Jul 28 2015

Profiles in Cowardice

Posted by Steve Ross in City of Memphis, elections, Memphis, shenanigans

Backing off his support of the CLERB isn’t the first time the Mayor lost his backbone at the last second

Memphis Mayor AC Wharton

Memphis Mayor AC Wharton

Monday, the Memphis City Council met with key stakeholders to finalize a draft ordinance that would give additional oversight of the Memphis Police Department.

The Citizen Law Enforcement Review Board, an entity that has existed in name only for years, would be given additional powers to investigate complaints brought forward against the Police department. One of those powers would be the ability to compel testimony, and the handing over of documents from the Police department.

Until last night, it seemed everyone was on board…the majority of the City Council had pushed through two readings, and the Mayor had signaled he supported the draft that included the above changes. Even the super secret 14th member of the City Council, Alan Wade, had been placated it seemed.

But for reasons not immediately apparent, the Mayor withdrew his support of the ordinance at the 11th hour, and wasn’t even man enough to deliver the news himself.

Considering recent events, many observers wondered why the Mayor would do this? But if you’ve been paying attention, this has been this administration’s Modus Operandi from the very beginning.

Shifting Sands

Wharton is no stranger to randomly, and seemingly without warning, changing his positions.

In 2010, the Mayor withdrew his support for a non-discrimination ordinance that he previously supported. The ordinance was eventually withdrawn.

He did it again in 2012, citing mysteriously vague objections, and trotting out Attorneys Alan Wade and Herman Morris to do his dirty work.

He’s done the same thing to the folks seeking to keep a section of Overton Park from being a defacto parking lot for the zoo. The mayor, at first seemed to support the idea, then both backed off at the last second, and changed his ‘opinion’

In fact, if you look for any issue you’ve seen the Mayor speak on over the past 6 years of his tenure, you will find articles and appearances in which he regularly supports both sides of the issue, sometimes at the same time, and in the process, preserves his political capital for the masses who generally aren’t paying attention to such things.

It is both sad testimony that the local media has largely allowed him to do this, and that he thinks we’re too dumb to notice.

Why CLERB

The City has had a Civilian Review Board ordinance on the books since 1994. The ordinance, in its current form, has no teeth. As a result, the board went dormant until a series of actions, both locally and nationally, brought the idea back into the spotlight.

Now, in light of a the local shooting of an unarmed black teen… another in a string of nationally spotlighted shootings of unarmed black men, it would seem like the perfect time to institute some independent oversight of the police…not to go on a witch hunt, but to both provide the public with assurance that the investigations into possible malfeasance by officers are above board, and to root out those few officers who don’t like playing by the rules.

People who don’t like civilian oversight of anything have called supporters of the CLERB “anti-cop”, but that is a gross mischaracterization. If anything, the CLERB would help restore faith in the police by bringing the findings of investigations out into the open where regular folks can see what’s going on.

Many other cities have Review Boards…some with more powers than others. Knoxville has a review board that has many of the powers sought by advocates for the Memphis ordinance. In fact, restoring the relationship between the public and police is job #1 listed in the Knoxville ordinance.

It doesn’t seem like a crazy request or an unreachable. But to the Mayor, in an election year, it scared him so bad, he couldn’t even come down and deliver the news of his flip floppery himself.

Civilian Oversight is the Essence of Our Republic

“I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” –Thomas Jefferson

Every two to four years we have elections for various and sundry offices in this country. In Memphis, those elections seem to be every 90 days or so, but they still happen.

Its natural for people in power to try to put the best face forward, to obfuscate somewhat, to use misdirection to confuse people.

But there’s nothing confusing about what Mayor Wharton’s administration did yesterday: It purposefully withdrew support for political purposes. Mayor Wharton figures the politics of not supporting this ordinance, and possibly upsetting some police officers, is more important than the public having a voice in the workings of an agency of their government that, under the long veil of secrecy, has continued to lose the faith of the citizenry.

Conclusion

You can be a strong supporter of the Mayor and still support the CLERB ordinance.

You can be a strong supporter of local law enforcement and support the CLERB. In fact, regular cops who serve the public well on a regular basis have nothing more to worry about from the CLERB than they do from the current Internal Affairs process.

You can’t, however, proclaim to be a strong supporter of transparency and at the same time, oppose giving powers to a board that would seek to bring more transparency to an unnecessarily veiled process.

