Archive for the ‘Open Records’ Category

What is the difference between a garbage can and a recycle bin?

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

What is the difference between a garbage can and a recycle bin?

July 2, 2019

Recently I sent an open records request to the City of Memphis asking them for the following information.

“What is the total poundage of recycle material for the last 3-month period picked up by the City? How much of this has been recycled and how much has gone into the general landfill? How has the recycled material been disposed of?”

About a month later I got a message that the requested information was not available, and my open records request was closed.

Most Memphis and Germantown residents have a garbage can and a recycle bin which is picked up by the cities. But because of international situations and economic factors, recyclable material properly collected is no longer marketable. Therefore, my question is what is happening to the material that has been collected as recycle material?

Most people want to do the right thing and do not want to litter our world and our city with trash. What can be done with our garbage that makes sense?

As for myself I put mostly the following items into my garbage and recycle bins.

  • Soft drink bottles, mineral water and fruit juice containers made from PETE plastic (polyethylene terephthalate)
  • Milk jugs, cleaning agents, laundry detergents, shampoo, washing and shower soap bottles, HDPE plastic (high density polyethylene).
  • Shopping bags, highly resistant sacks and wrappings made from LDPE plastic (low-density polyethylene)
  • There are other plastics such as PP (polypropylene, furniture, luggage toys etc) and such items as nylons and Fiberglas.

The 2 items I see the most of that are not recyclable are PS (polystyrene, carryaway food containers) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride, plastic packaging, bubble foil and food foils to wrap foodstuff). They are light weight, but they take up a lot of space in the garbage can.

What are other cities doing with this recycle problem? Here if some information from a recent article.

 

Philadelphia is now burning about half of its 1.5 million residents’ recycling material in an incinerator that converts waste to energy. In Memphis, the international airport still has recycling bins around the terminals, but every collected can, bottle and newspaper are sent to a landfill. And last month, officials in the central Florida city of Deltona faced the reality that, despite their best efforts to recycle, their curbside program was not working and suspended it. Those are just three of the hundreds of towns and cities across the country that have canceled recycling programs, limited the types of material they accepted or agreed to huge price increases.

 

What are Memphis and Germantown doing? The citizens in Shelby County need an answer to what is currently going on with our garbage and recycle material as the public wants to help keep our cities beautiful and clean. Does anyone have more information? I would like to know.

Equity-Focused Operations “At What Cost?”

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Equity-Focused Operations “At What Cost?”

 

Ms Tami Sawyer announced that she will be a candidate for Memphis Mayor this year. She is currently a Shelby County commissioner. I wish her luck and she will no doubt be a formidable candidate. But let us look at what she says.

“My administration will be one that is set on equity,” Sawyer said on the podcast. “All of the operations that come out of City Hall will be equity-focused. That’s how you get to that shift. You put leaders in place who share your vision, who believe equity and opportunity are required in all parts of the city.”

Ms Sawyer points out that Mayor Strickland has publicized the jump in city spending with minority- and women-owned businesses from 12 percent to 24 percent since 2016. Despite that increase, Sawyer called the current figures “staggeringly low,” and said that spending should be more closely aligned with Memphis’ demographic makeup.

“What I want to see is a number that’s closer to the 70 percent,” she said. “That’s what we’re shooting for.”

The only interpretation is that all city and county contracts and spending will not be based on lowest and best price but on the basis of minority and women owned credentials regardless of cost.

I have been calling for some time for a change in City and County purchasing procedures. It is very difficult to bid on city and county purchasing contracts as the paperwork is complex. But what is missing is open access to competitive bids and the cost of minority preferences. We currently do not know what minority preferences are costing taxpayers. We are entitled to know how much extra we are paying for these rules and purchasing ratios. Therefore, the City and County should show on each bid the other bidders on each contract and if the low bidder did not get the contract, we should know why and the cost differential. Also, each contract should display the minority percentage of the contract and what minority received the contract.

I have railed against this minority spending requirement for several years. I am not against economically disadvantaged minorities getting a leg up. However what should be changed is the following. The paperwork and legal qualification rules are very complicated and discourage otherwise qualified firms. There should be a common-sense method such as the better business bureau or other independent organization that gives a rating system based on customer satisfaction reports.

