Monday, June 30, 2003

TWO MEMPHIANS NAMED TO STATE LOTTERY BOARD

TWO MEMPHIANS NAMED TO STATE LOTTERY BOARD

Posted By on Mon, Jun 30, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Former Shelby County Commissioner Morris Fair and local industrialist Marvell Mitchell have been named as two of seven members of the newly created Lottery Board for the state of Tennessee. The announcements were made in Nashville Monday afternoon by Governor Phil Bredesen. The board will set policy and otherwise maintain oversight in conformity with legislation passed in this year's General Assembly. Here are the descriptions of Fair and Mitchell included in Bredesen's official announcement: "Fair is currently employed as a public finance consultant by Duncan Williams, Inc., an investment banking company based in Memphis. He is a founding member of the investment firm UMIC, Inc., Memphis. He served as chairman and CEO of the firm when it was sold to Union Planters Bank in 1988, where he worked until 1996. The company served as financial advisers to the City of Memphis, as well as a host of cities and jurisdictions surrounding Memphis. He is currently serving as chairman of the Memphis Cook Convention Center. Fair served on the Shelby County Board of Commissioners from 1996 to 2002, including a term as chairman from 2001 to 2002. Fair, 73, is a native of Tyronza, Ark., who has lived in Memphis for more than 40 years. He holds a bachelorÕs degree in accounting from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. . . "Mitchell is the managing partner of Mitchell Technology Group LLC, a Memphis firm that installs computer networks for businesses and distributes computer hardware and software. Before establishing Mitchell Technology Group, he served as district sales manager for Digital Equipment Corporation in Memphis from 1986 to 1995. Prior to that time, Mitchell worked at IBM Corporation, where his most recent position was marketing manager. Mitchell is chairman of the Black Business Association of Memphis, and a board member of the Memphis Chamber of Commerce, where he chairs the Minority Business Development Committee. He also serves on the board of the Southwest Tennessee Community College Foundation. Mitchell, 48, is a Memphis native. He holds a bachelorÕs degree in marketing from Memphis State University." Fair, a former chairman of the Shelby County Commission, was defeated in the Republican primary last year by current Commissioner John Willingham -- a circumstance noted as an "irony" by State Senator Steve Cohen, the longtime lottery backer who did most to secure passage of a lottery referendum last year and was a majro player in developing the lottery establishment package in this year's General Assembly. As Cohen noted, Willingham has made a major cause of another gaming concept -- that of a casino for the The Pyramid, an idea which he hopes to get political and legal clearance for. The senator said he was pleased with the appointments of both Fair and Mitchell, as well was with that of Nashvillian Denny Bottorf, another board member with whom Cohen said he was well acquainted. Fair said he was "surprised" to be considered for the lottery and had been sounded out about his willingness to serve by House Republican Leader Tre Hargett of Bartlett, who evidently passed Fair's name on to the governor as a recommendee.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

CHUMNEY POLL HAS HER LEADING 5TH DISTRICT RACE

CHUMNEY POLL HAS HER LEADING 5TH DISTRICT RACE

Posted By on Tue, Jun 17, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Is State Rep. Carol Chumney the frontrunner in the closely watched District 5 city council race? According to her pollster, John Bakke, she is. In fact, says Bakke, Chumney not only finished first in a candidate-preference poll taken last weekend, she had 43 percent -- “almost enough to win outright.” The race in District 5 (Midtown, East Memphis) will be decided by a runoff involving the two highest finishers if no candidate gets a majority on election day. Bakke said the poll, of some 300 district residents considered “highly likely” to vote, showed physician/businessman George Flinn second with 20 percent, frequent candidate Joe Cooper next with 9 percent, and lawyer Jim Strickland just behind him, with 8 percent. Of the remainder of those polled, 19 percent were undecided or preferred another candidate, and one percent declined to answer. Margin of error for the poll was plus or minus 5.6 percent. Arborist Mark Follis, who has already filed for the office, was not included in the poll, Bakke said. Another component of the poll concerned the candidates’ favorable/unfavorable ratings. Bakke gave Chumnney’s percentages as 62 percent favorable and 12 percent unfavorable; Flinn’s were 32 aned 31, Cooper’s 22 and 42, and Strickland’s 14 and 1. Bakke suggested that Flinn’s relatively high unfavorables were a carry-over from his campaign for Shelby County mayor last year. In particular, said Bakke, “60 percent thought he had campaigned unfairly against [Republican primary opponent Larry] Scorggs.” Bakke also said that Chumney led Flinn among likely Republican voters, 41 perdent to 24 percent. In general, though, political-party factors were virtually negligible, Bakke said. (Chumney, Strickland, and Cooper are Democrats; Flinn is the endorsee of the Shelby County Republican Party.)

