published Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield recall group to appeal

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A group hoping to oust Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield has filed a notice of appeal in the state Court of Appeals in Knoxville.

Jim Folkner, leader of Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield, filed the notice Tuesday through the Hamilton County Circuit Court Clerk's office. The group has hopes of holding an August election to replace Littlefield, who has one year remaining in his second term. By law, he cannot run again.

"With an expedited appeal, we feel like it could be done in August. We feel like it is worth it to stop the stuff Littlefield is still doing. He's still wasting our money," Folkner said as he stood on the courthouse steps with two others who signed the appeal.

The group's main criticisms of the mayor have been taxes and spending.

However, the mayor is not responsible for setting city tax rates. That responsibility falls to City Council members, said Hal North, an attorney representing Littlefield.

"It's disappointing that Mr. Folkner and the other interveners have seen fit to continue to needlessly waste money and resources in pursuing an attempt to recall a mayor who's legally prohibited from re-election," North said.

The group's recall efforts were stymied again last month when Hamilton County Circuit Court Judge Jeff Hollingsworth ruled against the Hamilton County Election Commission, which had scheduled the recall election for August. Hollingsworth issued an injunction that halted the election.

The recall group, along with Chattanooga Organized for Action and the Chattanooga Tea Party, began efforts to oust Littlefield about two years ago. Ever since, the recall has been fought in court.

"The Appeals Court will decide when to set it for trial," said Charles Wysong, a member of Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield. "We believe the court will hear it expeditiously."

North said he is confident the Court of Appeals will uphold Hollingsworth's decision.

"It's just unfortunate our community has to endure this process. ... Virtually nothing about this recall has been done consistent with applicable state law," North said.

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