Time to Consolidate
I was not born in Memphis but have lived here for the past 40 years. I have witnessed the revitalization of downtown, our city become the headquarters of the largest pulp and paper company in the world, International Paper, our airport become the second-largest cargo airport in the world, and our continuing growth as a major distribution center of the country.
Despite these and other successes, however, it is hard not to fear for our future. Too many Memphians have chosen to depart from the city, and, thus, we face a shrinking revenue base and budgetary shortfalls. We have a significant number of failing schools and a crime rate that frightens away many people from coming here and is a primary reason why many Memphians have chosen to depart for DeSoto County or elsewhere.
A proposed increase in property taxes, although justified to maintain city services, could lead to the exit of even more families from Memphis.
I think the city council and the mayor should support the implementation of a payroll tax on people who work in Memphis but who choose not to live here. Such a tax is fair, because these people depend on Memphis for their livelihoods. Memphis remaining a viable city is in their best interest. This, and because they use Memphis resources and services, justifies their paying a tax that would not be burdensome to them and would help our city.
Also, now more than ever, the consolidation of Memphis and Shelby County governments needs to be considered. I know this is a very complex issue, but considering our challenges, it may be the only way that can help Memphis and the rest of Shelby County thrive and prosper in the future. It certainly seems to have worked well for Nashville and Davidson County.
We face daunting challenges. If we do not find ways to meet them, our future could be bleak.
The corruption in our government has become so rampant it appears the American people have run out of outrage. Our Justice Department ran an illegal gun-running operation to the Mexican drug cartel, resulting in hundreds of deaths by these firearms, and no one has been brought to justice. Four Americans died in Benghazi, either out of incompetence, neglect, or treason. We want those responsible brought to justice.
We want those responsible for illegally obtaining phone records of the Associated Press brought to justice. We want those in the EPA who unfairly treated conservatives requesting freedom of information brought to justice. We would like to know who directed the IRS targeting of the Tea Party and other conservative groups who speak out in defense of our Constitution.
Every American should hold his own congressman accountable, and I hold Congressman Stephen Fincher accountable for doing absolutely nothing to "secure the rights of the people," which is the primary purpose of government and thus the job we hired you to do. You have the opportunity to join with other representatives and end the tyrannical reign of the IRS. Congressman Fincher, resignations are not sufficient punishment for criminals in government.
Gibson County Patriots
No "Two-State" Solution
I take exception to the two-state solution proposed for Israel and Palestine.
Some people, including some world leaders, are proposing setting borders for a Palestinian state in the West Bank, a conditional Israeli settlement-building freeze, a Jerusalem agreement, and a Palestinian relinquishment of the claim for the right of return for millions of Arabs.
All these proposals sound like wonderful ideas when sitting around a table negotiating so-called peace for Israel and the Palestinians, but there is a major fallacy associated with a peace agreement. The Palestinians, like other Arabs and the Persians, cannot be trusted to honor any documents they might agree to and sign with Israel. They hate the Israeli Jews and will tear up a peace treaty and attack Israel when the opportunity arises.
Israel can negotiate with the Palestinians and others in the Middle East but must realize peace is not possible with its neighbors. War might not come next week or next year, but it is inevitable, and Israel has to prepare for it. Peace in the Middle East is an interlude for Israel to prepare for the next war ad infinitum.
Donald A. Moskowitz