Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"No one wins. One side just loses more slowly." - Prez

Today was the first of the FINAL three meetings of the Memphis City Charter Commission, and let me tell you it seems to me that things are really starting to get interesting. Present at today's meeting were Commissioners Myron Lowery, Sylvia Cox, Willie Brooks, Marsha Campbell, and George Brown. Also in attendance was Charter Commission Legal counsel Ricky Wilkins. The Commission members agreed to limit their actions to discussion as member Sharon Webb was not able to be present and had an important issue that she wanted to introduce at the next meeting.

First on the agenda was discussion of the Charter Commission becoming a regular process of city government sponsored by Myron Lowery, This would create a new charter commission that would be elected every 10,15 or 20 years. This discussion also included some brief debate about what if any should be the fair level of compensation for FUTURE Charter Commission members. Lowery proposed a salary of 25%-50% of the salary of a City Councilman. Commissioner Campbell agreed, while Commissioner Willie Brooks thought about 1/3 would be reasonable. Commissioner George Brown, felt that being a member of the charter Commission was a civic duty and was unsure about the idea of a paid position and cautioned his fellow members as he had doubts if such a thing was within their authority.
Commissioner Brown also added to the discussion the idea of setting qualifications for future Charter Commissioners. Stating his objection to elected officials also being seated on the Charter Commission. This remark, which seemed at least to me to be directed at Lowery, was neither the first or last veiled jab that was spoken between the two as i'll go into later. There is clearly some personal conflict here and while both men seem to try and be cordial, there is not far beneath the surface a pushing of buttons going on in these meeting between the two of them.
This issue of Future Charter Commissions will be debated and voted on at the Next Charter Commission meeting on Aug 14th.

Next up on the agenda was a discussion prompted by Commissioner Marsha Campbell, about the proposed creation of two new part time criminal court judges. The rational being that this would enable the Court system to not be so over burdened and would theoretically allow for alternative hours for Court to be held. Commissioner Brooks instead preferred the creation of one full time judge with alternative hours...i.e.. Night Court. Commissioner Brown and Lowery both doubted that the Commission should take up such an issue, as this was more of a matter for the Administration and the City Council to look into. As the creation of two new judges would then require support staff and a location from which to work,it would involve budget concerns,that the Charter Commissioners had no say in.
This Issue will be up for the Charter Commissioners to reconsider at their next meeting on AUG 14TH.

Commissioner Brown took the floor to discuss his controversial amendment simply stated as follows...The Brown Amendment would State that the City Council would be barred from limiting the powers of the office of Mayor by either ORDINANCE or REFERENDUM. So in a nutshell under such an amendment the only legal way to alter the powers of the office of Mayor is to do so via a Charter Commission. This is a departure from his statement at the last meeting where Brown only cited by Ordinance. Once again there was a not so subtle implication that Lowery had clandestinely put up fellow Councilman Barbara Swerengen Ware to propose her amendment about CONTRACT AUTHORITY, after the Charter Commissioners withdrew their support for such a referendum. Brown stated that he felt that the Council should not be trying to pick up an issue that the Charter Commissioners have rejected, he claimed that it was disrespectful and he hoped that the Council would abandon such efforts. Personally I say that it's a bunch of bologna. For one thing, as I have said before, the City Council has EVERY LEGAL RIGHT TO PLACE ITEMS ON THE BALLOT. That much is clear, just because the Charter Commission changed their minds about an issue does not mean that that is the end of it. The Charter Commissioners are a filter, a function of the democratic process that is supposed to hone in on the core issues that the voters would need to decide.The Charter Commission is NOT a Legislative body that SETS policy like the City Council or the School Board or the County Commission." This in my opinion is simply petty political get back, launched by Brown as possible blackmail to the City Council if they proceed with the possible adoption of a CONTRACT AUTHORITY ballot amendment. It's counter productive, ham handed and legally dubious, as you are basically limiting the power of the city council in order to protect the Mayor from a REFERENDUM?!?!....democracy in it's PUREST form.
The Brown Amendment will be up for a vote at the next Charter Commission meeting AUG 14th.

NOTE-in related news, City Councilmen, McCormick,Ware,Lowery and Collins have all made statements supporting limiting Contracting Authority. I SUSPECT that from previous actions and statements that Boyd, Ford, Flinn, Morrison and Hedgepath would as well.

Now there were also some more meta-political concerns, that dealt with what was the procedure for the Charter Commission's approved initiatives to be placed on the ballot. On this there was some interesting discussion sparked by the legal opinions of City Attorney Alan Wade and Ricky Wilkins. It was the opinion of Alan Wade that the Charter Commission would need to submit their work to the City Council, as that is stated in state law, as a matter of simple procedure, so that such information could be published.This process is mandatory. Wade also suggested that the Commission submit their work to the Council and the Council would in the matter of an ordinance give each item three readings, the implication being that such readings and votes would be a simple formality,the official stamp of the body. Now it is important to note that the "Three Readings" are not required per say, however it was the procedure used by the previous Charter Commission for amendments decades ago. Wade cautioned that while not expressly stated, such an oversight of procedure might make the work of the Commission vulnerable to a legal challenge. However, It was the opinion of City Attorney Ricky Wilkins and the opinion of Steve Lobertini, of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service, that no ordinance is needed, and in fact IF the Council were allowed to read it as an ordinance then the Council COULD alter, delay or even eliminate some or all of the Charter Commissioners amendments.While Lowery contended that such a thing would not happen, he agreed along with The other Charter Commissioners to forgo the ordinance process.

