Carver - You haven't really looked if you found no evidence that Pickler was supporting a special school district with taxing authority. Only when there was the threat of the charter surrender did he become Mr. Let's Negotiate. Even during the single source funding efforts at the County Commission, Pickler was for the plan that gave taxing authority to the city and county school boards.
For evidence, take a look at this presentation:
Or this article from when Pickler was running for his current term...at the end it gives a contrast between Hoover and Pickler where Hoover doesn't want taxing authority and Pickler does:http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/apr/14/board-foes-make-cases/
The presentation above also has the misleading cheering of SCS receiving its third year in a row of As from the state report card. It is misleading curved scores such as that which have led people in SCS to think their children are getting a much better education. SCS has been able to get away with providing a moderate education for its students by comparing itself to MCS. SCS parents shouldn't be fighting to keep what they had, they should be outraged that SCS and the state were complicit in making them think the overall education outcomes of SCS were better than they were.
Also, to the people questioning the management of money at MCS...I hope that you saw the recent article that detailed the large number of warnings in the SCS audit versus only a few for MCS despite a much larger budget. I'm not saying there isn't waste, but I'm sure you can find just as much waste with much less oversight at SCS.
Linx Consulting is my company, and I just wanted to chime in.
First, I'll agree with all including our distinguished editor, Bruce, that my website is pretty bad. It's been on the list to update for quite a while, but other projects have taken precedence. You'll be happy to know that we should have a new one up fairly soon. Don't judge the coming city website on that site.
We went through a stringent RFP process to be awarded this project that was not for the faint of heart. @mad_merc - I can assure you that the bid process DID take place, not "supposedly."
My goal was to pull together a team that could produce the best website for the city, and put us on the leading edge of what's happening and possible in website interactivity. Hence, the use of Drupal which is a widely used open source CMS, and has been used for sites from the White House to Sony. The local design and user experience firm, Simple Focus, will be leading the actual re-design of the site. Mediacurrent, the largest Drupal company in the southern region, will be working with us on the development of the site.
Our "extreme desire to query the public" as Jeff commented above, is based on the fact that this is a city website and, in the end, belongs to and will be used by the citizens of Memphis. We think that means they should have some input into what they would like to see on the website and how they would like to interact with the city through the website. You might disagree, but to me that's good process for what should be a public resource.
Rick...C'mon, man...you know better than to assume that a whole campaign will be run perfectly, especially in retrospect. You've been involved in enough, and enough imperfect campaigns, to know there are always competing interests involved. The campaign did a lot more right than it did wrong, compared to other campaigns I've seen run in special elections. There are circumstances that the campaign was dealing with that impacted their effectiveness, and I'm happy to discuss those with individuals...I won't continue to get into it here.
Tom...C'mon man...you're going to say New Path is used to combat grassroots efforts? Based on what? Someone is going to need to define grassroots for me if you're supposed to be the spokesperson for the grassroots. On the topic of funding....It's wrong to include New Path on the same level as Rebuild Government...we've never had resources like that. But, funding can be a critical component when you're trying to change mindsets. This is especially the case when confronting people on the other side who are dealing in fear and supporting the status quo.
Commissioner Whalum...I said I didn't want people to think I was JUST being defensive, I'll allow that there was some defensiveness in my response. I don't want to battle your perceptions out here, but I'd be more than glad to get together to discuss them. I will say, in defense (not defensiveness this time), that Commissioners Jones and Hart are not trying to thrown the County into turmoil...Shelby County Schools under the direction of David Pickler is leading the charge to throw the County into turmoil...Jones and Hart are trying to head that threat off at the pass. David Pickler and his supporters are the folks who want to institutionalize separate but equal for the two school systems...is that something that you agree with?
One more thing, for anyone reading this string, because I don't want anyone to think I'm just being defensive...
My objection is not to the discussion of how to win a campaign. Anyone who knows me, knows I will talk campaign strategy all night long. My objection is to this particular brand of non-constructive criticism, because it's based on poor information with no attempt at having full context. I would have loved nothing more than to have a conversation with John Branston about this campaign, the level that New Path or myself was involved, what went right, what went wrong, and the general challenges associated with supporting political change in Memphis & Shelby County. Alas, this writer decided that wasn't of value, and it would be better to jump to conclusions.
