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Goner Message Board / Memphis / our delusional mayor
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 6:15 am
Herenton takes on media, says he was never in drug rehab
Chides businesses for blocking 'revenue' measures

By Jacinthia Jones
January 6, 2006

In a frank discussion with Memphis journalists on Thursday, Mayor Willie Herenton addressed a host of topics from the payroll tax and car allowances to rumors he's been in a drug rehab and a recall effort to oust him from office.

But for much of the 11/2 -hour discussion, during which the mayor was often humorous, he was critical of the media's coverage of him.

"When I receive fairness, I'm surprised. I don't expect it."

Herenton said he understands his personality rubs some people the wrong way. "I don't try to win no popularity contests. I'm very independent. I'm just cool."

He said he's not perfect, but that the media have never given him a fair shake. Sometimes, he says, it's in the subtle ways he's portrayed and pictured in the media as harsh, stern and authoritative.

"I'm 6 feet 6 -- tall, dark and handsome. I intimidate some of these people."

For the first time Wednesday, Herenton responded at length to last year's rumors that he had been in a drug treatment facility. He said he's never been and has been at work every day.

"People that know me, know I like a good Merlot, I love good red wine. But the only drug that's gonna go in my body is an aspirin."

During the discussion, Herenton chastised businesses for fighting city efforts to levy a payroll tax or other revenue-generating sources.

"It's easy for them to pass on cost increases to those of us who are consumers because they have to protect shareholder value. I understand that," Herenton said.

"But the business community has got to understand that government can be efficient, but you can reach the limits of efficiency and you need more revenue. You can't be against everything and not be for something."

The mayor also criticized recall efforts led by political commentator and Herenton critic Thaddeus Matthews as "nonsense."

"I think it was WREG that gave a societal misfit so much coverage on a so-called recall of the mayor."

The discussion drew several citizens, city employees and council members to City Hall Wednesday.

"I didn't get much out of it other than the mayor was talking about how the media wasn't treating him fairly," said Council member E. C. Jones.

-- Jacinthia Jones: 529-2780


On his re-election efforts:

"If it's God's will, I'll be on the ballot in October 2007."

On suburban school funding:

"The suburban communities are getting basically a free ride when it comes to supporting schools. They don't pay their fair share in supporting education."

On the sale of MLGW:

"If I could sell it, it would have been sold."

On his media-reported absences from public events:

"You wanted to perpetuate a rumor that I was in drug rehab. I was in Piccadilly and they'd say, "Mayor they're looking for you and you're over here eating with us at Piccadilly!' "

On his being indicted:

"Do you know how many times I was supposed to go to jail? Gale (Jones Carson, his executive assistant) said the other day, 'They're supposed to indict you today.' I said, 'Indict me for what?' It's just nonsense."

On ethics and public corruption:

"I believe that public officials should be held to a very high standard of public and ethical conduct in carrying out their respective duties."

On term limits:

"It's very interesting that all of a sudden in this period in history that there are some people out there that want to change the rules. ... If you ask me, I think every time there's an election, the public has the opportunity to keep a person in office or kick 'em out."

On countywide payroll tax:

"You may be surprised to learn that I agree with something Mr. (County Commissioner John) Willingham said. Well, I'm surprised I agree with him too. But I do think that looking at a countywide payroll tax is something we need to examine."

On auto allowances at MLGW:

"I'll be very honest with you; I disagreed with the board of commissioners and their decision. ... I wish they had eliminated the car allowances for all the officials. The media has made an issue of car allowances and I just decided to get that out of the arena as far as the city is concerned."
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 2:34 pm
"You wanted to perpetuate a rumor that I was in drug rehab. I was in Piccadilly and they'd say, "Mayor they're looking for you and you're over here eating with us at Piccadilly!' "

Willie's off his nut.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 3:08 pm
on the news last nite, he said "they think i was at Betty Ford's -- but I don't even know who Betty Ford is!"
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 3:13 pm
I was hoping that he would clarify his assertion from the day before that the city was going to rebuild its reserve fund and not have a budget deficit by june. I used to be a supporter of his, but he's gotten ridiculous. Its great that he focused attention back to the core of the city, but please let there be a qualified opponent in the next mayoral race.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 3:15 pm
He probably thinks it's a long lost Ford relative waiting in the wings to blindside him, or sleep with him. That's why he's denying it.

