Tread­away drops out of Mem­phis City Coun­cil race

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page - Jamie Munks Mem­phis Com­mer­cial Ap­peal USA TO­DAY NET­WORK - TEN­NESSEE

Lon­nie Tread­away, one of the con­tenders vy­ing for the Dis­trict 1 Mem­phis City Coun­cil seat the coun­cil has dead­locked over, has with­drawn his can­di­dacy.

But that still leaves the city’s Dis­trict 1 with­out a rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the coun­cil.

Tread­away didn’t see him­self or the other front-run­ner, Rhonda Lo­gan, re­ceiv­ing the nec­es­sary num­ber of votes to gain the seat, he said.

“To come in night af­ter night and wit­ness Ground­hog Day,” Tread­away said of the coun­cil’s more than 100 dead­locked votes over the two can­di­dates. “I think the right thing to do is come up with a com­pro­mise can­di­date.”

Coun­cil mem­ber J. Ford Canale said he was “dis­ap­pointed.”

“We have things that are be­ing held up,” Canale said.

The coun­cil will meet again at 4 p.m. Thurs­day, when they will try again for a quo­rum to be able to vote on other busi­ness that went un­touched Tues­day be­cause of the lack of enough mem­bers to take a vote.

There were 56 items on Tues­day’s agenda.

Mar­tavius Jones, Joe Brown, Jamita

Swearen­gen and Patrice Robin­son walked out of Tues­day’s meet­ing and did not at­tend the Wed­nes­day ses­sion. Those four coun­cil mem­bers, who back Lo­gan, are all African-Amer­i­cans. They said af­ter walk­ing out of Tues­day’s meet­ing that “pro­por­tion­ate rep­re­sen­ta­tion” on the coun­cil for a city that is roughly 65 per­cent African-Amer­i­can is eight or nine black mem­bers on the 13-mem­ber coun­cil.

Lo­gan’s back­ers on the coun­cil also crit­i­cized Tread­away, who moved to Mem­phis from Mis­sis­sippi in July, as not be­ing in­vested in the com­mu­nity, and have said Lo­gan is the can­di­date Dis­trict 1 res­i­dents want to see in the seat.

City Coun­cil At­tor­ney Al­lan Wade dis­missed the no­tion on Wed­nes­day that the dis­agree­ment over the can­di­dates hinges on race.

“That’s not what this is all about,” Wade said, adding coun­cil mem­bers have a “con­sti­tu­tional right” to choose for­mer coun­cil­man Bill Mor­ri­son’s suc­ces­sor, which they can base on myr­iad fac­tors.

Mor­ri­son stepped down Nov. 1. He, Ed­mund Ford Jr. and Ja­nis Fullilove all re­signed their posts last month; they were elected in Au­gust to Shelby County po­si­tions.

City Coun­cil Chair­man Ber­lin Boyd passed on vot­ing in the ma­jor­ity of the votes the coun­cil has cast.

“I can’t play pol­i­tics as chair­man,” Boyd said.

Tread­away step­ping away doesn’t mean Lo­gan will get the ap­point­ment.

The last reg­u­larly sched­uled City Coun­cil meet­ing of the year is Dec. 18, when the coun­cil will need to ap­point can­di­dates to the other two va­can­cies. Coun­cil mem­bers on Wed­nes­day raised the pos­si­bil­ity of start­ing all over again on the Dis­trict 1 ap­point­ment.

“If we can­not get seven votes for Rhonda Lo­gan, we need to open this back up,” Boyd said.

Jones, when asked Wed­nes­day if he would sup­port a can­di­date who isn’t Lo­gan or Tread­away, said, “No, be­cause we’ve al­ready had a process.”

Coun­cil­man Kemp Con­rad said Canale’s ap­point­ment to the coun­cil was a “rare ex­cep­tion.”

“It’s not easy to fill a va­cant seat on the coun­cil,” Con­rad said.

Jamie Munks cov­ers Mem­phis city gov­ern­ment and pol­i­tics for The Com­mer­cial Ap­peal. She can be reached at [email protected]­mer­cialap­ or 901-529-2536. Fol­low her on Twitter @journo_­jamie_.




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