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New Year's Day Prayer Breakfast
New Year's Day Jazz Champagne Brunch

“Moving Memphis & Shelby County Forward”

City Council Chairman Myron Lowery is hosting his 21st Annual Prayer Breakfast and his 18 th Annual Jazz Champagne Brunch on Saturday, December 31, 2011. Both events will be held at the Memphis Airport Hotel and Conference Center at Airways and Democrat.

The guest speaker at the 9 a.m. Prayer Breakfast will be Congressman Steve Cohen and the theme will be “Moving Memphis & Shelby County Forward”. Lowery added, “This theme was selected due to the increased number of jobs that will be created through our economic development efforts, despite the many challenges our city and county faced in 2011.” Memphis Mayor AC Wharton and Shelby County Mayor Mark Lutrell will also be on the program along with Rev. Lester Basken, Pastor Rufus Woods, Rev. Sam Mickens and Apostle Perry Maples. Gospel music will be provided by Fannie Clark and the Tennessee Mass Choir, Blanche Reynolds and Deborah Manning Thomas.

Entertainment at the Jazz Champagne Brunch includes Just Us, Sounds by Marque and CJ the DJ. The Jazz Champagne Brunch begins at 1:30 p.m. and the menu will include barbecue ribs, chicken, collard greens, chitlins, black-eyed peas and champagne. As usual, door prizes will be awarded thanks to the Landers auto dealerships in Collierville and Southhaven and the Memphis Grizzlies.

Tickets are $50 for each event and for more information or to make a reservation please call 828-4810.

During the past 10 years, more than 195 local organizations have received donations as a result of these non-profit events

Open Letter to Chairman Chism

Chairman Chism, Democratic Shelby County Commissioners and SCDP Executive Committee:

Today at 1:30 p.m., you will once again attempt to resolve the redistricting plan for the Shelby County Commission. I have attached two emails from one of your Republican Colleagues, Chris Thomas, to the Suburban Chambers of Commerce and Suburban Mayors. In these emails, Thomas is supporting the 3 member districts which exist now as the best thing for Republicans. I can only assume that the key reason he supports this plan is because he sees and anticipates a power grab in 2014, and it could happen if you allow it.

We all know that Commissioner Mulroy's District, District 5, is the swing district which could go either way. If the Republicans really go after this district with a well-funded moderate Republican, we could be facing a 7-6 Republican majority County Commission. Why would we allow this to happen when the Republicans at the state level and throughout this nation will strengthen their positions for the next 10 years during their redistricting process? Why would we even consider anything which would cripple or weaken us in the future?

Again, this is why the single-member district plan is the best plan for Democrats. With this plan, we are assured of a majority Democratic-controlled County Commission, and we should take advantage of this opportunity. Apparently, you have the two Republican votes which are needed (Roland and Ritz) for something other than the 3 member plan. Please reconsider your support of a plan which we know will better position Republicans and which would likely hurt Democrats in the future.


Van Turner, Chair
Shelby County Democratic Party

District 7 Makes Right Choice


Lee Harris, moments after learning of his victory, with his wife Alena, and daughter Claudia

In what can only be called a landslide Lee Harris defeated his opponent by more than 2:1. Mr. Harris exemplifies the quality of leadership Memphis needs to move forward. This will be important because District 7 not only takes in areas of Downtown and Mud Island it also covers some of the more challenged communities in North Memphis.

As a lifelong community organizer it is my hope, that Councilman-Elect Harris will divide his time equally throughout all of District 7; with what I have seen this will not be a problem for this determined young man.

The only negative was the less than one-percent turnout for this important race. Many voters have tuned out and turned off when it comes to politics. These are the people Mr. Harris must reach out to, "The 99%" who feel they have no voice.

There are many times I'm disappointed in things that happen in this City, but tonight Memphis could do no wrong!

Memphis City Council District 7 race comes down to the wire
Commercial Appeal: By Michael Lollar
Thursday, November 10, 2011

Polls open at 7 a.m. today for the last leg of the City Council District 7 runoff race, with Lee Harris and Kemba Ford in an election both predicted will be a virtual photo-finish.

"If I were a gambler, I wouldn't bet on this race," said Ford spokeswoman Pat Rogers. "It's going to be a nail-biter. It's kind of like the Michael Jackson trial. Everybody's waiting for the verdict to come in."

Harris also predicted a close finish and cast himself as the underdog. "We're up against a name brand, a very prominent political family." But, he said, "If I had to bet I'd bet the folks in District 7 are ready for a change."

Harris' campaign manager, Shelby County Young Democrats chairman Terry Spicer, predicted that Harris, a 33-year-old Yale-educated business law professor at the University of Memphis, will get his strongest support from Mud Island neighbors.

Both candidates live on Mud Island, but Harris easily defeated Ford in that precinct in the Oct. 6 election. Her strongest support in that election was at Dave Wells Community Center, where she got 33.9 percent of the vote, Spicer said. The two runoff candidates defeated 12 others in the municipal election. Eleven of those candidates endorsed Harris in the runoff.

Ford, a 37-year-old former actress, said she left Los Angeles to return to Memphis to offer her assistance after the indictment of her father, state Rep. John Ford, on bribery charges.

The candidates were separated by only four votes in the Oct. 6 election, with Harris first.

Polls close at 7 p.m. with both candidates planning to campaign up until the last minute. Rogers said Ford will be knocking on doors and campaigning at voting precincts before heading for her headquarters at the AFSCME Local 1733 offices. Harris said he will spend the day at Corning Elementary School in Frayser where he plans to vote, then return to his headquarters on Chelsea just east of Hollywood for the vote count.

To learn about voting locations, call the Shelby County Election Commission at (901) 222-1200 or go to the website at shelbyvote.com . The Election Commission is Downtown at 150 Washington Ave., on the second floor.

-- Michael Lollar: (901) 529-2793