In fact, it is one of the very ideas the Mayor solicited from former County Commissioner, Mike Carpenter when he asked him to review the city’s transparency process.

Its high time the Mayor stood by that 2009 Executive Order and let the sunshine in on local government.

One way to do that, is to support all the changes the new CLERB ordinance proposes.

Doing anything else, means the Mayor has just added to his growing list of flip-flopery on the important issues of the day.

Mar 06 2015

Shakedown 2: Role Reversal

Posted by Steve Ross in elections, Memphis Politics

Memphis Mayor AC Wharton

Memphis Mayor AC Wharton

After the announcement from Memphis City Hall that Jack Sammons would be taking over as the City’s CAO, I wrote this post, pondering the issue as either a shake-up or a shakedown.

At the end of the post I posed a question:

Is this shakeup the move of a leader who recognizes he’s got a problem and is trying to fix it, or is this a shakedown of the city’s business community/Poplar corridor voters, basically saying, stick with me or else?

In light of recent events, it seems the answer is neither. The power in relationships that brought this along are exactly reversed from my original assumptions.

Shakedown: Who’s Driving the Bus?

The first clue came in this post by Toby Sells of the Memphis Flyer.

There are two very telling quotes in this post, that have become more telling in light of recent events.

The first, is that Mayor Wharton wouldn’t comment on the discussions to install Sammons in the post.

Lets think about this, if you’re trying to “shake-up” your administration in a way that brings a sense of additional political competence to the equation, wouldn’t you be ready to talk about it? The idea that “negotiations” are the stumbling block here lead one to believe that Mayor Wharton isn’t driving the bus on this one, but going along for the ride.

Second, when asked if this might bring more changes to 125 N. Main, Mayor Wharton said, “It might”.

This also brings a “driving the bus” question. First of all, as a Mayor, if you had division directors that you had lost confidence in, its your prerogative to replace them. But Mayor Wharton is either playing coy, or he truly doesn’t have an opinion on the issue. If that’s the case, then one has to wonder if he really wanted to replace Little with Sammons, or if he’s being pressured externally to do so.

Then there’s this little gem from Informed Sources.

Here’s the money quote from Susan Adler Thorp from about 1 min 10 seconds in.

Susan Adler Thorp:Because it really was created by some strong supporters of Mayor Wharton’s in the business community. Because we all know Mayor Wharton’s numbers have fallen, in the African-American community, in the White community, and in the business community. …He apparently has not been raising the kind of money for his campaign that he has in the past. So this was an attempt to recreate some faith in the Mayor’s ability to have a strong administration…and that’s what happened.

Mary Beth Connley So are you saying the finanial support was going to be pulled or reduced or removed if he didn’t replace George Little? and why?

Susan Adler Thorp: Well, there was a little threat there that there would not be any financial support. So, did the Mayor buy in to this? I’m not so sure, but as George Little confirmed, it looks like political strategy to help him raise money for his political campaign.

The quote Thorp is referencing is from this CA article that I linked in my last post, where Little is quoted saying:

“I’ll tell you what I don’t bring to this job, and I don’t mind saying it. I’m a longtime civil servant. … Where I can’t serve the mayor is in terms of political strategy.”

All these things together make it clear, the Mayor is being taken for a ride he didn’t buy a ticket for, and didn’t want to get on.

Quid pro quo?

Anyone who’s watched Silence of the Lambs has an idea of what quid pro quo means….It’s latin phrase that literally means “something for something” or, you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

So what kind of ‘back scratching’ is the business community after? Bill Dries is on the case:

Little said Monday that the administration is prepared to move ahead with changes to police and fire operations as well as begin movement again on its bid to outsource more solid waste sanitation services.

These are the things the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce have been pushing since day 1 of the Wharton Administration. And while Police and Fire services have endured a great deal of pain over the past several years, that pain isn’t satisfying the business community. They want more.

Now it seems they’ve finally taken the opportunity to force the Mayor’s hand using the thing they excel at most…money.

Political Fallout

One thing’s for sure… If I were Mayor Wharton, I’d be thanking my lucky stars that this snow happened when it did. It effectively put any discussion of the goings on with the Sammons situation on ice…literally.

Because there are some serious political problems with the appointment.

