By David Tulis
A group of area residents trying to overturn an ordinance that gives employee benefits to live-in boy- and girlfriends are feeling a time pinch as they scramble to collect 4,500 city voter signatures.
“On Monday we turned in 1,634 signatures to the Election Commission,” organizer Mark West says in an email. “But we only have seven days left to reach the goal.”
If you’d like to take two hours today or tomorrow to gather signatures at your office or neighborhood, here are details.
What — Set a goal for yourself — try for 100 signatures (Chattanooga city registered voters only). To get 100, you’ll need 15 copies of the form; seven people sign each sheet.
Deadline — No later than Tuesday, Dec. 3, 3 p.m.
Where — Sign a petition or deliver your signed sheets to 5962 Brainerd Road (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.). A volunteer is standing by.
Where exactly? — The building is just behind Ankars Hoagies and across from US Money & Pawn Shop
Read the instructions — Click on www.ItsYourVoteTN.com
Legibility — Insist the signer, in printing his name, do so exactly and legibly, as the election commission staff will check each one.
People want a say
“The politicians, nine of them plus one more — the mayor really never weighed in on this initially and so they never once expressed their views on this to the voters,” Mr. West tells WDEF TV 12. “So the voters felt left out of the process. So this is a way citizens of Chattanooga — registered voters — can weigh in and ultimately put it on the ballot in August.”
In the effort to win favor and help among members of the public, Mr. West is emphasizing less the question of the majority report against homosexuality than the prospect of the domestic partnership system being gamed and increasing the city’s cost to taxpayers.
“This ordinance is not about ‘equal benefits for equal work,” he says on the CGAT website. “Rather, this ordinance is about giving the benefits reserved for legally married spouses to unmarried girl (and their dependents) and boy friends (and their dependents) of city employees. Equal benefits for married and unmarried people creates and funds healthcare benefits for a new unmarried group of recipients. It sets a financial precedent that will be difficult for the city of Chattanooga taxpayers to sustain long term. As healthcare cost increase, creation of a new benefit class, it will jeopardize the long-term future of married spouse benefits for all city employees.”
I hope to gather signatures in Hixson, where my radio station, 1240 Copperhead AM, is moving this week into Goss plaza, opposite Bojangles restaurant on Hixson Pike.
The passage of the ordinance is outside the scope of the city’s charter, constitutes an exercise of unlawful authority, doles out private benefits vs. public ones, favors sterile monoculture as opposed to diversity, and stands against the Tennessee constitution and established legal practice. The ordinance, with its origins in homosexualism and revolution, is anti-capital, makes the city not the head but the tail and finds not a lick of support in either black- or red-ink portions of the scriptures.
Sources: Caitlyn Jones, “Citizens petition domestic partnership benefits,” WDEF News 12 at wdef.com, Nov. 25, 2013