City councilman Berlin Boyd was fast tracked into public office as a result of two prior appointments before getting elected to serve a full four-year term in 2015 as the city council representative for District 7.
Like some, I hoped he’d rise to the occasion. His early ambition to move forward on the Mow to Own initiative and the marijuana legislation were encouraging. Unfortunately, it was short lived as his personal character was illuminated and quickly became the subject of recurring conversations among various religious, business, political, and social circles as well as social media platforms. Neither his professional nor personal conduct, particularly his actions during his tenure in office, is evidence that the councilman has risen to the mantle of the office to which he is seeking to be re-elected. Sadly, Mr. Boyd has not done anything noteworthy to advance the livelihood of the indigent in his district; instead he has profited off the poor while in office. Hence, you should find it very irresponsible that he is asking for our vote with no tangible accomplishments to which he can point. The best he can offer the citizenry is the vague generalities he has prominently displayed on his campaign website. For example, he wrote: “Encourages and supports a more responsive government, greater citizen participation, and community empowerment.” What does that mean? It means nothing. As a seasoned councilman seeking a second term, we should demand proof of a harvest from the seeds he supposedly has sown. Even more
revealing is his inability to have specifics to draw from, after being on the city council for four years, of which two were as council chairman. In reality, if Councilman Boyd had to list his accomplishments, the only one that comes to mind isn’t highlighted on his campaign website. Ironically, this is the dog park on affluent Mud Island. Boyd does, however, point out that he singlehandedly sponsored legislation to rename Lindon Avenue to Dr. M.L. King Jr. Avenue. This too is inaccurate. Public records show Mr. Boyd was a co-sponsor, along with former City Councilman Edmund Ford Jr., and others in the community, to whom he intentionally seems to forget to give credit. Nonetheless, this was legislation that came to fruition years prior to his being
elected to the city council. A number of community leaders in District 7 are troubled by Councilman Boyd’s claims of being the architect who advanced discussions on the library in Frayser. This narrative, too, is false; his efforts were fruitless because they were non-existent. Here is the truth, many residents will corroborate that he flat
out refused their invitations to show up and be engaged with those in the poorest areas of the district who look like him. Boyd’s association with developers has prevented him from being an authentic public servant for all. Self-enrichment has repeatedly taken precedence over the best interests of the citizens. He is taking credit for moving the Frayser Library forward and helping with development in North Memphis, which is just another example of Boyd being disingenuous. He ignored Frayser residents. And, because he would not return their calls or emails, they decided to self-organize with the assistance of former City Councilman Joe Brown.
These are only a few of Boyd’s exaggerated untruth and lies. Nonetheless all speaks to Mr. Boyd’s character. Time and time again his personal character and conflict of interests were on full display to all. So, no, Councilman Boyd, we are not all “haters”. We are onlookers ashamed of your representation. I have lost count of the number of times Councilman Boyd has “forgotten” to recuse himself from votes he has taken, that directly serve his business partners and personal interest, on major development
deals. Boyd once said publicly, from the council dais, that he wasn’t going to jail for no one. From the optics he is on a slippery slope. Of course, the business community will stand beside Councilman Boyd, because his time in office has benefited them for generations to come. It has served them well. As a voter, ask yourself what generational examples has this person, who has represented District 7, left for
the generations coming up after us? Except for the fact that he is a public figure, his personal affairs (pun intended) wouldn’t be of importance to the taxpayers. I tend to believe that a person’s character privately has a direct correlation to their public integrity. Let me provide you with an example. Public records show that the only income Berlin Boyd reported to juvenile court was his $31,000 annual city council salary, when he appeared in court on two separate occasions for three of his four children, who were conceived during his current term in office. It has recently been discovered that his council salary is not the only compensation he was receiving, and continues to receive, at this time. Mr. Boyd is employed by FedEx, according to his revised financial disclosure and self-admission to a Commercial Appeal reporter, after he was caught dishonestly avoiding payment of child support for children he allegedly has denied publicly. Furthermore, a City Hall source, intimately involved with personnel matters, stated that his Council income is garnished to pay his monthly child support and arrears. The question is, why should taxpayers be left with paying his financial obligation to the mothers of his children? It is a personal responsibility that should be paid for out of income he earns from his private employer or from the kickbacks he receives from helping developers. Are you following the pattern of deception? Imagine the harm Boyd would do if we weren’t watching. Councilman Boyd: The trajectory of your time in office has been one embarrassment after another. It has also been transactional at the expense of your constituents. In a 2012 Op-Ed piece about politics, the writer, David Brooks eloquently put it this way, as he dissects the movie Lincoln, politics involves personal compromise for the public good and that politics is the best place to develop the highest virtues. Politics also involves such a perilous stream of character test: how low can you stoop to conquers without destroying yourself; when should you be loyal to your team and when should you break from it; how do you wrestle with the temptation of fame – that the people who can practice it and remain intact, like Lincoln, Washington or Churchill, are incredibly impressive. We are in a time where leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province is where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring. You have not mastered the art of character in service and, in case no one has ever told you, to a great degree, the personal character of an individual shapes the public character of the seat they hold. A public servant, in particular, should nspire us and lead by example. They should demonstrate the essential qualities of honesty and integrity and elevate the people’s agenda and mutual respect. The people aren’t asking for perfection. Honesty, accountability and selflessness is a good starting place. In closing, it is fitting to share the quote below, from Councilman Berlin Boyd’s campaign website: “The only measure of what you believe is what you do. If you want to know what people believe, don’t read what they write, don’t ask them what they believe, just observe what they do.” – Ashley Montagu. One of Councilman Boyd’s council colleagues suggested that it takes four years to learn the job of a councilperson. It is my assessment that Berlin does not have the temperament or leadership qualities we need in those who we want to represent us. You do not deserve four more years to learn how to treat us. We have measured your motives, exactly how you have asked of the voters during the 2015 election, and now again in 2019, we have observed what you have done. I will conclude this Op-Ed with the following Proverb, “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” The citizens of District 7 have had four years to observe Councilman Boyd sharpen the iron of developers above the citizens, his ego and pride above fatherhood and manhood, obtaining perceived power and greed above righteousness, and has destroyed his reputation with the people who he put himself above. Pride comes before the fall, so good luck keeping your balance serving multiple masters.