2011
08.03

UPDATE 08/19/11:

The voter registration rally on August 20th has been cancelled.

Even though ink from 2010’s election results has hardly dried, national media outlets are already focusing on the 2012 campaign season. More than a dozen serious (maybe) candidates for President have surfaced, and several state primaries will be held as soon as next January.

All that focus on national politics means, as usual, equally important local races are falling between the cracks. In 2012 we’ll also have votes for state and federal representatives, state senators, SPIDITSLUT sales tax, County Commissioner, County School Board, and Walker County Sheriff. But first, this November 8th, residents of most Georgia municipalities will be given an opportunity to vote for their city leaders.

Despite the minimal attention local races get, our daily lives are impacted greatly by votes that determine who gains, keeps, or loses power within city and county government. Mayors, councilmen, and commissioners are responsible for local infrastructure, law enforcement, property and sales taxes, zoning laws, building codes, utility rates, and even who can provide cable TV service. That’s why it’s important to be informed about local candidates and their issues. Meanwhile, deadlines for candidate qualification and voter registration for this November’s vote are rapidly approaching.

Here’s a preliminary overview of campaign developments so far:

City of LaFayette / City Council

Every-other year LaFayette votes for half its elected leadership. In 2009 we voted for two council seats and mayor (incumbents swept the election); in 2011 three council seats will be contested. Unlike past years, at least two of those council seats will be vacant as Eric Tallent and Bill Craig have indicated they have no plans to run again. That means the council will have at least 2 new members next year, maybe three if a strong candidate steps up to run against Wayne Swanson. Three new council members would make a majority since the mayor only votes in ties.

City Manager Johnnie Arnold has also been telling people that councilman Norm Hodge (who isn’t up for a vote until 2013) is moving out of town and “considering” stepping down. (The legality of someone with an out-of-town address not stepping down is something we’ll have to check on if he decides to keep the seat.) If he quits in time to allow a vote for his replacement in November, that’s a rare chance for four new people on the council next January. There’s a good possibility that Andy Arnold and Mayor-For-Life Neal Florence might be the only members of the current not-competent-to-run-a-graveyard regime left in office six months from now.

If that wasn’t opportunity enough, LaFayette will also be getting a new City Manager. As the Underground told you in January, Johnnie Arnold will also be stepping down to become “assistant city manager” in October, staying on to train his replacement until next March when he reaches retirement age. Since Arnold isn’t leaving until March the city could wait until January to make him redundant, but that would put the decision of who to hire in the hands of a new council. Picking a new CM now allows current leaders keep some control even after they leave office.

Applications for the city manager position are being accepted at city hall, but insiders say councilors are intending the job for former councilman and city contractor Mark White – a decision new council members will probably want to revisit once they’ve been sworn in. We need a new city manager who’s competent and capable, not just some new flunkie trained by the old flunkie – but even with White in place, LaFayette will be an entirely different town if we wake up in January with four new people on the council and a new person in the city manager’s office.

When the election does come on November 8th, LaFayette residents will be using electronic voting machines for the first time in city history. Computer terminals borrowed from the county will speed up vote counting once the election ends and give voters more confidence that their ballot was counted. The last city vote in November 2009 involved paper ballots filled out in pencil and then hand-tallied by FiSDOP women, which raised a lot of concerns about possible shenanigans. Moving away from that antiquated system might produce vastly different results than we’ve gotten from the last dozen city elections.

Candidate qualification for LaFayette City Council will be August 29th through September 9th. Candidates must pay $180 at City Hall on Duke Street to appear on the November ballot. Until the deadline passes we won’t know for sure who’s qualified to run or who’s decided for sure to retire. As of today only one person, James Cole, has announced plans to run for the council.

James Lewis Cole is a 32-year-old single father raising two kids under the age of ten. Cole recently worked for Hays State Prison but took a leave of absence in order to handle a family situation. He’s lived in LaFayette his entire life except for a few years during high school and currently resides on McLemore Street in the city’s 3rd Ward. Cole describes himself as “the last person most people could see getting into local politics” but wants to be on the council to put his mouth and actions “on the same path.”

