Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Shelby County Legislators to Hold Community Meeting on December 29 at IBEW

Tennessee State Seal
Shelby County Democratic 
Legislative Caucus

Legislative Plaza | Nashville TN 37243 |  615.741.2134

Contact: Zak Kelley
Shelby County Legislators to Hold Community Meeting
Will focus on increasing citizen engagement
Memphis, TN: The Shelby County Democratic Legislative Caucus announced today that they will hold a Community Information Session on Monday, December 29th 12:00pm at the IBEW building 1870 Madison Avenue.

“This meeting is our attempt to engage people in the legislative process,” said district 86 State Representative Barbara Cooper, chair of the SCDLC. “We have another session starting next month in Nashville. We’ll be working on Medicaid expansion, voting rights and more jobs for our people. Our community needs to be engaged in this process and we’re hopeful this meeting can help us toward that goal.”

The SCDLC is comprised of the Democratic legislators who represent Memphis in the Tennessee General Assembly. They include Sen. Lee Harris, Sen. Sara Kyle & Sen. Reginald Tate, as well as Rep. Barbara Cooper, Rep. Raumesh Akbari, Rep. Karen Camper, Rep. John DeBerry, Rep. G.A. Hardaway, Rep. Larry Miller, Rep. Antonio Parkinson, Rep. Joe Towns & Rep. Johnnie Turner. All are scheduled to be in attendance.

“For us to be effective in Nashville, we need the community rallied behind our goals. This is the first of many meetings and I look forward to seeing our constituents after the holiday,” said Cooper.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Time to show your hand, gentlemen

Well, as we all know now, last week, during the City Council meeting, Mayor Wharton dropped the bomb that he had privately negotiated a settlement to the $57 Million that the City has apparently owed MCS/SCS for maintenance of effort.

As members of the Council, particularly Shea Flinn, had been involved in mediation discussions with SCS that had been under a confidentiality agreement, this did not sit well with the Council at all.  Flinn and Kemp Conrad reminded the Mayor that the Council still had to approve funding for this settlement and indicated that their approval was not likely to occur.

I understand that; they believe that the City has a legitimate counterclaim that would more than offset the $57 million.  However, if I may say so, they have done a poor job of making their case to the public, and this has allowed Wharton, Superintendent Dorsey Hopson and the SCS Board to make them look like pikers who are stealing from the schoolchildren of the County.

When I have asked about this, I am told that this is under a confidentiality agreement and they can't really talk about it.  Gentlemen, it's too late for that now; clearly Hopson and the Board have not held to that agreement in settling directly with the Mayor.  There is now no reason for you to do so either.

In poker terms, Mayor Wharton has just gone all in and he wants to see if you will fade him or fold your cards.  Certainly, you can vote to not fund that settlement.  However, you will be made to look like the "designated a-holes" of the County, as Councilor Flinn put it on Drake & Zeke's WXMX-FM morning show last Wednesday.  You may be happy with that; as someone who believes you may well have a point with your counterclaim, I am not.

It's time to put up or shut up here.  The confidentiality agreement is in tatters and this has gone from a private negotiation to a political matter, and the politics of this situation REQUIRE that you make your case to the citizenry of the City.  This is no longer about business; people are TIRED that this negotiation has drug out for years.  It is time for resolution, and that is why you have to take your case to the public.

Gentlemen, if you refuse to make your case to the public, people are going to come to the conclusion that you really don't have one.  That is not good for any of the parties involved.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Southern Democrats: Down, Not Dead

That's the title of the Viewpoint piece that I wrote for the Flyer this week, which you can find right here.  Thanks to Jackson Baker for allowing me to write this column about where we are and where we need to go from here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Yes, that's a 2015 Memphis Mayor's poll

And, of course, it's unscientific as possible, but it will also be fun!

If you vote for NONE of the Above, please list in comments whom you would support or write in, please!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Vibinc takes it to the next level

Steve Ross presents the first episode of THE STEVE ROSS SHOW at Vibinc.  His first guest is law professor and former County Commissioner Steve Mulroy, go watch it!!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Eleven months to ANOTHER election!

As Jackson Baker and Kyle Veazey have noted,  The 2014 state & Federal elections had not finished, yet the 2015 city elections appeared to be starting, even though the filing deadline is not until next July.

Mayor Wharton sent out an email earlier this week to his supporters that he was in it to win it, but Veazey noted he only had about 115K in his campaign account.  One would think he could raise more quickly, since that would indicate the business community is behind him.  Jim Strickland has been telling anyone who will listen that he is running for re-election to his Council District 5 seat, to which I expect he would have only token opposition.

Funny thing though.  Veazey tweeted a response from Strickland to Wharton's letter, which can be seen here.   Considering that most of the MPD rank and file is furious with him for Strickland's involvement in the reduction of benefits to retirees, this is really interesting.  I have to believe that even if the municipal unions put up a challenger to Jim, he would be VERY difficult to beat in that district.  I also see no reason to disbelieve him when he says he is not challenging Wharton.

About challenging Wharton.....

So far, the names mentioned have included City Councilor Harold Collins (Whitehaven), former County Commissioner James Harvey, former state representative and City Councilor Carol Chumney, and Memphis Police Association head Mike Williams.  I have also heard, just not as often, that Reverend Kenneth Whalum might also get in the race.

If all of them get in, Mayor Wharton will walk away with it.  Remember 1999, 2007, and even 2011, when all of the anti-Administration votes were split among several candidates?  That will happen yet again if all, or as few as TWO others run against the mayor.

If Wharton is in and Strickland is not, the Mayor will have all the money he needs from the business community.  He also has one of the two Democratic (yeah, I know, it's non-partisan, Meh.)  organizations in this town that can produce victories, the other being that of Congressman Steve Cohen.

This is not to say Wharton doesn't have problems of his own.  The working class members of the community (of ALL colors) are not thrilled with his stands against the municipal unions.  To be truthful, in my opinion, if the business community DID bail on the Mayor, his base would suddenly shrink to his Heiskell Farms neighborhood and a few houses in Stonewall.

However, in order to beat him as it stands right now, you need a unified, organized campaign to defeat him behind ONE candidate and one candidate alone.  Who is that candidate?  Right now, we really don't know.

My suggestions is this: a backroom meeting among all of the candidates interested in becoming Mayor.  The question to each of these candidates is this:  Are you committed to running because you want to be Mayor or because you want to beat AC Wharton?  If it's the former,and not the latter, then that is a problem.  If every candidate looked at the others and said you need to get behind me, and they all ran, then Wharton cruises.  If, however, you are all serious about changing the direction at City Hall, who could you support instead of yourself?

Only time will tell about this; like I said, it's a long time to July, but I would hope that this is sorted out before then.  If it's not, then the Mayor CAN relax, not that he will.

In other news, as newly elected State Senator Lee Harris considers vacating his City Council seat, names are popping up to replace him in District 7.  Former interim Councilor Berlin Boyd is out there, Eric Dunn has indicated interest in the seat, and SCDP Parliamentarian Thurston Smith is exploring a candidacy and meeting with potential supporters next week.  That will be a very interesting race, to be sure.

So, I would like to hear your thoughts in the comments. Is Wharton a lock or a goner?  What about the rest of the Council?  Let me know!

