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Editorial Results (free)

1. Southbrook Mall Plans Simmer -

If the city is going to spend money on a renovation of the Southbrook Mall in Whitehaven, it should be part of a larger plan for Whitehaven and tie in to the aerotropolis concept.

That’s what city Housing and Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb said Tuesday, April 15, as he outlined a $6.5 million plan for turning the mall into a “town center” that includes some city government offices and private retail.

2. Consolidation Voting Case Still Complex in 3rd Year -

Three years after all the votes were counted in dual votes on an attempt to consolidate city and county governments, the federal lawsuit over the dual-vote requirement in state law continues.

And a look at the depositions and other written statements in the case file from the experts for each side shows the issues in the federal court case remain complex.

3. Team Players -

The key players, from Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. to St. Louis Cardinals chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr., grabbed the microphone at an invitation-only rally held on the club level of AutoZone Park and made their best pitches.

4. Council Keeps Southbrook Mall Renovation Alive -

Memphis City Council members voted Tuesday, Nov. 5, to start over again in plans to find a legal use for city funds in renovating the Southbrook Mall in Whitehaven.

And the administration of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. gave a qualified endorsement through what amounts to a new feasibility study on the mall due before the council in a month.

5. October 4-October 10, 2013: This week in Memphis history -

2012: Robert J. Pera, the new majority owner to be of the Memphis Grizzlies was assembling his local partners for the ownership group. The names included NBA and University of Memphis basketball star Anfernees “Penny” Hardaway, pop star Justin Timberlake and former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr.

6. Armstrong: No Precincts Closing This Year -

Three police precincts Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said earlier might have to close if his department continues to take budget cuts will not close in the current fiscal year or the next.

7. DeBerry’s Political Path Sign of Times -

Flags over the state capitol in Nashville and all state office buildings remained at half staff Tuesday, July 30, in honor and memory of state Rep. Lois DeBerry of Memphis.

8. Strickland, Conrad Warn of Budget Pitfalls -

When most of the 13 people on the Memphis City Council began their service in 2008, the city’s property tax rate was $3.43 and rolling back that rate was a priority of a voting majority on the body.

9. Council Approves Tax Hike in $3.40 Property Tax Rate -

Memphis City Council members raised the city property tax rate Tuesday, June 26, by four cents above the recertified tax rate and put the rest of a turbulent budget season to rest.

The approval of the $3.40 property tax rate and city operating and capital budgets came in a council session that ended at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

10. Second Round Council Budget Plans Emerge -

Memphis City Council chairman Edmund Ford Jr. and council members Harold Collins and Lee Harris will have plans for the full council to consider when the body meets Tuesday, June 25, in special session.

11. Council Faces Pressure in Financial Crisis -

The Memphis City Council is caught between hints of a state takeover of city finances and the possibility of a lawsuit by most, if not all, of the city’s municipal labor unions in a fiscal crisis that is also evolving into a significant labor dispute.

12. Budget Reset Talks Lead to Fresh Drama -

The Memphis City Hall budget drama turned from a budget reset into a political thicket Tuesday, June 4, as Memphis City Council members debated getting involved in the details of changing employee and retiree benefits.

13. Wharton Proposes 14-Cent Tax Hike Above Recertified Rate -

The administration of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. is proposing a 14-cent city property tax hike on top of the 25 cents added to the current rate of $3.11 to compensate for property value lost in the 2013 property reappraisal.

14. Lincoln Charged With Selling Memphis to World -

There is a surge these days in Memphis boosterism, but there may be no one else with their pulse more on what is new and exciting and worth celebrating in the city than Rashana Lincoln.

As director of community engagement for the New Memphis Institute (formerly the Leadership Academy), Lincoln is charged with selling her greatest passion: Memphis.

15. April 5-11: This Week in Memphis History -

1993: U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Sr. was acquitted of all federal bank fraud charges in the dramatic conclusion to his second trial on the charges in three years. The jury foreman read the not guilty verdicts on 18 counts and on the final count, Ford embraced his oldest son, Harold Ford Jr. Co-defendants Douglas Beaty and Karl Schledwitz were also acquitted of all charges by the jury in a case that began with the collapse of the Butcher bank empire in 1983.

