Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Mr. Carroll, take the bridge.....

Cause I'm gettin' the hell out of Dodge for a few days.  The beloved Lauren and I are headed to Philly for the Phils and Braves tomorrow night, then up to Bethlehem for Celtic Classic, the biggest and baddest Celtic festival and Highland Games on this side of the Atlantic
Oh, and did I mention we're having lunch at the Reading Terminal Market tomorrow? BWAHAHAHAHA!  Sorry, shouldn't rub it in like that......

The lawyer is holding down the fort here to watch over the puppies, so, while I'm gone, I am not asking, I'm TELLING you, GO VOTE EARLY!!!  You have until 7 PM Saturday to do so, so do it!
One last thing before I head out of town...

Go stAte!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Shut Up

Bob has an interesting point over at 55-40 has a good post about Networx and Herman Morris. I agre with what he says but especially at the end when he talks about Herman's business sense. Most people have used his experience in business as a reason to vote for him.

With all due respect, shut the hell up. I am sick and tired of good Democrats voting for DINO's and Republicans because they have good business sense. Guess what, they maybe able to run a business successfully, but that doesn't mean you can a government. Give me a better reason for voting for Herman than he can run a successful business. So can William Clay Ford, but the Lions stink so success in one doesn't translate.

My sister is a good Democrat who lives in Jacksonville. When I talk to her about her mayor, she doesn't say much about him as a mayor, she talks about his background as an executive of Gate Petroleum. John Peyton is only the second Republican in 100 years to win election to mayor. He won reelection overwhelmingly. He won initially because of a lot of cross over votes.

You see this in a lot of medium to large cities especially in the South. Why? A disbursed population with a severe lack of a professional bureaucracy. This causes the population to turn to the business communities for mayors and other high end posts. Hey guess what, you hire people from industry, you end up with graft and corruption, witness the Bush administration.

I am not saying that all business leaders make bad, corrupt political leaders. What I am saying is that we as Democrats have few high end business leaders that can be called true or near progressives. When we see them we fall all over ourselves wanting to appoint them or elect them to higher and higher positions, ignoring flaws and placing faith where it might not belong.

Just remember, success in one doesn't mean success in others. Ask yourselves and others why this successful business person should get your vote, will he or she be a good political leader, can this person build consensus among different factions, is this candidate one who likes to go it alone, can they say no to their former contemporaries, what have they done to improve the public good not related to their job? These are some, what else can you ask? Remember, be skeptical of all politicans.

JC out

OK, here are people I want to win but can't vote for

Just a quick run through the other Council races - -

District 1 - Bill Morrison - He understands the District, and is endorsed by outgoing Councilor EC Jones.  I know him and trust him to do the right thing, he is not a fan of developers, either.

District 2 - Brian Stephens - I have been kind of rough on Brian Stephens, as the idea of being on the same side as Paul Stanley makes me REAL nervous.  However, many of my buds (including someone I endorsed) said that, if you HAVE to have a Republican, Stephens is the one to have, as he is extremely civic-minded and has been involved in community affairs.  (KH, I KNOW it's non-partisan).  OK, go with Brian Stephens, as some of my Democratic friends apparently already have.

District 3 - Coleman Thompson - I have worked closely with this man for more years than I can count, and I KNOW he will be the best person to represent Whitehaven and Hickory Hill.  He is the founder and operator of Pyramid Recovery Services, and understands the needs of this area, please vote for Coleman Thompson.

District 4 - Wanda Halbert - If the School Board Commissioner doesn't win this, there will have to be an investigation.  Just as she was on the side of parents on the School Board, she will be on the side of taxpayers on the City Council.

District 6 - Clifford Lewis may be considered a longshot, but he is a tireless worker for his community, and he would be the best representative for Westwood, Coro Lake and parts of South Memphis.

District 7 - Your choice.

Super 8, Position 1 - Ian Randolph would be an improvement over Joe (NOT THE TV JUDGE) Brown if he just sat there and never opened his mouth.  Luckily, he is an exceedingly bright fellow and would be a solid representative for this super district position.  Besides, Thaddeus thinks he's a sellout, so I have to support Ian Randolph.

Super 8, Position 2 - Oh hell, why bother?  Look, Janis Fullilove is going to WALK AWAY with this race, as she busts her ass every time she runs, and nearly caught Thomas Long with his pants down four years ago, coming within a hair of ousting him from his City Court Clerk job.  She has been a part of our lives for over thirty years with her work at WHBQ, WDIA (twice at least), WMC-AM and WLOK, and the average voter in this super district TRUSTS her.  Henry Hooper is a nice guy (despite the IRS problems), but he hasn't a prayer in hell, so who am I to argue.  Go Janis.

