A Tennessee State Representative is being called a hero for helping evacuate a day care threatened by fire, reports WMC-TV. State representative G.A. Hardaway says he hopes everyone can learn a lesson from his experience.
Although this particular daycare had an evacuation plan and everyone got out safe, Hardaway believes there should always be several different escape routes.
On Monday, Supreme Learning Center owner Ella Malone says during dismissal, her bus driver noticed that the van was on fire.
“And immediately he got out of the bus with the children which was about 11 in there,” said Malone.
The driver took the children inside to safety until they noticed smoke coming from the building.
…The daycare manager says the evacuation plan is to have the children come out of this side door, that is if the building is on fire, but because the van was on fire in front of the school, they were forced to take the children through a gate.
As flames billowed from the van and onto the building, state representative G.A. Hardaway just happened to be driving by.
He and other community members helped the children escape by creating a passageway through the back enclosure.
“They helped us get out of the fence and Representative Hardaway took the children to the store,” said Malone.
State Rep. G.A. Hardaway Sr. owes Memphis and Shelby County $39,000 in taxes and weed-cutting fees on three local properties, reports The Commercial Appeal. Hardaway says his mother died in 2007 and left several properties to her four children, and that there’s confusion over who’s responsible for them. “Well, from my understanding all of the (children’s names) should be on all of the properties,” Hardaway said. He also said he believed his former attorney had made arrangements to pay the taxes.
Hardaway’s situation was just one of the discoveries The Commercial Appeal made as it reviewed paper trails for more than 40 candidates in contested races in the Aug. 2 elections. The newspaper looked at criminal records, bankruptcies, civil lawsuits and property tax payments, among other documents.
…House District 84 (Democrats)
Hendrell Remus: The University of Memphis sued Remus and in January won a judgment of about $6,000. Remus said the case came about when he used a check to rent a stage for a performance of an inspirational play he had written. The check bounced.
He said he’s almost cleared the debt. “I think next week will be the last payment and we should be done with that.”
Incumbent state Rep. Joe Towns Jr. has missed the deadline to pay 2011 Shelby County taxes of $1,050 on his property.
…Incumbent Rep. John DeBerry Jr. agreed to a General Sessions consent judgment of about $6,500 in 2008 after not making payments on two leased recliners from Ashley Furniture. The company attempted to garnish his state wages, but paperwork shows the state won’t do it because it’s already garnishing his legislative wages for another judgment.
I didn’t default on anything,” DeBerry said Monday. “Those recliners are sitting in my office right now, paid in full.”
A judgment in a Chancery Court lawsuit filed by Penton Publishing Inc. in 2003 led to years of garnishments against DeBerry’s state legislative salary, according to an online summary of the case. The case file wasn’t available in the Downtown courthouse.
DeBerry says the garnishment is an old business dispute involving his advertising agency. “I’m responsible and I was the logical person to go after, and everyone went after me.” He said he’s let the garnishment stay in place because the opposing side “went behind my back and got the judgment when we could have had a settlement.”
He added: “I don’t have much debt. I’m 61 years old, and the only thing I haven’t paid in full is my house and my car.”
…(In the 9th Congressional District Republican primary)
A collection agency sued Charlotte Bergmann in Shelby County General Sessions court earlier this year, seeking payment for $9,600 owed on her Chase Bank account. Bergmann said this case is related to a foreclosure of her home in 2006. She said the foreclosure forced her to sleep in her car for some months; that the bank actually owes her money, not the other way around; and that the issue is coming up now for political reasons. “I am the strongest candidate at this point, so there is some political dirt being thrown up.”
Savage Construction Co. filed suit against George Flinn in November 2008, saying that it had agreed to renovate a house near Memphis Country Club for about $621,000 but that changes ordered by Flinn and others caused the size of the contract to increase to about $1.4 million.
The contractor filed suit in Chancery Court, seeking to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars. The two sides settled last year. “We’re friends and we’re moving on,” Flinn said.
