Local 24 political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on the city council’s vote to spend taxpayer money on ballot referenda information campaign.
When it comes to spending taxpayer money, the Memphis city council believes it’s better late than never. That’s the message in the council’s five to three vote Tuesday to spend up to $40,000 for a last-minute public information campaign on three referendum questions on the November 6th election ballot.
Never mind that early voting has been underway for a week, and nearly 60,000 votes countywide have already been cast. The five prevailing members are convinced that the effort will be dollars well-spent, although no one knows exactly how the money will be used.
Adding insult to this is the fact that Edmund Ford Jr., in his dual role as a councilman and county commissioner, proposed spending the money. What’s more, five other members either were absent or failed to vote on the expenditure.
To be fair, councils in the past have financed education campaigns for city referendums. But seldom has a council waited this late to do it. One reason it’s happening now is that the referendum to extend term limits from two terms to three, is highly unpopular and likely headed for defeat, much to the chagrin of some members. The other questions ask city voters if they want to overturn instant runoff voting and do away with runoffs altogether.
How voters will decide those are unclear. But one thing is certain. This council is becoming best known for self-service. And that’s my point of view.