Thursday, September 20, 2007
My last take (I HOPE) on the Mayor's race
MemphisBlue's initial LWC post jarred loose the post that has been rattling around in my brain for a few days.
First, on Herman Morris. Look, I know I've been rough on him, and he's actually a nice guy, and I imagine he'd be a delightful and engaging dinner companion, a hail-fellow-well-met if there ever was one. We're not electing a dinner companion, people, we're electing an executive.
But wait, you say, he has BEEN an executive, and has won all these awards and look at the MLGW JD POWER rating. Well, compared to Joseph Lee, he looks like Henry Ford. So does my 2-year-old godson Jack.
Let me remind you that Herman had three critical moments of his MLGW tenure, which he claims is a record of achievement. 1) While I don't believe that he had any idea that Networx was being ripped off, why not? As an executive, oversight is a function of the job. It could well be that he might have been able to right the ship had Herenton not tossed over the side for Lee, we'll never know.
2) Yes, I am aware that Hurricane Elvis screwed up the MLGW system and hurt the grid. Did he do the best possible job of responding? What about the Entergy trucks waiting to come and help that weren't allowed to assist? Herman gets a D minus at best, folks, there's just no way to spin this.
3) I can understand most of the people on the MLGW VIP list, and in many ways it makes sense. However, it looks bad to see his family members on there, and you have to ask, why? Are you telling me that his niece or his inlaws had no way to contact him or didn't have his direct cellphone to call and say, look, we're having a problem this month?
Look, folks, these next four years are going to be brutal for the City of Memphis, regardless of who wins on October 4, and we need someone who doesn't fumble in the critical moments.
Next, to the Mayor himself. You know, for all the rage I have sent in his direction, we need to remember that A) he is a historic figure in this City, and B) his first two terms were among the best by any Mayor that this city has known, with much accomplished. Give him credit for the explosion of Downtown, which desperately needed it and no one else on the 5th floor had been able to facilitate.
His third term was when he started to drift, however, and since 2003 the city has been in utter freefall. It's not so much that he did anything to cause it, but neither has he done anything about it until hiring Larry Godwin as police director. Godwin ended the Spinal Tap-Drummer-like run of police directors under his watch.
I have a new analogy for the Mayor. His early terms reminded me of the 1951-65 Willie Mays, making great plays, hitting well, always doing the right thing. However, since 2003, he has reminded of the Willie Mays who kept muffing easy outs for the Mets in the 1973 World Series, embarrassing himself and tarnishing his legacy, which has many good things about it.
That's the problem; the longer you stay, the longer it's been since the good times and the more people remember the more recent bad times.
And so we as Memphians find ourselves with a city that needs attention and repair, and quickly. I've heard people say that we need unity; well, yes, but it's not happening until we clean up the corruption. Whoever wins, people, we are going to have a tumultuous four years, either from neglect (Herenton), lack of oversight as the developers continue to run amuck (Morris) or because we will finally begin to clean the city up, and the corrupt influences try to fight back (Chumney).
The fact is, folks, the reason Carol is not looked upon as a "Team Player" is because she knows bullshit and back-slapping when she sees it, and as my godfather said in the CA on Sunday, "We've had all the backslappers we can handle, we need a fighter, a fighter for the people".
She knows better than anyone how the developers have contributed to the sprawl of the city and county that has overtaxed its resources, and she will stand up to them. That's why they are supporting Morris, because he will turn his head and look the other way.
Look, we desperately need someone who is going to run the rats out of the barn and the foxes out of the chickencoop. We need someone who will get rid of the excessive political appointees of the prior administration, someone who will hire only the best people for her cabinet, from wherever they may be, to reestablish competence and TRUST in city government, something that has been sorely lacking.
We need someone who has the guts and drive and determination to get this done, and folks, the future of the city is riding on it. It's time for the men to step aside, we've had our turn, it's time to let a woman lead us to where we need to be.
If you LIKE how things are going, well, vote for Herenton or Morris. However, if you understand the depths of the problems that we face, your only hope for REAL and POSITIVE change for Memphis is Carol Chumney.