16. March 22-28: This Week in Memphis History -

1968: 16.1 inches of snow fell on the city of Memphis, cancelling plans for striking city sanitation workers to march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the front of their ranks from Clayborn Temple to City Hall. King would return to the city to lead the march on March 28, a march that would end before it got to City Hall from Clayborn Temple because of violence. The violent end of that march would prompt King to return to the city to lead another march April 5.

17. Late Judge Higgs Changed Local Politics -

Funeral services for Shelby County Criminal Court Judge and Memphis mayoral contender Otis Higgs were pending and being planned Monday, Feb. 18, just days after his unexpected death.

18. Judge and Mayoral Contender Otis Higgs Dies -

Shelby County Criminal Court Judge W. Otis Higgs, whose two bids to become Memphis Mayor in the 1970s were important chapters in the city’s political and racial history, died Friday, Feb. 15, at the age of 75.

19. Turning the Page -

It’s that time of year again. It’s that time when journalists across the fruited plain collectively try and make God laugh – with our prognostications, of course, about the year ahead and of what might be.

20. Grizzlies CEO Levien Longtime Fan of Memphis -

The first time Jason Levien visited Memphis, it was the summer of 1996. He was here to help his friend and law school classmate Harold Ford Jr. run for Congress, so Levien helped him campaign – and slept on Ford’s sofa.

21. ‘Let’s Do This’ -

There was just something about FedExForum. Something about touring the more than 800,000-square-foot arena for the first time that made him think it’s “just awesome, being inside here.”

22. City Welcomes New Grizzlies Owner Pera -

Before founding the company he runs today, Ubiquiti Networks Inc., 34-year-old Robert Pera worked at Apple Inc., where he was a hardware engineer.

23. NBA Approves Pera as New Grizzlies Owner -

Thanks to a unanimous vote of approval from the NBA Board of Governors, Robert Pera is a few days away from being the new owner of the Memphis Grizzlies.

24. NBA Approves Pera as Grizzlies Owner -

Thanks to a unanimous vote of approval from the NBA Board of Governors, Robert Pera is a few days away from being the new owner of the Memphis Grizzlies.

25. Race to the Finish -

Republican state Sen. Brian Kelsey walked into the storefront at the Carrefour shopping center earlier this month and liked what he saw of the local effort for the Romney-Ryan presidential ticket.

26. Political Outsourcing -

It has been 12 years since Shelby County voters have encountered a Democratic or Republican presidential nominee on the general election ballot who had some kind of political presence in the region, if not the city, before they made their bid for president.

27. New Grizzlies Ownership Could Include Manning, Hardaway -

A source close to Robert Pera, the California businessman in the process of buying the Memphis Grizzlies, has confirmed the addition of a few new names to what will be the new ownership of the Grizzlies.

28. Shelby County Redistricting Process to Formally End -

Shelby County Commissioners will vote Monday, Oct. 8, on putting a formal end to the redistricting process, 10 months after the new district lines were due.

The commission meets at 1:30 p.m. at the Vasco Smith County Administration Building, 160 N. Main St.

29. New Grizz Ownership Could Include Manning, Hardaway -

A source close to Robert Pera, the California businessman in the process of buying the Memphis Grizzlies, has confirmed the addition of a few new names to what will be the new ownership of the Grizzlies.

30. New Grizz Ownership Could Include Manning, Hardaway -

A source close to Robert Pera, the California businessman in the process of buying the Memphis Grizzlies, has confirmed the addition of a few new names to what will be the new ownership of the Grizzlies.

31. Gas Tax Would Raise MATA Funding -

If Memphis voters approve a gas tax increase on the Nov. 6 ballot, the Memphis Area Transit Authority will have what it has for years said it lacks to provide better service – a dedicated source of continuing funding.

32. Proposed Gas Tax Advances to November Memphis Ballot -

Memphis City Council members gave final approval Tuesday, Aug. 7, to a second ballot question for the Nov. 6 ballot in Memphis.