Super 8, District 3 - I don't know who Toni Strong is, and I don't care.  Two of my friends are in this race, one who I want to see elected to SOMETHING some day (Del Gill) and someone who I actually wish had run for Mayor (Myron Lowery).  Myron is a hard worker on the Council and the Charter Commission, and, had he run for Mayor, would have been able to to pull votes from EVERY section of this city, and would have BEATEN the incumbent, IMO.

Del says he is running to keep Myron honest, and that's OK, but, Myron is going to beat him, as he should.  However, I am going to speak up for this man who infuriates many, but frankly, most of the time, he's RIGHT.  We all pick on him and shudder, but I have worked with him on conventions, and he is one of the smartest human beings I have ever met.  Some day, Del, some day; just not this year.

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.


Three Enter, Only One Survives

Yes, it's me your favorite MemphisBlue. After setting up my own site, I realized the same thing I did in the past, me no have time. I have a son, a wife, and a full time plus job so I'm booking it from 7 AM to 11 PM every day. Therefore I asked my godfather if he minded if I occasionally posted to him, he said yes, so here we go.

Someone said something about an election coming up? Uhh, yes, Beavis there is one in two, count 'em, two weeks. Who will win, who should win, why, etc.

Council 1

Bill Morrison will, Antonio Parkinson should despite the middle name. Bill wins simply because he can.

Council 2

I don't know, I like Ivon Faulkner, but Scott Pearce's dad is nuts, so maybe he can pull it out. But my lithium pills say a runoff between Ivon and Brian Stephens

Coucil 3

This district borders mine, so I have Ike Griffith's headquarters two blocks from my house. That being said, I am going to pull a David Holt and predict a runoff between oh, lets says Coleman Thompson and Davida Cruthard.

Council 4

Lets se, two candidates, one is Wanda Halbert, okay this one is done. GO WANDA!!!!

Council 5

I like Jim Strickland, despite what I have said about him in the past. I still think he is a little lacking in the charisma department, but he would have won this seat four years ago if not for Carol Chumney, and it could be argued was screwed out of this seat then by her. As a result he has been raising money and pushing hard to win. Bob, well, Bob is Bob. Strickland can, should, and will win.

Council 6

My district, too many candidates are serious contenders to pick a winner in the first go around. Cliff Lewis has the Cracker support, Holt and MSDIA pick Reginald Milton, James Catchings has too many words on his signs, and the gorilla of Edmund Ford, Jr. is there. Milton probably should, I like Cliff, but lets say runoff between Milton and Ford.

Council 7

I like someone by the name of Poindexter being in the race just for giggles, but David's third cousin's sister's boyfriend's daughter's college roommate (what does that make them, nothing!) Barbara will win, just so she can go for an Erica Kane like name on the ballot next time

Council 8-1

I know him, I like him, he drives a hybrid, he is my mother-in-law's financial adviser, Ian Randolph can and will.

Council 8-2

Janice Fullilove in a walk.

Council 8-3

My personal animosity towards Del Gill aside, I wish Myron would run for Mayor. Myron with the third highest number of votes in the city behind two of the mayoral candidates. Sidenote: Del, I am voting for you.

Council 9-1

Scott Hale will win, no doubt about it.

Council 9-2

Damn you Richard Fields!!!! Shea will be helped by the fact that people might think it's his dad running, but not enough to take out Kemp Conrad, Kemp by 10. I like Shea and think and hope that I am wrong. Unlike the next race, I don't think a one on one runoff would have helped Shea unless 9-3 was up for grabs as well and then he would in a walk. He and Desi should do more campaigning together.

Council 9-3

Damn you again, Richard Fields!!!!!! He doesn't win that lawsuit in 1991, we probably never have Willie as mayor, and Desi would win in a runoff over Hedgepath. I just see Lester, Mary, and Boris siphoning off too many Mid-Town votes for her to win straight up. Desi should, but Reid will. Jack Sammons' appointed successor and the worst campaigner out there triumphs in the last council seat.


Come on, be serious, Thomas Long by 35 points.


Ah yes, the big enchilada, el grade burrito, the race. Uhhhhhmmmm, tacos supreme, uh back to the point of this all. The breakdown.

Herman is well qualified, some could argue the most qualified, the problem is that he has no charisma, and can not inspire me to want to vote for him. I know the paper and MSDIA endorsed him as did Leo Gray, but come on, he ain't beating WW Herenton.

Carol is a friend of the family. I like her. I can honestly say she looks like she has mellowed a little and has let go a little of the rigid control she has. That said, she is the Memphis Hillary Clinton, she is polarizing, you either like her or hate her. She got her dream for this race when only Herman Morris stepped in as a viable candidate. That said, Herman is going to siphon off a lot of votes she could have gotten.