Monday, November 10, 2014

What the hell, it's been 10 years already??

Happy 10th Birthday to the Left Wing Cracker blog!

Ten years ago today, in the rage and aftermath of the re-election of the worst President this country has ever seen, I started writing, when blogging was all the rage.

This wasn't the first political blog here, you had The Pesky Fly on the left and Mike Hollihan on the right back then.  I was inspired by SouthKnoxBubba, which disappeared and resurfaced as KnoxViews, which still inspires me today.    While there aren't as many blogs as before, there are those, like Vibinc, that provide terrific information and opinion and inspire me to keep writing.

I look back at that first post and see how simple it was and how much energy it had.  I also see that one of my first commenters is sadly, no longer with us.  Things happen in a decade.

You were with us in great times, and the worst of all possible times.  I appreciate you more than you know.

So, where do we go from here?  Well, I hope to have something up by the end of the week on the massacre of last week, and something on the 2015 City Elections.

Thank you for coming this far with this blog, and I hope we can keep writing posts you want to read and share.


Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Was I right or wrong?

Let me put myself to the test from last night's predictions:

Locally, I see no seats changing hands, but House 96 will be far closer than anyone expected.  Haslam will win, and so will Alexander, again with a much smaller margin than expected as the Carr/Tea Partiers skip the race.
Oops.  McManus won 62-38, but read Dwayne's comments below, I made a mistake on saying it was 2-1 in House 96, Haslam and Alexander won, the latter by 2-1 as well.  I guess the TPers held their noses.   Next?

The Amendments?  1 and 2 will FAIL, 3 and 4 will PASS, and the passing of 3 will be a tragedy for this state for the foreseeable future.
They ALL passed, and while I can live with 2 and 4, the fact that Tennessee women voluntarily gave control of their reproductive functions to the General Assembly astounds and infuriates me.  As for 3, the anti-Income Tax amendment?  That's abominable.  Can it get worse?

Predictions for the state House at the end of the night: 73 R, 26 D.  The Senate will be awful, 28 R, 5 D with no Democratic seats outside Memphis or Nashville, rock bottom. 
Sadly, I almost hit the Exacta here, as the final totals for the state House are 74 R, 25 D.  We lost Gloria Johnson in Knoxville and John Tidwell in New Johnsonville, but stunningly kept the seat formerly held by Charles Curtiss of Sparta, now held by Kevin Dunlap, representing Grundy, Warren and White Counties.  David Shepherd of the Dickson area held his seat by 16 votes despite having SIX mailers against him hit on Election Day.

The Senate?  Just as I called it, we lost the seats vacated by Charlotte Burks of Monterey and Lowe Finney, who is running for mayor of Jackson next year.  Democrats have NO Senate seats east of Nashville and NONE outside Memphis and Nashville.   Let's just move on.

The surprise of the night?  When all those good Republicans in TN-04 who voted for Jim Tracy turn on Scott DesJarlais and vote in Lenda Sherrell, with the thought that they will come back with Tracy in 2 years and beat her.  Of course, it will be a Presidential year and more difficult to do, but..... 
Translation: Whoever the GOP nominee is could make a sacrifice to Baal on the courthouse steps and these yahoos will vote for him.  Lenda Sherrell ran a good race, but these decent God-fearing white folk will never vote for a Democrat again since they elected that, well, you know, as President.

But, what about the US Senate?

Nationally?  I think we hold onto the US Senate, 51-49.  Mark Pryor survives in Arkansas, Grimes loses in KY because she ran away from her President, Nunn wins in GA. 

Oy.  the only thing I got right was Grimes, who deserved what she got.   We have a lot of work to do nationally, at the state level, and locally, which I will address in the next day or so.  Gonna have to put that 2015 mayor's race post back a day or two, sorry, Kyle Veazey!  :)

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Well, I'm probably wrong but...

Marek is up with interesting predictions, go check them out.  The polls have just closed, so we will see in 2 hours or longer if I am right with my picks below or just full of shit as usual.

Locally, I see no seats changing hands, but House 96 will be far closer than anyone expected.  Haslam will win, and so will Alexander, again with a much smaller margin than expected as the Carr/Tea Partiers skip the race.

The Amendments?  1 and 2 will FAIL, 3 and 4 will PASS, and the passing of 3 will be a tragedy for this state for the foreseeable future.

Predictions for the state House at the end of the night: 73 R, 26 D.  The Senate will be awful, 28 R, 5 D with no Democratic seats outside Memphis or Nashville, rock bottom.

The surprise of the night?  When all those good Republicans in TN-04 who voted for Jim Tracy turn on Scott DesJarlais and vote in Lenda Sherrell, with the thought that they will come back with Tracy in 2 years and beat her.  Of course, it will be a Presidential year and more difficult to do, but.....

Nationally?  I think we hold onto the US Senate, 51-49.  Mark Pryor survives in Arkansas, Grimes loses in KY because she ran away from her President, Nunn wins in GA.

Well, we will see what happens; I am headed to THE WAREHOUSE for the re-election party for my Congressman, Steve Cohen.

Watch this space later in the week with my thoughts on the 2015 Mayor's race, which, if you haven't noticed, has already begun.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Taylor Berger and the New Memphis Democrats

Yes, he's back with more ideas, he wants people to re-energize and re-focus the SCDP.

The reaction to his initial post, which I sent to my email list and which was linked here, was sadly predictable.  If you know Party people, you will know that some loudly cheered what Berger had to say, and some berated him for bailing on his CC5 race against Heidi Shafer, leaving us in the lurch.

Bryan Carson, like Van Turner before him, has spent his Chairmanship trying to juggle these two distinct groups and viewpoints, and both received undeserved criticism for not pulling it off to the extent we would have liked.  Those two distinct viewpoints must come together and be worked out for a unified vision, or the GOP will own a majoity-minority County for years to come.

Taylor Berger, like him or not, seems to get that.  I believe he wants a conversation, which we need.

If you are interested, join the New Memphis Democrats on Facebook and on Twitter, and send them an email at newmemdems@gmail.com  to get involved.

We need the conversation to start as soon after November 4 as humanly possible.

Being in charge of the county is not about patronage, it's about governance and providing the best services possible.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

This is BLOCK PARTY FOR PEACE Weekend in Frayser

One of the ways State Rep. Antonio Parkinson works for his district is the annual Block Party For Peace, held at the Ed Rice Community Center on North Watkins in the heart of Frayser.  There will be a Jobs Fair, a College Fair for students and a Health Fair for all comers.  It's FREE, best of all, for more information, please visit their website!

The 2014

Presented By
October 24-26, 2014
Ed Rice Community Center & Park
2907 Watkins
Memphis, TN 38127

Bigger, Better and Hotter than ever!Thank you to our sponsors and supporters!Please click on the logos below to visit their websites for great information.


Come Join Me Saturday for the Celebrity Chef Cook-Off celebrating NATIONAL SEAFOOD MONTH

They even ASKED me to be a JUDGE. I LOVE Seafood, so come on out, this should be a lot of fun!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

So I haven't written for a while in the middle of campaign season

One, I have been sick as a damn dog for 3 weeks now, even at my family wedding in Illinois and at last week's social event of the season, the wedding of Steve Ross and Ellyn Daniel, and I can't hear out of my left ear and am on steroids and antibiotics at the moment.