Cole says he’s not affiliated with any political party and has a primary goal of holding the city accountable for every dollar that goes in and every dollar that goes out. He says he wants “to see the city doing more for everyone who lives here” and will work to make city departments follow the Sunshine Laws more closely. He’s asking the citizens for input, which the current council absolutely does NOT do, and expresses a desire for “everyone to have a voice in every aspect of city operations.”

Cole will be running for the Ward 3 council seat currently held by Bill Craig. Cole has a campaign Facebook Page, can be e-mailed at jameslcoleward3@gmail.com, and can be called at 706-996-5788.

That leaves no declared candidates to run for Ward 4 (Eric Tallent’s seat) or the at-large council position currently held by Wayne Swanson. We’ve heard rumors of other candidates, including 63-year-old former one-term councilor Judy Meeks (mom of LPD detective Stacey), 77-year-old former Linwood mayor and LaFayette councilor Melvin Bridges, musician Vic Burgess, and a couple of local businessmen who never held elected office before. Some are waiting on Norm Hodge to make an announcement about stepping down before deciding to run, but the city manager’s repetition of that rumor might be as much about keeping people out of the race due to uncertainty as it is about drawing them in.

The biggest obstacle for candidates running in LaFayette is the way the city’s charter handles ward representation:

LaFayette is divided into four wards, each containing a similar number of residents. Each ward gets its own councilman, and a fifth councilman represents the entire city “at-large.” The mayor is also considered to be “at large” and serves as the city’s chief executive in legal matters even though he only votes when the council is tied.

Appropriately, a council candidate must live within the ward he (or she) represents. Unfortunately, people who vote for that councilor don’t have to live within the ward. The entire city votes for every ward seat, meaning candidates to represent Ward 4 (Linwood and Northwest LaFayette) must get votes from citizens living in all the wards, including FiSDOP neighborhoods off Duke Street, at the lake, and on Alpine Drive. People living on the east side of town are more politically active than those on the west side and have more resources at their disposal – which is why every elected LaFayette leader acts as if the west side of town doesn’t exist, even when they live there.

New candidates can try appealing to east-side FiSDOP voters, but those people always turn to tried-and-true familiar folks like Meeks, Swanson, and Bridges who they can trust to advocate for their interests. The interests of east-side residents (things like the number of working carts at the golf course) are 180° opposite and mostly incompatible with the needs of youth and and residents living on LaFayette’s west side.

For that reason, any new candidate hoping to get a seat this fall will have to tackle issues of importance to younger voters and residents of Linwood and West LaFayette (including inconsistent law enforcement, collapsing streets, increasing utility rates, and limited opportunities for children), then convince people in those areas to come out and vote while still appealing to a handful of residents living on the other side of town.

Once elected, new council members can work to change the city charter, allowing only residents of each ward to vote for those who would represent them. A new council would also hopefully examine every department leader’s authority, pay, and qualifications (beginning with the new city manager, followed quickly by the unqualified police chief) and make any necessary changes to those positions and the general structure of city government.

City of Rossville / Mayor & City Council

The LaFayette Underground doesn’t normally focus on issues in other cities, but this year’s municipal votes are an opportunity to clean house across the board, sending a message to every elected leader from city to state level that we’re ready for something better. Changed leadership in Walker County’s largest towns can translate into a changed attitude for the entire county, making Rossville’s November vote worth checking into as well.

Like LaFayette, Rossville also has a single declared candidate for its city election: 43-year-old businessman and father-of-four Les Coffey, who’s campaigning to replace mayor Johnny Baker. Baker recently said he has no plans to run for mayor again unless “no one he feels is qualified to lead the city files to be on the ballot.” Rossville doesn’t use a city manager, so the mayor there has more direct control over the city’s day to day operations.

Candidate Coffey’s family owns the old Peerless Mill property in Rossville and has set up several businesses in the facility, but blames Rossville’s government leaders (including Baker) for interfering with his progress. Coffey has charged Rossville police officers and police chief Sid Adams of breaking into his mill to steal equipment for a former tenant, of harassing him and his family, and of providing inadequate law enforcement or fire protection to the property. Coffey and Rossville have been battling in (and out) of court for years over ownership of buried sewers beneath the mill, and Coffey has also been critical of the city’s decision-making process regrading development deals like the one at recently-closed Roy’s Grill.

