Sunday, October 10, 2010

I've Made My Consolidation Decision

I just realized that no matter what I do, I'm going to piss a lot of people off, so I may as well get at it.  If you DON'T live in Shelby County (of which Memphis is nearly 70%), feel free to go look at the cute bunnies.

Shelby Countians, are we alone now?  Good.

There is a hell of a lot I DON'T like about this Charter, and Tom Guleff and Ron Williams raised a good point when they said it was as if the wealthy elites got together to write this Charter.  I sure as hell don't like the 13-single-member-12-multi-member districts.  I don't like the fact that this Charter transfers a lot of power from the legislative branch to the executive branch. I don't like the condescending way Charter Commission Chair Julie Ellis responded to a letter advising against voting yes.   It smacks of elitism at most levels.  It doesn't even touch the schools, which MUST be merged someday.

Yet, even with the numerous flaws, ask yourself this question, residents of Shelby County: is what we have now REALLY better than this flawed charter?  Well, if you ran to the suburbs to avoid paying your fair share of social costs, you may well think so.  But for those of us in the city who are tired of subsidizing you, it's not.  Even WITH passage, you still get off the hook for three years, since taxes are frozen!

I was ready to vote no, but something the misnamed Save Shelby County kept saying stayed in the back of my head, nagging at me: "Memphis has to fix its OWN problems".  First, the idiocy of that is evident, since without a strong and vital Memphis, there is NO Shelby County, and no strong metropolitan area.  It's the same as telling a quadriplegic that there is surgery to cure him, but that he will have to perform it himself.

I am voting YES on Consolidation, because if it fails to pass Memphis will die, and so will Shelby County, and the other counties in our SMSA.  You really think that without a vital Memphis, you'll continue to exist?  You don't care, you say?  You're just trying to make it to retirement so you can leave?

I have two words for you, then: LEAVE NOW.  I'm serious, quit your job and quit leeching off the rest of us, and leave the area (Again, I'm only speaking to Shelby Countians).  This is no time for the weak-willed, and if you're not willing to help, take a hike.  It's come to that here.

Some of you folks piss and moan because you don't like certain members of the City Council.  Have you failed to notice that most of the ones you DON'T like oppose the new Charter as well?  Why do you think that is?  Because they know that under the new Charter, most of them will likely be out on their asses.  That's ANOTHER reason why I am voting yes.

Note to the SCDP: if you think you're showing leadership by opposing the new Charter, that leadership was recognized by the electorate in the August elections.  Good work, eh?  At this rate, we would have captured the County by 2038.  I'm just sayin'......

I'm going to catch hell from the right, because they didn't want to pay their fair share of the social costs and have the wrong view of government.  I'll be accused of discrediting the left (inside joke, sorry) and being a sellout whore to the MAN.  It wouldn't be the first time in either event, just spell my name right after each epithet!

Note to the Charter Commission: you are damned lucky I am voting for this.  If it weren't for Brian Stephens, Bonny Kinney, my friend and brother Steve Ross, and the original namesake of this blog, I wouldn't have re-read the damned thing enough times to make me realize it's the only chance we've got to save the city, the County, the region and, frankly, all of West Tennessee.

It's not perfect, but it's better than what we have now, and it is a good first step.  We either step forward now, or step into the grave soon afterwards.


Tom Guleff said...

Steve Steffens, you are still my favorite blogger. :) Take care my friend.

Steve Steffens said...

And, you, sir are one of my favorite people, period, I just can't go there with you on this issue!

sbanbury said...

Either way this rolls, the most important thing is that we cultivate an ethic of informed, engaged, public citizenry, of which both of you are prime disciples.

Tom said...

Steve: Great post. As usual, rational and logical - something we need more of around here in our civic discourse. Thanks for saying this so well.

dwayne said...

My Friend, I came to the same conclusion after wading through much of the same concerns.

One thing that continually frustrates me about my hometown is it's historical reluctance to take bold moves towards positive change. All of the antis I have spoken to tend to nitpick portions of the Consolidation proposal, much of it highly exaggerated or untrue, without considering the overall plan.

If it passes, then great! But I know it's an uphill battle. I am not as pessimistic as you if it doesn't but the City/County NEED to take bold action to become more aggressive about piecemeal consolidation of services.

Tom said...

As a personal friend of Julie Ellis, the chair of the Charter Commission, I just want you to know that there's nothing elitist about her. She and 14 other unsuspecting citizens thought they were doing their civic duty when they agreed to volunteer to write the charter for a new government from the ground up. It's taken 9 months and thousands of hours, so I give them credit for feeling like the charter is their baby. They did their work as public spirited citizens and they deserve our thanks. Already, the proposed charter is being looked at in other cities as they consider consolidation (and more than 100 are). The quality of this charter and the fact that it's not one taken off the shelf is to Julie's credit and to her seriousness as chairman.