Ernest Lunati is a perennial candidate whose Shelby County criminal record lists a nickname, “The Amazing E,” and more than 30 encounters with police, starting in the 1960s. Several of his arrests are for promoting prostitution or pornography, and he was convicted under an obscenity statute in 1983.
In 1998, he fired a shot at a father and son who were looking at what a police officer described as a possible stolen pickup truck on a parking lot on Summer Avenue. The bullet bounced off the truck’s tailgate and hit the father in the leg, according to a police affidavit. Lunati later pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment charges and was sentenced to a year in prison.
Shelby County’s loss of two seats in the state House this year means four incumbent Memphis Democrats are squaring off in two separate Midtown-centered districts this summer. Richard Locker has a rundown on the races today. In Memphis’ House District 90, Rep. John DeBerry and Rep. Jeanne Richardson are running, along with community activist Ian Richardson. In House District 93, Rep. G.A. Hardaway and Rep. Mike Kernell are running for the same seat.
Both districts are heavily Democratic and have no Republican candidates in the general election. The two districts border each other and comprise most of Midtown and Poplar-Highland areas, with extensions into South and North Memphis and up to Frayser.
…In both races, the opposing incumbents differ in legislative styles and political philosophies.
Hardaway is one of the most vocal Democrats in floor debates, while Kernell prefers a lower-key approach that — with Republicans now in control of the statehouse — he says allows him to build bridges to get things done.
And both DeBerry and Richardson agree that DeBerry is among the most conservative Democrats on social issues while Richardson is among the most progressive. She’s for abortion rights, for example, and DeBerry is not.
As a minister at Coleman Avenue Church of Christ, DeBerry spoke out during debate or voted in favor of three controversial bills sponsored by Republicans that prompted criticism by some Democratic colleagues: an abstinence-only sex education bill, a bill that would have forbidden school counselors and teachers from discussing homosexuality and a bill that protected teachers who discuss alternatives to evolution
…Richardson, who spent most of her career in social work and mental health, said the issues she advocates and has sponsored include strong public schools, protecting working people from predatory lending, equal pay for women, extending benefits for children in foster care from age 18 to 21, and for treatment for the mentally ill to keep them out of jails, which won approval as a pilot project in East Tennessee this year. Her bill to protect the old growth forest in Overton Park also passed.
And she said she’s a strong supporter of rights for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
…In District 93, Hardaway and Kernell are emphasizing their constituent service work: helping citizens cut through the red tape of government — and their different styles.
Kernell sponsored the state’s consumer protection law, the workplace environmental hazard act, and designating Shelby Farms Forest a protected natural area.
He was sponsor of the state lottery and scholarship program.
Kernell said he believes he’s better able to represent the district in a time of GOP dominance because of his approach. “I believe I have the experience and the ability to work in this new environment of a two-to-one Republican majority in order to get things done for the good of the district and the rest of the state.”
Hardaway emphasizes his community meetings in the district, including housing and jobs conferences in which he invites officials to meet with constituents in need of assistance. “My job is a facilitator if they need help with state government,” he said.
Hardaway is known for his frequent floor speeches. He attacked last year’s “Norris-Todd” act that delayed the merger of the city and county schools, and this year the bills expediting municipal school districts in the suburbs.
“I probably speak out on more issues than most. There are times we have to get things on the record. And when I’m asking questions, I want sponsors to clarify what bills do.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Opponents of Republican-drawn lines for the Tennessee Senate are suing for the redistricting plan to be thrown out on the basis that it ignored proposals made by the Legislature’s Black Caucus, their lawyer said Friday.
Bob Tuke, attorney for the opponents and a former state Democratic Party chairman, told The Associated Press the lawsuit to halt the plan was filed in chancery court in Nashville.
The lawsuit names Republican Gov. Bill Haslam and state elections officials as defendants. Among the eight Shelby County plaintiffs is Rep. G.A. Hardaway, who was drawn together with another Memphis Democrat in the GOP plan, and who is considering challenging Democratic colleagues in both the House and Senate.
