In a mostly quiet first week as Memphis mayor in which critics of A C Wharton could have pounced on what appears to be a methodical and less-than-bold beginning, the new administration instead is receiving gifts from former mayor Willie Herenton.
On Tuesday, Wharton's first full day in office, he was able to get predawn TV time by simply showing up at the Memphis Animal Shelter, which by all accounts has been managed poorly since before Herenton's resignation. Then Wharton got TV time late Tuesday giving reporters his professional legal opinion on what it means to receive a "target letter" from the U.S. Attorney -- as Herenton did on Tuesday. Whether Wharton could or should have been more bombastic about either issue is almost beside the point; citizens got to compare what appear to be misdeeds dating to the previous full-time administration to Wharton's ruffle-no-feathers demeanor.
Wharton did not assign blame, did not seem defiant or defensive. Herenton's fiercest critics would also point out that Wharton did not make it about race (we'll leave it to the CA's commenters to go into that gutter -- dobermans vs. poodles, etc.).
Then on Wednesday, Wharton received attention for getting invited to the White House while in Washington to meet with the Brookings Institution about urban public policy issues, while Wednesday night came yet more Herenton grand jury news -- his former city attorney, Elbert Jefferson, would be carrying documents and recordings with him during a grand jury appearance on Thursday.
Wharton's critics would probably point out that it's yet another example of the Wharton-Herenton grand conspiracy hatched that night in 2007 at Le Chardonnay -- not only would Herenton resign mid-term . . . but he would make it so a grand jury would be raising the heat on him and making news during Wharton's first week as mayor! As Jon Lovitz's famous Saturday Night Live character would put it: "Yeah, yeah. That's the ticket!"