Charting A True Course

September 9th, 2010

Sometimes the little things we make up and tell ourselves in order to get through the day can turn into great big lies with great big consequences.

Things like what happens in the city has no bearing on the county.

Things like there would still be a vibrant Germantown, Collierville, Bartlett, Millington, Lakeland and Arlington without Memphis.

Things like town borders somehow mean we don't all live here.

Improving all of Shelby County's governance improves all of our lives. Doing nothing will do absolutely nothing for any of us.

As published in The Daily News, September 10, 2010, and in The Memphis News, September 11-12, 2010. 

Charter Cover



I’m tired of being lied to, how about you?

With the birth of the 24/7 news cycle and the growth of the technology to spin endlessly within it, truth has been challenged as never before. Even in the face of truth, those threatened by it continue to lie – even as their pants burn brightly. We even lie about lies, euphemistically calling them such soft and fuzzy things as misconceptions, misstatements, misinterpretations, fabrications, exaggerations – you know – just a little fib.

They are lies. Some examples:

Obama and Jerry Lawler are Muslims. Obama, John McCain and Mongo are not Americans. Memphis and Shelby County are fine just the way they are.

On November 2, all of us in Memphis and Shelby County have the opportunity to change much of what we don’t like about local government and, quite literally, chart a new course of ethical representation, administrative efficiency, official accountability, fiscal responsibility and planned urban growth.

If I’m lying, my city’s dying. Read the proposed charter, shelbycountytn.gov

See for yourself and make up your own mind. Proponents and opponents have their own agendas. The powerful want to keep the power. The vested want their vests. Those inside want the rest of us outside. They will play on our fear of change and the unknown, painting bleak pictures and writing dark tales.

They will lie. Some examples:

The charter will consolidate schools. Lie. Prohibited right there in Article 1, and, in fact, even a future charter amendment is further prohibited in Article 11.

The charter will raise your taxes. Lie. Article 12 freezes the tax rate for three years, and after that, Article 7 requires a three-fourths supermajority for any tax increase of more than 5%. None of us have ever had codified guarantees like that.

The suburban communities will lose their autonomy.
Lie. From the Article 1 summary, “The citizens of Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown, Lakeland, and Millington are represented in the metropolitan government, but these cities retain municipal powers and duties to their citizens.”

Memphis will swallow up unincorporated Shelby County.
Lie. Article 7 adopts all existing municipality annex reserve areas, and further guarantees that the urban service area (Memphis) can’t annex an area without the approval of the citizens of that area by referendum.

You will lose your representation. Lie. In fact, a whopper. With the 25-member metro council described in Article 3, every single one of us will have not one, not two, but four representatives on the council – one from single member districts, and three from multi-member districts. That means checks and balances even within your own district.

Don’t believe them. Don’t believe me. You are capable of independent thought and reason. You are a sovereign state of one when you vote on November 2. If you think you know what’s in the charter without reading it, that’s a lie.

Truth is, in my view, it’s the most important countywide vote in 30 years. Read the proposed charter, shelbycountytn.gov

I’m a Memphian, and I’ve read it.


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