On to New Business

Sylvia Cox has Two potentially exciting amendments for Discussion at the Aug 14th meeting and for a vote at the AUG 21st. meeting

1. Campaign Finance- Whoa Nelly, this one takes the cake. This little gem would state that Fundraising for elected officials should not commence until six months PRIOR to the filling deadline and should cease prior to swearing in.
Whoa....that'll turn a few heads I bet.


2. Recall of Mayor, currently state law requires a petition signed by 15% of all
City registered voters. This amendment would duplicate the same formula for the Memphis Charter. The charter currently states that it requires 10% of the total votes cast in the last municipal election to enact a recall.


Also up for Discussion on Aug 14th, to be voted on the 21st.

Sharon Webb is currently crafting a proposed amendment that would compel the City of Memphis to provide School funding. As Webb is a member of the School Board, and Lowery and Fullilove are both Councilmen, this shapes up to be the biggest sloberknocker since Austin Idol and Tommy "Wildfire" Rich neutered Jerry Lawler with a ring post back in 86.



I plan on posting the exact wordings of some of the approved Amendments right here on this blog by the end of this week. This way you can see how it is worded and hopefully help us spread the word to the people of this City. We at CHANGE MEMPHIS hope to avoid the confusing hot mess that is the current County Amendments.

DEMAND CHANGE

Monday, July 28, 2008

"If you with us, you with us." - Chris Partlow

So....anybody else see the News last night?...if not then check it out...here

So it is very possible that there is a chance to really set back cronyism a long ways in the upper branches of city government. Of course this also means that Herenton would be against it.....but on a personal note, I kinda hope he does campaign against it. Now let me start by saying that, Willie Herenton is a guy who you can't ever count out politically, he has done it all, and survived and thrived in spite of his stubborn pod boss mentality. As Memphis politics is alot like Memphis wrestling, then Willie Herenton is alot like Jerry Lawler in one of his heel phases or perhaps Micheal P.S. Hayes or a Buddy Landel on one of their better runs. The wrestling heel is a powerful and oft misunderstood trope of both politics and wrestling. The Heel or badguy wrestler is designed with the purpose of making his target crowd hate him as much as possible. He typically crafts his persona or "Gimmick" into a shape familiar and unpopular to his target opposition audience,"The spoiled rich kid" "The Crooked Cop". "Those Uppity Minorities", "The horror movie monster", "Your Boss", "The Scary Foreigner" "The Homosexual"...etc.
The Heel wants you to hate him as that makes the Goodguy...or Babyface, more popular and thus more profitable, for you both.(In fact a good Heel can rise to the top of a Face dominated industry-"See Triple H" Thus the relationship is symbiotic.
Herenton does something similar, he manages to be a face to just enough people in the city that he keeps getting re-elected. Herenton like Bret Hart, has learned how to speak to two audiences at once. He presents this swaggering arrogant tough guy persona, not in spite of the fact that it antagonizes some voters , but BECAUSE of it. Herenton profits politically from a racially divided electorate, and thus the more divided Memphians become, the more politically secure he becomes. So when my white friends ask me in stunned horror after a Herenton press interview how can he say some of the things he says, I tell them that he is not talking to them...not really...they are a prop more than anything else. It's just an act, a pantomime, just a work designed to illict a reaction from those Memphians, who after generations of politicians using race as a campaign tool, cannot imagine the process otherwise. When a black politician gets a room full of Black people to listen to him, he blames the "evil white conspiracy, and claims that the white man is out to get him/her". When a white politician gets a room full of white people to listen to him/her, they use code words like crime and safe schools how Memphis is soooooo bad and horrible....and on the rare cases where they get a room filled with blacks and whites, then they blame Mexicans,Jews,Homosexuals, People from section 8 housing...
However I am still glad that Willie plans on campaigning against this initiative....why? Because he can't hide behind his usual routine of racial divide and conquer. This initiative was sponsored by Barbara Swearengen Ware, in the City Council and Myron Lowery on the Charter Commission and supported by others on the majority black City Council. The race angle is nowhere.

Willie's good on the mic but he's a one trick pony, he is only good when he can blame some greater hidden evil. "White power brokers-2007, Harold Ford SR.-2003...etc." In this case that argument seems really light.
So,I REALLY REALLY REALLY want Herenton to go to some of the poorer areas of the city and explain to people who are getting NOTHING in the way of PUBLIC SERVICES why they should listen to him about this.
Ask the folks in all the areas where they closed or tried to close a local LIBRARY about unqualified people getting six figure salaries.
PUBLIC WORKS!?!?!?!?!?!?...ROFL!...are you kidding me?
So heck yeah...I would love to see the Mayor run on that. Go right ahead sir....I dare you.


