POLITICS: On Notice 

With a month to go, the city election may finally get some overdue attention.

< p > F o r a w h i l e i t l o o k e d a s t h o u g h t h e r a c e f o r M e m p h i s m a y o r m i g h t t h e o r e t i c a l l y b e i m p a c t e d b y r e a c t i o n h e r e a n d t h e r e t o t h e d a m a g e s a n d o t h e r c o n s e q u e n c e s o f t h e G r e a t W i n d s t o r m o f 2 0 0 3 . T h o u g h h e a v i l y f a v o r e d i n c u m b e n t t W i l l i e H e r e n t o n c o u l d d o l i t t l e t o o f f s e t t h e s i t u a t i o n , h e h a d n o t e x a c t l y b e e n f r o n t a n d c e n t e r i n t h e G i u l i a n i m o d e , a n d t h a t r a n k l e d w i t h s o m e .

< p > B u t t h a t w a s t h e n , t h i s i s n o w , a n d t h e i s s u e , l i k e t h e s t o r m i t s e l f , s e e m s t o h a v e s u b s i d e d , e v e n a s a n o t h e r m a t t e r t o u t e d b y H e r e n t o n ‘ s m a j o r o p p o n e n t , S h e l b y C o u n t y C o m m i s s i o n e r J o h n W i l l i n g h a m – t h a t o f l e g a l i z e d c a s i n o g a m b l i n g f o r M e m p h i s – w a s n e u t r a l i z e d i n i t s t u r n b y t h e m a y o r ‘ s r e n e w e d e s p o u s a l o f t h e s a m e g o a l .

< p > G i v e n t h e f a c t t h a t b o t h m a j o r c a n d i d a t e s w e r e o n t h e s a m e p a g e a l s o w i t h a n o t h e r p r o b a b l e w i l l - o ‘ - t h e w i s p , t h e i s s u e o f c i t y / c o u n t y c o n s o l i d a t i o n , t h e r e d i d n ‘ t s e e m t o b e g r a p h i c d i f f e r e n c e s i n p o i n t o f v i e w .

< p > G r a n t e d , t h e r e a r e m a t t e r s o f p e r s o n a l i t y a n d d e m o g r a p h i c s t h a t c o u l d m a k e a d i f f e r e n c e . W i l l i n g h a m m u s e d a l o u d t h e o t h e r d a y o n t h e m o m e n t w h e n , h e s a i d , h e m a d e a d e c i s i o n t o r u n a g a i n s t t h e s e e m i n g l y i m p r e g n a b l e H e r e n t o n .

< p > T h a t w a s b a c k i n J u n e , d u r i n g a m e e t i n g o f t h e m o n t h l y D u t c h T r e a t L u n c h e o n , a t w h i c h a r e a c o n s e r v a t i v e s g a t h e r t o h e a r t h i s o r t h a t s p e a k e r o n a p u b l i c t o p i c . B a c k t h e n i t w a s H e r e n t o n ‘ s t u r n , a n d , b y a n d l a r g e , t h e a c q u i t t e d h i m s e l f s k i l l f u l l y b e f o r e t h i s a u d i e n c e – c r a c k i n g j o k e s a n d m a k i n g a p l a u s i b l e c a s e f o r h i m s e l f a s a g u a r d i a n o f p u b l i c s o l v e n c y .

< p > T h e r e w a s o n e e e r i e t u r n , h o w e v e r , w h e n H e r e n t o n g o t l o c k e d i n t o a v e r b a l b a c k - a n d - f o r t h w i t h C h a r l e s A v e r y , h u s b a n d o f c o u n t y c o m m i s s i o n e r J o y c e A v e r y – o n e w h i c h e n d e d w i t h t h e m a y o r s a y i n g , “ Y o u k n o w , t h e w o r l d g e t s b e t t e r w h e n p e o p l e l i k e y o u l e a v e . h e r e ! ” T h e m a y o r w o u l d l a t e r e x p l a i n t h a t h e t h o u g h t h e d e t e c t e d r a c i s m i n A v e r y ‘ s a t t i t u d e , s o m e t h i n g s t o u t l y d e n i e d b y A v e r y a n d h i s t a b l e m a t e s , o n e o f w h o m w a s W i l l i n g h a m .

< p > “ T h e r e w a s h a t r e d o n d i s p l a y , b u t i t w a s n ‘ t C h a r l e s ‘ , ” s a y s t h e c o m m i s s i o n e r , w h o c l a i m s t h a t h i s m i n d w a s m a d e u p t h e n a n d t h e r e t o o p p o s e w h a t h e s a w a s a “ h i g h - h a n d e d n e s s ” o n t h e p a r t o f t h e l o n g - t e r m i n c u m b e n t .