Woah. He's one out there dude. I was watching the news while cooking dinner and heard the "I'm 6'6"..." comment. Did so many double-takes I overcooked the steaks.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 3:17 pm
hemant, we were talking about this while watching. Who can run against him? I can't think of one single person.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 3:23 pm
Steven segal!
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 3:58 pm
I used to be a supporter of his, but he's gotten ridiculous

No kidding...he is really in delusional land. Jim Jones, Idi Amin and John Ford are welcoming him with open arms!
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 4:01 pm
Hemant for Mayor.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 4:35 pm
Hemant, if you run, please do something to keep away from what that power will do to corrupt a mind. Willie started out with a questionable intellect at best, just think what would be happening if he were actually extremely bright?
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 4:48 pm
Hemant would be awesome for mayor. I can imagine him already, press conference, Mike Matthews, Claudia Barr, Merele Purvis, Jerry Tate, Janice Broach are all there. They start asking stupid questions about school consolidation....

Hemant whips out his bass and an 800 watt 6x15 cabinet, clicks a R.A.T. pedal...
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 4:48 pm
Hemant or AC Wharton... both of whom i believe are too smart to want the job.

not that herenton isn't nutty, but our city council is insane, too.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 4:59 pm
"People that know me, know I like a good Merlot, I love good red wine. But the only drug that's gonna go in my body is an aspirin."

Oh my god. How did I overlook this quote?

Memphis has the same problems Detroit and DC have/had--crazy mayor, dysfunctional city councils.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 5:42 pm
our mayor isn't as crazy as DCs mayor...that guy is unbelievable.

Do you really want me for mayor...unemployment would skyrocket as I replace every city employee with robots. but if a 6x15 cabinet and a R.A.T. pedal are perks, I'll do it!

AC already said he's not going to run for county mayor again, which is terrible. He's been terrific for the county administration, but I don't think the timing would let him run for city mayor.

Rumor has it that Chumney is thinking about running for the position. she is smart, but she is even worse than the Herrington when it comes to dealing with the city council. And she is incredibly short-sighted...She's very opposed to the light rail system and other long term anti sprawl efforts despite the fact that federal govt will cover much of the cost right now (80%), but does not guarantee that it can cover it in the future.

If I could pick anyone to be mayor, it would be Carol Coletta (host of Smart City radio show), but she has never given any indication that she is interested in politics.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 5:49 pm
Naggin would be funny up here for a while...

Rolls into City Councl....

"What's your goddammed problem?!"
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 6:04 pm
I say Hemant or Wharton. or Harold Jr, if he decided to run.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 6:08 pm
Harold Jr,
Shit, yeah! I think he has higher ambitions, though.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 6:21 pm
I think Obama has nicely stepped into where Harold Jr wanted to go--he should try running MEM and see if he can do it right.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 6:22 pm
I think Harold Jr is shooting for US Senate

I want to get into politics one day...just not yet. Although, I think I have a chance if I start campaing now.
Vote Hemant for Mayor in 2016!
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 6:23 pm
i think staying far away from Memphis is the smart thing for Jr. This place is quicksand for a young political star on the rise.

Please, no Chumney, Wittingham, or Carol Coletta. Great BBQ Pizza, very NPR show ("Smart City"), but she reeks of scarves.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 6:46 pm
harold jr?? Please tell me you're joking. I can't think of anyone who cares less for this city or uses it more.

There's only one man big enough to consolidate this town: Jake!
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 6:49 pm
harold jr

When I graduated, he sent me a certificate of commendation.

I didn't even know he knew me.

Jr. may be young, but he seems to be pretty straight-forward to me. What has he done that you didn't like?
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 6:54 pm
what did he ever do? he was born a Ford.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 6:54 pm
He doesn't know you. He just has a well-oiled machine which his dad perfected for doing things like that.