That was pretty run-on, wasn't it?

My beloved Susan has taken good care of me and has not beaten me, so there is that.  :)

We have suffered losses, with the passing of our beloved Zippy the cat, and we also mourn the greatest dog we never owned, Mabel Sharp-Sturgis, whose campaigns inspired us to vote for her for Governor in the 2010 Democratic primary.  So, in this season where the leaves turn and fall, I suppose that is all sadly appropriate.

This morning, I got a tweetout from restauranteur and entrepreneur Taylor Berger with a link to his latest blogpost.  As Trace likes to say, we need to start a conversation, and this post should do that.  If you will, go read that post and comment over there, and then, if you so choose, comment here as well.

I hope that this wakes up some folks in the Democratic community here, because they need to wake up and understand why we're not winning County elections.  It's not the fault of any one person, and it has been going on for a long time now, so there's no need to bash any one person for any of this.

Oh, and Early Voting has started.  If you live in House 96, go vote for my friend Dwayne Thompson, who won't try to sell Cordova to the highest bidder as the incumbent, Steve McManus has done over the years.

NO on all state Amendments, One is self-explanatory, Two because I have come to the conclusion, as my Congressman has, that John Jay Hooker is right as usual, Three because we NEED an income tax for all the reasons they say we don't, and Four because I lived through TENNESSEE WALTZ, which you need to Google if you don't know what I am talking about.

Locally, vote YES on Wine In Grocery Stores.  My wife was stunned when we went to Illinois and found that A) you could get wine, beer AND booze in a grocery store, B) that locally-owned liquor stores were THRIVING and C) that prices were lower that back here.  Truth is, NO stores are going to close, that is just not true, we need to blow up our liquor laws and re-do them, especially regarding wholesalers, who have a racket here the Mafia would envy, with help from the churches.

One final thought:  I saw where my Congressman received criticism from other Democrats because he asked people to vote for John Jay Hooker for Governor rather than Charlie Brown, our nominee-because-we-couldn't-find-a-real-candidate-to-run.

Really?  One iconoclast endorsing another??  You're shocked?  Give me a freaking break.  Some of the same people who bitched about this HELPED Don Sundquist when John Jay was our REAL nominee in 1998.  Go read Taylor Berger and then think about it.

Peace, love and vote Democrat (and for Hooker!),


Friday, September 26, 2014

Thank you, John Marek; your work is paying off

Most of you know John Marek as the man who rebuilt the College Democrats at the U of M and as the Campaign Manager for Congressman Steve Cohen in 2012 and this year.

Marek, a local attorney, is also on the new citizens law enforcement review board, and has made it his mission to require body cameras for local police officers to wear while on duty.  He has pointed out that not only will it help defendants, it can also protect local officers who may have unjustly been accused of malfeasance.

Today, we learned in the CA that Marek's work has apparently convinced Mayor Wharton (Link here) to ask the consultant working for the city on obtaining dashcams for police cars to inquire about bodycams for officers.  This is great news and would not have happened without Marek's tireless efforts, and I want to salute him.

He is temporarily on a job in Colorado, but when he comes home in November, congratulate him and buy him a beer for his efforts, I know I will.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


All I'm going to say on some rumors I've heard floating around is two things.

1.  It doesn't matter who your mommy and daddy are, YOU have to earn the voters trust, there may be some benefit of the doubt, but if you have ZERO track record other than working for them.  GTFO and do something to show why you deserve to serve.

2. Learn from Drake, start at the bottom.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

This is one of the FUNNIEST and DUMBEST things I have seen recently

Because, the TNGOP says Gordon Ball is a LIBERAL who will vote for OBAMA!!!!!


Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, what person with a fighting chance at a triple-digit IQ would believe this nonsense?

  Ball, of course, was ready with a response, about which I will comment afterwards:
"Sen. Lamar Alexander has voted with President Barack Obama 62 percent of the time.  I have voted with him 0 percent of the time."U.S. Senate Candidate Gordon Ball said after learning that the TNGOP had launched a website and video attacking him as 'another vote for Obama.' "I have said consistently that Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell and Lamar Alexander should be replaced.  If we want to change Washington, we have to change the people in Washington.
"The bottom line is that in the primary I was painted as far right and now in the general, the partisan attack is that I'm a liberal," Ball said. "It's apparent I fall in the middle in the same mold as Ned Ray McWherter and Phil Bredesen."

"As the Knoxville News Sentinel's Tom Humphrey wrote on his website, they are concerned enough about our campaign to take the time, energy and money to come after me," Ball added. "I find it to be encouraging and energizing as we reach out to Tennesseans who are tired of career politicians like Alexander. We must be doing something right." The facts speak for themselves, Ball has sued health insurance companies over their refusal to compete with each other which causes health care costs to be higher.  Ball is a gun owner and pro second amendment. He has said across the state that everyone is pro-life, but that voting no on Amendment 1 allows women to make their health decisions."Women's healthcare should not be dictated by the government and elected officials," Ball said.  Alexander will vote to allow the Tennessee legislature to make those decisions for women. 
Ball, who has been campaigning this past week in Memphis and upper east Tennessee will be in Nashville this week for the Tennesseans Against Common Core rally as well as hosting a breakfast for the executive committee that represents the Tennessee Democratic Party across the state.

I support Ball because he is not a panderer, as the once-moderate Alexander has become to the Tea Partiers.  I also, as I noted earlier this year, do NOT want to see the Senator Bill Haslam, Governor Ron Ramsey scenario take place.

I DO wish, however, that he would work on his messaging.  One reason that Democrats have problems with their messaging throughout the South is that they run away from who they really are.  I REALLY WANT Democrats to be everything that the GOP says we are, because we are correct in how we view this country and what it should stand for, and they haven't had a clue what America is supposed to stand for since Ike left office.

Embrace the right-wingers' hatred and turn it against them.  Ask people in rural areas how voting for the GOP has worked for THEM.  Make them take RESPONSIBILITY for their votes and see if they don't realize that they have made poor choices.  Then, if they can't figure it out, they DESERVE whatever comes to them.

The problem is, of course, that they will take people like you and I down with them if too many of them fail to realize what the GOP has done.   That doesn't mean we should not try.  Ladies and Gentlemen, it's not 1992 any more and what worked then will not work now.  We need to stand up, be loud and be proud that we stand for the good things in life and not for selfishness, for common working people and not for Wall Street and union-busters.  We need to be who WE ARE, DEMOCRATS.

Enough said.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Out of three great choices, one emerges

Not the one I voted for, mind you, but one I can live with easily.

I am referring, of course, to last nights #SCDPSenate30SmackDown, in which Beverly Marrero, Carol Chumney and Sara Kyle were to face off for the SCDP nomination to replace former Senator and now Chancellor Jim Kyle.  And, yes, for you newbies who may have stumbled here, Jim Kyle is the husband of Sara Kyle.

After three solid speeches by the candidates, including a barnburner by Chumney, capped off by her withdrawal in favor of Marrero, the vote was taken.  This blog provided two proud votes for Beverly Marrero; however, Sara Kyle received the nomination on an 18-16 vote.

As Carol reminded us in her speech (which we will talk about a little later in the post), there were NO bad choices here: Jon and I just believed Beverly was the best choice, having had actual experience in the State Senate.

