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.


7 PM, on Channel 5.

I won’t be able to watch it live, as I’ll be attending week 3 of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center’s Grassroots Organizer Training workshop, but I’m recording it.

While I’m not exactly saddened by Herenton’s decision not to actually run to replace himself, his presence in the debate would probably add a lot in terms of entertainment value. It should still be interesting, either way. In particular, it should be interesting to see if Lowery elaborates upon his implication that Wharton has been “in cahoots” with Herenton. While I’m not quite sure what to make of all the Lowery drama, a platform of “the Anti-Herenton” might actually give him a shot at being elected if he plays his cards just right and to the right audiences. But if he wants to paint himself as the slayer of corruption and cronyism, he should probably consider naming some names and going into some specifics. His actions and statements thus far have left me going “Huh” in a terribly anti-climactic kind of way…sort of the political equivalent of an interesting movie where, at the end, instead of a resolution, the audience finds that it was really all just a dream.

…If one or more of our Memphis City mayoral hopefuls showed up at the Houston High town-hall meeting to go to bat for Memphis and fair taxation for schools within Shelby County.

Probably too much to ask, though.

Gah. Memphis.

It’s telling me what I want to hear.

Especially the Q&A section.

Stuff like:

A: Smart growth matters to Memphians more than anyone, because they largely have paid the costs of sprawl.  Over the past 30 years, it has been Memphians who have paid for the new roads and schools outside of Memphis.  It is the same sprawl that led Shelby County Government to the brink of bankruptcy before I implemented a serious plan to manage expenses, cut jobs, and to reduce the county debt.  With the new Unified Development Code that we have written, smart growth principles will guide development and zoning in the future.  That means that Memphis neighborhoods will be given incentives to remain healthy and vibrant and developers will be given incentives to invest in Memphis neighborhoods and to help make them successful.

Yep yep yep. This is exactly what this liberal wants to hear from a mayor. And this:

Q: What’s your position on tax reform?

A: During my entire time as mayor, I have aggressively lobbied the Tennessee Legislature for the right for our community to consider ways to fund public services without relying more and more on the regressive property and sales taxes that are our local governments’ main sources of funds.  It is not fair or acceptable that the less a family earns in Memphis, the greater percentage of their earnings that it pays in taxes.  I will continue to fight for changes that take the burden off people who can least afford to pay it and that make our tax system more equitable.

Aaahhh… Music to my ears. Err, or eyes, as the case may be.

Really, his new website is having an almost hypnotic effect upon me, compelling me to want to go volunteer for his campaign. lol. Whoever he paid to do his website deserves a bonus.


But one day later, he made a phone call to a local radio show to get something off his chest.  Herenton told WDIA’s Bobby O’Jay that, despite the morning talk show host’s chatter, he’s not crazy and he doesn’t have a drug problem.

“I have a right to pull a petition and not be accused of not being in my right state of mind,” Herenton said.

Wait, it gets better…


And then he asked for a little respect.

I’m very secure,” he said. “I don’t have a power need. If I did, I would not have retired.”


Friday, Action News 5 went to clinical psychologist Rebecca Rutledge to get her professional opinion on if the former mayor’s up and down behavior signals a personality disorder.

“If he is really intending to run for mayor, he has some characteristics of narcissism,” she said. “He might see himself as special, entitled, probably does not believe anyone can do his job as good as he can.”

If this sounds familiar, this is what mayor Herenton had to say on his last day in office:

“I’ve been a fantastic mayor,” he said

“To come behind me is going to be a hard act,” he added later.

If you don’t buy the personality disorder, Rutledge says there could be another explanation: he’s trying to toy with Memphis.

“Either that, or he’s just playing a cruel joke on his former colleagues,” she said.


The day before yesterday, vibnic gave a rundown of the candidates here.

I’m not really happy with any of our choices. The only one I see addressing infant mortality is Wanda Halbert, which can be seen (warning:  Thaddeus Matthews for those allergic) here. 

They all talk about “fixing crime” but sadly, none seem to have a real plan with a chance of curbing the problem significantly. Unless I’m missing something, these candidates are mostly planning on being a continuation of Herenton.

Tom over at SCM said a couple of weeks ago that Memphis needs it’s own version of a Barak Obama, and I agree. We need someone with a bright vision for Memphis’ future, and the intellect to make it happen. And it should, preferably, be a black man or woman, in my opinion, for a whole host of reasons.

At the moment, Wanda Halbert seems to be coming closest. I need to see more from her, though, to really want to rally behind her.

If anyone knows she actually sucks, now would be a good time to show me.