Start following his career, his votes, & what he says, and you'll see who Harold is for--himself only. Memphis is just a place for him to throw some patronage once in awhile to keep his career going.

Obama is a great example of what Harold is NOT--a real leader.

Oh, Harold Ford is in Iraq again. How is that helping Memphis?
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 6:57 pm
Well, there's that...

I'm not being catty here, I sincerely would like to know how he has screwed Memphis.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 6:57 pm
Start paying attention.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:03 pm
He just has a well-oiled machine which his dad perfected for doing things like that.

Some people say the same thing about the N MS All-Star boys. Don't mean they aren't good guys and talented.

Oh, Harold Ford is in Iraq again. How is that helping Memphis?
If he wants to get into the Senate, I would like him to know about some foriegn policy, get a leg up on how some of our regional industry could participate, lot's o' things. If Willie went over there, though, I'd call bullshit.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:04 pm
Start paying attention.

I like to think I do. Give me a specific "screwing of Memphis" example I might have missed.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:06 pm
Rule # 1 anyone with the last name Ford (at any give time in their life) is crooked. Rule #2 no matter how friendly and nice they are in person, they are only looking out for themselves Rule #3 looks can be oh so deceiving

and there will be more Ford politicians to come, one of them is in college, and every time he sees me, he would remind me of how he plans to run for something and he has always wanted to be a politician
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:09 pm
You're trying to boil it down to one thing. This man has used Memphis for his entire career since his dad gave him his job. He never even lived here. If you're really interested, follow his voting record and talk to people who have tried to get legislation passed with his help. The $$ his uncle is going to jail for will seem like chump change. I didn't say he has screwed Memphis; I said he has used Memphis. The whole Ford family has for a long time. They laugh at you for thinking they are good because they sent you a taxpayer funded letter commending you.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:10 pm
Is Michael McDonald eligible to run yet?
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:16 pm
Whatever happened to David Gest?

I have a cert signed by Big Willie when I graduated Top 10% of Memphis City Schools 1986 (Now that is a scary thought with my shite GPA). He sucks so hard.

I went to Central with some of the Hooks clan and they were great--where are they? Too smart to get involved in dis mess, likely.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:16 pm
And by the way, your analogy of NMS is so wrong. While it certainly helps that NMS' dad is/was in the music biz, those guys earned every jam-band penny they are getting by hard work, touring, setting up shows, and gaining fans etc. Their dad did not get them the job of DDT at the antenna club. And their dad did not go on the road with them, playing shitty shows for years before making any money. And I would also disagree with your assertion that their dad has a well-oiled machine.

That said, my favorite NMS show of all time was their 1st with Kelly Hurt at Dixie Fried, when they were the perfect gospel-blues-rock amalgamation. Hasn't come close since. Whatever.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:16 pm
I said he has used Memphis.

Who hasn't? I'm not putting him on a pedestal, I'm just saying he hasn't done anything to piss me off. With most of the ilk that has passed for politicians regionally, it's almost the most we can ask for. Not "this is what I can do for the city", but "I will shirk away from scandal".

Roscoe Dixon I liked. I met him. He went to bat for some causes I was working on and helped to push 'em through. I watched it. He really cared about the Boxtown community and Southwest Memphis. But what happened? He drank the corruption kool-aid.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:20 pm
Roscoe Dixon is a Ford wannabe. He wouldn't vote for or get behind any of the Stax Museum stuff we were doing until he got the heads up from the black coalition (uh, heads up means group payoff, by the way) and Stax was in his district! He deserves his jail, not a promotion to 6 figures that A.C. mistakenly gave him. I wrote a letter to the C.A. when AC hired this chump, saying he would regret it. I imagine he does now (and I am quite sure hiring Dixon was a political payoff cuz the guy is a inept buffoon). One of the few mistakes I have seen AC make. I like that guy. A real leader, not like Harold.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:21 pm
While it certainly helps that NMS' dad is/was in the music biz, those guys earned every jam-band penny they are getting by hard work, touring, setting up shows, and gaining fans etc. Their dad did not get them the job of DDT at the antenna club.

I wasn't codemming NMS. I am VERY familliar with what they have done, and I hawked their DDT CD, too. I'm just saying I have heard others make the claim about their dad. And I think it is unfair.