On an 8-3 vote, the council approved on third and final reading the referendum ordinance that puts a one-cent-a-gallon local gas tax to Memphis voters. The same ballot will also include a referendum on a proposed half percent local sales tax hike the council approved in July.

33. Cohen, Hart in Final Preparations for Primary -

Steve Cohen and Tomeka Hart agree that serving in Congress is about relationships, something they each said in separate interviews with The Daily News editorial board.

34. Polls Set to Open for Early Voting -

Shelby County voters start deciding Friday, July 13, general election countywide races for assessor of property, General Sessions Court clerk, district attorney general and a race for a Shelby County Commission seat. The ballot also includes seven races for district seats on the countywide school board.

35. Cohen Keeps Focus on Bigger Picture -

Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, says he works well with Republicans in Congress but that most of the federal funding and help he has secured for the city comes from the Democratic-controlled White House.

36. City Budget Season Ends With Frustration -

The year of the “gap budget” at City Hall felt and sounded a lot like the previous two budget years at City Hall.

The mayor and City Council were frustrated even as the budget deliberations came to an end with a lowered city property tax rate.

37. Council Looks to End Budget Season -

Memphis City Council members are likely to end their budget season Tuesday, June 5, with final votes on an operating budget ordinance as well as a tax rate ordinance.

But going into the week there was no single budget proposal or tax rate proposal that had the formal endorsement of a majority on the council.

38. Differences Remain on City Tax Rate -

When the Memphis City Council’s budget committee gets together Tuesday, June 5, there probably will be agreement that the full council should not raise property taxes.

Instead, it should lower the property tax rate and should use more of the city’s $81 million reserve fund than Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s administration believes is prudent.

39. Council Weighs Three Tax Roll Back Proposals -

Three Memphis City Council members have presented plans that would roll back the city’s current property tax rate to varying degrees and come up with the city’s last mandatory funding to Memphis City Schools using differing combinations of one-time funds.

40. Bed Tax Hike Talks Turn To High Airfares -

This week’s discussion by the Memphis City Council about raising the hotel-motel bed tax sprouted wings and was bound early on for the much larger and emotional topic of high airfares at Memphis International Airport.

41. Council Pursues Alternatives To Tax Hike -

City Council member Ed Ford Jr.’s students finished their algebra tests this week and he took them to Chik-fil-A as a reward.

It is one of the few diversions Ford is allowing himself this budget season in which he and other council members are contemplating ways around the 47-cent property tax hike Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. has proposed for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

42. Council Rejects 18 Cent Property Tax Hike -

Memphis City Council members voted Tuesday, March 20, to reject a one-time, 18-cent property tax hike to mop up an estimated $13 million in red ink for the current fiscal year.

Instead the council voted to use $10 million from the city’s reserve fund and cut $3.2 million in the existing budget including money for a voluntary buyout program of some sanitation workers that the Wharton administration has yet to activate.

43. Elvis Presley Blvd. Center of Council Talks -

For decades what is now Elvis Presley Boulevard was the road to Memphis for those from Mississippi, whether they were coming to stay or coming to visit.

Much has changed since Elvis Presley moved into a home on a hill already named Graceland in the mid-1950s when Whitehaven was a country road not yet a part of the city of Memphis.

44. Deadline Looms For Candidates In March Primaries -

There is the paperwork and there are the deadlines in politics. And then there are the campaigns that begin long before the paperwork or deadlines.

One group of candidates in the 2012 election cycle is approaching its first deadline Thursday, Dec. 8, at noon – the filing deadline for the March 6 county primaries.

45. Council Approves New Tow Rules, Delays Hotel Motel Tax Discussion -

Memphis City Council members approved a new set of rules for the city’s wrecker industry including background checks for drivers, a Memphis Transportation Commission to enforce regulations and no moving towed vehicles until police clear the vehicle for towing.

46. Despite Low Turnout, Incumbents See Big Wins -

Memphis voters kept the turnout in last week’s city elections at less than 20 percent. About 18 percent of the city’s 426,580 or so voters showed up for the Thursday, Oct. 6, elections.

