Candidate’s Pet Issue

With the city election happening on October 3rd, the postman/woman/cis gender person is delivering political info.

One I recently received was from “Marek for Memphis.” He is challenging Worth Morgan for his City Council seat.

It’s a different approach. This was a letter with his picture at the bottom right petting a cat. It reads, “Community Action for Animals is honored to endorse John Marek for Memphis City Council District 5.
“John Marek has a lifelong care and concern for animal welfare and strongly supports the enforcement of Memphis’ animal protection laws.
“John Marek is a progressive candidate who will work to protect the animals and citizens of Memphis by working to pass humane animal protection legislation and support the enforcement of the laws currently on the books.
“For these reasons, Community Action for Animals unequivocally endorses John Marek for Memphis City Council, District 5.”
Most of us are animal lovers, but what about Memphians? I’d put the value of human life before that of pet welfare. What about crime? How many of us are hurt by that? Is this guy serious?
Obviously not. After all, he’s a Progressive and we know what that means. He wants to change our culture radically, tax us to the hilt, take away our guns and remove our American values.

Although I have not been particularly happy with Worth Morgan’s tenure on the Council – he is squishy on Republican issues – there is no choice but to vote for him.

Read more about Marek below.

Who Is John Marek?

You can read all about him at his website, MarekforMemphis, but if you want a taste of who he is, here’s his own words.

As you can see, he’s closely aligned with Rep. Steve Cohen. He’s a Progressive Democrat, SJW, self obsessed and a big virtue signaler. It’s a long piece because he talks a lot about himself. It does need to be read, though, by every thoughtful, logical and informed voter.

I was born on October 27th, 1982 at St. Francis in Memphis, Tennessee. Early on, I learned to work with different backgrounds and look at many sides of issues. Half of my family was from Chicago, who moved to the beautiful city of Memphis in 1970. The other half of my family was from Missouri and Alabama. I grew up off of Riverdale and Shelby Drive, and I saw, first hand, what flight looked like. I saw people flee to Mississippi, and I saw people flee to the county and other surrounding areas. I watched my childhood hang out, the Hickory Ridge Mall, crumble. While it took time to find my passion, I knew I needed to do something to address the inequalities around me. Unfortunately, at the time, I did not have the education or the tools to do it.

​With this in mind, I attended Southwest TN Community College, and a couple of wonderful professors, one on the Macon campus and one on the Union campus, believed in me. Because of this, they put me in charge of the Honor’s Society, the Young Dems, and the Diversity Club. I graduated from Southwest with Associate’s degrees in Political Science and Pre-Law. My grades merited a transfer scholarship, which paid for my classes and books at the University of Memphis. In 2005, I rebuilt and was the President of the University of Memphis College Democrats. Through that group, hundreds of students and I listened to and questioned elected officials from all levels of government. When my favorite local public servant, then-State Senator Steve Cohen, spoke with our group, I asked him if I should take part in the TN State Legislature’s internship program. He said not only should I take part in the program, but that I should work for him.

​During that internship, I saw first hand what a true public servant looks like. I watched him as he took down legislation on constitutional grounds, and I witnessed him speak truth to power on numerous issues. Inspired by this, I went on to work for his 2006 campaign, where I volunteered between 60 to 80 hours a week of my free time, knocking on doors until my knuckles ached and putting up yard signs until my fingers bled. My hard work and loyalty led me to being his Field Director in 2008 and 2010, and from there, his Campaign Manager in 2012 and 2014.

​In 2007, I completed my B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Liberal Arts and Legal Thought. Upon graduation, I received the John W. Burgess Community Service Award from the University of Memphis Political Science Department for my volunteer work on multiple projects and multiple campaigns. I then went on to become the first graduate from the University of Memphis’ J.D./M.A. dual program, completing my law degree in 2010 and my Masters in Political Science with a concentration in American government and public law in 2011. While completing my law degree, I was fortunate to extern under Linda Seeley at Memphis Area Legal Services. There, I worked on issues for the poor involving debt and Miller Trusts, and I saw first hand how people try to take advantage of the elderly in nursing homes. I will never forget seeing a man try to convince a woman with dementia that he was her husband and not her ex. That seems to be a common theme in our world-just as the lion targets the injured antelope, the predators of our world prey on the weak.

