Texts and Subtexts

Intrigue is alive and well on the Shelby County Commission.

| April 04, 2013
After winning an interim appointment as probate judge, lawyer Kathleen Gomes accepts the congratulations of well-wishers, including rival Julian Bolton and Ruby Wharton, wife of Mayor A C Wharton.
- Jackson Baker
After winning an interim appointment as probate judge, lawyer Kathleen Gomes accepts the congratulations of well-wishers, including rival Julian Bolton and Ruby Wharton, wife of Mayor A C Wharton.

The auditorium of the Vasco Smith county building was full, as it normally is when there's a controversy to be resolved or an appointment to be competed for. In the case of the Shelby County Commission's regular public meeting on Monday, both conditions pertained.

Given that most of the attendees were on hand to boost the chances of one of three candidates to fill a Probate Court vacancy (and most of those to support candidate Kathleen Gomes), someone suggested leapfrogging down the commission's agenda to Item 19, the court appointment of an interim judge to replace retiring judge Robert Benham.

The candidates, all lawyers, were Gomes, who boasted many years' experience trying cases in Probate Court; state senator Jim Kyle, who heads the diminished band of Democrats in the state Senate; and former Shelby County commissioner Julian Bolton.

Gomes was nominated by Heidi Shafer, Kyle by Sidney Chism, and Bolton by Walter Bailey. As befitted the turnout on her behalf, Gomes had the most testimonies by audience members. Bolton's mother and sister spoke on his behalf. Kyle spoke to his "30 years making decisions in the public realm" and his "ability to work with everybody."

Commissioners also toasted their favorites. Chris Thomas noted that he himself was a Republican while Gomes was a Democrat and touted that fact as proof that his preference had nothing to do with politics. The claim generated a laugh line when Chairman Mike Ritz, also a GOP member but one increasingly inattentive to the party line, said straight-facedly to the more avowedly partisan Thomas, "Oh, you're a Republican?"

In speaking for Kyle, Commissioner Terry Roland also made the claim that his choice was above politics. All the candidates were "equally qualified," said Roland, but, "Me and this gentleman [Kyle], we go way back ... [pause] to Ophelia Ford days." That was a reference to the Senate's consideration of a contested special state Senate election in 2005, one eventually resolved in favor of Democrat Ford and against Republican Roland. 

Roland said Kyle had not "done right" by him then. But since? "I've got to know his heart ... have come to respect this gentleman, immensely. I'm throwing my support to Jim Kyle."

As was fairly well known before Monday's meeting, and was explicitly volunteered by Roland in a conversation before the meeting, Tennessee lieutenant governor Ron Ramsey, the state Senate speaker and a staunchly conservative Republican, had endorsed Democrat Kyle and had made a point of communicating the fact.

It was less well known, except in Democratic Party circles, that something of an understanding — or at least a hope — existed that Kyle's Senate seat, if vacated, might be awarded by the commission at some point to former state senator Beverly Marrero, who was defeated in last year's Democratic primary by Kyle in the district they both shared after GOP-controlled redistricting.

The Senate-appointment issue, in any case, was the source of a sore spot that developed during the voting. After the first ballot, Kyle had six of the seven votes needed, Gomes had four, and Bolton had two. Bailey, who had committed to Bolton on the first ballot in homage to his ex-colleague, quickly announced he was switching his vote to Kyle, giving him seven votes and, for the space of a few seconds, making him the apparent probate judge-designate.

Then occurred what is surely the most awkward and potentially embarrassing moment in the commission career of Democrat Steve Mulroy, a Kyle voter on the first ballot. Immediately upon Bailey's switch, Mulroy announced his own. Instead of voting for Kyle, he would pass.

Mulroy later said that he had made no promises to Kyle and had voted for him on the first ballot as a courtesy but had always anticipated voting for Gomes in what he expected would be some subsequent ballot. Whatever Mulroy's motives, his action was, to say the least, an eyebrow-raiser, and he had best not be expecting a place on Kyle's Christmas card list this year.

