published Sunday, March 24th, 2013

The Right Response: Answering your questions

In the wake of the Free Press' series of editorials celebrating Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote the importance of open government and freedom of information laws, we got emails, letters, online comments, tweets and calls. Lots of 'em.

Here is the Free Press' response to some of our readers' questions and comments:

It seems people are criticizing Missy Crutchfield and EAC because she appeared nude in a couple of movies decades ago. Is that the reason the Free Press is so negative about her?

Missy Crutchfield's roles in several movies that are described as "softcore porn" or "hard-R" films are a popular topic — and point of condemnation — in the online comments section of the editorials addressing her management of EAC. That is completely unfair. Her movie career and her decision to appear nude should have no part of discussions relating to the financial failures of EAC, the EAC-managed pottery studio and the city-owned performance venues.

Those who judge Crutchfield for appearing nude in movies ignore two very important facts: 1.) SHE WAS IN MOVIES!!!, and 2.) moviemakers felt she was so beautiful that they featured her looks in a very prominent way.

I imagine that most people who still criticize Crutchfield for appearing in racy movies 30 years ago are jealous.

After all, how many people in America want to be film actors? Millions? Tens of Millions? But how many people actually achieve that dream? Very, very few. Crutchfield should be celebrated, not attacked, for getting to do exactly what she wanted with her life, at least for a while. Very few of us can say that we actually reached our dreams. But Crutchfield can.


When writing about Missy Crutchfield, the Free Press always mentions her father, Ward, and brings up that he was arrested during the Tennessee Waltz bribery scandal. Missy didn't have anything to do with that! You shouldn't connect Missy to the sins of her father.

Missy may not have had anything to do with Ward's bribery scandal, but Ward is a political ally of Mayor Ron Littlefield, who created the Education, Arts and Culture Department and selected Missy's to run it. In that way, it's completely appropriate to mention convicted felon and disgraced former state Sen. Ward Crutchfield every time Missy's name comes up in relation to EAC.

Ward Crutchfield helped Littlefield raise money and reach Chattanooga's Democratic voters when he was initially elected mayor eight years ago. It is almost undeniable that Littlefield's decision to create EAC and choose Ward's daughter to run the department was a political payback.

Selecting Missy, who had no history running a $2.7 million government agency or managing two large performance venues, to run EAC made about as much sense as choosing Stevie Wonder to judge a dog show. And it shows. The Tivoli Theatre and Memorial Auditorium require taxpayer-funded bailouts of up to $1 million a year, city audits show that the department is fraught with financial mismanagement and the city has little to show for EAC's expensive programs and underutilized services.


The city's pottery studio at John A. Patten Recreational Center is a gem and Chattanooga is lucky to have it. The city has a role in providing arts and recreation for its citizens.

Nowhere does the city charter mention that Chattanooga should be in the pottery business. There are no provisions in the state or federal constitutions that indicate that government should fritter away tax dollars providing clay, wheels, glazes and kilns for pottery aficionados. That leads me to believe that owning a pottery studio is not a proper role of government.

If so many people want a pottery studio in town, they should start one. Why make people who will never set foot inside the government-owned pottery studio pay for their hobby?

Poor single mothers shouldn't be made to subsidize ceramics classes with the local sales tax money they pay when they buy food for their children. Seniors struggling to make ends meet shouldn't have to pay for a new kiln with their property taxes. It's disgustingly inappropriate to force taxpayers to work so that people with leisure time to play with clay can save a few bucks.

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AndrewLohr said...

Yeah, let's have line items on at least the property tax bill so those who want to subsidize pottery can and those of us who want to keep the money can keep it. Sales tax would be harder, but maybe businesses that want to subsidize pottery can collect the tax for it and those that don't can let their customers keep the money.

March 24, 2013 at 3:57 a.m.
aae1049 said...

