Sanford: It’s wrong for state lawmakers to dictate city management

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Just as expected, several Tennessee lawmakers seem intent on re-fighting the Civil War only this time, it's against their perceived political enemies in Memphis.

It all stems from the recent sale of city owned parks as a way to circumvent a state law preventing the removal of Confederate monuments from city parks.

Now, there are a slew of bills in the legislature aimed at trying to punish Memphis for selling two parks to a nonprofit group that immediately took down the statues of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. One bill would expand the state's authority under eminent domain to take control of local property where a monument is located.

Another bill would withhold state funding for any city that sells or removes monuments after the Historical Commission refuses to grant a removal waiver.

That is exactly what Memphis did and conservative lawmakers were left with egg on their faces.

Even if these bills become law, they are meaningless unless the courts nullify the city's sale of the parks. But at the end of the day it is wrong for lawmakers hundreds of miles from Memphis to try to dictate how this city manages its property and its business.

The Civil War is over and Memphis is moving past the legacy of slavery and racism that these statues represented. Shame on any legislator who tries to stand in the way.

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