Rossville has, in turn, accused the candidate of making terroristic threats and stopping up the same sewer, arresting him and his wife multiple times for various minor infractions and putting him on the Walker County’s Most Wanted list back in June. The battle back and forth has been controversial and often plays like a Mexican soap opera, but whatever side you’re on between Coffey and Rossville you’ve got to admit the election should be interesting to say the least.

The Coffey-funded “Clean Up Rossville Now” Campaign says their goal is to clean up corruption in Walker County’s second-most-populated city and has made efforts to support any candidate with a similar goal. Clean Up Rossville NOW is setting up a Web site at www.cleanuprossville.com. Les can be contacted by e-mail at lesc@lescoservices.com.

No other candidates for Rossville mayor or two contested council seats have been announced yet. Candidate qualification in Rossville is August 29th through September 2nd, making Lafayette’s two-week qualification period seem almost lengthy by comparison.

Walker County / Sole Commissioner

Even though the first primary votes for Walker County Commissioner won’t be held until July 2012, a candidate for that position has already made his intentions clear.

Dr. G. Paul Shaw Jr. of LaFayette, a gulf war vet who retired last December after 30 years of practicing medicine, went public on July 4th with a Web site and press release announcing a campaign to become the next Walker County Commissioner. Dr. Shaw’s goal to replace Bebe Heiskell was no secret; rumors of his desire to run for office circulated well before his retirement, and the Underground predicted a run for commissioner or mayor way back in January.

Not only does Shaw want to be the county’s next sole commissioner, one of his primary goals is to also be it’s last sole commissioner by ending the archaic sole-commissioner form of government we’ve been under since 1940. Shaw’s “Take Back Walker County” site says he will call for a mid-term vote asking county residents if they want to stick with the current system or change to a five-member commission representing each of the county’s five ZIP-codes.

When asked about Dr. Shaw and his plans to bring in a commission, current commissioner Heiskell said “there’s a lot [Shaw] just hasn’t found out yet” and insisted Walker County residents love the current elected-monarch system: “All I have ever heard is that they are satisfied with the sole commissioner government.”

Apparently Madame Commissioner is hard of hearing. In the time the Underground has existed, one thing we’ve never had anyone disagree about is the need for a commission-based Walker County government. The old ways might be fine for places like Chattooga County with a population of 26,000, but Walker County’s nearly 70,000 people deserve to have their interests represented by a body of leaders instead of a single elected person who only becomes accountable every fourth year. Every city in Northwest Georgia (including tiny Lyerly with only a few hundred residents) has a multiple-member board leading its government, so why is it acceptable for a massive county with a larger budget and more citizens to only have one elected leader?

Heiskell isn’t just deaf, she’s disconnected from reality after decades of government employment. 2012 will end her third (hopefully final) four-year term as Commissioner, but before becoming Queen of the County she spent years employed by Walker County and the City of Chickamauga. All that time on government payroll, surrounded by other lifetime politicians like Roy Parrish, Jeff Mullis, and David Wish-We-Had-More-Tornado-Deaths Ashburn, has left her with no idea what normal people really want or need.

Disconnected leaders serving three, four, or five terms will also become a thing of the past if Shaw wins the commissioner’s office, because he promises to let Walker County vote for single- or double-term limits on county leadership. (That will hopefully also apply to the Sheriff’s Office, as Steve Wilson is looking to win a fifth term in 2012.) Shaw believes in term limits so much he’s vowed to limit himself to having only one, serving just long enough to make those crucial changes to the county government structure.

A one-term pledge might actually hurt Shaw’s chances of winning over voters. It will take every minute of a single four-year term just to drain the proverbial swamp of Heiskell’s administration; if he can’t accomplish all his goals in that time he should be committed enough to serve a second term (but not a third) in order to see campaign promises completed. And voters would be well served to have Shaw sit, at least for a while, on the board of commissioners he’ll be shaping after we approve it in 2014. He may reconsider the one-term pledge, but if he does it should happen before he’s elected so future opponents can’t accuse him of breaking the promise.

