In his years as Southaven Mayor Greg Davis has never had any trouble speaking his mind. Whether at home or on the road at this week's Mississippi Municipal League Conference in Biloxi. But, it was the outspoken Davis' apples to oranges comparison about crime statistics that's rankled a few feathers at Memphis City Hall.
"We were pointing out the fact of our low crime rate being adjacent to one with a very high crime rate..simply making the statement," Davis said.
"I'm not going to degrade the citizens of Memphis by trying to get on a tete-a-tete, one to one, with someone whose perspective maybe clouded by some things," Memphis mayor AC Wharton said. "I'm not going to drop to that level and I did say drop."
Davis in a phone interview with FOX 13 on Friday noted his remarks weren't just idle chatter. He said ever since he's been in office he's monitored Southaven's crime rate versus the Memphis crime rate. He unabashedly uses the comparison in trying to shift his town's focus away from his well-publicized state audit discrepancies and the ongoing federal investigation. You can't blame a guy for growing tired of the constant "Where's Waldo" media-scrutiny his city business trips now attract.
"No one wants to print or talk about how low our crime rate is and how good things are going. They're only interested in where I'm traveling," Davis said. "Finally everybody in the Memphis market gets to know what the federal government, the FBI has said about their crime rate."
While in Biloxi, Davis boasted of stats which he alleged listed Memphis as the 5th most dangerous city in the country. But, it's the idea of using it as a "sales tool" for Southaven that has upset some.
"I don't think I ever said the city of Memphis. I just said if you come to the Memphis-metropolitan area make sure you stay in Southaven," Davis said. "It's not an attack on the city of Memphis."
"Consider the source. To talk about it too much gives too much dignity to the source,"Wharton said.
Alright gentlemen. Drop your gloves and return to your neutral corners.