Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Mayoral Season Begins!

For all of my concerns about how the electorate will respond to this year's election, I am openly endorsing my friend of many years, Carol Chumney, for the office of Mayor of the City of Memphis, and would like you to attend her Announcement Party on Thursday night from 5:30 to 7:30 at the U of M Holiday Inn at 3700 Central Avenue.

Right now, the candidates expected to run in addtion to Carol are the Mayor himself (he needs to retire), former MLGW President Herman Morris, former County Commissioner John Willingham, and Memphis dentist Dr. Mark Roudebush.

While the the downtown area is more prosperous than ever before, the rest of the city outside the Poplar Corridor has gone to shit over the last few years, as the middle-class has been fleeing in record numbers in a multi-ethnic, multi-racial wave. Former Memphians have escaped to Fayette and Tipton counties in Tennessee, as well as the fastest growing county in Mississippi, DeSoto.

The major reason for the exodus is simple: crime. It has exploded over the last several years to the point where if you don't live downtown or the Poplar Corridor, you are not living in a safe environment. Mayor Herenton has gone through Police Directors like Spinal Tap went through drummers, and we are the worse for it.

I believe that Carol has the guts and the vision to do something about this situation. She will also be working with a City Council that will have several new members, if not a majority, so that we can have a fresh start and chance to turn the city around.

It will be hard to make a dent in the poverty in the city, at least until we have a Democrat in the White House, and that is a major cause for many of the problems that we have here. Carol will reach out, because whoever the mayor will be will have no choice. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, we must all hang together or we will surely hang separately.

So, there it is; I hope to see you there on Thursday night; then we can all go crash Drinking Liberally and bid adieu to Liz Rincon, the backbone of both the Mulroy and Cohen campaigns in 2006.


mike said...

I dunno. Carol's good at articulating a problem as she sees it, but not so much with the "what do we do now" part.

Being a mayor also requires the ability to bring diverse groups of people together to get something done. Carol's been notably deficient in that area in her tenure on the City Council. She *is* good at alienating the folks she needs to recruit, though.

A couple of weeks ago I listened to John Willingham run the numbers on how he thinks he can win. It all sounds good, except that it's just not going to happen.

The problem with removing Herenton is keeping the number of candidates down. We've already got four moderately serious ones (Herenton, Chumney, Morris and Willingham) and I'm sure one or two more (Lowery?) will show up later this year. Herenton can probably still count on, what, thirty percent? Can Chumney or Morris pull thirty-five or forty percent? Doesn't seem likely to me right now.

Richmond said...

Crime anywhere certainly is a problem, especially given that cheap apartment complex owners won't install security gates, hire nighttime guards or even install parking lot cameras. I think it also fair to say that if Carol or another next Mayor does not frontally move the City School apparatus from--as I perceive it in most locales large or small--a hive of self interest towards a mechanism that tries to educate and value children, crime won't disappear no matter who sits in what House.

Brassmask said...

I actually agree with Mike about Carol's seeming inability to following the problem depiction to the problem solution.

Right now, not knowing much about Herman Morris, not really trusting Willingham that much and definitely not wanting to see Herenton get another term, Carol seems like my default candidate.

If she can exhibit some kind of "moving forward" or "solving problems" campaign, then I could get fired up for her, but I definitely will be checking into what Herman Morris has to say.

mike said...

Brassmask, don't explode or anything but I agree with you. Chumney's politics are total anathema to me, so she's out; but I'm curious about Morris and am supporting him.

His working for Baker, Donelson bothers me, but it also means access to money. And I've heard from folks who worked in the trenches at MLG&W who don't have good things to say about him. On the *other* hand, the top- and mid-level executives didn't start fleeing MLG&W until Lee came in.

I'm bothered by Morris' silence in public comments about Herenton, Lee, MLG&W, etc. I don't like a mayor whose instincts are to shut up and sit tight. We've already got one.

At present, Morris has the sterling public image of MLG&W during his tenure going for him. He also doesn't have any major public figures speaking out against him. But I really want to hear what he sees are the problems of the city and how he intends to address them first. Then I'll know.

LeftWingCracker said...

My take on Morris is that he's a nice decent guy who will do whatever the downtown business establishment tells him to do; I hear that Giannini and the Republicans want to endorse him.

They want to endorse Morris partially because they like him, and partially because they want to send a message to Willingham to shut up and go home, you're done.

I don't see him getting very much support in the African-American community because he really is not what I would call a natural campaigner, and I suspect they might think he's the rich man's choice, which will work against him.

I could be wrong, I picked the Bears, but I am not sure Morris will do all that well. If he had even half of Wharton's charisma, maybe, but that's not the case.

mike said...

All your points are spot on, Stephen. So far, I haven't seen anyone I can heartily endorse. Morris is more "not Herenton and won't fuck it up really bad" for me. Though I'd love to be surprised!

I'd love for a true reformer to show up. Carol might overturn the rocks but she'll get completely sucked into all those revelations and lose sight of the bigger issues. She's also a good party person, so she might just leave it all alone. And she's a Seventies-style Democrat which to me is like kryptonite to common sense. ;-)

Desi Franklin said...


Herman no longer works at Baker, Donelson.

Just curious, why would his working at my firm bother you? Lawyers at law firms practice law - not politics, at least in Memphis. It's legal work that pays the bills, unless you're Howard Baker or someone like him.

David Holt said...

Be quiet Desi, before I run a background check on your Republican self. :-)

mike said...

"Lawyers ... practice law - not politics, at least in Memphis ... unless you're Howard Baker or someone like him."

Question asked and answered. Thanks!

It's also pretty hilarious that you -- a person who works at BD and is active in Democratic Party politics -- should say this. Please tell me you're a lawyer. Mote, beam. Beam, mote.

Desi Franklin said...

Ok, excuse me, I meant to say unless you're Linda (Mrs. Tom) Daschle or someone like her.

She also works at Baker, Donelson, but her name isn't in the firm name so people may not know it. We actually do have Democrats, too, you know, at our firm.

Like Buck Lewis. Like me. Like Linda. Like Barry Ford. Etc.

So your point is Herman might not get the Democratic vote for having worked at Baker, Donelson? That's pretty much a footnote to his practice with Ratner Sugarmon and his days at MLGW, anyway.

LeftWingCracker said...

Are you leaning to anyone yet, Desi? Are you waiting and perusing the candidates, or have you made up your mind?

mike said...

No, my point was that BD is a hive of good old boyism, politically speaking. That Morris is, or may be, a part of that network gives me serious pause as to who he will represent as Mayor, which agendas he will preference over others.

But the way your mind took what I said and went where it did is fascinating to me. You still haven't said if you're a lawyer or not. Well?