Alright, my take:
Lowery shined as (apparently) the most quick-witted and intelligent of the candidates. Dude needs a website, like, yesterday, though. I don’t know where he actually stands on anything, but he’s very bright and seems genuinely passionate. Donning my tin foil hat, I almost wonder if you-know-who is being paid to talk smack about him. Regardless, he was impressive, convincing, and I’m proud to have him as our temporary mayor. Not sure if I trust him, though, with the city.
Wanda Halbert needs to have some training in public speaking. She’s smart, but apparently panics and has difficulty articulating complex thoughts when put on the spot. Her first answer about tax equity seemed like a non sequitur, but she later clarified with an answer that appeals greatly to my progressive sensibilities. If she’s for real about a “redistribution of wealth” to fund entrepreneurial activities for residents in the inner city, then she needs to lay out the details of how that might work. Do mayors even have that sort of power? Is she talking about creating a Bank of Memphis to provide loans for city residents aspiring to start businesses, or what? It sounds great in theory, but I’m not sure how plausible that is. Overall, I like her, but she’s not going to be “ready” for another 4 or 8 years. She just doesn’t seem to have her shit together yet.
Wharton was…Wharton. Difficult to dislike. He did a great job highlighting the fact that he hasn’t been as inactive as it has seemed. He just doesn’t toot his own horn to the degree most politicians do. He dismissed Chumney’s baiting in a way I can only describe as “refined and elegant”.
Chumney came off with all the charm of that Russian chick from Rocky IV.
Lawler appears to be a libertarian. So, yeah. But I still like his ideas of a mayor who lives in a trailer and travels around the city living in different neighborhoods. But yeah. That comment about “politicians think they know how to spend your money better than you do” told me all I need to know about him, despite his refusal to even hint at his political leanings earlier in the debate.
Carpenter’s a douche, in my opinion. ‘Nuff said.
Whalum is a nice guy (he really is, genuinely. My husband knows him and is friends with one of his kids.) but he’s not really mayor material, I don’t think. But I liked how he answered about the MCS new “no fail” policy.
Sharon Webb…umm…seems like a really sweet lady. I’m sure her heart’s in the right place with this whole running for mayor thing, but, uuhh…
Mongo was hilarious. And his idea about letting the homeless live in the Pyramid? Other cities actually do that with abandoned venues.
I would judge the winners as follows:
First place goes to Lowery. Hands down. He didn’t miss a step.
Second place goes to Wharton. He didn’t miss a step, either, but his apparent lack of passion was a disadvantage.
Halbert and Carpenter tie in third. Halbert was very awkward (in a surreally polished-fake kind of way) and clearly nervous, but her points were good. She was speaking to those of us in North Memphis, South Memphis, etc. I think a lot of people “heard” her in spite of her anxiety-induced confusion.
Carpenter was calm, cool, and collected, but hollow.