However, as we know, Sara Kyle is a 20 year veteran of state government with her years on the Public Service Commission and Tennessee Regulatory Authority until she was unceremoniously dumped by the Governor.  She is no slouch, and I can and WILL support her against Dr. George "Al Kapone Supports Me So I Can Carry North Memphis" Flinn in the November election.

It's easy to forget, as Sara has been out of the limelight, that she was raised in a campaigning family, with one uncle (Frank Clement) having served as Governor, one aunt serving in the State Senate (Anna Belle Clement O'Brien, during whose service Sara was introduced to Jim Kyle), as well as  campaigns on her own.  In fact, I would like to talk about that for a minute.

It is my hope that, upon her election (which I believe is not only possible but highly probable) to a Senate where she may have as few as four Democratic colleagues, that she does not become frustrated to the point where she leaves office in two years.  If that were to happen, then I believe last night's vote would be seen as a waste of time.

The truth is that Sara Kyle CAN and SHOULD be a dynamic force, not only here but statewide.  This is really needed at a time when the TNDP appears to be lost and not fully aware of its 'staggering lack of influence.  If she leaves office in two years, I hope that it will be for a bigger office, because she has the gravitas to lead a comeback for this party.  There's a REASON a groundswell took place last year for a possible Governor's run this year; while it didn't happen for various and sundry reasons, one hopes that something like this would be possible for her in the future.

Last night should be a new beginning for the Party, and for Sara Kyle.

Now, to Carol Chumney.   It is no secret that she wants to make another run for mayor of Memphis, and last night's speech about the power of women, despite the apparent refusal of Shelby Countians and Memphians to elect one to an executive office, highlighted that desire.

Whether it's AC Wharton or Jim Strickland carrying the water for the business community, no doubt Carol will be facing an uphill battle, unless she can unite the pro-labor and anti-corporate forces that want to see a change on North Main Street.   Considering that there could be SEVERAL candidates in that race, including Rev. Kenneth Whalum (always a bet to pull a sizable share of the vote), City Councilor Harold Collins (can he get votes outside his Whitehaven base?) and MPA leader Mike Williams (who is making a HUGE mistake if he runs, he will get no traction), it appears to me that all of the candidates who want to challenge the pro-business and pro-corporate forces need to meet and agree on a consensus candidate that may NOT be themselves.

I think of 1999, when all of Mayor Herenton's opponents could not unite, and 2007, when Herman Morris got in and split the anti-Herenton vote and kept Carol from being elected Mayor, and see that it could happen yet again if the anti-administration candidates are numerous.

In short, people, we need a backroom meeting.  (GASP!  QUEL HORREUR! MON DIEU! , Queue the fainting spells!)

I believe there should be a poll commissioned (preferably one done either by the CA or one by all the candidates together) to get an idea of who has the best chance to win.  The question that each candidate needs to ask themselves is this: IS THIS ABOUT ME OR IS IT ABOUT MEMPHIS AND ITS DIRECTION?  Are you willing to get out and support someone who has a better chance of winning, or are you going to stay in, split the vote and have four more years of Status Quo?

I hope that by January, things will be more settled in this regard.  Your thoughts, readers?

Monday, August 25, 2014

I am supporting Gordon Ball in the fall Senate race

I do have my concerns, which was a reason I supported Terry Adams in the primary.  The Ball campaign understands this,  but I believe Lamar Alexander has to be stopped now, because he is no longer the quasi-moderate that people make him out to be.  He sucked up to the Tea Partiers to offset Joe Carr, who pulled a stunning 41% in the GOP Primary against Alexander, who barely got 50 of the vote.

I also believe that to vote for Lamar Alexander is to vote for Ron Ramsey as Governor.  As I said earlier this year, I do not believe in any way that Alexander serves out a full term.  He is 74 years old and if he wins and serves out the term, he will be over 80.  If any of you thinks he will serve out the term, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you.

I fully believe that if we make the mistake of re-electing LAMAR! to another term, in about 24-48 months, he will suddenly announce that he has "health problems" and will be unable to finish his term.  And, faster than you can say boo, Governor Bill Haslam will resign, and be appointed to the seat by the new Governor, Ron Ramsey.

Any of you reading this post think that is a good idea?   I didn't think so.

So, whatever misgivings I had in the primary about Gordon Ball are out the window now.  It's time to save the state, and we can only do so by supporting Ball for the US Senate seat, which I will do, happily.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Post-election observations - 9th District

We still need to see precinct breakdowns, of course, but there are a few things I want to say about this race, and how we view our Congressman.

First, to Ricky Wilkins:  For someone who has never campaigned for office for himself before, you did a damned fine job.  Your campaign clearly was the toughest one that Steve Cohen has faced since he was initially elected in 2006.  Sure, there were mistakes, but for a rookie campaign, you have nothing to be ashamed of, and Cohen himself saluted your efforts during his victory speech, something I don't remember him doing before.

However, even with all of that, you just got a third of the vote.  What does that mean?  It means that, for all of the campaigning you did, two-thirds of the Democratic electorate of the 9th Congressional District is satisfied with the representation that they have received from the incumbent.

Unless the Tea Party is involved in a GOP District, it's damn near impossible to unseat an incumbent Congressman unless that person has been indicted or committed some kind of epic faux pas.  That is to say that, as things stand today, only Steve Cohen can really beat Steve Cohen.

Unless he does something really over the top, Steve Cohen is going to continue to be renominated and re-elected to this seat.  That is something you may want to think about.

To your credit, Mr. Wilkins, you did everything possible to avoid the suggestion that you were running because the 9th District needed a Black Congressman to serve a primarily-Black District.  Some of your supporters, sadly, didn't get the message, and it is they whom I will address next.

I will make this short and sweet: You are no more entitled to a Black Congressman than I am a white Congressman.  Any suggestion to the contrary is as racist as anything the Klan has ever said.  It, and always SHOULD be, about POLICY and CONSTITUENT SERVICE.  I loved Harold Ford Senior and defended him to other people for years.  His son?  Not so much, Junior threw his constituents under the bus with the Bankruptcy Bill in order to raise money for his Senate run.  (I will be angry at him for that as long as I draw a breath.)  Do they do their job?  If the answer is YES, keep them.  NO, get rid of them.

If you are angry that the 9th District does not have a Black Congressman, why don't you go and ask the Black Democrats of the district, the majority of whom voted resoundingly to re-nominate Steve Cohen?  All of the petty insider bullshit that we argue about doesn't matter a damn to them, they just want to know that he is there for them, and he has been.  THAT, more than any other reason, is why he wins.

That is something beyond the control of Mr. Wilkins or any of Cohen's prior opponents, and it's why he wins every time, and will continue to do so as long as he keeps doing what he is doing.

Now, to my friend of over 30 years and my Congressman, I want to talk to you as well.  First, good work by you, John Marek, Stephanie Dunavant, Rick Maynard, Dabney Ring and the rest of your team.   You need to go get some rest for a week or so, we all know this was a tough race.

When you get back, lots of us need to sit down with you and talk about the state of the Shelby County Democratic Party.  No, you are not the "boss", and I agree that is not what you or the SCDP needs.  As the highest-ranking Democratic elected official in this County, we need your guidance and your input to help us turn this thing around, which won't happen overnight.  You also need to bring some of that talented staff with you, as they have learned greatly from your tutelage.

