July 26, 2006
For Your Voting Consideration - The Civic Forum endorsements
Thereís no need for a long introduction hereóletís just get right to the point. Each elected office* that will appear on ballots in at least one precinct in Hamilton County on August 3 is listed below, along with indications of which candidates deserve your consideration.
Hamilton County Board of Commissioners
In District 2, Joe Dumas. In District 4, Brian Caldwell. These are underdog, outsider candidates who nevertheless bring fresh ideas, no-nonsense pragmatism and generous personal dedication to the process. Along with fellow newcomers John Allen Brooks in District 6 and Jim Coppinger in District 3, each of whom has no general election opposition, Dumas and Caldwell would help give the Commission its much-needed makeover. One only wishes Dumas and Caldwell were each running in a different district (say, 1 and 9), as their current opponents would not be difficult to endorse. Some of this is personal, just so you know.
In District 5, Commissioner Greg Beck. In District 7, Commissioner Larry Henry (unopposed). Each of these men has demonstrated an ability to work with multiple conflicting constituencies and colleagues, and to do so with composure. Letís ask them to help anchor the newbies and guide the new Board of Commissioners toward consensus governing.
In District 8, John Bailes. Commissioner Curtis Adams has, in recent years, single-handedly accounted for at least 47 percent of the rancor and the demeaning, embarrassing behavior in this body. It is time for him to be replaced, and John Bailes is the candidate to do just that.
A Commission made up of Bailes, Beck, Brooks, Caldwell, Coppinger, Dumas, Henry, and the other two wouldnít be without its problems (chiefly: where are the women?)óbut it would represent the people with a mostly forward-looking, responsive, adult legislative body. Such would be refreshing.
Hamilton County Board of Education
In District 5, Jeffrey Wilson. In District 8, Kenny Smith.
In District 6, Janice Boydston is unopposed, but receives a robust recommendation here for her perseverance and attitude.
Endorsements that are somewhat tepid: In District 9, Kelvin Stamper.
In District 3, Everett Fairchild, because the opposition would be far worse.
Hamilton County Administration
For County Mayor, Claude Ramsey. For Sheriff, Billy Long. Experience is the key word in both of these. Long is short on administrative time, but he appears ready to grow into the leadership role. And he promises to bring back the domestic violence and child abuse task forces.
Public Defender Ardena Garth, County Clerk Bill Knowles, Register of Deeds Pam Hurst, and Trustee Carl Levi are all endorsed here in their unopposed candidacies to return to office. District Attorney Bill Cox is not explicitly endorsed.
Hamilton County Courts
General Sessions Court
In Division I, Christy Mahn Sell. In Division II, Hallie McFadden. Clarence Shattuck, Ron Durby, and Bob Moon are all unopposed, in Divisions III, IV and V, respectively.
Suzanne Bailey is unopposed. No reason is known not to re-elect her.
Chancellors W. Frank Brown and Howell Peoples must be doing it right, because no one stepped up to try and replace them.
In Division I, this column strongly endorses Rodney Strong.
Divisions II and III are uncontested. Judges Rebecca Stern and Don Poole are worthy of re-election.
The only contested race is in Division II. Tom Crutchfield receives the endorsement for your vote.
Judges Jackie Schulten, L. Marie Williams, and W. Neil Thomas III are each without opposition, and should be returned to office. Well, except for the fact that Judge Thomas is seeking a nomination to the state Court of Criminal Appeals. But if he doesnít make it, he deserves re-election to his Circuit bench.
Circuit Court Clerk
Paula Thompson is unopposed, and should be returned to office.
Criminal Court Clerk
Please vote for incumbent Gwen Tidwell.
Juvenile Court Clerk
Ron Swafford is unopposed, and, according to reports, does a great job. Weíll keep him another term.
In Signal Mountain, Mark Rothberger. He presides with fairness and treats all who enter his courtroom (law enforcement, attorneys, defendants, observers) with equal respect.
The candidates for Judge in Collegedale (Kevin Wilson), East Ridge (Arvin Reingold), and Soddy-Daisy (David Norton) face no known opposition.
Tennessee House of Representatives
Rep. Gerald McCormick is unopposed in the Republican primary, and there are no Democrats.
Democratic primary: Bill Lusk is unopposed.
Republican primary: Howard Cotter
Rep. Tommie Brown is unopposed in the Democratic primary, and there are no Republicans.
Rep. JoAnne Favors is unopposed in the Democratic primary, and there are no Republicans.
Rep. Vince Dean is unopposed in the Republican primary, and there are no Democrats.
Democratic primary: J. Glenn Moseley is unopposed.
Republican primary: Christian Lanier. Gotta go with the musician.
Tennessee State Senate
Rep. Bo Watson is unopposed in the primary and in the general, and is endorsed in this column.
United States House of Representatives
Democratic Primary: Terry Stulce
Republican Primary: No endorsement, but June Griffin gets honorable mention for her duet with Ed Helms on Comedy Centralís The Daily Show. If you transfer that into a vote, though, we need to talk.
United States Senate
Democratic primary: Harold Ford, Jr.
Republican primary: Bob Corker
Democratic primary: Phil Bredesen, with reservations.
Republican primary: Since there are outstanding serious questions regarding the recent arrest of Mark Albertini, it is impossible to record an endorsement in this race at press time.
*Voters will also encounter twenty-seven judicial retention questions on whether to reinstate eligible Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and Court of Criminal Appeals judges in the state general election. Since these offices are attained through appointment, they are not listed here.
[This column appears in the July 26, 2006 Pulse.]