The first issue is getting it done. With State offices shuttered, and reluctance from the Republican County Mayor, Wharton has a little bit more time, with the issue out of the spotlight, to decide just how hard he’s going to push the issue in the coming days.

Secondly, the question of how much money will Jack Sammons command as the CAO of the city is ripe for being played up in the media. Les Smith at Fox 13 took a cursory glance at that earlier this week.

But while the money may ultimately be a drop in the bucket, its the appearance that will hurt the Mayor more than anything else. As Thorp points out on Informed Sources, the Mayor’s support across the board is flagging. One has to question how installing a new CAO under extreme political pressure will play with the public. My sense is it won’t play well, even if Sammons did it for free.

So now comes the question of political strategy. Specifically, will the promise of the money faucet actually help the Mayor in his re-election bid with folks who aren’t a part of that world?

Lets be very clear here. There’s no question that money is required to make a real go of it in October. And there’s also no question that Mayor Wharton has some real competition for those big money donors in the race.

But money alone doesn’t win elections. The truth is, there’s a promise…a contract if you will, between voters and elected officials. That promise comes right down to making people’s lives better, in some measurable way…and there’s plenty of room for debate that the Wharton Administration has fulfilled that promise.

Crime reduction and job creation are the biggies here Bluff City. But there are also some other promises that are more localized to specific constituencies that play a large role in their support. And while there’s no question the unemployment situation in Memphis has gotten better (10.1% in 2011 to 7.6% in 2014), the median household income over the same period of time (not adjusted for inflation) has dropped and the number of households making less than 35,000/yr has increased.

So while there may be more people employed, working people in Memphis aren’t making as much money today as they were four years ago. If you need one metric to gauge discontent…the “are you doing better now than four years ago” question comes back as a no.

The Long Road to October

With all these things in mind, one has to wonder who will emerge as the candidate that speaks to the wants and needs of the long ignored regular folks in Memphis?

Narratives haven’t been launched, and the field is nowhere near being set, but right now, there doesn’t seem to be anyone in place ready to take up that mantle. And with dissatisfaction with the status quo being high, the contest is ripe for someone to come forward with a message that’s geared toward regular working people, that doesn’t, at the same time, rely on the oft heard policy tropes that keep getting forced down our throats.

The truth is, there hasn’t been a real public policy discourse about the direction of the city in a long while. Most of the conversation has been about these supposed “gotta do it” issues, with no other options presented.

Maybe the city doesn’t have any options. Or maybe it suffers from a lack of imagination and intellectual curiosity. Maybe instead of focusing on cutting services (which has been the hallmark of the past 8 years) we need to be looking for ways to increase our tax base. That’s something I never hear coming from City Hall quite frankly.

As for the cutting, I think its fine to study the size of various divisions of the city. I think its fine to consider that maybe there’s money being spent poorly. But if tax rate is as big of a deal as some folks think it is, then increasing property values ought to be a big part of the equation, and to do that, we have to start working on parts of town that are typically ignored.

That might also be a good strategy to reduce some of the property crime, not to mention violent crime in the City.

I’m just saying, the city seems to cater to one group of people, and its a pretty damn small group.

But for politicians to change their song and dance, it takes citizens, and a damn lot of them, to start singing a new tune. That means enough of us have to be on the same page that there’s something there to dance to. And, we gotta keep singing it until they get it right.

Otherwise, we’ll keep getting the same song and dance over and over again…no matter how little its doing for us, or how poorly its performed.

Mar 02 2015

A Shake-up, or a Shakedown?

Posted by Steve Ross in elections, Memphis Politics

George Little and Jack Sammons

George Little and Jack Sammons

Monday’s announcement that Jack Sammons was Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s choice to take over as the City’s CAO is only surprising in that it took so long to happen.

The mayor’s administration has been mired in criticism from city employees, and citizens who don’t feel they’re getting much in the way of anything (tax savings or increased services) from the years of pain that have been endured and will most likely continue to be endured regardless of who wins in October.

But the Mayor, who won in a landslide just 3 and a half years ago, should be feeling the heat.

The political capital his 2011 win garnered isn’t gone, just long forgotten. And after years of promises, and little in the way of delivery…there’ growing discontent in the city about the way the cards have fallen, and just what the Mayor’s vision is for the city.

