Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ISSUES FIRST Campaign-Pledge signing event-Thurs,Oct 1st at 10am

Contact:Brad Watkins*901-495-0818




SEVEN MAYORAL CANDIDATES SIGN A PUBLIC PLEDGE TO KEEP THE ISSUES FIRST
Candidates Lowery,Carpenter,Chumney,Whalum,Webb and Halbert have confirmed attendance

MEMPHIS-- Issues First, a campaign of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, will hold a press conference and pledge signing event Thursday at 10am at St Vincent Depaul, food mission at 123 North Cleveland. Representatives will make comment on the PEOPLE'S AGENDA issues platform advocated by the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center to the major candidates in the Mayoral race. Details on this platform can be found at www.midsouthpeace.org

The Issues First campaign has over the past several weeks worked to engage the public with issue based voter education and advocacy efforts designed to secure a public pledge from all of the major candidates in the October 15th Memphis special Mayoral election that the issues of the People's Agenda will be a priority within their administrations if elected. These issues center on the four major campaign planks of POVERTY, HEALTH,JOBS and CRIME AND VIOLENCE within our community. Mayoral candidates who have committed to signing the pledge and confirmed to be in attendance include Charles Carpenter,Carol Chumney,Wanda Halbert,Myron Lowery,Sharon Webb, and K.T. Whalum. Candidates will be available to give their comment following this press conference. Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton has also committed to signing the pledge, but due to a schedule conflict will sign the pledge publicly at a later date.


St Vincent De Paul Food Mission
, located at 123 N Cleveland St, is a place of hospitality in the Midtown Memphis area. It offers meals and a safe place for over two hundred homeless persons and others in need every day. It is for this reason that the ISSUES FIRST CAMPAIGN has decided to host the First of two pledge signing events here. All of the candidates in the race for Mayor, the community and the media are invited and urged to attend. Here we will hear from each of the candidates about why these issues matter to them and watch as they sign the pledge joining this campaign.

The Issues First campaign seeks to uplift the tone and conversation within the electoral process away from divisive negative attacks and or vague rhetoric into a positive and productive conversations about the issues that our community grapples with everyday. These "People's issues," are often ignored in political campaigns according to Brad Watkins, Organizing Coordinator of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, "We have heard alot in this campaign about consolidation, we have heard alot about whether or not to fire MPD director Larry Godwin, but what we have not heard enough about is how are we going to make MATA more efficient? or What are we going to do to address homelessness? or How are we going to address the toxic levels of lead soil in many residential areas?...that's what this campaign is all about."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

ISSUES FIRST CAMPAIGN-Thank You Wanda Halbert!

The ISSUES FIRST CAMPAIGN is pleased to announce that City Councilwoman Wanda Halbert his made a commitment to sign the pledge and support the issues of the PEOPLE'S AGENDA if elected.

Wanda Halbert has been fierce and vocal in her advocacy for our schools and for issues of economic and social equality in the City of Memphis, from her days as a citizen activist, to her time on the school board to the present. She is a candid person who speaks her mind and talks frankly about the challenges facing the Memphis community, we are very happy to have Ms. Halbert's support for our platform.

Wanda Halbert joins Carol Chumney Charles Carpenter,Myron Lowery,Sharon Webb,K.T. Whalum and AC Wharton as the candidates in this race, who have committed to making a public pledge that the issues of Poverty,Health, Jobs, Crime and violence will be priorities within their administrations if elected.

ISSUES FIRST PLEDGE SIGNING EVENT-Thursday, OCT 1ST at 10am

On October 1st at 10am at St Vincent De Paul Food Mission, located at 123 N Cleveland St, is a place of hospitality in the Madison Heights neighborhood of Midtown Memphis. It offers meals and a safe place for over one hundred homeless persons and others in need every day. It is for this reason that the ISSUES FIRST CAMPAIGN has decided to host the First of two pledge signing events here. All of the candidates in the race for Mayor, the community and the media are invited and urged to attend. Here we will hear from each of the candidates about why these issues matter to them and watch as they sign the pledge joining this campaign.