We have a few other concerns about Shaw, the biggest being his presence on the City of LaFayette airport committee. But that’s a minor issue compared to the big-picture goal of having a reformed, refocused county government. Many in LaFayette know and like Dr. Shaw, and if the county election was only held for LaFayette he would win easily. Unfortunately his name isn’t as well known in other places, particularly Chickamauga where Commissioner Heiskell finds her strength and support.

Bebe is disconnected from average people, but she’s no dummy and she’s been a politician for longer than a lot of voters have been alive. She knows where to apply SPLOST funding to make the biggest impact on likely voters, and has the connections needed to out-advertise and out-campaign anyone. In the first six months of 2011, Heiskell raised $44,600 – but only $18,450 from individuals and businesses with Walker County addresses.

Most of the remaining $26,150 came from Roper parent General Electric ($1,000) and a mixture of Georgia- and Tennessee-based contractors hoping to do business with Walker County in the future. Heiskell’s campaign also got a $2,000 donation from an Ohio company that benefitting from an $800,000 bond sale the Commissioner will finalize on August 10th.

Full list of Heiskell campaign contributions and expenses as-of June 30th. (PDF)

Heiskell has already begun spending the funds on wine and food for fundraisers, t-shirts, printing services, and advertising in the Walker County Messenger and LHS yearbook. Her expenditures will shoot up considerably this fall, and so will the amount she’s able to collect from contractors and friends who want her attention. Her contribution report for the second half of 2011 will undoubtedly blow away the report filed for January-June. With all that, there’s no way Shaw can raise as much money as his opponent, but as he recently said, “She can out spend us but can’t out vote us.”

The key for Dr. Shaw to win will be name recognition outside of LaFayette, and strong voter turnout in areas where his name is already known. He will absolutely have to spend money on advertising with billboards, radio, and TV to get Walker County familiar with his name, and should also match or exceed anything the current commissioner spends for ads in the Messenger so the paper is “motivated” to treat him as gently as they treat her. He’ll also need to invest his time into talking with potential voters in LaFayette, Villanow, Kensington, Rossville, and Lookout Mountain to encourage a strong showing at the polls next year while associating his opponent (quite deservedly) with the county’s economic and infrastructure woes.

LaFayette residents supporting the doctor can help make up for his financial disadvantage by spreading the word about him to their family or friends (especially those in northern Walker) and coming out to vote in record numbers. The rest of Walker County can out-vote the Heiskell-supporting “Chickamauga Mafia” but only if we turn frustration with the current regime into votes for a new county leader and a new form of government.

Dr. Shaw’s campaign Web site is www.takebackwalkerco.org. His campaign also has a Facebook page. He can be reached through e-mail at shaw2012@takebackwalkerco.org.

Voter Registration Rally

In all these races, it’s clear that the key to getting new people into office is to get new people voting. LaFayette has over 7,000 residents, but in the 2009 election slightly less than 1,000 showed up to cast a vote. Likewise, only a small fraction of Walker County’s 68,000 people voted in the 2008 primary election. Some don’t vote because they think their vote doesn’t count, but many don’t vote because they aren’t registered to.

To register new Walker County voters and encourage already-registered voters to participate in the 2011 and 2012 elections, a Voter Registration Rally will be held in late August. The rally is being organized by candidate James Cole, but the goal isn’t to rally voters for him, just to encourage more people to vote: “It doesn’t matter who you are voting for, it just matters that you are voting when the time comes.”

The rally will be held Saturday August 20th at Cherokee Farms, 2035 Old Mineral Springs Rd (right outside town) starting at 10 AM and wrapping up around 8. Ooltewah’s Glory Denied and LaFayette musician Colby Curry are confirmed performers, with several others scheduled. Food will also be served during the rally, and at least two of the candidates mentioned here (Cole and Shaw) are planning to attend along with a tentative yes from Coffey if he’s not in jail that day. Other candidates are welcome to attend and can e-mail Cole to RSVP. The registration rally has a Facebook Event page.