This was the second time in a two-year span that Kyle had suffered a sudden reverse at the hands of a fellow Democrat on the commission. In 2011, he had applied for the position of interim member of the Unified School Board, just then being appointed by the commission, and was within a vote of victory when Democrat Justin Ford decided to cast his vote for Republican Kevin Woods, Kyle's opponent and, thereby, the victor.

It should be noted that Mulroy was not the only Democrat ultimately recorded as voting for Gomes. So were Melvin Burgess and Henri Brooks.

• Brooks would figure as one of the principals in another surprising development Monday, and this one, too, had some importance. This was regarding a resolution authorizing the payment of some $103,889.28 to the lawyers engaged by the commission to litigate the ongoing school-merger controversy. This is the kind of vote that normally, with all 13 members voting, gets an 8-5 outcome, with the supporters of school merger in the majority and opponents, mainly suburban members who support municipal school districts, in the minority.

This time the resolution failed, however, getting only six of the seven votes needed for passage. The vote was taken in the immediate aftermath of a philippic made by Brooks against Chairman Ritz, a merger supporter, whom she accused of speaking to her rudely. Whether for that reason or some other, Brooks abstained from voting. And Democrat Bailey, another merger supporter, was temporarily out of the chamber.

Presumably, the commission will have opportunities to vote again on the matter at a subsequent meeting.

• The other major development at Monday's meeting was the commission's vote, by the aforesaid 8-5 margin — seven Democrats plus Ritz versus five Republicans — to approve an ordinance, on third and final reading, to exempt from Shelby County residence requirements all of the erstwhile Memphis City Schools teachers coming into the new county system via merger.

Another ordinance, proposed by Millington's Roland, a vehement foe of merger, would have authorized a referendum on the issue of revising the county charter so as to eliminate the residency requirements for all county employees. To reject this ordinance after passing the preceding one would be "hypocrisy," said Roland, who went on to say, "I know a lot of people in Nashville. Surely you wouldn't want the legislature to see this."

When his proposal went down 8-5 (though with a different mix of ayes and nays than usual), Roland, who has taken to suggesting with increasing intensity and frequency that he, in effect, sits at the right hand of Ron Ramsey, thundered that the legislature might be brought to overrule the commission's previous vote to enlarge the permanent Unified School Board from seven to 13.

• The Tennessee General Assembly was, however, moving quickly toward a scheduled mid-April adjournment, and, though school legislation favored by Shelby County's suburban municipalities — bills to enable municipal schools and private-school vouchers, among others — still had some hoops to pass through, they seemed headed toward final passage this week or next.          

In a longish chat with reporters last week, Ramsey made the case for the legislature's current pell-mell progress toward adjournment as a matter of recovering what had once been the norm. Ramsey also strongly advocated legislation, now scheduled for consideration in the assembly's final week, that would allow the nomination of U.S. Senate candidates by party caucuses in the legislature rather than, as at present, in open public primaries.

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Comments (33)

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Quit referring to Ritz as a Republican. He himself considers himself "independent" and the Republican Party is doing it's best to kick him out.

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Posted by True_Statement on 04/04/2013 at 7:33 AM

Looks like Haslam is going to win the voucher debate. In fact, I don't think he's been a big fan of them from the start, but he has to get re-elected, and for the most part, what we are going to see is a very watered down version compared to what a lot of folks in the assembly preferred.

The same with Medicaid expansion, I think he is for it, but it will hurt his chances of being re-elected if he approves it, but at the same time, he has not closed the door to future expansion.

I could be wrong, but I think we will see a much more moderate Haslam in his second term.

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Posted by still living in Berclair on 04/04/2013 at 11:41 AM

Just to remind everyone: When Bunker proposed dropping the lawsuit, Ritz and Mulroy said that there was no point in dropping it. There was nothing left to do but wait on the Judge to rule. Now we see a $100,000 invoice.