Most importantly the purchasing system should be open and transparent with the final bids and selection on line and open to all. If a minority firm is the low bidder, so be it. If it is not the low bidder and is selected, then the price differential should be no more than 3% to 5% and then the minority firm should be given a one to two-year time to graduate to a no price differential status for future competitive bids. The system now is not transparent, and we do not know what minority spending rules are costing us and we do not know who the beneficiaries are.

What MS Sawyer is proposing is the distribution of taxpayer funds on the basis of race or gender preferences. That always leads to friends of the politicians getting the bulk of the pie without any benefit to the public.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms Tami Sawyer announced that she will be a candidate for Memphis Mayor this year. She is currently a Shelby County commissioner. I wish her luck and she will no doubt be a formidable candidate. But let us look at what she says.

“My administration will be one that is set on equity,” Sawyer said on the podcast. “All of the operations that come out of City Hall will be equity-focused. That’s how you get to that shift. You put leaders in place who share your vision, who believe equity and opportunity are required in all parts of the city.”

Ms Sawyer points out that Mayor Strickland has publicized the jump in city spending with minority- and women-owned businesses from 12 percent to 24 percent since 2016. Despite that increase, Sawyer called the current figures “staggeringly low,” and said that spending should be more closely aligned with Memphis’ demographic makeup.

“What I want to see is a number that’s closer to the 70 percent,” she said. “That’s what we’re shooting for.”

The only interpretation is that all city and county contracts and spending will not be based on lowest and best price but on the basis of minority and women owned credentials regardless of cost.

I have been calling for some time for a change in City and County purchasing procedures. It is very difficult to bid on city and county purchasing contracts as the paperwork is complex. But what is missing is open access to competitive bids and the cost of minority preferences. We currently do not know what minority preferences are costing taxpayers. We are entitled to know how much extra we are paying for these rules and purchasing ratios. Therefore, the City and County should show on each bid the other bidders on each contract and if the low bidder did not get the contract, we should know why and the cost differential. Also, each contract should display the minority percentage of the contract and what minority received the contract.

I have railed against this minority spending requirement for several years. I am not against economically disadvantaged minorities getting a leg up. However what should be changed is the following. The paperwork and legal qualification rules are very complicated and discourage otherwise qualified firms. There should be a common-sense method such as the better business bureau or other independent organization that gives a rating system based on customer satisfaction reports.

Most importantly the purchasing system should be open and transparent with the final bids and selection on line and open to all. If a minority firm is the low bidder, so be it. If it is not the low bidder and is selected, then the price differential should be no more than 3% to 5% and then the minority firm should be given a one to two-year time to graduate to a no price differential status for future competitive bids. The system now is not transparent, and we do not know what minority spending rules are costing us and we do not know who the beneficiaries are.

What MS Sawyer is proposing is the distribution of taxpayer funds on the basis of race or gender preferences. That always leads to friends of the politicians getting the bulk of the pie without any benefit to the public.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

 

 

 

 

 

 

VOTE TAMPERING, LOCAL AND NATIONWIDE

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

January 23, 2019

 

Here is the reason the Democratic party is refusing to stop illegal immigration. It is because they want individuals who are not citizens or even people that do not exist to vote in federal elections. A recent article pointed out voting patterns in California during the 2018 November elections. Look at what they did and the changes in voting procedure that they instituted in California.

In the November 2018 election Republican candidates went to bed on election night in November with leads in most of their competitive House races, only to lose in the ensuing weeks of vote counting. In Orange County, Young Kim was poised to become the first Korean-American woman in Congress, with a sizable lead on Election Day over her Democratic opponent. She lost by three percentage points. Republican Rep. Mimi Walters’s 6,074-vote lead on Nov. 6 turned into an 11,866-vote loss to Democrat Katie Porter.

How did this happen?

The project started in 2015 when California became the second state after Oregon to move to automatic voter registration.

Can’t be bothered to register? California does it for you, automatically adding to its rolls any person who has any interaction with its Department of Motor Vehicles. The system is already a threat to ballot integrity, with the DMV acknowledging in September it had incorrectly registered 23,000 voters.

In 2016 California passed the Voter’s Choice Act, which allows counties to mail every voter a ballot. Lots of Californians use mail voting, though previously they had to request it. Now ballots arrive automatically, whether voters want one or not. Thirteen million California voters received ballots in the mail last year, compared to about nine million in 2014.

