Memphis Political Candidates Sounding More Like a Used Car Lot

Memphis Political Candidates Sounding More Like a Used Car Lot


There is so much being said by candidates and their surrogates that I’m starting to believe Memphis is one used car lot. We are being told what we want to hear and some are even buying into the puffery as though the promises is as good as gold. In many cases, nothing could be further from the truth.

Candidates for city council are making statements of what they plan to do in those positions and some of those commitments are beyond the scope of what a councilperson is empowered to do based on the city charter, city ordinances and state law.

Sure, we want to hear a council member tell us that they are going to bring jobs to the district, that they are going to eliminate PILOTs and lower property taxes, or that they will improve schools. But what can they realistically do, and is promising things beyond the capability of the office being intellectually dishonest? Yet if the candidate is being sincere in those promises, does that speak to their lack of understanding of the position they seek?

Every candidate has a right to make an argument to citizens for their election. And none should be discouraged from running for their ideas contribute to the debate and represent the interests of citizens. If those ideas don’t find enough support then the candidate has a choice to adjust or carry forward. It is their right to offer their candidacy and whether a vote is “diluted” or not is of no consequence. Voters deserve our options and should never be told that this or that candidate is the consensus of whomever is doing the anointing.

When those campaign pledges are for things for which the office has no influence or that violate state and federal constitutions, voters must do a better job of kicking the tires before driving home with their new car. It’s not about telling a candidate to withdraw but identifying that candidate who best speaks to your interests.

School administration and personal income taxes can not be affected from the city council. Devoting energy to these and other non-council items would only take away from those things for which the council member is responsible – adopting ordinances, resolutions and regulations for the health, safety and welfare of citizens.

Because of these stated requirements and the platform of Thurston S Smith, I support his bid to be the council representative for District 7.

You probably could describe Thurston as a policy wonk. He is focused on designing well thought out public policy that will bring about improvements in the lives of citizens through a higher quality of life. I am impressed by his philosophy that policy should address specific issues and that it should serve as a catalyst for other policy initiatives. This is akin to continuous process improvement where you seek to constantly make a better mouse trap.

Thurston also is principled. He says what he means and means what he says. He is not the politician who competes to sell you a used car while having a different agenda at heart. That is a refreshing look in that a candidate’s pledge today will not change in two days.

And the intelligent sophistication he would bring to the council would greatly enhance the delivery of service to all residents of the 7th District. He is a highly respected executive manager for the federal government, he serves several civic bodies in leadership capacities, he has been asked to testify before the Congressional Black Caucus, and he was instrumental in effecting the federal Fair Sentencing Act.

It is about policy and not politics and with Thurston, the Council will have a new member who does not shoot first and then aim. Expect that he will be up to speed on expensive development projects before voting on them and that he will advocate for as much and more benefit to the city as to corporate interests. Expect that he will require transparency in city actions and that he withholds his vote on those “have to be approved today” submissions by the administration. Expect that from the senior executive to the struggling single mom that a compassionate ear will be available. And you can expect these things because Thurston has already done them. They are in his nature.

By Lloyd Brown


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