$100,000 more challenging the constitutionality of a law that will be removed from the TN code by the legislature within the next two weeks. Beyond sad.

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Posted by kenhoover on 04/04/2013 at 2:30 PM

With that in mind, what work have the lawyers been doing to earn that $100k bill? This lawsuit has been stagnant for a while with the outcome pretty clearly defined.

The outcome is that the case is about to be thrown out in a week or two when the law in question has been repealed and replaced. The judge himself has been holding out awaiting that outcome, so what work have the lawyers been doing? I guess they just get a blank check, and they can charge hours for whatever they want.

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Posted by GroveReb84 on 04/04/2013 at 7:45 PM

@GR

I don't know and I suspect that we citizens who pay those bills will never know, either.

Maybe they are re-reading e-mails and sifting through our legislators written correspondence loooking for that elusive racial reference.

They must be pretty desperate at this point trying to find some evidence of an intent to discriminate.

Sadly, they will continue to fatten up their wallets looking for that which does not exist.

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Posted by ArlingtonPop on 04/04/2013 at 8:10 PM

GroveReb84

Why would the lawsuit be thrown out if the state passes the msd laws? The claim will be the same, whether local or statewide. This lawsuit is not about special legislation, that has already been decided, this is about a 14th amendment claim against the state; it doesn't matter whether local or statewide.

You seem to forget that the munis in Shelby County are not being sued, only the state.

As a matter of fact, if the law would have the potential to change the diversity other places in the state, it just makes the SCC case better.

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Posted by oldtimeplayer on 04/05/2013 at 12:04 AM

Unless I'm mistaken, the CC8 will have to file a new lawsuit.

The 14th Amendment claims come against the Norris-Todd legislation. Some of the arguments may be the same, and they may be able to file the same type of suit, but the current one is going to disappear. The new law is going to have to be challenged.

I may be wrong about that, because I can't remember how the 14th Amendment challenge was written, but I believe it was aimed at the state over that specific law.

The claim can be re-filed, but a statewide law makes it harder to prove intent to discriminate or even disparate impact, since the impact on the 20 or so municipalities eligible and all of their counties would be different.

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Posted by GroveReb84 on 04/05/2013 at 8:17 AM

In the matter of school segregation, intent is irrelevant. Outcome is all that matters. When the Clarksdale School District proposed giving all students standardized tests and then assigning them to schools based on the scores, they claimed there was no racial intent. But US District Judge William C. Keady ruled that because the scores tended to place Black students in all-Black schools it was unconstitutional. Anything that has the effect of making one school system all-Black is unconstitutional, even if the municipal districts would be integrated (which I doubt would actually be the case). By a reading of the law, intent doesn't matter, as well it shouldn't. There are few aspects of the law where intent DOES matter. Normally, if you break the law, you'll be punished, and WHY you broke it ultimately doesn't matter.

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Posted by progressivememphis on 04/05/2013 at 9:52 AM

@Progressive

Sorry, that is just not what the Supreme Court says. Supreme Court rulings trump District Courts.

Try Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing for a start.

Then review Washington v. Jackson

If you have a Supreme Court decison where they say intent does not matter in segregation cases, please post it.

You statement that the municipal districts would not be integrated shows a remarkable lack of knowledge. You might try educating yourself on the projected racial makeup of the municipal systems based on three possibilities: First, that the Unified District is successsful in keeping the unincorporated children in the Unified system. Second, that the unincorporated children, by whatever agreement/order are educated by the MSDs. Third, that a percentage of the unincorporated parents ( say 50% more or less) send their children to the MSDs under the authority of TCA 49-6-3104.

When you have educated yourself ( start wth Arlington if you want) we can have a reasonable conversation.

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Posted by ArlingtonPop on 04/05/2013 at 10:20 AM

@GR

The SCC8 must refile the 14th Amendment challenge.

