At Thursday night’s latest meeting called to protest alleged vote irregularities in the August 5 county election, held at Morning Star Church on Park Avenue, speakers repeated past allegations and made some new ones and called for a resounding “no” to the forthcoming November 2 ballot referendum on consolidation.
Much of the emphasis had shifted from efforts to affect the outcome of the August 5 election — though supporting legal efforts to do so remained on the agenda. Randy Wade, who had been Democratic candidate for sheriff, said that his major concern had changed from his own defeat (“that’s behind me now’) to what he said was the real object of alleged vote alteration in August — to prepare the way “for us [Memphians] to give up our charter.”
Here Wade elaborates on that theme and extols the contributions to the voter protest by blogger/broadcaster Thaddeus Matthews:
When Matthews himself spoke, he proclaimed, “In Shelby County, there are some individuals who need to go to jail.” Calling the names of some public officials indicted in the Tennessee Waltz scandal becaause “they took some money” — John Ford, Roscoe Dixon, Kathryn Bowers, Michael Hooks, Rickey Peete — he said, “When individuals steal my constitutional rights, they can go free."
Said Matthews: “The Shelby County Election Commission has committed a crime. Now even Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder can see what is going on.” In a variation on what Wade had said, Mathews said, “It’s only about two things in Shelby County: consolidation and the Obama vote.” Among the officials that came in for verbal attack were District Attorney General Bill Gibbons and Memphis mayor A C. Wharton (“We’ll take care of him next year”), as well as Shelby County commissioners Sidney Chism, James Harvey, and Justin Ford, who were chided for their absence Thursday night.
Here Matthews works the crowd into a vocal demonstration of “people power” and repeats a prior vow to “shut this city down.”
Other speakers included Regina Morrison Newman, the former Trustee who lost her job in the election and now works as an assistant city treasurer; Shep Wilbun, the defeated candidate for Juvenile Court clerk, who outlined in detail what he said was a plot to exchange his vote totals for those of victorious Republican rival Joy Touliatos; Darrick “Dee” Harris; George Monger; Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy; and Shelby County Democratic chairman Van Turner.