Anyone living in Walker County can register to vote during the rally regardless of the precinct where their vote is cast. Transplants registered to vote in other communities can also update their information to be ready for this November’s vote. Before the rally, residents can check their registration status, voting precinct, and local legislators at the Georgia Secretary of State “My Voter Page.” The registration deadline for this November will be October 11th.

It All Adds Up

This year’s election presents a rare opportunity for real, lasting change. With three or four council seats up for a vote, the residents of LaFayette – using the security of electronic voting machines – can clean house in November. Rossville voters can, likewise, replace several councilmen and an aging, corrupt mayor who’s claiming to be done with the job. Not just voting to change who holds elected positions, but voting to end the attitude of derision and selfishness that has slowly rotted away the foundations of our community.

That attitude can spread from the cities and cover all of Walker County by sending a message to leaders that says they will be held accountable for their actions from now on, and a message to voters that tells them their voices can be heard now and in the future. The voters can be heard this year and next, but to be heard they must speak through actions and votes. Others will be heard by standing up, doing hard work and risking public criticism, as solid candidates deserving of our votes.

This year and next may be the most important local election cycles in a generation, but if we don’t get involved they may pass us by without anyone noticing a difference. It’s time to take control of our future.

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21 comments so far

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  1. Yes and Paul Shaw doesn’t mind smacking an old woman around, ie..his step mother because, “she is not going to spend his inheritance “. along with many dishonesty’s, such as not paying for services. If he gets elected he will run this County in the dirt. Oh and don’t forget his wife who thinks she is entitled to do what ever she wants. Folks these are things I know first hand.

  2. Someone who ain’t got a clue said;
    “If he gets elected he will run this County in the dirt”

    Apparently you’ve been sleeping for some time if you can’t taste the dirt in your mouth already. Queen Bebe has all but destroyed Walker County, along with Ashburn, Mullis, Wilson, and the rest. I don’t care if Paul Shaw kicks baby ducks, we need a change … quickly. Walker residents need to wake up NOW!

  3. Here’s an interview with Dr. Shaw, it covers some personal information and campaign goals.

    http://www.catwalkchatt.com/view/full_story/14946100/article-Paul-Shaw-seeking-Walker-County-commissioner-seat-in-2012-?

    They did the interview a month ago and didn’t release it because Bebe wouldn’t do one too, but we mentioned it on Facebook last night and all of a sudden there it is. Not exactly an in-depth piece but it’s good info. Nothing about him kicking ducks or “smacking an old woman around” though, sorry.

    — LU

  4. The last Doctor we had in government didn’t leave us in no where near the mess we’re in now. He’s got my vote.

    He probably wouldn’t make a bad Mayor. Pharmacists just don’t seem to do very well in government for some reason.

  5. well, OCH I do know more than you will ever know, so go ahead and vote him in you will see. Lu you think he would ever admit to the things I posted. This man is crazy. Oh and by the way I do agree that we need a change, but NOT PAUL SHAW. I have never used him as a doctor..so I do not have a bias for that reason. This is not the man or person to “help” our county. Sad that he is the only one running against Bebe

  6. So, God annointed you to know more than I will ever know? How special you must feel.

    I would prefer crazy over stupid any day, so he gets my vote. I will also work with him in any capacity to see that Queen Bebe is sent packing.

  7. QCH so hostel! I simply am in a position to know. But yes I do feel special not because of the fact that I know things, so sorry that you feel less secure in yourself. your hostility confirms the fact that you “would” prefer crazy over stupid. Sadly if he gets voted in you will have both. Such hatred of people will get you no where! Yes I had my dig, but you asked for it. Can we keep the conversation about what is the best for the County and not your own problems.

  8. You don’t bother me. I’m not angry, insecure, nor “hostile”. I don’t hate people either.

    What is best for this county, in my opinion, is the election of Paul Shaw as Commissioner.

    Abraham Lincoln was a racist who in his own words “liked a good Darkie joke”, used the N word frequently, and said blacks were inferior intellectually, and wanted to send them all to other countries, in his words, “anywhere but here” … he still was an effective leader.

    Michael Vick killed Pit Bulls (which I don’t have a problem with) … He still was an effective quarterback.

