I wasn’t gonna do it. I really wasn’t. I have no real connection to politics in Memphis except that a couple of jobs I don’t have anymore have brought me into contact with a few of the local players. And I vote. I figured city council would vote to create a vacancy in the mayor’s office and the election commission would set a date for a special election. Since that’s what everyone expected, there’s no real reason to blog about mayoral politics.
Then Hizzoner sent another letter. What is it with him and correspondence. He puts pen to paper and all of a sudden it’s Hellzapoppin’ around here.
First, let me repeat an observation a couple of people have already made. If the mayor really wants to do good for the city, why saddle us with the cost and hassle of replacing him. The Commercial Appeal notes “Election Commission administrator Richard Holden estimates the election will cost around $1.07 million and will require about 1,500 employees.” Don’t accept a job you don’t really want, even if you don’t think anyone else is capable. If that were true when he won reelection, it’s still true now.
Back to the letter. The mayor’s most recent missive makes the point that he reserves the right to rescind his resignation, regardless of City Council action. Does this letter take precedent over the letter he’s sent to supporters promising a retirement celebration in the Hall of Mayors on July 31? After all, I heard there was going to be cake. Don’t take away the people’s cake, mayor, in the name of all that’s good, don’t take away the cake! Although some might review your actions during this episode and note that you do certainly take the cake.
So, we go through a City Council meeting and an Election Commission meeting that resemble nothing short of a pair of clown cars; as these adults, all assumed to be mature and responsible, are reduced to looking like a bunch of goobers because one guy — one guy — likes attention while making people look silly.
Let’s boil down the basic facts: if the mayor truly wants to run for Congress, he needs to not be mayor so he can raise the substantial funds necessary to challenge an incumbent. That said, he has to leave office. Second, he’s already set up his retirement party. A lot of the people he’s invited would be major supporters in a congressional race, so he can’t really afford to have them show up at a retirement party and then not leave office.
I actually think he has a point when he says in his letter than an unfortunate precedent may be set by the council’s action in declaring a vacancy without an official retirement letter from the person doing the retiring. But… saying you’re going to leave and asking in public why people won’t take you at your word, then hinting that you could change your mind isn’t something that instills confidence.
So please, no more letters, no more pronouncements. This isn’t a situation where you can encourage voter support by fighting the system. It’s completely unnecessary and it makes everybody look bad — including you. I’m not entirely sure why anyone would want that as a legacy.