Name: Martavius Jones
Candidate for: City Council District 8, Position 3
Date of Birth:
Occupation: Financial Advisor
- High School: Memphis Central High School, 1986
- College: Howard University, 1990
- Masters/Ph.D (if applicable): BBA in Finance
Family: Single, one son – Jarred
Community Involvement: Board Member, Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum
Former Board Chair, Methodist Extended Care Hospital
Former Board Member, Memphis/Shelby County Law Enforcement Foundation
Former Board Member, Memphis in May International Festival
Former Board Member, Playhouse on the Square
Official Campaign Website: www.jonesformemphis.com
1. What background/experience distinguishes you from the other candidates who want voters to elect them?
Strong finance background.
Experience as a business owner.
Experience as a elected official.
2. What are the top three issues facing the City of Memphis?
Stagnant population growth
3. What do you propose to address the three issues you rank as top priorities?
Shrinking the poverty level takes care of so many of Memphis’ challenges. If wages were higher, Memphis would be seen as a desired place to relocate. Because of the low levels of income, small cosmetic repairs are ignored and turn into larger repairs that grow worse because there’s not sufficient disposable income for the repairs. Attracting employers in industries that have higher wages and salaries would tackle the poverty, blight, and stagnant population growth.
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?
No. Sales tax is a regressive tax and future councils and mayors may have other means to provide for increased benefits.
5. Do you think the local PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program needs to be reformed? If so, why and how?
Yes. We are currently providing incentives for industries and companies that barely pay a living wage and this extends our poverty issue. The current arrangement takes the decision-making authority of the city’s tax dollars and places them in the hands of a board that’s no directly accountable to the taxpayers.
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?
A significant part of the displacement and gentrification in Memphis has been the result of public housing developments being demolished and replaced with more mixed-income development. Moving forward, to prevent displacement and gentrification from taking place, we must provide former residents of these areas to return to these areas. Guidelines have to take this into consideration and acted upon.
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?
This has been an area where I’ve voiced concern since I’ve been on the council. I will continue to be a vocal advocate for greater spend with African-American-owned businesses. We’ve had an opportunity to measure the effectiveness of current initiatives and my next term, if re-elected, I will use it as an opportunity to review the results and suggest revisions.