November 13, 2008
I am running for Mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee (updated).
And, as a natural outcome of that decision, I am ceasing my blogging here on TennesseeTicket.com and in similar outlets.
After much observation and careful consideration, I have decided that the best way to encourage my fellow citizens to get involved in our local government is by asking them to allow me the honor of serving them as our next Mayor. I love the city of Chattanooga and believe that the best way to build on its recent successes, and to make this an even greater city for all of its residents and visitors, is to involve as many willing participants as possible in defining what we're doing next -- and in doing it.
The opportunities are many more than one person can manage alone, and I look forward to working toward them together.
There will be many more details to come.
Many, many thanks to the readers who have kept me going for the past few years. I hope that your interest in and engagement with your government only grows.
UPDATE 1: Bill Hobbs' post made me realize that I should have clarified something in my announcement Thursday. I have to get a site ready (which means getting a treasurer and all the related paperwork first), but I fully intend to carry on a conversation with the people while running for office.
I chose not to continue blogging at Tennessee Ticket or at Chattarati (the latter at their request, though my decision wouldn't have been different), because the perspectives of unaffiliated commentator and candidate are so different. Once running for office, anything I would say about national, state, or local government or politics would be legitimately perceived as having a candidate's "spin" on it. I see the two roles, and the two voices, as different enough to warrant separate and non-coinciding outlets.
But believe me, this campaign will employ interactive web resources (a blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc). My campaign philosophy (and governing philosophy, should this campaign prevail) is built on participation by everyday citizens.
Maybe from a technical standpoint it would have made sense to keep blogging where I have some modest page rank, but I couldn't see my way through the change without just making a clean break to a new site.
Thanks for your links, kind comments, and understanding. I'll let everyone know when the new site is up.
UPDATE 2: Welcome Instapundit readers.
November 11, 2008
An experiment with Twittering local government
There I sat, silenced phone in hand, waiting for the dramatic debates, the earnest appeals, and the climax to a saga that has captured our city's attention for quite some time.
There I sat, mere moments later, after the pledge had been recited and a prayer had been offered, tapping my phone's touch screen feverishly, trying to keep up with a rapid agenda shuffle and a vote that happened so fast, the excitement never even had a chance to build.
After that, it was mostly zoning requests and departmental reports. I'm not sure Twitter is the best medium for conveying those happenings, but it was, as I said, an experiment. Here is the log, copied and pasted from http://twitter.com/TNTicket.
- thought District 5 transfer was done earlier, but L Shockley seated on dais, R Gilbert in house (Edit: it's because the vote has not been yet certified.)
- EPB ordinance moved up, being voted now
- unanimous approval for EPB franchise
- telecom industry reps just left, having done press prior to session
- zoning requests now
- development being discussed would be by E Brainerd Rd at King Arthur, near Gunbarrel (Edit: the side street is Panorama, not King Arthur)
- Property has sat, cleared but undeveloped, for 8 years
- lone opposition to apt development is Lana Sutton, whose property has itself been in the news (Edit: see Ms. Sutton's opinion piece in the Chattanoogan today)
- new traffic light would go in if approved, E Brainerd at Panorama (Edit: this may be just for construction period?)
- proponents praise developer and property owner for working with surrounding community
- rezoning from R1 to R3 passes, large number of supporters now leaving
- now on to proposed animal hospital by Ooltewah High School
- school board member Chester Bankston opposes
- small town alert: I know, and have played French horn with, the veteranarian who opposes the new vet; no further comment on this one
- 2 zoning requests deferred, Central Baptist project passes
- 1.1 million dollar HVAC renovations for Development Resource Center passes
- heavy topic now: what day to take off for the holidays (Edit: they ended up taking both, December 23 and December 30)
So, that's it. I may try different approaches next time, or just write "normal" reports afterward. What do you think?
November 7, 2008
What did you do on Election Day?
You can read about my day over at Chattarati.
And, by the way, you're welcome, Mr. Knowles. I'd also like to thank the staff and poll workers who helped me and many thousands of others vote. This is important work, and it's encouraging to see at least a few Gen-X and younger people helping alongside the largely older folks.
Following Election Day, of course, was election night. What were you doing when you heard the news? What was your reaction? (Be honest; and all opinions, except those that are defamatory, are welcome.)
I was sitting on the couch with my lovely wife and superb son (who was supposed to be asleep, but was probably affected by all the energy). I had ventured out to the ChattUp event at Medium for a very short period of time, but I was exhausted from the long day, and from having "the jitters" the night before.
