published Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Ruling could benefit city vote; union, government going steady

'For' ballot clarity

Hamilton County Circuit Court Judge Neil Thomas handed down a vote for clarity Monday morning in the wording of the domestic partner referendum on August's election ballot.

The wording, written by the Citizens for Government Accountability group that led a petition drive against Chattanooga's adoption of a domestic partner policy into its city code, offers voters a simple "for" or "against" choice of "the Ordinance providing for the extension of benefits in domestic partnerships and adding sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to the city nondiscrimination policy."

If you're a voter who lives in the city and wants the city to retain the policy, mark your ballot "for"; if you don't, mark "against." Nothing could be simpler.

The city, oddly, sued for the inclusion of 154 words of explanation about the ordinance that would have caused fewer voters even to consider the question.

Voters notoriously do not read long ballot questions if they cast their ballots on the question at all.

Indeed, a 2011 study by two Georgia State University professors that was published in Political Research Quarterly found that the often "obscure and legalistic language" in a lot of ballot questions requires, on average, a graduate school level vocabulary.

The more complex the question, the study said, "the more roll-off" the ballot there is. The same is true for races involving candidates voters are unfamiliar with.

In 2006, for instance, when 27.97 percent of Hamilton County voters went to the polls, only 16 to 18 percent of voters cast a ballot in various statewide judicial elections that asked only "yes" or "no" if the judge was to be retained.

Or in 2010, when 41.9 percent of Hamilton County voters went to the polls, only 32.6 percent of Chattanooga voters cast a ballot on a city ordinance.

The language on next month's ballot, especially given the exposure the issue has received on both sides, is clear. And the city government that proposed the policy should feel lucky Thomas ruled against its longer wording if it hopes to have voters approve benefits for certain unmarried opposite-sex and same-sex partners.

Matched pair

Governments and unions go hand in hand more often today than ever before, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


A majority of union members today now have ties to a federal, state or local government entity, and roughly one in three public sector workers is a union member.

It sounds like a punchline to a rather scary joke: What's more entrenched than a government worker? A union government worker.

Such a combination brings about situations such as the United States Supreme Court ruled on last week when it determined thousands of health care workers in Illinois who are paid by the state cannot be required to fork over fees that help cover the union's cost of collective bargaining.

Think about that.

At some point before the ruling, the nonunion home-care workers for disabled people were being required to pay for stances the union was taking. As it should have, the justices ruled the practice violates the First Amendment rights of the nonmembers.

In an era where the majority of the public wants to see leaner governments, unions are pulling the other way. They're protective of bloated bureaucracies, after all, because the smaller the government, the fewer the union members.

They actually have to do so in order to remain relevant, according to an Associated Press report examining the figures.

With a loss of manufacturing jobs due in part to union demands for increasingly higher wages and benefits, union wage and salary workers in the United States dipped from a peak of 35 percent in the mid-1950s to 11.3 percent today.

The biggest contingency left for unions is the National Education Association, which represents 3.2 million public school teachers, administrators and even coerced students preparing to become teachers.

But even that union's influence may be waning. Last month, a California Superior Court judge abolished -- pending an appeal -- the state's near-lifetime teacher employment, dismissal and layoff laws.

Too often through the years, unions have been their own worst enemies. And by hitching their stars to growing and out of control governments, they've picked the wrong partners again.

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aae1049 said...

If the City and the local liberals did not complain about the language, they would have no out when they lose this referendum. The city of Chattanooga has KNOWN through professional polling since last November that the public would NEVER of supported their ordinance for health insurance based up unmarried sex.

The voters of Tennessee voted about 90 percent for a constitutional amendment to prohibit same sex marriage. That perspective is mirrored throughout the state. The city knows they are going to lose this one, and they knew when they voted for this measure, the public did not support it through professional polling.

July 8, 2014 at 8:08 a.m.



I believe it is about diseased individuals. The overwhelming preponderance of percentage of HIV/AIDS infected people...per capita are homosexual individuals! We don't know with whom we may be associating. Our City Government Must Pay For Their Treatment Using Innocent Taxpayer's Dollars.

The HIV/AIDS infected homosexual usually carries an extremely high number of of Opportunistic Contagious Infections. This ranging from Gut Parasites-to-Gonorrhea. The Center for Disease Control states that in some states that Gonorrhea number is 50 percent of homosexual men. This Gonorrhea is loathsome in that it 'laughs' at the antibiotics they try for treatment. It has been labeled a 'Super Bug' and 'Nastier than AIDS'. Treatment for HIV/AIDS = $400 to $600 thousand dollars per patient per lifetime. We Pay City!!!

Why homosexual Gut Parasites? Just think about the kind of sex most homosexuals prefer.......What kind of men with men sexual intercourse? I am in no way saying that anyone, politician, or otherwise who is homosexual is going into someones gut/bowel/fecal elimination function intestines. I am not the Judge! Yet, should we break the city government by paying for their infected partners?

I advise to stay out of the homosexual lifestyle choice altogether! YOU CANNOT PLAY CHESS WITH JESUS CHRIST AND WIN! The number of mutating strains of HIV is on the increase.

Malleus Deus

July 8, 2014 at 5:57 p.m.

"Once you have been infected with HIV, you will always carry it in your body."

"There is no cure for HIV."


Citizens! Please! Where are your brains??? Do you want your family tax dollars paying from $400,0000.00 to $600,000.000 per infected homosexual who chose a lifestyle Jesus Christ labels an abomination?

July 8, 2014 at 5:59 p.m.
nocomment said...

Let me see if I got this right. First you deny people the freedom to marry and then you criticize them for having "unmarried sex".

Constitutional rights are not subject to a popular vote. Within the past year, 15 federal courts have considered the constitutionality of state bans on same sex marriage. All 15 courts have decided that such bans violate the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The list includes District Courts in Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin as well as the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that affirmed the lower court's ruling in Utah. Oral arguments in the 6th Circuit for Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee are scheduled for early next month. There is a good chance that SCOTUS will hear a marriage equality case in their next term. Since the Federal DOMA decision last year, opponents of marriage equality have not been able to come up with a single argument that stands up in court.

July 9, 2014 at 2:55 p.m.
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