If interested in joining us and making your voice heard, please contact Brad Watkins at Brad@midsouthpeace.org or call at 901-725-4990

Friday, September 25, 2009

ISSUES FIRST Campaign-Thank You Carol Chumney

The Issues First Campaign would like to extend our thanks to Carol Chumney for making the pledge to sign the People'S Agenda

Carol Chumney is a passionate and tireless fighter for the causes she supports in particular the causes of fighting crime and removing blight and for the ethical management of the City government.We at Issues First are glad and proud to have her as a supporter of these issues and this effort.

Ms Chumney joins Charles Carpenter,Myron Lowery,Sharon Webb,K.T. Whalum and AC Wharton as the candidates in this race, who have committed to making a public pledge that the issues of Poverty,Health, Jobs, Crime and violence will be priorities within their administrations if elected.

ISSUES FIRST PLEDGE SIGNING EVENT-Thursday, OCT 1ST at 10am

On October 1st at 10am at St Vincent De Paul Food Mission, located at 123 N Cleveland St, is a place of hospitality in the Madison Heights neighborhood of Midtown Memphis. It offers meals and a safe place for over one hundred homeless persons and others in need every day. It is for this reason that the ISSUES FIRST CAMPAIGN has decided to host the First of two pledge signing events here. All of the candidates in the race for Mayor, the community and the media are invited and urged to attend. Here we will hear from each of the candidates about why these issues matter to them and watch as they sign the pledge joining this campaign.

If interested in joining us and making your voice heard, please contact Brad Watkins at Brad@midsouthpeace.org or call at 901-725-4990

Thursday, September 24, 2009

ISSUES FIRST CAMPAIGN-Action Alerts

Friends

Today The ISSUES FIRST CAMPAIGN is proud to announce that five candidates in the race for Memphis Mayor have made a commitment to publicly sign the pledge and embrace the issues of the PEOPLE'S AGENDA. These issues deal with POVERTY, HEALTH, CRIME AND VIOLENCE AND JOBS, four root issues areas that will challenge our next Mayor and must be addressed in order to move this city forward.
So I'd like to thank Charles Carpenter, Myron Lowery, Sharon Webb, KT Whalum and AC Wharton for stepping forward as leaders in this community and for their pledge to champion these causes and this agenda if elected on Oct 15th.

There are several upcoming opportunities for action as we strive to move this campaign for Mayor away from divisive negative attacks into a positive promotion of solutions to many of the challenges facing our city and community.

One easy way to help the campaign is to ask the candidates and their volunteers "Will "Candidates name" sign the pledge and support the People's Agenda? Whenever you meet them at events, or when they call you on your phone, or knock on your door. Even if they have already pledged, we need to keep our efforts up until they sign.



Carol Chumney-http://www.carolchumneyonline.com/.
carolchumney@aol.com

Wanda Halbert -halbert4memphismayor@yahoo.com
901-690-7533

Jerry Lawler-jerry@jerrylawler2009.com




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ISSUES FIRST TAILGATE-Saturday Sept 26th

The Issues First team will be tailgating at the University of Memphis vs Marshall football game on Saturday Sept 26th from 10am-12 noon, at the Liberty Bowl to grill some Burgers and Hot Dogs and talk with Memphis voters about the issues in this campaign and hand out information about the People's Agenda platform.


If interested in joining us for a fun Saturday afternoon of Football and politics please contact Brad Watkins at Brad@midsouthpeace.org or call at 901-725-4990

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ISSUES FIRST MAYORAL DEBATE DEMONSTRATION, SEPT 26th 6-7pm

On Saturday September 26th the ISSUES FIRST Campaign will be taking our message directly to the candidates as we will host a small demonstration outside of the Memphis Mayoral Debate hosted by WREG Channel 3. We will be there from 6pm-7pm to meet the candidates on their way to the event and urge them to join this campaign and make a public commitment to issues of POVERTY, HEALTH, JOBS, and CRIME AND VIOLENCE. We will be there with our signs and our voices to ask the Candidates to Sign the pledge. We do so hope that you will join us. We will be outside of WREG Channel Three at 803 Channel 3 Drive Memphis, Tennessee 38103