    If we’re looking for moral perfection in our leaders, I assure you we are dead in the water … as those people don’t exist.

    There is none righteous, no, not one … God said so through The Apostle Paul

    You can run around the county screamin’ “Paul Shaw beats up on women”, but you have to understand that most folks will see it as a personal vendetta on your part, and not take it serious at all.

    You’ll have to come up with a new game plan if you intend on swaying public opinion.

  9. Times Free Press confirms today that Bill Craig and Eric Tallent aren’t going to run again this fall. Both councilmen said Norm Hodge is moving out of town but he wouldn’t speak to reporters to confirm that. Citizens should come to tomorrow night’s council meeting (7:30 PM at City Hall on Duke St) and press him to quit if he’s already moved.

    They also confirm that Melvin Bridges wants back in. Somebody please for the love of all that’s good, step up and run for Ward 4 so he doesn’t get back in.

    http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2011/aug/07/3-lafayette-council-wont-seek-re-election/

    — LU

  10. I’ll give you a great reason to vote out the current LaFayette administration. It was just announced that the city is $850,000 in the hole, thanks to Norm Hodge and the rest of the council that voted yes on building a softball complex that cost about $900,000. These folks spend like the a%%holes in Washington.

  11. WQCH.net / 08/09/11:

    AFTER THIS NOVEMBER’S CITY ELECTION IN LAFAYETTE, THREE OF THE FIVE COUNCIL MEMBERS WILL LIKELY BE REPLACED. AT MONDAY’S COUNCIL MEETING, SECOND-WARD COUNCILMAN NORM HODGE SAID HE WILL RESIGN IN SEPTEMBER, BECAUSE HE IS MOVING OUTSIDE OF THE CITY.
    HODGE TOLD WQCH NEWS THAT, WITH A NEW BABY ON THE WAY, HIS FAMILY HAS OUTGROWN THEIR RESIDENCE AND WILL HAVE TO MOVE. MONDAY NIGHT, HE SAID HE IS TIMING HIS RESIGNATION FOR NEXT MONTH, SO THAT THE SPECIAL ELECTION TO REPLACE HIM MAY BE HELD AT THE SAME TIME AS THE REGULAR CITY ELECTION IN NOVEMBER. THAT WILL SAVE THE TAXPAYERS SEVERAL THOUSAND DOLLARS THAT WOULD OTHERWISE BE SPENT ON A SEPARATE SPECIAL ELECTION.
    COUNCILMAN BILL CRAIG HAS ANNOUNCED THAT HE IS RETIRING… COUNCILMAN ERIC TALLENT HAS SAID HE PROBABLY WON’T RUN, DUE TO CHANGES IN HIS STATE PATROL JOB. THE OTHER COUNCIL SEAT UP FOR ELECTION THIS YEAR IS THE AT-LARGE SEAT, CURRENTLY HELD BY WAYNE SWANSON… AND HE HAS SAID HE WILL BE RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION.
    QUALIFYING DATES WERE SET MONDAY… THEY ARE AUGUST 29th THROUGH THE 31st AT CITY HALL. THE QUALIFYING FEE TO RUN FOR CITY COUNCIL IS $108.

    They confirmed what we reported, but the date for election qualification has now shrunk from what they said last month. We went from two work-weeks to three days. If you want to run ye had best get in line with that $180.

    — LU

  12. I am not sure I agree or disagree with Dr. Shaw’s ability to lead. However, I do agree with what he hopes to accomplish and wish him well. I do know that the current system is outdated and isnt working. Walker County sits between two major interstates, instead of building major roads to connect to them…she bought a farm?…How many jobs did that add?
    My wish is someone would do something to oust Tommy Freeman, along with a few of his “detectives” who cant seem to detect a crime. Tommy is only there in a retirement position. He has no incentive to clean up this community as he doesnt want to rock that sweet boat he is floating. Drugs are rampid in the city and county however, I do see the county making an effort – not so in the city. Tommy is clearly in the pocket of the city Judge’s family. The same judge that just happen to get the roofing job for the building Tommy works in. Hopefully he will be out soon too! – Talk about a bunch of Freeloaders! Bankrupt Brother and real estate scammer wife took advantage of local businesses by charging $$$ a few days before their personal and construction business bankruptcy was filed. They also took advantage of a mentaly ill woman to try and help themselves to her money. Although, Tommy and his “detectives” were aware…they let it slide….afterall, its the Judges family right…
    Yes, the county will be better off without Bebe but hey, it could be worse…it could be like the city….