The biggest score for Democrats is a separate 2016 California law pushed heavily by unions that legalized what’s known as ballot harvesting. This allows any person—union activists, canvassers, community organizers, campaign staff—to show up at homes and collect mail ballots on behalf of voters.

California law also allows counting mail ballots postmarked or delivered on Election Day, as well as same-day registration and liberal use of provisional ballots. This year the Democratic vote totals piled up long after the polls closed. Fred Whitaker, chairman of the Orange County GOP, has estimated that an extraordinary 250,000 mail-votes were dropped off on Election Day thanks to harvesting.

This creates opportunities for harvesters to “help” voters complete their ballots, or even pay to finish them, and it’s easy for the unscrupulous to lose ballots they think may go for the wrong candidate. Therefore ballot harvesting is illegal in many states, or at least limited to drop-offs by family members.

Nationally Democrats want states to allow same-day and online voter registration. They want looser rules on provisional ballots, requires every state to provide two weeks of early voting, prohibits restrictions on mail voting, and limits states’ ability to remove voters from rolls.

All this is an affront to the American tradition of letting states set their own election rules. Few states have automatic registration, on the principle that voting is voluntary.

Here is what the law is in Tennessee.

TN does not have automatic voter registration. One must register 30 days before Election Day. This enables officials to verify the information provided such as SS#, felon? Address, etc. First-time Tennessee voters must provide proof of citizenship, either a birth certificate or naturalization papers even if they have been registered in another state.

 

DMV provides the opportunity for those applying for a driver’s license to request registration, however, a form must be filled out and mailed to officials for verification, just like any other kind of registration.

 

To obtain an absentee ballot in Tennessee, one must be a registered voter in the district for which a ballot is requested. The request for an absentee ballot is checked against the registration lists, if the requester is registered, a ballot is mailed with a unique number on the return envelope. If that unique number is not there, altered, etc. when the ballot is returned, (all are verified) the ballot is not opened and further investigation is undertaken. Absentee ballots must arrive by the close of business on Election Day and must arrive by public carrier: USPS, Fed Ex etc.

 

In Tennessee, Provisional Ballots are provided if the person cannot be verified in the system; or does not show a Federal/TN state government photo ID. They are given 2 days to return with that photo ID (if that was the problem). Research is done If they are not in the system and they insist they registered. Some may have registered through the state and the State failed to notify the local officials. Research will let officials know – if it is found that they did timely register, their provisional ballot is counted. Otherwise, without verification that they did indeed register as they claim but do not have that photo ID, that ballot is never opened and kept in a separate holding place for 24 months. A few years back, some people would demand a provisional ballot thinking officials would not know if they were registered, that doesn’t happen as often now because they know officials verify information.

 

There is on-line registration, if that person has a TN driver’s license with signature, however, they still must vote in person the first time and show that photo ID to officials. Driver’s licenses now have a unique code on the back.

 

Tennessee does have early voting. It begins 20 days before ED and ends 5 days before ED for a total of 14 early voting days. That helps tremendously with personnel and voters. The requirements are the same for early voting or Election Day voting except on ED one can only vote in one’s precinct.

 

Now here is what happened locally last November 2018 in the election.

 

TN Black Voter Project registered thousands of voters in Shelby County and turned in 10,000 applications on the very last day of registration in Shelby County.

Since 84% of qualified voters in Shelby County are already registered, an immediate question is who those people on all those applications were! Some were felons and some were already registered, and a lot appeared to be fiction.

 

Black Voter Project (BVP) deliberately waited to turn those last registrations to cause problems for the Shelby County Election Commission. Those applications had to be processed and researched. The staff and all temps available were tied up in that process with all-hands-on-deck, three shifts per day and weekends to try to complete the process before election day.

 

Required information on many of applications was missing. Duplicate registrations were turned in for the same person with one digit different in a SS# or street address or no-such street existed etc. The local, judge Joedae Jenkins ordered that those registrants could machine vote. Attorneys appealed to state court and the ruling was overturned. Anyone with missing  could “repair” the application – however, only a handful of people did that and none showed up to try to vote on election day.

