Thursday, August 27, 2009

Style Over Substance

Interim mayors in Memphis don't have such a good track record. Wallace Madewelll tainted the pool with his handling of Beale Street. Is Lowery the victim of guilt by association or just a general dislike of him personally? I was about to take this post in another direction then I saw the evening news impromptu polls. No matter what Myron Lowery does the odds seem to be against him. It's like he's climbing stairs on an escalator. Each step he takes somehow seems to disappear. The people just want him to stand still and take the ride but he's not lying down.

This guy is cleaning house. But just like Willie Herenton he has done some things I don't agree with. I just hope the informed voters will look at the facts and turn out to the polls and support him. Memphis voters are a strange breed. I heard what I thought was one of the most Conservative people I know call him a coward for taking a stand and not appearing on Thaddeus Matthews' show. I applaud him for not caving in under pressure. Just to stop this clown from talking. After they talked to me, the Conservative took it back, but the damage was already done. If only briefly they got caught up in the snare.

This is like when John McCain ran against Barack Obama. It didn't matter that McCain has straddled the fence for the last thirty years and Obama was a newcomer. He was rolled over by the Obama persona alone. It's hard to get someone to buy a Ford when they've test driven a Lexus. Even though they live in a apartment building and have no where to park. They want to ride in style. They haven't considered the cost of insurance and that it only burns premium gas. Unfortunately for Lowery people go for style over substance.


Blogger Common said...

I hear people putting this man down everyday in spite of what he has done or does. Maybe those with children who didn't get their checks for working during the summer will remember who expedited their pay. Last I heard their director(Sarah Lewis) was still out sick.He should be voted in just for the sake of continuity.

7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lowery: Jefferson's payment to Herenton's lawyer 'questionable'
By Amos Maki (Contact), Memphis Commercial Appeal
Friday, September 4, 2009

High-ranking city officials are questioning City Atty. Elbert Jefferson's decision to pay the legal fees for former mayor Willie Herenton's defense in a criminal probe.

Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery said Friday that he believed that Jefferson's $55,000 payment to Herenton's attorney, Robert Spence, was questionable and that Jefferson never told him that he had been interviewed by federal investigators on Wednesday.

"I think that payment needs to be explained," said Lowery, who attempted to fire Jefferson on his first day as mayor for what he called out-of-control payments to outside attorneys.

"This is just another example of the questionable practices I have observed in the legal department," Lowery said. "I want to know why he didn't inform me that the FBI questioned him about this. I don't understand why, unless he felt ashamed."

City Council chairman Harold Collins said that if the fees were to pay for the legal defense of Herenton as a citizen and not as mayor, Jefferson should get the city's money back.

"If the mayor was being questioned in his capacity as mayor of Memphis, I go back to the fact that he deserves to be indemnified," Collins said. "If Willie Herenton was questioned as citizen Willie Herenton, I think Mr. Jefferson needs to figure out a way to get our money back."

Jefferson has said the city does not have a written policy allowing it to pay the legal fees of employees, but that it has been the city's "custom and practice" to do so.

Spence said his arrangement to provide legal representation was with Herenton, not the city. The attorney, who charged Herenton $210 per hour, has declined to say whether he thought it was appropriate for the city to pay his bills, saying that wasn't his call.

"There is nothing in the City Charter giving anyone in city government the authority to use tax dollars to pay for a private, individual debt," said Councilman Jim Strickland, an attorney. "As a result, I think the expenditure was improper."

Jefferson, a Herenton appointee who also serves as the city's chief ethics officer, claims that the fees paid to Spence were for general legal advice to Herenton, not a criminal defense. Jefferson said the City Attorney's Office couldn't render that advice because he and the office were involved in an ethics investigation of Herenton that the former mayor requested.

Jefferson rushed the payment to Spence, a former city attorney now in private practice, just 12 days before Herenton was originally set to resign.

A grand jury has been exploring corruption allegations against Herenton for more than a year. At the center of the investigation is a $91,000 payment Herenton received in connection with a city-backed Downtown redevelopment project. Herenton also tapped more than $50,000 from a fund financed by businessmen to stage annual mayoral Christmas parties, converting the money to his personal use.

