The “Meet the Candidates Night” on Oct. 21 was not informative for the voters of Spring City.
Not only did the mayor allow people who cannot vote in Spring City to dominate the questions, she allowed two current city councilmen to dominate the answers. This was not an even-handed discussion that allowed Spring City voters to get to know all the candidates. All candidates were not allowed to answer all questions.
I asked the question of how candidates feel about ethics and transparency; bringing up specifically that one city councilman who sits on Planning and Zoning had prevented and delayed for 9 months a resident’s request to divide his parcel into two pieces because the resident lacked the required amount of road frontage. The city required 214.5 feet of road frontage for each parcel to divide his lot. Then, as soon as another city councilman purchased property that would not meet the same requirements, Planning and Zoning presented changes that would allow said city councilman to subdivide his property into three lots with a road frontage of only 200 feet. Only two candidates were allowed to respond, before the mayor stepped in. The other candidates were not allowed to respond to the question of ethics and transparency. Is this what the voters of Spring City want? Issues of ethics and transparency swept under the rug. What about the ethics of allowing one member to sit and vote on both Planning and Zoning and City Council? It may be legal, but is it ethical? Previously it was disallowed as not meeting ethical standards. Are our standards lower today?
This issue of ethics and transparency in city government is an important one. I would have liked to have heard from all the candidates. Instead, most of the meeting was influenced by the mayor’s pet peeve of whether or not residents are cleaning up city right of ways. This issue needs to be discussed in city council, as it is already covered by city nuisance ordinances, not a “Meet the Candidate Night.”
Residents need to participate in City Council and Planning and Zoning meetings if they have issues. What did residents learn about the candidates? Not much. Reserve “Meet the Candidates Night” to hear from all the candidates.
“Tennessee” John Stewart,