Friday, June 26, 2015

New Blood Part 3

1 for 93000

1 for 104000

1 for 72000

1 for 63000

1 for 18000

Memphis City Council

Shelby County School Board

Shelby County Commission

Tennessee State Representatives district size in Memphis

Nashville Metro Council district size (unified


Which is more representative of the will of the voters?  Which is easier to break into?

I'm not saying Nashville's way is the better way completely (35 single member plus 5 at large is a lot), but they do allow an easier way to break into politics, forces members to represent their entire district, and allows for a greater range of viewpoints on issues.

Why do we have 7 single member districts and 6 super districts?  Shouldn't it be more of a case of 10 and 3?  You cannot really walk these districts easily and have a full time job outside of the campaign.

It is virtually impossible to run and win locally without being able to raise a lot of money.  Money is the mothers milk of politics here.  We continue to elect the same people because the money game is one that insurgents cannot win.  The first question I always here about a race is not what are your ideas or how will you make things better, but rather, how much money can you raise.

You make it difficult for people to run and represent an area because they have to raise money, which is a virtual full time job during election season, and because of the size of the districts, they do not want to anger the well heeled donors.  Our representatives more and more are becoming people who are either connected to a money class or are the money class.  District size means you have to have a job with a very flexible schedule.

Younger people want to be involved.  They get excited.  They don't have the cynicism that older political operatives have.  They want to run for office and help their community.

Why do we make it so difficult for them?  I agree that you want people who have lived a life of some sort (Stacy Campfield is a prime example) and can bring that experience.  But you also want to bring in people with fresh, new ideas and way of doing things.  The system we have now makes that virtually impossible.

Be more representative.  Not less.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Blood Part 2

AC Wharton
Kenneth Whalum, Jr
Michael Williams
Jim Strickland
Harold Collins
These are your candidates for Mayor. Good men all.

However.

You cannot state that the current mayor has done a lot to deserve reelection. Our tax base is shrinking. Six years as Memphis mayor and before that seven as Shelby County Mayor.  So definitely thirteen, maybe as many as seventeen or roughly the same as former Mayor Herenton.

Controversies surround him and his appointees. He has continued many of the same cronyism that his long time predecessor began and did. People move in and out of public service. Unqualified people are appointed to head departments. Promotions based on who you know and not what you know.  People come back and stay long enough to get a higher pension and benefits.  Which reminds me..

Pensions?

Pensions?

The problems we have in this city, and we're talking about pensions?

Not jobs.

Not disastrous PILOTS.

Not crumbling infrastructure.

Not education.

But pensions?

Pensions?

Not cronyism.

Not improving the city.

But pensions.

I am steadfastly on the side of MPD on this issue.  Public sector employees take lower base pay for the promise of a guaranteed amount in retirement.  They have earned every last dime of it.  The differences I have are negiligible.  The real issue I have are double dippers who get there way too easily.

HOWEVER.

That issue has dominated the news for the last few months.  Distracting us from real discussion of the issues.  Maybe we'll get more once the electoral forums start in earnest in a few weeks.

We cannot continue down the path we have been on for the last 24 years.  There has been some difference between the Herenton and Wharton administrations, but not a large amount.

Change in how we run this city needs to occur.  Ideally, it occurs this year with the election of Whalum (getcha popcorn ready), Strickland, or Williams.

I was not born here in Memphis.  I moved here 20 years ago this August.  But this city is home for me.  I voted for the first time ever here in the 1995 election (Herenton in case you were wondering).

We need new ideas.  New ways of doing things.  Continuing down the path we are on now is not going to grow this city and make it attractive to people to move to and more importantly, for our young people to STAY in.  We don't want to continue to lose people to our exurbs and that city to the east.

More to come.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Blood Part 1

27
30
32
38
41
What are these? The ages of top candidates for Council District 5 and Super District 8. Last year with Lee Harris, three years ago with Kevin Woods, and five years ago with Justin Ford the new blood has started to arrive that we have long needed for this city and county.

