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Letter From the Editor



Should I stay or should I go now?

Should I stay or should I go now?

If I go there will be trouble

An' if I stay it will be double.

So come on and let me know!

This indecision's bugging me ...

Has Mayor Willie Herenton been listening to the Clash, riding around in the mayormobile with his bodyguards? It would make about as much sense as anything else that's happened in the past few days.


It all began a little more than a week ago, when Hizzoner announced that he would resign, effective July 10th, to pursue a congressional race against incumbent 9th District congressman Steve Cohen. The fallout from that bombshell had barely settled, when Herenton decided to grant senior editor Jackson Baker a final mayoral "exit interview" for last week's issue. When Jackson called me after that interview and drolly said, "Herenton thinks Cohen's an asshole," I said, yeah, I bet he does, assuming the mayor had said such as an aside or implied it indirectly.

"No," Jackson said. "He said it for the record."

That made me a happy editor, since I knew we had a bombshell story that would "sell" papers and bring thousands of visitors to our website. But as a Memphian, I was not so happy. I knew this kind of smack talk, coming from our mayor, would only bring heat to a situation where light was needed.

Little did we know, the heat was only beginning to get turned up. After accepting the resignations of several division chiefs, the mayor inexplicably turned down the resignation of city attorney Elbert Jefferson. I said to a colleague at the time, "This isn't good. It means Herenton thinks there's some unfinished legal business to take care of."

Sadly, I was right. The mayor postponed what he now calls his "retirement" to July 30th, in order to resolve certain legal matters, including the possible necessity of a "friendly lawsuit." Mayoral adviser Sidney Chism also raised the possibility that the mayor might resign and then run again in the special election. At this point, anything is possible.

As Charlie Brown used to say, while lying on his back after Lucy had once again pulled the football away: "Auggh." Which brings to mind another famous Lucy. And just like Lucy Ricardo, this mayor's "got some 'splainin' to do."

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