Herenton, time to go. He is in this strictly as an ego stroke. He had a decent legacy, or would have if he had not decided to run again. He has not had support higher than 35 percent since the 99 preelection. He hasn't campaigned at all hardly, there are a few, but not a lot of Herenton signs in the Whitehaven area where I live in Graceland Subdivision.

Carol should win. Despite her polarizing nature, despite the fact she has been running for this seat since she lost the primary to AC for County Mayor, despite the rumors that she has had a hard time raising money at times, I feel she is the best candidate and will do a good job until she is defeated in four years.

However, that said, I can't shake my gut feeling, that Herenton will still win. He already has 32 percent of the vote. Chumney has around 33, and Morris around 30. Forget polls, these are pretty close to what the break down will be in the end unless things break hugely for Carol. That leaves around 5 or so percent of the vote to be grabbed. Most of that will go to Willingham. Carol has to basically stay ahead of Willie and not lose votes to Morris. She can win Morris voters at the debates, she isn't winning over Herenton voters.

Not getting endorsements except probably the Flyer will kill her. The Morris people think they can win with the endorsements. There more of them at midday at Cooper-Young this past weekend then there were Carol supporters. This doesn't bode well.

Carold should, Herenton will, therefore we all lose.

Out, I promise, this will be the last super long post.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Steve Cohen gets it right, as usual

Hat tip to ACK

A couple of blog-related things here...

First, how do you like the redesign? I was able to save THE ENDLESS BLOGROLL, so there's nothing missing that I know of.....

Oh, and one other thing; there will soon be a SECOND blogger here at the Cracker, you'll just have to wait to see who it is. Here's a hint; I've linked to him before.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Willie Herenton KNOWS he's getting his ass whipped. BY A GIRL!

So, the incumbent wants to stop early voting because of "irregularities".

I call bullshit.  The Mayor of the City of Memphis knows he's about to receive a country ass-whipping, from A GIRL, no less, so he's going to try and make it look like the election was rigged.  I hope Myra Stiles and James Johnson tell him to go piss up a rope sideways.

Mayor, accept your defeat like the man you claim you are.  No one is stealing this election from you, we want you gone, and in that regard, sir, you have brought together every sector of the city.  Go back to Banneker Estates and enjoy your two retirement packages.

You keep this up, you may even finish third, behind Herman.

A few thoughts..

First, yes, I know my template is screwed up, I will work on that tonight.

Second, I was having a discussion with a friend last night when he asked a very pertinent question: Is Herman Morris destined to be Memphis' Ralph Nader?  Without people voting for Nader, we might never have had Bush II and all the horrors he has wrought.

Will Morris serve the same function, siphoning off enough votes from Chumney to ensure another term of the incumbent?  One has to wonder, especially with the Commercial Appeal not having run another poll, unless they HAVE and just have not released it in order to protect their endorsee, Morris.

Yes, the Morrisites will whine and say I'm denying the manifest destiny of their candidate, but that's delusional at best.  At worst, they deny the real truth of this campaign: that only two people have the ability and the support to win this election, and that neither of them are named Herman Morris.

Look, I like Herman, and if he won, well, I would be disappointed but not angry.  However, when NO poll has shown him above third place (including his own, I hear) his presence in the race only serves to ensure another four years for the incumbent, which nobody wants, except for the AFSCME, inexplicably.

And what the hell is up with THAT, by the way???  No city union has taken it in the shorts more than AFSCME, and they endorse him for re-election?  Is this a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome, or what?  There is NO good reason for this, and I almost have to wonder how it occurred.

I will keep repeating this until you figure it out: a vote for anyone other than Carol Chumney is a vote for the incumbent, because that's the effect it will have, and you don't want that on your conscience, DO YOU?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Here's the first Chumney ad.....


Memphis, TN—Today, Councilwoman Carol Chumney, candidate for Memphis Mayor, unveiled a television ad for her Mayoral campaign.

The ad, entitled, “Fed Up”, was produced by Chumney’s media consultant Josh Isay, of Squier, Knapp and Dunn, which is an issues communication firm in New York.

The ad will begin airing on network television this Monday, and will run through September 23rd.

Beginning Monday, the Chumney campaign will have television spots on the air for the rest of the campaign.

Chumney for Mayor Campaign Manager Charles Blumenthal said, “this significant presence on TV will get Carol’s message of change and cleaning up Memphis to the voters.”

The ad depicts Carol speaking about why she is running for Mayor, her record of public service and her pledge to make Memphis safer for families.

