Such overwhelming response demands an answer. Old fogey reporters have an annoying habit of dropping obscure information into columns and stories. Occupational hazard. Here's the back story, mined from our pre-Internet archives by the Flyer's crack research department, also known as the guy at the front desk.
I think Mayor A C Wharton and his new hire, our colleague and brand-manager-to-be Mary Cashiola, know the difference and the limitations of the job.
First off, Mary did a good job for us and she will do a good job for the city. People make a difference. I will miss her as a friend and colleague.
In the category of Memphis brand building, I would put selectively responding to and creating those aggravating, irresistible, superficial, badly sourced, agenda loaded, click-driven lists of America's best, worst, safest, most dangerous, smartest, most beautiful, most neighborly, healthiest, and all the rest that show up in magazines or academic studies and get recycled on web pages, on television, and in newspapers. The more serious ones can and should be responded to. They're a fact of life.
Memphis takes its lumps, but every once in a while it gets a nice windfall. The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, for example, featured a couple of numbers from the musical "Memphis." Millions of people saw that on television. I didn't see anybody rocking and rolling or dancing to the groove of Louisville, Birmingham, Jacksonville, or Indianapolis. Given the popularity of "Glee," maybe Mary can organize a giant 1,000-student production number on the river or over at Soulsviille or on Beale Street next year.
On the other hand, there are some hits Memphis deserves and simply has to deal with.
"Memphis is not competitive. It's as simple as that," from Fred Smith is one of them.
"I remember riding my bicycle through thriving neighborhoods as a kid. Now it looks like someone bombed my city," by Wharton, in the New York Times no less, is another.
The study that came out this week ranking Memphis last among Tennessee's 50 largest cities for "business friendly" environment is a third. Our property tax rate is what it is. So is our population loss. So is our schools record.
And a fourth example is Memphis City Schools superintendent Kriner Cash admitting this week that the school system needs to be rightsized by closing schools and cutting personnel. He could have added, but did not, dealing with the 10,000 to 25,000 students, by Cash's count, who don't believe in starting school in August.
So there's a place for brand management and there are limitations. I confess to not exactly seeing this as the city's most pressing need. The Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau and the mayors are supposed to be doing this already. So does the chamber of commerce and the Center City Commission. But I guess every little bit helps.
Such a resolution was offered and seconded Monday night at the regular MCS board meeting, but it won't come up until December. Given Williams' opposition, it isn't clear that the resolution would pass, and if it did pass there would have to be a voter referendum in 2011.
Williams made her comments Tuesday morning during a news conference with MCS Superintendent Kriner Cash. The board meeting ended after the late television news Monday night, so this was sort of a catch-up session. Earlier Monday, Williams and Cash met with their counterparts in the Shelby County system, David Pickler and John Aitken. Williams said they signed a "pact" but it is not binding, whatever that means.
"My position is I want to do what's best for the students of Memphis City Schools," said Williams. "I don't see the facts that support surrendering the charter."
To go along with this week's Flyer cover story, "The World's Biggest Man Cave?" here are some additional artist's renderings of what the inside and outside of The Pyramid will look like in two years when Bass Pro opens as the city's prize tenant.
United States District Judge Jon McCalla issued the sentence, and the announcement was made by United States Attorney Edward Stanton.
Bowers plead guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of harboring illegal aliens in July. She operated a business that assisted illegal aliens in getting car tags by preparing false documents and bribing clerks.
The case was investigated by state and federal authorities. City Councilwoman Barbara Swearengen Ware has been indicted on state charges in a car tags case, but the indictment has not been publicly released while she is in the hospital so it is not clear what she allegedly did.
That's the amount of public financing sought in an application the hunting and fishing retailer filed with the Center City Revenue Finance Corporation.
Basically, the city would gut and fix up The Pyramid and Bass Pro would stock it with merchandise and attractions.