 

When addresses were on the registrations, verification letters were sent to the Black Voter Project applicants or telephoned when a phone number was provided to try to obtain missing info.  A vast number of mailed inquiry letters were returned by the PO as undeliverable and many telephone numbers were not valid. More than three letter boxes overflowed with those returned letters. It cost the commission time and money to send those letters and make those calls to non-existing people.

Turns out BVD paid $90/day for workers to register voters, but they only required 15 applications to earn the money.  Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating but no report so far on results. BVP also did something similar in Knox county and Davidson county, but not on the scale they did here. A good question is who financed that operation? What do you think? I would like your opinion on the local and national voting situation for 2020 and its connection with open borders

 

 

 

 

The Inconvenient World Of Convenience

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

December 17, 2018

The Inconvenient world of convenience

 

This is a follow up to my post “Plastic Bag Tax” on my website, www.memphisshelbyinform.com.

 

I consider myself to be a typical American, used to convenience in almost everything. I buy plastic water bottles rather than carry around a heavier metal insulated container. I buy plastic soft drink bottles, plastic yogurt containers, plastic throw away food containers. Am I a bad person? I will leave that question to my wife and children.

 

Basically, I consider that I am woefully uninformed about recycling. So, I started digging for information about the whole area of what happens when I throw those bottles, containers and other items into my garbage pail.

 

I started at my computer to see what information was available. The main points that I discovered was as follows.

 

  • The use of plastics in packaging has undergone a revolution. These very smart chemical scientists have taken petrochemicals and transformed them into various chemical stocks such as POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE, HIGH-DENSITY POLYETHYLENE, POLYVINYL CHLORIDE, LOW-DENSITY POLYETHLENE, POLYPROPYLENE, POLYSTYRENE, AND OTHER PLACTICS INCLUDING ACRYLICS, POLYCARBONATE, POLYACTIC FIBERS, NYLON AND FIBERGLAS. OUCH!! No wonder I hated chemistry in school.
  • China used to take most of our recycled products but in January of this year they stopped accepting recyclables from many countries.
  • Locally the City of Memphis is in a time of transformation as are other local municipalities like Germantown. Where recyclables used to pay for itself, it now appears we will have to pay more in the future.

 

Therefore, my job now is to educate myself as to what is recyclable and what is not and what can I do to help solve or mitigate the problem.  First job is to identify items. The following chart is basic to all the chemicals mentioned above.

 

 

I asked the City of Memphis thru an open records request the following.

“I would like information on which of these 7 symbols which appear on a lot of products you will accept for recycling here in Memphis. Also, if you have other suggestions or standards for identification of acceptable products symbols, I would like to have them by email return.”

Here is their answer.

The City has reviewed its files and has located responsive records to your request. Per the custodian, size does matter. Straws, plastic picnic utensils, and pill bottles are too small to be sorted accurately. Also – recycling needs to be clean. If plastic plates have lingering food debris attached, then they can actually contaminate the load. The plastic items we collect must just be all plastic. If they contain metal parts or electronic panels then they are not recyclable. To easily identify plastics we accept, visit memphisrecycles.com or check the top of your City of Memphis gray recycling cart. You will find a complete list of the plastics, paper, metals, glass and cartons you can recycle in Memphis. Thank you for participating in our curbside recycling program. 

This answer seems to address most items I come across in my daily life. The plastic bags that are at checkout at Kroger and some other stores still is the object of a possible charge before the City Council. Under the plan, consumers would pay 7 cents for each plastic bag they use to carry their purchases from Memphis retailers sized 2,000 square feet or greater. The Memphis bag tax proposal would funnel 2 cents to the grocers as a handling fee, while the city would pull in the other 5 cents per bag. People age 65 and older, and those who use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits or other public assistance, would be exempt city councilman Boyd said.

 

What did I learn? The City is doing the right thing and seems to be on top of the huge problem of our throwaway society. Of the seven chasing arrow symbols it seems that #6 (POLYSTYRENE) is a big problem and cannot currently be recycled without a lot more research. #3 (POLYVINYL CHLORIDE) and #4 (LOW DENSITY POLYETHLENE) are also questionable. I have found that many items do not have the 1 thru 7 symbols. You  have to use some judgement.

There is a lot of research going on in this are and here is an recent article that you might find interesting. Possibly the wonderful world of chemistry will solve this problem.

 

I would love to hear from you on your experience in this throwaway society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon and Nashville/Memphis

Monday, November 19th, 2018

Now that the election is over, let us get back to important things like comparing Memphis/Shelby County to Nashville/Davidson County.