In the ad, Chumney says, “Are you fed up with crime and corruption in Memphis, well I am. I’m Carol Chumney and I’m running for mayor to clean up our city. In the legislature I cracked down on gang violence and dangerous daycare centers because every child deserves to be secure. As Mayor I will make our neighborhoods safer by putting more police on the beat and getting our kids off the street. I love this city and I know that together we can make Memphis great again.”


Mayor Herenton is a happier man right now

Why, you ask?  Because the Commercial Appeal did exactly what everyone expected, and endorsed Herman Morris for Mayor, proving the Mayor's point that the white business establishment wants someone nice and polite that they can control. 

I am willing to bet that as you are reading this, the Mayor's campaign staff is eagerly distributing copies of the endorsement to every African-American neighborhood in the city.  Hell, by the time they're done, John Willingham will pull more African-American votes than Herman Morris, given the distinct lack of popularity of the CA in that community.  the humorously ironic part of this is that I can just imagine Chris Peck, Otis Sanford and Wendi Thomas congratulating themselves on their marvelous choice.

Interestingly enough, the Stonewall Democrats and the Tennessee Equality Project both endorsed Morris, despite the fact that one of Morris' biggest supporters is that noted lover of gay rights, Leo "LaSimba" Gray.  Oh well, maybe they can all have a group hug on Herman's behalf.

Whither Chumney in all of this?  Glad you asked.  Given that they can't keep signs in the HQ because each order is gone within minutes and that most folks have figured out that the only real chance to have a new Mayor is to support Carol, she is rocking hard.

What do you think all those folks in East Memphis who have been trying to decide whether to support their old friend Willingham or go for Carol will think when their hated enemy, the CA comes out for Morris?  I'll bet the Chumney sign machine will explode from overwork, that's what.

Carol Chumney has a coalition of working people, middle-class people,retired people, all of whom have been hurt by the increase in crime and the devaluation of their property due to that crime, which has led to MIDDLE-CLASS flight from Memphis (it's black folks who are leaving in droves, now, people) and they know that this may be their last chance to turn things around.

Mayor Herenton neither has the energy nor the desire to turn things around, it's all become a pissing contest for him, and he knows Morris can't win; that's why he loves the CA endorsement.  All he has to do is say "Look at those white folks and the black folks who want to be white folks, look who they want to win, the guy I fired.  Can you believe that?" 

It also means he will continue to try and ignore Chumney, who is the only viable candidate with a real plan for change.  We can't let that happen, not if we want to see this city in which we have all invested pieces of our lives grow and change for the better.

Early voting begins today at the locations noted here; go, and take friends with you.  Carol needs your vote, your help, your money, whatever you can provide to ensure her victory for ALL Memphians on October 4.

I don't want to imagine the alternative.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Hat tip to John Aravosis at AmericaBlog

The end of an era

The year I moved with my parents to Memphis, 1972 (moved here on the day of the Watergate break-in, I did), a young man with a prominent name began his political career.

His name was Bob Clement, and my late mother, who had fond memories of his father, former governor Frank G. Clement, was excited about his candidacy for the Public Service Commission, which he would win.  Thus started the idea that he would lead this state as his father had.

While I did put up signs for the late Senator Jim White (D-30) in 1976, my political work essentially began at a Clement for Governor rally in 1978, where I would meet my friends Joyce Akehurst (Quintrell) and her brother Tom.  Also, at that rally, after complaining that we needed to oust the Republican state representative in Whitehaven, a fellow by the name of Dwayne Thompson tapped me on the shoulder and advised that he was running, and, two days later, I was knocking on doors in my precinct.  Although Dwayne lost the primary, he would introduce me to other like-minded souls, like my Godfather.  As such, Bob Clement provided a watershed moment for me politically.

I would support Clement through his primary loss to Jake Butcher (I STILL think Bob would have beaten Lamar Alexander that year, and maybe stopped him for good), and get on board in 1982 when he announced for the 7th District seat being vacated by Robin Beard.  However, when his campaign manager decided to file suit to force a special election to fill the vacated Memphis Mayor's chair, it inadvertently jacked up the turnout in East Memphis (most of the area east of Mendenhall was in the 7th then) and it wound up costing him the election against Don Sundquist.  I also believe had Bob won, he would have ended Sundquist's career then and there, and we wouldn't have had to put up with HIM, either.

After that loss, Bob would go on to become President of Cumberland College, and helped revitalize it.  However, when Bill Boner gave up his 5th District seat in 1988 to run for and become Mayor of Nashville, Clement ran to succeed him, and won.  He was unchallenged until he ran against Lamar Alexander for the US Senate in 2002, and was beaten by LAMAR! rather handily, at which time it was revealed that Mayor Herenton and some of his supporters backed his old friend Alexander.  I have still not forgiven Herenton for that, and I doubt I ever will, but I digress.

