Traffic Safety, Environmental Advisory board member running for City Council

Aditya "Doc" Savara

Aditya “Doc” Savara

Aditya “Doc” Savara, a member of two city boards, is running for Oak Ridge City Council in the November 4 municipal election.

In a press release, Savara said he has been involved in local politics during the past two years and served on the Traffic Safety Advisory Board and the Environmental Quality Advisory Board. Savara said he has attended and commented during public comment periods at City Council meetings, is knowledgeable about the issues facing the city, and has been vocal about them.

“In 2012-2013, an ordinance came before Oak Ridge City Council regarding whether property owners Jack and Myra Mansfield could build a single home on their property in a neighborhood zoned as R1, for single-family dwellings,” Savara said in the release. “Adjacent homeowners asserted property values would drop if the Mansfields were allowed to build a home on the open space. I pointed out that the neighbors could have bought the open property themselves if they wanted to keep it as open space. I stated that the neighbors didn’t want to buy the cow, but wanted to have the milk for free, and that it was not too late for the neighbors to make the Mansfields a fair offer. [Read more...]

Letter: Questions candidate’s criticism of Library

To the editor:

Sadly, as a voter I have come to accept a certain amount of hyperbole, half-truths, and skewed statistics from candidates for federal and state offices. I’m sorry to see it reach our municipal election.

I’m talking specifically about the candidate for City Council, Doc Savara, whose platform and door-to-door campaign includes sharp criticism of the Oak Ridge Public Library, the library director, and staff. He alleges inefficient use of taxpayer dollars, bloated fees, and over-staffing, and he bases his findings on a check of national statistics and a story he has heard from a library patron who obviously had an unhappy experience. [Read more...]

Watson to discuss State of the City at Lunch with League on Tuesday

Mark Watson

Mark Watson

Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson will discuss the State of the City with the League of Women Voters on Tuesday.

During the annual event, Watson is also expected to give his perspective on issues facing the city, a press release said.

The Tuesday meeting starts at noon Tuesday, October 21, in the Social Hall of the new Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church location at 809 Oak Ridge Turnpike (north of the Joe L. Evins Federal Building, which is home to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office). [Read more...]

Letter: Baughn endorses Garcia Garland

Trina Baughn

Trina Baughn

To the Editor:

This election cycle, some candidates have characterized City Council deliberations as combative or regressive. The truth is, however, that of the hundreds of decisions made every year by City Council, the majority are made by unanimous vote. The same is true of the Board of Education and our boards and commissions.

A well-balanced government should not be stacked with all like-minded people whose primary goal is to achieve harmony. Some might argue that unanimity, which should not be mistaken for progress, is what has gotten us into many of the messes we are in. No, an elected body should allow for all voices to have the opportunity to be heard and considered. [Read more...]

Guest column: ‘One-shot’ voting unwise in Oak Ridge

Aditya "Doc" Savara

Aditya “Doc” Savara

By Aditya “Doc” Savara

“One-shot” voting is unwise in Oak Ridge.

This year, there are four seats for City Council and three seats for the Board of Education up for election in Oak Ridge.

A column that appeared online at Oak Ridge Today and in the print version of The Oak Ridger advocated “one-shot” voting—where a person only votes for a single candidate instead of using all four of their votes for City Council (or three for Board of Education). I disagree with that view and tell my supporters to vote for whomever they want on City Council.

There are 10 candidates for City Council. Let’s call them A,B,C,D…Suppose you like only two out of the 10 candidates, A and B, but like candidate A the most. With four seats available, the only time you would want to “one-shot A” is if you are afraid A and B are “neck and neck” for the last position with B beating A—for example, if the results turned out D,C,E,B,A,F,…where the first four win the election.

For any other situation, you would want to vote for both A and B. For example with D,B,A,C,E,F…you would want to vote for both A and B to make sure they both beat C. [Read more...]

Letter: Oak Ridge needs Chinn’s perspective, expertise

To the Editor:

Although I have never written an endorsement for any political candidates, I feel sincerely compelled to at this time.

Twenty-five years ago, I moved my family to Oak Ridge. I was not born here, had no family members here, nor did I relocate due to a job transfer or employment contract. I moved my family to this beautiful city for I desired to live in this community. I voluntarily chose Oak Ridge.

I started a business almost 24 years ago and earlier this year sold that business and am presently thoroughly enjoying retirement. Oak Ridge has been good to me and my family and God favored me over this past quarter of a century. And having the advantage of being a local business person, I want to cast my ballot in this year’s City Council election for Rick Chinn. [Read more...]

