Saturday, March 31, 2007

SCDP Elects New Executive Committee, Keith Norman as Chair

Congratulations to all of the 66 newly elected members of the SCDP Executive Committee and to Keith Norman, our newly elected party chair. I am encouraged and excited at the opportunities ahead for the party to unify and grow in numbers, credibility and financial health.

During the course of this convention and race for the chair of the party, Keith Norman led a campaign that was positive, focused on his goals and vision for the party and honored the contributions and talents of his opponent, Javier Bailey.

I want to make sure everyone knows that Keith Norman was supported by members of MSDIA, the Germantown Democratic Club, the Sidney Chism faction, David Cocke and other members of the Ford faction, members of the labor community, and of course by the delegates Keith Norman recruited who came to the convention to support him. Let's just repeat that: members of the Ford, Herenton, labor and "reform" factions of the party all came together to elect our new chair by a vote of 48-18. Can you spell unity?

And, of course, since Del Gill did not get elected to the Executive Committee, I am personally excited at the possibility of actually being able to accomplish things at our meetings without Del's continuous disruption and hijacking of the agenda. Sorry for that point of personal privilege - but you know I had to say that.

It was a pleasure working with all of the people who helped our group, the Memphis Democratic Coalition - a diverse group that elected over 130 delegates to the convention. In partnership with Keith Norman's delegates, we elected 32 members of the committee: 16 women, 16 men, 23 whites, 9 blacks, at least 2 students (ok, we worked on the age diversity thing, but geographic concentration was a bit of a problem).

I have been silent from blogging since the push toward the caucus and convention began. I figured I would let those who wanted to confuse, grandstand and obfuscate (Thaddeus Matthews - about whom more later - and others) make all the noise while we went about the quiet hard work of continuing the reform of the party. It's pretty clear that strategy paid off today. Thanks to all who worked so hard to make today such a success for the party and, looking down the road, for our community.

And now, fellow bloggers - not sure whether this is a promise or a warning - I'm back.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Thank You, Joe.

My friend, and long-time Democratic activist Joe Young, asked that I post the following comment from him:

I rarely post comments on blogs. In fact, I've posted only one blog
previously on my friend Steve's Leftwingcracker. There's always an exception and
I recognize this as an exceptional exception. I can't and shouldn't be mute on
this matter. I've known David for a few short years but recognized his value as
a human being when I first met him. Through him a optimistic
preview of what hopefully lies ahead for political leadership and
community activism is possible. There are honest,
dedicated, servant-leadership oriented, and hard-working young people out
there. Such a person is found in my friend, comrade, and ally, David Holt.
I went to work immediately when I heard the rumor that David was considering
this step. When I called him and confirmed what I heard was true, I went to
work in support of him that same hour. All readers of this blog should do the
same. Find out what you can do to help David and Just Do It! No hesitation, no

David Holt has a great mind and moral
compass. He's reliable and sees a thing through to completion. He is
well-respected and has a quiet and unassuming dignity that I respect and admire
greatly. He is a man of courage and honor. We have a blessing, gift, and
advocate in David Holt!

Yours in service,

Joe Wm.
Young, II

Saturday, March 24, 2007

District 89 Interim Appointment

The first thing that you probably notice about me if is that I’m young. I am. I’m twenty-four years old, and I can’t pretend otherwise. Don’t let your judgment end there, though. What I have to offer this district is passion and dedication.

I’m passionate about this city. My wife and I had the good fortune to be born into the land of the blues and BBQ, but we missed the river by about ninety miles. We got here just as soon as we could, though. I’m here for the long haul, and dedicated to helping make this great city even better.

I’m passionate about education. I’m the first person in my family to go to college. I grew up living with a single mother who had to work as many as three jobs to support my brother and I. From a young age, she instilled in me the importance of both hard work and education. After I graduated college, I took my passion for education and applied it to teaching in the Memphis City Schools. If I was sent to Nashville, my first priority would be to look out for the best interest of our children, parents, and teachers.

