Raven-Symone Apologizes for Saying She Wouldn’t Hire Someone With a ‘Ghetto’ Name on ‘The View’


Raven-Symone is the latest panelist on The View to try to take back her words, saying her comment last week that she would not hire someone with an ethnic-sounding name was in “poor taste.”

The former child star and new panelist on ABC’s daytime chat show was part of a discussion last Thursday about a study on people who make racial assumptions based on names. She said she discriminated against people when it came to names.

“I’m not about to hire you if your name is Watermeloandrea,” she said, later explaining that she heard that name online in a viral video and wasn’t targeting a specific race.

Raven-Symone Says She Wouldn’t Hire Someone With a ‘Ghetto’ Name: Watch

Raven-Symone, in a Facebook post this weekend, said she’s been rejected for jobs because of her skin color, size and age. She said she hoped names, physical appearance or sexual orientation would never outweigh job qualifications, but they often do. “That’s the truth, and it sucks,” she wrote.

Even though she said on The View that she’d discriminate against a name, she said over the weekend that she would not.

“My comment was in poor taste,” she said. “My lack of empathy toward name discrimination was uncalled for.”

 Apologies are nothing new on The View. Joy Behar apologized twice last month after some mocking commentary about a Miss America contestant who is a nurse appeared on the pageant dressed for work and talked about an Alzheimer’s patient. The comment infuriated nurses and led to a couple of ads being pulled from the show.

Whoopi Goldberg also drew attention this summer for backing fellow comedian Bill Cosby following a story by the Associated Press that Cosby had admitted to obtaining Quaaludes with the intent of giving them to women he wanted to have sex with.

A few days later, The View brought legal analyst Dan Abrams on to explain the case against Cosby, and Goldberg walked back her support.


What You Need to Know About Democrats’ Debate


By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff Posted Oct 12, 2015 2:41 PM CDT

(NEWSER) – The Democrats debate for the first time Tuesday night, with the festivities from Las Vegas starting at 8:30 Eastern on CNN. You can expect Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee on stage, with Joe Biden still a wild card. Some related developments:

  • Biden’s lectern: CNN isn’t just figuratively holding a spot for the vice president if decides to join the debate—it has a sixth lectern set aside. Right now, however, most analysts don’t expect Biden to participate, reports theHill.
  • The wild card: If one emerges, it’s likely to be Webb, according to the Washington Post. The former Virginia senator has “idiosyncratic” views that don’t fit the usual mold. He’s to the left on some things (an early opponent of the Iraq war) and to the right on others (the Confederate flag issue is “complicated,” he says).
  • Sanders: His challenge will be to come off as a plausible candidate for the general election, not just a darling of progressives in the primary. “It’s one thing to be a prophet in the wilderness,” a political scientist tells USA Today. “It’s another to be presidential. That’s Sanders’ challenge.”
  • Clinton: A new national poll has her in front at 46%, ahead of Sanders at 27% and Biden at 16%, reports CBS News. If Biden doesn’t run, her lead over Sanders only widens. As a result, she’s not expected to attack her opponents aggressively but to focus on laying out her own message.


Playboy to Drop Nudity as Internet Fills Demand

Last month, Cory Jones, a top editor at Playboy, went to see its founder Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion.

In a wood-paneled dining room, with Picasso and de Kooning prints on the walls, Mr. Jones nervously presented a radical suggestion: the magazine, a leader of the revolution that helped take sex in America from furtive to ubiquitous, should stop publishing images of naked women.

Mr. Hefner, now 89, but still listed as editor in chief, agreed. As part of a redesign that will be unveiled next March, the print edition of Playboy will still feature women in provocative poses. But they will no longer be fully nude.

Its executives admit that Playboy has been overtaken by the changes it pioneered. “That battle has been fought and won,” said Scott Flanders, the company’s chief executive. “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”

For a generation of American men, reading Playboy was a cultural rite, an illicit thrill consumed by flashlight. Now every teenage boy has an Internet-connected phone instead. Pornographic magazines, even those as storied as Playboy, have lost their shock value, their commercial value and their cultural relevance.

Playboy’s circulation has dropped from 5.6 million in 1975 to about 800,000 now, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. Many of the magazines that followed it have disappeared. Though detailed figures are not kept for adult magazines, many of those that remain exist in severely diminished form, available mostly in specialist stores. Penthouse, perhaps the most famous Playboy competitor, responded to the threat from digital pornography by turning even more explicit. It never recovered.