​After passing the Tennessee Bar Exam, my first job as an attorney was with the City of Memphis from 2011-2012. There, I conducted the research that was used to temporarily allow library cards to be used as voter IDs. While the City of Memphis successfully used this and other research to win their case in the Tennessee Supreme Court, the state legislature met and changed the law.

​In 2012, the Memphis Flyer put me in their “20 < 30 cover issue” for my leadership and vision of Memphis. Soon after, I accepted a position Downtown at Congressman Cohen’s district office. It further exposed me to stories of people who need help in our community. I learned how to help people find answers and navigate them through our terrifying bureaucracy. It was an eye opening experience to hear the stories from disabled veterans and people with other various issues. Injustice was in my face and I was proud to work with the dedicated staff in his office. This also happened to be the same year that former state representative, school board member at the time, and lifelong public servant Mike Kernell brought me onto the Memphis Bridge: The Memphis Street Paper. He told me some Rhodes College students were trying to produce a newspaper for homeless people to sell for an income. So I figured, “why not Memphis?” knowing similar papers were successful in Nashville and D.C. I volunteered as much legal services and advice as I could. Those brilliant young students created a beautiful non-profit that now serves our community. In 2013, I joined the Board of Directors of the Memphis Bridge, and I continue to do everything I can for that organization. ​In 2014, I was sworn in to serve on the Citizen Law Enforcement Review Board, where I became the first person in Memphis to call for body cameras on all Memphis police officers. They protect the police, they protect the public, and they protect your taxpayer dollars. I had read about the effectiveness of body cameras in Rialto, CA in 2013, but everyone dismissed the idea as too expensive when I suggested it then. In the aftermath of Ferguson and Baltimore, they listened, and Memphis now has body cams on over 2,000 police officers. Now I am focused on increasing the Review Board’s powers in order to help rebuild relationships between the public and police. By reading this, you already know where I grew up. I know we need our police, and I am also well aware of their perception by some of my friends and neighbors. We cannot live in a safe community without rebuilding our trust. Body cameras provide the transparency we need, and the Citizen Law Enforcement Review Board, if given teeth, can start rebuilding that trust. I love my city, and I do not want it to become the next national headline. After Congressman Cohen’s 2014 race, a 2 to 1 victory, I temporarily moved out to Denver as the Deputy Director for DSCF (Democratic Senate Campaign Fund). In that role, I worked directly with the Director. We ran a $2.5 million budget. While we helped each other in all areas of the campaign, he focused more on fundraising while I was running the ground game. During our battles, one of our opponents retweeted a white supremacist web site. None of the local press picked up the story at all. Because I grew up in an African American neighborhood and city, I was infuriated to see that a man seeking public office would have the nerve to tweet such hateful rhetoric about a group of people he never lived with or knew. I spent countless hours sending out the screenshot and supporting materials to multiple national and local sources. That caused national news to expose him. Because of this and the strength of his opponent, Colorado now has a state senator from the Western Slopes who believes in diversity and equality. We were not supposed to win her race. ​After living in Colorado, I stood in awe of the progressive state and the beautiful mountains and views within it. I wondered if it was home. While at a Halloween party at Cervantes in Five Points, I looked around at the crowd. While I should have been enjoying Zoogma and the wonderful craft beer the venue had, I could not help but realize that I was not home. I had over a thousand people around me, but I somehow felt alone. The one thing that cheered me up was noticing my friend running the light show wearing a Memphis t-shirt. That was the moment when I decided I needed to go home, and I did the day after my contract ended. Returning home, I began practicing criminal defense law, and, through other incredible board members on the Bridge, I became a member of the Memphis Rotary Club where I had hoped and still hope to secure funding for Housing First in Memphis as a means of reducing costs to the city and helping the most vulnerable in our communities. Post-2015 After unsuccessfully running for Memphis City Council District 5 in 2015, I learned two things: 1) the top of the ticket controls turnout, and 2) I needed to earn more wealth in order to support the candidates and policies I want to push. In 2016, I invested in multiple business ventures. Out of all of them, two ended up being successful. While I am only a passive investor in the local tech start-up I invested in, I am one of the managers and the second largest shareholder of Dune Valley Farms, LLC. Dune Valley Farms is a licensed and legally operated wholesale cannabis cultivation company that now supplies dispensaries and product manufacturers all over the state of Colorado. I have been a supporter of cannabis law reform since high school, back when the issue was still taboo and only supported by a little over 30% of the population. Waiting for an issue to become popular before conveniently changing a view is what opportunists do. Public servants fight for what is right before it is popular. That is why I was so proud to