Tonight, what was left of the now-62-year-old Clement's career came to an end, as he was defeated by former Metro legal director Karl Dean in the race for Mayor of Nashville.  For me, what's even sadder is that, had I lived and voted in Nashville, I probably would not have voted for Bob Clement; he seemed like nothing more than a relic of the past. 

Given that his career showed so much unfulfilled promise, it just seems like a damn shame that it ends tonight with little more to show for it than a safe, quiet Congressional career and only one statewide victory, 35 years ago.  

What could have been..................

Monday, September 10, 2007

The world according to Americans (or at least the neocons)

From my buddy Charles Drennon..

The Chumney Crime Plan

You've read ABOUT it, now here it is..


Consistency needs to be brought back to the Memphis Police Department. Restructuring and reorganizing of the police department will help give precinct inspectors the resources they need.

Currently, to follow up on a break-in it would be necessary to go down to the local precinct to speak with the officer who responded to the call. In order to speak with the investigator in charge of the case, it would then be necessary to travel downtown, which is where all the investigative bureaus are. This decentralized system makes it difficult to communicate, even within the police department.1

The current shortage of police officers requires that Memphis step up recruitment tactics. We must add signing bonuses to contracts in order to compete with comparable cities. The image of the Memphis Police Department will be supported so that potential recruits see the Memphis Police Department as a career choice. Promotions do not get made when they should, and the promotion process, on average, takes several years. The city should conduct a promotional process every year. These brave men and women need to get the promotions they deserve. After five to seven years in the department, a program should be phased in where take home squad cars will be an option to policemen and women who live in high crime areas. This increases the perceived police presence as citizens can see the squad cars parked outside homes and traveling to and from work. This also allows for better treatment of the squad cars, as they are personally taken care of and is a visual of advancement within the police department.

There are over 100 uniformed police officers that have no patrol rotations. By placing just a small number of these officers in precincts where they are able to respond to calls and patrol the streets, Memphis will be able to expand its police presence. Precinct inspectors need more officers to deploy and patrol their districts. By reincorporating investigators into precincts, inspectors would have authority overlooking cases. This creates better communication within the department and allows the investigators a better understanding of the area where they are working on a case. Training police officers in code enforcement would also give precinct inspectors more power to cut crime in their precincts.

The current education requirement that states a cadet must have 54 semester hours of college credit or 24 months of military experience cannot be compromised. Those who are in charge of keeping the streets safe in our city should have a solid education behind them. The city of Memphis should work towards higher standards in the police department, not fall backwards and eliminate current standards.

Camera phones make it easy for citizens to take a picture of the graffiti and text a message to the police department. A graffiti Internet hotline would allow members of the community to report graffiti via the Internet and attach a picture of the offending artwork. Along with a graffiti hotline, these avenues would open up communications between Memphians and the police department and encourage citizens to easily report such crimes.

Street cameras all over the United States have proven effective. They deter potential criminals because they are aware that although there may not always be a physical police presence, there are police officers watching. This also allows the police department to become proactive instead of reactive, because crime is deterred and police personnel are able to see crimes as they are committed to ensure a faster response time and increase chances of catching the criminals. Gun boxes are able to tell if a noise was a firecracker or a gunshot. Further, sophisticated gun boxes can often tell from what type of gun a shot was fired. Street cameras placed in high crime areas will be an asset to the community.

The 15-point plan developed by law enforcement experts needs the full support of the community. It has proven to be effective, but would show even greater results if all of the programs were implemented. The “hands off” approach will no longer work, and programs such as JustCare 180o, which is a turnaround program for juvenile delinquents, cannot be left waiting to be launched.

While the clearance rate for homicide in Memphis was 81.8% in 2006, clearance rates for misdemeanors were much less impressive. The crime clearance rate in Memphis for aggravated assault was only 58% in 2006, along with 46% for sex crimes. Auto theft and burglary stayed in single digits with clearance rates of 8.2% and 9.73%, respectively. One way to reduce the number of homicides in an area is to increase the clearance rate of domestic violence cases. High clearance rates are reached for homicides because a team of five to six investigators works on each case. For most misdemeanors, one investigator is assigned, and normally each investigator has an overwhelming number of cases. An increase in investigators and bringing the investigators back into the precincts will help increase the clearance rate for misdemeanors.

61% of 9 to 17 year olds use the Internet. The Internet can be a haven for sexual predators and cyber bullies. Cyber crime is a problem and is a serious issue that our children should be made aware of. It is important that children know how to stay safe on the Internet. When these issues do arise, both parents and authorities should be notified. Information on Internet safety should be spread through numerous channels including our schools, our Neighborhood Watch groups, and the Citizen’s Police Academy.

