published Friday, January 6th, 2012

Drive to recall Mayor Littlefield poses risks

We do not always agree with Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield -- on issues such as annexation, for example. At other times, we do agree with him. (See editorial below.)

And we certainly do not think anyone need apologize for speaking up in either support or opposition to the mayor's policies. That is at the heart of our First Amendment. It is through the back and forth of political and other discourse that free societies try to reach consensus or at least maintain peaceful disagreement.

But we do not think the ongoing effort to recall the mayor is justified. So far as we can tell, the recall was prompted primarily by political differences. We have seen no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the mayor, nor any kind of grossly unethical behavior that might warrant a recall.

The best course of action for the mayor's opponents would be to state their objections to his policies clearly, urge him to change those policies, and then support in the next regular election a candidate who they believe offers sound ideas.

Yet the recall effort has ground on through the courts and the court of public opinion for a long time now, with a recall election tentatively set for August. (Further court rulings between now and then may alter that.)

Notably, nearly a dozen local business leaders recently penned a letter to the Times Free Press urging the end of the recall effort -- not necessarily because they all approve of all of Littlefield's policies, but because of the reputation for discord with which the recall may saddle the city. Political stability is one factor that economic development prospects may consider when they are deciding where to locate a new facility, and a reputation for bitter dissension could harm business recruitment -- and thus job creation.

Again, we do not fault anyone for expressing forthrightly an opinion on the mayor or any other elected official. But the decision to pursue a recall election over what appear to be political disputes may eventually be cause for regret.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
328Kwebsite said...

Chattanooga's business leaders have done all they could to save themselves at the expense of the rest of us. Their main contribution to public policy has come in the form of mass terminations to promote their own profit.

Mayor Littlefield's damage to local political and financial leadership has been so broad and so intense that I don't think any of us could provide a comprehensive list of his failures.

The $10 Million dollar lie about the definition of "liability" in the City budget alone has done a great deal of damage. It has resulted in the direct and immediate loss of public services to people both inside and outside of the City limits. It's been a fiasco, like everything else in the Littlefield administration.

We have seen a habitual and comprehensive loss of legitimate intellectual and social influence on the part of local leaders like Mayor Littlefield. Trying to tell people to shut up about it is not an adequate substitute for correcting the problem.

The problem is corruption, stupidity and greed in our business and political systems.

$328,000 for a website that was never built. Back door deals with local rich people to get Mayor Coppinger appointed to County Mayor. Habitual self-appointments, without elections or legitimate due process, of many local officials to posts with $100,000-plus salaries.

Periodic abuse or defamation of government employees: people who were put under Mayor Littlefield's charge did not receive his leadership, protection or support. Instead, we saw police officers, teachers and other government workers defamed with his words, actions and orders.

We have seen a steady stream of failing to protect our citizens equally and fairly. We see the habitual abuse of ethnic minorities in favor of the local rich. The corrupt use of fire code inspections at the Mosaic church and its related lawsuits intimidated as many as 400 witnesses to multiple homicides in our area. This was probably done because the rich were complaining about tourism dollars.

We don't have the time to daily list and re-list all of Mayor Littlefield's corrupt and incorrect decisions as a City Executive. We can, however, insist upon good government. That means expecting and requiring adherence to basic intellectual and ethical standards for operating a city. We don't see that done under Mayor Littlefield.

Reject Ron Littlefield. Do not allow commercial real estate holders to abuse government office for profit.

January 6, 2012 at 8:28 a.m.
Carl said...

Times Free Press is an ironic name for a paper telling it's readers and the citizens to not exercise their rights. Whatever is good for business and advertisers takes priority.

January 6, 2012 at 8:59 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

I just wish those of us in the county could have a say in this. We are the ones Littlefield threatens to do the most harm to right now. We end up being relegated to the sidelines until the damage has already been done.

January 6, 2012 at 11:29 a.m.
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