By: Les Smith
Memphis, TN –
Just over 10 years ago angry residents of South Cordova received a harsh reminder from members of the Memphis City Council. When it comes to annexation…”you can’t fight City Hall.”
“Annexation is reality. We need that revenue stream. In the republic. In the guts,” said Councilman Joe Brown at the time.
Tajuan Stout-Mitchell also said in 2001, “Although you may not want to be in the city, the county ignores you. Because they know you eventually coming into the city.”
“This is not the end of this problem. We are going to continue to fight this through the proper channels,” retorted Cordova resident Robert Parker in 2001.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said on Thursday, “This was started ten years ago…and let me just be quite candid about these annexation opposition lawsuits. Ya’ll been around a long time. Nobody’s ever won one of them.”
But, it doesn’t take any time at all to realize how unhappy residents of South Cordova are since finding out through news media reports they were going to officially be annexed on July 1. The vast majority of stunned residents were caught totally unaware the legal wrangling that had spanned more than a decade had quietly and quickly come to a whimper of an end. An anti-climax, that apparently caught even Memphis Mayor A C Wharton by surprise.
“I’m upset that I didn’t get more notice on this. The matter was tied up in court for 11 years. And then “boom”, two weeks ago or so…we get a notice. Hey, your litigation is over. Something the lawyer didn’t do,” said Wharton.
The failure by the plaintiffs to file an appeal in 20-11 proved to be the last gasp in a bitter annexation fight. But, Wharton vows the “healing process” between the city and its newest addition has to begin immediately with a public meeting set up with South Cordova residents next week.
“When it comes to a situation like this being legal is not enough. You gotta be equitable. You gotta be fair,” said Wharton. “Those folks have been paying a county fire fee. But, they were inside the city of Memphis. Should not have paid anything for it. Going forward, we’ll work with those who’ve already signed advanced contracts for the solid-waste pick-up…They won’t get any double-talk from me about it. All I can do is set about trying to make it right. That’s what we’re going to do.”
Maybe you can’t fight city hall. But, it’s never too late to kiss and make up, is it?