I’m fascinated by the spectacle that the Shelby County Commission has become lately. Now that a chancery court judge has ruled, Henri Brooks gets her seat back, because apparently, the county attorney isn’t the correct party to determine whether Commissioner Brooks was actually a resident of the district she was elected to represent. And now, the commission is going to take up the matter again, as Commissioner Ritz is expected to present another resolution on the matter.
Personally, I don’t think the Commission should waste another second on this. If Commissioner Brooks did not live in District 2 when she was elected, or moved out of the district after she was elected, then she should admit that. Based on the way she’s responded to questions about her residency so far, I don’t see that happening.
If the Commission continues to deal with the issue, it will take weeks for that body to make a decision, then respond to the fight Commissioner Brooks will mount against any negative decision. By the time all that works itself out, her term in office will be over. So, it’s almost a moot point whether Commissioner Brooks or Commissioner Ford live in the districts they represent.
The disappointing thing from my perspective (as a registered voter in Shelby County), is the sense of arrogance and entitlement that some of elected officials have. It’s almost as if they believe they are doing us a favor by serving in office – instead of the actual fact that we’ve done them a favor by voting for them.
Again, if Henri Brooks feels like she doesn’t owe anyone an explanation, that’s her prerogative. Will I take that into consideration when voting for a Juvenile Court Clerk? Yes, I will. The rules dealing with residency are spotty in Tennessee. If the Republicans in Nashville wanted to do something of value, they would stop passing you-can-carry-a-gun-anywhere laws and tighten up rules on residency, requiring anyone running for office to prove where they live before taking office. As far as the current commission, because there are questions, how difficult would it be for every member to offer some sort of evidence that they legally represent their district? That proof could be an address on a tax return – because lying about that would be a federal beef – I hope no one’s arrogance would rise to the level of mucking with the G (quoting Sean Connery in “The Untouchables”).
While I do think all this noise is a lot of noise – here’s the bigger point. Once this issue resolves itself, and a lot of these people are off the commission, there’s still a risk that someone, sometime, could have a problem with some vote the commission took on some issue. And because there was a question of residency – two questions, actually – a critic could certainly use that as a legal argument to go to court to overturn some decision(s) made by the commission. So if any member of the commission is serving illegally, and knows that – they may have poisoned important work affecting every resident of Shelby County. That would be their legacy.