Here is the complete proposed Ordinance 5268 for your information.....and stay frosty, this will be up for a third and final vote on Aug 19th.



AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE CHARTER OF THE CITY OF MEMPHIS, SAME BEING CHAPTER 11 OF THE ACTS OF 1879, AS AMENDED, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 11, SECTION 9 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE (HOME RULE AMENDMENT) SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR THE APPROVAL OF DEPUTY DIRECTORS BY THE CITY COUNCIL AND TO SUBMIT THE PROPOSED ORDINANCE TO THE QUALIFIED VOTERS OF THE CITY OF MEMPHIS AT THE FIRST GENERAL STATE ELECTION TO BE HELD NOVEMBER 4, 2008



WHEREAS, the Charter of the City of Memphis provides that “The several principal administrative divisions shall be headed by directors who shall be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of a majority of the Council; a Director shall be subject to removal by the Mayor with a concurrence of the Council. The term of office of each Director shall be the same as that of the appointing Mayor, and said Director shall continue in office until their successors have been appointed and approved. A Director likewise may be removed from office for cause as now provided by law.

WHEREAS, currently there are 15 Deputy Directors appointed by the Mayor who carry out the administrative duties of their divisions; and

WHEREAS, the Council believes the enactment of a provision for Council approval of Deputy Directors is appropriate.


Section 1.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MEMPHIS that the present Charter of said City consisting of the provisions of the Act of the State of Tennessee for the year 1879, Chapter 11, as amended, and pursuant to Article 11, Section 9 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee (Home Rule Amendment) the following proposal shall be published and submitted by the City of Memphis to its qualified voters at the first general state election, which shall be held in the City of Memphis on November 4, 2008, and which shall be held at least sixty (60) days after such publication:










QUESTION:

Shall the Home Rule Charter of the City of Memphis, Tennessee, be amended by adding the following provisions to read as follows:

Section 1. The administrative divisions shall be headed by directors and deputy directors who shall be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of a majority of the Council.

Section 2. A Deputy Director shall be subject to removal by the Mayor with the concurrence of a majority of the Council.

Section 3. The term of office of each Deputy Director shall be the same as that of the appointing Mayor, and said Deputy Director shall continue in office until their successors have been appointed and approved by Council.

Section 4. A Deputy Director likewise may be removed from office for cause as now provided by law.

Section 2. Publication of Home Rule Amendment.

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That the Comptroller is hereby directed to cause the proposal (Ordinance) to be published pursuant to provisions of Article 11, Section 9 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee.

Section 3. Delivery to Election Commission.

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That the Comptroller of the City of Memphis, shall certify the adoption of this Ordinance to the Shelby County Election Commission in charge of holding the general state election on November 4, 2008, and request that this proposed amendment to the Home Rule Charter of the City of Memphis be placed on the ballot.

Section 4. Proposal and preference.

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That the Comptroller is hereby directed to deliver a copy of this ordinance to the Shelby County Election Commission, together with a suggested proposal and the following form of preference to be placed on the ballot in an election to be held on the 4th day of November, 2008.


REFERENDUM ON HOME RULE AMENDMENT TO THE
CHARTER OF THE CITY OF MEMPHIS TO PROVIDE FOR THE
APPROVAL OF DEPUTY DIRECTORS BY THE CITY COUNCIL


Said ordinance of the City of Memphis was adopted on the 19th day of August, 2008, to provide for referendum vote on a Home Rule Amendment to the Charter of the City of Memphis, to read as follows:

Section 1. The administrative divisions shall be headed by directors and deputy directors who shall be appointed by the Mayor with the approval of a majority of the Council.

Section 2. A Deputy Director shall be subject to removal by the Mayor with the concurrence of a majority of the Council.

Section 3. The term of office of each Deputy Director shall be the same as that of the appointing Mayor, and said Deputy Director shall continue in office until their successors have been appointed and approved by Council.

Section 4. A Deputy Director likewise may be removed from office for cause as now provided by law.




FOR (YES) _______________

AGAINST (NO) _______________







Section 5. Effective date of amendment.

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That this Ordinance shall take effect for the purposes set forth herein sixty (60) days after approval by a majority of the qualified voters voting thereon in an election to be held on the 4th day of November, 2008, the public welfare requiring it.

Section 6. Certification of results.

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That the Shelby County Election Commission certify the result of said election to the Comptroller of the City of Memphis, who shall see that said result is made a part of the Minutes of the Council of the City of Memphis.

Section 7. Nonconflicting – Conflicting laws.

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That all laws constituting the present Charter of the City of Memphis, not in conflict with the amendatory Home Rule Ordinance, be and the same are here continued in full force and effect, and all laws in conflict therewith are hereby repealed.

Section 8. Severability.

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That if any clause, section, paragraph, sentence, or part of this Ordinance shall be held or declared to be unconstitutional and void, it shall not affect the remaining parts of this ordinance, it being hereby declared to be the legislative intent to have passed the remainder of this ordinance notwithstanding the parts so held to be valid, if any.