They have no other option if they want to keep any leverage at all. To just give up makes them look weak and they cannot have that. They must not lose face. Our task is to win without seeming to, and our victory will be dressed up by the SCC8 as a "negotiated" settlement.

I am going to be real curious as to their arguments. A lot of the argument against Norris-Todd revolved around the process of its passage in the legislature. That will not apply to the new law, so we shall see.

I have been giving some though to this "Strict Scrutiny" argument. If the rationale for applying that standard in this case is a history of discrimination against a protected class, I wonder, since the State of Tennessee is the defendant, the task of the SCC8 lawyers must be to make that claim statewide?

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Posted by ArlingtonPop on 04/05/2013 at 10:32 AM

That's what I thought. The CC8 will have to re-file against the new law, and the arguments will have to change a bit.

Also, I do think you will see the option for negotiation in the deal. The CC8 thought they could screw around and not use good faith in negotiation. The tables are about to turn though, and I think you will see the suburbs use actual good faith in their negotiations. The CC8 will be given a few bones to take back so they can claim some form of victory. Then we will move forward.

The other option is for the CC8 to again not use good faith and risk everything on a trial where their standing isn't strong. The risk there is that they go home empty handed. The question is whether they will gain more political ground by being able to claim some sort of victory or whether fighting to the death and losing gains them more political ground. I do believe that once some of these current CC8 members roll off the board, it's possible they may be replaced by a few members that are more willing to negotiate and drop the suit.

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Posted by GroveReb84 on 04/05/2013 at 10:51 AM

GroveReb84

There does not need to b a new lawsuit filed. The current portion of the Norris-Todd Case is the 14th amendment claim against the state. Laws 905, etc was the laws that have already been settled and Memphis won. This part of that case, lifting the ban on msds is in play and will still be in play if the state passes its msd laws.

I have been told by competent authorities that, at most, the SCC, not the CC8, for the votes made the whole SCC a party , an amended complaint would be, maybe, neccessary.

Since this debacle started, my people have never been wrong on, the viability, the scope, the process and/or the possible outcomes, both, to and fro.

Progressive is mostly right, he just didn't explain it right. In a 14th amendment claim, where race is the factor, it is presumed that the state action is unconstitutional, so the state will be burdened to show why it is not, per strict scrutiny. Also, in a statewide claim, it is not neccessary to show discrimination in every part of the state, just showing discrimination and disparate impact in any part of the state assumes that the law is in violation statewide..

AP, in your references of the various court cases you cited, rules were established to show why a case merited strict scrutiny. Those rulings would not apply to this case, because the SCC has already met the neccessary test of why this is a strict scrutiny case. That reason is historical. It doesn't matter if the history was one year or 45 years ago as you say, it is still relevant because it shows a history of segregation and discrimination. The supreme court has ruled that if a state had dual, segregated schools prior to the Brown v. Board of Education, then that state is considered to have a history of discrimination. That history is furthur compounded by the fact that the county, with knowledge from the state, had to be forced to integrate it's schools and after being declared a unitary district, less than 2 years since it's release, the county, again with the state's direct assistence is trying to revert back to a segregated district.

Grove, you and AP, I don't know where you are getting your information from, but you need to go back and tell them to give you the whole story, the good, bad and the ugly.

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Posted by oldtimeplayer on 04/05/2013 at 11:30 AM

@Gr

I agree.

The wild card may be the response of aware Memphians to any SCC8 decision to spend more taxpayer funds toward lawyers instead of allocating those funds to the Unifed District. We have already seen 3 Million or so spent, and for that, they have achieved a single year of a Unifed System.

That single year may be enough for the SCC8 to declare victory and stop this silliness. Your point about 2014 is well taken. It may be that nothing will change when these people ( Bailey, Mulroy, Chism, Brooks) roll off, but things can only go up for us, not down. It won't get any worse, that is for sure.

One other thing, too.

