(Upbeat instrumental music) - [Narrator] You're watching highlights of the Chattanooga City Council meeting.
A production of WTCI PBS.
- All right, good evening everyone.
Welcome to our Tuesday, March 7th City Council business agenda.
I will now call the meeting to order.
- Rudyard Kipling, in a verse of 'If': 'If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with Kings - nor lose your common touch,' We have such a man in our midst today.
For some men are born to change the course of history.
These men have been down a fortitude none parallel tenacity.
They have all the ingredients of heroes.
Such a man today.
John R. Taylor.
A husband, businessman, father and my mentor, my spiritual leader, John R. Taylor.
This proclamation reads: Whereas John R. Taylor, Senior, is a native of Chattanooga Tennessee, graduate Brainerd High School class of 1980.
John R. Taylor hold a bachelor degree at Southwestern Christian College and a grief from John A. Lufton College in 1990.
Whereas in 1997, John first entered local politics as a city council District 7 representative making history as a first District 7 councilperson to be elected two consecutive terms since the organization of the city council.
Whereas, while serving as District 7 representative John addressed residents needs with physical and management improvements, community service and social service being a vital force behind 2007 Hope Six Project.
A series of grants, government grants designed to reshape and revitalize neighborhoods.
He was an executive team member for the Chattanooga African-American Summit and a founding member of the city office of Multicultural Affairs board.
Whereas through the years, he has held multiple multiple titles including President of Taylor Funeral Home of Chattanooga, the Chairperson of the International Committee.
the President of Scales Funeral home in Nashville, the President of East Tennessee Funeral Directors Mortician Association, and many more.
Whereas for John R. Taylor served faithfully as the Avondale Church of Christ Education Director under the ministry of his father, Col. Senior Taylor and is currently fallen and called as the Minister at East 3rd Street Church of Christ.
Now therefore, I. Isaiah Hester, Councilman of Chattanooga City Council.
Do you here by honor and recognize John R. Taylor Senior.
(Clapping) - I wanna say thank you to Councilman and to to all of the Councilpersons and Chair.
I just wanna say thank you so very much for this recognition and I understand what what you are going through and the great service that you are rendering to our city and want to just encourage you to continue to do what you're doing, working together in order to make our great city even greater.
That was always a slogan that we use, 'Working together works.'
And I want to say to Isaiah, thank you so very much!
- [Isaiah Hester] Thank you!
- For even considering me for this service and this award.
So thank you and I'm not gonna hold you up from your business.
I know you have a busy agenda so it is good for me to say so long.
(Audience laughs) - All right, we will continue with our agenda this evening and we'll take a motion on the minutes.
- I move.
- I second - We have a motion on the minutes if it stands without objection, your order of business for city council this evening.
Ordinances on final reading, resolutions under council office without objection from counsel.
I'd like to take items A, B, C, and D as a package.
Madam Clerk - Item A; a resolution confirm the appointment of Jackie Simpson to the Community Advisory Committee Region 6 Bushtown, Glenwood for a term beginning on March 8th, 2023 and then in on March 8th, 2025.
Item B; a resolution confirm the appointment of John John Wesolowski to the Community Advisory Committee Region 6, Bushtown, Glenwood for a term beginning on March 8th, 2023 and ending on March 8th, 2024.
Item C; your resolution confirmed the appointment of Quinton Howard to the Community Advisory Committee Region 7 Dotson for a term beginning on March 8th, 2023 and ending on March 8th, 2025.
Item D; a resolution confirmed the appointment of Matt Adams to the Community Advisory Committee Region 7 Dotson for a turn beginning on March 8th, 2023 and ending on March 8th, 2024.
- Councilwoman Coonrod - Motion approved.
- I have a motion to approve.
I have a second to that Motion.
Questions or comments before we vote?
All those in favor say aye.
Purchases this evening.
(Papers shuffling) Ms. Satterfield, are you presenting?
- I am.
- Very good.
I believe we have seven purchases to report.
- That is correct.
First, from the Street Maintenance Division of Public Works.
This is an increase of $50,000 for washed and crushed stone from Vulcan Materials Company for an annual estimated spend of $750,000.
This increases through March 26th, 2023 due to invoices needing to be paid by the wastewater department and future usage for one month.
Next from Fleet Management Division and Public Works is an increase of $6,000 for Peter Bill OEM truck parts and service from the Peterbilt Store for an adjusted total, for an adjusted total estimated annual spend of $91,000 The vendor has submitted a price increase due to the volatility of parts for PA10034 that began on November 1st, 2022.
Next from the Fleet Maintenance, Fleet Management division Public Works is a one-time purchase of one auto car ACX64 with heel ASL bodies from Stringfellow, Inc. for the Street Maintenance Division of Solid Waste the purchase will utilize the Source Well contract number 091219-THC for a total of $414,000.