We have the news that Nashville is getting a piece of the Amazon pie, 5000 high paying jobs. It comes at a high taxpayer price but is probably worth it. Why Nashville and not Memphis?

Comparing Nashville to Memphis has been a project for me for some time. It is not easy to go through all the published financial data and come up with understandable comparison data. However, let us start with a few facts.

Population: Shelby County: 936,961, Davidson County: 691,243

Population of the core city: Memphis 653,236, Nashville 444,297

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Area: Shelby County: 755 sq. miles, Davidson County: 525 sq. miles

Area of the core city: Memphis, 324 sq. miles, Urban Nashville, 198 sq. miles, general service area 327 sq. miles for a total of 525 square miles.

Conclusion: population density of core city Memphis 2016/sq. mile

Population of core city Nashville 2243/sq. mile

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Property tax revenue: Memphis $458,671,000, Shelby County $793,849,000 for a total of $1,252,520,000 or 1.25 billion.

Property taxes, Nashville Metro, $971,643,000.

——————————————————————————————————–

Budget of Memphis and Shelby County $1.88 billion.

Budget of Metro Nashville $2.23 billion.

Budget expenditures per resident Memphis and Shelby County $2006

Budget expenditure per resident of Metro Davidson $3226

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Debt service as a % of operating expenditures

Metro Nashville                  9%

Memphis                               20%

Shelby County                     21.45%

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Memphis pension liability 2018- $2.68 billion 89.6% funding ratio

Shelby County pension liability 2017- $1.2 billion 71% funding ratio

Nashville Metro pension liability 2017- 3.08 billion 95.4% funded

 

Memphis OPEB liability 2018 $334 million, 0.8% funded

Shelby County OPEB liability 2017 $232 million 83.3% funded

Nashville Metro OPEB liability $2.33 billion, zero % funded

Typical Winter utility bill

Memphis- $244.10

Nashville- $375.65

————————————————————————————————————-

The Statement of Net Position presents information on all the Government’s assets, deferred outflows of resources, liabilities, and deferred inflows of resources, with the difference reported as net position. Over time, increases or decreases in net position may serve as a useful indicator of whether the financial position of the Government is improving or deteriorating.

 

Metro Nashville net position decreased by $266 million for the year ending 2017.

Memphis net position decreases by $58 million for the year ending 2017.

Shelby County net position increased by $86 million for the year ending 2017

 

If you have additional financial comparison information or disagree with any of the above information, please let me know.

 

————————————————————————————————————-

 

I think Memphis is a great city, beautiful trees, weather is consistently great, wonderful  people and compared to Nashville, a low cost of living. What is the difference?

 

EDUCATION AND TRAINED WORK FORCE.

 

We are told that these 5000 jobs Amazon will bring to Nashville have an average salary of $150,000/year. These are jobs that require high tech skills in management, engineering, computer science and programming. It is a pleasure to go to the Amazon website as its ease of use is outstanding and much better than its competitors.

 

However, Amazon’s main business is selling things made by others and getting those things to you fast and at a low cost.

 

Memphis needs to compete in the area of technical job training and skills that are needed in the next few years in manufacturing, health care, auto and aircraft maintenance, warehousing and transportation. Our new governor has promised to continue free junior college training (Tennessee Promise) and hopefully he will allow qualified non-profits like our local Moore Tech College to participate in the Tennessee Promise program.

 

Our local shortage of trained people needed by companies like Amazon will not be solved in a few years but while we upgrade our primary grade education, we need to emphasize trade school education to upgrade our local working wage level and reduce our comparative high poverty level.

 

I would appreciate your thoughts on what we can do to help Memphis to reach the next level of prosperity. Memphis is great, but we can make it grow and prosper with the right education policies. EDUCATION IS THE ANSWER.

 

 

 

 

 

I Voted Yesterday and Then Cleaned Out My Closet. What a Surprise!!

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

October 26, 2018

 

I voted yesterday and then cleaned out my closet. What a surprise!!

 

After hearing all the NO-NO-NO advertising and NO-YES-NO and NO-YES-YES on social media I fully expected to see NO! and YES! on the ballot. WRONG!!