Previous efforts to revamp Playboy, as recently as three years ago, have never quite stuck. And those who have accused it of exploiting women are unlikely to be assuaged by a modest cover-up. But, according to its own research, Playboy’s logo is one of the most recognizable in the world, along with those of Apple and Nike. This time, as the magazine seeks to compete with younger outlets like Vice, Mr. Flanders said, it sought to answer a key question: “if you take nudity out, what’s left?”

It is difficult, in a media market that has been so fragmented by the web, to imagine the scope of Playboy’s influence at its peak. A judge once ruled that denying blind people a Braille version of it violated their First Amendment rights. It published stories by Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami among others, and its interviews have included Malcolm X, Vladimir Nabokov, Martin Luther King Jr. and Jimmy Carter, who admitted that he had lusted in his heart for women other than his wife. Madonna, Sharon Stone and Naomi Campbell posed for the magazine at the peak of their fame. Its best-selling issue, in November of 1972, sold more than seven million copies.


Cubs’ historic slugging rocks Wrigley Field in Game 3 win

Jayson Stark, Senior Writer, ESPN.com

CHICAGO — It was still early Monday afternoon when Kyle Schwarber walked up into the stands of Wrigley Field. He slipped into a seat in an empty stadium and tried to picture what was about to unfold in the storied ballpark all around him.

“I just sat in the stands,” he would say later, “thinking about what it would be like.”

He imagined the noise and the bedlam. He imagined the brilliance of the ace who was about to take the mound. He imagined the electricity of a pivotal October baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals, two longtime rivals who had never met before in Wrigley in a game of this magnitude.

Whatever pictures, whatever sounds filled his head, Schwarber never imagined this. He never imagined six Cubs home runs soaring through the jet-streamed Chicago sky. He never imagined Jake Arrieta having his roughest night on the mound in four months — and winning anyway. He never imagined that 42,411 human beings in the seats could find a way achieve a decibel level normally reserved for, say, space-shuttle launches.

Schwarber definitely never imagined a scoreboard that read Cubs 8, Cardinals 6 on a night of history, a night of magic, a night for the ages. Not to mention a night when the Cubs moved within one game of winning a postseason series at Wrigley for the first time in history, by taking a two-games-to-one lead in this NLDS.

“So I’d say it exceeded my expectations,” Schwarber said, afterward, “by infinity.”

The thing about infinity, of course, is that it’s just too large to comprehend. In some ways, so was this baseball game. Not merely because of what happened but because so many of the guys who made it happen are so young, you’d expect them to be playing in the Texas League, not the National League Division Series.

It made you wonder: For the Cubs, was this a glimpse of their future? Or was it a glimpse of their present?

“I think it’s both,” said one of their rare 30-somethings, Chris Coghlan. “I don’t think you can just call it the future, because it’s happening right now.”

Oh, it’s happening, all right. But when it happens on the grand October stage, it leaves an imprint the size of a meteor. On this night, it also left a massive imprint on the history books. So here we go. Time to run through the highlights:

• This was the 1,453rd game in postseason history. It was the first in which a team — any team — hit six home runs in one game.

• Before this game, no team had ever even had five different players hit a home run in the same postseason game. The Cubs had six.

• Even more incredibly, it was their 1-2-3-4-5-6 hitters who hit those home runs. According to ESPN Stats and Info, there have only been two REGULAR-SEASON season games in the entire live-ball era in which any team’s 1-2-3-4-5-6 hitters homered. The 1954 New York Giants did it. And the Mets’ 1-through-7 hitters all homered in a game in Philadelphia two months ago. That’s it.
Jorge Soler takes a curtain call after his sixth-inning home run; the Cubs’ slugger has now reached base nine straight times in the postseason. David Banks/Getty Images
• Three of those home runs came from players aged 23 years old and younger — Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Schwarber. It was the first time in postseason history that three hitters that young homered in the same game.

• Four of those home runs came from players aged 25 and younger — those three, plus 25-year-old Starlin Castro. It was also the first time in postseason history that four players that young homered in the same game. Anthony Rizzo would have made it five, if he hadn’t turned 26 a mere nine weeks ago. Then again, it was also the first time five players aged 26 and under homered in a postseason game. So there’s that.

