WILLINGHAM FETE FOR COMMISSION ASPIRANTS Remember when Memphis’ Anthony “Amp” Elmore used to be simultaneously the holder of a championship kick-boxing belt and the promoter of various championship fights in which he would take on an opponent? You had to wonder how on-the-level such a thing could be. Similar thoughts crossed the minds of some of those invited for an Open House to the home of Shelby County Commissioner John Willingham and his wife Marge on Fairchild Cove in East Memphis Sunday night. It was billed by Commissioner Willingham as a reception for the several candidates seeking to succeed the recently vacated District #1 commission seat of Linda Rendtorff, now director of community services for county mayor A C Wharton. Since one of the aspirants for that seat is teacher Karla Templeton, daughter of Commissioner Willingham, some of the skeptics might have been forgiven for their doubts. As it turned out, however, most of the serious contenders for the vacancy were on hand, as were a fair number of Willingham’s commission colleagues, media people, and others. In fact, it was right smart of a party -- with a wet bar and food furnished by Bar-b-q maven Willingham himself -- and all of the politicking seemed to be congenial and on the up-and-up. Best yet, nobody made speeches. Among the candidates for Rendtorff’s vacancy who showed up, besides Templeton: Billy Orgel, Wyatt Bunker, Mike Carpenter, Mike Ritz, George Flinn, Jay Sparks, Mark White, Lester Lit, and Phil Kantor. The same cast of characters, plus others, will be on hand for a specially called commission meeting Wednesday, at which they will have the opportunity to state their credentials and purposes for the record.

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