ROUNDUP: Sanford leaving, right-sizing Memphis, Gov. candidates on campaign finance

If you have not already heard, The Commercial Appeal is preparing for the departure of Otis Sanford, currently what we call the Opinion Editor though that does not begin to fully capture the role he plays for us. The University of Memphis has recommended him to the Tennessee Board of Regents to take over the Helen and Jabie Hardin Chair of Economics/Managerial Journalism, but, fortunately for us, he will not leave until the end of the year -- after this important 2010 election season has finished. And even after he leaves the newsroom, Otis will continue to write his weekly column. For a longer look at Otis's fascinating career, go here and jump to page 12.

In honor of Otis, check out some of the recent Opinion pieces, including Otis's analysis of why Memphis Mayor A C Wharton decided not to fight the City Council and public opinion on the issue of pay cuts for the city's highest-paid employees.

Otis and the editorial board (including citizen members) met with Wharton and Robert Lipscomb, the city's director of housing and community development, and came away impressed by the Wharton administration's plan to "right-size" city government by utilizing the BRAC process (Base Realignment and Closure) the federal government employs to find savings and efficiencies with the Armed Forces. The idea is to create a commission that looks at every corner of city government and makes recommendations that the City Council would approve with an up or down vote.

The Tennessee Newspaper Network's coverage of the gubernatorial campaign continued with a look at the distinctions between candidates on the issues of campaign finance and constitutional offices. Here is the article and our sister Scripps-Howard newspaper publication, the Knoxville News-Sentinel, has a great reproduction of the grid listing the candidates full responses to questions. also has a nice utility that allows readers to look at responses candidates have made on various issues and a database of campaign contributions.

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