This needs to be a table where all feel welcome, regardless of whether they are from South Memphis or Southwind, Brunswick or Smokey City.  Only with a dialogue from all parties can we begin to heal and point forward toward future victories.

Our Chairman Apologizes


During a WREG-TV interview the next day after the August 7th election, I made regrettable comments to the reporter. I said, “I wish those Democrats would go ahead and just sign up and be Republicans. Go ahead and join the party because we don’t need you. You don’t support us.” 

After giving much thought to my comments, I realized  that it was not wise to express those “at the moment” feelings and I apologize.

On many occasions I have been very proud to state that the Democratic Party is a big tent Party that welcomes everyone regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. That boast should also include having an open mind to those Democrats who don’t necessarily agree with all of the Democratic candidates on the ballot during an election. I do apologize.

Bryan Carson, Chairman
Shelby County Democratic Party

Bryan Carson, Chairman
Shelby County Democratic Party

Below is the WREG-TV Stephanie Scurlock interview:
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County is considered Tennessee’s bluest county, yet Republicans pulled off some big election wins Thursday.

Six of the seven major county offices were won by the GOP, so WREG asked the head of the Shelby County Democratic Party what they plan to do next.

Bryan Carson is drawing a line in the sand. He’s got a message for those who call themselves Democrats and voted for Republican candidates running for Shelby County offices.

“I wish those Democrats would go ahead and just sign up and be Republicans. Go ahead and join the party because we don’t need you. You don’t support us,” said Carson.

Carson says he’s hurt by the outcome of this election. About 20 percent of the Democrats who voted cast ballots for Republicans running for county office.

“The Republicans would never do that to us. They would never do that for us,” said Carson.

He says the Democrats’ next move is to amp up its get out the vote campaign and bring in those registered voters who aren’t voting regularly.

Carson said, “We need to let them know about the issues. Get out on the ground. Engage with them and bring them out to the polls.”

Friday, August 08, 2014

I don't believe what I just saw

First, if you haven't already done so, go read Jon's post from Wednesday, which seems downright prescient in view of the brutal whipping the Democratic Party took in Shelby County yesterday.

I see in the morning paper where our Chair, Bryan Carson said this:
Bryan Carson, the chairman of the county Democratic Party, feared crossover voting — and it appears he got it, in droves.
“It’s disappointing. It looks like the crossover killed us again,” Carson said. “A significant number of Democrats voted Republican.”
I don't doubt it.  I suspect that, once we see the precinct breakdowns, we'll see that crossover happened in ALL parts of the Democratic community, not just among white Democrats, the whipping boys of Democratic politics for over a decade now.

A LOT of people in all parts of this county abandoned the Democratic ticket this time.    Then, tonight, I find out Bryan said this to WREG-TV:

Bryan Carson is drawing a line in the sand. He’s got a message for those who call themselves Democrats and voted for Republican candidates running for Shelby County offices.
“I wish those Democrats would go ahead and just sign up and be Republicans. Go ahead and join the party because we don’t need you. You don’t support us,” said Carson.
Really?  THIS is how you grow the Party?  THIS is a rallying cry for us all to come together?  You know, I have spent most of the time since I got back on the ExecCom defending you to other people who said you were in over your head.  I pointed out that you were put in an impossible situation that had developed over a course of years and that you were doing your damnedest to juggle all the competing interests, which is ANOTHER reason we got hammered.

If you are trying to ensure that we don't win another county election for 20 years, you couldn't have picked a better way to do it.

Frankly, the only viable countywide candidates that we had were Deidre, Cheyenne and Wanda.  Joe and Henri killed us with their inane actions and comments.   Countywide elections are about COMPETENCE and SKILL and, aside from those three, we had NO CANDIDATES that had the skill and the money to get out the message.  That wasn't your fault, but this is like putting out a fire with jet fuel!

I understand what you said on Facebook that both African-Americans and Caucasians are doing this. Instead of running these voters off, we need to go to them and ask WHY they did what they did.
Those answers can tell us where we need to go, instead of telling THEM where they need to go.

From Deidre Malone

I want to thank everyone who supported my bid for Shelby County Mayor. We ran a race that we can be proud of and we offered Shelby County a viable Democratic choice for Shelby County Mayor. I want to thank my family, campaign team, volunteers and donors for their unwavering support. To mention a few team members that worked so hard on this campaign: Randa Spears, Ian Randolph, Belinda Anderson, Dave Cambron, Diane Cambron, Brian Malone, Darrick Harris, Kermit Moore, Alandas Dobbins, Vicki Johnson, Dawn Carter, Latrivia Nelson, Gabriela Salinas, Gale Jones Carson, TaJuan Stout Mitchell, State Rep. GA Hardaway, Jesse Johnson, Anne Carter Nelson, Lauren Anderson, Regina Jones, Brittany Ousley and Debra Davis. To the Unions that supported this campaign: Memphis AFL-CIO Labor Council, United Steel Workers, Sheet Metal Workers, IBEW Local 1288, Ironworkers Union, Teamsters, Shelby County Firefighters, Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputy’s Association and the Tennessee Equality Project and Emily’s List – Thank You. I will be forever grateful for all that you did to get us this far. We cracked the glass ceiling for a woman winning a primary for Shelby County Mayor, we didn’t shatter it by winning the General Election but I’m hopeful for the next woman that makes the effort. I want to say a special thank you to Commissioner Steve Mulroy for his endorsement and willingness to aggressively campaign for me during the General Election. We had a hard fought Primary Election where some of my supporters accused him and his campaign of race baiting. I’ve known Steve Mulroy for years and he is not a racist and he has spent his life, professionally and personally, fighting racism and advancing civil rights and equality for all people. Thanks Steve for all you do for our community.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Thoughts on the election

What if I told you there was a party where 1 side had an inherent advantage of at least 10% in voters in elections?

What if I told you that this party looses consistently?

What if I told you there was a Congressman who delivers more in services for his constituents than the previous Congressman?

What if I told you this Congressman gets attacked consistently because of his race and ethnicity?

What if I told you that candidates for office seem more concerned with the pay from the job, rather than than the payment to the community that the job should entail?

What if I told you that public service is just that, public service to enrich the city, the community, and the public, it is not about enriching you or your friends pockets?

What if I told you that reaching to the past and clinging to the past is preventing you from seeing and preparing for the future?

What if I told you that sacrificing to help the greater good means that you lift others up and let others take credit at times for your work knowing that the result is the important part, not your part in it?

What if I told you that recognizing when your time is over is difficult, but you must always be aware that your place is fleeting in the grand scheme and you must prepare others to take your place, and also, step away, perhaps early, to let them shine and lead, and continue the work you and the ones who stepped away for you to continue?

What if I told you that to build up a city and make it a vibrant community, you must give people a reason to live there and just as importantly, show people around the city, county, state, nation, and world how to be an example on how to do it?

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Um, does the Wilkins campaign know what district in which they are running?