Friday, June 6, 2003

GOP CHOOSES BUNKER, McCORMICK; DEMS SIMMER DOWN

GOP CHOOSES BUNKER, McCORMICK; DEMS SIMMER DOWN

Posted By on Fri, Jun 6, 2003 at 4:00 AM

“Effective. Ethical. Electable.” That’s what the man said. Shelby County Republican chair R. Kemp Conrad identified those as the qualities he and the local GOP steering committee were looking for in deciding which city council candidates to endorse in this year’s Memphis municipal election.. On Thursday night, when the full committee ratified recommendations by a candidate-recruitment subcommittee in two council races, the list of endorsees considered worthy of the three’E’s also grew to three. Wyatt Bunker in the District 1 council race and Scott McCormick in that for Super-District 9, Positon 1 joined busnessman/physician George Flinn, previously chosen in District 5, as official Republican endorsees. Only member David Shirley, a maverick during his days in the state legislature, demurred from the unanimous committee vote for Bunker and McCormick, Conrad noted after the meeting. Bunker, a member of the county school board from recently annexed Countrywood, seeks to unseat incumbent councilman E.C. Jones, while businessman McCormick competes in a field including longtime incumbent Pat VanderSchaaf. Meanwhile, the county’s Democrats, whose executive committee also met on Thursday night, took the first steps toward resolving a factional dispute that has bedeviled the party for the last several months -- unanimously voting to abolish (as unnecessary) a newly created “reconciliation” committee on the motion of committee member Nate Jackson, a partisan of former chairman Gale Jones Carson, who lost a 21-20 vote last month to State Representative Kathryn Bowers, the party’s new chair. Jackson also suggested that the committee rethink Bowers’ earlier opinion that the party should not follow the GOP’s leading in making candidate endorsements. “I’m not moving that yet,” Jackson carefully specified, “but I want us to think about it.” He himself wore a sticker touting District 5 candidate Jim Strickland, one of three well-known Democrats -- the others being State Rep. Carol Chumney and veteran pol Joe Cooper -- in the District 5 race. For the most part, the committee Democrats -- who have had several stormy disagreements of late - managed to get along with reasonable ease. The evening’s major news came in a recommendation from a committee appointed by Bowers that the party somehow raise $135,000 from which to rent a permanent headquarters and hire a staff. (Nobody suggested the obvious solution: Continue the internecine fights that have recently characterized the committee’s meetings and sell tickets to them.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

BAKKE SIGNS ON WITH CHUMNEY'S COUNCIL RACE

BAKKE SIGNS ON WITH CHUMNEY'S COUNCIL RACE

Posted By on Wed, Jun 4, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Carol Chumney, one of four major candidates who have announced so far for the District 5 city council seat being vacated by John Vergos, will be working with campaign consultant John Bakke, whose batting average in a variety of major political races has been impressive. Bakke, who acknowledged that he had also considered offering his services to another District 5 candidate, Jim Strickland, said Wednesday that he and Chumney shared “too much history” for him not to get involved in her campaign. Chumney’s father, Jim Chumney, is a professor of history at the University of Memphis, where Bakke was for many years a professor in the Department of Communications. Bakke will serve as general consultant for Chumney, now a state representative from a Midtown largely overlapping District 5, and will do polling for her. His numerous previous clients, from both major political parties, include former U.S. Representative Harold Ford Sr.; his son and successor, the present 9th District congressman, Harold Ford Jr.; current Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton; former county mayors Bill Morris and Jim Rout; and former Governor Don Sundquist. Professing to have “no interest” in the current schism in the Shelby County Democratic Party -- one which could conceivably impact the electoral fortunes of both Chumney and fellow Democrat Strickland -- Bakke said he was “much more interested” in what he called the “divisive” persona of physician/businessman George Flinn, last year’s Republican nominee for county mayor and this year’s GOP endorsee for the District 5 seat. “I’m looking forward to campaigning against Flinn,” said Bakke, recalling what he considered negative campaign tactics in Flinn’s unsuccessful campaign against mayoral winner Wharton, the 2002 Democratic nominee. Issues in the campaign would include consolidation and impact fees for development, said Bakke, who considered it “not impossible” that Chumney would employe other consultants and pollsters besides himself. The other candidates have begun to employ political consultants, as well. One of those who has joined Flinn’s campaign is Lane Provine, while Strickland is working with consultants Mike Carpenter, Matt Kuhn, and Kevfin Gallagher. Veteran political figure Joe Cooper basically serves as his own consultant.
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