Taylor Steals Show at Herenton Roast

Democrats got more toast than roast this weekend at a Saturday night fundraiser for the local party billed as a roast of former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton.
The crowd of 300 at Colonial Country Club included some past Herenton rivals but was mostly a group of political allies.
But as with any longstanding political icon, many relationships are a mixture of both over the years as circumstances change several times over.
Former Memphis City Council member Brent Taylor stole the show with already high expectations for some friction between the two. Several of those who went before Taylor referenced the stormy council committee session in which Herenton asked Taylor if he wanted to step outside.
The back story is Herenton and Taylor later become friends even though they continued to disagree on the role the council played in working with the mayor. They continue to come from very different political places – Herenton is a Democrat and Taylor is a Republican.
But Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism said Herenton urged him privately to support Taylor’s re-election efforts to the nonpartisan council. Chism and Taylor later served together on the Shelby County Commission when Taylor was appointed on an interim basis to fill the vacancy created by Mike Carpenter’s resignation.
Chism said Herenton’s momentary ire at Taylor during the council committee session, Chism would later learn was because Herenton said “he looked at me funny.”
“Hell has officially frozen over,” Taylor said after a few preliminary remarks. “The nation has a black president. Memphis has a white Congressman. Herenton is out of office and I’m speaking at a Democratic event.”
From there, Taylor pushed further with Herenton sitting just a few feet away.
“I want to tell you as an undertaker, Mayor Herenton, you’ve got to have six friends. Otherwise your casket drags all the way to the grave. And there were some times when I was on the council that your ass would have drug all the way to the grave,” Taylor said as the crowd erupted in a mixture of applause and laughter. “It’s on now. I’ve waited a long time for this.”
Other notes and one-liners from the evening:
Former City Council member TaJuan Stout Mitchell, who left the council to work in Herenton’s administration: “I don’t believe in political jokes. I’ve seen too many of them get elected.”
Attorney Ricky E. Wilkins: “Most of what I know, thank God, is protected by the attorney-client privilege.”
LeMoyne Owen College president Johnnie Watson who was Herenton’s deputy superintendent at the Memphis City Schools system seemed to begin with a toast saying a doctor he and Herenton know wanted Watson to deliver a message to Herenton since he couldn’t be there. Watson brought the house down when he offered Herenton two Viagra tablets.
City Council member Myron Lowery made his appearance via video and delved into the more volatile side of their relationship before adding “Willie Herenton is the black Boss Crump. Folks have forgotten the Ford legacy.”
More on the Ford-Herenton relationship coming up in Tuesday’s edition of The Daily News which goes up Monday afternoon on our website.

Dansette

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