So, I saw that the Tri-State Defender was endorsing Ricky Wilkins, which is about as shocking as an eastern sunrise, and they had a link to his newest ad, which I have here:


This is a well-produced advertisement, and up until the last few seconds, finds nothing with which I disagree on principle. If this ad, and Mr. Wilkins, were running in ANY other Congressional District in Tennessee, I would be standing and applauding. However, to suggest that the most progressive, nay, LIBERAL Congressman this state has seen in decades is weak against the Tea Party is ludicrous to the point of hilarity. Steve Cohen, not liberal and afraid of Tea Partiers?


 (/stops, regains breath and composure)

 Ok, if Mr. Wilkins wants to imply that he will continue the solid liberal tradition of TN-09, which has been going since 1975, Junior excluded, I get that. That is to be applauded. But to suggest STEVE FREAKING COHEN is afraid of the Tea Party and won't fight for our values???   Wait, I, wait...


(/looks for oxygen, sits down to calm down and breathe)

 You have to stop doing that, Mr. Wilkins, I'm not sure if I can hyperventilate like that too many more times.

 Seriously, other than the union fiasco in which I blame Janice Chalmers more than I blame you, you've done a nice job this campaign and it will be interesting to see how the 9th District responds to you. If this were an open seat or someone representing the district other than Steve Cohen, I LIKE the ad, it comes off nicely.

 As long as no one realizes what district you're in, that is.  Carry on.

OK, can we all take a long breath now and get ready for Election Day?

I am not going to make any numerical predictions, but I am holding to my suggestion of the other day that Steve Cohen is in good shape for renomination on Thursday, which is tantamount to re-election.

While anything is POSSIBLE, not just anything is PROBABLE.  This morning, I received the not-so-shocking news that Congresswoman and Democratic National Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was endorsing Cohen for re-election and issuing a cease-and-desist order against soon-to-be-ousted SCDP Committeeman and noted ballot and sign entrepreneur M. LaTroy Williams.  (Note: how in the hell did he get elected in the first place???) Why am I saying he will be ousted?  Because, as a fellow ExecCom member, I plan to move to oust him from the ExecCom if he doesn't have the decency to resign his seat after the election.

While our Congressman took pains to avoid the suggestion that Ricky Wilkins had anything to do with the Williams fiasco, Wilkins has to wonder what has hit him in the last week.  After running a very solid campaign, the combination of the AFSCME Local 1733 endorsement brouhaha and the Williams situation, Wilkins has to hope that he gets enough vote on Thursday to warrant another run in two years.

One also has to wonder what the average voter in the 9th District thinks about all of this craziness.  Will they pay attention to it or just laugh and keep moving and voting as they would have in any event?

Now, on to the County Mayor's race, where the Early Voting numbers showed a stronger-than-expected Democratic push for the last three days suggests potential good news for Deidre Malone.  She received additional good news when Commissioner Steve Mulroy, one of her primary opponents, recorded a commercial on her behalf, which we showed you yesterday.  Given the acrimony in that race, we are very appreciative of Commissioner Mulroy for stepping up to the plate at this crucial time; kudos to him.

Finally, if you are going to vote in the Democratic Primary for Senate 29, I IMPLORE you to vote for Lee Harris.  Senator Ophelia Ford is an embarrassment to our Party and our County and hurts the Ford name and reputation for public service.  All you need to know is that one of Senator Ford's biggest supporters is right-wing GOP County Commissioner Terry Roland, who is helping her so that she can return and do whatever the GOP Senators want her to do.  It is time for a change in Senate 29; please take the steps necessary to make that change.

Stay tuned!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I think the 9th District race ended yesterday, for all intents and purposes

Those supporters of Ricky Wilkins had to KNOW that it would be an uphill battle to unseat a very popular incumbent in Steve Cohen, if they were paying attention and if they were honest with themselves.  

Until yesterday, I thought that Wilkins' campaign was superior to those of the prior campaigns run to oust the Congressman, as they had avoided mistakes made by their predecessors.  Then, Ricky Wilkins stood OUTSIDE the doors if AFSCME Local 1733, claiming an endorsement that had yet to be awarded, according to the President of the local, who advised the press that the membership had yet to vote.  In doing so, he looked foolish and desperate.

Part of this, it appears falls on the Union local itself.  Someone in their leadership had apparently told Congressman Cohen that HE would be the recipient of their endorsement, and he announced that in an earlier press release, which Wilkins then disputed.

If AFSCME is no better organized than that, I feel for their workers.  The Congressman has been around long enough to know when he is getting good information, and correctly called the union leadership upon hearing of Wilkins' comments.  

At this point, regardless of whom they endorse, you have to wonder how much it will be worth, given how this process has been botched.  This would never have happened when James Smith was around, believe that.  I suspect our Congressman, once this is over, will make his feelings known about the situation to the union's national leadership, which won't bode well for the Memphis organization.

As for Wilkins, if it is true, as has been suggested to me, that he is now listening to advice from that noted media personality Thaddeus Matthews, it is now possible to suggest that perhaps the Congressman's fight for renomination is done.  He could head for the coast and rest before the November election and still win handily.  Also, if Wilkins is really listening to Matthews, he won't even be our NEXT Congressman when Cohen decides to retire.  I really hope for Wilkins' sake that this is not true; the only people who listen to Matthews are the unlikeliest voters of all.

Now, to another matter.  As you know, 999 times out of 1000, if my Congressman, Steve Cohen, asks me to do something, I want to do it, because I agree with him at about that rate.  He actually did something this week with which I will take issue,  regarding a local State Executive Committee race.

In Senate District 31, which stretches east from my Humes Heights neighborhood to Cordova and Germantown, two of my longtime friends, Dwayne Thompson and David Upton, are battling it out.  Upton, who has taken a more active role in the Congressman's campaign this year, was endorsed for the seat by Congressman Cohen over Thompson, who won four years ago, unseating Joe Weinberg.

David Upton sat on that body from Senate 30 until four years ago, when he was surprisingly voted out by Democrats for Kevin Gallagher, who never really campaigned.  Upton has been involved at the state level for a while, and I get that he wants back on the state committee.

Meanwhile, Dwayne voted for Roy Herron for TNDP Chair, which I didn't agree with but I understood his logic and reasoning for doing so.  Fortunately, Roy had the good sense to hire Alan Secrest as Executive Director, which stabilized the state party.  Full disclosure: I was recruited by Chip Forrester to run for this office; since Dwayne is one of my oldest friends, I declined to do so.

So, you may ask, why do I care, since both are my friends and both are qualified to sit on that committee?

Dwayne has lived in that district for almost 20 years and has a good understanding of the politics of that area.  David, to my knowledge, has not lived outside the Parkways; while I would seek his opinion on anything Midtown or Downtown, I think Dwayne knows our area better.  Dwayne, I must add, is also running for State Representative in District 96 (Cordova), and his victory there this fall would be a flaming spear in the heart of Republicanland.  I want him to have both titles.

Look, I get that my friend and Congressman wants to stand with those who stand with him; while Dwayne has always supported the Congressman, Upton has taken on a bigger role this year.  I believe, however, that Dwayne has earned re-election to this post and I am asking you District 31 voters to stay with him with your vote.

If David were running in the district in which he lives, I would undoubtedly ask you to vote for him.  He is not, and I am not.

One final humorous and ironic note here: because of the same law that allowed John Ford to represent Senate 29 in Western Shelby County but live in Collierville, what David is doing IS legal, believe it or not.  You all know that the laws regarding residency for County Commission are as unclear in their own way as the state laws, which is why Commissioner Henri Brooks is fighting to stay in her seat until the end of the term.

