Monday, April 12, 2010

Cracker's Picks to Click

No, I'm not calling a Sox game with Hawk and Stoney, but I thought it an appropriate title to list the people for whom I intend to vote in the County Democratic Primary.

COUNTY MAYOR - Deidre Malone

Gee, what a shocker, eh? I made this decision before ANY of the other candidates on either side entered the race, and it remains the best possible decision.  She is a successful business owner, a veteran of media, and has a record of accomplishment since coming to the County Commission in 2002.  Deidre has chaired the Budget Committee and the Commission itself, and understands the budgetary process for the entire County better than any of the other candidates.

I do not begrudge appointed Mayor Joe Ford his right to run, and will take at face value his comment that he changed his mind after succeeding AC Wharton.  I just don't think that he is the right person for the job, and frankly, if he won the primary, he would guarantee that Sheriff Mark Luttrell would win the general election in August with a coalition of Republicans and disgruntled Democrats.  He's a nice man who has had a decent career on the City Council and County Commission, but I don't believe he deserves a full term on his own.

As for Otis Jackson, I'm not even sure I like the idea of him serving as General Sessions Court Clerk; if he somehow won the Democratic Primary, I would have to write in someone else.

If you're still not sure, please go to Speak To Power's 10 Questions with the candidates, so you can read the questions asked by Steve Ross and see each candidate's responses.


Again, a no-brainer.  Mulroy has done a good job representing this Southeast Shelby district, and has been an activist on the Commission for good causes.  He got the Living Wage ordinance through the Commission, and is endorsed by the Tennessee Equality Project for his work to pass a non-discrimination ordinance.  He is opposed in the primary by Jennings Bernard.

(NOTE: I will address other races after these, sit tight, and keep reading!)

TRUSTEE - Regina Morrison Newman

She was appointed to fill the seat of the late Paul Mattila on September 28, and has hit the ground running.  She has served in the past as the Assistant Treasurer of the City of Memphis, and worked in the State Department of Revenue under Governor McWherter.  She understands the role of the Trustee in handling the County's money and property, and is clearly the best candidate.  Full disclosure, I have known her and worked with her for Democratic candidates for more years than we are willing to admit.

She is opposed by LaTroy Williams, who ran as an Independent for the office last time.

SHERIFF - Randy Wade

The heart of the matter is that Randy Wade has served this community for years.  He retired from the Sheriff's Department after 25 years, and then has served ably as District Director for Congressman Steve Cohen.  Randy understands the role of the Sheriff, and works well with all in the community.  He will do a superb job as Sheriff.

Bennie Cobb, for whom I would vote were Randy not in the race, is a solid candidate, I just believe Randy is the best choice.  Others in the Democratic race are Larry Hill and the losing candidate in 2006, Reginald French.


The three candidates are Ricky Dixon (yes, it's Roscoe's brother, but that's all I really know), Carmichael Johnson (husband of Assessor Cheyenne Johnson) and Steven Webster, whose website reveals that he has a public service record, but I'm not sure what any of it has to do with handling court papers.

This is kind of a problem I have with a lot of our candidates, because what does your candidacy have to do with the job that you seek.  If it were up to me, all the court clerkships would be appointed by the judges of that circuit, like Chancery appoints its Clerk and Master.

So, guys, tell me why you should be the Clerk and why you'll do a better job than Jimmy Moore, whom I still won't vote for.


Minerva has a record of public service going back to the 1970s, and what's more, SHE HAS ACTUALLY DONE THE JOB AND DONE IT WELL!.  I think the world of Rev. Ralph White, but Minerva is clearly the superior candidate.  As for Vernon Johnson, who nearly won this race four years ago, the judges of the Criminal Court won't even allow him the privilege of writing bonds in their courts any more due to what they call a "terrible history".

Minerva by a mile.


I believe in redemption, and I believe Shep Wilbun learned from his first stint as Juvenile Court Clerk, which ended with his loss to Steve Stamson in 2006.  I believe he has a deeper understanding of the system, what went wrong then and what will work well if he is elected.  Shep was an outstanding member of the Election Commission, which he resigned to seek this office.  Shep is opposed by Sylvester Bradley, Jr, and Charles Marshall


Danny has been a close friend of mine for over 25 years, and I can't imagine supporting anyone else.  He has been a tireless worker on the campaign trail doing probate workshops for all sectors of the community.  Danny has worked with the IBEW and in the Personnel Department for Shelby County during his professional career, and NO ONE will outwork him.  He has a record of service to the entire community, and has close relationships with labor, the Latino community and the African-American community.

Also in the race is Sondra Becton, who has run for this office on several occasions, Annita Sawyer-Hamilton, Clay Perry and Karen Tyler.


I am still undecided among wrestling promoter Corey Maclin, who has been running longer than anyone, La'Keith Miller, Charlotte Draper (UPDATE 4/16 - that's all, the listing of Joe Young was an error, he ran last time, not this time).  I will go back to each of the websites and study more, but I'm just not feeling it on this race right now.

