When we all got together to defend our property rights a few months ago, we proved to the City that the people really care and have the power … the power to VOTE in 2018! Tomorrow is the last day to register, please register to VOTE!!
I always tell people if you don’t vote, then you have no right to complain.
After reading Dick Cook’s opinion piece, I knew I was one of “THOSE PEOPLE.” Well to be honest, I am proud to be one of “THOSE PEOPLE.” I am also proud of the citizens that stuck it out for Thursday’s four-hour East Ridge City Council meeting.
If we don’t get a new animal shelter, I will be so disappointed in our leaders. The Animal Control Officers need our help to get this done. Just do it, get it done ASAP! Maybe we need to name it “Lambert Station” and see what happens. Lambert is looking hard for a positive legacy to leave the city of East Ridge.
When the East Ridge Housing and Redevelopment Authority (ERHRA) was created in the spring of 2017, they had a few monthly meetings (during the morning hours) to get the concept off the ground. In the first ERHRA meeting, Mayor Lambert addressed all his APPOINTEES on his vision for the ERHRA.
The ERHRA was expedited by City Attorney Mark Litchford. Litchford is the one that created the bylaws and he had a part in defining the RED ZONE for the commercial development areas, which included residential property. Litchford also crafted a request for authority funding to the tune of $20,000 so they could pay Litchford’s going rate! The city attorney later billed the city for $14,000 out of the ERHRA’s $20,000 piggy bank.
There were a few council members who attended those early ERHRA meetings. Further along in the process the “Red Zone Map” and “letter” was discussed, but the letter was not provided or presented to the authority before they were mailed to thousands of East Ridge property owners. I find it hard to believe that council members did not know what was going on when this issue got out of hand.
So here’s what I want to know; Does the council always vote on ordinances and resolution that they many not understand? I don’t buy it! It’s your job to know, right?
Brian Williams was the first council member to reach out on Facebook and address citizens’ questions on this issue. That was great.
Councilwoman Esther Helton put out a press release saying that she didn’t know what was going on in the ERHRA.
The other council members are told about citizens’ social media conversations on Facebook by others in our group. That’s groovy. Council members may not want to get involved in our communications because the internet is evil ya know. God forbid we update the website with meeting schedules, nobody looks,right?
All but one of the ERHRA members have served the city/county/state formally in the past….and yes I count Ruth Braly. She has been the chairwoman of the Industrial Development Board since it was formed in 2014.
It is unfair to shame all the citizens that get up and communicate during council meetings. I am a bull in a china shop for sure so I am used to it. Thursday night, the city council was asked a lot of questions. My pet peeve that night was the IDB and money spent on landscaping Exit 1. Why is one oak tree $450? I hope those $450.00 x 18 = $8,100.00 oak trees are something special. I hope the trees come with a money back warranty too.
IDB meetings need to be held at a later time on the day they meet so people can get there from work. The effort seemed staled with a lack of coordination of Board members.
A citizen requested the email addresses for the IDB so she could ask them individually to move the time in which they meet to a time when citizens could attend. In an effort to protect the board and commissioners, the city created them .gov email addresses.
I don’t think they check their city emails since it is brand new. I made that email suggestion/recommendation in a Planning Commission meeting but I never thought they would go for that.
Is someone going to help them update the settings for the city email account messages to pop up in their browser email account? That is imperative because checking multiple accounts gets old pretty fast.
I want to know who is the one behind the curtain….ya know, like in The Wizard of OZ. Unfortunately that is the best kept secret in East Ridge.
What levers did they tell you to pull? Unethical Pay for Play….. it’s not illegal so we have to concentrate on what the beliefs of the donors are in their campaigns and then vote informed, vote according to your beliefs.
If we all stick together and keep participating and attending city meetings, WE can be the one’s behind that Wizard of OZ curtain and even better, a bunch of “THOSE PEOPLE.”
_ Laura Mathis