February 25th, 2021


Your English Teacher Was Right | Great Moments in Gerrymandering

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published Oct. 22, 2015

Your English Teacher Was Right | Great Moments in Gerrymandering

In September, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery concluded that records of an investigation need not be released to the Memphis City Council -- because there was no comma. The law requires the records' release "only in compliance with a subpoena or an order of a court." Slatery said if there had been a comma after "subpoena," a council subpoena would get the records, but without the comma, only court subpoenas. And in July, Andrea Cammelleri prevailed on her parking ticket challenge because there was no comma. A West Jefferson, Ohio, ordinance banned parking of any "motor vehicle camper, trailer." A state appeals judge ruled that, with a comma after "vehicle," Cammelleri's truck would have been banned, but without it, only campers and trailers were. [The Tennessean, 9-3-2015] [WSYX-TV (Columbus), 7-3-2015]

In April, the City Council of Columbia, Missouri, rigged a specially drawn "Community Improvement District" to pass a sales tax increase. Under the law, if the District had no "residents" to vote, the "election" would be decided by the tax-friendly business owners. However, the Council somehow missed that college student Jen Henderson, 23, actually lived there and had registered to vote, meaning the business owners could not vote and that the tax increase would be decided by ... Henderson. (In late August, the Council "postponed" the election and at press time were in a quandary, as Henderson said she's against higher taxes.) [Columbia Tribune, 8-25-2015, 8-31-2015]

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