MY TURN: Alienating suburbia - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

WMC-TV General Manager Lee Meredith

MY TURN: Alienating suburbia

WMC-TV General Manager Lee Meredith WMC-TV General Manager Lee Meredith

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton sure knows how to get people riled up. His comments about consolidating the city and county governments rubbed some of the suburban county residents the wrong way.

Herenton wants to change the state law so that residents in the outlying areas won’t have veto power over the consolidation decision. Well, of course, that’s been met with a storm of protest from people who think their voting rights are about to be taken away from them.

Tennessee is one of a few states that requires a “dual majority” to pass a consolidation referendum. In other words, both city voters and county voters must both approve the merger in what are essentially separate elections.

The last big consolidation occurred in Louisville and Kentucky is one of many states the requires only a single majority. But here’s an interesting fact: All of major city-county consolidation votes that have succeeded have passed in both the city and the county, regardless of whether that was required in order to approve the consolidation. And that should be the goal here as well.

Consolidation has the potential to offer benefits to all area residents, but “divide and conquer” is not the best way to begin this campaign.

That’s my turn. Now it’s your turn. To comment on this segment or anything else, email or call 800-465-1210.

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