Before a chamber packed with NBA NOW supporters, the Memphis City Council voted 10-3 in favor of funding an NBA Arena. The Tuesday meeting was a special meeting of the Council, called after Council Members said that they needed time to consider the points of discussion that had been made on Monday.
Voting against the proposal were Council Members Brent Taylor, Myron Lowery, and E.C. Jones. As soon as the vote tally was announced, the almost totally full chambers erupted into cheers and applause. Following the vote a number of council members made mini-speeches, mostly explaining their votes and thanking the members of the pursuit team for their efforts.
Janet Hooks: "We, as elected officials, have to make hard decisions. Down the road we will find this impacts Memphis in a positive way and allows us to recruit new businesses." Hooks then urged Mayor Herenton to push for local contractors and construction companies to be used in the building of the arena.
TaJuan Stout Mitchell: "This is our team. We have two more votes on this, but this won't be one side's team -it'll be Memphis' team."
After Mitchell spoke, Mayor W.W. Herenton was recognized. The crowd arose and gave the Mayor a standing ovation as he made his way to the podium in the front of the room to speak.
Mayor Herenton: "This is a great moment in the history of our great city. We will take our city to a whole new level in terms of visibility. To those who did not support this, I understand your views. Elected officials try diligently to make decisions, in the long run, that are in the best interest of the city. We are in a competitive arena. Professional sports is a part of the ambience and character of all major cities in the United States. Thank you all for your confidence in your mayor."
Pat Vander Schaaf then spoke, asking that special consideration be given to handicap accessibility as the new arena was being built.
Joe Brown: "I'd like to commend the mayor, the negotiating team, Pitt Hyde, Miss Rose, and all members of the NBA pursuit team. This will take Memphis to a new level. This is a solution we needed years ago. This will create a type of atmosphere here for racial diversity and social diversity. Now Memphis can claim that it's an international city. This has been the missing element. Today we have changed the course of history for the City of Memphis.
Rickey Peete: " To the citizens who have concerns about this venture, we ought to just give this a chance. If we are going to move this city to the next level, we've got to believe Memphis., Tennessee can move forward. This is one step to move from being a potentially great city to being a great city.
Following Peete's comments, Chairman E.C. Jones adjourned the special meeting and then called to order the regularly scheduled meeting of the City Council.