“Hot Mess” 

Criticism is rising on the Memphis City Council’s failure to fill the vacant District 1 seat.

With more than 100 rounds of voting, the meeting stretched into the early hours of last Wednesday morning, as the council stood deadlocked on the top two vote-getters from earlier rounds: Rhonda Logan, executive director of the Raleigh Community Development Corp., and Lonnie Treadaway, sales manager for Flinn Broadcasting Corp.

In the days following the meeting, Memphians turned to social media to express their disdain over the situation, saying that Logan, who's been involved in the district for over 20 years, is the most qualified. While, Treadaway, a Mississippi transplant who has only lived in Memphis since July, has no roots in the community.

click to enlarge The District 1 seat - remains vacant.
  • The District 1 seat remains vacant.

Scott Banbury, a Memphis activist, said Logan is the "obvious choice" to represent Raleigh in a Wednesday Facebook post.

"Why would anyone vote to appoint a one-year transplant from Mississippi to represent Raleigh on the Memphis City Council over a woman with roots in Raleigh, who serves as executive director of the Raleigh [Community Development Corp.]?" Banbury wrote.

Desi Franklin, another Memphis activist, said Tuesday's votes demonstrate the council's intentions to appoint their associates to the council.

"This is your Memphis City Council," Franklin wrote. "So, this plan to hand off council appointments to friends of council members, instead of letting the voters elect their own council members, is now even more obviously nothing but a bunch of shenanigans — by a council that can't even execute their shenanigans."

Similarly, Charlie Caswell, a pastor at The House Memphis in Raleigh, claims the council is seeking to enhance their own personal agenda "at the expense of an entire district."

"Last night was truly a hot mess, largely because of the lack of leadership from Berlin Boyd, who was a disgrace," Caswell said. "On December 4th at 3:30 p.m., we need every citizen to join us at city hall to stand up against the foolishness they call politics and demand the will of the people and not a few who are only benefiting themselves."

Throughout the rounds of voting Tuesday, Logan repeatedly received six votes — one shy of winning. While Treadaway averaged about three votes.

Supporters of Logan were council members Jamita Swearengen, Martavious Jones, Patrice Robinson, Joe Brown, Edmund Ford Jr., and Janis Fullilove.

Council members Worth Morgan, Frank Colvett Jr., J. Ford Canale, Reid Hedgepeth, and — on a handful of occasions — Boyd supported Treadaway.

Nine hours in, despite objections, Boyd's fourth motion to recess the meeting and the vote until the council's next meeting passed.

Boyd's earlier attempts to delay the vote were referred to as "corruptible" by Brown. That sentiment was echoed by Swearengen, who said that holding the vote means two supporters of Logan, Fullilove and Ford, won't get to vote, as their resignations became official last week.

Now, a 10-member council will vote on the District 1 appointee at its December 4th meeting, and activists like Caswell are asking the public to show up and voice their opinion.

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