Welcome to our transparency website. We’re here because of a major problem with transparency in our beloved City of Memphis.
The prolog is a piece I wrote on Berlin Boyd. It details a story of how Candidate (now Chairman) Berlin Boyd claimed degrees and professional qualifications to which he was not entitled during the 2015 election cycle. It also cited involvement in a day care fraud scandal and his irrational dislike of the Overton Park Conservancy.
The information on the false claim of Realtorship had been widely circulated to all the media in town, some prominent social media pages and to some of Boyd’s opponents in the District 7 race, but no-one published this vital information.
The post details how Mr Boyd’s inconsistent statements about the OPC aroused my curiosity and how I was concentrating on indoor activities in the summer of 2016. A crew, consisting of me and three confidential sources, came in possession of the dossier that had circulated in 2015 and was able to confirm that the realtor claims were bogus, and investigated further.
In an attempt to hold the press accountable for false reports, the information in the Boyd article was sent to a CA reporter. It included this link to the CA profile piece on Boyd: http://archive.commercialappeal.com/news/government/politics/elections/candidate-profile-berlin-boyddistrict-7-ep-1251898792-327929921.html and this one to a story about the Chism day care raids: archive.commercialappeal.com/news/police-federal-agents-raid-memphis-day-care-centers-ep-307256715-326325241.html
I noticed that these archived pieces had been removed from the CA archive in January of 2017 and both links were still dead at the time of writing.
The CA reporter with whom I shared the information in November claimed he was still “looking into it” two months later, and was also informed of the missing archives.
The lengths to which the press is prepared to go to protect public figures is a concern to anyone interested in the efficient working of democracy, which requires transparency.
I have a long list of other issues: over a dozen unresponded City open records requests, some dating back to May. The Zoo’s refusal to follow the Open Records and Open Meetings acts, as a quasi-governmental entity. Evidence that City Councillors talked about defunding the OPC in March of 2016. Failure of the City to follow plans to install solar panels on City buildings. MPD violations of the first and fourth amendments. I have spoken to numerous members of the public who have similar issues.
If we are to have fact checking and transparency in our media and our politics, it will have to be people-powered and crowdsourced.
Welcome to Memphis Truth Commission.