Make no mistake about it…Mayor Wharton is good at stitching a yarn together, or making pretty words sound good about what a vision might look like. But when it comes to putting that vision into action in a way that the people can see…he’s left much to be desired.

And, with a heated election just seven months away, and a more heated budget battle with at least two City Councilmen looking at his job, putting an ineffective communicator out there, with little political credibility isn’t going to help the Mayor keep his spot on the seventh floor of 125 N. Main.

Enter Jack Sammons…

As a player in the City game since the late 80’s, Sammons knows what’s expected, and most think he knows how to deliver. His two month stint as the CAO under interim-Mayor Myron Lowery is held up as an example of what a longer term stint might bring.

There are some real hurdles to overcome, like his gig with the Airport Commission. But the Mayor seems to think the State Legislature will pass a law that he wants that would fix it, even though there’s no real reason to believe that.

As for Sammons, no one questions his profile. His time in the City Council and on other boards have given Memphians a kind of comfort with him. For the most part, we know what Jack will deliver…and AC knows this.

Its the kind of political calculation that one might expect from an election year. In the CA article, outgoing CAO George Little laid the play bare saying:

“I’ll tell you what I don’t bring to this job, and I don’t mind saying it. I’m a longtime civil servant. … Where I can’t serve the mayor is in terms of political strategy.”

There it is folks…political strategy. I’ll get into that in just a second.

By the way, Little isn’t going away, just to another in a long line of mystery funded executive positions that didn’t exist four years ago.

Let’s hear it for efficiency!

Strategery

Political strategy is something AC desperately needs if he’s going to hang on to the top spot in the City. Every passing week brings another candidate, tasting blood in the water, looking to exploit the Mayor’s perceived weakness.

But the Mayor, over the past couple of weeks, has stepped his game up, making sure the media is there for every baby kissing, kid camping, and potential economic development deal he can muster. There’s no question a Jack Sammons at the helm of the CAO’s spot will only accelerate that.

And there’s the election strategy. A Jack Sammons at the helm of the city sends a signal to the City’s business community…who have been in AC’s camp since 2011, that all will be ok, we’re working on it, and don’t jump ship just yet.

This is a big blow to the Strickland campaign, who no doubt sought to at least divide the business folks out of AC’s camp, and unify voters in the Poplar corridor. Sammons’ entry to the AC administration puts a damper on that effort. I’m not saying Strickland’s sunk…just that the bar got raised a little bit.

As for the rest of the crowd, they’re left fighting over the voters that aren’t as sexy to the media…you know, regular people. I’m not saying Strickland and AC won’t reach out to them too, but with those two at the top of the ticket, you know the local media was salivating over a Poplar corridor showdown. Now, that could play second fiddle…and with some of the things the Mayor has up his sleeve right now, he could use those to grab just enough to win a plurality in October with Sammons’ help.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not counting out the top tier of the front-runners, but if they don’t have a bad case of heartburn right now, they’re fooling themselves.

Shake-up or Shakedown

But the real political question to me is this:

Is this shakeup the move of a leader who recognizes he’s got a problem and is trying to fix it, or is this a shakedown of the city’s business community/Poplar corridor voters, basically saying, stick with me or else?

Anyone who’s watched Season 4 of The Wire knows the basic playbook this campaign was going to take. But this is a curve ball for those folks looking to keep some plot purity.

And while the State Legislature may stand in the way, that may still not be a loss for Mayor Wharton. There are political fortunes to be made using the ‘foreign other’ (Legislators standing in the way) as a blunt instrument to rally the troops.

Regardless of whether or not Sammons actually takes the CAO job with the city, he’s put himself out there, ready to use his considerable political skills for the Mayor, and that’s more than just a moral victory for Mayor Wharton.

Jan 18 2015

District 5 free-for-all

Posted by Steve Ross in City of Memphis, elections, Memphis Politics

The entry of District 5 Councilman Jim Strickland into the race for Mayor of Memphis has set up a free-for-all in the race for his district.

Right now there are four people who have either declared, or are openly considering a run. I’ll be honest with you, I only know two of them, and a third, I only know anything about because of a Facebook post.

Hardly much of anything to go on.

Still, its a long way to October, and candidates have plenty of time to define themselves…or be defined by each other.

I’ll tell you what I know, and look at the way the district’s been voting. And if any of you candidates want to chime in with links or more information, do it in the comments.

