City Council Rejects Alternate Redistricting Plan By Black Leaders

Okays Plan With 3 Majority-Minority Districts, 1 Swing District

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The City Council on Tuesday night rejected a last-minute redistricting plan by black leaders and instead unanimously approved one that was tentatively agreed on last week.

Joe Rowe, NAACP leader, said the new plan would give four majority-minority districts - Districts 5, 7, 8 and 9.

He said the council's plan only included three majority-minority districts.

Mr. Rowe said the council plan may run afoul of the federal Voting Rights Act, saying it represents "retrogression" on minority representation.

Councilman Manny Rico hit the new plan, saying, "You talk about gerrymandering. To me it doesn't make sense to make it like that."

He said it would have Councilman Andrae McGary part of a district he had never represented before.

Councilman Rico said redistricting "should be a race-neutral process."

He said, "It's not fair to the people we have worked with for years."

Councilman Rico also said white people had made many overtures to help blacks. He said, "This race thing is getting out of hand, and I resent it."

Councilman Russell Gilbert disagreed, saying, "Racism is still there. We have not arrived."

Councilman Jack Benson said he was "real disappointed in what you've thrown before us. You've just gutted my district."

Councilwoman Carol Berz said, "This would take the heart out of a project that has been going on for a long time. The assumption here is that white people think alike and black people think alike - and that's an insult."

She said the new plan was "very gerrymandered."

Councilman Peter Murphy said Mr. Rowe told him earlier he wanted to keep majority-minority districts of at least 60 percent black voting age population. He said the new plan drops below that.

Mr. Rowe said redistricting should be about "building for the future, not holding onto the past."

City Attorney Mike McMahan said the council's plan is similar to one in 1990 when he said there were also three majority-minority districts and a swing district.

Absent from the meeting - on a city visit to Germany - were council members Pam Ladd and Andrae McGary.

Others attending the meeting included Rep. Tommie Brown and former school board member Sherman Matthews.



Copies Of Remaining Chattanooga Photo Books Available At Zarzour's Restaurant

Remaining copies of the Chattanooga Photo books are available at Zarzours Restaurant on Rossville Avenue off Main Street. It is near Fire Hall #1. They include the Remarkable Stokes Collection, Railroads In and Around Chattanooga, and Paul Hiener's Historic Chattanooga.  All were published by Chattanoogan.com.  and printed by College Press at Collegedale. The ... (click for more)

Democrat David Jones Raises $10,000 Toward Campaign Against Incumbent McCormick

The campaign to elect David Jones to the Tennessee House of Representatives for District 26 announced that it has surpassed its $10,000 goal for early contributions and pledges.   Mr. Jones said, “Although we have a long way to go, I am eternally grateful for the faith in me that my early supporters have shown. These are the folks who have known me the longest.  ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Should Be Problem Solvers Around The City

Re: Roy Exum’s “Stay, Signal Mountain, Stay”  Well this article is something to think about. I think the split could go either way, and Signal Mountain schools would still flourish, as they have done for the past several years. What I'm worried about is why Signal Mountain has not yet had the guts to go be problem solvers at Howard, or Tyner, or Central. Why do ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

As we welcome another Saturday of the funnies, our attention is drawn to two little boys, ages 5 and 7, who are excessively mischievous. They are always getting into trouble and their parents know if any mischief occurs in their town, the two boys are probably involved.    Understand, we have no idea who these boys are, or where any of the Saturday Funnies originate. ... (click for more)

UTC Finishes Tough Season With 10-3 Win Over ETSU

A youthful Tom Arth knew he was facing the biggest coaching challenge of his life back in the spring when he was hired as the next head man for the Chattanooga Mocs football team, but he didn’t know exactly how challenging it would be. It hasn’t been the season that Arth had planned as things didn’t always go as he had hoped, but the best news is that the season finished on a ... (click for more)

UTC Women Run Past Presbyterian 71-51

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s basketball team came away with a 71-51 victory Saturday at the McKenzie Arena for its first win of the season. Chattanooga is now 1-3 on the year and Presbyterian moves to 1-3 overall.   “We played better,” Chattanooga head coach Jim Foster said. “That’s what’s important. We worked harder, we were tougher and we shared ... (click for more)