• The Cardinals hadn’t allowed five home runs in a postseason game since Game 4 of the 1928 World Series, when Babe Ruth hit three, Lou Gehrig hit one and Cedric Durst hit the fifth. On this night, even Ruth and Gehrig got drummed out of the record books.

• The Cardinals also scored six runs — in a game started by Arrieta — and lost. They were working on a 54-game winning streak, counting regular season and postseason, in games in which they scored six runs or more. So much for that.

• In one more non-home-run tidbit, 23-year-old Cubs outfielder Soler came to bat five times and reached base five times — meaning he has now reached base in the first nine postseason plate appearances of his life. He’s nearly doubled the old record of five, held by Johnny Damon. But of course, “he still could,” said Coghlan. “He still hasn’t made an out, so it’s still going.”

That’s kind of fitting, because so are the Cubs.

Their home ballpark has stood for 102 seasons now. This team now has a chance to do something at Wrigley Field that the teams of Ernie Banks and Hack Wilson and Ryne Sandberg and Gabby Hartnett never did.

If they win Game 4 on Tuesday, they can win a postseason series for the first time ever at the fabled intersection of Clark and Addison. Maybe on Tuesday afternoon, Schwarber and his buddies can grab an empty seat and contemplate that, too. Oh, wait. They already have.

“Let’s do it,” said Rizzo. “I don’t want to go back there.”

The Cardinals will have something to say about bringing the series back to St. Louis for a fifth game, obviously. After all, they’ve come to think of playing in the NLCS as one of their annual Missouri traditions, every single October. Just like Halloween. They’ve played in four of them in a row. If they make it to No. 5, they’ll be the first National League team ever to do that.

So when we watch this Cubs youth patrol do things that have never been done against THIS team, it takes on a little extra meaning — because you get the feeling the Cubs don’t just want to beat Goliath. They want to BE Goliath.
“We just saw some really huge home runs, off proven postseason arms who have done it year after year,” said Arrieta, after a start in which he gave up as many earned runs (four) in 97 pitches as he’d allowed in his previous 1,393 pitches (over 13 starts). “I mean, this team we’re playing — they’re the best of the best. They’ve proven that. And they deserve to be called that. But we really enjoy the chance to play these guys, because we know if we can play with these guys and beat them, in this situation, in the postseason, we can beat anybody.”

This wasn’t supposed to be the year that happened. Not in theory. Not on their drawing board. It’s happening anyway. As baseballs fly through the ions in the Illinois ozone, and thousands of witnesses find themselves screaming until their vocal cords turn to linguini. Us amateur historians just do our best to digest it all.

“Just keep following us around,” said Coghlan. “And you’ll have loads of information.”


2015 Grizzlies Open Practice

Celebrate the start of the 2015-16 Grizzlies season watching our Open Practice Tuesday, October 13 at FedExForum, from 1-2pm/CT. Get a sneak peek into practice and see all the new and returning Grizzlies players and coaches in action.

#GrizzNation in the Memphis area can also attend this FREE event in person at FedExForum. The event starts with a Plaza Party at noon featuring live music, inflatable games, food and beverage for purchase and much more.


Steve Sarkisian fired by USC

“After careful consideration of what is in the best interest of the university and our student-athletes, I have made the decision to terminate Steve Sarkisian, effective immediately,” USC athletic director Pat Haden said in a statement.

“I want to thank Clay Helton for stepping into the interim head coach role, and I want to add how proud I am of our coaching staff and players and the way they are responding to this difficult situation. Through all of this, we remain concerned for Steve and hope that it will give him the opportunity to focus on his personal well-being.”

As USC tries to move forward and prepare for rival Notre Dame this week, a look back at coach Steve Sarkisian’s last two months on the job.

On Sunday, Sarkisian was asked to take an indefinite leave of absence. Haden said Sunday it was “clear to me that he was not healthy.”

A player told ESPN via text that Sarkisian “showed up lit to meetings again today.” Another source said he showed up Sunday morning and “appeared not normal,” then was told to leave.

“They wouldn’t let him come to practice,” the source said.

