Carpenter goes in-depth in radio interview

Charles Carpenter agreed Wednesday afternoon to do what, so far, no mayoral candidate we know of has ever done -- spend not one, not two but three hours in studio with radio talk-show host Thaddeus Matthews.

That Carpenter, Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton's campaign manager going back to 1991, was able to fill the three hours on KWAM-AM 990 with detailed plans outlining his vision for the city indicates how serious he is approaching his run. In fact, he very much sounded like a man who may have known for some time that there would be a special election worth preparing for. One example: Matthews and his callers often pressed Carpenter to explain how he would expand economic opportunities for all, and Carpenter at one pointed cited a Brookings Institute study showing that Memphis  "ranks No. 38" in the country in economic strength and expounded on it.

As he did in launching his campaign on Beale Street last week and at a forum of builders and contractors, Carpenter emphasized not his obvious connection to Herenton but his legal background (including how he started as a defense attorney, partnering with then-young Leslie Ballin as they tried their first case together) and business and finance experience. And he seemed eager to share his background, having risen from a humble beginning near Beale and Danny Thomas to graduate from internationally-respected institutions like Howard University and Notre Dame Law School. That combination of a life experience that allows him to relate to the poorest Memphians and an educational and professional pedigree that makes him comfortable in the most elite of circles appears to be a double-whammy Carpenter realizes distinguishes him from most other declared or potential candidates.

"I am very serious about becoming the next mayor for the City of Memphis because the city is poised for greatness," said Carpenter, who must have used the word "consensus" a couple dozen times. "But we need a leader to move the city forward as opposed to a politician. And a leader will understand the finance, the business opportunities, the opportunities to make Memphis an international city as well as home for many of the national Fortune 100 corporations."

Matthews challenged Carpenter to prove he was not what the host called a "safe Negro" (at one point, "what I call Uncle Tom handkerchief-head wearing Negroes") pandering to white business interests, but his language was noticeably toned down. The insults Matthews aimed at City Council chairman and prospective mayor pro tem Myron Lowery, especially, were much more subdued than when Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton appeared on his show.


Now, Mr. Carpenter, are you going to go on the other radio talk show with a more, shall we say, reputable host who will have more pertinent questions about your abilities and how you are different from your boss.
That you graduated from Notre Dame is not near as meaningful as whether you have character, integretity and honesty. All qualities your current boss lacks.
How do you think that you are going to get 'Fortune 100' companies to come here when the school system produces the kind of product it does because there is an overwhelming lack of concern with being educated in this community? How are you going to instill in the majority population that being educated is a good thing which leads to better things in life?
At this point in your campaign you sound like more of the same...all blue sky.

"... the city is poised for greatness," said Carpenter ...

That statement in and of itself leads me to be believe that all mayoral candidates need to be drug tested immediately.

Well Tom, if your candidate Jim Strickland, does not see or believe that with vision and leadership that Memphis is poised or even destined for greatness then why is he considering running again ? Oh, probably just another Republican politician trying to get his name out there in hopes of seeking another political office transparent...

Jim Strickland is a Democrat, Danielle.

Thank you, It is Conrad who is Republican, and I should not have qualified my statement by party because BOTH democrats and republicans utilize positions for their own personal agenda to move forward in the spotlight and feed their egotistical needs. However, my point still remains, if Ton Guleff's endorsed candidate Jim Strickland does not think Memphis is poised for greatness, maybe the top position of the city is NOT the job he should be seeking.

Jim Armour, did you listen to the interview? I listened to it this morning and I believe Carpenter outlined specific plans and means of achieving them as well as answered the questions you posed here. It amazes me how so many people use the term your boss, it appears he is his own business owner and was not appointed to any special administrative position by who you characterize as "his boss". Right now, he still seems like the only candidate that can actually get anything done in this city, the others are either too busy pushing someone else's agenda, or not focusing on what us citizens really care about in seeing Memphis grow and crime decrease...