I know he won't believe it, but one thing that Del Gill was correct on in his quest to become party chair was right, young people don't vote and aren't engaged. He was wrong in that we should only focus on older voters though. That disengagement by the young is in large part due to efforts by the old guard to drive people away. Efforts to keep them from power and moving up to become our future are showing in the lack of change in the power structure in the Democratic side especially for the last ten plus years. If you cannot see a future, if you cannot see hope or the chance for improvement, why should you try to make the change happen?

Wait your turn, it't not your time yet. That gets said a lot to younger people entering races or contemplating races. What should be said to them instead include questions like these: Why are you running? What are you going to do to make a change or improve the situation? How are you going to get your agenda passed and implemented?

Too often our local leaders stay in way too long. While that does give you institutional power and control and knowledge, it also leads to stagnation, corruption, and inflexibility. New people have new ways of looking at a situation and explore new ideas. Our older leaders still have a lot to offer, realizing when the time to step aside is difficult.

All of us want to make this city vibrant and strong. Older officials have a lot to offer in advice and counseling. But too often here, political office has become about the job and the power, and not the ideas and the people. We want our city to grow and be attractive to people to move here. One great way is to have young, energetic, dynamic leadership at all levels of government that will both work with the veterans and serve as examples to the future that will replace them as well. Train them up, step aside, and let them go, perhaps before you are willing to let go, but have faith that you did your job right.

Embrace the new. More to come later this week.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

On Charleston and the over-ownership of weapons

So, it's been reported that the terrorist Dylann Roof received a gun for his 21st birthday, which he used to brutally murder 9 people at a historic church in Charleston, SC last night.  One of those who lost their lives in this terrorist attack is the pastor, a State Senator named Clementa Pinckney, who also fought for gun control as well as civil rights or all.

The NRA has fought EVERY attempt to bring about ANY type of restriction for purchasing weapons, and it is time for them to be stopped cold.  I know a thing or two about possessing weapons.  I have owned weapons since the age of 11, when I got a 20-gauge shotgun for my birthday. My late father was a part-time gunsmith in NE Arkansas and was known for his ability to fix people's guns for deer season and duck season. Toward the end of his life, even HE thought the NRA was insane. It's time for licensing for weapon-owners, background checks for ALL those who would purchase weapons and simple, responsible actions for those would own weapons.
You don't get to operate a motor vehicle without doing so, and you should not be able to operate anything else that is potentially lethal to other human beings. Maybe, just maybe we can slow down some of these insane shootings in this country.
I can only hope.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Yeah, Hillary's running. And she'll probably win. That's not nearly enough, people

So, I see everyone is delirious over Hillary Clinton's announcement yesterday that she is running for president.  Meh.  I will vote for her if she is the nominee for the reason Jonathan Chait at NEW YORK Magazine noted yesterday:
The argument for Clinton in 2016 is that she is the candidate of the only major American political party not run by lunatics. 
Yep.

However, we have to understand that NOTHING is really going to change in this country until we regain control of A) The US Senate, B) The US House, and most importantly of all, C) STATE LEGISLATURES.  We have to rebuild from the ground up, and that is difficult in the aftermath of the CITIZENS UNITED ruling by the Supreme Court.  Most legislatures are like Tennessee's wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Koch Brothers and the misnamed Americans For Prosperity, which is like being called Chickens for Colonel Sanders.

 The President can do many things, but Kings they are not.  We need DEMOCRATS at every level of the legislative process, and that begins here.  We need help at the local level (the SCDP link is here) and at the state level (Here is the TNDP link) in order to get this state back in the correct direction.  UPDATE: Thanks to DWSC President Virgie Banks for providing the link to their Website at the top of the blogroll!

We need to be able to elect Democrats in rural areas that reflect our values and not those of the .001%.  Be excited for Hillary all you want (or not, in the primary stage) but keep your eyes on the prize:

Until we regain control of the legislative process, it will be difficult to do ANYTHING to stop this horrific turn to the ultra-right.

And that starts NOW.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

And now, a word from our State Chair, Mary Mancini

Tennessee Democratic Party Logo

Dear Steven, 
For Tennessee’s Republican legislators, it’s business as usual on Capitol Hill. Instead of tending to the people's business, they're serving only themselves and their radical beliefs without a care for the destruction they heap upon children, families, and communities. Here's what they've done  in just one month...