Sarkisian is going through a divorce. His behavior while apparently under the influence of alcohol and painkillers at the Salute to Troy function in August drew national headlines, and he later apologized. He also added then that he would be getting unspecified treatment but didn’t believe he had a drinking problem, blaming his unsteady appearance on combining alcohol and medication.

Sarkisian was also suspected by his staff to be under the influence during USC’s 42-14 win over Arizona State on Sept. 26, a source said, though Haden was apparently unaware.

Another source close to Sarkisian said the coach “needed to hit rock bottom” to seriously confront an addiction and “this is rock bottom.”

Carroll, now the coach of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, told 710 ESPN Seattle on Monday that Sarkisian’s situation “breaks my heart.” Carroll also said he has reached out to Sarkisian.

“But he recognizes it, and he’s going to do something about it, so this is the day the turn occurs,” Carroll said prior to Sarkisian’s firing. “I’m grateful for everybody around him that he’s finally figured it out. … This is going to take a long time. This is big battle, and we’ll pull for him all the way.”

“I’ll be there to support him. I know him before, and there’s a lot to offer the world,” Carroll said later Monday. “It’s been hard on him, and he’s made it hard on people around him too. And he knows that. And he’s got to take the steps to take care of business now.”

St. Louis Rams coach and USC alum Jeff Fisher also extended well wishes.

“We all are hopeful that Steve gets his life back together and gets things in order,” Fisher said. “It’s unfortunate that sometimes the personal things affect the business. We all have to respect Pat Haden and [senior associate athletic director] J.K. McKay and the decision that they made and hope they are moving in the right direction and Sark can get things back together so he can get back on the sideline.”

Sarkisian went 9-4 in his first season at USC and compiled the nation’s consensus top recruiting class heading into this season. However, after rising to as high as No. 6 in the AP Top 25 this season, the Trojans (3-2, 1-2 Pac-12) have lost two of their past three games and are now unranked.

USC enters a tough stretch, with games against No. 14 Notre Dame, No. 4 Utahand No. 23 Cal the next three weeks.


Reports: South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is retiring

POSTED 8:51 PM, OCTOBER 12, 2015, BY AND

COLUMBIA — South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier had decided to retire, ending his storied career at the age of 70, according to Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated.

Spurrier reportedly told the team of his plans Monday evening, informing them that an interim coach will be announced Tuesday, according to Josh Kendall of The State.

Spurrier’s Gamecocks fell 45-24 to LSU on Saturday, moving South Carolina to 2-4 (0-4 SEC) on the season.

In July, Spurrier held an impromptu press conference to address growing speculation that he would be ending his coaching career sooner than later. “I plan on coaching a long time,” he said.

In 10-plus seasons at South Carolina, Spurrier amassed an 86-49 record (44-40 SEC), becoming the most successful coach in school history. South Carolina won the SEC East in 2010 and finished 11-2 in three consecutive years from 2011-13.

Spurrier began his college head coachigng career with Duke, going 20-13-1 (11-9-1 ACC) in three seasons before being hired away by his alma mater, Florida.

With the Gators, where Spurrier won a Heisman Trophy as a star quarterback, he went 122-27-1 (87-12 SEC), leading Florida to its first national title in 1996 along with six SEC championships and eight total SEC East crowns.


Neighbor charged in connection with killing of Memphis police officer

By Jane Roberts and Jody Callahan of The Commercial Appeal Updated: Yesterday 6:19 p.m

Memphis police have arrested a man with a long criminal history in the shooting death of an off-duty officer Sunday afternoon, but had not yet charged him with murder.

Lorenzo Clark, 36, has been charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun in connection with the shooting death of Officer Terence Olridge just before 1 p.m. Sunday in the Cordova area.

The lack of other charges indicates that investigators are still trying to piece together what led to Olridge’s death. Clark — whose arrest record indicates serious anger problems — is currently being held on $100,000 bond.

“This is an ongoing investigation. We ask that you keep Officer Olridge’s family and the members of the Memphis Police Department in your prayers,” police director Toney Armstrong said in a prepared statement Monday.

According to police, the officer “had an encounter” with Clark, his neighbor on Long Shadow Lane, before he left for his 2-10 p.m. shift at the Airways precinct Sunday. The incident happened about 12:50 p.m., and it was unclear whether Olridge, 31, was in uniform at the time.