Some politicos doubted turnout would move into double digits until the relatively healthy 7.6 percent turnout for early voters made it clear.

47. Wharton, Fullilove & Conrad Re-Elected -- Harris-Ford to Runoff - Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. won a full four-year term of office as mayor Thursday, Oct. 6, two years after he claimed the mayor’s office in a special election.

And all 12 of the Memphis City Council members seeking re-election won new four year terms in the city election cycle, marking the largest return of incumbents to the 13-member council in the 43-year history of the mayor-council form of government.

48. Council Continues Fiscal Policy Talks -

Nearly three months after a city budget and tax rate for the new fiscal year were set by the Memphis City Council, the council and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. continue to debate and make decisions about long-term city fiscal policy.

49. Early Voting Off to Modest Start -

The first full week of early voting in advance of the Oct. 6 Memphis elections got a push with 1,684 citizens casting ballots on Friday, Sept. 16’s first day of the early voting period.

Another 411 filed absentee votes before Friday’s opening.

50. Vote for Me -

Four years after the biggest turnover on the Memphis City Council, the Oct. 6 city elections could see the biggest return of incumbents ever on the council. Early voting begins Friday, Sept. 16.

Twelve of the 13 incumbents are seeking re-election. It would have been 13 had Barbara Swearengen Ware not taken a plea deal on an official misconduct charge.

51. 4 Council Members - All 3 City Court Judges To Run Unopposed In Oct. Elections -

Four incumbent Memphis City Council members and all three incumbent City Court Judges were effectively re-elected at the Thursday, July 21, noon deadline for candidates to file their qualifying petitions for the Oct. 6 Memphis ballot.

52. Corker Raises $2.6M in Quarter, Has $5.3M on Hand -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Republican Bob Corker raised $2.6 million in the second quarter and has a $5.3 million balance on hand for bid to be re-elected to the U.S. Senate.

The former Chattanooga mayor has yet to draw a serious opponent from either party for next year's race.

53. Patterson’s Legacy In Local Politics Looms Large -

J.O. Patterson Jr. was the city’s first African-American mayor. That’s the lead biographical item from any comprehensive history of Memphis political history to come.

His 20-day appointed tenure as interim mayor following the 1982 resignation of Wyeth Chandler, however, was a footnote to a 20-year career on the Memphis City Council that began when the city switched to the mayor-council form of government in 1968.

54. Council Approves City Budget With One Time 18 Cent Tax Hike - Memphis City Council members approved a $661.4 million operating budget and added 18 cents on top of the city property tax rate, although they insist it is a one time only tax hike to pay money owed the Memphis City Schools in the upcoming budget year.

55. Lauck’s Southern Charm Brightens Little Tea Shop -

The proprietor of Downtown’s Little Tea Shop, the woman behind the cash register – Suhair Lauck – in the baseball cap greeting customers by name and being affectionately greeted in return as “Sue,” is as much of a Downtown icon as her bastion of home-cooked comfort food.

56. City Council Rejects 18-Cent Property Tax Hike -

The city of Memphis operating budget for the fiscal year to come July 1 is $11 million from being balanced.

The Memphis City Council voted on a series of 16 budget amendments Tuesday, June 7 in a marathon council session that began at 9 a.m. with the budget committee and ended shortly after 10 p.m.

57. Wharton Backs Tax Hike and Fee Increase Package -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. is backing an 18-cent city property tax hike to balance the city’s budget.

Wharton backed the proposal by Memphis City Council member Harold Collins as well as a set of city fee increases proposed by council member Edmund Ford Jr. as the council budget committee held a set of last-minute budget hearings Tuesday, June 7, at City Hall.

58. Council Prepares for Long Budget Session -

Memphis City Council members have a long day ahead Tuesday, June 7, at City Hall with lots of numbers and important decisions.

The council will either finish its budget season Tuesday or could go into an overtime period that could stretch past the July 1 start of the new fiscal year.