I attempt to keep this blog nonpartisan, but readers know that I "came out" as an Independent for Obama during the primary season, so long ago; and therefore it's no secret that I was happy with the outcome. That said, even given some of the less-than-savory legislation the Republicans plan to pass with their newfound majority, I was just about as happy to learn later that Tennessee House of Representatives member Jimmy Naifeh's days are numbered as Speaker. I voted for the Libertarian Party's candidate for the United States Senate seat retained by Sen. Lamar Alexander. So now I can say that I've voted for Democrats, Republicans, Greens, and Libertarians -- not just to do it, mind you, but when the candidate has best met my interests as a voter.
Have a great weekend.
Posted by joe lance in at 6:04 PM
November 5, 2008
Will Juster request a recount? Should everyone?
In a comment on my last post, Joe Dumas brings up the possibility that Gregg Juster, who appears to have lost yesterday's county School Board election by just ten votes, could ask for a recount. The slimness of the margin suggests it's worth double-checking, but local media have so far settled on calling it a win.
According to election officials, George Ricks Sr. won with 3,412 votes to Juster's 3,402; Anita Polk-Conley got 2,932 and Francetta Pierce ended up with 1,250. There were 100 write-in votes.
We don't know whether or not Juster will request a recount, but a supporter told me that "some people are encouraging him to do so."
This kind of thing makes my [whatever I have going on] act up. If the ballot-reading machines and other methods used to tally votes are in any way inaccurate, it only matters to most people in races like this one; but it matters to me even in blowouts like Andy Berke vs. Oscar Brown. I want to know the exact numbers for all the races, please. Not "close enough." I realize it's academic in most cases. But getting it right (the first time) is the right thing to do.
November 4, 2008
Russell Gilbert wins special election to Council District 5
According to the latest uncertified results from the county election commission, Russell Gilbert will be the newest city council member, replacing interim Councilman Luther Shockley in the Fifth District.
Gilbert defeated Joe Rowe by a (tentative, and rounded) eight-point margin.
Jeffrey Wilson, who withdrew after the deadline, still received almost 12% of the vote.
November 3, 2008
Just for fun: predictions for Election 2008
Here are my humble, futile projections for Tuesday's contests. Candidates on the losing end of these should take heart: I'm wrong more often than I'm right, or 50/50 at best. But that hasn't stopped me yet.
Chattanooga City Council, District 5: Russell Gilbert defeats Joe Rowe, I'll say by 52-45, with an errant 3 percent going to Jeffrey Wilson, in surely one of the largest gross vote totals in Chattanooga municipal election history.
Hamilton County School Board, District 4: Although it's looking good for Gregg Juster, the unusually high turnout could backfire on him. Still, because of his second-place showing in the original election for this seat in August, and the accompanying funds and name recognition, he may pull it off.
I'm not even going to comment on the individual local races for Tennessee House of Representatives. All incumbents will obviously win.
Likewise, state Senator Andy Berke will score a lopsided victory for a full term in office.
Oh, and so will U.S. Representative Zach Wamp handily win his next term (which he will likely spend running for Governor). And, yawn, so will U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander. (A good friend and I were going over her precinct's sample ballot today, and she remarked that she hadn't even heard that the Democrats were running someone against Lamar. Granted, she's a staunch Republican, but Bob Tuke has had very little exposure around here, and it shows.)
Now, before we get to the big one (yes, of course I mean liquor-by-the-drink in Lakesite), let's look at the General Assembly, particularly the Senate. Sen. Mike Williams will edge out Mike Faulk and keep the District 4 seat. Ken Yager will defeat Becky Ruppe and give the Republicans a coveted spot in District 12. Eric Stewart will keep District 14 alive for the Democrats. Sen. Jim Tracy will hold on in District 16; Sen. Diane Black likewise in District 18.
District 22, I hate to say, will probably go to Tim Barnes. But the Democrats have sown some bad karma here. (I know, I know, karma doesn't work like that. Bear with me.) It all therefore comes down to District 26, doesn't it? Wait -- not by my count. I have 17 Republicans without District 26. If they get it, it will solidify their majority. If not, it will be 15-17-1, with the 1 Independent owing some big payback to Democrats. Ron Ramsey will retain the Speaker and Lieutenant Governor positions.
The House, on the other hand, stays with the Democrats.
The U.S. Congress will tip slightly more Democratic, in both houses, but I honestly haven't kept up with any research to back up that claim. (And remember, this post doesn't count as serious.)
And finally -- no, wait. Liquor referenda. Will the various measures to allow alcoholic beverages on or off premises prevail in these several Hamilton County towns? Beats me. I'll drink to whichever ones lighten up, though.
Yes, I think U.S. Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden will be victorious. But that's not without a considerable and noteworthy effort by Senator McCain and Governor Palin. And it is my sincere hope that no matter who wins, we will all put aside our differences and work together to keep this nation strong, prosperous, respectable, and free.
There. Let's see how I did.
