 33% property tax hike guaranteed to make rents and mortgages climb even higher in the midst of the Great Recession, citizens from across the entire political spectrum demanded accountability and answers, but citizens’ questions were met with silence. The Littlefield Administration exhibited outright disdain for demands of transparency. The Chairman of the Chattanooga City Council harshly shut down citizens trying to speak at Council meetings with the words “we don’t have to listen to anybody!”

The grassroots people of Chattanooga sprung up in active resistance. They decided to do the unthinkable – force the democratic removal of Mayor Ron Littlefield.

Moving from protests at City Hall to the streets of Chattanooga’s communities, members of the newly-formed Chattanooga Organized for Action allied with individuals and organizations from all across the political spectrum to form a truly post-partisan coalition to force change and begin a push for real grassroots democracy. From college students to city workers, from businessmen to the clergy, the everyday people of Chattanooga decided to take action and educate themselves in the democratic methods of change in order to accomplish their goal: the Recall of Mayor Ron Littlefield.

Armed with petitions, clipboards and pens and with only their singular determination to guide them, a massive volunteer team took to the streets and entered the pages of Chattanooga history.

November 4, 2011 at 12:29 p.m.
chrisbrooks said...

What started as the sighs of exhaustion and frustration with an unaccountable government soon became the biggest grassroots volunteer effort ever co-ordinated in our city’s history. With little to no knowledge in the methods of canvasing, meeting facilitation or volunteer training, hundreds of Chattanoogans gathered 15,559 signatures in less than 60 days, getting the agreement of over 1 out of every 10 city residents that Chattanooga deserved change. Despite the malicious attacks by the Mayor against ordinary citizens leading the effort and despite the patronizing warnings of the city’s only newspaper to not sign the petition, the all volunteer effort gathered thousands of signatures weekly. With less than three days remaining until the petition deadline, members of Chattanooga Organized for Action turned in the final amount of signatures needed to force the first recall election in Chattanooga’s history.

In a desperate attempt to hold on to power, Mayor Littlefield “lawyered-up” and took the voters of Chattanooga to court. The case, heard in Hamilton County’s Circuit Court, was cited as being one of the most important trials in Chattanooga history. In a stunning denial of the rights of ordinary citizens, Judge Jeff Hollingsworth threw the recall petition out and allowed for Mayor Ron Littlefield to stay in office.

While Littlefield was temporarily successful in winning a court order to stop the election, the case went to the Tennessee Court of Appeal in Knoxville. There, the Appeals Court sided with the grassroots citizens of Chattanooga.

Led by Chattanooga Organized for Action, the history of our city will never be the same.

For more information visit www.chattaction.org>

Legend said...

So much hate in the bible belt south. And so much hatred for one man. Scary to think what it's like when y'all down there start your hating on groups. Ropes and posse come to mind. I see nothing in paa's littlechicagowatch that pass leadership hasn't done more.

November 4, 2011 at 8:09 p.m.
MasterChefLen said...

Legend, hate has nothing to do with it. It is not hate for people to follow the law and try to leagally recall a politician that is out of favor. Why is Ron Littlefied out of favor? His actions: creating a divisive envirtonment between the city and the county, raising taxes, hiring a his buddy (a serial sexual harasser), annexing areas against the wishes of the citizens, to name a few.

November 4, 2011 at 9:10 p.m.
fedup350 said...

Ron Littlefield has EARNED every bit of hatred and distrust expressed gaainsy him in Chattanooga. How LEGEND gets ropes and posse's out of this is really really wierd! Hey Legend: with that off the wall comment I just know you are frying your little brain thinking how you can make this into a racial issue.

November 5, 2011 at 6:15 p.m.
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