work for my mentor, Congressman Steve Cohen. He spoke truth to power on issues in the 1980s that mainstream politicians did not come around on until around 2010. We have a lot of opportunists, who only look out for their own careers, representing us at all levels of government and in both parties. I never became a full-time political consultant because I only want to work for people and causes I believe in. My one big complaint about cannabis law reform is that it too often benefits already wealthy people and not the folks who felt the brunt of misguided laws and a backwards criminal justice system. That is why, right before announcing another run at District 5, I wanted to announce the creation of Dignity PAC. Here is the announcement video for Dignity PAC: Practicing criminal defense law has taught me that we need to focus more on D.A. and judicial elections since they directly affect our residents, arguably more than most legislators. I have no plans to run for D.A. or judge, but I hope to back and provide support for candidates that I perceive as having a criminal justice reform mindset. People who realize that imprisoning more people than China and Russia make us not as free as some may believe we are. We live in a 65% AA city, yet our D.A. and many of our judges represent an old worldview that has led to mass incarceration and the destruction of many families, primarily poor minority families in Memphis. That is why I am announcing the creation of Dignity PAC, and, by 2022, I hope to personally contribute a portion of what I make from my current business venture to making sure we have a fair and just criminal justice system; not one based off of win/loss records. Dignity PAC may not have anything to do with this year’s city elections, but, it is part of my story and part of who I am. It will be my political focus over the next few years. Starting in late 2018, after volunteering (as I did in 2008) for instant runoff voting (IRV), I began to consider making another run for Memphis City Council District 5. I could not believe my eyes, when I watched the Memphis City Council overwhelmingly vote to waste $40,000 of taxpayer money on a misleading and failed campaign against IRV. They were so afraid of removing the wasteful runoffs that protect incumbents that they were willing to take a big and negative political risk. I am furious with most of the current city council. They failed us miserably on the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board, which has been rendered useless by city government, and they failed us on IRV. I spoke to many of my friends and advisers, and I was told that other people were considering making a run for district 5. While I still continued to consider it, because of my responsibilities to my growing business and the prospect of others jumping into the council race, I assumed I likely would not make the plunge this time. Then, one after another, the prospective candidates began to announce they were not running. Because of this, I wrote an article for the Memphis Flyer calling for a progressive to run in district 5 this year (2019) hoping to encourage someone else to run: District 5 is a purple district; however, many are convinced it is red because of the makeup of the turnout in 2015. It also has an incumbent with the ability to raise unlimited funding from his family, who own one of the largest wealth management and capital market firms not headquartered on Wall Street. As the deadline approached, no one stepped up. Post-2015, I had no plans on running for office again until I could properly self-finance, but I cannot allow a conservative to have district 5 for free. Worth Morgan opposed instant runoff voting even though it was supported by over 70% of Memphis voters in 2008 and even though it passed again overwhelmingly last year. Voters have now demanded IRV twice, yet scared incumbents and partisan state actors have delayed implementation. I am one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit fighting for implementation of IRV, and I look forward to seeing that case through. Worth Morgan also abstained from the decriminalization of cannabis vote, which I lobbied for, and it barely passed with 7 votes. Unfortunately, state actors, who claim to support small government, dismantled it. Again, we live in a 65% African American city, yet we have a city council that is controlled by wealthy conservative interests. Even some of our so-called progressives on the council vote with the 1%, when their puppet strings are pulled. I have no issue with an individual’s ability to earn money and become wealthy; however, I do have a problem with the wealthy rigging our system and having a disproportionate voice in government. On the local level, this is mainly done with the use of super districts and runoffs, which favor wealthy candidates and which allot 25% of our city’s population 50% of the super district seats and many single member districts. The city council you elect this year will redraw the city council districts in 2022. We need to elect candidates who support 13 or more single member districts and oppose runoffs. If we re-elect the current crop back to city council, you can expect more of the same super districts and other incumbent protection measures like runoffs. I provide you an option you would not have otherwise had this year. An option of progress with qualifications over the status quo country club mentality that currently grasps city government. Early voting starts September 13th, and it ends on September 28th. Election day is October 3rd. The current city council has let Memphis down. The city council we elect this year will redraw the districts for the next ten years. This year’s city elections are crucial. This October, vote for change; vote Marek for Memphis.

