Saturday, September 26, 2009

Your Mayoral Candidates for 2009, since Early voting starts today, and my comments on each.

LEO AWGOWHAT - He may not even be real.
- I have no idea who he is or why he's running.
- Will finish in the top 4, one of my finalists, more later.
CAROL CHUMNEY- Will finish in the top 4, one of my finalists, more later.
- This man has stories; doesn't mean he should be Mayor.
- If he ran under his birth name, would do better because people would have a better idea of him. There should be a place for him in government somewhere.
- She ran simply because she could without losing her seat. That is not necessarily a reason to support her decision.
- Another perennial.
- We tend to forget that Mongo has been in our midst since 1978, when he finished a stunning fourth in the County Mayor's race, edging out then-Whitehaven City Councilor Ed McBrayer. His people were the swing voters in 1991, when even I voted for him (first, last and only time). Now, he is an afterthought.
- A beauty salon owner.
- ?
- At one time, this man could have been Mayor, I think. He's had a horrible year, and I don't really understand why he filed, but I wish him nothing but peace and good thoughts.
JERRY LAWLER - I don't think he will do as well as he did in 1999, but I do want to say this about him: I absolutely believe he is sincere when he talks about his love for this city and his desire to turn it around. Believe it or not, this man is probably Memphis' most well-known living resident these days; do you know any other Memphian who is on national television every week? I just don't believe that he has the skills necessary to be the Mayor of Memphis.
- Will finish in the top 4, one of my finalists, more later.
DETRIC W. STIGALL He's putting up signs in Whitehaven, but I know little about him.
SILKY SULLIVAN - one of our most beloved saloonkeepers, he is fun. Mayor? Not likely.
DAVID W. VINCIARELLI - Why not? He's run for everything else.
- V-Cubed, baby!
MARY TAYLOR-SHELBY WRIGHT - our new Willie Jacox.
- Bless her heart, she means well.
- I like this man, he's a hell-raiser at heart, which to me means that I want him to run, not for Mayor, but for City Council in two years. He's also for single-source funding, which is of the good, but against consolidation, which is not so good.
A C WHARTON, JR.- Will finish in the top 4, one of my finalists, more later.
JOHN WILLINGHAM - another person with great ideas, but like so many idea people, they lack the skills necessary to take them to fruition. He was a better-than-expected County Commissioner, and he would be terrific as a legislator. An executive? I'm not sure.

Ok then so here we are with our four finalists, but I'm not putting them in a swimsuit competition.

In reverse order of how I think they will finish, I present:

CHARLES CARPENTER - I am examining him more, because he has been on the periphery of Willie Herenton, yet seems to be trying to distance himself from Herenton. He does have a solid knowledge of city government, as he was our bond lawyer. (Need to ask him, among others, why we lost a floor of the FedExForum garage.)

MYRON LOWERY - If you put a gun to my head and told me to vote right now, I would vote to keep Myron. Why? He is trying to walk the tightrope between cleaning out City Hall and not pissing off the whole town, which is far more difficult than it sounds. He has made missteps, to be sure, but he has had a good balance so far, and I think the whole Dalai Lama situation was overblown beyond all recognition; Myron got a bum rap for that, and it wasn't right.

CAROL CHUMNEY - So why NOT Carol? It's still possible, but my gut says it's not likely. She was arguably the city's best legislator in Nashville from 1991-2003, her toughness and bull-doggedness earned her respect, along with some enmity, from her colleagues. She had as much to do with killing the Tiny Towns legislation as Mayor Herenton did, and it still irks me to hear him take all the credit for it. Without Carol carrying the water, we would have been sunk.

Being an executive, however, is a different matter entirely, and it seems to me that people don't necessarily want a fighter in the Mayor's office; they HAD that for 18 years and he fought with everybody, and not necessarily in the city's best interest. While I know Carol has the city's best interest at heart, people are tired of fighting, they want someone who can get the job done with as little conflict as possible. When I hear her, when I see her, I think: legislator. I suspect others do, too, and wish she were still legislating somewhere.

I am truly torn about Carol, because I have never NOT supported her in an election, but this time, I'm just not sure.

Which brings us to .....
A C WHARTON, JR. - When we discuss probabilities, not merely possibilities, I suspect we will wake up on October 16 to learn that the County Mayor is now the City Mayor. Compared to Herenton, Wharton is a dish of soothing ice cream, which is what the city is desperate for after drinking vinegar for the better part of 18 years.

My contrarian nature suggests, however, that what we want is not always what we need. If Carol will clean out City Hall no matter the cost, AC will soothe every one, no matter if City Hall is cleaned out or not. (Note - I think Myron can do that with less damage, and is in the middle ground here.)

I like AC - hell, what's not to like? I confess to having a bias, though, having been through the 2002 County Mayor primary where he beat Carol like Sherman did Georgia, which had more to do with him than her. AC was smart enough, for this race, to enlist the backbone of the local Obama campaign, Kerry Hayes and Nika Jackson, and it has paid off handsomely.

So why not AC? He has, since 2002, been part of County government, which for all intents and purposes has been run by the same people since 1978, with Bobby Lanier in the background. It really didn't matter who was County Mayor, Bill Morris, Jim Rout, AC, Bobby, IMO, has run the show. So, I am not so convinced that AC is willing to burn his political capital to do what needs to be done.

As a dear friend of mine, as has said, "It's real easy to be popular when you're never willing to take a stand that will piss off anyone." Running against AC has become like running against Mom and Apple Pie, which has put everyone in a tough spot here. Even when you CAN make a serious charge, no one seems to believe it, or care whether it was true or not.

So, he leads.

That doesn't mean I'm ready to jump on the bandwagon. In fact, I will probably vote Election Day rather than early vote, which I have done only once in the last decade (November 2006).

There's still time to sway me, folks, but time is running out. Flame away.


autoegocrat said...

I completely agree with you regarding A.C., Carol, and Myron. The most outstanding difference between the three seems to depend on how much they're willing to do battle. Myron is the balance between the extremes.

A.C. Wharton has more political capital than anyone in this city, but I've never seen him take a single risk in his career. Is he going to clean up the school system? The police department? The crime on the streets? How is he going to deal with the Council? So many of the problems in Memphis are rooted in economics, so what's he going to do to bring jobs into this city?

I'd like to think he'll do well on all these matters, but I'm still skeptical. So far, A.C. has proven that he can maintain the status quo, and that's been the basis of his campaign. I would have liked to have seen him use his campaign platform to raise awareness of these critical issues and generate a debate about how we're going to solve them.

He seems to have all the ingredients of a powerful and inspirational leader, but something just doesn't add up. What's he waiting for?

That's a void that Carol could fill, but I don't see her doing that, either. I don't want to hear any more about A.C. or W.W. from her, I want to hear what she's going to do about crime, poverty, and corruption.

Myron has the advantage of being able to show what he would do, but if he is running anything close to a campaign, I can't see it. He's got people putting signs on city property. You've got to try a little harder than that.

I still have no idea who I'm going to vote for.

gatesofmemphis said...

excellent analysis.

Smart City Consulting said...

Solid analysis as usual. Good playbook for trying to understand the plot line in a cast of thousands. Thanks.

callmeishmael said...

Would like to see a post on U of M football. New coach? Let West resign at season's end?

MemphisPI said...

For those on the fence a real defining moment occurred during last night's debate.

Two candidates said that as the Mayor they would not endorse Herenton for Congress and two dodged the question by not saying who as Mayor they would endorse. Despite good efforts by the moderator to pin them down on that question.

There is your playbook folks!