Sliowly but (as they say) surely, the seven members of the city Charter Commission are getting their table set for the real work of revising how Memphis governs itself. That was the import of Wednesday’s commission meeting at City Hall.
After polling the rest of the membership on their feelings about the four “town meetings” just concluded, commission chairman George Brown gave his opinion that enough information had been gleaned from those encounters to begin preparing the points for a public referendum.
“After 35 years in public life,” said the former judge, “I can tell you that you get good marks for your good works not all the meetings people want you to have.” Brown stated his opinion, generally shared by the others, that attendees at the meetings held thus far had done more listening to the commission than contributing of their own ideas.
“At the end of the day, the seven of us must decide something,” Brown said. He listed three areas of particular public concern term limits; ethics; and the problem of MLGW. He foresaw a referendum taking place in “spring 2008” with the shape of it getting set “in wet concrete by winter of 2007.”
The others tended to agree with the timetable and on Brown’s designated points (if not yet on how to phrase a referendum issue on them), but two members Willie Brooks and Sylvia Cox were vocal about wanting more meetings, and when the issue was put to a vote by the whole commission the motion carried. Public meetings will be scheduled “in the next 60 days” for Cordova and Raleigh, two locations not yet visited.
The time and place of those meetings will be fixed when commission meets again for another planning session at 3 p.m. on May 23rd, in the 4th-floor conference room at City Hall.