59. ‘Yes We Can’ -

President Barack Obama left the bustle of Washington politics – on a day when the U.S. hit its debt ceiling and Donald Trump said he won’t run for president – to fly to Memphis and tell the Booker T. Washington class of 2011, “I’m so proud of each and every one of you.”

60. ‘Yes We Can’ -

President Barack Obama left the bustle of Washington politics – on a day when the U.S. hit its debt ceiling and Donald Trump said he won’t run for president – to fly to Memphis and tell the Booker T. Washington class of 2011, “I’m so proud of each and every one of you.”

61. Court Overturns Ford Corruption Conviction -

Former state Sen. John Ford’s federal TennCare fraud and corruption convictions were tossed Thursday morning by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

62. Ford TennCare Corruption Conviction Overturned -

Former state Sen. John Ford’s federal TennCare fraud and corruption convictions were tossed Thursday morning by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court specifically found that Ford’s failure to disclose that he was working as a consultant for a TennCare contractor while he was a state senator voting on policies governing TennCare wasn’t a matter for the federal courts. It was instead a matter for state government, the court ruled.

63. Corker Starts Year With $1.1M in Campaign Account -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker has begun the year with a $1.1 million cash balance in his re-election campaign account.

Federal campaign finance reports due Monday show Corker raised nearly $161,000 in the quarter ending Dec. 31. The former Chattanooga mayor is seeking a second six-year term in 2012.

64. New School Merger Option Emerges -

A second quicker path to school consolidation opened this week, the same night the Memphis City Schools board made a bigger splash by voting down a compromise offer from the Shelby County Schools system.

65. MCS Board Votes Down Schools Standoff Compromise -

The Memphis City Schools (MCS) board voted down a compromise proposal Tuesday from Shelby County School officials.

The 2-7 vote against the compromise sets the stage for the Shelby County Election Commission to meet Wed. and set a date for a March referendum on the MCS charter surrender approved by the board in December.

66. CNBC Goes Local With FedEx Broadcast -

It was a Memphis morning on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” program Monday, with FedEx founder Fred Smith guest hosting the show’s broadcast from Hangar 26 at FedEx’s SuperHub at Memphis International Airport.

67. Suburbs Rule Early Voting -

The most recent early voting numbers show a sharp dividing line between the suburban and the urban. Early voting ends Thursday in advance of the Nov. 2 Election Day with the areas outside Memphis dominating the polls.

68. Early Voters Face Slate of Local, Statewide Races -

Shelby County voters begin making their choices Wednesday as early voting in advance of the Nov. 2 Election Day gets under way.

Early voting sites, 21 in all, open Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. – all at the same time and with the same hours through Oct. 23, the end of the early voting period.

69. Former President Clinton to Stump for McWherter -

Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Tennessee to campaign for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike McWherter.

70. Ford Recounts Political Education At Book Signing -

Former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. says politics moves faster than it did when he watched his father work as the city’s congressman and got his basic political education.

Ford was in Memphis this week for a book signing at Davis-Kidd Booksellers. His political tome, “More Davids Than Goliaths,” was released earlier this month.

71. City Council Gives UDC Green Light -

It is complex. It is tedious. Some of its proponents even call it boring. And it took six years to create.

This week the Memphis City Council gave final approval to a new Unified Development Code that won final approval the day before by the Shelby County Commission.

72. Ford Jr. Takes Readers Behind the Scenes With New Book -

Former Memphis Congressman Harold Ford Jr. made it clear last week that he’s a former Memphian.

But his new book, “More Davids Than Goliaths,” to be released next month, has plenty of Memphis – Memphis politics, at least – on its pages.

73. Early Voters Showing Up in Droves -

At a clip of more than 7,000 voters a day this week, early voting in advance of the Aug. 5 Election Day is on pace to triple the 31,000 total early voters in advance of the May 4 county primaries.

But that’s if the pace continues. The candidates and their campaigns work on theories about what generates turnout. Some are more proven than others, while others are a shot in the dark.

74. Ford Jr. Endorses Uncle for County Mayor -

Former Memphis Congressman Harold Ford Jr. made it official Wednesday endorsing his uncle, Joe Ford, in the Aug. 5 race for Shelby County mayor.

