Dear Councilman Jim Strickland, Mayor AC Wharton, Commercial Appeal, Gov. Haslam, Wendi Thomas and Otis Sanford,
Did you get the message voters sent you last night? Your $350,000 campaign to start up Pre-K programs in Memphis via a sales tax increase went down in flames.
This happened despite a campaign that pressured us unrelentingly. You couldn’t pick up a copy of The Commercial Appeal in the last 30 days without encountering an article about the virtues of Pre-K. It was on the front page, the editorial pages, in columns and peppered throughout the news pages. You insisted that Pre-K was an essential, must do for the city even though other experts denied its success. You pummeled, browbeat and shamed readers. Wendi Thomas and Otis Sanford even tried wheedling with their comments that they didn’t really like a sales tax hike, but they would hold their noses and vote for it and you should, too.
Slick, glossy mailers went out to homes to pressure voters to say yes. We got three; one even came on election day to remind us to do our liberal duty and vote yes. Commercials on TV pushed for pre-K as did billboards. Streets in Midtown were dotted with the signs to vote yes for pre-K. At least that self identified the liberal neighbors I know are beyond reach.
Wharton even pre-empted the vote by appointing a special committee to oversee pre-K implementation. Now that took chutzpah and a deaf ear. Jim Strickland was on the march as well. I got a call from someone working for him who encouraged me to vote for pre-K. When I said I wouldn’t, she was completely shocked. It was as if I said I wanted little children to die. (Wait, isn’t that the position Democrats really take with their “pro-choice” stance?) Mr. Strickland, you try to come across as a moderate Democrat, but your stance on this and for smart meters makes me want you out as my Midtown representative. You seem to like taxes a lot more than you tell people.
Gov. Haslam, take a message from this vote by the bluest part of the state. Don’t push this pre-K stuff off on us and don’t let Obamacare get a foothold. Don’t be bribed by federal money. It’s fatal for our state. Stand by your GOP principles and you’ll be rewarded with reelection.
Doesn’t yesterday’s vote tell all of you something else? We’re tired of taxes as the solution to all problems. We’re tired of you telling us how to spend our money. We’re tired of sacrificing the welfare of our selves and our own families for programs that benefit the politicians and their cronies with mere pennies reaching the people the money is supposed to be for. We get that intentions are one thing, reality another. We’re tired of being fed liberal/socialist doctrine in the news. We see what it does and we don’t like it. How about some balance for a change if you want to keep the newspaper going another few years?
Our city can thrive without pre-K. That’s a distraction. We need leadership for business and rules that support families and discourage crime. We don’t need another factor to drive people from our city to more friendly, accessible areas.
In short, focus on your job and not on the propaganda.
Start respecting your voters. Start respecting your readers. Stop pushing the guilt off on us. Start managing your money wisely. Stop pressing for taxes.