Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hidden Cameras Catch Illegal Dumpers

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Hidden camera image of illegal dump site.
  • Shelby County government
  • Hidden camera image of illegal dump site.

Dumpers beware.

The Shelby County government has an eye - in fact, many eyes - on you.

County officials say they have already caught many people illegally dumping trash, tree limbs, and construction debris by using hidden cameras. Within the first 24 hours of the cameras' installation last week, a woman was seen dumping trash in the Northaven area.

“This is an important addition to our fight against blight," Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell Jr said in a statement. "The cameras are giving us 24-hour presence in areas known for illegal dumping."

The cameras cost $18,000, according to Shelby County Public Works Director Tom Needham, but he said it's a "small price based on the $100,000 we had to pay last year to remove all the debris." County crews removed some 320 ton of illegally dumped debris last year.

Public works officials will work with Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputies to identify violators caught on camera.

"We’ll now have their picture and the evidence needed for a criminal charge,” Luttrell said.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Plans Ease Sting of City Benefits Cuts

Posted By on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 5:22 PM

New plans emerged Tuesday at Memphis City Hall to ease the pain of employee and retiree benefit cuts that came with the new city budget.

Officials from Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s administration brought a plan to ensure retirees and some employee spouses will have access to “quality, affordable” health care insurance.

The Memphis Fire Fighters Association and Memphis Police Association brought a new health care insurance plan that would supplant the city’s current plan. The new plan would stop a 24 percent hike to insurance premiums for current employees and restore health insurance subsidies for retired city employs.

This plans came to light during the regular quarterly meeting of the Memphis City Council’s health care oversight committee. The meeting was packed in light of the council’s recent decision to change benefits for city retirees and employees.

In the audience were city employees wearing shirts that showed their support for Memphis police and fire fighters. But council member and committee chairman Edmund Ford Jr. warned the group to mind their manners.

Ford
  • Ford
“This is not a pep rally or anything of that matter,” Ford said. “If the chair sees that transpiring, I will give one warning. If that warning is ignored I will ask (the sergeant at arms) to escort you out of this room. I also have the full authority to adjourn this meeting and we will re-convene it again in three months.”

Wharton’s plan is called the Healthcare Assurance Plan. It provides an array of options for retirees to help them get insurance if their city-sponsored plan is cancelled. This options include Medigap plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and a 25 percent subsidy for some retirees. Retirees without some kind of Medicare plan will remain on their city-sponsored health plan, so will retirees who were disabled in the line of duty and the spouses and eligible dependents of employees killed in the line of duty.

The plan would also set up a free clinic for employees and retirees at the corner of Union and McLean. Participants could get medical check-ups and prescription drugs at no cost.

Also, the plan would establish a $2 million trust fund to provide assistance employees and retirees with financial hardships. That fund already has a $1 million promise from Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and a $550,000 promise from Cigna. Technical assistance has been promised from Saint Francis Hospital, Baptist Health Care Corp., Regional One Health, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee.

The administration will host a series of 13 meetings across Memphis to educate employees and retirees about the Healthcare Assurance Plan.

The fire fighters union presented a new healthcare plan that restore all retirees to the city plan, would allow all spouses of employee to stay on the plan, keep the 70/30 payment split with the city and employees. The high deductible plan would have employees pay more out of pocket before insurance started paying on their medical bills.

A union official said the new plan should lower monthly premium rates by $150 per month. Implementing the plan would save the city $24.6 million each year.

The union plan will be introduced to the council’s personnel committee in 30 days. Any change to city healthcare plans must be reviewed and voted on by the city council.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Voters Rally Targets Local Millennials

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 4:22 PM

whyvote_mtown.jpeg

Research shows that “millennials,” typically categorized as people born in the 1980s up to the early 2000s, are the least likely to vote. But many of the decisions made by elected officials will impact them significantly now and in the future.

A group of local millennials are holding a rally Tuesday, July 29th to encourage their peers to register to vote and/or pledge to participate in upcoming local, state, and national elections.

The “Millennial Voters Rally” will take place in front of downtown’s Civic Center Plaza at 5:30 p.m. The event is a part of the WhyVote Initiative, a movement created to inform locals about the importance of voting and how refraining from doing so can adversely impact them.

