MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanfordshares his point of view on renaming local buildings.
Serving on the Shelby County Commission, or the Memphis CityCouncil for that matter, comes with the power to do all sorts of things, includingthe authority to rename buildings in honor of notable citizens. These electedleaders take the task seriously, as they should. For instance, commissionersyears ago renamed the county administration building where they meet in memoryof late commissioner and civil rights icon Vasco Smith.
More recently, the county courthouse was named for the late JudgeD’Army Bailey and the Criminal Justice Center at 201 Poplar was named for hisbrother Walter Bailey. Earlier this year, the county’s election operationscenter at Shelby Farms was named in honor of longtime election commissioner O.C. Pleasant Jr. All of these honors were appropriate. But they were donewithout much public input or transparency.
That’s about to change. The commission on Monday voted to reviseits naming procedures. From now on, all name changes will go through acommittee process and the public will be invited to suggest names of their own.
This comes after the commission in June renamed the county officebuilding at 157 Poplar after James Meredith, who integrated Ole Miss in 1962.Meredith is a legendary figure. But adding his name to the county officebuilding in Memphis was puzzling.
Honoring deserving individuals this way is fine. But it shouldmake sense. Hopefully these new rules will help. And that’s my point of view.