Saturday, July 5, 2008

Monumentally Piss Poor Governance

The Sinkhole

This sinkhole which has gotten a small amount of attention for our piss poor local government here in Memphis reminded me of another argument our city council had about who was responsible for the cost of maintaining city property. This sinkhole was caused by the collapse of a storm drain. It has rendered our passenger train station unusable because it is underneath where the track left the station. The city is saying that the railroad is responsible even though the damage was caused by the collapse of municipal infrastructure, ignoring the fact that the land is owned by the city and only leased by the railroad.


This reminded me of another conflict our city had a few years ago. The parks commission had put a statue of Elvis up in front of the MLG&W (Memphis Light, Gas, and Water) offices downtown. The statue had been damaged by people breaking the fringe off of it and marking it with graffiti. The MLG&W argued that the city was responsible for the upkeep on the statue and the city argued that it was MLG&W's responsibility.

Elvis's Hero; Prince Mongo

A local crazy man/hero/shaman/alien monarch/pain in the ass (depending on who you ask) Prince Mongo decided that it was time for him to take a break from running for mayor or senate and come to the rescue of Elvis (who is represent by his statue in this tale). He decided that if the city did not own the statue and MLG&W did not own the statue he would move it to his house. He announced that he would be claiming the statue on a sunny Monday Morning. When he showed up with a crane to claim the unclaimed statue the city suddenly decided that they owned the statue. They found the money to renovate the statue and place it indoors at our visitors center and install a less delicate statue at the MLG&W offices.

The Question

How will we threaten our incompetent local government into fixing their crumbling infrastructure before we are removed from the list of cities served by The City of New Orleans?

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