Anyone interested in really having a constructive conversation, and learning about how we might fulfill the next golden opportunity should feel free to email me at email@example.com or find me on twitter @cardelljo.
John, I don't know where you saw me congratulating myself. You're right this race was winnable, but its loss wasn't based on New Path raising money for an ad. If you had taken the time to actually gather information and consider facts, you might have learned why this golden opportunity was missed...not based on a knee-jerk reaction, but actually based on facts. I wasn't making excuses, but defending the people I watched involved in Cherry's campaign who worked hard and carried out a campaign that was much more considered than you gave them credit for. The people you seemed to want to denigrate assuming they didn't work as hard because the campaign came up short...sure, that's the way to encourage new people to get involved in the process when few win on their first time out. Or, maybe you weren't thinking of those people involved in the actual campaign, and your goal was just to call out New Path, Mpact (who aren't politically involved), and the whole creative class. Well, I guess we'll take your ire, the same way we take it from Thaddeus Matthews, both borne out of assumptions and misinformation.
Now, about that panel...this has always been fascinating to me, so I'm appreciating hashing it out...you didn't say read the book, then come back and I'll talk to you. You said, read the book, and you'll understand why I won't be on your panel. That was pretty clear...I only remember it so well, because it was a kind of WTH moment. If you had communicated what you wrote in your comment...I'm sure it will enlighten everyone that they should read your book before ever coming to ask you to share, and that's the only way to know who you are or have an idea of Memphis history. By the way, we were so intrigued that we did actually read the book, and still had no idea why you wouldn't do the panel. Now, after years of reading your columns, I guess I'd have to admit that we didn't know enough about you, and you might have done us a favor.
Rick, you're right in your campaign strategy approach you wrote about. The only problem is basing the analysis on how Davis's campaign was run on Branston's uninformed assertions. In addition, I hope that you weren't implying that, based on Branston, New Path was trying to be SEEN in this election. Nothing is further from the truth, and you will find nothing outside of this blog post that would lead to that determination.
From what I saw actually keeping up with these campaigns, Cherry's campaign focused on exactly the targeting you wrote about. Now you could argue that Lewis' campaign just did it better, or your impact player really convinced that deciding 60 people to vote. But saying that the Davis campaign ran a shotgun approach is simply not true. More than likely, the people they "convinced" were teachers who think that Lewis will come in and regulate Cash....we'll see if that proves to be the case.
John, I'm not sure where you're getting your information, but you're wrong. As a much vaunted journalist, you could have sought out a source with direct knowledge on this issue either myself for New Path or someone from the Cherry Davis campaign...just because a journalist has a blog doesn't mean that should limit their fact checking. As the person from New Path who probably would have "hit up" whoever it is you're talking about, we were not involved in raising money just to run an ad. As far as I know, the great majority of the limited resources raised to support Cherry Davis were used by her campaign to get directly to voters. Any ads were limited, and made with great deliberation about what was best for the overall campaign strategy. Do you really think it's a novel concept to run transportation? Trust me, that was done and more.
I'm not sure what the last campaign you worked on was, but having worked on many in the last few years (and several special elections) I can assure you that Cherry Davis' campaign involved many people who worked hard to win, played rough, got in the dirt, and used vehicles. Again, not sure where your campaign experience comes from, but I think there are few who would agree that $1,000 could win an election against someone with the name recognition of Sara Lewis and the full-on support of the teachers' union. Considering the odds, and that Lewis garnered 45% of the vote in the general election against Davis' 18%, coming within 7 points was a pretty good run for the money for the Davis campaign.
There's one thing you're right about, this was a golden opportunity missed. As someone who tried to ring that bell to let everyone know about it, you can be no more disappointed than me that it was missed.
I guess I might take your call to arms more seriously if you hadn't turned down a request from New Path in the past to share your wealth of knowledge on a panel. With the rationale for turning it down being read your book and we would understand...?!? Hopefully, the next time young people come asking for your input you'll give it before and not after the fact.
Moving forward, the whole community, whether living in a particular district or not must come together to support the candidates that we think can lead us to the community we want. We will have to put in support, work, and money to make that happen.
By Louis Goggans
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