Another council meeting, another ordinance to give the citizens of Memphis the opportunity for voters to raise the local option sales tax rate by half a cent. Oh joy of joys, I guess the last referendum put before the voters to raise the local option sales tax rate by half a cent in 2012 which failed 61% to 38% was not enough of a smackdown. The increase they sought in 2012 would have brought in revenue to pay for pre-k, kind of a hard pill to swallow after Memphis gave up their education charter.
This increase the council wants to put on the ballot in November, well, 80% of that revenue would go to fire and police services to help reverse health insurance cuts the council made in June. I would just like to point out that Memphis, like a lot of other cities does not have a revenue problem, they have a spending problem. The city is paying for all kinds of things the government shouldn't be involved with. If they weren't, we wouldn't be talking about cutting services and raising taxes. We already hold the title of the highest taxed city & county in Tn, at what point does non-sense stop?
Also passed today was a residential parking permit zone on a one-year trial basis as a way of resolving parking problems that have come with the revitalization of the Overton Square area.
Apparently, citizens who live on Monroe, by the restaurants, are finding it very difficult to park on the street by their homes dues to traffic going to and from the restaurants and taking up parking spaces. The homeowners were there first, I might add. I didn't know a lot about this issue but knew where I stood when Commissioner Shea Flinn began talking about making our cities more livable and walkable and he mentioned the fact that changing the behaviors of citizens was paramount. I would just like to inform Flinn that it is not the job of the government to change people's behaviors. He noted that we needed to start moving away from from the car culture we live in and then I nearly blew a gasket! Car culture??? Are you for serial? Is Al Gore your hero? Is ManBearPig something we should be looking out for? (If you don't know what that reference is about, see South Park's episode on Al Gore). Flinn also mentioned that we needed more "infill" happening in the city because if you didn't know, it's the urban sprawl that is the cause of all the cities ills, not the mismanagement of the city by elected officials over the years. Infill is developing and building in the city so the city can encourage and reward those who move into the city and punish or make it more difficult for those living outside of the city in rural areas. This is sustainable development and it is central planning on steroids and we all know how centrally planned economies and cities have turned out in the past. It's not somewhere I want to go.
Flinn seemed to think residents that had a problem with having to pay to park was trivial because a lot of other cities and downtown residents already do this. If that's what people signed up for, then fine. The problem here is, the residents were here first and they may not have bought their property had the known the future problems they would be dealing with.
There were several citizens there speaking out again on the fire and police issues and others speaking out on the parking issues they are having to deal with. I hope in the future more people will show up just to watch and observe what their elected officials are doing. After all, when you aren't there, you never see the frivolous things they spend your money on that will later lead them to cutting services or trying and trying to get that half cent sales tax passed.
This is your government and only YOU can hold your elected officials accountable. It's not going to magically happen. You aren't going to elect the right person and he is going to the right thing just because it's the right thing to do. Your presence makes a difference.
I hope to see more of you there next time....