A review of all current neighborhood watch groups will ensure that they have updated material tips and tools for keeping neighborhoods safe. Participation in these groups and creation of new neighborhood watch groups in areas without the organization will be encouraged. This information will be spread through the Citizen’s Police Academy, the DARE educational programs, and public media releases about the status of the neighborhood watch organization. Any fading Neighborhood Watch Signs will be replaced as a sign of revitalization. Neighborhoods and the police department should work hand in hand to send the message that crime in Memphis will not be tolerated.

The Citizen’s Police Academy is a great resource for members of the community who want to learn about the inner working of the police department. Currently, classes in the Citizen’s Police Academy fill-up quickly and have great participation. There is a lack of younger participants in this program and youth should be encouraged to build good relationships with the Memphis PD and gain valuable knowledge in this area.

Problem properties encourage crime in the community. Neighborhood revitalization will not only hope reduce crime, but will encourage positive growth in Memphis.

Community Boards allow members of the community to be actively involved in dealing with land use, zoning matters, and other matters relating to the welfare of the community. These boards will not only report ordinance violations, but also work directly with city officials to make sure proper remedies occur.

One of the biggest barriers to effective neighborhood organizations is the lack of funding. Administrative support of space and resources in community centers and libraries will help them with their goals. Additional support can be provided with training materials and grants.

Problem properties are handed over freely to the city, and this gift aids in speeding up the process of acquiring land to save the time and expense of litigation.

Property taxes freeze or rebate for residential and commercial development in blighted areas would stimulate development. Also, tax abatement for the problem properties that are demolished and replaced with new building by private investment is another tool that can act as a catalyst for growth in Memphis.

It is all too often that funds are approved for various projects and it takes months before these Community Development Corporations see any signs of their approved money. Approved funds should be available to Community Development Corporations within a week to ten days of approval.

The youth of Memphis cannot feel as if crime and gangs are their only alternative. Positive choices and healthy activities must be available to remove the youth of this city from harm’s way.

Studies have proven that crime committed by children under the age of 18 peaks between the hours of 3pm and 9pm and on weekends. Monthly movie nights would provide a healthy alternative to potentially threatening evening activities for school-age children. Numerous community centers are only open until 2 PM on Saturdays. Keeping community centers open later on weekends will give our city’s youth a healthy environment to spend their time in during evening hours.

The addition of Saturday night basketball games, in collaboration with the Police Athletic League, would be a great and positive activity not only for those participating, but also for other members of the community who get to watch the game. Workshops by various groups and organizations would aid as imperative enrichment for youth. Presentations by the local EMS would potentially increase participation and fight the shortage of EMS workers currently faced by the community. Local health workers will also be invited to talk about healthy diets and eating habits. Builders associations will also be invited to work with the youth and teach them about work in their areas, which in turn gets the youth knowledge of more career possibilities. The city of Memphis is known for great music and local musicians will be invited to share with the community their inspirations and talents. Local artists will be invited to display their artwork. These events help encourage creativity in our youth.

It is necessary that all Memphis youth have a positive alternative to crime and negative behavior. The socioeconomic status of a family should not take away from these positive alternatives.

The national unemployment rate for 16 to 19 year olds has continued to rise in recent years. Our city can and will do more under any administration to expand the current summer employment program and give teenagers the opportunity to earn money in a healthy way during summer months.

Service learning increases awareness of community issues along with providing service and leadership activities. This organization would provide great volunteer opportunities for teens. It has potential to be able to direct the youth in a positive direction and provides for a basis for a positive connection between the youth of the city and other citizens.

An expansion of the Memphis after school programs would be an increase in positive opportunities for the youth of Memphis. After school programs provide valuable time with these children, it should be used to enrich them. The Youth Development Collaborative survey found that only 19% of children read for pleasure. Included in these “enrichment programs” would be various reading groups, book clubs, and arts and crafts activities, to encourage creativity. A tutoring program, which supports the current homework time we have set aside in current after school programs, would help stop students from falling behind. Various sports activities, to help combat childhood obesity and encourage healthy behavior, are also central in enriching after school activities.

The creation of a Monthly Movie Night that is open to all students, not just those in the after school program, a healthy alternative to potentially threatening nighttime activities.

A survey put out by the Youth Development Collaborative shows that only 29% of Memphis and Shelby County seventh and eighth graders seek to resolve conflict peacefully. Nonviolent conflict resolution seminars and discussions must be held in schools to teach and encourage this sort of behavior.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

See Ya! I'm going to CelticFest

While my attorney and the dogs hold down the fort, I, along with some of THE USUAL SUSPECTS, are headed to Jackson, MS for CelticFest Mississippi at the Jim Buck Ross Ag Museum!
Great music, four of the five stages are INDOORS, so one won't wilt in the 90 degree weather (it's not that bad) and I urge you to think about coming down.
See you Monday, and go to Shea Flinn's HQ opening Saturday!


