Herenton defends himself on Bobby O'Jay radio show

Dr. Willie Herenton
Dr. Willie Herenton

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - On the day he pulled a petition to run for Memphis Mayor, Willie Herenton laid low, releasing only a written statement.

But one day later, he made a phone call to a local radio show to get something off his chest.  Herenton told WDIA's Bobby O'Jay that, despite the morning talk show host's chatter, he's not crazy and he doesn't have a drug problem.

"I have a right to pull a petition and not be accused of not being in my right state of mind," Herenton said.

The former mayor added that he knows what he's doing, is at peace with himself, and no one forced him to resign.

"I'm very secure," he said. "I don't have a power need. If I did, I would not have retired."

And then he asked for a little respect.  There was no talk of Herenton's plans in congress or in city hall, because before the conversation got that was over.

"All I'm saying Bobby is have some decency when you refer to people," Herenton said. "That's all.

The conversation ended seconds later.  You can listen to the entire conversation in the video player on this page.

Herenton ignited the latest controversy when he pulled a petition Thursday to run in the October special election.  The election was put in motion when Herenton retired as Memphis mayor last month.  Officials at the Shelby County Election Commission have estimated the special election will cost taxpayers nearly one million dollars.

Over a dozen people have declared themselves candidates in the race.

If Herenton becomes mayor again, his pension will be frozen, and he will go back to collecting a $171,500 per year salary.

When he retires again, he would continue receiving his pension, currently at approximately $75,000 per year.  But, the more time he spends in City Hall, the higher that amount will go.

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