Brent Hooks, one of the rally’s coordinators, said the goal is to attract at least 100 millennials to register to vote and/or agree to participate in upcoming elections as well as and spread the word about the significance of voting.

“This is going to be the most powerful thing that we can present … it’s power in unity," said Hooks, associate project manager for Allworld Project Management. "If we go out there and show them that we have a mass of people who are down for the cause, we can make a difference.”

WhyVote representatives will conduct a press conference in front of the Civic Center Plaza at 6 p.m. And at 6:15 p.m., the group will march to the Shelby County Election Commission and help participants register to vote or submit ballots for the upcoming county election.

According to WhyVote data, millennials make up nearly a quarter of Shelby County’s population (more than 196,000 people), but only around 460 had cast votes during the early voting period of the current county election as of last week.

“This is an opportunity to show unison amongst the millennials, to send the message that we’re interested in political decisions that are being made and really want to impact the change for the future,” said Ryan Carson, project manager for The Redwing Group and another coordinator of the Millennial Voters Rally.

To find out more information about the WhyVote Initiative, contact Brent Hooks at (901) 292-1873.

Check out this week's issue of The Memphis Flyer to read more about millennial voting.

Tags: , , , , ,

Friday, July 25, 2014

Buyer Has Contract for Tennessee Brewery Building

Posted By on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 4:14 PM

1260835802-brewery.jpg

The historic Tennessee Brewery, which was threatened to be demolished in less than a week, will be around for at least another 90 days and possibly for years to come.

James Rasberry, the building's listing agent, says he has executed a contract with a "viable buyer." There's a 90-day due diligence period, where the potential buyer will be able to have various inspections done on the 100-plus-year-old structure. Rasberry said that means demolition, which was set for early August, will be postponed at least 90 days. Rasberry said he's not at liberty to say who the potential buyer is.

"I don't have a guarantee, but I think these guys are the genuine article," Rasberry said. "They are certainly capable and desirous of getting the building to closing. I would say this is as good a contract as I've had since the top of the real estate market when we were promoting it more of a residential development than a mixed use."

But Rasberry, who has previously said that he's "kissed a lot of frogs" looking for a buyer over the years, is cautiously optimistic. He said he's continuing to show the building to other potential buyers during the due diligence period.

"It's not like we're going to quit showing the property. I've got one other group that has submitted a letter of intent, and they're quite willing to do the deal themselves. I will continue to show it so that if for whatever reason it doesn't work out, maybe we'll have someone in the wings," he said.

The Tennessee Brewery building was once home to the now-defunct Goldcrest Beer. No beer has been brewed there since 1954, and the building, which was sold to A. Karchmer and Sons Scrap Metal in the mid-1950s, has been vacant since 1981. The building's owner, Kevin Norman, purchased the property in 1997 in the hope of salvaging the historic building. He's been trying to sell the building unsuccessfully for years.

From late April to early June, a group of investors — restaurateur Taylor Berger, attorney Michael Tauer, commercial real estate executive Andy Cates, and communications specialist Doug Carpenter — organized a pop-up beer garden inside the brewery to raise awareness about the need to save the building. To read more about "Untapped" and the brewery's history, check out this Flyer cover story.

U of M Project Aimed at Reducing Marijuana Use

Posted By on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 11:26 AM

A University of Memphis professor has received a $400,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to help reduce marijuana use among college students.

Murphy
  • Murphy
Dr. James Murphy, associate professor of psychology, will use the funds over two years to increase the awareness of the drug's risks by "correcting the misperception that most or all students use marijuana." Also, the project will try to get students involved in "constructive, academic, social, exercise, creative, and vocational alternatives."

"Although marijuana does not pose the same risk for overdose or severe dependence as many other drugs, it can be habit forming, difficult to quit, and associated with academic, legal and financial problems and difficulties with thinking, memory and learning," Murphy said in a statement.

Few interventions have been tested for excessive use of marijuana, Murphy said, while there are effective interventions to reduce drinking among college students.

The award is a also sponsored by the National Institue on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and goes along with an existing grant called “Reducing College Drinking With a Behavioral Economic Supplement.”

