Sometimes lying just isn’t enough. But dishonest politicians have additional weapons at their disposal. There’s cheating. And stealing, too.
Meet the Memphis City Council.
Apparently fearful that their official fibbery through deceptive ballot wording on three council-referred measures won’t be enough to successfully hoodwink a majority of voters, the council has decided to ramp the chicanery up a notch.
“I think it’s pretty clear that the ordinances were intentionally written by the city council and its attorney to confuse voters,” writes Bruce VanWyngarden, editor of The Memphis Flyer. “They are attempting to extend term limits from two terms to three terms, but they don’t have the courage to ask for it honestly.”
That’s the lying. And here’s where stealing jumps ahead of cheating.
Last week, the city council voted 5-3 to snatch upwards of $40,000 in city money and spend it, as the Memphis NBC affiliate reports, “in support of extending term limits, suspending instant runoff voting, and repealing instant runoff voting.”
Council Chairman Berlin Boyd says the goal “is merely educating the constituents and letting them know our position on these referendum items.” But it is the constituents’ money, city tax dollars, not a political slush fund for the Council.
Furthermore, the people’s money should never be spent for or against a question on the ballot. That’s . . . cheating.
“They are trying to undo the will of the voters,” argues Steve Mulroy, a law professor and instant runoff activist, by “misappropriating public funds” for “a propaganda campaign.”
To keep things in perspective, however, let’s acknowledge that the Memphis City Council has not dismembered anyone with a bonesaw.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.