I’m passionate about people. Because I grew up in a household that at times featured alcoholism and abuse, I turned to God for strength as a child. Those experiences and that faith have instilled in me a compassion for people that drives me to service. Contrary to the cynicism of the times, I think public service is an honorable thing, and I believe that I could serve well to give a voice to our district in my brief time in Nashville.

I’m passionate about politics, as my long-suffering wife knows all too well. I’ve been involved in politics at all levels since before I was old enough to vote. I’ve knocked on doors, helped raise money, called voters, and generally worked myself ragged for issues and candidates I believe in for years. I’ve been called a liberal, a progressive, and a populist. I don’t shy away from any of those labels, although my politics is not necessarily bound by any label. I realize that as an interim representative my powers will be limited, but I do want to use my time in Nashville to push for improving access to healthcare, strengthening our education system, protecting our environment, and keeping our spending within our means. I am passionate about these issues and hope to be able to affect them in Nashville. In reality, I doubt that my voting record would be much different from what that of Sen. Marrero and Councilperson Chumney would have been.

I’m dedicated and hard-working. If I am entrusted with representing the people of District 89 in Nashville, this is a responsibility that I will take to heart, and they will not regret it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bailey Mailings...

The following is from a comment left by bravecordovadem:

It looks like some anonymous individual (I have my suspicions) is trying to
help us choose the next leader by mailing out some crap about one of them to all
who attended the Ward and Precinct caucuses. No matter who you support, every
good Democrat should denounce this action. Actions like this have set a bad tone
within the Party for the last several years.I challenge the individual to step
forward and let us know who he or she is and why they are sending this out.
Also, if anyone knows who is behind this, speak up.

In the mail yesterday, I received an anonymous mailing containing the professional disciplinary records of Javiar Bailey. While I disagree, with those who say that such records shouldn't affect how we look at candidates, I do agree with the comment above that this mailing was improper. I'm a supporter of full-contact politics, but if you are going to attack someone then you should have the courage of your convictions and put your name on it. I haven't made an endorsement yet, but I do condemn such anonymous campaign tactics.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Best Wishes to the Edwards...

The thoughts and prayers of our house go out to John and Elizabeth Edwards and their family today.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Choose the Direction of the Party

Germantown Democratic Club Meeting

Monday, March 26, 2007 -- 6:30 PM

Pickering Center
7771 Poplar Pike, Germantown, TN

Come meet the Candidates for Chairperson of the
Shelby County Democratic Party

Attorney Jay Bailey Reverend Keith Norman

If you need a ride, we may be able to help.
Call Joe Weinberg 755-6180

I hope to see you there. For those who can't make it, I'll do my best to give a fair assesment of both candidates and what they say on here that evening.

Since When Did 6 Figures Become Middle Class?

UPDATE: In regard to the comments, this post is related to a conversation I had with someone today.

So I learned today that making $200,000 a year puts you squarely in the middle class. I further learned that those who make that much are being impoverished by oppressive taxes. They can hardly make ends meet to pay the bills. Seriously… I was quite glad I learned about her parents’ difficult lives so I can use my influence to do something about this travesty. This is a huge problem. We bleeding-heart Democrats need to work on it. I mean, really, how can we allow people to suffer like this? It’s a damn shame when you can barely send three kids to a lifetime of private school, support them as adults, live in a 4,000 square foot house, own several other homes, travel the world constantly, buy multiple expensive cars and then struggle to choose between buying the new big screen, flat-screen, plasma HDTV or those new boobs for your wife. People should not be forced to make such tough choices in life. Avoiding black people and poor people doesn’t come cheap anymore and our party should recognize that.

Oh, and she says the minimum wage shouldn’t be increased either because no one really makes that anyways and if they make more at those jobs then they won’t have any incentives to do anything useful.

I love rich people.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Chair's Race...

I know... I know... No I have not stopped blogging. In the meantime you can vote for chair.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

About My Possible Run for Chair

As many know, I have considered running for chair of the Shelby County Democratic Party. I feel honored and humbled by all the expressions of support I have received.