  13. Here’s Heiskell’s long-delayed response to Dr. Shaw’s campaign announcement: http://www.catwalkchatt.com/view/full_story/15011503/article-Walker-County-commissioner-Heiskell-defends-against-accusations–plans-to-seek-re-eleciton

    It’s rather long… Highlights include her defense of the Lookout Mountain hotel project, her continued insistence that we want a single county commissioner, and a slam on “the rumors” which I suppose means us. Last time she called us “that web site” – not sure which is worse.

    “Heiskell kicked off her reelection campaign with a July golf tournament on Lookout Mountain. ‘We made about $40,000, which was overwhelming to me. I was surprised to be able to raise that kind of money. But most everybody was someone who I had done business with or else it was a friend.'”

    Who does she do business with? Contractors for Walker County. They gave her back some of the county tax dollars she gave them, with assurances that they’ll keep getting more. A few paragraphs earlier she was attacking Shaw’s plan to bid out county projects, wonder why she’s so opposed to that? Hmm.

    — LU

  14. Comment to Queen Bebe (as I know either you or your minions read this website);

    I’d like to say that no matter how you perceive your time as Commissioner, the vast majority of citizens believe Walker Co is a stinkin’ mess. You cannot hide, nor can you sugarcoat the facts. My prayer (we actually pray in church over the mess you’ve made) is that Paul Shaw, or anybody with a sprinkling of common sense, uproots your pathetic administration and puts an end to the trainwreck YOU have caused. You DO NOT need to be in a position to take one more penny of Walker Co money, and as you exit I pray that the thugs you’ve surrounded yourself with follow you out the door.

    Shame on you, Your Highness.

  15. She may be a woman but she is a “Good Ole’ Boy” ……

  16. I read the post by DAN and he is certainly entitled to his/her opinion. I would suggest he vote for the candidate of his/her choice…end of conversation! I have never struck a woman nor would I ever consider doing so….I was not raised that way!

    As to SOMEONEWHOCARES, he/she is apparently off their medication. My Father’s 2nd wife was a wonderful person, beautiful, cultured, kind and wonderfully talented. I am friends with her 2 sons and we grew up together, her elder son is a close friend of mine and continues to be though he and his wife now live in another state and we seldom get to visit. My Father’s 2nd wife ( I never cared for the title stepmother… it never seemed right), was a wonderfully talented woman,beautiful in self and mind. She took good care of my Father until his death and was a loyal wife. I always respected her and their relationship and I was please that they both had a warm and happy marriage. I visited her on occasion and as always she was charming lady. She was my friend ! I doubt that he/she, my accuser, even knows her name. When she passed away, her family ask me to ride in the family car and sit with them, I declined as did her first cousins. I was not blood related and I felt that the seating was best allocated to the family members, I did stand behind them at her service. Any allocations that I ever abused this fine lady is beyond belief and contempt.

    This is purely the fabrication of a sick mind…! I have the name of one of the Commissioner’s office employees that has the reputation of being the rumor monger on command. I suggest that the statement made reminds me of the commercial “Show Me The Fax”, I say “Show Me The FACTS” or leave the dark side and come into the light of truth…cleanse your soul, you will be a better person for it.
    I am not angry, I am disappointed that this early in the campaign an attack of the most cowardly and vial kind is underway. I was warned that this would happen, I just didn’t expect it this early. Her reputation proceeds her. I promise that I will be the Commissioner of the voters. They deserve to be heard and listened to. If you are a citizen of Walker County, regardless of you’r support in this election, you deserve to be heard. Something that has been sadly lacking for way too long! I will have an election at mid- term that lets the voters decide…do they want a solo Commissioner or do they want a 5 person Commission. I also will ask for a vote on terms limits. I believe that I can clean up the mess that we currently have in 4 years. Either way, my term of Commissioner will be for 1 term. I might consider a term as Chair but we must get rid of the current dictatorship that is going to paralyze this county and plunge us into the depths of debt and recession.