Looking to provide a process with clarity to deal with such situations, Commissioner Steve Mulroy has led the fight to create such a process and further define residential eligibility, for which he is to be lauded.  He has also decided to help the manager of his County Mayor's campaign by recording robocalls that declare Mulroy's support for his friend.

That campaign manager and friend?  David Upton, the guy who doesn't live in the district.

Gotta love it.

Monday, July 21, 2014

There is a 8th District Congressional Primary in Shelby County, too.

One of the candidates is Lawrence Pivnick, who wanted a chance to tell you about himself:

Lawrence “Larry” Pivnick  is running for the office of U.S. Congressman for Tennessee’s Eighth District in the August 7 Democratic Party primary. Pivnick defines himself as a social progressive, who believes in  traditional Tennessee values,  the U.S. Constitution, and a strong national government that defends our nation, secures liberty and justice for all, and provides for the general well being of all Americans. Pivnick also believes in fiscally responsible government under a balanced budget, and opposes deficit spending, government debt, and government waste. Pivnick supports reducing individual income taxes on 95% of Americans and lowering taxes on businesses to promote new investments and good jobs with fair living wages. Pivnick believes in a Congress that is  proactive, productive, and collaborative, irrespective of party.

            For the past 40 years, Pivnick has served as a Professor of Law at the University of Memphis, and was the founder and director of the University of Memphis Legal Clinic, providing free legal services for thousands of West Tennesseans who could not afford representation. He has also served as Faculty Senate President and as the UM faculty mediator. Pivnick is the author of several highly relied upon legal books on Tennessee procedure.

            Pivnick has been married for 32 years to Dr. Eniko Pivnick, a pediatric geneticist and professor at UT Health Sciences Center, and they have 2 daughters, Hajnal and Lilla. Pivnick is a member and regularly attends services at Temple Israel.

            For more information, see www.pivnickforcongress.com and www.facebook.com/pivnickforcongress.

Reason #8500 I am voting for Deidre Malone for County Mayor

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

From Joe Brown, Shelby County District Attorney Candidate - Statement of Apology to and Action on Behalf of LGBT Community

I have received the following statement from the Judge Joe Brown campaign:

Statement of Apology to and Action on Behalf of LGBT Community

A lot has been said lately about some off-cuff and misconstrued remarks that I made about my opponent. I want to start by apologizing once again to the gay community for making sexual orientation an issue on the campaign trail where its only place should be how we plan to protect this disenfranchised community. My comments have allowed my opponent to circumvent any responsibility that she has in protecting this class of citizens. I'm going to do, concisely, what I should have done from the start. I'm going to draw the distinctions between my opponent and myself on this issue. While my opponent identifies with and proudly belongs to a party that vehemently stands in the way of the gay community's right to equal protection in the workplace and everywhere else, I plan to ensure their protection in the streets. As District Attorney, I will effectively utilize sentencing enhancement factors on hate crimes perpetrated as a result of sexual orientation or GENDER IDENTITY. I, unlike those on the far-right, do NOT believe "every crime is a hate crime". And neither does the Federal Government. I would fight tooth and nail, bench and gavel, to see to it that we use not only the tools we have at our disposal, but that we advocate vigorously for new tools; such as adding gender identity to the State Hate Crimes Sentencing Act. Too many citizens turn a blind eye to violence against our constituents and I'll be damned if I sit idly aside while the state does too. This is someones mother, father, sister, brother, or loved one in Shelby County and we need to be fighting for every one of our citizens. Now while the issue of judicial involvement in our schools, with regards to bullying, is a tricky subject, as the last thing we want to be doing is exacerbating the school-to-prison-pipeline, as my opponent is doing, there should be absolutely no contention as to whether the District Attorney's office should be a part of the conversation and solution when it comes to bullying in our schools. Nor should there be any question as to whether we should use the resources we have to protect the LGBT student when we find out that they're being abused or neglected at home because they didn't turn out the way mom and dad wanted them to. That's gotta stop now. These children deserve better than the cold and dangerous streets of Memphis. Finally, we're failing to effectively define domestic violence among this community. While less than 2% of domestic violence cases occur among same-sex couples, that's still an increase of nearly 50% since 2008. The application of the law, when it comes to protecting its citizens from violence must be blind and non-discriminatory. My opponent is a tactician. She's a politician. Detraction from real issues is what she specializes in. But if she were really serious about her job, she'd be talking about the issues that the LGBT community are actually facing instead of being appalled when she's vicariously accused of being one. Being accused of being gay should never be something that offends a person. That speaks volumes about my opponents character...since we've been talking about character and all.

Monday, July 14, 2014

This Blog Supports Reginald Milton! Come to my house and let's raise some money for him!

I knew that when Reggie Milton decided to run for County Commission, District 10, that I would help him, especially when I realized that I was moving into the district.  He is an outstanding servant of the people now with his non-profit South Memphis Alliance, and I can't wait for him to bring leadership to a County Commission that needs it so desperately.

So, why don't you come to my house Thursday night, and bring a check to help him WIN on August 7?

My lovely co-hosts Susan Sutton Steffens and Jon Carroll (in his own way, I guess)  are joining me in inviting you.  If you are on Facebook, go here.  If not, here are the particulars:

WHEN: Thursday, July 17 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM  CDT

WHERE:  2766 Natchez Lane, 38111 (we're the ones with all the signs in the yard)

HOW MUCH?  Suggested donation is $50, but we will take all amounts from $10 up to the maximum of $1500!  We have to charge to get in because this IS a fundraiser!

SO, WHAT DO I GET FOR THAT?  Food, soft drinks, and wine, plus the immense satisfaction that your money is going to aid a great person in getting elected to the County Commission.

There will be comments from Reggie, as well as from me.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, July 11, 2014


(Editor's note - this post is written by one of my colleagues on the SCDP Executive Committee, Corey Strong of HD 91.  I have been impressed with his abilities for some time, and support his candidacy for State Executive Committee, District 33.  This is in reference to an attempt on Wednesday night to reopen and reconsider three of the judicial endorsements.  He voted to do so, I voted against.  I include this because I thought he made excellent points here.)

When I got to my first ship a decade ago, my Captain told me a story about an important lesson he learned as a junior officer. He was given a very large assignment that involved a great many sailors moving equipment onto a ship. He made a mistake that led to the equipment being loaded in the wrong way. That mistake would require a great deal more man hours and rework and some weekend working days just before a major deployment for the ship. When he discovered his error, he informed his Captain of his mistake and how he would correct it. His Captain was not happy about the error but appreciated that he discovered, owned, reported, and CORRECTED his error. Had he not done this, the ship would have deployed unprepared which is an unacceptable outcome. The lesson to me was that you will make mistakes but the pain of correcting is far worse than the pain of not.

I could not help but think of this at Wednesday’s monthly meeting of the County Party. We were presented with at least a few potential mistakes that were made during our judicial selection process. I am not here to absolve the candidates that did not receive the nominations because they certainly could have done more to ensure they received the nomination. Nor am I here to argue whether or not we should have endorsed candidates at all.  What I am here to say is that the SCDP has an obligation to correct mistakes if and when they are made regardless of how painful that correction may be.  We have promised to promote qualified and worthy DEMOCRATIC candidates. If we are unsure of the worthiness or qualification of a candidate, then we should avoid promoting them or remove an endorsement when one of those things comes into question.  When you correct a mistake, the short term pain will always be small compared to the long term injury that comes from not correcting it.

