Fox News reporter Todd Starnes has gotten into a tiff with the Memphis Mayor. Starnes, a native Memphian who works for Fox News, objected to the removal of Confederate statues. He even has called for Strickland’s arrest. Starnes wrote:
For the past several years progressives have been waging a culture jihad across the nation, turning our nation’s heritage into a pile of rubble. They’ve been bulldozing our history much like the Islamic Radicals have been doing in Iraq.
Sadly, my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, has suffered a similar fate.
While most of the good citizens of Memphis were attending Wednesday night church services, the mayor and city council were busy finalizing a despicable plot to bypass the law and desecrate a Civil War grave site.
In October the Tennessee Historical Commission refused to allow city leaders to remove statues of Nathan Bedford Forrest and Jefferson Davis from two city parks. The city initiated mediation with the state, but that too, was unsuccessful.
Instead of following the ruling, the mayor and the city council concocted a nefarious plan to disobey the law and take down the statues in the dark of night.
The city council voted on Wednesday afternoon to sell two public parks to a newly formed nonprofit group chaired by a county commissioner. (Anybody smell a rat?)
The two parks – both prized pieces of real estate – were sold for $1,000 each. What kind of a shady real estate deal is that?
While the city council was voting, heavy machinery and an army of police officers were being dispatched to both parks. Did the nonprofit pick up the tab for the police officers and the heavy machinery? Or were taxpayers forced to foot the bill?
“The law allows a private entity to remove items such as statues from its own land,” Mayor Jim Strickland told bewildered citizens.
After the city council passed the sham real estate deal, the cowardly mayor issued a notice on social media.
“Health Science Park and Memphis Park have been sold,” the mayor declared. “Operations on those sites tonight are being conducted by a private entity and are compliant with state law.”
Within a matter of hours both statues were removed – in the darkness of night.
“The City made a decision to willfully violate state law and remove the statues of Forrest and Davis,” said Thomas Strain of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. “This is a direct violation of state law and we must allow the state to pursue this case in a lawful manner.”
James Patterson, the commander of the Tennessee division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, called it a “well-organized, behind the scenes plan by the city.”
“They are willfully violating the Heritage Preservation Act. The City has broken state law,” Patterson said.
Beyond that, the bodies of Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife are buried in one of the parks. Therefore, it is my contention that the mayor and city council are also guilty of desecration.
My fury has nothing to do with the monuments or the memorials. It has nothing to do with selling off prime real estate at a bargain-basement price. My fury has to do with the flagrant disregard of the law.
Mayor Jim Strickland and the Memphis City Council flouted that law. They violated their oath of office and they desecrated a grave site.
I urge the governor and the state legislature to launch an immediate investigation of the corruption that has infested Memphis City Hall. The law demands it.
And I look forward to the day when Mayor Jim Strickland and members of the city council are removed from office and hauled out of City Hall in handcuffs.
On Sunday, Strickland was asked about Starnes’ comments. Rawstory reports:
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland slammed Fox News commentator Todd Starnes over the weekend for suggesting that he should be jailed over the removal of two Confederate statues.
In an interview that aired on Local 24’s This Week program, the Memphis mayor responded to Starnes.
“He’s a liar who doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Strickland said. “And trying to get attention to himself.”
According to the mayor, there is nothing illegal about the city’s decision to sell off two of its Confederate statues.
“Cite one law that we violated, cite one law,” Strickland insisted.
Bruce McMullen, the city’s chief legal officer, pointed out that there was nothing in the state’s historical commission law that prevented the city from selling property.
“The Tennessee Historical Commission statute lists a number of things you can’t do to those statues,” he explained. “They listed a long line of things. One thing that they left out that they could have added in there was you can’t sell them.”
“I’m a little offended that someone would just spout off something like that without having done any research or any thought,” McMullen said of Starnes.
Here’s the video:
I don’t think Starnes needs to call attention to himself. He’s better known to millions than Mayor Slickman is. Starnes also now says the park land has been estimated to be worth more than $2 million.
This morning Tim Van Horn had Starnes on WREC radio to talk about the tiff. However, I have not been able to find a clip of it.