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Last weekend, developer Lauren Crews and architect Chooch Pickard of City South Ventures opened the long-vacant U.S. Marine Hospital for self-guided tours.

Crews purchased the property years ago, and now he's pushing a plan to transform the hospital into apartments before possibly persuing other major development projects in and around the historic French Fort neighborhood.

The hospital treated U.S. Marine mariners back in the late 1800s. The main hospital building, a nurses' building, and a maintenance structure have sat decaying on the property next to the Metal Museum for decades.

To read more about the project, read this Flyer story.

Slideshow
Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital
Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital

Scenes From the U.S. Marine Hospital

Last weekend, developer Lauren Crews and architect Chooch Pickard of City South Ventures opened up the U.S. Marine Hospital for self-guided tours. Here are some shots from inside the long-vacant hospital on the bluff.

By Bianca Phillips

Click to View 13 slides

Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Demolition Still Set For Tennessee Brewery

Posted By on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 3:52 PM

1394639169-screen_shot_2014-03-12_at_10.45.49_am.png

The historic Tennessee Brewery building, which housed the "Untapped" beer garden for six weeks this past spring, may be demolished on August 1st. Or maybe it won't.

James Rasberry, the building's listing agent, said he is currently working on a couple of contracts with potential buyers for the building, but he does not have an executed contract. If either of those contracts moves forward with a viable candidate for a future owner, Rasberry said they'd be able to get a two- or three month extension on the demolition, which has long been planned for early August.

"The only goal is to try and save the building, but if we can't, we've given it a great shot. That's where we are right now," Rasberry said.

Rasberry said he should know more in about a week.

The Tennessee Brewery building was once home to the now-defunct Goldcrest Beer. No beer has been brewed there since 1954, and the building, which was sold to A. Karchmer and Sons Scrap Metal in the mid-1950s, has been vacant since 1981. The building's owner, Kevin Norman, purchased the property in 1997 in the hope of salvaging the historic building. He's been trying to sell the building unsuccessfully for years.

From late April to early June, a group of investors — restaurateur Taylor Berger, attorney Michael Tauer, commercial real estate executive Andy Cates, and communications specialist Doug Carpenter — organized a pop-up beer garden inside the brewery to raise awareness about the need to save the building. To read more about "Untapped" and the brewery's history, check out this Flyer cover story.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Which Shelby County Neighborhood Has the Most Adulterers?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 1:21 PM

ashleymadison.jpg

Collierville is home to more cheaters per capita than any other area in Shelby County, according to a new list from AshleyMadison.com, the hook-up website for extra-marital affairs.

A little more than nine percent of the 50,000 Shelby Countians who are registered to use that website live in Collierville. Raleigh, however, is home to the most faithful Memphians, according to the website. They make up about six percent of the site's local users.

Here's the AshleyMadison.com list of Shelby County's least faithful neighborhoods.

1. Collierville 9.1%
2. Arlington 8.8%
3. Downtown 8.6%
4. East Memphis 8.3%
5. Germantown 8%
6. Midtown 7.7%
7. Barlett 7.3%
8. Lakeland 7.2%
9. Millington 6.9%
10. Raleigh 6.4%

Additionally, they found that 43 percent of adulterers in Memphis are female with an average age of 35. Bartlett cheaters tend to have the most children, and Lakeland cheaters tend to have the most affair partners.

Noel Biderman, CEO and founder of the site, said their study of stats across the country tended to show the most cheating occurring in more affluent neighborhoods. But that may be more related to the digital divide than anything else. Cheating in lower-income areas may not necessarily be arranged on hook-up sites.

Tags: , , , ,

Thursday, July 17, 2014

GoFundMe Page Created For Slain Army Vet

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 4:32 PM

Justin Davis
  • Justin Davis

On Tuesday night, Justin Davis, a 24-year-old Army veteran, sat in his car in the parking lot of Germantown’s Cameron-Brown Park frustrated, depressed, and armed with a rifle.

Davis, who battled post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, had been reportedly having suicidal thoughts and was going through a divorce. To make matters worse, he had been unable to find employment upon his return from the military.

