The Mayor and MSARC
Mayor Herenton doesn't want the MSARC to be transferred to the county (The Fly-by, June 4th issue). He says it belongs in the city, even though he admitted, after 17 years as mayor, he had not been familiar with what the MSARC does. So he put a convicted felon in charge of it? Herenton further stated that the City Council was acting only because "well-connected" (white) residents became upset. In the September 30, 1999, issue of the Flyer, there was an article about "10,000 Women For W.W. Herenton," who campaigned for him when he ran against Jerry Lawler. These included Gayle Rose, Pat Kerr Tigrett, Kristi Jernigan, Perre Magness, Lynne Turley, and others. Do all these ladies still approve of the mayor's decisions?
In her "In the Bluff" column (June 4th issue), Mary Cashiola wrote that city workers received a 5 percent raise last year. That is not true. All labor workers for the city of Memphis, including police, fire, sanitation, parks, general services, and other unions did not get a 5 percent raise last year. City of Memphis bargaining workers have not had a raise in two years. The current contracts were agreed upon as the city of Memphis was trying to build its reserves. They asked us to pass up a raise for the contract period we were negotiating. That resulted in a two-year period during which we have gone without a raise.
During the contracts negotiated for 2009 and 2010, 3 percent raises were offered by the city negotiators.
Cashiola is partly correct: The administrative staff within City Hall did get a 5 percent raise, which was approved by the City Council. That may explain why the mayor is saying the 3 percent raise should be paid as promised — especially after all the unions agreed to pass up a raise for the two years prior. The unions did their part to help the city's financial situation at the time. Now the city should stand by its agreements per the contracts.
The Antidiscrimination Resolution
Many years ago, I proposed the "Cal Thomas Rule" — an easy way to determine whether or not a decision made by any national leader was good or bad. Simply put, if syndicated columnist Cal Thomas was "agin" it, the decision was good. If Thomas supported it, it was a big mistake. Twenty years later, I'm happy to report that this rule has stood the test of time and has proved to be completely reliable.
Recent developments in Memphis now require me to offer this corollary — the Wyatt Bunker Rule. If someone wants to put stickers on science textbooks saying "Warning: Science Inside," laymen can quickly determine that this is a bad idea by checking to see what Bunker has to say about it. And if there is a proposed county ordinance (or resolution) in favor of nondiscrimination, simply check to see what Bunker has to say. If he's against it, you know the resolution must be a good idea.
In fact, though the nondiscrimination resolution approved by the Shelby County Commission was indeed "watered down" (Editor's Note, June 4th issue), the best evidence that it was still a very good idea is the fact that Bunker voted against it.
B. Keith English
To just what "agenda" do opponents of the county's antidiscrimination resolution — Wyatt Bunker and friends — keep referring? They say, "It's one of those angles they use to push a homosexual agenda." The fact is that "they [homosexuals] add diversity, and that's important for problem solving and innovation," according to data and demographic research from the Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research.
How many heterosexual divorces has my loving, monogamous, 20-year relationship with the same man caused? Give me the names and I'll apologize to the husband, wife, and children, once you prove it was my fault. Maybe their kids will stop feeling like "Daddy left because of me" if I take the fall.
Thank God (yes, He loves me, too) that the majority of the commission saw through this worn-out "agenda" rhetoric and voted to pass the referendum. It's a small — yet huge — step in the right direction.
To Bunker, I say: Enjoy this term. It will be your last. Political action committees are forming to make sure you do not get reelected to this office. And that, Mr. Commissioner, is an "agenda" I can get behind.