75. DECISION '10: Mayor’s Race a Contest Between Contrasting Styles -

The race for Shelby County mayor offers a choice between two very different politicians who, while in the political spotlight for years, have often been near the edges of that light.

Joe Ford, the interim Shelby County mayor and Democratic nominee, is a former Shelby County Commissioner and City Council member. He has served as chairman of both legislative bodies. Ford also is the face of the city’s most storied political family.

76. Cohen, Herenton Hit Campaign Trail on Separate Tracks -

In a Raleigh pizza parlor last week, Willie Herenton was in classroom mode as he talked to a group of 50 members of a Frayser-Raleigh civic group.

“Somebody answer me. We’re in school here tonight,” he said to the group “The Voice of Raleigh and Frayser” – the latest stop in Herenton’s challenge of Democratic congressional incumbent Steve Cohen in the Aug. 5 primaries.

77. Goldman Sachs Paid $20K to Ford -

Goldman Sachs paid the lobbying firm of former Memphis Congressman Harold Ford Sr. $20,000 at the end of 2009. Congressional records from the fourth quarter show The Harold Ford Group was paid to promote the interests of the powerful Wall Street investment bank on issues including the pending financial reform bill.

78. Largely Misunderstood, Probate Work Still Sought After -

It is the smallest office of the clerk’s positions on the May 5 primary ballot.

But because the Probate Court Clerk’s Office and the court's two divisions deal primarily with wills and estates, it might be the one office that begins with the simplest mission.

79. Commission Races Hinge on Public Issues -

Two issues figure in to the 11 competitive races for the Shelby County Commission – the future of the Regional Medical Center and local government consolidation.

Any push card for a credible candidate includes either something about how to save The MED or the candidate’s opposition to consolidation – or both.

80. Candidates Battle it Out in Democratic Primary -

Before voters get to the slimmer, trimmer Aug. 5 race for Shelby County mayor, some of them must decide the three-candidate Democratic primary on the May 4 ballot.

As political races go, this one has enough drama to make it interesting.

81. Moore Fights to Keep Commission Seat -

Edith Moore has never run for public office.

But that doesn’t mean she’s never been involved in politics.

82. UPDATE: Harold Ford Jr.'s New York Times Op-Ed -

Former Memphis Congressman Harold Ford Jr. will not run for the U.S. Senate from New York.

He explained his reasons in an op-ed piece in today's New York Times.

Here is the column in its entirety from the New York Times:

83. Ford Jr. Gets Tough Reception by NY Gay Group -

NEW YORK (AP) - Former Tennessee congressman and potential U.S. Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. got a tough reception while speaking to a gay advocacy group, and tried to explain he no longer opposes gay marriage.

84. Is 9th District Really Black? Maybe, Expert Says -  

One of the most hotly contested issues of the Democratic congressional primary race between Willie Herenton and Steve Cohen may be why the district lines are drawn the way they are.

The 9th Congressional District has been predominantly in Memphis for decades. In recent years it has grown to take in small parts of the suburbs. The lines could change again after the 2010 Census, when the Tennessee Legislature begins its usual reapportioning process.

Herenton and his supporters have repeatedly said the district’s borders were drawn to enhance the possibility of black representation in a congressional delegation that’s all white.

“I want you ... to help us to retrieve for our children what we lost in representation,” Herenton told a predominantly black crowd of 300 people Saturday at an East Memphis campaign rally.

To make the point even plainer, Herenton quoted radio talk show host and political blogger Thaddeus Matthews.

“Think about that. White folks, y’all got all 11. We just want one,” Herenton said to cheers from the crowd.

The legal concept and practice of drawing districts that reflect a majority black population, however, is not that simple. It’s rooted in the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Section II of the act requires that, in certain circumstances, districts be drawn to “give effect to the political preferences of the minority population.”

“This is actually a fairly technical area and it’s been the subject of a lot of litigation over the years, trying to interpret how Section II applies,” said attorney John Ryder.

