Monday, July 26, 2010

Charter Commission Tackles Districting

Posted By on Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 9:59 AM

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The Metropolitan Government Charter Commission meets Monday to decide how many legislative districts there should be and how they should be drawn.

The most likely outcome appears to be a proposal for 13 single-member districts and four 3-member districts, for a total of 25 representatives in a metropolitan government. An alternative plan would have 13 single-member districts and four super districts with one member each for a total of 17 representatives.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tiger Lane on Schedule

Posted By on Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 12:01 PM

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Tiger Lane, the $15 million greenspace project at the fairgrounds, is on schedule and projected to be ready for tailgating and crowds on September 6th, three days before the first football game of the season at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Housing and Community Development director and project architect Tom Marshall made a presentation to the Memphis City Council Tuesday.

Marshall said rain delays have not affected the projected finish date of three days before the Southern Heritage Classic and, moreover, the rain was good for the grass in the Liberty Land area.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Going Postal: Why I'm P.O.ed at the P.O.

Posted By on Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 2:57 PM

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The Post Office wants to raise the price of stamps two cents to 46 cents. Please indulge me for a minute to give my two cents worth about the P.O. and my 18 months in "mail hell."

In "mail hell" you don't get your bills, your checks, or your bank statements on time, if ever. You get slammed with late charges and reconnection charges. Your phone, Internet service, cable, and utilities are cut off. Your voter registration is revoked. Your credit rating is reduced to shambles. All because of a screw up by the P.O. that has taken on Kafkaesque overtones. Or else the Newman character from "Seinfeld" is running the P.O.

This is how it happened.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Consolidation Conundrum

Posted By on Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 10:18 PM

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If you drive less than a mile from Southwind High School you can be in Germantown, Memphis, or unincorporated Shelby County (or Mississippi if you drive two miles). The tax rates where you end up vary from $4.06 to $7.22. Same stores, same roads, same public school, same water and sewer, same distance from downtown or the airport.

This is what the would-be architects of consolidated metro government are up against. The numbers are really ugly, and there's no way to spin it before the vote on November 2nd.

The Metro Charter Commission met Thursday evening at Southwind for nearly four hours and listened to half a dozen people make comments and ask questions. The panel's patience and dedication are admirable, but their task is staggering. The plan they finalize in the next 30 days must pass separate referendums in the city of Memphis and the rest of Shelby County outside of Memphis.

To this city of Memphis resident and consolidation proponent, it looks like the strategy, such as it is, is to appease the county residents with assurances of separate school systems, a three-year tax freeze, and suburban sovereignty and city residents with a three-year tax freeze that looks awfully shaky if the city continues to lose population. Everyone will be pitched on efficiency and a Greater Unified Memphis. And I expect there will be some frank talk, if not bald threats, that if this thing doesn't pass then some important people and companies might be oughta here. And I for one will believe them.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Lebron, Cal, Herenton, and the Art of the Announcement

Posted By on Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 1:40 PM

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  • New York Daily News
So the Lebron James one-hour special was a hit for ESPN. As one of the 9.95 million viewers of "The Decision" I say, "way to go, Lebron, and I wish you were coming to Memphis more often."

Lebron James could teach Memphians a few things about big announcements and press conferences. Such as . . . it helps to be a genuine star, have real news, buzz, and play up the suspense. Bonus points if someone gets unusually candid or pissed off. Such occasions are few and far between in Memphis, where the term "news conference" has been badly devalued by everyone from Willie Herenton, who has had too many of them, to Rudy Gay, whose $82 million deal was formally announced a week after it happened, to Allen Iverson, who never should have bothered.

To all those whining about too much hype and self indulgence: May you spend a year covering school board members, political also-rans, and official spokesmen who say "I am not at liberty to discuss that."

Here are the Top Five Memphis news conferences of the last ten years.

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bass Pro 2012 ... Meanwhile

Posted By on Sat, Jul 3, 2010 at 12:45 PM

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Bass Pro won't open in The Pyramid until late 2011 or, more likely, some time in 2012. And it won't solve all of downtown's problems. To see the 52-page lease agreement, go to the city's website, www.cityofmemphis.org. You'll need a lot of patience and some computer memory. In both cases, mine ran out on "Bass Pro Drive" before I was half way through it.

Meanwhile, here are ten other pressing downtown problems/opportunities that can be taken care of before 2012. Feel free to add to the list.

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