Chris Anderson talks to Channel 3 about recall lawsuit
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
A Chattanooga City councilman is firing back at members of his district who are pushing to have him recalled from his position.
Chris Anderson filed a lawsuit Tuesday, saying people in District 7 are trying to recall him because he is gay. Those behind the recall say that is not the case.
The election commission recently gave the green light for people in District 7 to start a petition to recall Anderson. Anderson filed a suit against the commission and a man named Charlie Wysong, saying the recall efforts are discriminatory.
"The thing is, it takes thousands of votes to win an election, but it only takes one person to file a recall. So the existence of a recall is not indicative of somebody's job performance. It's just the opinion of at least one person," said Chris Anderson, councilman of District 7.
Councilman Chris Anderson says there is only one factor driving the effort to kick him out of his council seat.
"They are recalling me because I'm openly gay."
"Even though the petition doesn't say 'We're recalling Chris Anderson because he's gay,' it's a pretext for the real reason," said Stuart James, Anderson's attorney.
James says the man driving the recall effort, Charlie Wysong, does not live in District 7. Wysong helped get the city's domestic partnership benefits ordinance on the ballot.
"It's obvious to me that he's a leader of the group. He's saying, 'That's nonsense. I'm just an advisor.' No. He's been at the election commission meeting. He's been everywhere," said James.
"I have every right to be involved in this. I am a citizen of this city," said Charlie Wysong.
Wysong says the recall has nothing to do with Anderson being gay, but for not doing his job. He says people in District 7 sought him out for advice.
"Let me say this. If he was straight as an arrow, and had treated the people of this district like he's treated them, I'd be for recalling him as well," said Wysong.
Others in District 7, like Pastor Alfred Johnson agree. He says Anderson has not lived up to campaign promises of helping areas like Alton Park.
"He should be ashamed of using that to try to stir up a smoke screen to really hide behind the fact that he's not representing an area, which is poor," said Johnson.
"The people who say I'm not representing them, mostly don't even live in my district," said Anderson.
Anderson says the lawsuit is a last resort, and it is business as usual for him.
"I think it's a waste of time on everybody's part. I'm going to fight it as aggressively as I possibly can and I'm going to serve my district in the meantime."
The lawsuit is asking the court for an injunction, to stop the recall efforts.
As of now, the recall group has until April 10th to gather 1,600 signatures, to put the recall on the August ballot.