MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis City Council members are picking sides after Mayor Jim Strickland vetoed a bill Tuesday that took a public safety issue off the November ballot.
The ongoing discussion is about Memphis Police Officers and Memphis firefighters, and should they be allowed to live outside of Shelby County. Two weeks ago, the city council passed an ordinance to take the referendum off the ballot.
On Tuesday, Strickland vetoed that bill, which is causing city council members to become divided on the issue.
Council responded just minutes later, voting 7-to-6, to override the mayor’s veto, meaning the issue will stay off November ballots.
“Here’s an opportunity to let the people speak for themselves,” council member Chase Carlisle said. “Instead of trying to quash it, I stand with Jim Strickland, Mayor Strickland, and his veto.”
Other council members expressed their opinions on the matter like Martavius Jones. He said they are voted in to represent the wishes of the people. Jones said if they don’t do it for taxes and how Memphians’ money is spent. Then should they do it for this particular issue?
Some members of the city council see this as an example of voter suppression. Worth Morgan said the people in Memphis should be able to voice their concerns at the voting booth.
“Here is the obvious case of voter suppression in Memphis,” Morgan said. “Where we are purposely removing a question from the ballot, so people cannot participate in how they are governed.”
JB Smiley, a city council member, disagreed with that idea. He said this is not voter suppression.
“Voter suppression is what Harold Ford, Sr. went through when he was voted into office and had to go to the basement of the election commission to find black votes. That’s what voter suppression is,” Smiley said.
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