Franklin voters need to unite

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 14, 2008

To the Editor:

On the north and south sides of the town, within every ward, there are concerned citizens who want to fix our city government and see our community prosper.

Concerned citizens of Franklin, regardless of race, class and gender, know that it is time for changes in the City Council.

Across our small town, voters agree that true change can only come with a change in leadership. These concerned voters seek a new direction by seeking a new mayor.

We need functional schools, we must have long-range planning for our building needs, we require accountability in managing our finances, we need to reduce our tax burdens and we have to make our streets safe.

Despite our hopes for an effective government, and Mayor Jim Councill’s cheerleading for our community, Councill’s years in office have been divisive with misplaced priorities.

Mayor Councill’s lists of urgent problems grow as they go unaddressed, as he pushes them under the rug. It is now clear that Franklin is at a crossroad.

Yes, the mayor has his supporters, those who are forever optimistic. But for the pragmatic majority, it is obvious that it is now time for Jim Councill to go.

With the election drawing near, we must decide who has the best chance of defeating Jim Councill. Ellis Crum has stated that he feels he can defeat Councill, but this is certainly delusional thinking.

First of all, Crum has not lived in Franklin long enough to gain support from either the northern or southern parts of the city.

Although Crum was placed on the ballot by anti-Jim north-side voters, his appeal has not carried over to the south side. For some reason, south-side voters see Crum’s campaign as an attempt to split the south-side vote. South-side voters say that they don’t know him, or have never heard of him.

Crum has worked closely with Kent Pope on the electric committee, but south-side voters appear to be unaware of their political connections. Therefore, Crum has been unable to capitalize on his high-profile association with the former vice mayor from the south side and current redevelopment chairman.

It is clear to me that in politics people vote their interests. Crum will not split the south-side vote

because of his positions on south side redevelopment.

Crum will use eminent domain to take land from current owners to build more Langston Street-type projects. Crum supports Franklin Redevelopment and Housing Authority plans to shut down housing complexes, and he will utilize the commercial component of the Hope VI grant.

He supports Mayor Councill’s initiatives to develop a dream redevelopment plan for the south side. He supports widening College Drive, etc., to four lanes, and he downplays the negative impact for these actions on the south-side voters.

Crum’s run confuses north-side voters who oppose Councill and want to vote for the candidate with the best chance of winning.

Greg McLemore lives on the south side, supports neighborhood rehabilitation and he has zero tolerance for Crum and Councill’s visions for south-side redevelopment and use of eminent domain to take churches and homes.

Because of his positions on south-side redevelopment, McLemore has the largest bloc of voters from the south side. I hope that the north-side voters do their homework and unify with the south-side voters to bring change and prosperity to the City of Franklin.

Ellis Crum cannot win because he does not have south-side support. McLemore can win if north-side voters who oppose Councill vote as a bloc with the south side. Therefore, the only way to bring change and prosperity to Franklin is to unify behind McLemore.

Thomas H. Councill