 

What was on the ballot was “Vote For the Amendment or Against the amendment. I saw several voters talking to the election commission staff asking for an explanation. This is another example of the poor wording of these three ordinances. We will have to wait until November 6th or 7th to see the results. Will it be AGAINST-AGAINST-AGAINST or AGAINST-FOR-FOR or something else.

 

Then I went home and started cleaning out my closet and came across the following sign from 2008 when Memphis voters put term limits in place for the Memphis Mayor and Memphis City Council members, limiting each to two consecutive 4 year terms in office. None of our group shown in the picture were elected but the influence of 30,000 taxpayers paid off with the charter commission imposing two consecutive four year term on the Mayor and the City Council as was already the case for the County Mayor and the County Commission. The City Council at that time fought us tooth and nail but we won. Now both the Memphis City Council and the County Commission want to get 12 consecutive years rather than 8. Vote Against.

 

 

 

In the 2008 vote, more than three-quarters of Memphis voters approved the two-term limit.

 

Yesterday, on the second and third items I voted FOR and FOR.

 

Vote your conviction but please vote.

 

 

 

The True Facts About IRV Voting

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

October 16, 2018

 

I recently sent out an email and posted information on my website (www.memphisshelbyinform.com) giving my recommendation to vote NO-YES-YES on the three ordinances at the end of the upcoming ballot.

 

I then received an email from City Councilman Edmund Fore Jr. as shown below.

Mr. Saino,

I hope this message finds you in good health and spirit.

We disagree on many things, but I will say that you are spot on regarding these items. In fact, IRV has been repealed in several cities due to costs and the number of exhausted ballots that are thrown out. Taking to the local Comptroller, Shelby County would have to pay up to $6.3 million for new machines.

I would be glad to provide more information, as the local media has refused to give the public both sides.

I appreciate your attempt to educate the people, even when we disagree.

 

He also sent me to a website (www.yes2repeal.org)  and if you will look at the video on this site it explains the faults in Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) and he also sent me the document that you can read explaining the true cost and impediments of IRV. Enough said. Early voting starts tomorrow and please get out and vote and vote NO-YES-YES.

NO-YES-YES

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

 

September 18, 2018

 

NO-YES-YES

 

There are three interesting proposals at the end of the upcoming November 6th ballot here in Memphis.

These three are very interesting and particularly difficult to understand but I will try to explain them to the best of my ability and research.

 

City of Memphis Ordinance #5676 Vote yes or NO

Shall the Charter of the City of Memphis, Tennessee be amended to provide no person shall be eligible to hold or to be elected to the office of Mayor or Memphis City Council if any such person has served at any time more than three (3) consecutive four-year terms, except that service by persons elected or appointed to fill an unexpired four-year term shall not be counted as full four-year term? Vote NO

 

 

This is an attempt by the political class to undue the terms limits put on the City of Memphis by voters. You can see what happens when politicians get too many terms in office. Look at the 2001 pension resolution by the City of Memphis when they approved elected and appointed officials to get immediate pensions after 12 years of service regardless of age. This cost the city of Memphis millions until finally rescinded. More recently the Shelby County Commission tried a similar plan which was vetoed by the outgoing County Mayor and may come up again with the new County Commission and new County Mayor. VOTE NO!

 

City of Memphis Ordinance #5677 Vote YES  or no

 

Shall the Charter of the City of Memphis, Tennessee be amended to repeal Instatnt Runoff Voting and to restore the election procedure existing prior to the 2008 Amendment for all City offices, and expressly retaining the 1991 federal ruling for persons elected to the Memphis City Council single districts?

 

Instant runoff voting is a very bad idea and it is being sold to save money by not having a run off election. Nationwide it has proved to not work and to cause confusion with the electorate. More importantly it does not necessarily lead to a candidate winning with a majority as is required in the single member districts of the City Council. A good example is the 2015 election to the City Council. City council races for Districts 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 required runoff elections on November 19, 2015, with no candidates receiving majorities of the general election vote. A particularly bad example was the race eventually won by Worth Morgan.  There were 4 candidates in the first round that won 90% of the votes. In the runoff between Morgan and Springer, Morgan won by only 136 votes. If we had had instant runoff voting it is probable someone else would have won and that person would have won without a majority of voters thus violating the 1991 federal ruling. 2nd and 3rd choices do not count as a majority decision and you end up with a winning plurality candidate. Only a one on one runoff election insures a majority winner. VOTE YES!

