Greensward supporters turn against city council chairman - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Greensward supporters turn against city council chairman

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Overton Park Greensward supporters are turning their power of protest against Memphis City Council.

Greensward supporters have been out in force for months trying to stop Memphis Zoo from allowing patrons to park on a portion of Overton Park during peak hours.

Those supporters were the driving force behind getting Memphis Zoo and Overton Park Conservancy to attend mediation session. 

That mediation created actionable steps that added 325 parking spaces almost immediately, and set into action plans to permanently alleviate overflow parking for the zoo.

The supporters said they are far from finished. They plan to continue protesting the use of the Greensward, and one way to do that is to try and remove certain members of City Council.

"He has proven himself to abuse power, abuse his position, not to represent the citizens, not to listen and honor the citizens," Michael Graber said.

Graber plans to launch a petition to remove City Council Chairman Kemp Conrad.

Graber said Conrad pushed an ordinance through City Council that left control of the Greensward to Memphis Zoo.

According to a Memphis ordinance, Graber must collect more than 36,000 signatures on his petition to get a vote to remove Conrad on the ballot. That same ordinance says the vote cannot happen until Conrad serves two years of his term--meaning the petition couldn't be presented until 2018.

"Starting now, we have roughly a year and a half to gather signatures and follow the process correctly," Graber said.

Conrad does not seem worried about the petition. He released the following statement: 

I was just reelected with over 70 percent in a 3 person race and won every precinct (except one that only had 3 voters).  My colleagues recently overwhelming elected me as Chairman of the body. 

The people of Memphis spoke on October 8th and elected me to continue working for the people of Memphis.  

In every vote I take I represent the interest of my constituents and the people of Memphis, and I will continue to do so. I think you are going to find that this is a small group of people in one zip code--and heavily led by my opponent and my opponents supporters from last year. But that's politics in Memphis.

The voters made their choice and that's who I was elected to serve.

Graber disagrees. He said the tide is turning against Conrad.

"There is a groundswell moving against him," Graber said. "He's taking a very prideful position, but that will be his Achilles heel."

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