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


SCDP Logo


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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.
Deidre

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?

 AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

 (/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...

 AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

(/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!