There are some, with no skin in the game, who want to fight to the bitter end. They have nothing to lose. Politicians, especially those with eyes on higher, or different office, always have something to lose. These people who will roll off have a legacy at stake, for better or worse. Perhaps the SCC8 want to leave a legacy of a divided people, a hateful, vicious divide at that. I don't know. I hope not.

If we have to try the 14th Amendment challenge, it will get ugly. The only way the SCC8 can win, and have the new law declared unconstitutional, is to prove an intent on our part to discriminate against black people. The worst kind of innuendo is going to be spewed against our mayors and our civic leaders, legislators included. Detroit, all over again.

If this trial goes forward, a festering wound is going to exist between Memphis and its suburbs, and Memphis and the Legislature, that will be very slow to heal. It is not a matter, as some say, of Memphis being intimidated, or scared. It will be a matter of Memphis shooting itself in the foot if that happens.

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Posted by ArlingtonPop on 04/05/2013 at 11:45 AM

@OTP

I think that the determination of whether strict scrutiny applies is a matter for Judge Mays, not a matter for your judgement, or "your people".

But tell you what. Just for giggles, lets assume that Judge Mays applies strict scrutiny.

What then? The following infromation may be useful to decide.

"To pass strict scrutiny, the law or policy must satisfy three tests:

IT MUST BE JUSTIFED BY A COMPELLING GOVERNMENT INTEREST. While the Courts have never brightly defined how to determine if an interest is compelling, the concept generally refers to something necessary or crucial, as opposed to something merely preferred. Examples include national security, preserving the lives of multiple individuals, and not violating explicit constitutional protections.

THE LAW OR POLICY MUST BE NARROWLY TAILORED TO ACHIEVE THAT GOAL OR INTEREST. If the government action encompasses too much (overbroad) or fails to address essential aspects of the compelling interest, then the rule is not considered narrowly tailored.

THE LAW OR POLICY MUST BE THE LEAST RESTRICTIVE MEANS FOR ACHIEVING THAT INTEREST , that is, there cannot be a less restrictive way to effectively achieve the compelling government interest. The test will be met even if there is another method that is equally the least restrictive. Some legal scholars consider this "least restrictive means" requirement part of being narrowly tailored, though the Court generally evaluates it separately.'


Have a go and tell us why the new municipal schools bill will fail any of those tests. Feel free to use your people to help you.

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Posted by ArlingtonPop on 04/05/2013 at 12:02 PM

You and I read the same thing AP.

Compelling interest, narrowly tailored, and least restrictive are the tests for strict scrutiny. I think there are good arguments for a statewide MSD law to pass those three tests, especially when you consider that that ability was part of state law prior to 1998, and we have MSDs in this state today. It isn't something new.

I will be curious to see the arguments to why a statewide law doesn't pass those three tests. Have at it OTP.

I too hope the SCC with whatever new members is smart enough to reconsider the 14th Amendment challenge. That trial, if it happens, will tear this metro area apart. I would hope most of its leaders understand that and would like to see this area survive the long run.

As I've said before, I think that the 14th Amendment challenge might be part of a negotiating strategy with the assumption that the suburbs would back down after being called racist. Instead, I think they are going to find that the guilt out here isn't the same as it was 30 years ago, and the race card has lost it's effectiveness. My sincere hope is that the SCC leaders reconsider their position on that trial and instead choose to try to settle the issue amicably out of court. It'll do no one any good to let that part play out.

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Posted by GroveReb84 on 04/05/2013 at 12:37 PM

AP

I don't need my people to help me on this one.

Compelling interest. Compelling interest is one that protects the public safety, not merely something that is wanted and purely administrative. Creating msds statewide has no compelling interest other than to let municipalities have a preferrable administration, which is cool, however, it cannot justify overriding the equal protection clause.

Narrowly drawn. There is no presumption of the right in the state constitution for neighborhood schools. Even with msds, there is no legislative mandate that school assignments in any municipal school districts has to be the school cllosest to the student's home.

