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VOL. 127 | NO. 182 | Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Non-Discrimination Up for Final Vote

By Bill Dries

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Memphis City Council members should have a full chamber Tuesday, Sept. 18, as the council takes a vote on third and final reading of a non-discrimination ordinance.

The council meets at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 125 N. Main St.

The ordinance prohibits hiring or job promotion and demotion discrimination by the city of Memphis government because of religion, race, sex, creed, political affiliation, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability or other “non-merit” factors.

The ordinance sponsored by council member Lee Harris also specifies that the intent is not to create any “additional protected classes” or “interfere with or in any way affect the hiring of personnel policies” of vendors, grant recipients and other entities that have a contractual relationship with city government.

The Tennessee Equality Project, which rallied supporters over the weekend at the National Civil Rights Museum, is backing the measure. The project and other groups backing the measure argue it is necessary to make it clear that hiring and promotion decisions cannot be made based on sexual orientation.

Meanwhile, at a 10:30 a.m. Parks Committee session, council members are expected to have a lot to say about a revamped plan by the administration to close a golf course, as council members voted to do in the spring. The cause for discussion is the administration wants to close a different golf course than the one the council voted to close during its budget deliberations.

City Parks and Neighborhoods Division director Janet Hooks in a Sept. 10 email told council members the administration “determined that it was more cost efficient to close Davy Crockett as the operating costs were more and the revenues less than Whitehaven.”

“Therefore, we are substituting the Davy Crockett course for closure,” she added.

At the 2 p.m. council executive session, council members will get their first briefing on the federally funded “Main Street to Main Street Connector” project to come. The effort would connect revitalization efforts along Main Street Memphis with Broadway Street in West Memphis. The centerpiece of the effort and the link between the two main streets would be a pedestrian and bicycle boardwalk along the Harahan Bridge across the Mississippi River.

Also on the council’s agenda Tuesday is the Calvary Rescue Mission planned development on South Third Street at Lucerne Place. The 3.32-acre site would become a commercial mixed-use district with plans for a shelter for homeless men with 108 beds as well as an education and training center.

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