Name: Davin Clemons
Candidate for: City Council District 6
Date of Birth: 11-21-1980
Occupation: Police Officer – Tactical Unit – Memphis Police Department
- High School: Memphis Central High School, 1998
- College: THE Lemoyne Owen College, BA in Criminal Justice, 2003
- Masters/Ph.D (if applicable): Memphis Theological Seminary, Doctorate of Ministry, 2017
Family: Married with a pet cat named Kobe.
Community Involvement: Co-Founder, The Unleashed Voice Radio Show
Officer, Memphis Police Department
Equity Liaison, Memphis Police Department
Official Campaign Website: www.davinclemons.com
1. What background/experience distinguishes you from the other candidates who want voters to elect them?
As a police officer for nearly two decades, I have a unique understanding of the barriers that exist relative to progression in the city of Memphis. I have been prepared for both the advocacy and administrative sides of the City Councilman position through the attainment of degrees at LeMoyne Owen College (Bachelors) and the University of Arkansas (Masters). As a current instructor with the Memphis Police Academy, I actively engage with members of the community from all backgrounds as I help to prepare the next generation of Memphis Police Officers.
2. What are the top three issues facing the City of Memphis?
District six encompasses Tennessee’s most impoverished zip code, 38126 and one of Memphis’s most stable middle class zip codes, 38116. As such, the three major issues facing District 6 are poverty alleviation, economic and community development and education equity. By addressing these three issues, we are able to better serve all sectors of our District.
3. What do you propose to address the three issues you rank as top priorities?
In the area of poverty alleviation, I propose collaborative efforts between both the City of Memphis and Shelby County Schools to promote wraparound services and access to training around Adverse Childhood Experiences. Utilizing our neighborhood schools s places of support for our communities will help exponentially combat both crime and poverty in our area.
Economic and Community Development are an issue that must be uniquely addressed in Whitehaven. As a stable middle class inner suburb of Memphis, much of the area’s access to services and goods are dependent on people’s access to neighboring Southaven. As your Councilman, I will work collaboratively with both the city and county to find funding for minority owned business such as grocery stores and franchises for our community. There is much more to Whitehaven than Graceland and our economic and community development prospects must address this pressing issue.
Educational equity means making sure that our schools in our community remain some of the most academically rigorous in our city. Whitehaven High School, lead by Mr. Vincent Hunter, has consistently out ranked and out paced our state’s most rigorous schools. Addressing educational equity will mean finding ways outside of universal Pre-K to invest in the goal of making all schools similar in rigor and preparedness as Whitehaven High.
4. Do you favor the call for a half-cent sales tax increase to restore healthcare and retirement benefits for police officers and firefighters cut in 2014?
Absolutely. As a current Memphis Police Officer, I know the morale boost that would come from this half cent increase in sales tax. Citizens in Memphis must be aware of the fact that even with that half-cent increase, our sales tax will still be LOWER than many areas in Tennessee including Jackson, Franklin and Murfreesboro.
5. Do you think the local PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program needs to be reformed? If so, why and how?
PILOTs are an awesome way of attracting businesses to our city. Like many other cities, Memphis utilizes PILOTs as a tool to gain and attract some of the best companies in our country. PILOTs in Memphis, over time, must be re-visited to make sure that the relationship between the company and the city are mutually beneficial. My approach would include enhancing public-private partnerships to address some of the issues that exist in our city related to education and infrastructure. PILOTs and public-private partnerships can work in tandem with each other to address the issues that sometimes lead to a company wanting to leave Memphis.
6. Do you see a risk of displacement and gentrification connected to the development boom in Memphis? If so, how would you address that risk from the position you seek?
There is definitely a risk of displacement due to gentrification. Mayor Strickland’s proposed development plan for the city of Memphis mandates that we build “up and not out.” As such, the only way we can promote a dense urban center is by making sure that people are coming into the city’s core after being displaced. Over the next decade, it is my hope that the council will begin to look at some redevelopment opportunities in both North and South Memphis to ensure that we have adequate and equitable housing options within the city’s core. By us having viable housing options for a variety of economic backgrounds, we ensure that Memphis remains the diverse city that it has become.
7. African-American-owned businesses have made up only 1 percent of all Memphis business receipts for several decades. If elected, do you see playing a role in changing that statistic? If so, what do you think that role would entail?
We have to be explicit by what we mean when we say minority owned business in the city of Memphis. In a town that is nearly seventy percent Black, it is unacceptable that only 1% of all Memphis contracting goes to Black owned businesses. If elected, I will work collaboratively with our Mayor to provide training on the basics of government contracting: how to gain a bond rating, how to employ diverse staff etc, in the hopes of boosting the amount of companies that are viable for city contracting.