Guest column: The road to excellence

Mike Mahathy

Mike Mahathy

By Mike Mahathy

“Thus we began. With a sense of adventure, with a determination to make the most of a situation, we started out…looking forward to giving the children of Oak Ridge the best system we could develop.”

So said Dr. A.H. Blankenship years after accepting the role of starting the Oak Ridge school system.

From the very beginnings in 1943, Oak Ridge leaders wanted the best for their children. They choose a road less traveled by in this area.

Decades have passed, but there has remained one constant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee: a great school system where students have excelled in academics, the arts, music, athletics, and have gone on to be productive Americans. [Read more...]

Early voting begins Wednesday, October 15

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Information from WYSH Radio

Early voting for the November 4 general election in Anderson County begins Wednesday, October 15, and runs through Thursday, October 30.

Early voting hours Monday through Friday will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon at the Clinton Community Center, the Midtown Community Center in Oak Ridge, and at the North Anderson Government Office in the Anderson Crossing Shopping Center in the Norris/Andersonville area. [Read more...]

Guest column: Progress PAC helps broaden conversation of community issues

By Progress PAC

We are very proud that the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce has entrusted us to serve as the members of Progress PAC, the multi-candidate political action committee created by the Chamber and focused on our upcoming school board and city council elections. Though we are appointed by the Chamber’s Board of Directors, we operate independently from that same board.

Some people in the community have questions about how Progress PAC will operate, who we might support, and how endorsements might be made. Some have criticized the timing of Progress PAC’s establishment, and we acknowledge it could have been better. However, our primary goal is to have a positive impact in this election cycle.

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Now that Progress PAC has been created, we are largely autonomous. The Chamber’s Board may not approve or disapprove of any endorsement decisions we may make; the Chamber’s Board cannot approve or disapprove of contributions that Progress PAC either receives or distributes. The Chamber contributes no funds to PAC operations; we are supported by donations made directly to the PAC and we must report those to the appropriate election commissions. [Read more...]

Guest column: 2014—The year that Oak Ridgers take back their government

Trina Baughn

Trina Baughn

By Trina Baughn

Did you know that most of our local elections have historically been decided by less than 20 percent of our population? In fact, one of the biggest financial decisions ever made in our city’s history—the high school renovation project—was determined by only 11 percent (3,198) of our residents.

A number of factors have empowered the establishment for decades. If they have their way again this year, half of your elected officials will come from the most affluent neighborhoods in Oak Ridge, with half of them living on the very same street of McMansions! Given that the our average household income is $48,716, this is not even close to a true representation of the people in our community.

This year, though, the establishment is nervous and they should be for three very big reasons. [Read more...]

Guest column: Candidate calls for enlightenment, trust, ‘unified team’

Andy Howe

Andy Howe

By Andy Howe

Roughly 200,000 years ago the direct ancestor of modern man evolved in Africa when a small group of proto-humans adapted a genetic trait that previous forms of hominids only hinted at. This sub-species was capable of something never seen before—forward-thinking imagination. Our brains were changed to “fill in the gaps” on a conceptual level. It allowed us to invent complex tools and to plan for the future. Since then, we haven’t changed much.

Despite the belief that we are unique in the animal kingdom because we are lead not by our instincts but by our logic, the reality differs. The core of our nature is actually emotional and instinctual—our higher-order thinking skills only allow us to counter our more base reactions.

Studies have shown that people in groups tend to lose touch with their individual morals and principles. Biologically, part of our brain simply shuts down. We choose a side and don’t consider other perspectives, we defend that side wholeheartedly against our perceived opponents without recognition that we may actually be our own worst enemy. These insights are crucial in understanding human nature on both an individual and group level. [Read more...]

EQAB Climate Action Plan: Oak Ridge reduces emissions, electrical use

Mark Watson

Mark Watson

The first progress report for Oak Ridge’s Climate Action Plan said greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy use in city buildings are down and so is the annual electrical consumption for the average household.

Traffic signals use about 60 percent less electricity because of LED bulbs, and Oak Ridge has finished a home energy retrofit demonstration project that could be used as a model in the city, the report said.

Meanwhile, Oak Ridge has been recognized as a renewable energy leader by the Tennessee Valley Authority and is the first Green Power Community in Tennessee and in part of the Southeast. [Read more...]