"To say I'm frustrated with the school board is an understatement. They have done us a disservice," said Shelby County mayor Mark Luttrell on Tuesday, addressing the Memphis Rotary Club luncheon.
As Luttrell noted, his dissatisfaction has several causes, the most immediate of which is the Unified School Board's failure to come to grips with items on its agenda that impact the county budget as a whole. Only last week, in two meetings, the board — deadlocked between contrary points of view held by holdover members of the erstwhile Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools boards — failed to make headway on school closures or whom the new system should hire for cleaning purposes.
Those are but two unresolved issues affecting what the school system's projected budget will be.
"Maybe they'll tell us what their expenses are by May," Luttrell said, his voice not manifesting much confidence.
Asked if he thought a year's delay in implementing city/county merger might be helpful in view of the likelihood that six suburbs will have their own school systems in August 2013, Luttrell said, "Yes, I think it would." (More details at memphisflyer.com)
• The gun issue has now gone local, surfacing last week in a meeting of the Shelby County Commission's government operations committee, which voted 4-1 in favor of a resolution presented by Millington Republican Terry Roland.
Called the "Second Amendment Preservation Resolution," it would put the commission on record as resolving "to prevent Federal infringement on the right to keep and bear arms; nullifying all Federal acts in violation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States."
The resolution got the votes of Roland and fellow Republican commissioners Wyatt Bunker, Heidi Shafer, and Chris Thomas. Committee chair Steve Mulroy was the lone dissenter for the record, though two other commissioners, James Harvey and commission chairman Mike Ritz, made known their reluctance on the matter.
Three witnesses — Kenny Crenshaw, David Mixon, and Richard Archie, all veterans of public efforts to shore up the Second Amendment — testified in the resolution's favor.
Roland said his proposed resolution was "doing nothing more than saying we support the Second Amendment and the Constitution as it is written."
Commissioner Shafer rejoiced at the opportunity to support "an issue near and dear to my heart." Recalling the recent reign of terror imposed on Boston, she said, "We've got a right to take care of ourselves and our family. And let me tell you: A kitchen spatula isn't going to get it."
Mulroy objected to the resolution's espousal of the concept of "nullification" regarding possible new federal gun laws and a provision calling upon Tennessee sheriffs "to defend Tennesseans against infringements upon their rights and to hold the federal government to the limitations provided under the Constitution."
The full commission will hear the matter next Monday. • Meanwhile, the Second Amendment was one of the subjects dealt with on Monday night of this week by 8th District U.S. representative Stephen Fincher, a Crockett County Republican whose constituency includes a generous hunk of East Memphis.
Speaking to a meeting of the Northeast Shelby Republican Club at the Range USA facility in Bartlett, Fincher said, "You saw a couple of weeks ago gun control could not get passed through the Senate? We're very clear in the House what's going to happen to gun control. It's going nowhere. ... The Second Amendment's not about hunting. It's not about shooting for sport. It's about protecting yourself from who? The government! ... We're not taking the guns. It's not going to happen, not as long as I'm up there and I've got a vote."
Memorial services for longtime civil rights activist Maxine Smith, who died last week at the age of 83, were set for Saturday at Metropolitan Baptist Church, 767 Walker, starting at 11 a.m.