by Steven Hale
For the current issue of the Scene, we spoke with the Metro Council's Minority Caucus about Councilwoman Emily Evans' effort to extend term limits while at the same time reducing the size of the council to 27 members.
The caucus was strongly opposed to the idea, warning that a smaller council would mean less representation for minorities that are already underrepresented in city politics. They promised that a counter-movement against Evans' petition drive was on the way.
But now, The Tennessean reports that Evans has hit pause on the effort for now:
Evans said her campaign organization, CouncilNext50, gathered 7,197 signatures, about 5.5 percent more than the 6,817 that were needed, based on voter turnout for the Aug. 7 election. She said that wasn't enough of a cushion to ensure the petition would include enough registered voters to put the issue on the Nov. 4 ballot.
However, Evans tells the daily that will try to get the proposal on the ballot next August, to go along with council and mayoral elections. If voters approved, she says the new arrangement would go into effect in 2019. While that halts the effort temporarily, it means the debate continues for another year at least.
One interesting point to note: Opponents of Evans' proposal, and members of the Minority Caucus, have wondered where financial support for the effort is coming from. But it's a question that can't be definitively answered yet. The organization formed to push for the referendum, CouncilNext50, isn't required to filed financial disclosures with the election commission until the question officially makes it on a ballot.