Letters to the Editor

Power Struggle

To the Editor:

After reading John Branston's cover story ("On Shaky Ground," December 11th issue), I was stunned at some of the comparisons he made.

Branston compared MLGW call-center employees' pay with that of their counterparts at the mayor's Citizens Service Center. Branston seemed to imply taxpayers get a better deal with Herenton's call-center employees by virtue of their lower pay. That just isn't so. The mayor's call-center employees are no more responsive than the MLGW call-center folks. The mayor's complaint that MLGW employees are unresponsive and need an attitude check is laughable.

As for MLGW salaries, the mayor's complaint is, once again, laughable. After putting his shill, Ricky Peete, up to proposing a pay raise, the mayor didn't complain that he would be overpaid.

As for the complaint that MLGW is "an island unto itself," the mayor should do a reality check on himself and the rest of the city's government. I defy any media member to pose as an ordinary citizen and attempt to get a problem corrected. Try getting a police response. Dozens of 911 calls to the police about shots fired in my apartment complex were treated with contempt. Police didn't arrive on the scene until more than an hour after the calls were made. The weak excuse was that "police are overworked and cannot be everywhere at once."

The police refuse to take calls concerning stolen cars. And try dealing with the impound lot to recover a stolen vehicle. I tried not once but several times. Every time I went into the office, I found several employees behind the counter joking and laughing while the crowds piled up.

Finally, the mayor chides MLGW for rate hikes "out of context of other city revenue needs." Baloney. I guess the new basketball palace is not "out of context." Most people I know are not basketball fans and will never visit Willie's new downtown palace. It's doubtful the arena will ever be filled to the point where the "investment" will be repaid. Fix my damned streets and get the police to answer true emergency calls, and I will be happy.

I'm not an MLGW employee, but I've had better luck getting service from MLGW than out of Willie's hired hands.

Bolivar Ward


To the Editor:

In 2004, the Memphis sewer rates are projected to increase by 49 percent. MLGW increased its rate 4 percent. There is a possible city property-tax increase of 10 percent. (Bet on it.) County taxes will also go up. Mayor Herenton is getting a $20,000 raise! The county mayor will be next.

Why do we allow these people to stay in office and bleed us dry? Because the majority of the voters want it that way, which is an indicator of their level of intelligence!

To be a taxpayer, you must work. You get the feeling that most voters are getting food stamps, AFDC checks, and are on welfare!

Joe Mercer



To the Editor:

Hooray for our side. We captured Saddam. He didn't happen to be sitting on top of a big ol' pile of WMDs when we caught him, did he? Didn't think so.

Let's see ... A year ago, Saddam was isolated, under U.S. surveillance, and posed no threat to this country. Today, Saddam is isolated, under U.S. surveillance, poses no threat to this country, and he has a beard. I'm thrilled, as are, I'm sure, the families of the troops who have died in this crusade.

A year ago, Osama bin Laden was hiding and plotting revenge attacks against American cities. Today, he still is.

Forgive me if I'm not ready to give our commander in chief a ticker-tape parade.

Michael B. Conway


To the Editor:

Okay, Mr. Bush, you got Saddam. Now you can send all the troops back home to their families and end the occupation of Iraq. Oops, I forgot about the real reason you sent troops to Iraq -- oil!

By the way, Mr. Bush, there is another country near Iraq that possesses WMD and has been brutally killing the indigenous people for over 55 years. Their leader is a known war criminal. Oops, I forgot. The Israeli lobby controls your government.

Omar Amer


Correction: The Shelby County mayor' salary is $150,000, not $160,000, as reported in last week's cover story.

The Memphis Flyer encourages reader response. Send mail to: Letters to the Editor, POB 1738, Memphis, TN 38101. Or call Back Talk at 575-9405. Or send us e-mail at All responses must include name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters should be no longer than 250 words.


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