Letter: Chinn wants to be mayor, help attract new families, industries

Rick Chinn

Rick Chinn

City Manager Mark Watson and honorable members of Oak Ridge City Council,

First, I would like to congratulate the new members elected to Council and express my enthusiasm in working with the three sitting members of Council for the coming years. I feel we have a great group of leaders and know that if we work together, we can accomplish some great things for the City of Oak Ridge.

In my opinion, a key to making these great things happen is working together in electing and supporting our new mayor. That said, I would like to officially announce my interest in becoming the new mayor.

I believe the mayor’s position is much more than cutting ribbons and running the monthly meetings. The mayor, in my opinion, is the chief lobbyist of the city.

We are unique from most cities in the fact that our health as a city is tied closely to the choices that are made by both state and federal lawmakers. [Read more…]

Letter: Asks City Council to appoint Gooch as mayor

To the Editor:

Let me begin by saying thank you to those members of both City Council and the School Board who elected to not run again, and to those who did run but were not successful in their efforts. I appreciate each of them stepping up to the plate to make this community a better place, and I hope they all continue to remain active in a positive manner to keep this community moving forward.

Also, with the most recent election behind us and several new faces taking on the leadership responsibilities for the city and school system, I look forward to each of the newly elected representatives bringing their vision to the table and working with the existing members to make Oak Ridge an outstanding community to live, work, and play.

During the November 24 City Council meeting, City Council members will be electing a new mayor for a two-year term. In our “weak mayor” form of local government, the mayor has no power outside of Council, so the mayoral role is solely to lead the City Council meetings and to be the main representative of the city for various meetings, activities, and events. [Read more…]

2014 Election: Interest in mayor position, mall redevelopment, better ties with BOE

Oak Ridge City Council Candidate Forum

Nine of the 10 Oak Ridge City Council candidates are pictured above. From right, they are Kelly Callison, Rick Chinn, incumbent Anne Garcia Garland, Warren Gooch, Gary Love, incumbent David Mosby, Pedro Otaduy, former Council member Ellen Smith, and Eric Tobler. Not pictured is Aditya “Doc” Savara.

 

A majority of the Oak Ridge City Council candidates said they would consider running for mayor or vice mayor if elected on Tuesday, and almost all supported the incentives recommended for the proposed redevelopers of the former Oak Ridge Mall.

The candidates were mixed on whether to bring back red-light cameras, and most seemed to think the city’s property tax rate is about right, in light of current budget needs.

Asked to grade the current Council as leaders, the candidates handed out grades ranging from “A” to “F.”

In a series of recent forums, the candidates generally advocated for better communication between the City Council and Oak Ridge Board of Education and, for the most part, seemed to be in favor of taking over Clark Center Park in south Oak Ridge, although their approvals would hinge on factors such as cost and property restrictions.

There are 10 candidates running for four seats on the seven-member Council in Tuesday’s election. Two of the incumbents—Anne Garcia Garland and David Mosby—are seeking re-election—and two others—Mayor Tom Beehan and Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller—are not.

Many consider it a critical election, with a business boom under way and major projects on the horizon, including the proposed redevelopment of the mall and the planned $6.5 billion Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 National Security Complex.

The new Council is expected to elect a new mayor and mayor pro tem (like a vice mayor) during its next meeting after Tuesday’s election.

Here is a look at some of what the candidates said during the recent forums. [Read more…]

Letter: Chinn can help make needed changes

To the Editor:

There was a recent letter to the editor in The Oak Ridger with mention of how involved a candidate should (or should not be) while running for City Council. I was disappointed that this person would not expect or want a person to be extremely active in our community prior to being elected.

Rick Chinn was specifically mentioned as being too involved to be a good candidate. Does that person realize how backwards that is? We don’t want a heavily involved businessman, community leader, and father to lead our city in the future? My candidate must have all these skills and more to get my vote! [Read more…]

Letter: Smith informed, intelligent, civil, sensible

To the Editor:

Oak Ridgers are fortunate in having a candidate of the caliber of Ellen Smith willing to once again serve on City Council, where, between 2007 and 2012, we benefited greatly from her wise, intelligent, and highly informed voice.

In addition to her service on Council, Ellen has long been involved in community affairs, and has participated in local government. This, plus her professional background, has made her a strong and consistent advocate for protecting the environmental values of lands and waters of the city and of the Oak Ridge Reservation.

Her activities have also given her a broad understanding of governmental matters additional to the diverse environmental issues and concerns that face Oak Ridge. She is committed to be part of a community leadership that recognizes the challenges we face and makes choices that maximize our assets and opportunities. [Read more…]

Letter: Congressional debate, candidate answers available online

To the Editor:

Oak Ridge voters in the Third Congressional District might like to know that they can view the Monday night, October 27, debate between Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and Dr. Mary Headrick at https://www.facebook.com/EastTennesseePBS.

Voters might also like to see answers from City Council and School Board candidates to questions asked of them by DFET (Democracy for East Tennessee) following the Candidates’ Reception sponsored by the group on October 9 in Oak Ridge at www.dfet.org.

DFET Executive Committee:

Tom Burns, Leslie Agron, Joan Cassens, Virginia Jones

Oak Ridge

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…]