Leading up to the 2019 City of Memphis Municipal Elections, we posed three questions to all 64 candidates running for mayor and city council to gauge their support for local solutions to our city's needs. The questions addressed the topics of quality affordable housing; supporting and growing the newly created Memphis Affordable Housing Trust Fund, pedestrian safety; improving Memphis' record as the 11th most dangerous metro area for pedestrians in the U.S. and public transit; increasing our investment to fund the Memphis 3.0 Transit Vision.
The three questions were sourced from our membership base of 28 nonprofit community development corporations working in neighborhoods across Memphis and supporting/partner agencies in the economic development and financial sectors.
We recorded responses from the 13 candidates that participated and displayed them on our website to help voters make informed decisions on election day. Let’s look at what a few of the 2019 candidates running in the City of Memphis Municipal Elections had to say.
Do you support the current allocation of $700,000 in general property tax revenue annually to the Memphis Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and would you support increasing funding from a recurring source for the long-term sustainability of the Fund?
The Affordable Housing Trust Fund was part of my 2019 budget proposal, and we worked with our partners on the City Council to make it a reality. This is a sustainable fund, as it is tied to a portion of our property tax rate. We are continuing to work to find ways to grow it in time with our own funding, as well as with philanthropy. – Jim Strickland, Incumbent Mayor
I'm supportive of the current allocation of $700K. Before supporting an increase to the funding. I'd like to have an opportunity to evaluate the successes and failures of the first year's grants. – Worth Morgan, Memphis City Council Candidate, District 5
Yes. Affordable housing is a priority for me, and I will support current efforts as well as work to find additional ways to accelerate the reduction of the affordable housing deficit. – Tami Sawyer, Mayoral Candidate
I fully support the Memphis Affordable Housing Trust Fund. It’s my desire for the funding for this program to increase significantly. I absolutely will search for ways to increase and sustain long-term funding to help provide affordable housing to Memphians. – Cody Fletcher, Memphis City Council Candidate Super District 9, Position 3
What will you do to make Memphis streets safe for all, regardless of their mode of transportation?
Some things I would do to make Memphis Streets safe for all, would be to provide sidewalks in communities that don't have them and to increase street sweeping and mowing along walkways in communities to improve walkability. – Rhonda Logan, Memphis City Council Candidate, District 1
First of all, we have to hold elected officials accountable who promised to address crime with a plan and didn't. Secondly, we have to allocate resources properly to MATA. Third, we have to restore benefits to police and fire but also improve/revamp/increase the amount of training overall, but especially when it comes to de-escalation tactics.
– Theryn Bond, Memphis City Council Candidate, District 6
We need to make public transportation more accessible, and we need to put speed bumps on streets notorious for speeding. I have seen a lot of work put in on making more clearly marked crosswalks available, and my platform discusses a lot of our schools where speed bumps and signage are not properly in place. – John Marek, Memphis City Council Candidate, District 5
We’ve done quite a bit already, but we have much more work ahead of us. Through our Bikeway & Pedestrian program, we incorporate safer street designs for all users of our streets. – Jim Strickland, Incumbent Mayor
There have been many recent pedestrian and bikeway improvements, but we have more to do. Continuing to increase safe pedestrian walkways, bikeways, speed bumps in school zones, parks, and other areas that have high pedestrian usage can all help create a safer community for pedestrians, bikers, and drivers. We also need to have educational plans in place to effectively slow down drivers which will save lives. – Dr. Jeff Warren, Memphis City Council Candidate Super District 9, Position 3
Would you support efforts to find new and increased funding sources to implement the Transit Vision network and serve Memphis neighborhoods more effectively?
Transportation equity is a very important issue for me and a major part of my campaign platform and work as commissioner. I will as mayor work to find innovative funding sources that allow us to revitalize and modernize while improving access. – Tami Sawyer, Mayoral Candidate
I would support it as a temporary fix not as a permanent solution. Memphis cannot become a world class city with MATA. In order to attract Fortune 500 companies to our city, we must invest heavily in phasing out MATA for a more advanced and more modern form of transportation that will be used not just by the poor but by the middle class and upper middle class as well. – Pastor Gerald Kiner, Memphis City Council Candidate Super District 9, Position 3
Yes, and I would and include a provision to fund a PR campaign to increase ridership. We must view MATA as a business, and if you expand a business without increasing business, then that business will be in crisis. I would advocate for a carefully crafted and executed PR campaign to increase ridership and revenue simultaneously. – Pearl “Eva” Walker, Memphis City Council Candidate Super District 8, Position 1
I will make transportation a priority of my policy agenda. The information that I have about the $30 million dollar is what I have seen as a private citizen. I can't wait to enter much more in depth discussions to see what we need and how we are going to fund it. – Mauricio Calvo, Memphis City Council Candidate Super District 9, Position 2