When Eddie Haskell is not visiting the Beaver Cleaver household, where is he?
At the house of his second-best friend, Andy “Who, Me?” Berke.
A window is smashed — no one knows how. Ball just fell out of the clouds.
Mrs. Cleaver’s sedan has been set rolling past the mailbox, pivots down the hill and runs the stop sign and comes to rest in a ditch, its rear fins crazily aiming skyward. How could that have happened? The boys don’t know. They are innocent. They weren’t there. They were the tree house playing army. “No idea, Mr. Cleaver.”
Today Mr. Berke has about him a look of innocence and harmlessness. We have to admire Mayor Berke’s most recent blithe communique — The “Berke Bulletin” email to residents — for a finely tuned style showing that he can observe evil things being done to Chattanooga residents by the mayor’s office, but they are really the result of agentless action. of things done without a doer.
Neutral, antiseptic is how best to describe his work. Like his prose, Mr. Berke’s governing style seems soulless and technical. He is perfect to be a candidate in a great office, perhaps in Congress, where a larger field of activity for his skills might be laid out before him.
Chattanooga’s history is about overcoming impossible odds and bouncing back from tragedy. The next chapter of our story will reflect this strength, but local government must put our city in the best position for long-term success. As we were putting together our Fiscal Year 2021 budget, I made sure that we stayed focused on a set of core values to guide our decisions:
— Continue to serve the people of Chattanooga, particularly the most vulnerable, as efficiently and effectively as possible.
— Do not make short-term decisions without considering the long-term consequences for City employees or our fiscal health.
— Make sure that Chattanooga can emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.
Which crisis? He doesn’t describe it, either to name CV-19 or to describe the heroic leadership and forward thinking executive action that he and Gov. Bill Lee used to bring the city, the county and surrounding areas into healthy depression. The cost of the colossal mistake in misgovernment could reach F$82 trillion over five years, according to Business Insider. State government’s penal lockdown of the Tennessee population is expected to cost F$5 billionn, at the very least.
Mr. Berke, rather than defending the people in the city from illegal use of arbitrary and capricious administrative power, used his law degree to evaluate and evade plain guarantees in the Constitution and the clear limits on executive power in the Tennessee’s annotated codebook. Under cover of other elected officials, he accepted in March the panicky narrative of CV-19 spread by government officials and hyped in the media.
I’m proud that our FY21 budget reflects these values. We presented this budget to the Chattanooga City Council earlier today and we have uploaded it to budget.chattanooga.gov so that you can explore it for yourself.
This budget is about responsibility, resilience, and results. We are looking at an $8.4 million reduction in revenues compared to last year’s budget. All of our usual sources of funding, especially local option sales tax, have been deeply impaired by the double crises of coronavirus and the East Brainerd tornado. Despite these challenges, this budget does not call for a property tax increase or cuts to critical city services.
The demands on city government have never been higher at the exact moment when our revenues are seeing historic shortfalls. As I write this, more than a decade’s worth of new jobs have been wiped out. At the end of April, more than 33.5 million Americans had filed initial unemployment claims and Tennessee’s unemployment rate is now approximately 15% — higher than the prior statewide peak of 10.4% at the height of the Great Recession. [Emphasis added]
Mayor Berke violates the Tennessee constitution at point after point. He suppresses the right of travel, which is provided and long recognized as a liberty. He suppresses the rights of religion, which is forbidden. Free assembly. The right to earn a living in harmless and innocent occupations — salon keeping, saloon keeping, restaurateuring, running a gym. Mayor Berke has suppressed the putting of food on people’s tables in the name of the public health, in phony distinctions between “essential” and “non.”
And people, out of a false and misguided respect for him, believe his police threats and intimidation, lacking the guts and heart to fight back or resist — or just to ignore Mr. Berke.
He continues about “the current economic crisis” (it fell out of the sky) and his grave concern about “supporting small businesses.” So, out of respect, I give him the last word:
When our country does begin to emerge from the current economic crisis, the cities that have the strongest quality of life and are most ready to do business will be the most competitive. I’m committed to making sure Chattanooga is one of them.
That’s why we are going to keep making significant investments in supporting small businesses, ending homelessness, creating affordable housing, and strategic capital projects that will put people to work and leverage more private sector investment. We’re also asking the City Council to approve a paving budget of $8,422,907 which includes the largest-ever commitment of non-emergency dollars to caring for our streets and roads.
While so much about our country and community has changed, our priorities remain as strong as ever. For seven years, you have told me what matters to you the most: stronger neighborhoods, smarter students, safer streets, growing the economy, and a high-performing government. In spite of the extraordinary challenges we face, our FY21 budget makes meaningful progress in each of these areas, all of which are focused on improving the lives of you and your family.
We will get through this together. We always have and we always do. Thank you for your support and please stay safe.