The encounter ended with an exchange of gunfire between Olridge — who fired his service weapon — and Clark, police said. Olridge was hit with multiple bullets, police said, and managed to get back to his home to try and get help. He was rushed to the Regional Medical Center, but died from his injuries.

Clark surrendered to police without incident at his home in the 2700 block of Long Shadow. That home appears to have several security cameras, which, if working, could aid police in sorting out what happened.

Clark admitted “to having a Glock 9mm handgun in his pants, pulling it out in the street near his home and firing several shots which resulted in a death,” the court affidavit states.

It was unclear what led to the shootout. Police sources indicated Sunday that Olridge may have tried to intervene in a domestic situation, but that remains unconfirmed. Clark had an order of protection sought against him in 2013, but that was later dismissed.

While many neighbors were away at the time of the shooting, some said Monday they returned home to discover the aftermath.

Marc Harris said he saw Olridge’s relatives in a nearby driveway, trying to reach someone at the Regional Medical Center to learn the officers’ condition. Olridge’s clothes, cut off by paramedics working on him, had been left in the street at the end of his driveway.

“It didn’t look like a uniform,” said Harris, who was allowed to return to his home. “When I came out, I heard a large scream. Someone hollered out, ‘He’s dead. He’s dead.’ There was crying. As soon as that happened, the police said, ‘This is a murder investigation now.’”

Another neighbor came home Sunday afternoon to discover six bullet holes in his garage door. Each had been outlined in yellow by police investigators.

“Everybody has been asking me questions,” said Clint Cox, who lives across the street from Olridge. “All I know is I come home and I have stray bullet holes in my house.”

Another neighbor said Clark had a tremendous temper, particularly over a neighbor’s dog leaving messes in his yard.

“I’m not surprised,” said Karen Lax, who lives two doors down from Clark. “What I witnessed with Mr. Clark was him showing a severe anger problem.”

Lax said she once saw an “ugly note” Clark left on his neighbor’s truck. “I knew who it was from. It said, ‘Keep your bleeping dog crap out of my bleeping yard.’”

Lax added that, a couple of days after that, Clark confronted those neighbors in the street.

“You could hear his voice all over because it echoes down this street,” she said. “You would have thought someone had robbed his house or burned his house …. or something traumatic had happened. It was over defecation of a dog and accusing them of cutting his cable wire. That’s what it was over.”

Clark has a long arrest history that further indicates problems controlling his anger. On Oct. 7, 2002, Clark was trying to pull out of a parking lot at 1192 Lamar when two people walked in front of him. Clark got extremely upset and pulled a Ruger pistol, threatening the man and woman. A security guard on the scene held Clark at gunpoint until police arrived.

In March 2003, he pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon and two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon for that incident. The reckless endangerment was pleaded down from aggravated assault. He was sentenced to one year on the first charge and 11 months, 29 days on the second; he served probation for both.

On Aug. 19, 2000, Clark was at the Ed Rice Community Center in Frayser when he began arguing with another man. Clark cursed the man, ignored orders to calm down and kept cursing and making threatening gestures. He was eventually handcuffed and charged with disorderly conduct.

On July 20, 1999, police responded after a woman called to report that Clark was beating his girlfriend. When police arrived, they found the woman “lying on the floor, screaming and crying and unable to move her right leg. The victim then advised that her boyfriend struck her in the face several times with his fist and threw her to the ground because he thought she was dating another man who had given her a ride home from work,” according to a police report. He pleaded guilty to assault and served two days in jail.

Olridge joined the MPD in September 2014, and graduated from the police academy this February. Before that, he worked as a guard at the Hardeman County Correctional Facility. He graduated from Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, in 2009. Armstrong said Sunday that Olridge has a fiancee who is four months pregnant.


Herenton’s explosive post-mortem, best TV ad of the cycle, Strickland transition begins

By Kyle Veazey of The Commercial Appeal Posted: Yesterday 8:00 a.m.

Good morning from Memphis, where we enjoyed a weekend with very little work, and we can see what you people mean by liking those sorts of things…

Willie Herenton’s appearance on “Informed Sources” this weekend was explosive, was timely and was eye-opening. (It may also have been a cheap shot, if there are such things in Memphis politics.)

Regardless, Herenton earned the platform by winning election five times as mayor. And when he said the recently defeated A C Wharton “failed dismally” in proving his capability as mayor, was “incompetent” and was “a blatant liar” as it related to theDeidre Malone contract flap, well, we had to pay attention.