Section 9. Enactment of city ordinance.

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That this ordinance shall take effect from and after the date it shall have been passed by the Council, signed by the Chairman of the Council, certified and delivered to the Office of the Mayor in writing by the Comptroller, and become effective as otherwise provided by law.


SCOTT McCORMICK
Council Chairman
Attest:


_______________________
Comptroller



lg/deputydirectors/version1

"They don't teach it in law school." - Pearlman

As part of the ongoing Charter amendment process, I wanted to bring to everyone's attention that the Charter Commission is not the only local body concidering adding referendums to the November Ballot. The Memphis City Charter Commission originally voted in favor of adding a referendum to the ballot that dealt with limiting the CONTRACT AUTHORITY of the office of Mayor in the city of Memphis. The proposal would compel Mayor Willie Herenton and all future Mayors to seek council approval of city contracts at or above a certain dollar amount. How much money was a matter of great debate as figures from 40,000 to 100,000 dollars were discussed.Consensus opinion seemed to fall with those who sought the 100,000 dollar limit,as this fell in line with the authority of the County Mayor. Charter Commission Chairman and City Councilman Myron Lowery claimed the proposed the 100,000 limit was reasonable and consistant with his support for City/County consolidation. However this prompted Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton and former Memphis Mayor Dick Hackett to both attend a meeting of the Charter Commission and lobbied against the proposed referendum. Both Mayor argued that such a referendum, if passed by the public would slow down the work of city government, that the sheer number of contracts would bog the council down and make the already long and complicated procedure for city contracts even longer. The Charter Commission agreed and withdrew it's support for such issues. Myron Lowery was the long opposed voice. Yet despite this setback the issue of CONTRACTING AUTHORITY continues to be a potential issue for the voters concideration. City Councilwoman Barbara Swearengen Ware has proposed Ordinance 5267, a referendum with CONTRACTING AUTHORITY language to the City Council, if approved by that body, this amendment will be on the November ballot for the voters to decided. The Council has begun the process of investigating the issues at stake and has already had it's first readings on this matter. The full council will discuss and vote on this proposed ballot initiative on AUG 19TH. Below is a complete copy of proposed Ordinance 5267.




AN ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE CHARTER OF THE CITY OF MEMPHIS, SAME BEING CHAPTER 11 OF THE ACTS OF 1879, AS AMENDED, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 11, SECTION 9 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE (HOME RULE AMENDMENT) SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR THE APPROVAL OF CONTRACTS BY THE CITY COUNCIL AND TO SUBMIT THE PROPOSED ORDINANCE TO THE QUALIFIED VOTERS OF THE CITY OF MEMPHIS AT THE FIRST GENERAL STATE ELECTION TO BE HELD NOVEMBER 4, 2008



WHEREAS, the Council has the authority to appropriate funds, set the budget, and approve projects to implement the budget and its policies; and

WHEREAS, the Charter of the City of Memphis provides that the Mayor shall be responsible to the Council for carrying out policies adopted by the Council; and

WHEREAS, the Council has approved certain programs and projects requiring large expenditures and appropriated the funds, but has not approved the contracts to expend said fund; and

WHEREAS, the Council believes the enactment of a provision for approval of contracts similar to the approval procedure by the Shelby County Government is appropriate; and

WHEREAS, the Council desires to clarify the procedures to award contracts by the City of Memphis in that it is provided in the Home Rule Amendment establishing the Mayor-Council form of government that the power to contract shall remain with the Mayor. However, all contracts requiring disbursement of funds shall be limited to that provided in the appropriate budget enacted by the Council. In the event an expenditure of extraordinary nature and not provided for shall appear to be reasonable, a request may be submitted to the Mayor and thereby approved or rejected by the Council.

Section 1.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF MEMPHIS that the present Charter of said City consisting of the provisions of the Act of the State of Tennessee for the year 1879, Chapter 11, as amended, and pursuant to Article 11, Section 9 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee (Home Rule Amendment) the following proposal shall be published and submitted by the City of Memphis to its qualified voters at the first general state election, which shall be held in the City of Memphis on November 4, 2008, and which shall be held at least sixty (60) days after such publication:






QUESTION:

Shall the Home Rule Charter of the City of Memphis, Tennessee, be amended by adding the following provisions to read as follows:

Section 1. The Mayor shall have the power and authority to enter into contracts on behalf of the City of Memphis. All contracts requiring the disbursement of funds shall be limited in an amount not in excess of that provided in the appropriate budget, either operations or capital fund. No contract on behalf of the City of Memphis shall be entered into in an amount over $100,000 (or such higher or lower amount as determined by the City Council by ordinance) without the consent and approval of the City Council. In the event an expenditure of extraordinary nature and not provided for shall appear to be reasonable and in the public interest, a request may be submitted by the Mayor and thereafter approved or rejected by the Council.

Section 2. The City Council by ordinance may establish a higher or lower monetary limit and provide all contracts up to said monetary limit may be entered into by the Mayor or Purchasing Agent without any necessity of approval by the City Council, subject to budgetary limitations.

Section 3. No sale or lease of real property of the City or any interest therein shall be valid unless approved by the City Council.