 

City of Memphis Ordinance #5677 Vote yes or NO

Shall the Charter of the City of Memphis, Tennessee be amended to provide that in any municipal election held as required by law, the candidate receiving the largest number of votes shall be declared the winner, thereby eliminating run-off elections?

 

This is an attempt to change from a majority vote system to a plurality vote system. The County uses a plurality system for their 13 seats on the County Commission as to the 6 City Council members in the super districts. These runoff elections which happen only in the 7 City Council single member districts were caused by a 1991 court ruling should be reversed as circumstances and population has changed. VoteYES and pending the court ruling there will no longer be a need for runoff elections.

The New Shelby County Government Is Looking Like the Old City Government

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

September 4, 2018

The New Shelby County Government Is Looking Like the Old City Government

 

The new Shelby County government is just beginning and we all wish them well. We all want and need low cost and efficient government to furnish fire and police services, bring us our utilities, repair our roads, run our legal system, furnish medical services and educate our children.

 

Shelby County government has been well run for many years as compared to the City of Memphis. Let me give you several examples.

 

In 2007 the Governmental Accounting Standards Board issued GASB 45 which required that other post-employment benefits (OPEB) must be recognized as the benefits earned rather than as they are paid. The county in 2008 made certain positive changes as shown on the attached document. The City of Memphis did nothing until 2017 when they made changes to the benefit plan. The County OPEB unfunded liability went from $319 million in 2008 to $46 million today. The City of Memphis did nothing until 2017 when the benefit changes brought the unfunded liability from $857 million to $417 million, due to plan benefit changes.

 

The City of Memphis pension board regularly approves line of duty liability at 10 times the rate per employee as the County and the MLGW. This has led to an annual cost for LOD disability for the city of Memphis of some $17 million dollars per year, 10 times that of the County and the MLGW. The problem is the makeup of the pension board membership that grants these LOD disability pensions.

 

And finally, the new County pension scam allowing benefits for life with 12 years of service looks much like the January 2001 pension scam of the City of Memphis. That disastrous action allowed elected and appointed employees with 12 years of service to receive their lifetime pensions immediately.

 

It is noteworthy that the new county resolution passed with an 8-2 majority. Commissioner Walter Bailey sponsored the resolution saying that “since elected officials with term limits shouldn’t be penalized for their public service”. Commissioner Walter Bailey was term limited after his first two 4 year terms and then reelected later after laying out for a term for another term.

 

Now some politicians want to do away with term limits. The above scams only make me want to tighten terms limits so that term limited politicians do not twist the rules to feather their nests. We need term limits pension scam rules not only locally but also for the US House of Representatives and for the US Congress.

 

What are your thoughts?

ELECTIONS ARE COMING

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Elections Are Coming

 

July 11, 2018

 

There is an important election coming up on August 2, 2018. Let us look at some of the important elections.

A new Tennessee Governor will be elected as our current governor is term limited. You will be asked to choose whether to vote in the Republican or Democratic primary. I am voting in the Republican primary. For me it comes down to Diane Black or Randy Boyd. I met Ms. Black recently and was impressed. Mr. Boyd has the support of Mike Huckabee. Take your pick but I am voting for Ms. Black.

Another important election is the United States Senate because of the retirement of our current senator, Bob Corker. I am voting for Marsha Blackburn. She will have a tough fight in November against Phil Bredesen, the Democrat.

The most important local election is the County Mayoral election. Shelby County has been well run under Mayor Luttrell and David Lenoir is the best candidate and I will be voting for him.

Another important election is the District 8 United States House of Representatives between the current representative, David Kustoff, and George Flinn. I know and like George and while he has a high hill to climb I would vote for him, but I am not in his district. In my district I am voting for Charlotte Bergmann.

I am in Tennessee Senate District 31 and will be voting for Brian Kelsey.

I am in Tennessee House of Representative District 93 and there is no Republican running, so I will not be voting on this district.  I used to vote in District 83 and if I was still there I would vote for Mark White.

Another important election is the Shelby County Commissioners. I am voting in District 7 and will vote for Samuel D. Goff. I recommend the republican candidates where they are running.

I have listed a complete ballot with my choices listed in red. Vote your convictions but please vote.