Can you see the bad direction Memphis would take if this fool got elected?

If You Think…

Ran across this comment at the Don Surber blog. Maybe one of the best ways to get a point across is to substitute the liberal person for the attacked conservative.

I was thinking: If only 11 million people have Obama-Care, how will 24 million people die if it is repealed? Will an additional 13 million people be randomly shot?

I was thinking: If Donald Trump deleted all of his emails, wiped his server with Bleachbit and destroyed all of his phones with a hammer, would the Mainstream Media suddenly lose all interest in the story and declare him innocent.

I was thinking: If women do the same job for less money, why do companies hire men to do the same job for more money?

I was thinking: If you rob a bank in a Sanctuary City, is it illegal or is it just an Undocumented Withdrawal?

I was thinking: Each ISIS attack now is a reaction to Trump policies, but all ISIS attacks during Obama’s term were due to Climate Change and a plea for jobs.

I was thinking: We should stop calling them all ‘Entitlements’. Welfare, Food Stamps, WIC, ad nausea are not entitlements. They are taxpayer-funded handouts, and shouldn’t be called entitlements at all. Social Security and Veterans Benefits are Entitlements because the people receiving them are entitled to them. They were earned and paid for by the recipients.

I was thinking: If Muslims want to run away from a Muslim country, does that mean they’re Islamophobic?

I was thinking: If Liberals don’t believe in biological gender then why did they march for women’s rights?

I was thinking: How did the Russians get Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DNC to steal the Primary from Bernie Sanders?

I was thinking: Why is it that Democrats think Super delegates are fine, but they have a problem with the Electoral College?

I was thinking: If you don’t want the FBI involved in elections, don’t nominate someone who’s being investigated by the FBI.

I was thinking: If Hillary’s speeches cost $250,000 an hour, how come no one shows up to her free ones?

I was thinking: The DNC is mad at Russia because they ‘think’ they are trying to manipulate our election by exposing that the DNC is manipulating our election.

I was thinking: (this was the best) If Democrats don’t want foreigners involved in our elections, why do they think it’s all right for illegals to vote?

My head hurts, I’m going to quit thinking for a while.

Good thinking here.

Uncle Joe, Cereal Liar

The ridiculous story about Corn Pop that Joe Biden told (the clip is in the story below) has come under scrutiny. Not by the media, but by ordinary citizens who use the internet to ask a few questions about his story, which seems as believable as Tony the Tiger.

What they found shows he’s a cereal liar.

First, Corn Pops were not called that in the 60s, according to Kellogg’s. They were called Sugar Pops. Then in 1984, they became Corn Pops.

Details, details.

A twitter user, MichaelHarriot, is a black guy who doubted Biden’s flaky story. He provides a hilarious review. Warning, he does use the N word. He says, “I’m always astounded by the imaginings of white people as it relates to race. Many of them have this fictionalized jigaboo version that is almost alien-like. And one of the greatest examples of this ever is Joe Biden’s story about Corn Pop the gangsta.

Sep 14
Biden says that he became popular at the pool because many of the black people in Wilmington, DE had never talked to a white person before.

This raised by bullshit-o-meter, so I decided to look it up. In 1960, Wilmington was 73% white, according to census records

Anyway, during Biden’s Negro Summer Safari Adventure, one day, all of the town gangsters came to the pool.

Now I know what you’re thinking, but don’t stereotype. Gangbangers are NOT a monolith.

Why can’t a real street nigga enjoy a nice refreshing dip? Sometimes a thug wants to play Marco Polo, too.

Well, the gang that invaded Biden’s pool was called the Romans, which sounds gangsta AF. And the leader of the Romans was a dude named Corn Pop.

Now if you’re black, I know this shit sounds like some white kid tried to make a gang fairy tale for a sixth-grade play because you and I know there ain’t no squad led by a nigga named Corn Pop going around terrorizing Delaware pools.

But, I guess, in white people minds, thugs get two weeks vacation and go on retreats at city pools.