Section 4. Contracts for professional services such as engineers, architects, auditors, attorneys, consultants or similar professional services to the City of Memphis need not be based upon competitive bids, but may be awarded on the basis of a recognized competency and integrity at customary rates of compensation. The contracts shall be executed by the Mayor with the consent and approval of the City Council.

Section 5. If the City Council resolution directs the execution of a contract to carry out its policies and the Mayor refuses to enter into a contract, the contract shall be valid if signed by the Chairman of the Council and approved by the City Council.

Section 6. Nothing herein shall prohibit within the monetary limits set forth herein the execution of purchase orders and contracts as provided in Charter Section 51.









Section 2. Publication of Home Rule Amendment.

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That the Comptroller is hereby directed to cause the proposal (Ordinance) to be published pursuant to provisions of Article 11, Section 9 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee.

Section 3. Delivery to Election Commission.

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That the Comptroller of the City of Memphis, shall certify the adoption of this Ordinance to the Shelby County Election Commission in charge of holding the general state election on November 4, 2008, and request that this proposed amendment to the Home Rule Charter of the City of Memphis be placed on the ballot.

Section 4. Proposal and preference.

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That the Comptroller is hereby directed to deliver a copy of this ordinance to the Shelby County Election Commission, together with a suggested proposal and the following form of preference to be placed on the ballot in an election to be held on the 4th day of November, 2008.


REFERENDUM ON HOME RULE AMENDMENT TO THE

CHARTER OF THE CITY OF MEMPHIS TO PROVIDE FOR THE

APPROVAL OF CONTRACTS BY THE CITY COUNCIL


Said ordinance of the City of Memphis was adopted on the 19th day of August, 2008, to provide for referendum vote on a Home Rule Amendment to the Charter of the City of Memphis, to read as follows:

Section 1. The Mayor shall have the power and authority to enter into contracts on behalf of the City of Memphis. All contracts requiring the disbursement of funds shall be limited in an amount not in excess of that provided in the appropriate budget, either operations or capital fund. No contract on behalf of the City of Memphis shall be entered into in an amount over $100,000 (or such higher or lower amount as determined by the City Council by ordinance) without the consent and approval of the City Council. In the event an expenditure of extraordinary nature and not provided for shall appear to be reasonable and in the public interest, a request may be submitted by the Mayor and thereafter approved or rejected by the Council.

Section 2. The City Council by ordinance my establish a higher or lower monetary limit and provide that all contracts up to said monetary limit may be entered into by the Mayor or Purchasing Agent without any necessity of approval by the City Council, subject to budgetary limitations.

Section 3. No sale or lease of real property of the City or any interest therein shall be valid unless approved by the City Council.

Section 4. Contracts for professional services such as engineers, architects, auditors, attorneys, consultants or similar professional services to the City of Memphis need not be based upon competitive bids, but may be awarded on the basis of a recognized competency and integrity at customary rates of compensation. The contracts shall be executed by the Mayor with the consent and approval of the City Council.

Section 5. If the City Council by resolution directs the execution of a contract to carry out its policies and the Mayor refuses to enter into a contract, the contract shall be valid if signed by the Chairman of the Council and approved by the City Council.

Section 6. Nothing herein shall prohibit within the monetary limits set forth herein the execution of purchase orders and contracts as provided in Charter Section 51.


FOR (YES) _______________

AGAINST (NO) _______________




Section 5. Effective date of amendment.

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That this Ordinance shall take effect for the purposes set forth herein sixty (60) days after approval by a majority of the qualified voters voting thereon in an election to be held on the 4th day of November, 2008, the public welfare requiring it.

Section 6. Certification of results.

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That the Shelby County Election Commission certify the result of said election to the Comptroller of the City of Memphis, who shall see that said result is made a part of the Minutes of the Council of the City of Memphis.

Section 7. Nonconflicting – Conflicting laws.



BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That all laws constituting the present Charter of the City of Memphis, not in conflict with the amendatory Home Rule Ordinance, be and the same are here continued in full force and effect, and all laws in conflict therewith are hereby repealed.

Section 8. Severability.

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That if any clause, section, paragraph, sentence, or part of this Ordinance shall be held or declared to be unconstitutional and void, it shall not affect the remaining parts of this ordinance, it being hereby declared to be the legislative intent to have passed the remainder of this ordinance notwithstanding the parts so held to be valid, if any.

Section 9. Enactment of city ordinance.

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED, That this ordinance shall take effect from and after the date it shall have been passed by the Council, signed by the Chairman of the Council, certified and delivered to the Office of the Mayor in writing by the Comptroller, and become effective as otherwise provided by law.





SCOTT McCORMICK

Council Chairman







Attest:


_______________________

Comptroller



lg/contractapproval/version1

Friday, July 25, 2008

Feel Good Friday-Kinda

Like I said, it may not be music, but it does make me feel good and Memphis Wrestling is in an eerie way alot like Memphis politics...





And now...another wrestling heel...