The Candidates

Candidates listed in alphabetical order

Worth Morgan

Worth Morgan

Worth Morgan

I found out about Morgan’s potential candidacy through this Commercial Appeal article announcing another candidates run.

Morgan doesn’t have much of an online profile. His Facebook profile is locked down. As of this writing, there is no Facebook page, twitter handle, or website for his campaign.

What can be found is that he is the child of Musette and Allen Morgan, the latter of Morgan Keegan fame.

I also found this old MUS newsletter talking about Worth’s childhood liver problems, and the family’s commitment to funding research.

By virtue of his family, Worth could be a strong fundraiser (I know that’s a stereotype, but I don’t have much else to go on) or could possibly ‘self-fund’. As for positions, I have no idea. It seems odd to me that a potential candidate would put themselves out there without anything to begin defining them. But, if you subscribe to the money vs. message worldview (which I’m not sure I do because that worldview assumes mutual exclusivity) whatever message Worth comes up with, he’ll most likely have the money to get it out to the masses.

Does he have the public profile to compete in what will likely be one of the most competitive races this fall? That remains to be seen.

Charles ‘Chooch’ PickardFacebook

Charles 'Chooch' Pickard

Charles ‘Chooch’ Pickard

Pickard (aka Chooch) organized an exploratory committee for the District 5 seat in late 2014. An architect by trade, Pickard has been involved in several public and non-profit organizations over the past 6+ years.

In 2009 he was named Executive Director of the Memphis Regional Design Center, an organization that seeks to bring economic stability through land use, planning and design.

That may not sound like a big deal in Memphis, a city where folks consistently list crime and poverty as primary issues, but the wealth of vacant and blighted properties in Memphis only exacerbates those problems, and makes for convenient havens for crime. Those vacant properties also represent a decreased property tax base, which means less revenue, which then translates to fewer services and higher taxes. At the very least, land use is an issue that must be tackled in tandem with these other issues that grab more headlines.

Currently, Pickard serves on the MATA board and is the Executive Architect at City South Ventures, which is seeking to redevelop the U.S. Marine Hospital, which is just south of Crump and the South Bluffs area.

Pickard announced on his Facebook Page that he would have a meeting to make a decision about a potential run. So far, no word on whether he’s in for sure or not.

Dan Springerwebsite | Facebook Page | Twitter

Dan Springer

Dan Springer

Dan Springer announced his candidacy mere moments after Strickland announced his run for Mayor. The two articles were competing with each other on the CA website. But that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, Springer interned with the law firm of Kustoff & Strickland several years ago, so he likely had an inside track.

Currently Springer serves as the Director of Communications for Evolve Bank & Trust. Previously he served as an Executive Assistant to Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and a Legislative Aide to U.S. Senator Bob Corker.

According to people who know Springer, his GOP bona fides notwithstanding, he’s moderate and open minded. Its hard to say how Springer’s GOP background will play in District 5…which has been a swing area in the past two County elections (Luttrell carried the area, but Democrats were voted in on the County Commission). By virtue of his relationship with Mayor Luttrell, there’s little doubt he will have a strong fundraising operation.

Mary Wilder

Mary Wilder

Mary Wilder

Wilder has been a fixture in the Evergreen Vollentine neighborhood for as long as I’ve been in Memphis (which means even longer than that). Wilder is a strong advocate for neighborhoods, and has been active in several civic and political organizations for quite some time.

In 2007 Wilder was named to the Tennessee State House District 89 in an interim position after State Senator Beverly Marerro won the Senate District 30 seat. In 2007 she ran for Memphis City Council District 9 position 3, losing to Reid Hedgepeth in a tight 3-way race.

Wilder is retired but was most recently the Facilities Director at MIFA.

Wilder’s strong ties to the community and neighborhood advocacy make her an early favorite, especially with the Midtown corridor of District 5. The Midtown area has very high voter participation compared to other areas in District 5 and Wilder is a well known and respected quantity in those areas.

Mary’s track record as a community advocate will also likely play well in the struggling neighborhoods within District 5. Many of those neighborhoods have been thirsting for a strong voice on the Council and feel a bit like an afterthought in both Council and County Commission discussions.

Conclusion

Of course, its still early, and perhaps too early to make any decisions about anything, but Springer came out of the gate strong, and that means the other candidates have a little catching up to do.