REGISTER - Coleman Thompson

Coleman is again seeking the office that he lost to Tom Leatherwood in 2006.  The head of Pyramid Recovery Center, he has been involved in Democratic politics for many years; we served as co-managers for Carol Chumney's 2002 County Mayor race, and served together on the SCDP Executive Committee.  He is opposed by Lady J, Swift and Carlton Orange, who is a formidable opponent, one that I would support if Thompson were not running.

And now, to races in which I cannot vote:

COUNTY COMMISSION, District 1, Position 1 - Mike Carpenter

HEY! Wait a minute, he's a REPUBLICAN!  Well, yes he is, but there are no Democrats in his race, only he and Joe Baier, and we're not sure who's backing Baier.  Look, Carpenter works every well with Democratic commissioners, and I know that I can always contact him if I need another viewpoint on a county issue.  Mike's a good guy, I hope the Goopers don't get on him about a voice of support from the Cracker.

COUNTY COMMISSION, District 2, Position 3 - Norma Lester or Reginald Milton

It's rare enough to find ONE good candidate, but TWO????  I jumped on board Norma Lester's campaign early in 2009 when I found out she was running for the seat being vacated by Deidre Malone. I had worked with her for years on the SCDP Executive Committee, and knew her to be knowledgeable on the issues as well as a tireless worker.

Imagine my shock, then, to learn later that Reginald Milton was also running for that position.  He too is a tireless worker for the community and deeply understands public service.  He founded the South Memphis Alliance to give low-income women and their children a chance to have better lives.

There are others running, such as Melvin Burgess, but Norma and Reginald are head and shoulders above the rest.  The truly sad thing is that we need BOTH of them on the Commission.

COUNTY COMMISSION, District 3, Position 1 - James Harvey

COUNTY COMMISSION, District 3, Position 3 - Edith Moore

Hey, you forgot the race between Sidney Chism and Rome Withers!  Um, I'm not getting in the middle of that one, you're on your own there, folks!

As always, these are NOT for wagering purposes, these are for your consideration.

Remember, Early Voting starts Wednesday and goes through April 29.  The election itself is May 4.


Anonymous said...

I don't know whom to vote for in CC 2-3. Help me out.

Steve said...

Why aren't any Democrats running for any of the three District 1 County Commission positions?

Anonymous said...

Good enough question: might as well get some Democrats to acquire free/cheap name recognition in a District that might be Mulroyed in a few years.

After all, the mighty Steve Cohen lost his first time out and lost two more times (all times when I was living elsewhere) before gaining his current exalted office.

Here's District 1:

I hate Bluenose Mike Ritz got a free ride, but then I feel the same about Walter the KKK accuser.

Too late this cycle, but just some person to keep these incumbents busy would be good. As Jim White told me as he put a sign up in my yard, "I don't want anyone to sneak up on me."

Reginald Milton said...

Wintermute, I'm Reginald Milton and hopefully I can gain your support as well as all the many other readers of this fine blog.

I’m a lifelong Memphian and I have a Master in Public Administration from the University of Memphis. As Steve pointed out I’m a Community Organizer, I’ve been doing this work for the past 15 years. My work included fighting refineries that dump toxins in our air and water; an auto parts supplier trying to open a junk yard in the middle of a neighborhood; a company trying to build an incinerator to burn radioactive waste only two mile from a youth center and the list goes on.

Ten years ago I started the nonprofit, South Memphis Alliance (SMA) to provide assistance to low-income mothers and foster youth. We operated out of a leased eight-by-ten foot office for several years. Today, I’m proud to say we own and operate three buildings and this summer will break ground on a 1.2 million dollar resource center that will focus on providing pre and post natal mothers with medical care.
It is important I point out that most of the years I worked for SMA I did so without a salary. I only acknowledge this because this work is my passion, not a job. All too often we elect people into office on promises of what they will do. We need to ask, “What have you done?”

After many years of community work I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience that I believe would be of value in public office. As County Commissioner I would work to build consensus and chart a common goal for the body. It is important to point out that I have the endorsement of nearly every Democratic County Commissioner including my good friend Steve Mulroy.

I have received the endorsement of the IBEW Local Union 474, the Sierra Club, the Memphis Democratic Club, the Shelby County Democratic Club, and nearly a dozen community organizations.

If you would like to see my Platform for Change please feel free to visit my website:

I hope that I have given you a better insight into who I am.

Thank you,
Reginald Milton,
Candidate for County Commission District 2 – Position 3

Anonymous said...

Mr. Milton, it certainly helps to ask, and I am humbled that you would do so.

Ordinarily, I'm not in awe of community activists who live on grants and treat symptoms rather than the disease, often with taxpayer-extracted money rather than voluntary contributions.

Infant mortality? Youth criminality? These things, especially the latter, cannot be conquered until the 2/3 bastardy in this city is addressed, de-incentivized, and re-stigmatized.

I mention this to see how open your mind is, whether you recoil in politicized horror, or whether you are willing to acknowledge pressure needs to be applied at this critical point so that so many of the unsupervised, un-invested-in bastards who grow up to commit serious (i.e., not purely Prohibition-related) crimes that I see all the time at 201 Poplar are not created in the first place.