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"We don't need to dream no more." - Stringer Bell

Well, Well Well looks like everyone has had a lot to say about the COUNTY CHARTER AMENDMENT REFERENDUMS....If you have not heard take a moment to read HERE
HERE
and HERE


Now first of all I would have to say that I whole heartedly agree with Leftwing Cracker, Tom Guleff and with the vast majority of other sane people who are a little put off by this absurd process. The complicated language, the stacking of initiative on a single line item, to say nothing of this bogus attempt to stymie the people's ability to effectively make their political will heard. I agree with the others and ask you all to vote NO on CHARTER AMENDMENT 360 and send a message to the County Commission that these actions will not be tolerated or allowed.


These events also set the stage for the MEMPHIS CITY CHARTER AMENDMENTS, that YOU the Memphis resident will vote on in November. I have been working with CHANGE MEMPHIS, we are a Coalition of local organizations that is already working to enact a large targeted Voter Education/Issue based campaign seeking to avoid the confusion of this current County nonsense.These past two months members of The Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, The New Path Education Fund, and Concerned Memphians United have met and spoken to almost all of the members of the Charter Commission and they have agreed as a body that the Charter Amendments on the November ballot WILL BE SEPARATE BALLOT ITEMS. I want to thank them again for hearing our concerns and having the foresight to have decided this weeks ago. That is not enough however, as the complicated and overly legal language of these amendments may confuse some voters. It is the mission and intent of this campaign to provide solid information on each issue as well as give the voting public clear and easily understandable explanations of what these amendments are, what their passage or failure might mean,why are these issue important and what about them may be causes for concern.Tonight as I type this Change Memphis volunteers are already hard at work on the phones talking with Memphis residents and having conversations with them about the Charter,asking them what their opinions are on these issues and we are going to continue to call and have conversations with the people, but it won't stop there.We are going to build a grassroots movement that will act to inform, involve and improve the city of Memphis and all the communities within it.As I have said before it's great that Nationally there is so much excitement and energy for change, but what I hope is that we take that same fire , that same energy, that same tenacity,and use it to promote REAL CHANGE, right here in our own communities. We have a golden opportunity to change the course of Memphis Government and how that Government relates to the people, and I intend to be a part of that, and I hope that a lot of you will choose to be a part of this change as well.

Check this blog for updates about the CHANGE MEMPHIS campaign,Memphis Charter Commission news,how you can get involved, and watch out for the launch of our new website at Changememphis.net COMING SOON.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Feel Good Friday- My turn

Okay...so it's not a music video, but it's friday...and It makes me feel good. It reminds me of Memphis politics.







Now let us take a look at another wrestling Heel..


Thursday, July 10, 2008

"We got our thing, but it's just part of the big thing." - Zenobia

Today, I had the opportunity to meet Charter Commission member Marsha Campbell.
Ms. Campbell came across as very down to earth and genuine, she also I might add has good taste in eating establishments. I met up with the other members of the Memphis Change Coalition or the Justice Posse as I refer to us, at a little plate lunch place around the Winchester area just east of the Airport."Ummmm Chicken and Dressing....aggghhhhhh." Ms. Campbell met us there. She was very supportive of our campaign to educate the public about the Charter Commission and the upcoming ballot initiatives, and to promote positive change here in Memphis. She spoke of a need of our citizens to reject ego based politics, and lamented the lack of community spirit. She also expressed her sense of responsibility for today's youth and hopes for a revitalization in the City of Memphis
She also agreed to participate in some of our community forums which we have planned for the fall.What was really refreshing was that when she did not know something...she said so, and did not engage in alot of politico doublespeak.
All in all it was a good meeting and I hope the start of a fruitful collaboration.

Also on tap today was a Meeting of the full Charter Commission at City Hall

The meeting...was very interesting. Lowery and Brown snapped at each other the whole time for one thing...and while Lowery seemed to try and be amiable Brown seemed irritated at the whole process. His comments however seemed to be on solid ground..mostly. All members were present, and the final wording process has started. It was confirmed that all initiatives would be given an individual up or down vote, all members agreed.
the issues confirmed to appear on the ballot at this time are.

Term limits-However there was some disagreement over if the wording of "Two Terms" would change to "three terms' depending on the results of the County Charter Term Limits vote. Lowery was in favor of such a change, Brown was not.

MLG&W- No changes

Staggered Terms- All that remains is to determine what method to use. Even numbered districts vs. Odd, Super Districts running for shorter terms...etc.

IRV- Remains the same, however there was a challenge and attempt to reconsider this issue by Commissioners Campbell,Fullilove and Lowery.
This challenge failed and the referendum remains set for the ballot.

Mayoral Vacancies- This referendum would state that if the Mayor, resigns, or for some reason can no longer serve, then the Council Chairman would serve as Mayor Pro Tem for a period no longer than 180 days, if there is a general municipal or special election in that time period. If no such election exist then then the Chairman will serve for 90 days at which time a special election will be held to elect a new mayor to serve out the remainder of the term.

Ethics- There clearly is a desire for clarification on the part of the commission on this issue and it was tabled until the legal staff could investigate this matter further.It will be discussed at the July 30th Meeting

Also for discussion on July 30th
-Consideration of Part Time Judges

-Making the Charter Commission a regular process every-10-20 years.