It will be interesting to see what the candidates report on their early financial disclosures next month.

The deadline for petitions isn’t until July, but the race, like it or not, is well underway.

District 5 has some of the highest turnout, and has more concentrated wealth than perhaps any other single member district that will be in play this cycle. That means candidates will have to raise a lot of money, and have robust organizations to get their message out.

District 5 is also a 50%+1 district, meaning, with at least four people (so far) vying for the seat, there’s the very real possibility of a run-off election a month after the October election. This makes organization and fundraising even more critical in the months before the July petition deadline.

Its going to be very interesting. As I find out more about the individual candidates, I’ll update this post.

Ed. Note – If you’re a candidate for District 5 and have more information you’d like me to include in this post, shoot me a note via my Contact Page.

Nov 30 2014

Populism alone won’t save Southern Democrats

Posted by Steve Ross in elections, National Politics, TNDP
Complete Devestation

Complete Devestation

Friday, the AP published an article pushing for more populism from Democratic candidates in Southern states to help revive the respective state party organizations.

I agree that a more populist message would help motivate Democratic voters, and possibly move some swing voters our way, but the notion that populism alone is the answer is moronic.

Because any messaging tactic one might bring to a campaign is worthless without the apparatus to effectively deliver that message. That’s where Democrats in the South, and plenty of other places, have been failing.

I constantly hear from Republicans to be ready to do battle with “Democratic Machine Politics”, but I’ve not seen much evidence of a machine at all in recent years. Certainly not on the local and state levels.

That’s where we’re getting destroyed. And the destruction will have long lasting effects on the politics and policies of individual states, and the federal government going forward.

But its not just Tennessee, its happening all over.

Here’s what they’re saying in Arizona about their state party structure.

“There’s got to be a serious autopsy. And I say autopsy because I think we’re dead at this point. The infrastructure is dead, the party structure is dead….

It’s not just money, we have a much bigger problem than that. I can’t blame anybody. I’m part of the problem, too.”

– Arizona House Minority Leader Rep. Chad Campbell

If this refrain sounds familiar, it should. I’ve been saying something similar to this since 2008.

I suggest you go and read the whole thing, because there’s a glimmer of hope in the statement from AZ House Minority Leader Chad Campbell…recognition.

Unlike Democratic leaders in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and other deep south states, Campbell actually understands two critical problems:

  1. That the state political structure is dead.
  2. That he is at least somewhat responsible for killing it.

That kind of recognition is absent from far too many of the discussions being had around here.

But this post isn’t about blame…because that’s not productive. In fact, I have no interest in calling names or anything like that, because we’re all responsible on one level or another.

This post is about the transformative power of recognizing the problem.

The Arizona Democratic Party actually has a chance now…if only its leaders will act on the recognition of their State House Minority Leader.

We need our leaders, including school board members, County Commissioners, State House and Senate members, State Executive Committee members, and US Representatives, to recognize the role they play in contributing to the problem…and begin working on concrete actions to start building something…anything.

That means finding something for campaign teams to do once the election is over.

We can’t just build campaign teams for the election and then let all that talent get scattered to the wind once the cycle is over. We have to keep these folks in the fold, so all that time training and mentoring doesn’t go to waste.

We have to build a bench, and keep that bench game ready.

But we don’t do that…ever. We fight amongst ourselves about petty party issues, and pigeon-hole people as one faction or another (that we have decided we don’t like) and let that get in the way of building. Its stupid.

Its funny to me that Democrats are the Party that professes to stand up for the little guy, when we consistently squander the “little guy” campaign talent as soon as the election cycle is over.

Then, two years later, we come calling on these folks, hoping they’re still around to help us…and more often than not, they have done what any self-respecting person would do…they’ve moved on.

Republicans don’t do that. They keep their people busy. And while some might say they have more money than we do…part of that is because they don’t ever stop campaigning. They keep their army busy fundraising, advocating, and recruiting.

We don’t, and that’s what’s killing us.

I’ve been saying the same thing for more than six years now, and I don’t care if you’re tired of hearing it. No one has really, effectively put anything in motion for any period of time because we spend so much time second-guessing ourselves into inaction, and ultimately, failure.

Until we decide to get over ourselves, and stop looking around the corner for the next internal boogeyman, we’ll never be able to take on the real villain that’s right in front of us…and has taken over.