If interested in joining us and making your voice heard, please contact Brad Watkins at Brad@midsouthpeace.org or call at 901-725-4990

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ISSUES FIRST PLEDGE SIGNING EVENT-Thursday, OCT 1ST at 10am

On October 1st at 10am at St Vincent De Paul Food Mission, located at 123 N Cleveland St, is a place of hospitality in the Madison Heights neighborhood of Midtown Memphis. It offers meals and a safe place for over one hundred homeless persons and others in need every day. It is for this reason that the ISSUES FIRST CAMPAIGN has decided to host the First of two pledge signing events here. All of the candidates in the race for Mayor, the community and the media are invited and urged to attend. Here we will hear from each of the candidates about why these issues matter to them and watch as they sign the pledge joining this campaign.

If interested in joining us and making your voice heard, please contact Brad Watkins at Brad@midsouthpeace.org or call at 901-725-4990
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Be on the look out for other announcements about ISSUES FIRST events and for updates on other candidates joining this campaign to promote the people's agenda.


Demand Change

Enlarging the House of Representatives would help the Democrats in the Electoral College

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/09/would-bigger-house-favor-democrats.html

Enlarging the number of members we have in the House of Representatives would not only give Americans more representation (less people under each House member), but it would also greatly benefit the Democrats in the electoral college by reducing the influence of smaller states. We need to pass this through while we have big majorities in both chambers of Congress.

For those who feel this is trampling on the Constitution read part of Article 1, Section 2: "The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each State shall have at least one Representative." Enlarging the membership of the House of Representatives may even further the intent of the Constitution.


Friday, September 18, 2009

ISSUES FIRST-Thank you Mayor Wharton

The ISSUES FIRST CAMPAIGN is pleased to announce that Shelby County Mayor and Memphis Mayoral Candidate AC Wharton has committed to signing the pledge in support of the PEOPLE'S AGENDA. This brings the list of confirmed pledge signers to five.a list that includes Mayor Myron Lowery, Charles Carpenter, Kt Whalum and Sharon Webb.

Mayor Wharton's work in the creation and support of the JERICHO Initiative is an outstanding example of his vision and leadership. Jericho is a nationally recognized diversion program for those inmates within the criminal justice system who have mental illness and co-occurring substance abuse issues. This program has been very successful at curbing recidivism rates among participants. As such advocating for increased funding for the Jericho Project was a staple of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center's JUSTPEACE MEMPHIS campaign. Mayor Wharton is supportive of the People's Agenda, and is planning to release a statement which will be posted in this space.


The ISSUES FIRST campaign will continue making Updates as other candidates confirm as well as post information on our Two Pledge signing events coming up soon.

DEMAND CHANGE

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ISSUES FIRST-OUR THANKS FOR MAKING THE PLEDGE

Today The ISSUES FIRST CAMPAIGN is proud to announce that four candidates in the race for Memphis Mayor have made a commitment to sign the pledge and embrace the issues of the PEOPLE'S AGENDA. These issues deal with POVERTY, HEALTH, CRIME AND VIOLENCE AND JOBS, four root issues areas that will challenge our next Mayor and must be addressed in order to move this city forward.
So I'd like to thank K.T. Whalum, Sharon Webb, Myron Lowery and Charles Carpenter for stepping forward as leaders in this community and for their pledge to champion these causes and this agenda if elected on Oct 15th.

KT Whalum was the very first candidate to commit,offering his whole hearted support citing these issues as vital to our well being as a City and close to his heart. He promises a new approach to the relationship between the people and their government and will strive for a city where all Memphians can be treated with respect and their issues and problems be given the attention they deserve. He cited that we must build up our local economy and facilitate economic opportunity in lower income areas.

Sharon Webb, was enthusiastic and kind in our discussions pledging to always be on the side of the people. Acknowledging that no one person can do it alone in her new administration, she wants to open city hall to act as a hub for coordination of various social and economic justice efforts done by organizations across the city.

