Who's your choice for Mayor in 2015?

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.