    I will not respond to any future false statements by these two, they are below contempt. If you want a change for the better VOTE FOR SHAW 2012….If you want status quo, vote for Bebe…its your choice. If you want a person that is not looking for financial gain, vote for G. Paul Shaw, Jr. I’m not looking for $$$ gain!

    Thank you and I ask for your vote in June 2012…. G. Paul Shaw, Jr. MD your Commissioner in 2012

  17. You got my vote, Doc. I had a long conversation with two very influential men today about your candidacy. They both are ready for change, and getting vocal about it. It is time to end the Heiskell/Ashburn reign.

  18. LU > Just thought I would let you know I will be qualifying Monday around 4pm in the City Council Election race for Ward 3. You can add my name to your list of candidates!

    For all the voters that voted for me in the City Court Judge race, I would like to tell you I appreciated your votes very much. If you will vote for me and I get elected to the City Council, I promise to do the very best I can for each of you! That you can count on.

  19. As a twelve year resident of Walker County, I plan to relocate out of the county within the next year. Drug use is rampant within our communities. Also, the condition of many properties is deplorable. There are pockets of nice areas for homeowners in the upper class, but take a weekend and drive around Catoosa County, just for comparison, and you will find a major difference in homeowner pride. Actually, it might be because their code enforcement agency enforces the codes! Unfortunately, if you need to report your neighbor’s “landfill,” the Walker County code enforcement officer will walk straight up to your neighbor’s porch and tell him/her who made the complaint. Wow, how lucky we are for the law to give our personal information to the law-breakers.

  20. Great to see you getting involved Chris! I wish you were going for the city judge seat. The current city judge’s family has done horrible things but have fallen under the protection of Tommy Freeman so nothing is being done. At least having you on the council will help!
    @ too Scared – You are correct! I moved to Catoosa to escape the “Golf Course Mafia” several years ago. The only thing worse than the illegal activity, is the Politics! Its not who you know, its who you play golf with!

  21. WQCH.net AM-1590 Radio:

    “THERE WAS ONE FINAL QUALIFIER BEFORE LAFAYETTE CITY COUNCIL QUALIFYING CLOSED AT 4:30 PM WEDNESDAY. LOCAL PASTOR MELVIN BRIDGES, WHO’S BEEN ON THE COUNCIL BEFORE… QUALIFIED TO RUN FOR THE POST 4 COUNCIL SEAT. THAT MAKES A TOTAL OF 10 QUALIFIED CANDIDATES.

    “INCUMBENT AT-LARGE COUNCILMAN WAYNE SWANSON WAS THE ONLY QUALIFIER FOR THAT POST, AS HE SEEKS RE-ELECTION TO ANOTHER TERM. THE OTHER 2 INCUMBENTS ARE NOT SEEKING RE-ELECTION… WARD 3 CANDIDATES INCLUDE CHRIS HOLLIS, JUDY MEEKS, STACEY SUTTLE AND JERRY ROGERS. AND RUNNING FOR WARD 4, IT’S CHRIS DAVIS, KEVIN ROBINSON, JOE DEBORD, DONNY MCGAHA AND MELVIN BRIDGES.

    “WITH 10 CANDIDATES RUNNING, CHANCES ARE THAT A RUNOFF MAY BE NECESSARY TO DECIDE THE WARDS 3 OR 4 RACES.”

    So Wayne Swanson will have no challenger, nine candidates scrambling for two open seats Ward 3 and 4. Norm Hodge hasn’t officially stepped down yet, he’s going to stay around to ensure Mark White becomes the new City Manager and quit in September. After he steps down they’ll open qualification for his seat, and still have voting for Ward 2 in November. At least one candidate for Ward 2 seat. We WILL have three new councilors in January, but two of them might be Judy Meeks and Melvin Bridges – definitely not forward progress.

    We’ll be interviewing candidates soon, thanks for reading.

    — LU