It will be heard by Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle.
(Note: This is an unedited version of a column appearing in Sunday’s News Sentinel. Edited version HERE.)
Rep. G.A. Hardaway, a Memphis Democrat who is one of the more outspoken and energetic of the remnant liberal members of the state House, has declared plans to file a bill in the coming session of the General Assembly that would require drug testing of state legislators.
“Let’s set an example for them that we’re practicing what we preach,” Hardaway told a Memphis TV station last week. He was talking about constituents who object — as he does — to a pending proposal to require drug testing of recipients of welfare and other government-related benefits.
Legislators, of course, are also drawing government-related benefits.
Sen. Stacey Campfield, one of the most outspoken members of the ruling conservatives in the state Senate, is pushing the bill for drug testing of welfare recipients. Campfield says he’s ready to go along with testing of lawmakers, too. Ditto for Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, also an advocate of drug testing for those getting government-related benefits.
State Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, says state legislators should be required to take drug tests, too, if they impose that requirement on welfare recepients, reports WMC-TV. He got the message from constituents. “They said to me, ‘how do we know y’all aren’t on drugs?'” said Hardaway. “I thought, well, you don’t.”
Hardaway said they are upset over a bill that would require anyone who receives government welfare assistance to first take and pass a drug test.
“With all the crazy legislation that we produce over the last couple of years, I’m sure that some people would love for us to be drug tested,” said Hardaway.
He said he plans to introduce legislation requiring lawmakers pass a drug test if and when the welfare drug test issue comes up, which appears likely.
Opponents to the legislation said it may be cost-prohibitive and illegal.
“I think we need to see what sort of federal leeway we have there,” Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said Tuesday. “I haven’t gotten that data back on what the feds will let us do and who would implement that and how it would be implemented.”
While Hardaway has yet to review the language of the most recent bill, he argued that drug testing welfare recipients merely serves to perpetuate a vicious cycle. Note: Sen. Stacey Campfield, who is planning to file drug-testing legislation, has said that he would support a bill requiring testing of legislators as well. (Both in an interview with yours truly and on his blog.)
While Republicans continue to draft new state legislative districts, state Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, says he’ll introduce an alternative redistricting plan for Shelby County that will increase the number of majority black voting districts from nine to 10, reports the Commercial Appeal. The plan would also protect Democratic incumbents, just as Republicans will likely do for their incumbents.
The Republicans control both houses of the legislature and could simply ignore the plan and others like it that Hardaway and others introduce. Republican leaders drawing maps have not yet released them publicly.
However, Hardaway said that he and supporters are preparing for a possible lawsuit under the Voting Rights Act, which prevents dilution of the voting power of African-Americans or other minority groups.
Hardaway said he’s working with other members of the legislature’s black caucus as well as groups that include the NAACP and the Durham, N.C.-based Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
….Because other parts of the state have gained population relative to the Memphis area, Shelby County is likely to lose one of its six state Senate seats and two of its 16 state House seats. ….(Rep.) Barbara Cooper, a Democrat, has said her District 86 would be combined with Hardaway’s District 92.
Note: There’s a lot of speculation that the primary targets of Republican redistricting in Shelby County are white, not black. By some accounts, Reps. Jeanne Richardson and Mike Kernell can expect their districts to effectively be disintegrated and distributed among districts now held by African-Americans. Something along the same lines is likely to impact Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle’s district.
Shelby County would lose two state House seats and one Senate seat in a secretive redistricting process under way in the Republican-controlled Tennessee legislature, reports Richard Locker. Shelby County’s population of 927,644 entitles the county to just over 4.82 state Senate seats and 14.47 House seats. Lawmakers say that will surely translate to the loss of one of Shelby’s six Senate seats and probably two of its 16 state House seats.
Memphis Democratic Rep. Barbara Cooper said she has been told that she and Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, are being placed in the same House district.
(Note: On the rumor circuit at Legislatorland, there are also tales of Democratic Reps. Jeanne Richardson and Mike Kernell being lumped into the same district.)