For consideration at the Aug 14th meeting.

-Commissioner George Brown proposed a referendum that would state that no legislative body could limit the powers of the Mayor. That could only be done by referendum. When it was remarked by Commissioner Lowery that this could be considered retaliation for the City Council considering limiting the Mayor's contracting authority,Brown glibly agreed.
Personal note-
This is a step in a really bad direction, considering the tension and rancor that already exists between the City Council and the Memphis City School Board. The last thing anyone needs is another meaningless and spiteful confrontation, over what?...
The Council has the power to add referendums to the ballot, just because members of the Charter Commission disagreed with the need for said provision,is not relevant as the people of Memphis would be making the decision either way. If you disagree, then make yourself a blog, print up some flyers, make a sign and get out in the streets and convince people to vote it down.
Besides, it's not like the Council IS actually trying to limit the Mayor's power, they are simply CONSIDERING giving people a say in the matter. Judge George Brown is one of the most well respected legal minds around, but that does not always make him right.


Tomorrow, we meet with Charter Commission member and Former School Board member Willie Brooks.

Monday, July 07, 2008

"...when it's not your turn." - McNulty

Last week I saw a link on the blog Mediaverse that caught my eye, written by activist and controversial long time veteran of the Shelby County Democratic Party William Larsha. This article concerned Mr. Lasha's piece in the TRI-State Defender about the upcoming Democratic Primary for the Ninth Congressional district. Mr. Larsha goes on to point out further potential consequences of Black Americans losing representation in the United States Congress, via the re-election of Congressman Steve Cohen. Check it out right HERE

Go ahead...i'll wait......



Now my purpose here is not to insult, malign or to inflame, but simply to present an alternative viewpoint to the scenario of Mr. Larsha, an honorable man.
I will concede that on the SURFACE the loss of a seat held by a Black American does raise some reasonable concerns. Mr Larsha points out that that Tennessee may in fact have zero people of color in the US Congress or Senate this year. He later goes on to present a scenario where blacks via redistricting lose our majority status in district. This train of thought follows to the announcement of a group of concerned individuals who are seeking a consensus Black candidate for congress.

Now while I can understand Mr. Larsha's points, I respectfully beg to differ on the outcome he arrives at. In fact I plan on voting for Steve Cohen because he has done a good job of representing the people of District Nine,he has stood up for social and economic justice, and voted against funding this illegal and fruitless War in Iraq and also because he has been a consistent champion of Progressive values.....but...but, let us take a moment to be completely cynical, let us assume that Steve Cohen is simply another self serving politician, who only cares about serving the public as much as it allows him to remain in office. Let's take it one step further, let's assume that Steve Cohen is so without integrity, so craven and cowardly a political animal that he'll say and do anything to hold on to his seat. To that I say....all the better.

Steve Cohen, is a vulnerable politician, and he is smart enough to know as much. Thus you can always trust Steven Cohen to protect Steve Cohen, and the best way for him to do that, is for Steve Cohen to properly represent the needs and concerns of his Black constituents. Why?..because any time the guy does anything he knows that he is being watched by opportunistic enemies seeking to make political hay out of every single thing he says, does, and especially votes on. Steve Cohen is in fact the most watched and accountable politician in Shelby County. That also makes him one of the best.


Consider this, would Steve Cohen have voted for the war in Iraq like Harold Ford Jr. did?...HELL NO, because if Cohen had , he would have been run out of town on a rail.
Harold Ford Jr. on the other hand , got away with it, with little fuss made about it...except by me...lol.

Would Steve Cohen have voted for the Bankruptcy bill as Harold Ford Jr. did?...Hell NO.
My friend Rick Maynard described it as "An epic love poem to the credit card companies" and he was right. Does anyone believe that Cohen would have survived that vote. honestly....seriously?

Would Steve Cohen have voted for the Patriot Act as Harold Ford Jr. did...HELL NO!
Because once again he would have never been re-elected after said vote.

So can Steve Cohen a Jewish man, represent a majority black district as well as a Black person can?...Well the Congressional Black Caucus gave Cohen a score of 70% out of 100 in this his first term. Harold Ford Jr. received a 32.5% in his last term, including a whooping 5% for the year of 2005. Why is Cohen's score TWICE as much as HFJ?, because he has to vote the right way or risk losing his seat. Junior had the luxury of being bulletproof, Cohen has to answer for his votes, statements and actions. That's the way the process is supposed to work.

So, I would humbly propose that we continue a process that works for the people of district nine. Keep the guy who's going to work his butt off to keep his job because he can never take his base for granted.

Now as to Mr. Larsha's associated who are seeking a consensus Black candidate I ask you gentle reader...
Has anyone asked YOU which of these black candidates you want to go one on one with Cohen? Have you received any phone calls asking your opinion on the subject? Has anyone knocked on your door and asked for your input?
Well no one came to my door,not mine, nor any black people I know,work with or am related too. So I have to ask...with respect, how can you have a consensus black candidate without asking the greater black community for input?
How can a secret group create a consensus in the first place? Is this how we "Let Democracy Ring?".