< p > W i l l i n g h a m k n o w s h e h a s a n u p h i l l s t r u g g l e o n h i s h a n d s , h o w e v e r . T r u e e n o u g h , t h e c i t y ‘ s d o m i n a n t b l a c k p o p u l a t i o n d i v i d e d a l m o s t e q u a l l y b e t w e e n H e r e n t o n a n d m a j o r o p p o n e n t J o e F o r d i n 1 9 9 9 ( w i t h t h e m a y o r r e a p i n g a f a r g r e a t e r s h a r e o f t h e w h i t e v o t e ) , b u t i t i s h i g h l y d o u b t f u l t h a t a c o n s e r v a t i v e w h i t e R e p u b l i c a n – e v e n o n e w i t h m a v e r i c k t e n d e n c i e s l i k e W i l l i n g h a m - - c o u l d d o a s w e l l .

< p > N o r c a n t h e c o m m i s s i o n e r c o u n t o n w a l l - t o - w a l l s u p p o r t a m o n g t h e c i t y ‘ s w h i t e s – n o t e v e n a m o n g h i s f e l l o w m e m b e r s o f t h e l o c a l G . O . P . , w h o s e c h a i r m a n , K e m p C o n r a d , a n d o t h e r i n f l u e n t i a l R e p u b l i c a n s a r e p u b l i c l y d u b i o u s a b o u t W i l l i n g h a m ‘ s c a n d i d a c y .

< p > M e a n w h i l e , o t h e r m a y o r a l c a n d i d a t e s – o f w h o m B e a l e S t r e e t e n t r e p r e n e u r R a n d l e C a t r o n i s p r o b a b l y t h e m o s t a c t i v e – a l s o s t r u g g l e t o g e t t r a c t i o n .

< p > < p > O T H E R R A C E S , I N B R I E F :

< p > < L I > C i t y c o u n c i l , D i s t r i c t 9 , P o s i t i o n 1 : T h e o u t l o o k f o r i n c u m b e n t P a t V a n d e r S c h a a f c o n t i n u e s t o i m p r o v e a s c h a l l e n g e r s l i k e b u s i n e s s m a n L e s t e r L i t a n d R e p u b l i c a n a c t i v i s t s B o b M u r p h r e e a n d A r n o l d W e i n e r m a k e i n r o a d s t h a t w i l l c o m e l a r g e l y a t t h e e x p e n s e o f h e r m o s t d a n g e r o u s o p p o n e n t , G O P e n d o r s e e S c o t t M c C o r m i c k .

< p > < L I > C i t y c o u n c i l , D i s t r i c t 5 . L a w y e r J i m S t r i c k l a n d h a s b e e n h e l p e d b y a s l i c k n e w T V a d , w h i c h c u l i m i n a t e s w i t h a n i m a g e s o f S r i c k l a n d a t w o r k i n a d e s k i n h i s f r o n t y a r d a n d i s b a s e d o n o n e w h i c h p r o v e d s u c c e s s f u l f o r c u r r e n t N a s h v i l l e m a y o r B i l l P u r c e l l , b u t S t r i c k l a n d s t i l l m u s t c o n t e n d a g a i n s t t h e e s t a b l i s h e d c o n s t i t u e n c i e s , l i b e r a l a n d c o n s e r v a t i v e , r e s p e c t i v e l y , o f o p p o n e n t s C a r o l C h u m n e y a n d G e o r g e F l i n n .

< p > < L I > T h e s c r a p b e t w e e n i n c u m b e n t C i t y C o u r t C l e r k T h o m a s L o n g a n d c h a l l e n g e r J a n i s F u l l i l o v e c o u l d c o m e d o w n t o a m a t t e r o f l a t e e n d o r s e m e n t s , w i t h c a s h - s t a r v e d B e t t y B o y e t t e ‘ s c h a n c e s d e p e n d e n t o n t h e d e g r e e o f s u p p o r t s h e g e t s f r o m t h e G O P .

< p > < L I > T w o r a c e s i n D i s t r i c t 1 – f o r t h e c o u n c i l b e t w e e n i n c u m b e n t E . C . J o n e s a n d G O P e n d o r s e e W y a t t B u n k e r a n d f o r t h e s c h o o l b o a r d b e t w e e n m a j o r c o n t e n d e r s J a y B a i l e y a n d W i l l i e B r o o k s – r e m a i n c l o s e .

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