It was clear that there are many people on the Executive Committee who are too concerned with the short term consequences to do the right thing and correct a potential mistake. Many people commented that we would look like little kids if we did not stand by our decision. I argue that we look like little kids if we are unwilling to correct a mistake. If you broke something when you were a child, you hid it. If you something went missing, you lied about it. If you got in trouble at school, you blamed your classmates. But most of us got older, and left those habits behind because we understood that there was a greater duty in life than avoiding uncomfortable situations.  Some of us are still content looking at a mess or ignoring it because they don’t want to deal with the scolding.

Every day, major companies like GM ignore mistakes that cost people lives and cause them injuries. We are appalled when that mistake is allowed to persist. What if my Captain was afraid of a scolding by his superior and never corrected his mistake? He would have put lives in danger and he could not live with that. We are seeing in our city government what happens when you stick with a bad decision and it comes back to haunt you later. Here, members of the Executive Committee are afraid of a scolding by the media if we change our minds. (SIDE NOTE: This is the same media that is clearly owned by and generally catering to Republicans which makes all attempts at satisfying  it fools’ errands. They are in it to sell papers and air time. Therefore, we should NEVER make decisions to avoid bad press because the SCDP is ALWAYS going to get bad press. ) Meanwhile, we are ignoring the real possibility that we may support a candidate that is unqualified or unworthy. That decision would bring 8 YEARS of discredit to the bench, undermine the judicial process for our citizens, and dilute the value of our SCDP nominations in the future. I can deal with a few CA and Channel 3 stories this July of 2014 if it avoids many potential stories and injuries in the years to come.

I understand that this process has been long and tedious and realize that taking ownership of our mistakes is a hard lesson that most of us struggle with all the time. But as a county party, we cannot waiver from that responsibility. We have to do the right thing when that is called for as it is always our name that is at stake.  

Friday, July 04, 2014

Happy Independence Day, America!

Because, after all, what says America more than Steve & Eydie singing the best of Soundgarden?

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Bryan Carson's statement on the Joe Brown comments

Inline image 1

I am out of town for a family funeral, therefore, I am submitting a written statement regarding my support, and the Shelby County Democratic Party’s support of the LGBT community.

“First, let me make it clear that no Democratic candidates speak on behalf of the Shelby County Democratic Party. Also, the SCDP does NOT condone any of its Democratic nominees personally attacking anyone regard​less​
of Party or sexual orientation. We want our candidates to conduct nothing but clean campaigns.

"As publicly stated on numerous occasions, the Democratic Party is a “big tent” party made up, of and accepts, all races and religions including members of the LGBT community. We do NOT discriminate based on sexual orientation, religion or race. We believe in fairness and equality for all people regardless of their race, religion, or gender. I am not only speaking for the Shelby County Democratic Party, I personally believe in fairness and equality for all people.”

Bryan Carson, Chairman
Shelby County Democratic Party

And now, a personal note from me: Bryan has been busting his ass trying to juggle everything that has gone on and keep our candidates focused on the task at hand.  He deserves a lot better than what he's gotten.

Friday, June 27, 2014

There is a Democratic primary in August, too

So, let's take this one by one, shall we?  Since I am also a private citizen, I will voice my opinion in these races:

U.S. Senator - TERRY ADAMS,  Terry Adams, as I noted earlier, speaks my language and understands that we have to develop a new progressive vision for Tennessee, and that what worked in 1992 no longer works in Tennessee.  Gordon Ball has lots of money, but he takes positions that are to the right of what a successful Democratic candidate should have.  I back Terry Adams, and I hope that you do as well.

U.S Representative, 9th District, Isaac Richmond.  JUST KIDDING! Steve Cohen is the best Congressman we have had since Harold Ford, Senior, and sometimes even better.  He works tirelessly on behalf of his constituency, providing great constituent service and votes EXACTLY the way I would vote if I were the Congressman.  What more can you ask?  Oh, and he brings home Federal money for the institutions of the 9th District.

Where Ricky Wilkins will have difficulties has nothing to do with him personally.  There is no rising groundswell to replace Cohen, except in the minds of some members of the political class who can't accept that a majority of African-American voters have repeatedly chosen a person of non-color to represent them.   Ultimately, the first question in a Congressional primary with an incumbent is this: Are you satisfied with the representation you have received?  If the answer is yes, then the rest of it is moot.  If Wilkins can't get enough people to reconsider a decision they have made several times before, then he has little chance.

This is why he has no choice except to attack Cohen, which will make the summer quite interesting.

Governor - John McKamey.  The former Sullivan County Mayor decided to run earlier this year, and I got to hear him speak at the Germantown Democratic Club, and I liked what I heard.  He faces a decidedly uphill battle against the incumbent, Bill Haslam, of the Pilot/Flying J Haslams.

State Senate, District 31 - No one bothered to file against The StuntBaby of Germantown, so I will write in someone, suggestions may go in comments.

State House, District 90 - A long, long time ago in a far away land, there was a state representative that I admired for his integrity, and supported him when he ran for the State Senate against Ophelia Ford.  He fundraised little, and while I didn't agree with him on social issues, we were in lockstep on financial issues.

Somewhere along the way, John DeBerry found that the forces working to kill public education in Tennessee were only too happy to fund his campaign against Jeanne Richardson, and all of a sudden these newfound buddies were only happy to buy ads for him. DURING THE 2012 SUMMER OLYMPICS.  That, of course, was the end of Jeanne's legislative career, and another progressive voice was silenced by money.

So, as a protest, I am, for the foreseeable future, writing in Jeanne Richardson's name for House 90.  I know I will sleep better for having done so.

Democratic State Executive Committee, District 31, Female - Adrienne Pakis-Gillon is unopposed, but I would vote for her even if she were opposed.  Even though she voted for Roy Herron.  ;)

Democratic State Executive Committee, District 31, Male - Dwayne Thompson, for whom I first knocked on doors back in 1978, and will do again later this year as he also attempts to unseat Rep. Steve McManus (R-Cordova).  I trust him, and it doesn't hurt that he actually LIVES in Senate 31.

Now for races in the County in which I do not have a vote, but an opinion:

State Senate, District 29 - Lee Harris.  The City Councilor and UM Law professor is the best choice to involuntarily replace Senator Ophelia Ford, who, putting it as charitably as possible, is not of sound enough health to continue serving in the legislature.  Even giving her the best of it, she no longer needs to serve in Nashville, as she has not proven that she can physically perform her duties.

I like Ricky Dixon but I believe Lee Harris is the best fit for the district that contains South Memphis, Downtown and Cooper-Young.

State House, District 84 - Joe Towns.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

State House, District 91 - Raumesh Akbari.  She has been a great fit for the district, falling in the footsteps of the late, magnificent Lois DeBerry.  She deserves a chance to continue her solid representation of District 91.

I believe in more youth moving into positions of service, so I am supporting Corey Strong for the District 33 male position on the State Executive Committee and London Lamar for the female position in that District.

Have I missed anything?  No, I didn't think so.