  • Rep. Sheila Butt (R-Columbia), the Republican floor leader in the Tennessee House of Representatives, posted on Facebook that it was time for an “NAAWP.” Read more...
  • Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden), Republican chairman of an agriculture committee, is under investigation by both the Environmental Protection Agency and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for code violations and operating his hog farm without a permit. Read more… 
  • Sen. Joey Hensley (R- Hohenwald), who was served an order of protection after his wife said he hit her with his car, and Rep. David Hawk (R-Greeneville), who was convicted of reckless endangerment in 2013 after an angry run-in with his ex-wife, have filed legislation “dealing with distribution of property during divorce proceedings." Hensley admitted the bill was based on his divorce. Read more….
  • Seven Republican senators, including Sen. Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga, made the decision to shut the door to critical healthcare for over a quarter of a million hard working Tennesseans by voting NO to Insure Tennessee. Their vote NO is a direct result of the failure of leadership by Republican leaders Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Speaker Beth Harwell who caved to right-wing extremists instead of standing up for 250,000 working Tennesseans who can't go to the doctor when they're sick. Readmore....
  • Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) have shown an absolute lack of leadership in refusing to hold any of these members accountable and/or strip them of their leadership positions. Read more...
It's clear that Tennessee Republicans are unfit to hold any elected office. It's clear that once given power, they use it to serve themselves and live as though the laws of Tennessee don’t apply to them.
 
But it’s not enough for Democrats to point fingers and laugh at how “crazy” these folks are. It’s not enough for us to shake our heads and ask, “How in the heck do these people get elected?”

In Nashville, the state capitol has been overrun by self-serving Republican legislators and special interests so now is the time to let everyone know exactly who these Republicans are and what they stand for. And now is the time to make sure every voter knows who WE are and what WE stand for...

  • Tennessee Democrats fight for equal pay, because we know that women make up 51% of the population and still make less than men.
  • Tennessee Democrats fight for equality and opportunity for all because we know that racism and inequality in any form is unacceptable.
  • Tennessee Democrats fight for equal justice because we know that no one is above the law.
  • Tennessee Democrats believe in smart government and effective leadership.
  • Tennessee Democrats believe it’s time our state legislators served the interests of all Tennesseans - not just themselves and their cronies. 
  • Tennessee Democrats believe in a good day's pay for a hard day’s work.
  • Tennessee Democrats believe that if someone is injured on the job, they should be able to feed their family.
  • Tennessee Democrats believe that all Tennesseans should be able to take themselves or their kids to the doctor when they’re sick.
  • Tennessee Democrats believe in investing in our future (our kids, our schools, our roads and bridges.)
  • Tennessee Democrats believe in strong families and communities.
  • Tennessee Democrats are the party of opportunity for ALL - THEY are the party of opportunism.
Now is the time to start working to take back our state from these radical, self-serving Republicans...so spread the news...DON'T KEEP WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE STAND FOR TO YOURSELVES!
Thank you for all you do,
Mary
--
Mary Mancini
Chair, Tennessee Democratic Party

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Drinking Liberally Memphis is under new leadership, and I am happy about it!

Drinking Liberally Memphis faded away for a while because the hosts, of which I was one, got tired of doing it and couldn't attract younger, newer people, so we gave it up.

Fortunately,  Liz Rincon, Allan Creasy and Trenton Woodley have revived DL, which now meets at Celtic Crossing at Cooper & Oliver on the 2nd & 4th Mondays of very month beginning at 5 PM.

In addition, Mondays at Celtic are Pint Night, and the 5 PM time coincides with Happy Hour!

In addition, Allan, who is also a bartender at Celtic, donates tips received during that time to a local nonprofit so that they can give back to our community, which is a win-win for everyone.

For more information, the DL-Memphis Facebook page can be found at

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Drinking-Liberally-Memphis/672725372837484?fref=nf

The next DL gathering is Monday, March 9 at 5 PM at Celtic Crossing at Cooper & Oliver in the heart of Cooper-Young, come on out!

That's Me In The Flyer!

That's me in the Viewpoint, losing my political inhibitions! *

*with apologies to REM.  :)