According to reports, the Germantown Police Department (GPD) Communications Center received a “Be On The Lookout” (BOLO) message stating Davis was “unstable, possibly suicidal, armed and dangerous” on Tuesday, July 15th, around 9 p.m. The GPD Communications Center was notified by the Fayette County Sheriff's Office around 9:45 p.m. that Davis was located at Cameron-Brown Park (8626 Farmington Boulevard).

GPD officers arrived on the scene shortly after and located Davis in a parking lot near a baseball field. After evacuating the area, officers communicated with Davis via phone and through a squad car public address system, according to reports.

What transpired during the conversation up until the seconds before bullets were fired remains unclear. According to reports, Davis “escalated” the situation during his communication with GPD officers. This resulted in three officers firing their weapons, striking Davis. He was pronounced deceased on the scene.

“As officers were continuing their effort to communicate, the situation was escalated by the subject, who was armed with a rifle, resulting in three Germantown police officers discharging their weapons,” stated a police news release regarding the incident.

Justin and his daughter
  • Facebook.com
  • Justin and his daughter

Names of the three officers involved in the shooting have yet to be released, but are on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, according to reports. Where and how many times Davis was shot has yet to be announced. He leaves behind a young daughter.

Not only are Davis’ family and friends deeply saddened by the occurrence, members and veterans of various branches of the U.S. military have been touched by the situation. Local veteran Jerome Hardaway is among these people.

Hardaway has created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for Davis’ burial. He was motivated to start the fundraiser after receiving messages from friends and family of Davis’ who were hurt by the situation and concerned with how his burial would be financed.

After discovering the local Veterans Administration would not be able to cover the expenses, he organized a GoFundMe account in the hope that small donations would be made to help Davis' family put him to rest at the West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery (4000 Forest Hill Irene). The fundraiser's goal is $2,500.

“Hopefully, the community will come together and help this family,” Hardaway said. “The fundraiser will go on until the family has the resources to put him properly to rest.”

Hardaway is an Air Force vet and fought in the Iraq War, also known as Operation Iraqi Freedom. He said he can relate to Davis’ battle with post-war issues and is disheartened by the fact he was unable to find employment after returning home from the military.

“As an OIF veteran, I do suffer from combat stress, and I've worked hard to learn how to manage it,” Hardaway said. “I’m personally saddened by the situation, because I know how he felt. [To] go to Iraq and manage to survive a war zone, only to come home and be told that you have no skills is demoralizing. The government spends hundreds of thousands of dollars turning young people into more than fighters; [they become] effective learners, thinkers, capable of working harder and being more mentally agile than their civilian counterparts in order to complete missions. It’s horrible that people tend to choose to only see veterans in a certain light, but we are working hard to change that.”

Hardaway is in the beginning stages of creating his company, FRAGO, an entity that will take a proactive approach to helping veterans receive the services they need before it’s too late.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mayor Wharton Launches "Inspiring Young Men of Color" Initiative

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Wharton.jpg

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton stood at a podium in the FedExForum’s plaza Wednesday and introduced a new initiative that will help improve the success rates of young African-American men.

Entitled “Inspiring Young Men of Color,” the program aims to bridge the opportunity gap that young black males face by lessening the disparities they experience in education, employment, health, and justice.

The effort will be spearheaded by an executive steering committee that's composed of numerous business and community leaders, many of whom were on hand at the press conference. The collective will develop long-term strategies to combat the identified issues that hinder high success rates of young Memphis minorities.

"Generally, when you focus on young men of color, the first thing you look for is ‘Okay, where are the police officers? Where are the folks in charge of the prisons and jails?" Wharton said. "We’re flipping the script on this. We’re focusing on the opportunity side of it, the preparation side of it. We’re going to change the language. As opposed to saying 'What are we going to do to them,' it’s 'What are we going to do with them, to make them much more productive young men of color?'"

The program is aligned with Pres. Barack Obama’s recently launched “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, an approach that seeks to improve outcomes of young men of color in health, education, employment, and criminal justice nationally.

Wharton said improving the literacy rates of young black males in Memphis is one of the most important objectives of the initiative.