Jr. certainly got ancestary clout from his dad. But Jr. ran. Not his dad.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:22 pm
So, sherman, you know all the inside scoop, know the players, know the trappings and pitfalls. Run.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:24 pm
shermans ticker is not strong enough, he can't even take a close grizz game
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:24 pm
I'm not being flippant, either. I've met you. Sat down and talked to you. I'd vote for you over Willie.

I dare you.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:24 pm | Edited by: Uptight White
This is absolutely nuts. Ealier in the week he was conceding his mistakes, being concilitory, and looking to find common solutions. Now he is back to saying his criitcs are the ones with the problem.

The problem is that, he's a tall, handsome black, and that's the reason the media is on his case.

AC Wharton outclasses this guy so far, it's not even close. I'm glad he's my mayor. I've run into him in several times and he is gracious and friendly to everybody, even the white Republicans in the county that voted him into office and are very happy with his fiscal responsibility, even if we lost a cheap outdoor firing range.

The only thing I can figure is this guy realizes he is damaged goods politically, and he's going out with a blaze of glory. I think he also realizes who his base is, and many of them applaud his outlandish, ghetto behaviour, and would vote for him even after that last few years of screw-ups.

This is the same guy ran barely opposed in the own last election. Memphis gets the government it deserves, especially if this guy gets another term.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:28 pm
Jr. was given the machine by his dad. NMS earned theirs. If people claimed it, they were wrong & it was unfair, but you repeated it as if it were true. I'm not trying to come down on you, but Memphis people get what they deserve. If you expect and take this crap, you get it. That's one reason why I like the most abrasive chumney.

I'll pass on the running but I'll give a phat check to Hemant, Gest, or Jake if they do.

Might even do a Dirty White Boy benefit for 'em!
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:30 pm
Yeah, that L.A. game almost sent me to the Med!
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:30 pm
it is not totally fair to blame memphis, i am sorry but lawler was a joke at least people can fear our tall hot glass of chocolate mayor
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:39 pm
but you repeated it as if it were true.
apologies. not my intention.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:43 pm
pass on the running but I'll give a phat check to Hemant, Gest, or Jake if they do.

Gest will only use that mula for more plastic surgery.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:45 pm
Here's a couple of things I've heard said about Jr. These examples are kind of yellow journalismish, but I do agree that he's a lot about the politics of expediency.


I like Wharton too, but I don't think that's going to happen.

I really do think Willie has gone off the deep end. Delusional is a good word. Last night he was talking about how all the black people in the city can't stand him. "They think I'm tryin to rob them..."

Alex said Jeff Warren should run (he's an old family friend), but he's not ready to take on the whole city yet. Maybe in a few years. At least he can float some alternative ideas (liquor sales on Sunday to benefit schools). If only those crazy women on the school board would quit manhandling him.

DDT with Kelley Hurt and all those horns WERE the best.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:49 pm
This site is kind of fun to poke around in:


Politically skewed to the far right but it still has lots of interesting information.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 8:08 pm
I am quite sure hiring Dixon was a political payoff cuz the guy is a inept buffoon

Nice guy, but yeah, inept buffoon pretty much spells it out. He did the commencement speech when I got my Masters degree and was rambling on & on about Lola Falana and god knows, and then he pointed out my dad in the audience (my dad had some fall from grace in Memphis that wasn't his fault entirely seeing how fucked up the entire political machinery is in Memphis and Tennessee--TennCare brought him down)...stupid and nice=Roscoe.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 9:20 pm
at least people can fear our tall hot glass of chocolate mayor

Posted: Jan 6, 2006 9:30 pm
"I'm 6 feet 6 -- tall, dark and handsome. I intimidate some of these people."
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 9:50 pm | Edited by: fierydrunk
You know, wasn't he a Golden Gloves champ? I think we are seeing some of that boxing yip yap seep outta his battered brain!
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 10:36 pm
If a payroll tax ever gets passed here, start packing your shit and move to a different town. A payroll tax is a jobkiller. you think we would've gotten the IP headquarters, the Westin or any of the other new industries if we'd had a payroll tax?? Ask Kwame Kilpatrick, the hip-hop mayor of Detroit, how many jobs you create with a payroll tax.