Read about it here. Watch the 11-minute WREG-TV segment here.

It was interesting to hear Herenton volunteer two different claims: One was that “some of Jim’s folks” sought him out for his endorsement, and another was an implication that Wharton made a last-minute play for his endorsement. Herenton’s wording wasn’t exactly clear on that point — “he reached out to me” — but that’s the implication with which we’re left.

And Herenton did not vote, he said.

What’s the fallout from this? Well, nothing, really. The election was last week. In many ways, it’s just a slab of red meat thrown into the cages of the political echo chamber in this town, with no real lasting significance.

Sure is interesting to parse in the meantime.

The Firsties! All this week on First Word, we’ll be giving out the Firsties, our way-too-silly awards on the things that really mattered this campaign season — you know, who had the best-looking yard sign, and things like that.

Today, we give out the award for best television ad. Cue awkward 30 seconds with two celebrities reading poor jokes off a TelePrompTer, and now we’re ready for the nominees:

JIM STRICKLAND, for “Friday Night Lights.”

PHILIP SPINOSA, for “What Can Philip Spinosa Do For Memphis?”

HAROLD COLLINS, for “The Truth”

JIM STRICKLAND, for “Change is on the Way.”

And the winner of the Firstie for best ad: Philip Spinosa, for “What Can Philip Spinosa Do For Memphis?”

Judge’s comments: This wasn’t easy. The Strickland ads were probably the most effective; “Change is on the Way” was convincing on Strickland-as-mayor and “Friday Night Lights” was an effective idea. For pure over-the-top production value, Collins’ “The Truth” delivered.

But I went with Spinosa here for the fun concept, and fully knowing that the “Thanks, Mister Spinosa” kid will doubtless be on the ballot in 2045.

In transition: As Stricklandia prepares to inherit the seventh floor of City Hall in two and a half months, look for the announcement of a transition team any day now. And be on the lookout for Ryan Poe’s reporting on said transition in the coming weeks.

Strickland is scheduled to drop in to The CA later this morning, where we’ll record a podcast interview that should be up in the early afternoon hours. Stay tuned.

Sunday analysis: Now what? It’s the question Strickland asked in jest as his victory party ended Thursday night, and it’s the question he and a new-look Memphis City Council has in mind as New Year’s Day approaches. I wrote aSunday analysis piece looking ahead at the things they’ll encounter in the coming years, putting on my explaining hat particularly on the financial side.

Dem-bate: The Democratic presidential candidates will debate Tuesday night, and there’s a Hillary Clinton campaign event planned to watch it: It starts at 6:30 p.m. at 902 S. Cooper.

On today’s agenda: The County Commission meets today, and you can view its agenda here.

A caucus turns its lonely eyes to you: So what if Rep. Paul Ryan says “no thanks” to the chorus of House Republicans wanting him to be the next Speaker? Well, Politico mentions two Tennessee possibilities: Reps. Marsha Blackburnand Diane Black.

Things you should read: Ted Evanoff’s Sunday column examines the mayoral election results. … The Shelby County Election Commission is looking into what happened with Thursday’s slow release of results. … Jeb Bush tailgated in Knoxville Saturday. … Ben Carson is coming to Franklin.

By no means least: Our thoughts are with the family of Memphis police officer Terence Olridge today. Our crime & justice coverage team will be working today to find out more about what happened.


Podcast: Strickland talks about his campaign and Memphis’ future

By Kyle Veazey of The Commercial Appeal Posted: 10/12/15 1:25 p.m.

Following a weekend that saw him catch up on sleep and his daughter’s soccer games, Memphis mayor-elect Jim Strickland visited The Commercial Appeal Monday for a 33-minute podcast interview with politics editor Kyle Veazey.

Q: Are you surprised you won by 20 points?

A: “A little bit. I thought the potential was there. But I’m a little bit surprised. I’m obviously very pleased. I think I’m one of probably 10 people when, in January of this year when I announced, I thought I could win. Even as late as June and July I’d have people, ‘Can you win? Can you win?’ And I kept saying, ‘Yes.’ By then, I really thought I’d win.”

Q: What does mayoral transition look like on the ground? Walk us through from here to Jan. 1.

