The Long Vote Count On Consolidation

The coming consolidation campaign is reaching a very interesting point on several fronts.

I moderated a forum on consolidation this week at Servicemaster for a group of over 100 associates.

The pro and con speakers each had their power point presentations and pitches that have become so familiar everybody involved in the forums knows what the other side is going to say. That is the nature of political campaigns.

The art of campaigning is realizing that those in the audience have probably never heard any of this before. So, the best campaigners know how to give the same pitch for the 40th time as if it is the first time they’ve done it.

Jack Sammons and Jon Crisp and Ron Williams did their jobs well for an audience that was attentive and listening for the details.

I didn’t ask the group how they were going to vote, but I asked how many had already made up their minds how they would vote on the metro charter. There were more undecided voters than I expected.

Meanwhile, we reported the latest wrinkle on this in Friday’s edition of The Daily News.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit calling for a single countywide vote to decide the issue have now filed for a temporary injunction that would hold up any vote count certification on the consolidation question until the court case is decided. The filing says the defendants in the case don’t have an objection to the injunction.

If U.S. District Judge Thomas Anderson signs off, it means there won’t be a certified vote count on consolidation.

My wires got crossed a bit on this point in the latest edition of Behind The Headlines, our WKNO show. I meant to say the vote wouldn’t be certified but it came out as the votes wouldn’t be counted. The perils of television taped live and wearing make up simultaneously. But let the record be corrected on that point.

All of the defendants in the lawsuit have now been served with a summons notifying them that they are being sued. They have 21 days to respond.

Although the plaintiffs have requested an expedited hearing before Anderson on the matter, expedited is a relative term. If the charter is approved by voters, the new form of government would not take office until Sept. 1, 2014 with election in August 2014. And a transition commission would not start its work on the terms of the switch until 2012.

On the other hand, 2011 is a city of Memphis election year and the fate of the consolidation charter is likely to cast a long political shadow over the tone of the city council and mayoral campaigns as well as who decides to run and who decides to sit out the election.

Early voting is underway through Oct. 28.

And the upcoming edition of The Memphis News that goes online this afternoon includes an election guide featuring a summary of the proposed charter and a look at issues in the race for Tennessee governor.

Dansette

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