Mayor Myron Lowery, pledged his support for this agenda and for the work of ISSUES FIRST, saying that he's not going to wait to get started working to improve Memphis. Mayor Lowery has consistently been one of the most approachable and accessible elected officials in city government and in that spirit plans to make government more accessible, transparent and accountable to the people of Memphis. I also want to thank Mayor Lowery for being a good sport and being the only candidate to accept my "dunk tank challenge" at the Faith and Labor picnic.

Charles Carpenter Made the pledge while vowing to never forget his humble roots as a young man growing up in the city of Memphis. Carpenter was eloquent and shocking frank, not only about the problems and challenges our City faces, but also on his commitment to ensure that these issues will be addressed head on in his administration. He has a longstanding passion and sensitivity for issues of justice and proper care for those with mental illness. He will first and foremost strive to make City Government operations more effective and accountable, ensuring proper management and operations of all city services from public works to MPD.

My thanks to these first four candidates who joined this campaign to Change Memphis for the better

Watch this space for upcoming announcements as other candidates confirm and for our ISSUES FIRST PLEDGE SIGNING EVENT on Thursday OCT 1st.


DEMAND CHANGE!

Monday, September 14, 2009

ISSUES FIRST-"they kill for inspiration and sing about their grief".

Read an Editorial today from the Commercial Appeal where the CA laments the lack of issues being presented by the candidates for Mayor in this year's special Mayoral election. Take a moment and check it out...CA Editorial

Wow.....Well i totally agree with the position of this article, issues do matter, especially considering that out of the 25-26? candidates we have running for Mayor..only FOUR of them have platforms of issues that they are presenting to the voters thus far. Still I find it a bit disingenuous that the CA is calling out for a serious discussion of the issues while at the same time not covering occasions when the candidates are asked about them.

The ISSUES FIRST Campaign is working to do just what Mr Sanford asks. In fact almost two weeks ago, we invited the candidates to a vacant lot in a residential area near Vance Middle school contaminated with HIGH levels of toxic Lead soil contamination. Lead is a huge problem in many areas across Memphis that contributes to learning disabilities in children,and contributes to Memphis' high rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, and infant mortality.

ISSUES FIRST hosted a press conference where we invited the Mayoral candidates to attend and comment on this issue. KT Whalum, Charles Carpenter and Carol Chumney all attended. The CA and five other media sources attended this press conference, but did not run the story at all, instead choosing to focus on the "human zoo" angle of the large numbers of candidates in the race.

A Rally for?...

As you can see the article..briefly mentions a "rally" hosted by the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, but does not explain...what the "rally" was for..or why we were hosting a "rally" in the first place. In fact it was a press conference , not a rally at all, and the candidates did speak to the issues and what they would do about it as Mayor...but you'd never know that from the CA coverage.


You can't have it both ways...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Platform questions....

Part of the issues first Campaign is calling on candidates to run on issues not personalities. In that spirit, i've been looking over the various platforms of various Mayoral candidates. ....and for those who still do not have them..."you know who you are"...shame on you. At any rate i was reading the platform of Mayoral candidate and Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton the other day, and i think on the whole alot of our concerns are somewhat addressed.. when something caught my eye that made me feel..uncomfortable..


Comprehensive Safe Streets Program


.....Mayor Wharton will also develop an auxiliary police chief in each neighborhood who gets special training and acts as special liaison to Memphis Police Department. Mayor Wharton will also start a Mobile Neighborhood Watch program of postal workers, MLGW employees, cable television workers, newspaper carriers, and cab drivers who will act as “eyes on the street” and report any suspicious activities to a special hot line.


My concerns were...

Is this a Federal mandate? Because it sounds very similar to a Department of Justice grant in regard to combating terrorism.i am wondering about how such a program will be set up and what standards will be given to determine what constitutes "suspicious" activity and what safeguards will be put in place to prevent this program from being bogged down in personal grudges and misunderstandings or in the worst case, violations of individual civil rights and racial profiling. Will the civilians involved in this operation and or their private employers be financially compensated? and if so what would be the metric for determining payment..would it be based on number of verified tips? What training will be provided to these individuals?

So after asking around i received an email from a local activist ,who is working on the Wharton campaign, who shared their thoughts on the subject.


Brad,
Good questions and valid concerns all......

