County Commission Mess 

Almost lost in the furor over partisan trench warfare that saw a Democrat, Matt Kuhn, appointed this week to fill a commission vacancy in a district indisputably dominated by Republicans, was a simple root fact: There is no law of nature or of civil society that requires that seats on the Shelby

County Commission be parceled out according to partisan criteria. That state of affairs derives from a 1992 decision by the Shelby County Republican Party to begin holding primary elections for countywide offices, which up until that time had been free of partisan considerations. Ultimately, the Democratic Party was forced to follow suit, and that is why we now have a commission divided into seven Democrats and six Republicans rather than according to some more natural pattern — say, urban vs. suburban.

We sympathize with the outrage now being expressed by spokespersons for the selfsame Shelby County Republican Party. However its members choose to justify it, the insistence by a Democratic core group on the commission to repudiate a long-standing "gentlemen's agreement," one that had mandated same-party substitutions to fill vacancies, was a brazen and cynical power grab. The consequences in lingering resentment and ill will are incalculable for a governmental body that in recent years had substantially subordinated its partisan differences to legitimate disagreements over policy matters per se.

We wonder, in fact, why Kuhn, whose recent chairmanship of the local Democratic Party was made more difficult by factional differences of a different kind, wanted more doses of the same bad medicine.

Yes, the Shelby County Republicans must accept responsibility for creating this mess in the first place. But if they seriously are seeking a remedy, they should now take the lead in abandoning primary elections for local offices. And the Democrats should then follow suit.

Bursting Another Bubble

Attendees at the Economics Club's monthly gathering last week got the chance to witness how much the nation's mood has changed in this past month, the first of at least 48 in which the Obama administration will be calling the shots. The speaker that night — Ron Gettelfinger, national president of the United Auto Workers union — symbolized that change, as did the fact that he received a most cordial if restrained reception from a group that included many of the city's major business leaders. Both the union leader and his audience seemed to have new appreciation for each other's predicament in this time of severe recession/depression. "Let's not kid ourselves," Gettelfinger said. "The problem is not the unions at this point; the problem is the fact that our economy is in the ditch."

Later, Gettelfinger mentioned that, from the time he took over the UAW presidency in 2002, he never once met with President Bush or with any top administration officials. Now, Gettelfinger noted that "I have the personal cell-phone number of the secretary of treasury's chief of staff."

We can have (and do have) a wide variety of opinions as to what role America's unions have played in contributing to our current malaise. One cannot avoid the obvious, however: A "failure to communicate" does nobody any good. Ever.

The White House is no longer occupied by a president content to live within a bubble, keeping at arm's length all who disagree with his opinions and policies. Now, perhaps we can get down to business, working together to put the Bush housing and financial bubbles well and truly behind us.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment



Fly On The Wall Blog

A Post About Gluten Free Strippers and Effing Traffic

Music Blog

A Week's Tribute to Jimmie Lunceford

News Blog

MATA Proposes to End Ikea Route, Alter Others

Beyond the Arc

Beyond the Arc Podcast #84: The Dillon Brooks Era

Tiger Blue

#25 Memphis 42, Houston 38

Music Blog

Butthole Surfers and Bad Seeds Salute the Man in Black

Music Blog

Soulsville USA Festival Lights Up McLemore Ave.

We Saw You

Emo and you


More by Flyer Staff

Readers also liked…

  • Dear Chuck Brady ...

    • Jul 7, 2016
  • Common Sense Pot Policy

    Unlike Bill Clinton, I've inhaled. So have 49 percent of all Americans, according to a recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Marijuana (medical or otherwise) has been decriminalized or legalized in 23 states, and measures are on the ballot to legalize it in five more states this November, including Arizona, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and California (where medical pot is already legal). A recent Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Americans think pot should be legalized and regulated like alcohol ...
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • A Letter to the Memphis City Council

    The council gets an “F” for its performance on the Greensward decision.
    • Mar 10, 2016
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation