City Council Members Get Personal During Debate

(Memphis) A discussion on increasing garbage fees got personal during Tuesday’s Memphis City Council meeting.

When Councilman Jim Strickland suggested delaying the vote for a garbage fee hike, Councilman Joe Brown didn’t hold back.

“Mr. Strickland, you’re a good person and good lawyer but you’re not smart,” Brown said. “I know that you are supposed to be a Christian.”

Brown was upset Strickland wanted to move the vote to April.

“That’s the month Dr. King was assassinated in the City of Memphis and when the sanitation strikes were. I think you’re stepping on a landmine,” Brown said.

Strickland didn’t respond in chambers, but talked to News Channel 3 outside about Brown’s comments.

“Bless his heart. Anybody who has been around the council long enough knows that Councilman Brown says some irrational things,” Strickland said.

Strickland believes April shouldn’t be off limits.

“I don’t think anything about Dr. King’s assassination prohibits debating topics in April,” Strickland said.

The council voted to delay the sanitation vote until December. It will be the first step that will lead to changes in sanitation services and retirement money for sanitation workers.

Another topic that fired up council members was funding $1.5 million in renovations for Southbrook Mall, which is owned by a non-profit group.

“Because it’s a black entity we have to go through all this red tape? Something is wrong with that picture,” Councilwoman Janis Fullilove said.

Council voted to fund the project which is contingent on the legal opinion from the City Attorney on whether the capital improvement funds can be used for a private business.

The votes and the outbursts sent Councilman Kemp Conrad to Twitter.

He wrote, “Based on some of the comments & decision making today at city hall, i’m thinking #memphis city council should have shut down today.”

“I was really just poking fun of my colleagues people say some things that are crazy,” Conrad said.

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