Local 24 News political analyst & commentator Otis Sanford on renaming local buildings

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on renaming local buildings.

Serving on the Shelby County Commission, or the Memphis City Council for that matter, comes with the power to do all sorts of things, including the authority to rename buildings in honor of notable citizens. These elected leaders take the task seriously, as they should. For instance, commissioners years ago renamed the county administration building where they meet in memory of late commissioner and civil rights icon Vasco Smith.

More recently, the county courthouse was named for the late Judge D’Army Bailey and the Criminal Justice Center at 201 Poplar was named for his brother Walter Bailey. Earlier this year, the county’s election operations center at Shelby Farms was named in honor of longtime election commissioner O. C. Pleasant Jr. All of these honors were appropriate. But they were done without much public input or transparency.

That’s about to change. The commission on Monday voted to revise its naming procedures. From now on, all name changes will go through a committee process and the public will be invited to suggest names of their own.

This comes after the commission in June renamed the county office building at 157 Poplar after James Meredith, who integrated Ole Miss in 1962. Meredith is a legendary figure. But adding his name to the county office building in Memphis was puzzling.

Honoring deserving individuals this way is fine. But it should make sense. Hopefully these new rules will help. And that’s my point of view.

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