The other day on TV news Carpenter sounded just like Willie,he said that he got in the race because he thought all the other candidates were not good and that he was better than all of them and he wants to save Memphis from them.

No matter how much he says to the contrary, he is just like Willie and he will be a Mayor just like him and that's why we don't need him.

Anybody directly or indirectly connecteed to Herenten does not need to be voted for. We've had enough of that to last us a long time.

If that were the case that would be every candidate in the race...
AC Wharton, campaigned for Herenton and made backroom deals with him regarding whether he would run in 2007 mayoral race...
The rest are on the council or serve in some public office in this city which makes them ALL directly or indirectly connected to Herenton in some capacity. Jesus was connected to Judas by association, did that mean that Jesus was also a traitor?!?!? You are connected to someone in your family that does not abide by every single rule or law...does that make you a criminal also by association?!?! I think the reason this city will always be stagnant is because of citizens like you that cannot envision growth because you are caught up on associations vs what people can bring to the table to help this city, which face it, this city is in terrible need of help!!!

Maybe Carpenter has something to offer, but if he is to have any credibility with voters NOT aligned with Herenton he better let us know what those unique qualifications are. Carpenter he no experience in politics besides being associated with Willie. That does not qualify him to be mayor. Chumney, Strickland, Morris and AC all have better qualification to be mayor.

Hmmm qualifications, that's interesting. I never knew the city charter stated that one must have held public office in order to be QUALIFIED as mayor. OH WAIT, it doesn't! Some of these ignorant people who comment tickle me. What qualifies Strickland, Morris, Chumney, or AC, besides the fact that they meet the age and residency requirement like anybody else in the race?

The "the city is poised for greatness" comment is not even close to reality. The happy and crazy talk is nice, but the facts and statistics don't bear that out. You can't put lipstick on this pig, since the pig was shot in a drive by shooting, and someone else broke in and stole the lipstick. Let's face the facts, the next mayor will have an almost an impossible job in just getting the city to be safe and the schools to be functional. Good luck to Mr Carpenter.

I would question any candidate who goes on Matthews' show. Log onto blog and you will see he a nasty mouthed, vile, racist person. If a white blogger in Memphis were blogging some of the stuff he does, he would probably be investigated by every agency imaginable.

"the city is poised for greatness" does not say nor mean that all the city's problems will be fixed in the next two years. It says that the city is capable of greatness, and can be put into a position for greatness. You are either willing to contribute to rectify the problems in this city, or you are content with the current state because it gives you something to complain about. I am more concerned with helping, until it becomes completely impossible, and then like other young people from this city who go to college, I will relocate and allow my talents to be used elsewhere. As Barack Obama stated, there is nothing false about Hope, and I am convinced this city under the proper leadership can rival any other major city in this country.

I cannot believe what I am hearing. Charles Carpenter IS Willie Herenton. Putting Charles Carpenter in office is like having Willie run Memphis from Congress.

Who brokered the Greyhound Bus deal for slick Willie??? Charles Carpenter - testified before a grand jury.

Who is involved in EVERY bond the City issues? Charles Carpenter. (Including Garage Gate - see below)

Do you honestly think Carpenter is prepared to give up BILLIONS in bond work from the city to run for mayor??? Oh yeah, he has not choice because Willie wont be there to shovel the bond work to him.

hmmmm I like this post but I would love to see some on how to save on construction costs in this tough market

If you are willing to buy real estate, you will have to receive the mortgage loans. Furthermore, my brother always utilizes a auto loan, which supposes to be the most firm.

Leave a comment

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

  • About

As the process for merging Shelby County's schools accelerates into action, we'll provide bonus coverage here at, with a particular focus on the 21-member transition team and the 23-member unified school board. Comment early and often. If you have any tips or suggestions you wish to share, contact Zack McMillin at or 529-2564.

  • Zack McMillin on Twitter