I have maintained consistently that if someone else runs who shares the vision and philosophy of what Jackson Baker calls "the reform movement" in the party - who possesses the personal attributes that are desirable in the chair - I will not run, but will support that person.

I believe that Rev. Keith Norman, who announced at the caucuses last Saturday that he is running for chair, is that kind of person.

Therefore, I will not be a candidate for chair. I am supporting Keith Norman for chair of the SCDP.

I listened to him speak at the MSDIA meeting last Tuesday night, and to his answers to the many questions put to him by the audience. (Note: A link to an mp3 file of his remarks will be posted on WTL this weekend. Or send me your email address and I will email the file to you.) I have also spoken to many I respect who know him well, and have met with him one on one.

What I heard and have heard about is a man who has a proven, successful track record in:
  • managing and growing organizations
  • connecting with groups and individuals within groups
  • working as a man of faith in secular groups on secular issues
  • financial accountability, planning and growth
  • caring about his community
  • identifying and addressing the concerns of his community
  • having and implementing vision
  • demonstrating integrity and strength of conviction
I know that Rev. Norman has experience to gain with the dynamics and traditions of the party. And, he will have to navigate the "factions" within the party. I'm convinced that, with a commitment of time and energy, he is capable of being a very successful chair - and one who will work to build unity as well as effectiveness and strength.

I hope you will join me in supporting Keith Norman for chair of the Shelby County Democratic Party.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Uncertified Results

I meant to blog this week, but the blogging time has been taking up with co-chairing the credentials committee. The uncertified results are here. You have 5 days to make challenges, then we have until the 21st to settle all the challenges. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

SCDP Chair Candidate Rev. Keith Norman Speaks at MSDIA Meeting

Tonight at the meeting of MidSouth Democrats in Action, Rev. Keith Norman spoke about his vision and goals for the Shelby County Democratic Party, his approach to leadership and his views about race and racism in Memphis, among other things. He spent 30 minutes answering questions from the floor. I recorded his remarks, and just as soon as I figure out how to get Blogger to let me link to or attach the .wav file recording of his comments, I will link to it here.

In the meantime, maybe some of those in attendance will share their impressions of Rev. Norman and his views about leading the Party.

I'll start by saying that he is a very credible candidate for chair of the Party and is someone who, based on what I have learned of him and heard from him thus far, I think shares the philosophy of "the reform movement" of the Party, as Jackson Baker refers to MSDIA. That is, he wants to move beyond the paralysis of factionalism and racial division to lead a respected, accountable, diverse, inclusive and community service minded Party.

Others' thoughts?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Update: MSDIA Meeting, March 6 - Guest: Rev. Keith Norman

MidSouth Democrats in Action

Invite you to join us at

The Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library

3030 Poplar Avenue

Tuesday, March 6, 2007, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

We'll discuss the Shelby County Democratic Caucus

and the Upcoming Convention,

Review Past Accomplishments and

Discuss Future Opportunities

In addition to our agenda items, Rev. Keith Norman, pastor of First Baptist Church on Broad and recently announced candidate for the Shelby County Democratic Party Chair, has requested to speak at our meeting. Pastor Norman will also answer questions from the audience.*

*Rev. Norman's participation in this meeting does not imply endorsement by MidSouth Democrats in Action.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

MSDIA Meeting This Tuesday Night

MidSouth Democrats in Action

Invite you to join us at

The Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library

3030 Poplar Avenue

Tuesday, March 6, 2007, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

We'll discuss the Shelby County Democratic Caucus

and the Upcoming Convention,

Review Past Accomplishments and

Discuss Future Opportunities

I'm not dead yet...

But I have felt like it. For the past week or so, I've been sick as can be and moving from the bed to class and back to bed (where I had to keep working on that damn appellate brief.) I drug my lazy butt to the caucus yesterday, though. And I should be back in the saddle tomorrow. In the meantime, to the 30 messages on my answering machine, 57 missed cell phone calls, and almost 1,000 unread emails that have accumulated in the last week, I will be getting back to you. Bear with me. And stay tuned to the blog. My semi-regular ramblings will resume in the morn.