November 2, 2008
Help me get outfitted for Election Day
In a case of either great minds thinking alike, or fools failing to differ (or both), I was planning a post asking for reader help in getting me set for my day at the un-polls (I'll explain that); and before I got to it, I saw that Newscoma has a very helpful guide up for those actually going to the polls. Check it out.
But in addition to the items she so thoughtfully included, I have some specific needs of my own, due to the nature of my task. As I mentioned the other day, I will be stationed at the Brainerd Rec Center for the sole purpose of directing would-be voters away from it, and toward their actual polling place.* I'm asking you to double-check my list and tell me what I'm leaving out.
- A sign that clearly indicates that there is no voting taking place in that location. This is a learning from last time.
- Maps and lists. I need a large, color map showing street names and voting precincts, so that I can tell people without their voter registration cards where they should go. To go with this, of course, I need a list of each precinct's voting location. Maybe I don't need these for the whole county, but it couldn't hurt. I see a trip to FedEx/Kinko's in my very near future.
- A power source for my iPhone. If a confused voter will give me his or her street address, I can obtain the correct polling place from the county election commission website. (Bookmarking it now.) Plus, if there is any downtime, I'll need to keep up with Twitter and all. Oh, and listen to music.
- A card table to hold the map and other materials.
- Plenty of fluids. I will be outside, and the weather will be unseasonably warm. Will need a hat, sunscreen, and possibly mosquito repellent as well.
- Lunch, and healthy snacks.
- Books. Staring at an iPhone all day can get kind of rough. I have Stanza loaded on it, but it will be good to read an actual dead-tree book as well.
- Patience, and calm. Unfortunately, these intangibles may be difficult to locate and pack. Hopefully I won't need them as much as I am anticipating.
What else? Thanks for your assistance.
*I can't seem to convince the Election Commission officials that the people who show up aren't limited to those in the #6 Brainerd precinct, whose polling location has moved from the Brainerd Rec Center to the BX. In fact, these are the minority. Most people who arrive think they can vote at Brainerd Rec on Election Day, when in fact it's only for early-voting.
Libertarians on why they support Barack Obama
If you only read or watched the mainstream media, you'd come away with the impression that every person is either "liberal" or "conservative," and that those words mean the same to all who would claim them. Of course, since you're reading this humble blog, it's likely you've run across much better sources of the notion that the world of political ideas, even in this homogeneous land, is a many-faceted place.
Libertarian philosophy, like any good set of ideas, has a diverse group of adherents. There are far-right libertarians, far-left libertarians (yes, it's true), and plenty who fall somewhere in between on the X axis, but who all share a position somewhere north of it.
Due to the dominance of two major political parties in the U.S., many libertarians find themselves (usually somewhat reluctantly) hanging around the edges of one or the other. Just look at a couple of bygone candidates for President in this cycle. Former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel first ran as a Democrat, but later sought the Libertarian Party's nomination. U.S. Representative Ron Paul ran in the GOP primary, and is elected to Congress as a Republican, but just about everybody knows that he's a libertarian.
Jon Wright is a Middle Tennessee blogger, a hard-left libertarian, and a Buddhist, and he voted for U.S. Senator Barack Obama in this year's presidential election.
But from there -- we look at Barack Obama, and we see -- well, something different. First and foremost -- intelligence, intelligence, intelligence. For the first time in my life, we have a candidate who I want to have a beer with....And when you combine this with his demonstrated ability to communicate, to connect, to motivate and inspire -- what you have is, to quote Bill Richardson, "the kind of once-in-a-lifetime leader that can bring our nation together and restore America's moral leadership in the world".
John Hawbaker is a Southeast Tennessee blogger, a center-right libertarian, and a Christian, and he voted for U.S. Senator Barack Obama in this year's presidential election.
A true intellectual in the best sense of the word, Barack Obama is highly intelligent, curious and thoughtfully deliberate....Simply put, I believe Barack Obama will prove a more skilled diplomat and will preside over a more reasoned, thoughtful approach to foreign relations than would John McCain. And to return for a moment to his biography, the simple act of electing Obama will have a dramatic impact on how the world perceives our nation.
Make sure to read each post above in full, as I only copied excerpts that were similar between the two. You'll find plenty that differs as well. Each writer comes to his conclusion through a process of -- gasp -- actually thinking things through and choosing what he feels is the best, albeit imperfect, option. Even if you disagree with both of them, you have to respect their methods.
Despite the fact that neither Wright nor Hawbaker mentioned it specifically, a leading cause for libertarians and their ilk to support Barack Obama is their shared position on the country's involvement in Iraq. Obama famously opposed authorizing the President to send troops before he was yet in Congress. Most of the major candidates in the 2008 election cycle supported the war; several were Senators who directly voted to start it.
Even though Obama is not a libertarian, it is interesting that he has drawn at least modest numbers of them to his cause.