A: “I don’t know if I can, because I did nothing about transition before the election. Friday I kinda of rested and did a bunch of media. Saturday and Sunday I took off. Today I’m trying to get up to speed. I’m trying to appoint a transition committee of community leaders, which would have two or three co-chairs and ‘X’ number of members, to help me hire the best possible people at City Hall. That’s the No. 1 job. And I think in the next day or two we’ll have those co-chairs we can announce. And maybe the whole community, but we don’t know for sure.”

Q: What will we take away from your staff when you fill it out?

A: “Well, No. 1, there’s some really good, quality people. Quality is the No. 1 goal. And also, it will be diverse — Memphis is very diverse. On racial lines. It will be diverse, gender-wise. And probably background-wise. Government, business and so forth. That would be ideal. And there might be some people held on from the current administration, if they want to stay.”

Q: One of those directors in question is Toney Armstrong. What kind of things would you talk to him about?

A: “He’s in the DROP plan. I would want to know his plans. I want to know his philosophy on policing. Obviously, he knows more than I do. He’s an expert. But I think you might have heard during the campaign that I like Blue CRUSH. … I want to hit his thoughts on it. I laid out a philosophy and I want to know if it jibes with his philosophy, and what I can learn from him. I’ve said many times that I’ve been very impressed with how he handles himself. He’s a big proponent of community policing, which I think we do need, and I’ve said that. And what his future plans are.”

Q: Talking about the city’s finances, you’re still a long way off from the pension annual contribution, how do you get there by 2020?

A: “It is really hard. … Plus, debt problems. Plus, we have to do something to retain and recruit police officers and fire fighters. So I always say we have three financial challenges: No. 1 pension, No. 2 debt, and No. 3 financial enticements for police and fire. Which really adds up. We have roughly a $640, $650 million annual budget and $25 or $30 more million in pensions, ‘X’ number for debt, because it does, I don’t know exactly what year, but soon, it will get up. And then something for the police and fire. We have real serious problems. I can’t sit here right now and say I have the magic answer for it. … I will also do the best I possibly can on trying to eliminate as many unnecessary positions as I can in city government.

Q: Does that mean layoffs?

A: “Yeah. Or, eliminate positions.”

Q: But it could mean layoffs.

A: “Yes. … (Strickland explains that setting aside the number of city librarians, he believes the number of appointed city employees is about 100-120.) “I can’t sit here and tell you that I’m going to eliminate ‘X’ number of those. But I will work as hard as I can to eliminate as many as I can. And then we may have to eliminate things in the city budget that may be good but they’re not necessary. Because we have all these three challenges that we have.”

Q: You know the one thing you didn’t say in all that talking?

A: “What?”

Q: Tax increase.

A: “You’re right.”

Q: I know that’s strategic for you, but, my point is, you’ve outlined all these problems, but it sounds like to me that working with the tax rate or increasing it is not something you’re automatically going toward.

A: “Oh, absolutely not. But I’ve never taken a pledge not to raise taxes. But I’ve also never voted for a property tax increase. Because I believe that property taxes — the fact that Memphians pay more in property taxes than anywhere else in the state, I think that works against us in recruiting people. … I really firmly believe that a big property tax increase would hasten people leaving this city.”

Q: There are a lot of options out there as to what city government looks like and feels like in five or 10 years. Are you open to remaking all of the different ways city government services are delivered?

A: “Absolutely. Including restructuring government. I’m open to any — again I’m going to take every step possible to come up with this money without a tax increase.”

Q: Your crime plan was the No. 1 thing people criticized you for. What do people have wrong about your crime plan?

A: “Well, I think some people purposely misled people, and some people didn’t know. What they had wrong was, when I said ‘zero tolerance,’ I was talking about violent crime. A violent act on another human being. … Most of the public, by far, agrees with me. Harold Collins agreed with me. And I would give the same speech wherever I went in the community. It wasn’t ‘Oh, he’s just playing to an East Memphis crowd.’ I said it all over. And, in fact, I had a slip of a tongue in Whitehaven one night and I said ‘They need to be taken down to Juvenile Court or taken home.’ And after when I was doing the question-and-answer they said ‘Oh no, they should not be taken home. They need to feel a consequence’.”

The audio is included in the original article here:  http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/government/politics/Podcast-Strickland-talks-about-his-campaign-and-Memphis-future-332152062.html