Ryder is a Republican National Committeeman and chairman of the RNC’s redistricting committee. He is also the most experienced attorney locally of either party in the law and political effect of drawing district boundaries.

The clearest guideline for the creation of such a district is the 1986 Gingles case from North Carolina, which established three criteria or preconditions to create such a district:

  • The minority population must be compact and contiguous.
  • The minority population usually votes as a bloc.
  • The white population usually votes as a bloc in such a way as to defeat the minority population’s candidate of choice.

Tennessee meets the first condition, Ryder said.

“The problem with the second two … conditions is that it’s hard to argue that the white majority votes in such a way as to defeat the preferred candidate of the minority population’s choice when we’ve elected Barack Obama as president,” he said, adding the 2006 U.S. Senate race in Tennessee in which Harold Ford Jr. got 49 percent of the vote in a statewide race won by Bob Corker.

“You just don’t see the kind of racial bloc voting that existed in 1965 when the Voting Rights Act was originally passed,” Ryder said.

The first black political leader to claim what is now the 9th District seat did so in the 1974 midterm congressional elections, in a district drawn with no overt racial considerations.

Harold Ford Sr. was a Democratic state representative at the time, seeking to unseat Dan Kuykendall, the white Republican congressman from Memphis in what was then the 8th Congressional District.

After the 1970 census, the majority Democrat Tennessee Legislature redrew congressional district lines to cede to Republicans seats in the majority GOP eastern end of the state, Ryder said. They also moved to create more Democratic districts in West Tennessee by splitting the Republicans outside Memphis between the 8th and 7th districts.

“As a result in 1972, those seats elected Republicans,” Ryder said. “They got a little too clever and overreached. What was then the 8th district was drawn to be a Democrat district, not necessarily a black district.”

Ford upset Kuykendall in the year of Watergate, when Republican incumbents were imperiled by the scandal and the tarnished presidency of Richard Nixon. Kuykendall also underestimated Ford, who held the seat for 22 years. His son, Harold Ford Jr., continued for another 10 years.

By then, black voters were considered the majority of registered voters in Memphis. The official numbers from the Shelby County Election Commission by themselves are less conclusive.

Voter registration statistics as of Jan. 31 show there are 412,433 voters in the city of Memphis. Of that number, 183,443 are black and 96,686 are white. Another 132,304 are listed as “other,” meaning they are of another racial group or did not indicate their race on voter registration forms.

The 2000 U.S Census puts the city’s population at 670,902 with 61.4 percent black and 34.4 percent white. Of the total population counted, 27.9 percent were younger than 18.

Ryder said the central question that was already present when Cohen was elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2008 is who is the preferred candidate of the black population.

“Steve Cohen has obviously been successful in obtaining votes from the black population. I think he can make a legitimate claim to be the preferred candidate of choice,” Ryder added. “What it means is the Voting Rights Act certainly led to the creation of a majority black district, and that means that the black population in the 9th District has the opportunity to elect its preferred candidate of choice. In our political system, all players are free to compete to become that preferred candidate.”

Herenton and those putting together his campaign strategy point out that Cohen won the Democratic primary the first time in a large field with numerous black contenders. In 2008, Nikki Tinker returned from that pack for a second try in a smaller field of four challengers. Cohen won easily and Tinker later expressed regret over a controversial campaign strategy that stressed race.

The message to black voters from Herenton’s camp is a tacit admission that Cohen was elected with black votes.

“It’s the only place in Tennessee that you can elect somebody that looks like you,” Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism said at Saturday’s rally. “We’ve got to clean up what we messed up. … You should want the same, and if you don’t, something’s wrong.”

...

85. Luttrell to Run for County Mayor -

Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell is running for county mayor in the May 4 Republican primaries.

“Probably the toughest part of this decision process was deciding to leave the sheriff’s office,” he said. “I have a very deep, abiding loyalty to the sheriff’s office.”

86. Colbert Faces Off with Ford Jr. Over NY Residency -

NEW YORK (AP) - Stephen Colbert grilled potential U.S. Senate candidate and Memphis native Harold Ford Jr. on Monday about his shifting beliefs on gay marriage and abortion rights, while Ford defended himself as open-minded to change.