Next from the Wastewater Department, this is a new blanket contract for boiler and heat exchanger services.
Three bids were requested and two were returned.
This will be a four-year agreement, not to exceed $180,000 per year.
The award will go to Premier Boiler and Combustion LLC.
as the best bid for the city of Chattanooga.
Next, also from the Wastewater Department.
This is a new blanket contract for sewer line cleaning services.
Four bids were requested and two were returned.
This will be a four-year agreement not to exude, exceed $700,000 per year.
The award will go to Sweeping Corporate of America Inc. as the best bid for the city of Chattanooga.
Next, also from wastewater.
This is a three-month contract extension for liquid sodium hypochlorite from Olin Corporation.
This extension includes a 22% price increase due to raw material and freight costs.
The estimated annual spend will increase by 1.5 million for an annual total spend, not to exceed 7, 5.75 million.
And last from economic development.
This is a new contract for an affordable housing systems analysis.
Three bids were requested and one was returned.
This will be a one-year agreement not to exceed $197,000.
The award will go to HR and A Advisors as the best proposal for the city of Chattanooga.
- I have a motion to approve purchases for this evening and do I have a second to that motion, questions or comments?
Before we vote, all those in favor say aye.
Purchases are approved.
For those of you following along, I see a lot of new faces in here.
Purchases are sent a week in advance.
Counsel has an opportunity to review and ask questions at that time and again today at 3:30.
So we have gone over all of our purchases.
Recognition of persons wishing to address counsel is next on our agenda.
If you wish to address counsel we invite you to come down to the podium.
- Thank you very much.
My name is Sherry Ford.
I am president of the Lookout Valley Neighborhood Association and over the last two months I actually have some of my friends here.
Would you like to stand?
(Audience murmurs) Thank you.
These are also members of Lookout Valley Neighborhood Association.
Over the last couple of months we've been talking about what could possibly happen as far as a zone or ordinance change in our area to allow a hotel to become apartments.
And we have voted in February and also in March that we are adamantly against either change and allowing any of the hotels in our area to become apartments.
So I would like to read to you the letter that or the memo that I sent to Councilman Henderson.
After discussion by the Lookout Valley Neighborhood Association, it has not felt that allowing the Knights Inn or any other motel or hotel to be converted into apartments is in the best interest of the community.
Please be advised that on Thursday, March 2nd, 2023 the residents of Lookout Valley and members of the Lookout Valley Neighborhood Association voted against allowing the Knights Inn to be converted to apartment use.
Thank you very much.
- Thank you!
- Hello, my name is Joshua David Capelis.
I'm an advocate for our Unsheltered Citizens in Chattanooga.
The title of my speech is One at a Time.
But before I begin, I will quote Spinoza, the 'Ethics' 'Speak for themselves the common advantage of all, wandered the earth as free people, not to trespass in an effort to take, but to exist and make a life of peace, presence and productivity.'
Spinoza might have said that if you were here today I know how to solve homelessness.
(Josh chuckles) It's one person at a time.
Think about it.
(Josh chuckles) Every one of us is unique and special to God.
Hopefully to each other.
All of us have an individual identity, purpose and place on this earth.
Our thoughts and actions shape us.
Where we spend our time and what we do is our individual story.
I think about God a lot.
I wonder if I had only three minutes to tell him why I should get into heaven.
He might say back, you should have used your time on earth asking that question every day.
And you wouldn't have to wonder if you'd get in you'd be here with me, humbly already.
As humans, it is not our duty to end human suffering - It is to reduce it.
Even Jesus did not cure suffering.
We humans can never accept a standard of suffering that is below the standard we hold for ourselves, as free people, for another person.
This is the essence of humanity.
This is the human condition and this is my homeless mission.
Tiny homes for the unhoused people make sense to me and everybody else I talked to.
So let's see how Chattanooga rates on complacency.
How important is reducing human suffering?
How quickly can we get it done?
Can we help people one at a time?
I know we can.
We have and we will.
One person at a time.
One act, one smile, one thought.
That's how you do it.
Finally, let me leave you with this thought.
Can you read the cover of a book and say you read it?
Lastly, I, Joshua David Capelis, will do the best I can for those I can, as often as I can, because I am an American.
- Thank you Josh.
- Marie Mott, District 8.
I'm here in particular because of the firing of SIU Navarro and for what I'm hearing as whispers as the ousting of Tamra Stewart and I do respectfully want to correct our District 9 councilwoman in what she said to constituents last week as uninformed.
And I'm going to prove it in the city charter.
Section 8.32 Phil, you probably should pull that up.
