While I'm glad that the FBI and local law enforcement are collaborating in the search for al-Qaeda terrorists in Memphis (The Fly-by, April 3rd issue), I wish they would also put a full-court press on our home-grown terrorists. We have thousands of them on the streets of our city. If it were possible to identify gang members, Memphis would be a lot safer.
I find it hard to believe that al-Qaeda would target a city that already terrorizes itself. Our mayor appoints non-qualified people to important positions, while gangs are growing to regiment size.
Now, we have the feds and local officials asking us to identify suspicious people. This so they will be ready in case of a major emergency. I wonder how many killings Memphis has to have before it's classified as a major emergency. A recent story claimed there are up to 20,000 gang members in Memphis and Shelby County, most with weapons. That sounds like an emergency to me. If we had that many "terrorists" on our streets, I'm sure the governor would be calling out what's left of the Tennessee National Guard to combat them.
When is enough enough ("The Mayor's Gambit," April 3rd issue)? After ripping off Memphis City Schools once, Mayor Herenton wants another go at it. Having abused the citizens by appointing cronies in every department when he was superintendent, it cost Memphis City Schools thousands of dollars to remove him last time. He then placed his cronies in city offices and cost the city thousands of dollars by running for mayor when he didn't intend to fulfill his term.
Surely, he has depleted the trust of the people of Memphis by now. Citizens of Memphis, you have been amply forewarned: If Herenton gets out, keep him out.
G.T. Van Brocklin
A Little History
As someone who makes his living in the political arena and has run two races for Congress in Shelby County (Marsha Blackburn's in 2002 and Mark White's in 2006), I am often amused at how forgetful we all can be when thinking back to days gone by. I have been in meetings in my own hometown where every member of a board of directors had forgotten who ran for certain offices just four years ago, myself included. It is amazing when you actually look at records to see what went on in past years.
That is why I was delighted to read Jackson Baker's recent series of columns on Memphisflyer.com about Mayor Willie Herenton's tenure on the Memphis school board. Baker's vast knowledge of the history of Memphis and the unique perspective he can bring (because he actually still reports on the subject of Shelby County politics) make him the authority on such topics.
Like many of your readers, I had forgotten a lot about the debacle that was the Herenton surrender/resignation at Memphis City Schools almost 20 years ago. Thanks to Jackson for reminding me about what really happened.
Here's a Thought
Instead of giving tax breaks to big oil companies, why doesn't the government try offering tax rebates to ordinary taxpayers? These could be similar to mortgage-rate interest rebates. Even a tax rebate of a dollar a gallon on gas would get the average price back down to $2 per gallon, which was acceptable to most people.
Blood and Treasure
Blood and treasure are draining from America. More than 4,000 U.S. servicemen and women have died in Iraq.
And did you know that the latest calculation for the cost of this war is $5,000 per second? If you do the arithmetic, you get to more than $12.5 billion a month — and counting. It makes one's jaw drop. Where, and to whom, does all that money go?