Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Two things make my Mayoral decision easier

First, despite dazzling us at Drinking Liberally, and answering my questions, I still have had my doubts about AC Wharton. Have you ever had the feeling that something or someone was too good to be true? Well, after County Mayor Wharton made his ten choices for the Merger Commission, they were realized. County Commissioners gave Mayor Wharton 41 choices for the Commission, but he only used THREE. That's right, THREE, he ignored the Commission and chose the other seven himself.

Let's look at them, shall we? Here they are:

The nominees are:

  • Millington Mayor Richard L. Hodges
  • Former Collierville Mayor Linda Kerley
  • County Commissioner J.W. Gibson of Memphis
  • Julie Ellis, an attorney at Butler Snow PLLC
  • Lou Etta Burkins, FedEx Express project engineer of unincorporated Shelby County
  • Andre Fowlkes, Memphis Small Business Chamber executive director
  • Billy Orgel, Tower Ventures developer, of Memphis
  • Chris Patterson, an attorney atWiseman Bray PLLC of Germantown
  • The Rev. Randolph Meade Walker, pastor of Castalia Baptist Church
  • and Rufus Washington, retired U.S. Marine and president of Southeast Shelby County Coalition.
Hodges is ANTI-consolidation, and he's on the Commission? Great, just great. Kerley? Actually, I give him thumbs up for that, as she appears to be reasonable. Rev. Walker? Sure, he will help among skeptical members of the African-American community.

Billy Orgel? What, Jackie Welch was busy????? This, I do NOT understand, and I know he is one of the CITY votes.

I'm just not at all thrilled with most of this bunch, and they make up two-thirds of the group, if approved by the County Commission. I only hope Myron Lowery now chooses five for the City before the election, in the event he is not chosen as full time Mayor.

Although, I have to tell you, I am beginning to sense a shift in Myron's direction, and not just because he has held his own in that poll over on the right side of the blog. People LIKE what the Mayor Pro Tem is doing (unless they are buds with his predecessor) and are seriously considering voting for him. Despite the AC's, er, the CA's best efforts to move Mayor Wharton across Main Street, people know that the Dalai Lama situation was overblown.

Mayor Lowery(I'm really beginning to like the sound of that) may have helped himself even more on Tuesday with a speech before the Rotary Club, where he told the crowd of 200 that, if elected on October 15, he will NOT seek re-election as Mayor in 2011.

That would allow him to continue the massive cleanup of city government which he has undertaken, and which has won him a great deal of approval all over the city. yes, I know he over-reached at the beginning, but his heart has always been in the right place and his head is there as well.

I'm still waiting until Election Day to vote, but I have a much clearer picture today of where I am headed with this vote. At the end of the day, if the incumbent is doing what we desperately need him to do, why change?


Smart City Consulting said...


Knowing that this is a dual election and that it has to pass outside Memphis, it seems that to only appoint people of one mind just sets up a political landmine down the road. At this point, it's about members being willing to be part of a conversation about a different government because after all, there is no consolidation cookie cutter or template. Every city's merged government uniquely reflects its needs and character. As for members, Julie Ellis is the smartest lawyer in Memphis, Lou Etta Burkens is really smart and reflects the growing number of African-Americans in unincorporated Shelby County (who could be pivotal to this vote), Andrew Folks is an African-American entrepreneur, Chris Patterson is an open-minded attorney, Randolph Meade Walker is another deep thinker, and Rufus Washington is a grassroots leader with a lot of street cred. At least that's how I parsed this list.

Keep in mind that the people outside Memphis had to be appointed by the county mayor because the council can only appoint Memphians, and the number of non-Memphians in the end roughly approximates their population percentage.

All of this looks like a delicate balance to allow all points of view to be heard and to assure people outside Memphis that this is not a charade. It looks like it accomplishes that.

Steve Steffens said...

SCC, I appreciate the comment, and I understand they want skeptical folks to buy off on this, but in the process you don't want the PRO-consolidation people to get skeptical, either.

We need REAL change with this move, and not just something to soothe everyone. We need a large Metro Council with small districts and some at-large, we need tax equity for the city of Memphis, and we need single-source funding for the schools.

Anything less is just a waste of time and pointless. I don't see these folks as willing to go as far as necessary to effect the changes that have to occur if we are going to move forward.

Kerry said...

I'm curious as to why you think that the current Mayor Pro Tem's nominees will necessarily be any better or different than Mayor Wharton's.

In any event, electing anybody other than Mayor Wharton to be the next City Mayor would make any further conversation around metro government a pointless waste of time. A C is the ONLY one with the credibility, likability, and political skills to make the necessary headway on the issue outside the city limits.

autoegocrat said...

I was actually pleased to see Billy Orgel's name, because out of the whole list, he's the only one I recognized as a supporter of IRV.

I'd like some kind of assurance that consolidation won't undo the Charter amendments we just passed.

callmeishmael said...

Maybe the Cracker will run in 2011 after Lowery leaves the office? Mayor Cracker: as Mr. Spock might say, "fascinating."

Steve Steffens said...

Didn't know that about Orgel, auto, we need to talk more about this.

callmeishmael, I told you not to let the cat out of the bag!


callmeishmael said...

Cracker: meow.:)