This is not a federally-mandated program; this is an idea purely of the Mayor's own creation. There will be no compensation for these individuals and they will have no authority to detain, punish, or otherwise infringe on the civil liberties of other citizens. The Mayor's intent is for these individuals to make a volunteer commitment to various parts of town they already work in, particularly with regard to seniors or shut-ins. In addition to bringing the mail or delivering the paper, specific people could also be *asked* to be more mindful than usual of the circumstances of people and properties in their area. If they see something amiss--obvious drug dealing, people suffering without adequate heating or air conditioning, vandalism, etc.--they should be empowered to let City Hall know so that appropriate action can be taken if possible.

Mayor Wharton is simply trying to make the City a bit more proactive in developing very loosely organized grassroots entities that know their neighborhoods and can try to help keep things a little bit safer and cleaner. This is not the same as community policing or para-policing; this is old fashioned neighborhood watching, combined with a bit of meals-on-wheels human contact for individuals who may not otherwise get much.
!



Maybe so...still this whole thing makes me a little nervous, I see a potential unintended consequence of racial profiling and a flood of unproductive calls of vague "suspicious activity" and or the hotline being used for feuds and vendettas.The bottomline is how do you define "Suspicious activity" ? What does that even mean? I can imagine that Law Enforcement personnel could give me some examples, but isn't that my point?....what kind of training or guidelines are these volunteers going to be given. Who are they going to be reporting to? Who is going to process this information to separate the junk from the helpful tips?

I also wonder what is the real purpose of this initiative? Could we not do these things already..in fact is the problem really about getting folks to volunteer to make calls..or has the problem always been about getting a response from city government to those calls.
People across this city call the police and other services everyday, and many times, there is no response...that is why they after a while stop calling.

I dunno, this may not be a big deal at all, and At least Wharton HAS a platform, that's something 22 other candidates in this race cannot say. Still we need to be vigilant about all the candidates platforms, positions and associations, not just the ones we don't like.

Friday, September 11, 2009

ISSUES FIRST at the Orange Mound Heritage Festival

This weekend ISSUES FIRST will be at the Orange Mound Heritage Festival, talking to the voters about the issues that really matter in the community. Come by and see us at our table as we strive to focus this election on what really matters.

Brad


The Classic Parade and Orange Mound Heritage Festival

Get out and march to the groove of the 9th annual Classic Parade in Orange Mound. It is scheduled for Saturday, September 12. The parade route begins at the corner of Park and Haynes, proceeds along Park Avenue and ends at the Lamar Airways Shopping Center. The 1st annual Orange Mound Heritage Festival begins at 10:00 am in the Lewis –Davis Park. Come with the family to enjoy vendors offering food, listen to the DJ jamming, and face painting for the kids, Health Screening for all and lots of information for the community.

We didn’t forget the sports enthusiast; we are also partnering with “Hoops for the Hungry” and supporting a 3-on-3 basketball competition. So all you ballers come out and participate and show us your moves.

To volunteer and/or sign up for any of the events please contact: Michelle Smith (901) 412-0477 or via email at proftaxesetc@aol.com.

This event is hosted by: The Orange Mound Parade Committee, The Orange Mound Civic Organization, The Orange Mound Development Corporation, The Lamar Airways Business Association and Christ Community Health services.

Friday, September 04, 2009

ISSUES FIRST-People's Agenda

Our Community • Our Voices

The fact is, in an off year election, and with such a crowded field of candidates, your vote is more valuable, more powerful, more desirable than in any other local election within a generation. That means you have the power to make this election a positive conversation about solutions to our many challenges.

Our city faces a host of challenges from Poverty, to Health, from Jobs to Crime and Violence, these are the issues that people all across our community grapple with everyday.
The Peoples Agenda

We want to spark a positive conversation about the issues and will work to rally community voices to convince the candidates to join with us in a pledge to make these issues a priority in their administrations if elected.

POVERTY :: We all deserve communities of opportunity and human dignity.
We need both short and long term solutions to poverty and homelessness. Efficient and affordable public transportation is vital to building working communities.

