The Only Poll That Matters

On Wednesday, early voting in Shelby County will begin. The dates, times, and locations of early voting can be found here.

This election will be history making, but despite all the hoopla surrounding the Presidential election there are several races and questions here in Shelby County that every voter needs to record their decision on.

City Council District 9-1

I don’t want to take anything away from any of the races, but if there is one race that’s buried at the bottom of the ballot that will directly affect Memphis more than any of the others, it’s this one. Four candidates are vying for the seat; Kemp Conrad, Paul Shaffer, John Willingham, and Arnette Montague III. I won’t go into any great detail now, but suffice it to say, Paul Shaffer is my choice. I’ll write more about this race soon, I promise.

Memphis and Shelby County Charter Amendments

You’ll find these just under the litany of unopposed State house and Senate races. Here in Memphis we have 10, count ‘em, 10 amendments to vote on, 2 for the County and 8 for the city. Here’s a brief rundown…

County Amendments…

Ordinance 364 – Makes the offices of Sherriff, Trustee, Register, County Clerk and Assessor charter positions, and insulates the county government from the problems that happened in Knox county. VOTE YES.

Ordinance 365 – Institutes term limits on all county elected officials. I’m no fan of term limits, so I’m voting no on this one.

Memphis Amendments

Ordinance 5232
– Recall Amendment – This gives the people of the city of Memphis the opportunity to recall a member of the City Council. Unfortunately, it establishes arbitrary time lines (no recall before 2 years into term), still, there needs to be a way to remove Council Members if necessary. VOTE YES

Ordinance 5265 – Residency Requirements – In short, if you’re going to work for the Mayor, or the City Council, as well as some other areas, you have to live in the City. Seems like a no brainer. Does not apply to emergency response like police and fire department. VOTE YES

Amendment 1 – Terms Limits – Puts a two term limit on all elected city officials. Again, I hate term limits, I think it puts good people who know what they’re doing out of office prematurely. If your Council Member is a dickweed, don’t wait for him/her to be term limited, elect someone else. It’s simple. I’m voting no.

Amendment 2 – Staggered Terms – This would allow for more consistency on the Council by electing the single member districts in one election, and the super districts 2 years later in another. If you’re voting for Term Limits, you need to vote for this one too. We don’t need 13 new council members trying to figure out how to legislate all at once. If you’re not voting for term limits, this is still a good idea. VOTE YES

Amendment 3 – MLGW Sale – Makes the sale of the utility dependent on a referendum. Voting yes doesn’t mean there will be a referendum, or that we are selling MLGW, it means that if someone wants to sell MLGW, they have to ask us first. VOTE YES

Amendment 4 – Ethics – If you are an elected official in Memphis and you are indicted, you will be suspended from duty until the legal case is resolved. VOTE YES.

Amendment 5 – Instant Run-off Voting – This may seem a little complicated, but it’s really quite simple. Rank the candidates in order of preference. If no one gets a majority, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and redistributed using those voters 2nd choice. If there is still no majority, the process is repeated until there is a majority. VOTE YES

Amendment 6 – Mayoral Vacancies – This amendment cleans up the process of Mayoral succession. VOTE YES

If you want more in-depth analysis of the Charter Amendments, go to Change Memphis they have the actual text of the amendments and everything.

There are more races on the ballot, but in the interest of space, I’ll have to get to them later. Remember vote early and often!

2 thoughts

  1. I guess I have to decide about the suspension upon indictment one now. Lets our historically malleable grand jury affect council outcomes before conviction. I don’t think Bill Gibbons would play games this way, but it’s a future possibility.

    Given human nature and the expense and heritability of name recognition, term limits are less dangerous than the lack thereof. Every pol wants to be FDR now. By your logic, the 22nd Amendment should be repealed.

  2. While I’m pretty sure I’ve stated my full opinion on term limits before, the statement above concerning Term Limits is only part of it.

    I’m okay with term limits on executive office, like Mayor, Governor, President. Executive power holds a lot more sway than legislative. Term limits are an effective way, to check that executive power.

    My problem is with legislative term limits, as well as term limits on offices like Assessor, Clerk, Sheriff and other “skill positions”. By the time a person gets good at legislating, we tell them to move on. For skill positions, why have any term limits? They either do their job well or they don’t. If they don’t, don’t vote for them again. Best term limits known to man is getting voted out of office.

    We saw this happen in Arkansas in the 90’s after they instituted term limits for the State House and Senate. Within 2 election cycles both bodies were dysfunctional, filled with neophytes that had no idea how to legislate anything.

    Staggered Terms may help this situation some, still, my general feeling is that legislative term limits are counterproductive.

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