Rhonda Logan, the lone remaining candidate under consideration in the embattled race for District 1 on the Memphis City Council, said she is still seeking the seat, “for the people.”
“Everything that’s going on is part of the process the council is going through… but I’m confident they will come together and do the right thing for the whole community,” Logan told The New Tri-State Defender in a telephone interview after Thursday’s brief council meeting again ended without a quorum.
“I’m just being patient and waiting on the process.”
The Council adjourned proceedings shortly after a 4 p.m. scheduled meeting began Thursday. It was the third straight time a lack of a quorum had forced adjournment. Another meeting is set for today (Friday) at 4 p.m. in an attempt to get a quorum, something it has been unable to do since four council members walked out of Tuesday’s meeting in the midst of voting for a replacement for Bill Morrison, who was elected Shelby County Probate Court Clerk.
Council Chairman Berlin Boyd did not attend Thursday’s meeting, so it was led by Vice Chairman Frank Colvette.
The council members who walked out — Jamita Swearengen, Patrice Robinson, Joe Brown and Martavius Jones — support Logan, executive director of the Raleigh Community Development Corp. for the position. Lonnie Treadaway, who had been seeking the seat, withdrew earlier this week.
Colvette on Thursday said, “It’s going to be dragged out until we have a quorum to conduct business. I think what we ought to do is everybody take a deep breath. …But I also think there is pressure building from the public, that they need to get the council to do their job.
“…Part of me says this is government, this is our republic working,” he said. “The other part of me says you’re holding up (police) body armor, sky cams. You’re holding up a $1.7 billion MLGW budget. There are 56 items of development projects…”
Councilman Kemp Conrad, who attended Thursday’s meeting, spoke to his frustration. “In a legislative body you don’t always get exactly what you want. Politics is the art of the possible. It’s give and take.”
During a Nov. 20 marathon meeting, over 100 separate votes were taken before it ended with a deadlock between Logan and Treadaway, Flinn Broadcasting’s national sales manager.
The four council members walked out of Tuesday evening after two rounds of voting did not produce a winner between Logan and Treadaway, and there was a call for opening up the voting to include other qualified candidates.
After walking out, Robinson said, “We believe as a council and I personally believe we were not going to get anywhere today.
“We had to make a statement that we were not going to go along with the okie doke,” Robinson said. “Sometimes as a community and as an elected official we have to stand our ground and this time we decided we had to stand our ground.”
The council now needs seven members for a quorum. There are only 10 council members left after the departure of Edmund Ford Jr. and Janice Fullilove, who left the council to become a county commissioner and the Clerk of Juvenile Court respectively.
No legislative action has been taken since the walkout.
On Tuesday, the remaining council members set up daily meetings at 4 p.m. in pursuit of a quorum. They cited a provision of the home rule charter, which also gives council members the option of filing suit in Chancery Court against the members who refuse to attend.
Conrad on Thursday said he think the possibility of the council taking court action against its missing members is still, “on the table,” but that he wasn’t aware of it being pursued.
On Tuesday, Brown said the Raleigh community had indicated that they wanted Logan to be their leader.
“…It was probably getting down to be a racial conflict,” he said. “The majority of that area are Democrats and they are African Americans. So they (other council members) want us to put a Republican in that seat who has not lived in the district for quite some time, not even in Memphis and who ran for public office in Senatobia, Miss. and he lost.
“We made a stance that’s going to make history to let other public officials know that strength is unity,” he said.