Shea Flinn
(Next door to Tobacco Corner, Ltd.)

MPA Endorses Chumney

I was informed moments ago that Carol Chumney has won the endorsement of the Memphis Police Association, to add to her growing list of labor and other endorsements.
The groundswell continues as the quest for REAL CHANGE in the city points toward a Chumney victory in October!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Cracker's Endorsements, Part 1

Know in the beginning that may have different endorsements, but I have a vote, and these people are who I support in those selections and in the City Elections.

Mayor - Carol Chumney

Yeah, I know,
gee, what a shock. Folks, there are only two people who have a chance to be elected Mayor of Memphis on October 4, and neither of them are named Herman Morris or John Willingham. If you vote for either of the these nice but unelectable fellows, you might as well vote for the incumbent.

Carol's not perfect, I wish she would provide more specifics, but I have no doubt she is the best candidate to rebuild the areas of the city that the Mayor has ignored over the last sixteen years. She understands that there are areas and neighborhoods in this city outside downtown, the Poplar corridor, and Cordova. She is owned by no one, and is responsible only to the citizens of the city, all of them.

It's your choice; if you're happy with the way the city is going, vote to re-elect the incumbent. However, if you don't have a city contract or an appointed position, I know that you have one option for real change: Carol Chumney.

City Council - District 5 - Jim Strickland

Had Carol Chumney not made a last-minute decision to leave the State House and run for District 5 in 2003, Jim Strickland might well be running for his second term. As it is, he faces a tough race with good candidates like BOB Schreiber and Denise Parkinson, and I urge you to support him if you live in this district. He has a keen grasp of the issues in District 5, and I believe that he is absolutely the one candidate who can be a bridge to any and all factions that may exist on the new Council, which will have at least seven new members. I like Schreiber, and he's working hard, but Jim Strickland's time is now, and I am asking you to support him.

City Council Super District 9, Position 1 - No Endorsement

I don't know Cecil Hale all that well, and frankly, I'm not that impressed with Scott McCormack, so proceed at your own risk here.

City Council Super District 9, Position 2 - Shea Flinn

If I hadn't already known Shea Flinn and supported him in his earlier run for the State House, I would have been for him due to his excellent work as the interim State Senator in District 30. The broadcasting executive may get his business acumen from his father, Republican County Commissioner George Flinn, he is quick to remind us that he is politically more like his mom, a hardcore Democrat. He will watch over our tax dollars while providing creative solutions to the problems that face Memphis.

He faces former GOP Chair (and endorsee) Kemp Conrad, Joe "The Memphis Watchdog" Saino, 23-year-old Princeton grad Frank Langston, Joseph L. Baier, Jr. and James Christopher Lochbihler. While Saino would be a bulldog, I do not believe he would be able to make the positive contributions that Flinn will, and I ask that you support him.

City Council Super District 9, Position 3 - Desi Franklin

It is difficult to explain just how much effect Desi Franklin has had in such a short period of time. Since 2004 , she has: A) been one of the leaders of Women for Kerry, then B) helped turn that into Mid-South Democrats in Action, which C) out-organized all other local Democratic groups at the 2005 and 2007 Democratic Conventions to take virtual control of the party away from the remnants of former Ford supporters and the cadres of Sidney Chism to re-direct the SCDP. Whether you agree with the direction of the party or not, you have to admit she has the guts and the determination to do what she believes is right. Other than Chumney, Myron Lowery and Barbara Swearingen Holt Ware Pierce Fenner & Smith (OK, I made the last three up), this has been in short supply on the Council. I support her fully, and ask you to do the same.

Look, I know there are other good people in this race; if Desi weren't here, there would be a Lester Lit sign in my yard. Mary Wilder did a solid job as the interim State Rep in District 89, and has been a neighborhood activist of long-standing. I served with Boris Combest on the ExecCom, and he would be a good choice, too.

However, she's also facing Jack Sammons (and by default, the DEVELOPERS)' hand-picked choice in Reid Hedgepeth. Do any of you know who he is? I sure as hell don't, but I know he has $ as a result of being the choice of the developers.

Desi has the toughness and the dedication to bring great representation on the Council, and I urge your support for her.

City Court Clerk - Thomas Long
Thomas is an underrated public servant, as he has done more to help people regain their drivers' licenses than any of his predecessors. Given that Memphis has the shittiest public transportation of any city of its size on Earth, and that social workers will sometimes tell their clients that it's better to have a car than a home here, because at least you can sleep in your car and drive to your job, it is CRITICAL that people in trouble of losing their license have an opportunity to keep them.

