Peter Murphy, a one-term incumbent for District 9, is the clear choice in a race with challenger Yusuf Hakeem, a former 15-year city council member.
Murphy was instrumental in getting the empty, fenced Montague Park open and refurbished for rugby matches. He regularly brings his chain saw to neighborhood alley cleanups. And in the council chambers, he has guided more action than controversy.
“Don’t listen to what politicians say, look at what they do,” he told the Times Free Press editorial writers recently.
An attorney and native New Yorker who transplanted himself to Chattanooga, Murphy believes the No. 1 job in government is to protect the people.
In doing that he’s made some pretty independent decisions that have not always been popular. But, in his pragmatic view, they were the right things to do.
In 2010, he voted against a city property tax increase that ultimately passed.
“I thought it was too much, too quick, but I won’t say I won’t ever vote for a tax increase,” he said.
When city sewer fees were raised, he argued for gradual increases.
“I’m proud that I did that,” he said. “I’m not proud that for years and years” the city “pretended” there was no need for increases in the sewer fees even as Chattanooga faced impending U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sanctions for frequent overflow violations.
Now he favors getting the sewer oversight out of under city government with a new authority.
No one would contend EPB would work as well run by the city’s public works division he said.
Hakeem, too, knows how city government works — and how other government offices work.
A native Chattanoogan, Hakeem served on the former city school board for 10 years. And he worked for seven years in state probation work before retiring recently. He was elected to the city council in 1990, and during his tenure he served as chairman three times and vice chairman twice. He was appointed by Gov. Phil Bredesen to the Tennessee Human Rights Commission and served from 2004 to 2009. Bredesen also named Hakeem to the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole in 2006 for a six-year term.
Both men are proven. Murphy is the best choice.