Influential Mid-Southerners backing consolidation campaign - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Influential Mid-Southerners backing consolidation campaign

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By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Some of the Mid-South's most influential people are putting their names behind an all-out campaign to merge Memphis and Shelby County governments.

A new advertisement airing on local television stations is trying to convince Memphis and Shelby County voters that a new charter merging the two governments is the way to go.

"Doing nothing is not an option," a person in the commercial says.

Businessman Jack Sammons is leading the campaign, which has three months to hit its mark with voters.

"We can no longer afford the luxury of this two-headed monster of a dual government," Sammons said.

According to Sammons, Memphis and Shelby County lose a job and a half a day.

"When Olive Branch is taking jobs away, you know we've got some challenges," he said.

One problem, according to Sammons, is too much red tape.

"This is Shelby County's chance for a new government, to fight crime and corruption, eliminate waste and duplication, freeze taxes and create jobs," he said.

With deep pockets contributing to the cause, you can expect more high-end commercials. Big business backers include the likes of AutoZone and Baker Donelson to Pinnacle Airlines and Service Master. The who's who includes auto dealership owner Pat Carter, real estate mogul Darrell Cobbins, Accredo pharmaceuticals management President Steve Fitzpatrick, AutoZone Founder J. R. Hyde III, Southern Heritage Classic founder Fred Jones, Jr. and Memphis Tomorrow President Blair Taylor.

Sammons says people need to understand the new charter is like nothing Memphis and Shelby County have seen.
"This isn't jut straight out consolidation where you're taking two bad ideas and rolling them into one," he said. "You're creating a new government and eliminating redundancy."

The option to vote on a new charter hits the ballot in November.  For for a link to the full list of contributors and a summary of the new charter, click here.

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