• Support for improved homeless services, including greater access to application assistance for Social Security benefits, temporary housing for those Americans on waiting lists, augmented mental health services, a free homeless shelter and a safe parking lot for those who sleep in their cars.
• Mandating the Homeless have a voice in formulation of the policies that directly affect them.
• Creation of a Homeless Resource Center,where the city's homeless and poor can learn about all programs and services available, and have a safe place to congregate during the day.
• Focusing new efforts to promote and foster locally owned small business opportunities in low income areas.
• Engaging law enforcement to enforce and prevent Wage Theft.

JOBS :: We all deserve opportunities to earn a better life for ourselves and our families.
We need jobs that will lift up communities by paying living wages, providing quality health care, and creating a healthy working environment.

• Augmentation of Workforce Development programs, specifically for the homeless, unemployed, underemployed and for those released ex-felons who have paid their debt to society.
• Greater Cooperation with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office to provide greater job skill training to selected inmates in at the Shelby county Penal Farm.
• Focusing efforts to attract the new jobs of the Green economy, leveraging Memphis's status as a trade and distribution center to attract and develop economic opportunity in the field of alternative energy especially local solar and biomass production and refinement.
• Expanding and promoting greater diversity in Memphis City contracting selection processes.
• Support for comprehensive MATA reorganization, including improving customer service, improving online route planner, maintenance of vehicles, improved maintenance of wheelchair lifts, more rain shelters in lower income areas, and pursuing a grid/loop system for bus routes.

HEALTH :: We all deserve nourishing and healthy neighborhoods.
Quality and affordable health care and access to healthy foods is a basic human right and the negative effects of current policies are destroying our communities.


• Promoting community gardening in lower income communities that lack access to produce and fresh vegetables,to aid in reducing the number of Memphians who are considered high risk for obesity, heart disease, type two diabetes, and stroke.
• Implementation of bike lanes and pedestrian routes must include the voices of our low-income communities and its benefits must be directly felt by them.
• Improved funding and support for MCHCD Lead Abatement Program, to locate,test and address the high levels of lead contamination within many areas of our city. Lead poisoning has links to learning disabilities in children as well as a host of medical and psychological disorders.
• Support HCD/Community Enhancement re-organization and work in better concert with the Health Department and Environmental Court to prevent and clean up blighted areas, illegal trash, and tire dumping sites, which create breeding grounds for disease carrying mosquitoes and rodents.
• Better coordination with Shelby County Health Department, on issues relating to curbing Memphis' nationally high level of Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

CRIME & VIOLENCE :: We all deserve safe and free communities.
We must support common sense policies in dealing with the tremendous crime and violence that sweeps our city. Reforms of our criminal justice system must start by addressing the root cause of crime, poverty.


• Development of a Juvenile Restorative Justice model for MPD and the Office of Youth Services and Community Affairs for use in curbing juvenile crime. Restorative justice techniques have shown dramatic results in reducing Juvenile recidivism as well as provide better community rapport with MPD and a cost savings for Memphis and Shelby county.
• Expanding Community policing programs for law enforcement to better interface with the community, and empowering the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board to better investigate citizen complaints of police misconduct. We must heal the breach between the community and MPD.
• Expanding and supporting existing successful re-entry programs for nonviolent offenders to end the revolving door at 201 Poplar.
• Focus on retention of qualified law enforcement personnel within the Memphis Police Department.
• Support and execute targeted demolition of condemned vacant properties in high blight areas, blight is a magnet for crime, fire and disease and prevents economic development.
• Increasing and improving training for Law Enforcement personnel in the investigation of sexual assault related crimes to increase successful prosecution of these cases.

Join the Campaign

Issues First is always for people to volunteer their time to help educate the public about these issues that matter to all of us. If you are interested in volunteering please give us a call at 901.725.4990 to speak with Brad Watkins, our Organizing Coordinator, or email him at brad@midsouthpeace.org. Remember to indicate if you have any special skills and/or talents that make this campaign stronger.

Visit www.shelbyvote.com or call 901.545.4136 for information on voting rights and election details.

VOTE EARLY • SEPT 25th thru OCT 10th

ELECTION DAY • OCTOBER 15th