Chattanooga is a city with messed up priorities in government spending. The poverty rate for Chattanooga is between 26 to 31 percent. Let's get a handle on what that really means. 26 to 31 people in Chattanooga do not have their basic human needs met, food, shelter, and medical care.

http://www.city-data.com/poverty/poverty-Chattanooga-Tennessee.html

I call it the circuit of poverty, and welcome anyone to take a reality check ride with me to see the real Chattanooga that exists, where children live in extreme poverty in our city. When I go to these areas, I cannot tell whether I am in a third world country or my hometown. There needs to be more head start and programs to abate the poverty cycle in Chattanooga, which is spiraling out of control, from 2007 to present we have increased from what was 19 percent to 26 to 31 percent.

The people spending public resources on pottery and special interests for friends instead of essential services, are just wrong. It is obnoxious to mandate taxes from working poor and other groups that are barely getting by to give absolutely nonessential services in government.

The city of Chatanooga claims they cannot do anything about extremely substandard public education in urban areas, yet the city robs essential services and collects taxes to give to let them eat cake pursuits, such as pottery, rhinos, and converts mandated property taxes to their favorite wasteful nonprofit, such as River City or Allied Arts.

Let the poor pay for pottery, the creation of wasteful 6 figure salaries for based upon political connections, subsidize private plane hangers, boat docks, people to ponder the deeper meaning of scrap metal on every corner, a $32,000 blue rhino for Allied Arts board members families, golf courses, subsidize 200,000 plus salaries at River City Company, Allied Arts, and the Chamber of Commerce to the tune of over a million a year for the City and County.

I am certain that 30 percent of this City could care less about narcissistic personality types in the Crutchfield special interest groups. People do care about the idea that taxpayers have to pay someone $130,000 because of their last name and political connections.

Enough! Stop robbing the people of this city under the false color of art, and corporate welfare for the River City and Chamber of Commerce.

March 24, 2013 at 8:53 a.m.
aae1049 said...

26 to 31 people out of each 100 people live in poverty! to correct typo above. Yep, I object to clay for leisure crowd, when people are sleeping the streets, and our public urban schools are crap.

March 24, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.
Leaf said...

aae - agreed there is a ton of wasteful spending, but it's a matter of degree. Why are we getting hung up on the little projects? One can always make the argument similar to, "as long as there is "X", then why are we spending money on "Y?"

(X = Poverty ,Y = Pottery)----- (X = Crime, Y = City Art) (X = Hunger, Y = Military)----- (X = Terrorism, Y = Poverty)----- (X = Death, Y = Healthcare)----- (X = Bad Education, Y = Space Research)----- (X = Comets, Y = Anything but Space Research)-----

See what I mean? But this argument ignores the law of diminishing returns. I agree that we should spend more on education, but tripling the money spent would not triple the success of the students. However, spending a little money on arts, leisure, advertising, etc. attracts and keeps people in Chattanooga who are net assets to our community.

As I see it, resonable people can disagree on the exact allocation of resources, but most will agree that spreading it around to get the most bang for the buck and to do the most good is the right way to go.

March 25, 2013 at 3:58 p.m.
timbo said...

I don't care how many times Missy Crutchfield (Missy O'Shea) got naked in the 80's. Also, Drew, there are a lot of people who look better than she did naked that didn't sell out for a little attention.

The point here is, why does getting naked in a movie in 1980.. something make you qualified as an expert on the "arts?" Is that what Chattanooga has come to for putting someone on a pedestal? That they got naked in movie.

Another thing, Drew said that, " movie makers felt she was so beautiful that they featured her looks in a very prominent way."

Drew, plenty of homely women get naked in the movies. Just look at HBO after 12 pm on a Saturday night. In any event, she probably spent a lot of time on the casting couch, if you get my meaning. As far as I am concerned, she looks like a thin Ward in drag. Not my cup of tea.

That is what goes for art in this town...rusted pieces of junk in the medians and a pornographic, naked manager of the EAC. Wow..we should be proud.

The point here is that I am not moralizing about her decision...I am just pointing out how ridiculous that this was in regards that this was her only claim to fame for a high paying job with the city.

And the reason you always bring up Daddy (Ward Crutchfield) is that he is the answer to why she got the job with her only qualification being getting naked in a movie in the 80's.

Only in Chattanooga.......

March 25, 2013 at 4:35 p.m.
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