I just read this article two more times and it's frightening to think about how un-competetive we are and how it could ultimately affect us down the road. If FedEx were to ever leave or downsize, we could be the next Detroit!! Drive through that city and its suburbs and you see ghost towns where thriving middle class families once lived. It's pitiful.
Fred Smith is a brilliant businessman who started from scratch and created a global corporation. He is a cornerstone of Memphis. If he thinks consolidation is the right thing to help Memphis and Shelby County compete, why the heck aren't we listening to him? The people fighting against this measure are politically motivated turf protectors not interested in moving our community ahead.
Stephens works hard for his community. I wish him much success in his efforts to reform government, and hope he succeeds with it.
Getting these elected leaders out of office is exactly why we need a brand new government!
The "one voice" argument from the Louisville Mayor makes perfect sense. Competing governments are not attractive to new business and industry. We need the same unified voice in Memphis and Shelby County.
In regards to the new charter, state law only allows the largest municipality (Memphis) and the county governments to merge. It does not allow the metro charter to simply "dissolve" the charters of other cities, unless those city residents vote to make that happen and become part of the metro government. The six suburban cities in Memphis did not vote to make that happen, so they get to keep their own charters. In a perfect world, they would see how well the metro government operates and ultimately vote to be part of it. It has happened before in other areas. No doubt there is a lot of work to be done, but the new charter is something worth fighting for.
I hope that the members of this committee will not only read the entire charter and make informed decisions for themselves, but also consider where our community is today and where we need it to be. This new government is an enormous opportunity for us to start fresh and do so in a unified manner. The new charter is not a "cure all" for every problem Memphis and Shelby County have, nor will it satisfy all our needs. But, it is a start. Let's stop looking at borders and boundaries and look at the bigger picture. Everyone has to give and take in order to make our community successful. We can't let this opportunity pass us by.
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By Chris Shaw & Chris McCoy
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