Finally as to the "Willie Lynch" comment, Mr Larsha implies that to support Cohen is somehow a statement that none of the Black candidates are "Good enough". To that I ask, when you get your car repaired, do you go to a mechanic that is good enough, or do you go to the best mechanic available? When you are sick do you go to the Doctor that is good enough, or to the best doctor you can get? When getting improvements done to your home, do you go to a good enough carpenter, or do you get the best carpenter available? The Congressional seat is a job, and when filling a job you hire the best candidate from the field you have. In this race that person is Steve Cohen.
Now, I have nothing negative to say about Rep. Towns,Dr. Richmond, or Ms. Tinker, in fact I invite everyone to do their homework on each of the candidates in this race. Find out who they are and what they stand for, and then make your own choice, Your Own Choice.
I made mine.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

"World goin' one way, people another." - Poot

Memphis utility assistance program for poor terminated

City had trouble finding recipients qualified for aid
By Linda Moore (Contact), Memphis Commercial Appeal
Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The city of Memphis has terminated after less than three months a utility assistance program touted as a stopgap measure for the city's working poor.

In April, Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton announced that $2.5 million was available to help Memphis residents facing disconnection from Memphis Light, Gas and Water.....

READ THE REST OF THIS SAD AFFAIR HERE



....Okay...now let me see if I can wrap my brain around this one....does anyone really...seriously think the people of this city so stupid, that that anyone with half a braincell is really going to buy this load of bantha poodoo?


A.For one thing Why is this assistance only available for two person households who make 21k-24k? The moral being...If you live alone, you are on your own.

B. How can someone make TOO LITTLE to qualify for a program for the WORKING POOR!?!
What's next, turning skinny people away from soup kitchens?

C. How in God's name, in a city with as many poor people as we have were qualified applicants so hard to find?

The City could have enlisted the aid of the various non-profits that work with low income families. MIFA, CATHOLIC CHARITIES. If you really wanted to find them...

OR you could let MLG&W do this instead the Youth Services and Community Affairs Office.Warts and all, MLG&W would be better equipped to identify the most needy. If you did not want to confuse potential applicants.....

Or hows about presenting information about this program prominently on the monthly bill in the lower income areas of the city? If you wanted to inform your target demographic....

OR maybe...just maybe the Mayor could have used a small portion of the time he has spent cutting wrestling promos in front of the press to raise awareness on this issue....that is...if you want a program to actually work for poor people.
But that was not what this was about, this was about a political shell game, a dog and pony show...pretense and lip service...Milli and Vanilli.

Is this really the time to cut such a program?...With the coming summer heat, and rising utility bills....is this responsible? For what?...all to save a mere 2.17 million....thats table scraps compared to the rest of the budget. Especially when you look at just how much we GIVE AWAY in tax abatement's.Hell, if we made the commercial accounts pay like everyone else you could easily roll that money over to the at risk.
It makes me sick to my stomach to see how This Government treats the people...who ironically are their biggests supporters. Think about just how low of a regard one would have to have for poor people to let this happen over 2.17 million dollars. that's about half of one percent of the budget. To play political games with people's quality of life...and I do not mean that in the B.S. downtown living sense, sends a message to the people that their lives don't really mean much.
It's not enough that the poor have to deal with crime in their neighborhoods, a lack of services, LEAD POISONING THEIR KIDS, inadequate schools, and a lack of jobs, but now...now..you don't even get to have a stopgap spare change program that would mildly ease your burden temporarily.

And don't give me any of this fiscal responsibility nonsense, not with the increases to the general fund,and the specter of a 500 million dollar convention center being floated around.... unless you can really look one of the 72,000 single mothers who work full time, yet live in poverty in the eye, and honestly say that there was no better way to do this.

Contact your City Councilman and ask them for their help,please tell them to find another way...

Memphis City Council Contact Information
125 North Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103 phone 576-6786

Bill Morrison
(901) 576-6786
Bill.Morrison@memphistn.gov

Bill Boyd
(901) 576-6786
Bill.Boyd@memphistn.gov

Harold B. Collins
(901) 545-5987 office
(901) 332-3691
Harold.Collins@memphistn.gov

Wanda Halbert
(901) 576-6786
Wanda.Halbert@memphistn.gov

Edmund Ford Jr.
(901) 576-6786
Edmund.Fordjr@memphistn.gov

Barbara Swearengen Ware
(901) 458-9406
Swearengen.Ware@memphistn.gov

Joe Brown
(901) 274-4724


Janis Fullilove
(901) 576-6786
Janis.Fullilove@memphistn.gov

Myron Lowery
(901) 521-4300
myron.lowery@memphistn.gov

Scott McCormick
Office (901) 576-6786
Fax (901) 576-6796
scott.mccormick@memphistn.gov

Shea Flinn
(901) 576-6786
Shea.Flinn@memphistn.gov

Reid Hedgepeth
(901) 576-6786
Reid.Hedgepeth@memphistn.gov

Jim Strickland
(901) 576-6786
Jim.Strickland@memphistn.gov