Anyway, Biden says he had no idea that Corn Pop was the duly elected leader of the hood niggas. So when Corn Pop began bouncing on the diving board, which was against the rules,

Biden told him:

“Esther Williams! Get off the board, man…”

Then Biden kicked Corn Pop out of the pool.
(I know you’re thinking “Who TF is Esther Williams?” She was a famous swimmer in the 50s. But I admit, I thought he was talking about the lady who played Florida Evans, too)

Anyway, after he kicked the probably fictitious Corn Pop out of the pool, everybody was like: “You know you done fucked up, right?”

They told Biden that Corn Pop carried a straight razor and was gonna be waiting for him when he got off work. Now you and I both know that, if this was true, Biden would’ve just called the cops to walk him to the car.

But this was in 1962, and before 911, you had to dial a whole seven numbers. Plus, Biden said that he knew that if he called the cops, he wouldn’t be allowed back into the African American community

Nigga, what?

Anyway, Biden says, instead he wrapped a six-foot metal chain around his arm and wrapped that in a towel. Because everyone knows there are ample black chains just laying around the “African America community” but no police officers.

When he went out to the car, Corn Pop was indeed waiting for him. But Biden went Clint Eastwood on Corn and told OG Pop from the Romans:

“You might cut me, Corn Pop, but I’m going to wrap this chain around your head before you do.”

Again, that is a direct quote.

And guess what happened?

Just like that, my nigga CP put down the straight razor and he and Biden became friends. From that day own, Biden was untouchable in the black community because Corn Pop vouched for him


Now I don’t know how it works where you live, but in my hood, you don’t actually get a laminated street credential card from the neighborhood thug council but, then again, I’ve never been on the mean streets of Wilmington.

But this story is actually recounted in Joe Biden’s 2007 autobiography AND is retold in the Washington Post.

But this is not about Biden.

This is a celebration of the life of a straight razor-carrying certified street thug who I’d bet my pinky toe never existed. But if you ask Biden, I bet he’d say Corn Pop has passed on.

RIP my nigga Corn Pop.
This is how it sounds when thugs die

Hopefully, how it sounds when political careers die.

Dems Follow GOP Losing Playbook

In both 2008 and 2012, Republicans nominated two candidates that the base did not like.

John McCain had a lot of GOP opposition. He attempted to bridge the gap by sliding right and then by nominating the conservative Sarah Palin for vice president. It didn’t work because the base didn’t believe him and didn’t show up at the polls.

We had seen his actions against his own party for years. Radio pundits like Rush and Hannity had dissed him. Politically involved Republicans knew he was a backbiting, bitter individual but had no choice but to vote for him over the even worse Barack Obama.

In the last eight years of his life McCain validated all our fears. He returned to his Progressive views, dumped on Palin, rekindled his bromance with Teddy Kennedy and let loose on Trump. The man revealed himself spectacularly when he called many of us Tea Party hobbits.

Then when 2012 came around the bigwigs at the GOP foisted Mitt Romney on us. Despite our reservations, Republicans voted for him again because he appeared a better choice than an Obama second term. He has since shown himself – like McCain – to be a bitter, mean spirited, selfish politician. Remember his speech in the 2016 campaign where he called Trump a con man and other harsh words? Even though Trump endorsed his Senate candidacy, Mitt now refuses to endorse Trump in 2020. The fight he didn’t have in 2012 he unleashed on his own in 2016 and now 2020.
Interestingly the Democrats are following suit.

In 2016 they pushed Hillary on the Democrat primary voters even though she did not have the enthusiasm of their base behind her. It was all with Bernie Sanders and those voters refused to show up at the polls for Hillary.

Now they’re doing it with Joe Biden. The man has come this far because of the myth of his electability. I believe that’s why he leads in their polls – if he truly does – because, like Republicans, the hierarchy is willing to back him if he can beat Trump.

He can’t and won’t. The Progressive and uber Leftists in the party will not coalesce behind Biden. Neither will black voters to the extent the party needs them. Biden has insulted them time after time. Just look at his recent “Corn Pop” story. He’s backed by black people and you can see the lack of interest in their faces.

There was some excitement in 2016 with Bernie. He’s lost that now and Elizabeth Warren has picked up some of his followers. Together, all the other Dem candidates are deep Leftists and they outweigh the “moderate” Biden. If Biden gets the nomination, they will scatter.

It’s interesting that the polls are being manipulated to favor Biden. Not a single primary Democrat voter has yet been counted and already they are saying it’s Biden’s.

