Even as the final draft of a Metro Charter resolution is prepared for the city and county ballots this November, the chances of passage — already slim — shrink further. Even the most naive advocates of city/county consolidation are aware that sentiment for the changeover in the part of Shelby County outside the city of Memphis is minimal to nonexistent. What is not so well known is that the outlook for a favorable vote in Memphis itself may also be in question.
A sign of this was a largely unnoticed vote taken in the last month by the steering committee of the Shelby County Democratic Party to oppose the charter resolution. While this vote is by no means reflective of the opinion of city residents as a whole, it does represent — by definition — the conviction of the leadership corps of the political party which has most traction in Memphis' inner city.
The steering committee's vote was taken to the membership at large of the party's executive committee last Thursday night at a meeting which otherwise was dominated by post mortems of the just-concluded countywide election and by the continuing controversy over the consequences of an Election Day voting-machine glitch.
As much because of the time and energy devoted to these other matters as for any reason, the executive committee voted to postpone any final action on repudiating the Metro Charter until its next monthly meeting when all the members will have been presented detailed copies of the charter proposal to consider.
During a brief discussion of the charter proposal, members of the party's steering committee explained that one of their chief objections to accepting the consolidation resolution was a sense that it keeps the local governments of other county municipalities intact — with their mayors and legislative bodies continuing — while dissolving the existing structure of Memphis city government.
As Rebuild Government sheds its cloak of objectivity and re-emerges as the pro-consolidation advocacy group most people always thought it was, its cadres should be aware that there's missionary work to be done inside the city as well as in the suburbs.
The Glitch (cont'd.)
As controversy over the recently concluded countywide election continues (Politics, p. 13), we hope that the disputing parties (and we mean that term in both the legal and the political senses) will have the good sense to retreat from rigid positions at the extreme limits of their arguments.
Unless incontestable evidence to the contrary emerges, the Democratic litigants should forgo arguing the case for vote fraud when increasingly it appears that human error is the more likely cause. The real foul here is that the Election Commission's inexcusably careless administration of the election process allowed an irregularity so blatant that it tainted the results.
And the current Republican management of the commission should get off its high horse about having to withhold certain evidence because of "proprietary" contracts with the Diebold Corporation. It is the people's will that is proprietary in this case, and no other concerns — especially dubious legalistic ones — should come before it.