Thomas is a terrific manager and leader, and deserves retention.

For the rest of the races, wait until Thursday


Jesse Wendel at the Group News Blog reminded us of this classic Gilly post today, and I repost it here because it is the spirit that I would hope we would all emulate. Gilly, you are deeply missed.

I'm a fighting liberal

You know, I've studied history, I've read about America and you know something, if it weren't for liberals, we'd be living in a dark, evil country, far worse than anything Bush could conjure up. A world where children were told to piss on the side of the road because they weren't fit to pee in a white outhouse, where women had to get back alley abortions and where rape was a joke, unless the alleged criminal was black, whereupon he was hung from a tree and castrated.

What has conservatism given America? A stable social order? A peaceful homelife? Respect for law and order? No. Hell, no. It hasn't given us anything we didn't have and it wants to take away our freedoms.

The Founding Fathers, as flawed as they were, slaveowners and pornographers, smugglers and terrorists, understood one thing, a man's path to God needed no help from the state. Is the religion of these conservatives so fragile that they need the state to prop it up, to tell us how to pray and think? Is that what they stand for? Is that their America?

Conservatism plays on fear and thrives on lies and dishonesty. I grew up with honest, decent conservatives and those people have been replaced by the party of greed. It is one thing to want less government interference and smaller, fiscally responsible government. It is another thing entirely to be a corporate whore, selling out to the highest bidder because the CEO fattens your campaign chest. They are building an America which cannot be sustained. One based on the benefit of the few at the cost of the many. The indifferent boss who hires too few people and works them to death or until they break down sick. Cheap labor capitalism has replaced common sense. "Globalism" which is really guise for exploitation, replaced fair trade, which is nothing like fair for the trapped semi-slaves of the maquliadoras. In the Texas border towns, hundreds of these women have been used as sex slaves and then apparently killed,the FBI powerless to do anything as the criminals sit in Mexico untouched by law.

For the better part of a decade, the conservatives made liberal a dirty word. Well, it isn't. It represents the best and most noble nature of what America stands for: equitable government services, old age pensions, health care, education, fair trials and humane imprisonment. It is the heart and soul of what made American different and better than other countries. Not only an escape from oppression, but the opportunity to thrive in land free of tradition and the repression that can bring. We offered a democracy which didn't enshrine the rich and made them feel they had an obligation to their workers.

Bush and the people around him disdain that. They think, by accident of birth and circumstance, they were meant to rule the world and those who did not agree would suffer.

Liberal does not and has not meant weak until the conservatives said it did. Was Martin Luther King weak? Bobby Kennedy? Gene McCarthy? It was the liberals who remade this country and ended legal segregation and legal sexism. Not the conservatives, who wanted to hold on to the old ways.

It's time to regain the sprit of FDR and Truman and the people around them. People who believed in the public good over private gain. It is time to stop apologizing for being a liberal and be proud to fight for your beliefs. No more shying away or being defined by other people. Liberals believe in a strong defense and punishment for crime. But not preemption and pointless jail sentences. We believe no American should be turned away from a hospital because they are too poor or lack a proper legal defense. We believe that people should make enough from one job to live on, to spend time on raising their family. We believe that individuals and not the state should dictate who gets married and why. The best way to defend marriage is to expand, not restrict it.

It was the liberals who opposed the Nazis while the conservatives were plotting to get their brown shirts or fund Hitler. It was the liberals who warned about Spain and fought there, who joined the RAF to fight the Germans, who brought democracy to Germany and Japan. Let us not forget it was the conservatives who opposed defending America until the Germans sank our ships. They would have done nothing as Britain came under Nazi control. It was they who supported Joe McCarthy and his baseless, drink fueled claims.

Without liberals, there would be no modern America, just a Nazi sattlelite state. Liberals weak on defense? Liberals created America's defense. The conservatives only need vets at election time.

It is time to stop looking for an accomodation with the right. They want none for us. They want to win, at any price. So, you have a choice: be a fighting liberal or sit quietly. I know what I am, what are you?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Giant Bear at the Hi-Tone this weekend.

Image proudly stolen from Rachelandthecity, whom I'd also like to thank publicly for her posts promoting the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival.  These folks played my stage this weekend and they are terrific.  If I were going to be in town, I would go see them, and I think you should if you can.

Monday, September 03, 2007

RIP Air America Memphis.

I don't blame Jerry Dean or Entercom, it wasn't pulling the numbers, in fact the only ratings they were getting were for the Cardinals.  Now, they're Fox Sports Radio, with the Cardinals and UTK athletics.

I will have a MMHF post for later, and THANK YOU to Paul Ryburn for your great posts.  It's 3:30 A.M., and the only people up are me and Jerry Lewis, so I am going to bed.