The DNC is not listening to their base, much as the RNC didn’t in 2008 and 2012.

I think the outcome will be similar.

A Shocking Admission by CA

“Key issues concern Memphians in election” is today’s CA front page headline. The subhead says “Views on city’s direction divided in conversations.”

Kind of “well, duh” statements.

The story starts off with “Memphians are concerned with the intertwined web of crime, poverty and educational attainment.” That is probably correct and obvious if you’ve lived here more than two weeks.

What data or information led them to these conclusions?

They say, “The CA interviewed more than 15 voters while they sat on park benches, mowed their lawns, stood on doorsteps or attended campaign rallies.”

Yes, more than 15. What – 16? How can that be considered a cross section of voters in any way? The randomness of it is off putting, too. Sat on park benches, mowed their lawns where? Wouldn’t that have a bearing on what information they gathered? Asking someone in Cordova will be vastly different from Orange Mound as well as East Memphis or Wolfchase area.

We don’t know much about these people either. Are they retired? Black, white, Hispanic? Holding a job? Educated with a high school or college diploma? Man or woman? We know nothing.

That makes this poll as worthless as all others. The reporter and editors assigned the story with a viewpoint already held and just searched for validation. That’s what happens in most polls now. They are used to push candidates or theories, not to find out what people think in a scientific manner.

That the CA admits to the poor quality of the poll astounds me.

It shouldn’t. Their daily publishing tells us that facts and information are not the point of the CA.

Who Is This Judge?

Federal Judge Aleta Trauger decided on Thursday that the new law constructed by Tennessee legislators regarding voter restrictions will not go into effect by October 1 as lawmakers planned.

The law was a reaction against groups who come into an area, submit 100 or more voter applications that are not properly filled out and against outside the state poll watchers. It also means voter registration groups who pay workers according to quotas filled; if they enroll 100 or more voters and don’t complete state training; and if they fail to meet registration deadlines.

Sounds pretty reasonable.

Not to this Judge.

She called it a “punitive regulatory scheme.” The claims are that it will have a chilling effect on voter registration, particularly among minorities. It’s the same type of argument vomited up every time someone mentions the need for voter ID.

Trauger is a liberal judge appointed by Bill Clinton in 1998. Surprise, no?

Wikipedia says her most prominent case was “On March 14, 2014, Judge Trauger issued a preliminary injunction ordering Tennessee to recognize the marriages of three same-sex couples consummated out-of-state. In her ruling, Judge Trauger did not directly hold Tennessee’s ban unconstitutional, but stated that, ‘At some point in the future, likely with the benefit of additional precedent from circuit courts and, perhaps, the Supreme Court, the court will be asked to make a final ruling on the plaintiffs’ claims. At this point, all signs indicate that, in the eyes of the United States Constitution, the plaintiffs’ marriages will be placed on an equal footing with those of heterosexual couples and that proscriptions against same-sex marriage will soon become a footnote in the annals of American history.'” The Supreme Court gave it a thumbs up in 2015.
She also struck down a law that allowed Tennessee officials to revoke driver’s licenses for defendants who did not pay court costs.

No one elected her, but she’s inserting herself into our lives. Born in 1945 this judge must be 74 which means, we hope, she will soon declare retirement and let a Republican administration appoint someone with common sense to do her job.

Politicians Urge No on Ballot

One of the most important voting items on the October 3 ballot is a referendum on whether to add a sales tax to help fund pensions and health care benefits for firemen and policemen.

As with all tax issues, I always urge a “no” vote. Once a tax is instituted, it just never comes off. The only exemption to this rule happened more than a decade ago in 2006 when Congress got rid of an 1898 tax on phones that was instituted during the Spanish American War.

Who knows if the tax money goes to the proper place? Most of it appears to go to line politicians’ coffers by benefiting their lobbyist friends.

Besides, we pay too many taxes anyhow. This is particularly true in Memphis with our highest in the state sales tax and high property taxes. We are driving people away with these fees.

Amazingly, two city council members are urging the public to vote “no” on the referendum.
Kemp Conrad and Edmund Ford penned an op ed in the Daily Memphian telling why.

Here’s what they said:

Memphis has a critical issue on the ballot this election, and that is why we are asking you to vote “No” on the sales tax referendum. A sales tax increase would return us to a dangerous fiscal path that jeopardizes the long-term outlook for Memphis, and for the police officers and firefighters the referendum purports to benefit.