The mayor shall appoint all department heads subject to confirmation by a majority vote of the entire membership of the council.
The mayor shall remove department heads at any time with the approval of a majority of the entire membership of the council.
The city council may remove department heads and or city officials, but not the mayor for cause after notice and hearing and pursuant to a vote of two thirds of the entire membership of the council.
That means what I just read, no person as a department head can be removed unless you voted on it in complicit-ness with the mayor.
And as a matter of fact, the bottom section actually proves that the city council has more power than the mayor that you can remove city officials without his approval.
I want to state that Joda does not have the power to fire anyone on his own because he is a subordinate of the city council.
He is not your equal.
According to the powers that you've been given in governance of how you should move forward is kind of questionable as to how you all are making decisions without referencing the charter.
How people are giving quotes on what community members should be doing and you're not referencing the charter.
These are your rules for governance which means that if you do not know that, that means that you are allowing people to circumvent your authority.
And what's even more questionable for me, you have a former city councilperson that works in the mayor's office.
I think it's kind of interesting that the mayor's office seems to continually keep you in the dark.
My grandmother would say that the only people that would keep me uninformed are people who are looking to manipulate me or take advantage of me.
But I'm calling you to do much better.
That means what I just read in the charter, SIE and Tamra Stewart, either need their job back, because you did not do a first and final reading as a a majority to vote on them being removed or they need to sue the city of Chattanooga for millions of dollars in damages and what I would call a blatant discrimination of the Kelly Administration against multiple women of color and power.
(Microphone echoes) (Door closes) (Papers shuffle) - Council Coonrod can I see your light?
- Since my name was mentioned, that mean I was summoned?
- Yes ma'am.
- Well Phil, could you explain the difference on the appointed roles, the confirmed roles and our role and what council members can do?
And last I checked, they resigned.
They weren't fired.
So there was a difference.
- So can you explain what that means?
- Well, you can't make people stay on for one thing here in connection with a position.
And there's also an issue about what is a department head, whether those folks were actually appointed officials by the mayor or whether they were actually heads of departments.
And those are the concerns about the provisions of the charter.
And if they resign do we hold them hostage to stay in the job, if they resign?
- No ma'am.
Thank you, that, hope that answers your questions Marie.
Oh, thank you.
(Murmurs from audience) Thank you.
Thank you (Microphone echoes) (Papers shuffle) (Deep breathing) - Good evening, Mr Bell - It's a joyous evening counsel.
Marty Bell, of the Homeless Journals and Grey Haired Fox.
The former Chattanooga City Mayor candidate.
Of my 60 years of being here on this planet, as I said to the county commission on last week, this is the first Valentine's and the first Black History Month that I cared not for chocolate because chocolate has been so diluted over the last 30 years.
But real quick, because of the time restraint, I did have the pleasure last month, I was very, very busy, but I had a chance to meet with the new elect, District Attorney Cody Wong.
I'm trying to get the District Attorney to assist me in getting not only a court office available to hold court but also some indoc, indictments and some charges to be filed against some defendants in my cause.
The time before last me being here at the city council, I was kidnapped, robbed and abducted by three city police officers.
This event was due largely because of the county attorney's office working on behalf of the city Mayor's former, the city council current the county commission passed and former.
And so we've got a lawsuit to the tune of 105 billion, 670 million and we got that last 5 billion, 670 million because of this unlawful and illegal incarceration, which I've had my booklet for the seventh time stolen.
The fraudulent activities that goes on at the city county and the state level here in the state of Tennessee.
I want my booklet, I want my money, I want my freedom and I want my black people released from this marriage.
This seems to be the thing that's going on.
We've got so many people involved in family litigation.
Everybody's involved in family litigation.
We're all experts in it, but we've got the fam, the worst family structure anywhere!
We've got, we've got kids that can't even read on the third grade level and we've got adults on the radio, my profession who can't read on a third grade level, but yet they're banning money bail, the homeless journalist, the Gray Haired Fox, the men with a billion dollar voice.
We've got a backwards community here, a one horse buggy town.
But let me tell you I've got an East Coast Forum express train that's been on the moon since 1993.
I'm asking you all kindly for the last time, 105 billion, 670 million for your fraud on the entire 11th judicial (Timer beeps) district court.
And I thank you.
I thank you very much.
- Evening sir.
- Good evening.
Anthony Gladden, I'm the founder of Kingship Chess Academy.
I wanna say good afternoon to the members of the council and those at home that be, may be watching via the internet.
I just wanted to and hope everyone's having a great start to their week.
I just wanted to take a moment to enlighten the council, as well as those in the city about the what we've been doing here at Kingship Chess Academy.