87. Rove Talks About Bush Years, Memoir -

Karl Rove is a former deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to former President George W. Bush. He is also a controversial and influential force in American politics.

Rove talked earlier this month with The Daily News, sister publication of The Memphis News, in advance of a speech he gave at Rhodes College.

88. School Funding Debate Marches On -

The city of Memphis is pursuing a last appeal in the Memphis school funding court case, and the City Council this week came up with a plan to provide $50 million in court-ordered funding to the school system.

89. Harold Ford Jr.: 'I Continue to Learn' about NY -

TAPPAN, N.Y. (AP) - Harold Ford Jr. ventured to the suburbs Thursday to test the waters outside New York City for a possible U.S. Senate bid but admitted he still has a lot to learn about the state.

90. County Mayor Race Clarifies With Byrd’s ‘Agonizing’ Decision -

A month before the filing deadline for the 2010 Shelby County primaries, and the race for county mayor is beginning to take shape.

And one of the candidates who weighed the race but got out – Bank of Bartlett President Harold Byrd – said something is missing from the field so far.

91. Rove Speculates About Ford Jr. at Stop in Memphis -

“I’m a fireplug in a world full of dogs. How are you?”

So came the greeting from Karl Rove, one of the most well-known and controversial national political operatives, a few hours before he was scheduled to speak Wednesday night to students in the McCallum Ballroom at Rhodes College.

92. Ford Takes Leave To Focus on Senate Bid -

Harold Ford Jr. has taken a leave of absence from his Wall Street job so he can have more free time to travel New York state and decide whether to challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in the Democratic primary, his spokesman told The Associated Press.

93. Ford Jr. Makes Tough Bid for Liberal NYers' Affections -

NEW YORK (AP) - The last time Harold Ford Jr. ran for the U.S. Senate, he spoke proudly about his pickup truck, his "friend" President George W. Bush, his support for Chief Justice John Roberts and a voting record that "doesn't describe a liberal."

94. Herron Hires Veteran Operative for US House Bid -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - State Sen. Roy Herron has hired veteran political operative Carol Andrews as a senior adviser to his campaign to succeed fellow Democrat John Tanner in Congress.

95. Ex-Rep. Ford 'Strongly Considering' NY Senate Run -

NEW YORK (AP) - Former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. began crafting his argument Tuesday for a potential bid to unseat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, reinventing himself as an independent thinker battling "Washington insiders."

96. Commissioners to Fill Commission, Legislature Vacancies -

Shelby County Commissioners will begin the new year with some familiar chores.

Today’s meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. at the County Administration Building.

It includes the appointment of a new commissioner for District 4 Position 3. And the commission will appoint an interim state representative for District 85.

97. 2009 Year In Review -

2009 was a year without a script – and plenty of improvising on the political stage.

It was supposed to be an off-election year except in Arlington and Lakeland.

2008 ended with voters in the city and county approving a series of changes to the charters of Memphis and Shelby County governments. Those changes were supposed to set a new direction for both entities, kicking into high gear in 2010 and ultimately culminating two years later.

98. Thompson to Publish Memoir -

Fred Thompson, the former Tennessee senator and 2008 Republican presidential candidate, has penned his memoir and given it a title that reflects his early days in small-town Tennessee.

The 67-year-old former politician, actor and avuncular radio host who graduated from the University of Memphis titled his book “Notes from a Country Lawyer.” It’s scheduled for release in May.

99. Analysts: Herron Has Slight Edge in 8th District -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - As a political battle begins taking shape in Tennessee's 8th congressional district, Democratic state Sen. Roy Herron's name recognition gives him a slight advantage over GOP newcomer Stephen Fincher, political analysts say.

100. Commission To Interview Ford Replacement Applicants -

For the second time in a year, Shelby County Commission members are about to change the makeup of the 13-member body.

Commissioners today will interview applicants for the District 3, Position 3 seat Joe Ford is giving up to become interim Shelby County mayor. The meeting is set for 10 a.m.