Least restrictive. Keeping the county district to preserve what a former court odered, diversity and integration is the least restrictive way. Yes, we already have it. Why would reverting a district back to a segregated way less restrictive than what we have now? No extra cost will be incurred, the schools in the county already serve the students where they are and will not change in unification.

You still, when you get through with this, get around the history of the state and the counies in the state having a prior segregated schools history. You try to downplay that, however, that is one of the most important aspects of this case. I would think that a federal judge would not ignore that or treat it as lightly as you do.

Ap, one thing you got right is whether this case will be assigned strict scrutiny. If judge Mays does not try this under strict scrutiny, it is appealable, for the guidelines for using strict scrutiny is already set down. Only about 30% of cases tried under strict scrutiny are won by the state. I like the 79% odds.

As far as all kinds of accusations of racism being raised at a trial, this will only be a matter of historical record. Why should the record not be raised? We can't go on now because there is no record other that the wish of the county munis with the help of the state trying to resegregate the schools again. Grove and AP, this case is not as simple, cut and dry, as you two would make it out to be for your side. If I remember, your thoughts was the same for the Norris-Todd laws on creating msds for shelby county that was struck down by the court.

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Posted by oldtimeplayer on 04/05/2013 at 1:07 PM

@OTP

I think you are going to need to get some help, OTP.

The compelling interest argument is the most important. Here Education is the compelling interest.

You may think that Education is not a compelling interest of the state, but I doubt that Judge Mays will agree with that. Your other two arguments are based on Education not being the compelling interest.

Oh, BTW, 100%-30% is 70%, not 79.

Lets talk about that history thing. Perhaps you think that past history is justification, in and of itself, to declare the law unconstitutional. Think again. That may get you strict scrutiny, assuming Judge Mays agrees, but that is all. According to Washington v. Davis and Arlington Heights, you still must prove the law has discriminatory intent.

I like our odds, too. I think the possibility of your side proving intent to discriminate are zero.

Besides, that history thing cuts both ways. This, from yet another federal Court opinion, referencing Washington v. Davis

"To further its argument that Test 21[ OTP, that was the test that the black police officers said was intended to discriminate against them] did not have a discriminatory purpose, the Court discussed evidence that the Washington D.C. police department had gone to significant lengths to recruit black officers. Moreover, the Court noted that in the years since the case was brought before the trial court, the ratio of blacks on the police force to blacks in the community had nearly evened out.

Nor on the facts of the case before us would the disproportionate impact of Test 21 warrant the conclusion that it is a purposeful device to discriminate against Negroes and hence an infringement of the constitutional rights of respondents as well as other black applicants. As we have said, the test is neutral on its face and rationally may be said to serve a purpose the Government is constitutionally empowered to pursue. Even agreeing with the District Court that the differential racial effect of Test 21 called for further inquiry, we think the District Court correctly held that the affirmative efforts of the Metropolitan Police Department to recruit black officers, the changing racial composition of the recruit classes and of the force in general, and the relationship of the test to the training program negated any inference that the Department discriminated on the basis of race or that "a police officer qualifies on the color of his skin rather than ability. - J. White, 426 U.S. 229 at 246."

As far as I can tell, the new law is "neutral on its face"

You might want to change "black officers" to black teachers, black administrators, black principals, and black students" to see if our side can't present another side of that history argument.

You can decide for yourself if Education laws and policy do not indeed serve a purpose the State of Tennessee " is constitutionally empowered to pursue."

You must prove discriminatory intent, OTP. It is right there for you to read.

Can your side do that? We all know they have spent a lot of time and money looking for it.

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Posted by ArlingtonPop on 04/05/2013 at 1:54 PM

That's what I keep coming back to. If the CC8 lawyers didn't think they would have to prove intent, why did they subpoena email correspondence and attempt to get identification of newspaper posters? They clearly believe they are going to have to prove intent to discriminate, and if they do have to prove it, they better hope they find a smoking gun of an email somewhere. Otherwise, it'll be tough to prove.

