Progressive Blacks and Chattanooga Tea Party work together to remove gay councilman

By Noble Johns

In an unprecedented alliance, progressive Blacks and conservative Tea Party members work together to remove gay councilman from office. “He thought that Blacks were a bunch of fools to support his gay agenda, but he thought wrong,” one of the Blacks behind the petition said.

“You can tell he could cares less about the Black community because after Blacks gave him 56% of his total vote, he didn’t collect his damn campaign signs he put up all over the Black community,” another said. “You can’t even get in touch with him at any time.  He won’t return phone calls or email. We can’t wait four more years to get him out.”

District 7 City Councilman Chris Anderson, in a message to supporters, blames the Tea Party for the current effort to recall him from office. He asked for donations to fight the petition drive.  Councilman Anderson said, "We're under attack - the Tea Party and their allies have launched an effort to recall me from public office. The leaders of this recall effort have been clear - after nine months of serving as the Chattanooga City Councilman for District 7, their motivations for removing me from office are driven by a deep intolerance."

The Tea Party is infuriated that together, we stood in solidarity with our city employees and fought for equal rights Anderson was quoted. But, others believe this serves notice to the other council members who supported his gay agenda.

"He doesn't represent what the people want," said Mahmood Abdullah, owner of Southside Market. "His only goal is to boost homosexuality."

His blaming the Tea Party for his problems is a cop out. He has pissed off the Black community, and now it's time for payback. And another thing; the very Black people who put him in office, he turned his back on for the Oak Hill association that is run by William Cotton. Cotton was the main person in the Black community calling him "That Big Faggot." How crazy is that? Most Blacks in District 7 had to hold their noses to vote for him in the first place, but he was better than Rico — now he can go join Rico!

Anderson, one of the first openly gay councilmen in Tennessee, said he's not surprised by this reaction. "I knew when I ran for public office that I would have to make decisions that were politically difficult," he said in an email. "If you want to recall me over the equal rights of the public servants that work so hard for the City of Chattanooga, bring it on." Wysong was part of the petition drive that challenged the council's approval of the domestic benefits ordinance and led to the issue being placed on the ballot for a public vote later this year. Now he and others want the councilman responsible for the ordinance gone, too.

Wysong said he's not a resident of District 7, but is assisting with the Anderson recall effort. If the election commission approves the wording on the petition, this would become the first attempt to recall an elected Chattanooga official since the City Charter was changed in November 2012. Residents voted then to make recall rules match state standards, which require signatures from 15 percent of the city's registered voters. The change came after a failed two-year battle to recall former Mayor Ron Littlefield. Under the new rules, Littlefield's opponents would have been required to collect 6,000 more signatures. Wysong said 15 percent of the registered voters in District 7 amounts to 1,600 signatures. He believes recall backers have 75 days to collect the signatures from the time the petition is validated.

Hamilton County Elections Administrator Charlotte Mullis-Morgan was out of the office Friday and none of her staff could answer questions about the accuracy of those statements. Presenting the petition were Alfred Johnson, pastor of Church of the First Born Gil Shropshire, president of the Alton Park Neighborhood Association M. Abdullah, store owner in Alton Park; Teresa Wood, St Elmo resident George Goss, East Lake resident along with 7-8 others from the Alton Park area one of those in the group said, "We have not been properly represented. Our interests have been set-aside for matters Mr. Anderson considered more important.

"The Tea Party and their allies are committed to obstructing the basic functions of government to achieve their own extreme and bigoted agenda. This recall is an outrageous waste of time and taxpayer dollars. But I am committed to continuing to fight for the equal rights of each and every single city employee, those rights are non-negotiable and if that means I am to be subject to a recall from an organization that has been on the wrong side of history since its inception, then so be it I need you to stand with me to ensure they don't succeed. In the nine short months I've been in office, we've already accomplished so much - an equal rights ordinance, better roads in St. Elmo and East Lake, and championed a literacy program in our recreation centers to ensure our children have a brighter future But there's so much more on the line as we move ahead - a progressive budget for the next fiscal year, a plan to address crime and provide for safer streets for our communities, and a path forward for affordable housing for Chattanooga.

If this is something you believe in, sign up to volunteer and help lead the charge against this recall effort I need your help to fight - every dollar you donate goes directly toward organizing our community to prevent the Tea Party from obstructing progress in our city. Can you help me by chipping in $25 or more if you can This is a critical moment for Chattanooga,  let's make sure we win this one. Thank you so much for standing with me."

Wysong has been an outspoken opponent of the City Council's decision to extend benefits to the domestic partners of city employees, a measure sponsored by Anderson. The District 7 residents said they want Anderson ousted, in part because of his effort to push the domestic partner benefit law. Others said he has alienated himself from the Black neighborhoods and doesn't represent the needs of the community.

"I do not feel sorry for Councilman Anderson. If he had run his election campaign on what he has shown to be his true agenda, he would never have been elected. Many in the 7th district believe he is nothing but a liar because of this. Several of the 7th district citizens who supported his campaign are now part of the group seeking to recall him. I believe it is a sad commentary on his true personality and ulterior motives in seeking political office. He has a full-time job and devotes himself at best only part-time to his duties for the 7th district. It appears the constituents are getting very little for their voter support last March and are now justifiably disappointed and upset. Now Councilman Anderson is playing the “poor discriminated gay boy” card as he now begs for donations to fight the recall effort."  wrote Carl Walls.