"One of the most starving issues facing our young men is low literacy," Wharton said. "Simply put, many of our young men and boys of color are not reading proficiently, and the lack of this fundamental skill prevents them from reaching their full potential."

For more information on the Inspiring Young Men of Color initiative, check out next week's issue of The Memphis Flyer.

Tags: , , , , ,

MATA Chooses New General Manager

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 8:08 AM

Ron Garrison
  • Ron Garrison

Ron Garrison, the head of customer service for a South Carolina-based manufacturer of electric buses, was tapped to become the new general manager of the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) at Tuesday night's MATA board meeting.

Garrison, who currently works for Proterra, will succeed retired MATA general manager Will Hudson, who worked in various roles at the transit authority for 49 years. In the interim, Tom Fox has been serving in MATA's lead role. MATA's board started with a list of 13 candidates and narrowed it down to five. Fox was included in the top five, but Garrison ultimately won the vote.

Before working at Proterra, Garrison led the transit system in Tallahassee, Florida. Garrison will be under a three to five year contract.

Tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Current Entrance to Shelby Farms Park Set to Close Permanently

Posted By on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Screen_shot_2014-07-15_at_3.59.32_PM.png

On Monday, July 21st, the Pine Lake Drive entrance to Shelby Farms Park will close forever as part of the park's master plan. Park users will instead enter Shelby Farms through a new entrance a quarter mile north of the old one, off Farm Road.

On the same day, construction of the expanded Patriot Lake will begin, so construction equipment will occasionally be crossing Farm Road. That may affect traffic for about six months, according to Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell's office. Although access from Farm Road will remain open throughout construction, drivers may expect delays.

For more on the Shelby Farms Park master plan, check out Chris Davis' Flyer cover story.

Tags: ,

Thunderstorms Leave Thousands of MLGW Customers Without Power

Posted By on Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Several waves of thunderstorms and high winds traveled through Shelby County yesterday evening, leaving more than 40,000 homes and businesses without power.

mlgwoutage.jpg
  • MLGW

The thunderstorms lasted from 4 to 10 p.m., Monday, July 14th. As of Tuesday, July 15th, around 11,000 residents remain powerless.

Memphis Light, Gas, and Water (MLGW) president Jerry Collins said the bulk of power outages have been restored. But there are still some pockets of the county suffering outages and severe damage from downed power lines and tree limbs. Collins said 19 contractor crews are coming in town today to assist MLGW with its restoration process.

“More than 42,000 homes and businesses lost power as a result of these storms,” Collins said. “By 7 a.m. Tuesday morning, the number of homes and businesses without power had been reduced to about 9,000. These 9,000 include, however, some heavily damaged areas that will require a longer time to repair. We expect all power to be restored by midnight Thursday.”

Around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, the power outage number increased to more than 11,000. Collins said this is attributed to MLGW crews having to turn circuits off so that they can make needed repairs. He said this causes the numbers to rise for periods of time while crews are working.

MLGW customers can contact (901) 544-6500 to report outages or check on restoration progress anytime of the day and night. Outage numbers can be tracked via MLGW's outage map here.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Monday, July 14, 2014

Memphis Animal Services May Cut Hours

Posted By on Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Dani Rutherford protests the proposed MAS hour cut on Sunday.
  • Beth Spencer
  • Dani Rutherford protests the proposed MAS hour cuts on Sunday.

Come August, Memphis Animal Services may be open nine fewer hours per week.

Memphis Animal Services director James Rogers made the announcement last week that the city shelter may be cutting its business hours due to budgetary concerns.

The news came during the quarterly public Memphis Animal Services Advisory Board meeting. Rogers said the shelter is looking at changing its hours to noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday and Monday.

Currently, the shelter is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday. It is currently closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Although Rogers cited the city’s budget woes as the reason behind shortened hours, there has been no reduction of staff or staff hours at the shelter. Rogers said that by shortening the shelter’s public hours, he hopes to make time for more spay and neuter surgeries on adoptable animals.

“We are dedicated to making sure we give the best service with the budget we are given,” Rogers said. “What we are trying to do is increase the number of adoptions out. How we do that is have more time for our surgeons to complete adoptions within a certain window.”