The legal bills that were submitted to Jefferson, obtained by The Commercial Appeal, show Spence was bracing for possible bribery, extortion and mail fraud charges.

The bills also lay out Spence's possible defense strategy. Spence makes reference to prosecutorial misconduct in at least two places. The bills don't spell out details of any misconduct, but the ex-mayor has said publicly that federal prosecutors are trying to take him down "by any means necessary."

10:16 PM  
Blogger Common said...

David S. Broder: Making weight an election issue is new low
It'll be interesting to see if there's a backlash of New Jersey voters opposing slim incumbent Corzine's attempts to turn them against portly challenger Christie.

By David S. Broder, Washington Post Writers Group
Posted October 12, 2009

Every time you think politics has hit a new low, it finds a way to go lower. I thought we had reached the nadir last month when Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted "You lie!" at President Barack Obama while he was speaking to a joint session of Congress.

But then The New York Times caught me up on what has been happening in New Jersey. Campaigns there are rarely elevated affairs, but the current battle between Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine and Republican challenger Christopher Christie has sunk to new depths.

As the Times pointed out, a television ad for Corzine, "about as subtle as a playground taunt," shows Christie "stepping out of an SUV in extreme slow motion, his extra girth moving, just as slowly, in several different directions at once. In case viewers missed the point, a narrator snidely intones" that Christie, the former U.S. attorney for New Jersey, "threw his weight around" to avoid several traffic tickets.

As if that were not enough, Corzine, who is 62 and conspicuously fit, has been running weekend 5- and 10-kilometer races in cities around the state to demonstrate that he has kept himself in much better shape than Christie, despite the 15-year difference in their ages.

I have no rooting interest in the New Jersey race, but the ad hoc Committee of Journalistic Ethics Enforcers has authorized me to condemn this advertising tactic. I very much fear that if Corzine pulls out a victory next month after trailing Christie for months in the polls, the precedent will be set for a really distasteful tactic -- the "fat boy" ploy.

If you believe, as I do, that the "beautiful people" already have enough of an advantage in this age of television politics and cable trivia, then the last thing we need is a wave of ads highlighting that others are really ugly.

I worry about the many Senate and House incumbents in both parties who have plumped up since they came to Washington. Lobbyists can no longer buy members' lunches or dinners, but there still are notable trenchermen among them -- including some prominent men and women who always try to be photographed with their coats buttoned.


2:41 AM  
Blogger Common said...

It's long been argued that Abraham Lincoln, with his hangdog looks and bad complexion, could never be elected these days. If Stephen Douglas had chosen to ridicule Lincoln's face, rather than debate him on the issues, American history might have turned out very differently.

This is not an issue that Barack Obama can afford to ignore. As the leader of the Democratic Party, he is accountable for the Corzine campaign. He has to know that if he, Obama, were not such a lean, fit and dead-eye basketball player, he could be a target himself.

He may be tempted to emulate Corzine's tactics when he runs for re-election, if he's lucky enough to draw Newt Gingrich as his opponent. But he ought to remember that it could as easily be Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty or the calorie-counting Mike Huckabee.

But Democrats with longer memories (or less dire political circumstances) than Corzine's ought to remember recent history. Suppose that George W. Bush, Mr. Fitness, had thrown weight onto the scales against Al Gore in 2000. Does anyone think it would have taken 36 days to figure out who won?

Or go back to Bill Clinton, who obviously showed the effects of too many stops at McDonald's. Papa Bush and Bob Dole, with not an extra ounce of fat, could have made him a laughingstock.

When I get to New Jersey in a couple of weeks, I'll be intrigued to learn whether there has been a backlash among voters who may be sensitive about their own weight. But the Times reported that Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University poll, said that when asked to say what came first to voters' minds about Christie, one of the most frequent answers was "fat."

Christie has tried to dispose of the "issue" by losing 25 pounds in just the last four months. But he ought to remember what happened with Huckabee in last year's presidential race. He drew as much attention early on in the primaries as a successful dieter as he did for any aspect of his biography. But he lost.

This issue has no place in our politics.

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