AC Commission replaces Phillips with Bates

Zach Bates

Zach Bates

WYSH Radio/Oak Ridge Today

The Anderson County Commission has voted to replace Chris Phillips in Commission District 4 with the man whose vacated seat he won in August.

Phillips resigned his Commission seat—won in the August 7 election—so that he could return to work as the county’s budget and accounts director after leaving that post earlier this year to become city recorder in his native Rocky Top. Phillips left the county government to help the town update its accounting practices as it makes the transition from Lake City to Rocky Top and prepares for what is expected to be a busy time for the city. [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: 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...]

Chamber has two candidate forums this week

Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce is pictured above.

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce has two Election Selection candidate forums this week.

The first is Tuesday morning, September 30, and it will feature the 10 candidates for Oak Ridge City Council. The second is Thursday morning, October 2, and it will feature the eight candidates for Oak Ridge Board of Education.

The forums have been organized by the Chamber’s Pro-Growth Advocacy Committee. They are open to the public.

Doors to both forums open at 7 a.m. There will be 30 minutes of meet-and-greet time among the candidates, Chamber members, supporters, community members, and attendees, a press release said. [Read more...]

Candidate forum for Oak Ridge City Council

There will be two candidate forums this month for candidates for Oak Ridge City Council and Oak Ridge Board of Education, and for Tennessee House and Senate and the U.S. House.

The forums are scheduled for September 17 and September 25. Both are in the Oak Ridge High School Amphitheater and are free and open to the public.

They’re sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge and are in preparation of the November 4 state, federal, and local general election.

The first forum, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 17, will first feature candidates for House District 32 and House District 33, Tennessee 5th Senatorial District, and Tennessee 3rd Congressional District. Then, the double forum will feature candidates running for the Oak Ridge Board of Education. [Read more...]

Letter: Urges voters to meet Callison, a ‘proven strong leader’

To the Editor:

I want to personally invite you to come to Razzleberry’s Ice Cream Lab and Kitchen in Jackson Square on Wednesday, September 24, from 5 to 7 p.m. to meet and support Kelly Callison, who is running for Oak Ridge City Council in the upcoming election.

I’ve worked personally with Kelly on the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission and on several boards in Oak Ridge. Kelly is a proven strong leader who understands the problems facing Oak Ridge. He is results-focused and has shown his ability to work with and lead teams of leaders to solve problems. Kelly is chief operating officer for Information International Associates here in Oak Ridge.

I’m convinced that Kelly will be a great asset for the City of Oak Ridge as a Council member. I urge you to come spend some time with Kelly on September 24, and I think you too will find him to be just the kind of Council member Oak Ridge needs.

I look forward to seeing you on September 24!

Austin Lance

Oak Ridge

School board candidates field questions on technology, tax increases

Oak Ridge Board of Education Forum

A. Paige Marshall, left, one of eight candidates for the Oak Ridge School Board, answers a question during the League of Women Voters’ Candidate Forum Wednesday night. To her right are candidates Mike Mahathy, Andrew Howe, Jean Hiser, and incumbent Bob Eby, with WUOT radio host Matt Shafer Powell, who posed the questions. (Photo by Rebecca D. Williams)

 

Fielding public school questions about technology, tax increases, and the teaching of science versus religion, eight candidates for the Oak Ridge School Board tried to distinguish themselves from one another Wednesday night at the League of Women Voters’ Candidate Forum held at the Oak Ridge High School Amphitheater, to a crowd of about 150.

Board candidates offered largely similar answers, with the greatest difference of opinion posed by Aaron Wells. He spoke against school tax increases and one-to-one technology in schools.

“The biggest impact on me growing up was when my teachers gave me one-to-one education,” Wells said. “How many hours a day are kids staring at a screen? It’s too many. We need to do more with less, because money’s tight. We’ve got to get back to the basics.”

Also participating in the forum were two candidates who are opposing incumbent Chuck Fleischmann, a Republican, for the District 3 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Mary M. Headrick, a Democrat, and Cassandra J. Mitchell, an Independent, answered questions. Fleischmann was not present.

Also, Tennessee House Representative for District 32, Kent Calfee, the Republican incumbent, and Joe Kneiser, his Democratic opponent, fielded questions about four referendum questions on the ballot Nov. 4.

Three seats on the five-member Oak Ridge Board of Education are open. Bob Eby is the only incumbent running for re-election. Other candidates include Jean Hiser, Andrew Howe, Mike Mahathy, A. Paige Marshall, Laura McLean, Laurie Paine, and Wells. [Read more...]

Candidate forum for Oak Ridge school board, state, federal offices

There will be two candidate forums this month for candidates for Oak Ridge City Council and Oak Ridge Board of Education, and for Tennessee House and Senate and the U.S. House.

The forums are scheduled for September 17 and September 25. Both are in the Oak Ridge High School Amphitheater and are free and open to the public.

They’re sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge and are in preparation of the November 4 state, federal, and local general election.

The first forum, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 17, will first feature candidates for House District 32 and House District 33, Tennessee 5th Senatorial District, and Tennessee 3rd Congressional District. Then, the double forum will feature candidates running for the Oak Ridge Board of Education. [Read more...]

Honors: DA Clark named a governor of Tennessee Bar Association

Dave Clark

Dave Clark

District Attorney General Dave Clark has been named a governor of the Tennessee Bar Association. The 23-member board controls the activities and business of the Tennessee Bar Association in all its activities across the state.

The TBA represents more than 10,000 lawyers in Tennessee in trying to “foster legal education, maintain the honor and dignity of the profession of law, cultivate professional ethics, and promote improvements in the law and administration of justice,” a press release said.

“It is an honor to be selected to serve in a leadership role among my peers and to help continue the service of the Tennessee Bar Association,” Clark said in the release.

Clark, who represents the Seventh Judicial District (Anderson County), was elected to a second eight-year term as DA in the August 7 county election.

Gooch running for Oak Ridge City Council

Warren L. Gooch

Warren L. Gooch

Warren Gooch is running for Oak Ridge City Council in the November 4 election.

Gooch is a partner in the law firm of Kramer Rayson LLP, which has offices in Oak Ridge and Knoxville. He has been recognized as a leading health care lawyer by national and regional publications, including the 2015 edition of “The Best Lawyers in America,” a press release said.

“I am a candidate for City Council because I believe in Oak Ridge,” Gooch said. “I am proud to live in a city with an unparalleled history of accomplishments.”

But Oak Ridge is at a crossroads, he said.

“In order for us to continue to prosper, we must have a vision to grow the city, energy to promote it, and a commitment to excellence in our schools, city services, and our quality of life,” Gooch said. “Our city government  must be efficient, responsive to all of its citizens, and open for business. As a member of City Council, I pledge to be a consensus builder, and to provide the leadership that will move Oak Ridge forward.” [Read more...]