Some interesting information surfaced as candidates attended last night’s meeting of the Midtown Republican Club two days before the election.
Nigel Lewis dropped by to make his case for Criminal Court judge, Division 1. “The County is at a crossroads and I want to do something about it,” Lewis said of his reason for running. “I’ve lived in Shelby County all my life,” he said, adding that he is committed to Memphis and Midtown. “I grew up on Stonewall and attended Immaculate Conception grade school and later CBU before getting my master’s at Georgetown.
“I saw a need here. We can’t afford the status quo. I believe in hope, honesty, professionalism, equality and judges who rule fairly,” Lewis explained.
His competition is incumbent judge Paula Skahan and challenger Michael Floyd. Lewis won the endorsement of conservative website backinrivercity.com.
David Poole touted that endorsement, too, along with one from Joe Saino, blogger at MemphisShelbyInform.com.
Poole is running for General Sessions Division 3 against an incumbent. The 47-year-old Poole touts that he has only missed on day of work in his professional career. It’s an issue that has come to the forefront this year for voters. “I have a strong work ethic,” he added.
“I’ve been endorsed by Republicans and Democrats,” Poole said. “We want good judges who follow the law. You won’t regret your vote for me.”
Our own Midtown Republican club member and candidate Geoff Diaz followed and said he had voted for Poole and Lewis.
Diaz has been pounding the pavement in his bid for County Commission District 10. He is looking for helpers to hand out ballots tomorrow.
Leah Roen, Midtowner and candidate for Circuit Court Division 1, dropped by again to ask for our vote. She mentioned her experience sitting on disciplinary court, in litigation, insurance, foreclosures and personal issues.
Fellow Midtowner Keith Alexander came by to tell us of his new website, keithalexanderforassessor.com. He painted a vivid picture of what Memphians will face if his Democrat opponent wins reelection.
“According to an article in the Flyer, Carol Chumney has a modest proposal to increase property taxes by 18%. That will turn us into Detroit,” Alexander said. He believes that is the Democrat strategy and one Democrat Cheyenne Johnson will follow. On his website he warns how the assessor’s office uses the property tax as an under the radar way to bring in money; money that goes for things like refurbishing Raleigh Springs Mall.
“At a cost of $66 million I’d rather see that money spent on retirement funds and live up to the promises they made,” Alexander said.
On his website he writes,
The 2009 appraisal, the first under the incumbent Assessor I am challenging, resulted in a 65% average increase in property tax valuations for 2010 and following years. This produced a 65% average “under the table” tax increase for all residential property owners. The size of this increase is a clear red flag which screams “undue political influence” resulting in a back door tax increase for Memphis and Shelby County through over appraisal of your homes and small businesses.
The 2013 appraisal applicable to 2014 taxes raised my own assessed value by 57.8%, and everyone I talk to on the campaign trail seems to have similar increases in their assessed property values. Your only recourse is to go to the trouble and expense of appealing your assessed valuation.
Your only protection against this sort of thing happening again and again is to elect a new Assessor committed to protecting homeowners and small business owners. If I am elected, I will resist political pressure for back door tax increases, and I will make sure all property owner’s appraisals are derived solely from actual market data.
All these offices are important to Shelby County residents. Tomorrow we will find out if they have been paying attention.