This corruption and cronyism is disgusting; we get soaked in taxes and fees so these mediocre, mentally unstable, crack-smoking politicians can employ their hack friends and relatives in $85,000/yr. jobs as "director of multicultural affairs." what the fuck is that?? Most of these guys have severe personal financial problems (Edmund Ford is "credit dead," for example), but we put them in charge of our public finances??
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 10:43 pm
Lute: Memphis (re)elected a convicted felon to be on the city council. His offense: taking cash bribes while a city councilman under the table at Shoney's. Served his time & got re-elected. Memphis gets what it deserves. Now that New Orleans has been outed nationally as a center of corruption, we are the next big thing.

Fiery: one of the hooks was busted for crack while in office a couple years back, but (we're a forgiving society &) he's back in biz.

Herenton has the I've been in office way too long disease. It happens.
Posted: Jan 7, 2006 12:16 am
Herenton has the I've been in office way too long disease

No kidding. It would be fantastic if someone--white or black--would run against him if only to LOUDLY call him on his shit. Thing is, that person might likely end up assassinated at this rate.
Posted: Jan 7, 2006 12:35 am
When I have a represenative in Washington I want someone who will pull the lever as I would. When I voted for Jr. that is what a thought I was getting. Unfortunately it hasn't turned out to be good for this liberal... his voting record he is very very conservative.
Posted: Jan 8, 2006 4:02 pm
Mayor Herenton called me on the phone to discuss the economic impact of closing Libertyland and replacing the park w/condos. First, he said that meeting with our citizens' group, Save Libertyland! would be "a waste of his time." Then, when I asked him about the loss of 700-plus summer jobs for inner-city teenagers, he promptly hung up on me. Can a former boxer not take the heat from a 5'4" mommy armed with the city's own statistics? What a MAN.
Posted: Jan 8, 2006 6:25 pm
I remember when his ass was on the school board. He knocked up a teacher and shit started to hit the fan. He made plans to step down(fake to the left) and take a job in another city. Then sat back and waited for those dumb bastards to beg him to stay(fake to the right). He's a piece of shit.
Posted: Jan 8, 2006 6:27 pm
Let's not forget his public support for certain Republican candidates in the last election either. What an asshole.
Posted: Jan 8, 2006 7:14 pm
and, make note, it was Hooks SR who was cooking up crack when he was caught. in a kitchen in the back of Hooks JR's office over on cooper.


how do the people who do real business in this town do it? Tax breaks they never pay off? what's the deal with Beale St never paying taxes?
Posted: Jan 8, 2006 7:57 pm
I remember when his ass was on the school board

Not only was his ass on the board, he was the SUPERINTENDENT of Memphis City Schools. Crazy crook.
Posted: Jan 9, 2006 1:23 am
man all i know was that when my husband had the glass onion restaurant oin c-y, all we did was pay through the nose to the city, and believe me there was no respite even when we had that awful hurricane elvis -- remember? Hubbie had to pump diesel fuel by hand into the generator & we were the only lit-up place for a mile in all directions! So thanks for all the help, Mayor H.!
Posted: Mar 29, 2006 9:32 pm
I just signed a petition and got the bumper sticker. The guy at the table told me Chumney fully supports the recall effort. I think Wharton and Chumney are two good possibilities if they ran, though I don't know of any others...and I don't really know much about those two even.

The crappy thing I heard about the recall was that even if it goes through, our charter gives the city counsel the authority to vote Herenton right back into office. I think the bigger picture is that this recall effort is the first mass information campain against king willie I've seen since moving here in '03. Even if he makes it through the recall, he damn sure won't make it in the next general.
Posted: Mar 30, 2006 7:24 pm
I remember when his ass was on the school board

Not only was his ass on the board, he was the SUPERINTENDENT of Memphis City Schools. Crazy crook.

mom's first year teaching the principal was "old friends" w/ willie. he gave her the job. she had "skills", but no degree. aint' had no respect for him since 1988.
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