Normally, a tax increase would be a simple choice of voting “Yes” because you believe in what the tax hike will pay for and you believe the government will use the money for its intended purpose. This proposed tax increase isn’t that.

This sales tax referendum asks you to approve a sales tax increase to return our pension and healthcare benefits to a plan that only five years ago found Memphis on the precipice of fiscal ruin.

Before we explain why this tax increase is bad for our city, we should provide a little context.

In 2015, our city faced a fiscal cliff. There were three options back in those dark days: a 30%-plus property tax increase; a massive reduction in city services, including mass layoffs; or reform of an antiquated, unfair and unaffordable healthcare and pension scheme that Memphis taxpayers could no longer afford for the two-thirds of retirees who don’t even call Memphis home.

Had we not chosen to act, we would have been forced with – at minimum – a state takeover of your pension plan and at worst, a bankruptcy. Pensioners would likely have received a fraction of their retirement.

The Memphis City Council studied the matter in depth and then took bold action to create a hybrid pension plan and adjust to healthcare benefits that were sustainable, yet still fair and competitive. We advocated for this change because we care about the long-term viability of Memphis – not just the next union election.

We also care about city employees – especially those in public safety as they risk their lives every day – and they deserve to have a pay structure and retirement vehicle that they can count on over the long haul.

The Ponzi scheme plan of yesteryear once again being promoted by the unions may be good for union bosses trying to keep their positions, but does not do right by all city employees. The former plan was simply not sustainable.

Even so, this was by far the most difficult issue we had to advocate and vote for in our time on the City Council. This year, the city has achieved the once elusive goal of fully funding our mandated ARC (annual required contribution) – a $50 million annual additional lift – and we did it without raising taxes, but by running our $708 million City of Memphis government more efficiently.

If you vote for restoring the Cadillac benefits of the past, please know two things. First, the experts estimate that maxing out this regressive sales tax, as the referendum would do, will generate $54 million per annum, and in a downturn this number will certainly drop. Also, based on state law, via a referendum, Shelby County government can take half of these proceeds to fund their own programs, leaving the city with only $27 million to accomplish the referendum’s stated goals.

By taking away the private exchange for retirees and shifting more financial burden to the city (taxpayers), the city’s actuary, PwC, and our finance team, have estimated that adding all employees and retirees back into the prior plan would cost $43 million in year one – conservatively $40 million for additional healthcare costs and $3 million for the pension. Even if the county did not take its share, it would only be a matter of time until the additional revenue was gobbled up. But if the county does elect to take its share, Memphis is in the red by $16 million in year one!

It is impossible that the sales tax increase will fully fund any of the listed items in the referendum. Even if the city chooses to restore the benefits of the past, there simply is not enough money in this sales tax to cover the increasing healthcare and pension cost. We will quickly be back in the same dark, deep hole we dug Memphis out of less than five years ago.

Finally, consider two important facts. First, you should know that regardless of what the referendum language states, it’s up to a vote of the City Council every year on how this money gets spent. And we don’t even know who will be on the council next year and what their governing philosophies will be.

Even if the citizens vote “Yes,” the government has no obligation to spend the money on the items listed. Yes, you read that right. You are really only voting to increase the sales tax, not to restore benefits. So, vote “For” if a game of three-card monte with your money seems to be a good idea. You will be the “mark”.

Second, we have already created and funded universal needs-based pre-K. Full stop. And we have doubled our paving budget. Since these items poll well, the unions threw them in for good measure to trick voters.

To close, we are running a more efficient government, reducing costs and using technology to provide better services. Since 2016, our police officers have seen pay increases from 9.75% to 11.75%. Our Fire Department employees will have seen theirs increase by 10%. We have a full-staffed Fire Department and have hired more than 450 additional police officers in the last three years. We are on track to graduate 196 officers in 2019, our largest number since 2009. Attrition is back to normal levels. We are on the right track. Voting against maxing out the sales tax keeps the focus on the right priorities and keeps us moving boldly forward in a fiscally responsible manner.

This is not the time to look in the rear-view mirror and return to the past – the carnage of that wreck is still smoldering behind us. We need to mash the accelerator and keep moving forward. If we do so, our brightest days are ahead. Vote against the referendum and by doing so, you will support the New Memphis.

Has Hell frozen over?