We've had the pleasure of partnering with several new organizations and connecting outside of the city of Chattanooga to strengthen our ability to advocate for chess education.
Three months ago, I was fortunate enough to be connected with Rob Mitchell, who's the property assessor of Rutherford County in Murphy's Borough.
Rob also is an avid chess enthusiast, who knows the benefits of chess and how it positively enhances the brain.
More so in kids and seniors.
What we've proposed to Chairman Mark White and Chair Lady Deborah Moody is the establishment of a pilot program for systems in East, Middle and West Tennessee.
The program that Jerry Nash, who has been designated the National Chess Education Consultant for Chess in schools nationally.
He's developed a training program that teaches Ch, shows teachers how to use chess and analogies of chess within their current curriculum via teacher training.
This program was used in Alabama, is currently being used in New Hampshire and re, results have proven an improvement in the reason and ability of students, student engagement knowledge retention, and motivation.
They learned more quickly than with traditional teaching methods, which allows students to accomplish more and less, in less class time.
It's cost effective and it's conservative.
Chess teaches effective problem solving.
Rutherford County has and Ch and Hamilton County working together to make this a reality is a powerful combination.
I've been tasked with a challenge.
A challenge has been issued from elected officials in Rutherford County, that they will best our elected officials here in Hamilton County in the chess tournament to raise funds for this cause.
This fundraiser will be used to bring awareness to an important of chess as an enhancement tool for Edu, for educators.
Winners will be able to use proceeds from the funds raised for these purposes in their respective counties.
Lastly, I wanted to recognize Kingship Chess Academy's own CJ Jihadi, who will be traveling to Washington DC for the National Scholastic Tournament, March 30th through April 3rd of this year.
And the challenge has been issued from Rutherford County.
So I will be happy to get two to three members of the council that I can work with to accept that challenge.
It's also been put out to the county commission as well, so I'll take it to them tomorrow.
(Microphone echoes) - Evening, Dr. Holmes.
Dr. Everlina Holmes, District 9.
My discussion has to do with short-term rentals.
I would like to reiterate and add to what I sent to the members of City Council several weeks ago.
I have reviewed the information you sent out to the citizens of Chattanooga to review prior to your voting.
I continued to have several concerns because of what I have read in the news since then.
And the issues brought to my attention by several residents who felt intimidated by sending in letters objecting to unoccupied, short-term rentals, vacation rentals being in their neighborhood.
First, I most certainly support the 1000 feet buffer for absentee short-term (Door closes) rentals in a single family detached zoning district.
However, my major concern has to do with the saturation of none owner occupied and owner-occupied short-term vacation rental in neighborhoods, diminishing the housing stock in neighborhoods due to these rental rental clustered too closely on certain streets and in certain neighborhoods.
This living style diminishes the feeling of neighborhood and community life with strangers coming and going throughout the year in one neighborhood, in one's neighborhood.
This can create a sense of insecurity for residents and a lack of neighborly existence.
Ideally, short-term vacation rentals should be in the outer suburbs or the downtown core and not the neighborhoods unless the security is there.
I have suggested that police be stationed at community centers throughout the suburb suburb neighborhoods for situations such as this.
I do not see anywhere a discussion regarding the safety and wellbeing of residents in these neighborhoods unless I overlook that statement.
How will the city guarantee the security of residents living in these neighborhoods where short-term vacation rentals are located?
I have just looked at the January court count of homelessness in Hamilton County.
Although Mayor Carley's administration is doing a yeoman's job in trying to address the need to afford for affordable housing and homes for our homeless.
The increased short-term rentals especially those that are non-owner occupied will only serve to diminish the housing stock in the neighborhoods throughout the city and will make the problems worse, not better.
I have spent the last four days calling residents on about 10 streets in the Glenwood neighborhood and I was amazed at the large number of residents who have either sold their homes or moved because they're unable (Timer beeps) to pay the increased property tax due to gentrification.
- Counsel, I'm seeing no one.
(Councilwoman Coonrod murmers) Hang on one second.
I do see, thank you Councilwoman Coonrod.
- Thank you Chair.
I wanna make sure that a point of clarity is that in the reference of the resigning, I was speaking on Tamra, about Tamara because she resigned SIE.
Her situation was different, but she was not a department head and she was not in administration.
So we wanted to and SIE does understand that she's not gonna be rehired.
Neither party reached out to Ms. Mott to come up here lighting fire for neither one of them.
Thank you, chair.
- Thank you for the clarification and for the record.
Any other persons wishing to address counsel this evening.
Counsel, I am seeing no one.
We are adjourned.
(Gavel bangs on table) (Audience murmurs) (Upbeat instrumental music) - [Narrator] You've been watching highlights of the Chattanooga City Council meeting.
A production of WTCI PBS.