Shelter reform advocates at the meeting argued that under the new MAS hours, those with 9-to-5 jobs will not be able to retrieve a lost pet. They said the new hours also give a lost animal less of a window of time to be retrieved before being euthanized.

“MAS … [has] to follow a protocol that keeps an animal alive for at least three business days while the owner tries to locate them,” said Cindy Sanders, co-founder of Community Action for Animals. “Under these new hours, with Sunday and Monday being open for only two hours, if a dog comes in on Friday and the owner can’t make it to the shelter in that small timeframe, the pet could be euthanized on Tuesday.”

The reduced hours at the shelter will also make things harder for Memphis Pets Alive, a local group that posts photos online of shelter animals up for adoption. Volunteers from Pets Alive take the photos every Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m., but under the new hours, the shelter won’t be open then.

Memphis Pets Alive Executive Director Linda Baxter said her organization had no idea a change in hours was being made. She’s also concerned that MAS’ adoption discount days, Wag Along Wednesday and Yappy Hour, which are held in the evenings, will be affected by the new hours.

“We have more than 5,000 followers on Facebook, and we work rigorously to network our photos of adoptable animals around the country,” Baxter said. “Not only are the highly successful Wag Along Wednesday and the Yappy Hour programs being eliminated under these hours, but the small window that we had to get photos of all available animals at the shelter is now closed.”

The MAS Advisory Board passed a motion recommending the shelter to stay open on Tuesdays and Thursdays until 7 p.m., but the final decision on the hours rests with city Parks and Neighborhoods Director Janet Hooks. She expects to make a decision by mid-August. Sanders and Baxter feel that this is the latest in a series of mistakes made by MAS.

“The lack of knowledge, lack of training, and lack of sympathy has led to a lot of really bad decisions by Mr. Rogers, but this is by far the worst decision he has made,” Sanders said. “The fact that he states it’s a budgetary decision is insulting. He blames this on the budget when he admitted at the meeting that he was not cutting personnel or people’s hours.”

Tags: , , ,

Friday, July 11, 2014

Uber and Lyft to Receive Cease-and-Desist From City

Posted By on Fri, Jul 11, 2014 at 5:20 PM

A Lyft car with its trademark pink mustache.
  • Shannon O'Daniel
  • A Lyft car with its trademark pink mustache.

The city of Memphis will be issuing a cease-and-desist order for ridesharing services Uber and Lyft until the two companies get city permits to operate.

The companies first arrived in April and operate through smartphones, removing the need for cash being exchanged in the car itself.

Late last month, the rideshare services first hit a snag in the city when the Memphis International Airport told Uber and Lyft that, without permits, drivers would not be allowed to pick up or drop off passengers.

Cities around the country have seen pushback from taxicab associations and unions toward the rideshare companies. One campaign called “Who’s Driving You?” is pushing for regulations on competitors as an initiative of the Taxicab, Limousine, and Paratransit Association. Dave Sutton is the spokesperson for the campaign.

“Uber and Lyft force their way into markets without taking the proper steps to ensure the safety of the public,” Sutton said. “Part of their business model is based on stress-testing rules and regulations and seeing if a city will simply roll over and allow them to ply their illegal services as an unlicensed taxi company.”

Both Uber and Lyft have local and federal background and vehicle checks — as cars have to be 2000 models or newer — as well as a five-star rating system that differentiates itself from a typical taxicab company. If a driver’s average rating falls below four stars, the driver is blacklisted.

Drivers of both companies have been pushing back on social media like Facebook to get users to write to Mayor A C Wharton and express concern over the cease-and-desist.

Shannon O’Daniel is a driver for Lyft who is leading a campaign on her Facebook to educate people, including the mayor, on the rideshare services.

“The city really needs to take the time to inform themselves about Lyft’s policies and procedures before presuming anything about the drivers or the company,” O’Daniel said. “Lyft and other companies like it have taken the rideshare movement into the 21st century. When cab companies refuse to move forward and adjust their procedures to reflect the times, rest assured someone else will. And they have.”

Tags: , , , , , ,

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Most Commented On

Top Viewed Stories

ADVERTISEMENT

© 1996-2015

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation