Make Your Next Bet

You don't think the mayor's race is over do you? Oh my dear readers it's just getting started. AC Wharton has won the right to complete the term of former Mayor Herenton. But don't you doubt for one moment that everyone's attention is on 2011. Here's my assessment of five of the mayoral candidates.

AC Wharton - Respected name recognition is like gold in Memphis. AC had it and most people felt correctly that the mayor's seat was his to lose. Strategically AC expressed the concerns of the people with a strong slogan - "One Memphis," gave stright forward answers, and stayed above the hoopla of most of the mayoral forums. The Mayor-elect has roughly eighteen months to show Memphians he has the right stuff. My feeling is AC will do a very good job. He has the respect of most blacks and whites. He thinks before opening his mouth and by all accounts he's an honest person.

AC needs to remember one thing though: It's not about him when they praise, it's not about him when he succeeds, but it's all about him if he fails. People are expecting a great deal from him. He has to produce and produce soon.

Myron Lowery - First off I think Myron would have made a fine mayor. He's smart, analytical and hard working. His strategy was to use the pro tem position to show Memphians that he could be an effective mayor. It was a good strategy; if it had worked everyone would have been calling him a genius. The fact is what kept the brass ring from him was that he was out campaigned.

When Herenton stepped down Myron didn't have a ground team in place to rally his supporters and by the end of the race he still didn't have a solid ground team. Many of the voters who may have voted for him never bothered to show up at the polls. When it came to the voters he focused on "Why they should vote for him," and not "They need to vote for him." There was no motivating need to drive his base to the polls.

Well Myron has time to work on his ground team and even if right now he feels no interest in putting himself through another race for mayor; take it from me, he'll run again.

Carol Chumney - Carol ran hard and I respect grit but there's a time when you have to accept, "They just ain't in to you." If Carol ever had a chance to be the Mayor of Memphis that time has passed.

There's much that she can do to be an asset to the city: sit on boards, take an appointed position, or maybe look at a return to City Council. As far as being mayor, she needs to move on.

Charles Carpenter - Of all the candidates, Charles Carpenter I know the least. Without a strong name recognition Carpenter did the right thing, he advertised himself. There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't see his name or picture. He was everywhere. He presented himself as a very knowledgeable person, confident, and comfortable on the big stage.

Where he fell short were in two areas. The first I gathered from what others said and that was that they were not comfortable with some of the people around Carpenter. They felt he should move more to the center and stay clear of controversial individuals. If this actually affected him negatively I can't personally say but I will point out a concern I had. I'm very big on people paying their dues before seeking public office, especially one as important as mayor. Often people run for office and use their work experience as the bases for their qualification. Well that's how you made a living, what I'm also looking for is your commitment, or as they say when you apply to a college - "Your grades are fine, but what extra-curricular activities have you performed?" I felt Carpenter was lacking in the extra-curricular area.

Maybe it's the community organizer in me, but he needs to roll up his sleeves and come help in the neighborhood. That will go a long way in improving his image.

Wanda Halbert - By no stretch of the imagination could we say Wanda did well in this race. In fact she only received 372 votes. Now you might think that would be the end of my comments on Ms. Halbert, but you would be wrong.

Wanda may not have fared well in winning votes but she impressed a lot of people including me when it came to going toe-to-toe with the big boys. In the debates Wanda had solid answers and even when there was a period that she was not feeling well, like a trooper, she kept on fighting. I have heard several people talking about the need to support more younger, professionals for higher office; Wanda's name almost always comes up.

I would recommend that Wanda spend some time solidifying her position as the "Great Young Hope."

Well that's my opinion, what's yours.


Anonymous said...

CHUMney blew it with me long ago. You think Herneton is arrogant P..L..E..A..S..E!!! CHUMney would make him look like a saint. Glad she lost time to move on.

Anonymous said...

Reginald you said Carpenter was around the wrong people. Go ahead and say Thaddeus Matthews. When Carpenter paid that clown money there was no way he was going to get my vote. Any fool that gives Matthews money needs to have his head examined.

Anonymous said...

Wanda Halbert made some very bad moves to get media coverage for herself. The Board of Professional Responsibility shut one of her avenues down. Her accusations against attorneys were unfounded, underhanded and downright incredulous! Reginald, you gave her too much credit.

Anonymous said...

What about Detric W. Stigall this young man is very talented. Better than Wanda any day.

Anonymous said...

Charles Carpenter seemed knowledgeable but you had AC talking about ONE MEMPHIS and you had Carpenter hanging around one of the most racist, vile and divisive people in the city and he wonders why he lost. DUMB!

Tom Guleff said...

I don't think it was about name recognition. Voters knew most of major players. This race was over several months ago. The smart money was on AC. Don't bet against the house.

Anonymous said...

Lowery got my vote because he's his own man. He took office and started cleaning house.
The only reason people made a big deal about it was because they were supporting another candidate.
Lowery should have gotten more votes. This man served this city for years. People need to stop being sheep and make up their own minds.

Anonymous said...

There were two candidates who were polarizing. Chumney, whether she liked it or not, was the "white candidate." She had received most white votes in 2007 and a lot of that spilled over to this year. Carpenter ran Herenton's campaign but then talked about the changes that were needed this year. It's no wonder that only a small percentage of African American voters were with him.

Wharton and Lowery were going for the same votes. In addition to money and name recognition, Wharton had trust among various groups. He has spent much of his time as mayor putting the County back on good fiscal standing after the borrow and spend years of Jim Rout yet done it in a way that the public still trusted his level headed judgment.

This was A C's year from the start.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Milton I voted for AC because he was the furthest thing from Herenton in attitude, respect, maturity and professionalism. Memphis finally has a REAL mayor!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
What about Detric W. Stigall this young man is very talented. Better than Wanda any day.

October 18, 2009 10:30 PM


I agree - although I voted for AC, I was impressed with Stigall.

Anonymous said...

Wanda blew it big time when she went after attorneys for the media attention.

Anonymous said...

Stigal needs to get some community service going on and get himself known to the Democratic Party political actives.

Anonymous said...

During the campaign....

Carpenter told the voters that AC was the CEO of a BROKE Shelby County government. AC countered with some bullshit report from a bond rating agency that things are FINE and that the MED would NEVER close. Well, we NOW find after he has WON the Mayor's race that the MED is $32 Million short. Which means that at the very least the EMERGENCY ROOM will have to be CLOSED!!!

WELL, CARPENTER told you WHARTON's role is to be an educated PUPPET of FRED SMITH, PITT HYDE and the rest of MEMPHIS TOMORROW!!!

Prediction: Wharton will continue to sell and tell you people misinformation that your rational senses COULD tell you is NOT in your best interest. Keep up and keep the score. His next assignment: selling Memphis voters the continued need to combine Memphis assets with Shelby County goverment's defunct operations... like the Head Start and the SC Fire Dept!!! This is called DE FACTO CONSOLIDATION!

Reggie you are a Community Organizer... Memphis voters pay about $7.19 per $100 of property evaluation vs about $4.09 for the free loaders in unicorporated SC. If SC Government subsidized or compensated the City of Memphis for its failure to provide proportionate services to Memphians (like police/sheriff) then our County Taxes would rise about $1.70 while our Memphis taxes would fall about $2.10 without any consolidation!

Reginald Milton said...

To 5:48 A.M.
First off I'm always impressed with you early birds. Now you've made some very interesting points. I'm still debating the role of Memphis Tomorrow. The last time I ran for office I had an opportunity to meet some of these CEO's or at least their many representatives. I got the sense that they had reached a point of near panic. If there were any desire to be the puppet master it was well hidden. What I saw were business leaders trying to plug a sinking ship. They were looking for bright, progressive new leaders. At no time did they suggest a quid pro quo for their support. Now that doesn't mean they wouldn't have later on, but what I gathered from those meetings was the desire to end the cronyism and move the city forward.

