Councilman criticizes own district in budget debate - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Councilman criticizes own district in budget debate

Memphis councilman Joe Brown responded to chuckles from one of his colleagues. Memphis councilman Joe Brown responded to chuckles from one of his colleagues.
Memphis Councilman Joe Brown Memphis Councilman Joe Brown

(WMC-TV) - A Memphis city council member criticized part of his own district Tuesday in the midst of the budget debate.

During a passionate discussion over funding to fight crime, Memphis councilman Joe Brown responded to chuckles from one of his colleagues.

"Harold, you can laugh, but Whitehaven is overloaded with crime. Damn it, I wouldn't want to live there," said Brown.

The super district Brown represents on the council includes all of Whitehaven which is home to councilman Harold Collins.

"Councilman Brown does represent Whitehaven, and I'm glad he told the people of Whitehaven that he wouldn't live there," said Collins.

Resident Barry Ford happily chose Whitehaven when he moved back to Memphis years ago from Chicago.

"Everybody has crime. So why in the world would you say that if you're a public official?" said Ford.

Some people in Whitehaven suggested councilman Brown may have more crime in his own North Memphis neighborhood than Whitehaven.

Brown told councilman Collins he would be willing to share his opinions in person.

"You 'd' right I tell him, and I'd tell them exactly what's going on in leadership. They going to listen to me Harold before they listen to you," said Brown.

It took an intervention before the meeting could move on.

Councilman Collins later tweeted about Joe Brown's remarks:

"Forgive him for what he said, sometimes he doesn't know what he's talking about."

Brown was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the City of Memphis budget battle led one council member to pray for a more peaceful process.

"Father I ask that you put in our hearts to do the right thing for all of the citizenry here in Memphis," said councilwoman Janis Fullilove.

Fullilove gave the invocation at Tuesday's council meeting when a clergy member ran late.

The meeting was packed with union members and other city employees concerned about proposed layoffs and benefit cuts.

One police department retiree worried about his pension.

"It's not the fault of the employees or retirees. It's the fault of the folks spending the money, and we don't spend the money –they do," said retired city employee Vic Thayer.

Council members voted to delay a budget decision for two weeks while they consider revisions.

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