I still come back to the fact that suburban leaders would be willing to negotiate on this deal, as long as full autonomy is part of the deal for us. Our leaders might even be willing to agree to sharing funding in some capacity.

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Posted by GroveReb84 on 04/05/2013 at 2:42 PM

GR

Could be.

Lets see if the SCC8 want to have another "discussion" once the municipal schools bill becomes law. And include the Unified BOE as part of the talks.

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Posted by ArlingtonPop on 04/05/2013 at 3:33 PM

Technically a 14th Amendment claim against the legality of a statewide ban on muni's being lifted would not have as its overall basis what folks over at the online version of the Commercial Appeal typed out on its comments areas and all. That still makes me giggle so. Some of the ladies and gentlemen in public service in both the city and the county are rather far out but I do not think that some of them are truly just that batty. I can't quite picture the Mayor of Bartlett tying one on and sitting down at his computer and ranting about this schools issue in an intolerant minded fashion or something. And, I can't picture Mayor Wharton even thinking in those terms either, just can't.

This whole lawsuit for what is not yet truly a done deal is really transparent. No one in the suburbs here nor even those over in Middle Tennessee, Eastern Tennessee, or the countryside of Western Tennessee are just waiting with baited breath in hopes that they can re segregate the south on the backs of innocent schoolchildren of all people. My gosh. The situation here is different because of the circumstance leading up to the MCS calling things a day and all. The CC8 and everyone else needs to shape up or those who can will ship the heck out.

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Posted by merlin on 04/05/2013 at 3:44 PM

Merlin

Almost so well and good.

But like a lawyer asked a perosn on trial for beating his wife asked, you say you beat your wife in the past, you have a history of beating your wife, how do we know that you didn't beat your wife this time?

Merlin, that is the conundrum of this affair. It doesn't matter what the mayors say now, the record will speak for itself. The timing, after being forced to desegregate, to want to reverse it may be a coincidence, however, it is an open question. That is why we are in court now.

GroveReb84, there will be no negotiations. It is all or nothing at this point.

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Posted by oldtimeplayer on 04/05/2013 at 4:09 PM

@ OTP

Well, that is your problem, isn't it?

It is not what anyone says, it is what they have done.

Past bad behavior is no proof of current intent and we have a 45 year old record of good behavior to fall back upon.

You have to prove intent to discriminate in order to win a 14th Amendment challenge. The Supreme Court says so, you read it yourself.

Do you have that proof yet?

Do you get to make that decision about negoitiating?

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Posted by ArlingtonPop on 04/05/2013 at 5:45 PM

The first big step toward city county government consolidation was bound to be painful.

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Posted by CEBorst on 04/05/2013 at 10:36 PM

What will determine whether or not there will be negotiations will be the new members of the SCC.

Do I expect them to be much different? No. They'll likely be just as revenge minded as their predecessors, the same types that can't see how much they're only hurting themselves, but there is a chance some may be elected that have the ability to see that this lawsuit is throwing money at an effort that will lead to less money.

Go propose that on Wall Street and see how many takers you get on an investment that guarantees negative returns.

We all know Ritz's motive. It's to try to curry favor to mount a county mayor push. Will his replacement have similar motives, or will his replacement truly be fiscally prudent as Ritz claims to be? Likewise, will any of the others be more Kevin Woods and less jaded and angry at the man? Put two new faces in office that aren't emotionally driven and things change.

As an aside, why OTP would you say negotiation isn't an option without even listening to terms? I said all along the suburbs would be willing to negotiate, but we have a few sticking points. I would think the city would be in the same boat, at least willing to consider a settlement that offers victory in some form.

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Posted by GroveReb84 on 04/06/2013 at 12:18 AM

Let me add that I truly believe relations on the SCC would be better if Roland weren't on the Commission. His style and approach doesn't help his position.

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Posted by GroveReb84 on 04/06/2013 at 12:20 AM
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