Is AC a puppet? No, I don't believe that for one minute. I will say as a community organizer I fear the lack of civicness in this city weakens the voice of the public and strengthen the voice of the wealthy few.

I'm still undecided on consolidation. You are right about the fire department. That's the buzz word coming from everyone when you talk about what needs to be consolidated first. I feel the two international unions representing the City and the County fire departments will have a lot to say about that.

I really appreciate the time you took to express your views in a professional, thought-provoking manner. You are always welcomed on my blog.

By no means do I have all the answers. I gain as much from my viewers as I hope they gain from me. Know your comments, if stated respectfully, are appreciated.

Reginald Milton said...

Hey Tom,

When I speak of name recognition I didn't mean to take away from the candidates' hard work in getting out the vote. My point is that often races in Memphis are decided long before election day. I would like to see more TRUSTED sources out there for the average voter to be able to turn to so as to make a more in-depth decision on who will be their next representative.

Anonymous said...

Reggie - October 23, 2009 5:48 AM said...
"WELL, CARPENTER told you WHARTON's role is to be an educated PUPPET of FRED SMITH, PITT HYDE and the rest of MEMPHIS TOMORROW!!!"

Well checkout this article from the Memphis Business Journal (like I said AC is a modern day "uncle tomming ass waterboy" for White Folks)!

From Memphis Business Journal
Friday, November 6, 2009

What do you think A C Wharton's priorities should be to help Memphis grow as
a business community?

Memphis Business Journal

Pitt Hyde
Founder, AutoZone, Inc.

I think it is very well outlined in the Fast Forward program. Of course, he
was sitting at the table with us when that was put together.

I think that's what he's going to look to first. The key things I'm talking
about he certainly embraces and sees the importance. From an economic
development point of view, Fast Forward lays the foundation for what he will
focus on, compounded with education and reduction of crime.

I think he should really scrutinize government and try to bring efficiencies
to bear so that we can try avoid tax increases and the like.

I think there are a lot of efficiencies to be had. We worked very closely
with him on an efficiency study in the county and they did a very good job
of implementing that and I'm hopeful a similar process will take place in
the city.

Dick Leike
President, Crye-Leike, Inc.

I think we have to pay attention to what it takes to bring business to this
community and help the businesses that are already here. And we need to
recognize we are competing with two other states when it comes to a lot of

We are all the same economy, but with three states competing for the same
customers we need to make sure we are all three pulling together and giving
priority to the incentives we have for existing business to remain in Shelby

Henry Turley
Founder, Henry Turley Co.

I think he should follow through with his 'One Memphis' campaign theme.

That means he would have to abandon the politics of race, which necessarily
implies two Memphises.

Rather than basing things on race, he should have a progressive agenda built
around a One Memphis consensus.

I would bet it would be simple things people share such as nice, clean, safe
neighborhoods based around schools you want your children to go to. To
effectively govern the city, he will have to attract very capable people
into his administration because he'll have a full-time job developing
consensus, making it credible and getting people excited about having a
progressive and measurable agenda.

Dan Wilkinson
Chairman, Colliers Wilkinson Snowden

Consolidation is the most important thing we can do for the business
community. I think if we can have consolidated government, we can compete
more effectively with cities like Nashville, Dallas, Atlanta, Indianapolis
and Louisville, places like that which are distribution centers.

It's not going to save us a tremendous amount of money. There should be some
savings, which are important in this day and age, but it will just present
us a much more up-to-date, modern, 21st century community if we have
consolidated government.

I think A C is savvy enough to understand that you can't include the school
system and he thinks there is a way that can be done.

If you're going to get it voted through successfully by both the county and
the city, then you've got to exclude the school system and consolidate
everything else...