published Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Chattanooga Free Press endorses Ken Smith for District 3

  • photo
    District 3 city commission candidate Ken Smith talks about his platform at the Times Free Press.
    Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Voters in the Hixson area are fortunate to have the opportunity to choose between two thoughtful, principled candidates to represent District 3 on the Chattanooga City Council — incumbent Pam Ladd, the former owner of a successful small business, and Ken Smith, who works as chief information officer of The Johnson Group.

At first blush, it appears that Smith and Ladd agree on a number of issues. For example, they both hope to increase the number of police officers in Chattanooga, eliminate the wasteful Education, Arts & Culture bureaucracy and search for opportunities to responsibly consolidate city and county services.

Where the two candidates differ, however, are on fundamental questions of size, scope and cost of government.

Ken Smith's commitment to reducing the burden of government on the people of District 3 makes him the best candidate for the position.

Ladd has voted for a tax increase and told the Free Press that she would do so again, if necessary. She believes that Chattanooga's property taxes -- which are extremely high relative to surrounding areas -- are justified because of the amenities that are provided to city residents.

In contrast, Smith wants to trim the city's bloated budget by performing a thorough evaluation of city departments and agencies to determine which ones are failing to spend tax dollars wisely. He then plans to help prioritize the city's spending so that essential services aren't shortchanged because of tax dollars that are diverted instead to superfluous pet projects.

While on the council, Ladd has been successful in facilitating a number of infrastructure improvements to the district -- no small feat since the outlying, suburban nature of the district means that area needs don't always get the attention they deserve. For Smith, ensuring that the district's infrastructure needs continue to be met is also an important goal. His plans for prioritizing city expenditures make it more likely that infrastructure projects are funded and completed.

Smith is an outspoken opponent of tax increment financing schemes (TIFs) and payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs). Ladd has voted in favor of both risky ventures. Smith says the he will vote against them because he believes it is unfair to leverage funding for rich companies "on the backs of taxpayers."

Rather than using giveaways and preferential treatment to assist certain businesses, Smith proposes to help all businesses by making the licensing requirements less burdensome and fighting against tax increases.

As a member of the council, Ladd has not done a bad job representing the people of District 4. Ken Smith would simply do better. With his plan to focus on essential services and keep city spending in check, Smith deserves a place on the Chattanooga City Council.

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gjuster said...

While not in my district - I hope that Ken wins this seat

February 14, 2013 at 9:57 a.m.
jjmez said...

I hope he doesn't. God help us all if he does.

February 14, 2013 at 10:17 a.m.
LibDem said...

This seems to be a standard empty campaign speech. He'll do better and you'll see the details later.

February 14, 2013 at 11:02 a.m.
BigRidgeGOP said...

jjmez and LibDem... Let's look at the voting record of Pam Ladd since taking office in 2009:

  1. Support for higher taxes and unnecessary city fees,
  2. Support for inflated budgets for non-essential government entities and programs, many of which are competing with private businesses (which are paying taxes) and favor a few individuals at the expense of many.
  3. Support for budgets that underfund essential city services, including public safety and roads.
  4. Remains silent on many of the key issues affecting District 3

There are many more areas I could cite as why I'm encouraging people to vote for Ken. Our community needs someone that views government differently than how Pam Ladd has voted during the past four years. We need a strong voice at City Hall that understands the challenges we face every day and wants to be a strong advocate for what serves the best interests of the taxpayers, small businesses and local neighborhoods.

This is Ken Smith!

And, this is why the Chattanooga Firefighters, International Brotherhood of Police Officers, the Fraternal Order of Police and several other organizations have chosen to endorse Ken Smith over Pam Ladd.

February 14, 2013 at 1:31 p.m.
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