Monday, April 7, 2003

THE FINAL FOUR NOW INCLUDES JOE COOPER

THE FINAL FOUR NOW INCLUDES JOE COOPER

Posted By on Mon, Apr 7, 2003 at 4:00 AM

Two contests of note will be taking place at Monday’s meeting of the Shelby County Commission. The first -- over the appointment of a new commission administrator -- will present a revised Final Four of hopefuls, with veteran pol Joe Cooper replacing Lisa Geater in a field that also includes former Memphis police director Winslow “Buddy” Chapman, Chamber of Commerce administrator Jesse Johnson, and Grace Hutchinson, the current acting administrtator and still the favorite. Cooper -- who, with three other semi-finalists, was apparently eliminated from consideration last week -- resurfaced as a contender as the result both of a recount and of the surprise withdrawal Friday of Geater, who holds the position of chief administrator of the Memphis city council. Geater, who had been considered a solid contender, reportedly communicated her intentions of withdrawing to the commission Friday by letter. The post of commission director became vacant in January when then chief administrator Calvin Williams was forced out amid a barrage of conflict-of-interest allegations. The other bone of contention concerns a zoning proposal by developer Rusty Hyneman to develop an 85-unit subdivision in the vicinity of Macon and Houston Levee Roads -- a proposal already turned down by the Office of Planning and Development and the Land Use Control Board and one sure to draw fire from commission members opposed to what they regard as helter-skelter, unplanned development. One such, Commissioner Bruce Thompson , observed, “The schools in that area are already overcrowded,” and served notice that he regards the matter as a test case. Monday's meeting will also, according to advance word, see the successful reconsideration of Commissioner John Willingham's proposal to hire Lakes, Inc., to pursue the possibility of developing The Pyramid into a downtown casino/hotel. Another attempt to pass a rural-school-bonds proposal is a strong likelihood, as well.
  • Waymon Welch Sr., father of well-known developer Jackie Welch and longtime director of Shelby County Code Enforcement, died Saturday night. Visitation will be at Memphis Funeral Home beginning at 2 p.m. Tuesday; funeral will be at Memphis Funeral Home at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

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