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Comment Archives: Stories: Opinion: Editorial

Re: “Disunity

"This is not about money! This is about power!" she said as she grabbed your wallet and ran.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Bric-a-Brac on 04/27/2017 at 2:31 AM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

Not a cargo jet. A Whale oil lamp.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Bric-a-Brac on 04/27/2017 at 2:24 AM

Re: “Disunity

Whenever there is the chance for a county commission or a city council to increase their power and available patronage funds by fiat, you know they're gonna bite that bait. It's as predictable as mosquitos going after your blood every summer. Thing is, the only thing to swat 'em on the nose with is legal proceedings. And that takes considerable time and money. So what happens next is liable to be a court crawl, with an uncertain and hazy outcome.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by OakTree on 04/26/2017 at 8:00 AM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

And while I'm at it, the shape of Memphis, would be a 747 cargo jet...

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by OakTree on 04/21/2017 at 12:14 AM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

If you don't like it, I think you need to leave, barf. I mean, there's gotta be something else for you to do in a place you want to be. If you don't like it here, move. A lot of us moved here, after living in other places, specifically because WE DO like it here.

"..most other people do not share your standards..."

Yeah, I think you are a little over the top there.

If you look at all the major cities in the Mississippi Basin, Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis, New Orleans, they all have experienced significant population loss from 1960 to 2010. This isn't peculiar to Memphis. It's related to structural changes in industrial production and agribusiness predominantly, which has led to changing employment patterns, and thus changing demographics of residence.

The city which has been hit hardest by this demographic shift is actually Chicago. So your premise about population loss, where people want to live, and why they move where they do, prolly needs a little work. People move to New Orleans, Memphis and Chicago all the time, even though their demographics show a general population shift out of their metropolitan catchment. They do it for all kinds of reasons. Cultural ones are a big thing, actually.

So I guess those people who move in, to quote you, 'do not share your standards'.

Chill, barf. It's ok to love Memphis, even when it has issues. Relax.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by OakTree on 04/20/2017 at 9:21 PM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

Bric- I'm sorry, but you are hopeless. 1980? Really? No one cares about 1980 to 2010. If you applied the same span of years to the areas I noted, it would cast a shadow over you "dynamic" growth of our local suburbs. Perhaps you realized that and we're attempting to cover for the fact that Germantown has grown by around 1900 people in the last 15+ years despite an abundance of undeveloped acreage (north of 3000 acres by one recent estimate) within the municipal boundaries. Collierville also reflects a dramatic decrease in it's rate of growth between 2000 and 2015. A rate which continues to fall despite the enormous areas available for development within it's existing boundaries and it's annexation reserve area. Let's play by your standard that real population growth is the major indicator of a dynamic, high quality of life place. Apparently more people than not have a different view than yours concerning quality of life here. It's weird, because if suburban Memphis and the metro as a whole was indeed on par with the places mentioned, employers and the general population sure seem bent on depriving themselves of the good life by choosing overwhelmingly to locate almost anywhere else but here- unless it's low pay, low skill distribution activity. From 2011- 2013 a net migration of -16,000 people (more people moving out than in) chose to leave Shelby County. In 2013 alone 560 more people left Shelby for other counties in the Memphis metro than chose to move into Shelby. In that same year, 763 more people left for Nashville and it's suburban counties than moved to Shelby Co. Over a thousand more left for the Dallas/ Ft Worth metro than arrived and the deficit increased to over 1500 for Austin's Travis Co alone. The numbers are even in the red for places like Pulaski County (Little Rock) and Knox Co. Maybe it's an income thing, right. Maybe these people just can afford to live in o e of the most affordable metro areas in the country. Shoot, that's not it because in 2013 alone, the average income for those movies g here was over $4,800 less compared to those hightailing it out of here.

All of Shelby County beyond the Memphis city limits grew by a paltry 35,000 over the last 17 years. Meanwhile, Plano alone grew by twice that amount during the same period. However, I should have realized that you cannot comprehend that growing from squat to squat and a half is a peas to pumpkins comparison when you mentioned Dallas grew by 200,000 people. By the way, if I had wanted to add Dallas I would have, but seeing as the conversation was comparing suburbs to suburbs in my last post, I did not. Your pesky critical reading deficiency strikes again.

Not sure why you decided to randomly insert density information as population density except that you seem to equate density with quality of life. Odd you would mention that for no apparent reason. Then again, who cares what someone like you thinks about Southlake's density? Specifically when it's median household income is almost twice that of Collierville- an amount that far surpasses the differences in cost of living.

Highland Park is completely built out and it has an aversion to high density and rental housing, thus the flatline. However it does boast an exceptional quality of life which has resulted in exceptionally high home values. These values in turn have eroded the rental housing market and resulted in the demolition of multifamily uses in favor of single family infill in a process that began in the mid 1950s. An oversimplified summary is that as property values have risen, all but the wealthiest students at neighboring SMU have been forced out of homes that have then been converted back to single family occupancy over the years. To bad you have no knowledge of these or the other areas mentioned. Maybe that's why you cannot understand that Memphis and it's suburbs are very "meh" by comparison.

No need to refer specifically to North Mississippi as it does not change any of the results in a significant way. The reference to the suburbs mentioned was directly tied to quality of life in those locales. Face it, just like AP, the quality of life in suburban Memphis (and the Memphis metro as a whole) may suite you just fine. It just turns out that most most other people do not share your standards. It's pretty obvious when most people are choosing to live anywhere and seemingly everywhere else.

0 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by barf on 04/20/2017 at 7:24 PM

Re: “Disunity

The dispute on county surplus funds is quite a bit more complicated than some county commissioners would have you believe. The 2015 disagreement on the amount of county surplus funds centered substantially on the results of a practice the then county administration and a group of commissioners developed in 2007 to cap the amount of property tax revenue that schools received each year at the figure approved in the county budget for schools. Commissioners at that time added a sentence to the county tax rate ordinance that calls for any excess revenue (surplus) collected from property taxes for schools to be held back and applied to school funding in the following year. This may sound all good and proper but what it did in many years was to create a major surplus in the year the taxes were collected and apply the funds to the next year's budget. This amount, which was $10.8 million in the 2015 fiscal year, was subtracted from wheel tax revenue that had been originally designated for schools. Officials said the $10.8 million was then used to pay debt service on school bonds. Funding of school bonds is an obligation of the general county government and cannot come from county property taxes designated for schools. It is all very complicated and hard to follow and the holding back of county property tax funds by the county trustee appears to ripe for a legal challenge by school officials. Some school officials know about the practice but so far there has apparently been no move to take the issue to court. This $10.8 million in "excess school property tax revenue" appears to be a major factor in the difference in surplus figures presented by county officials in 2015. In the 2016 fiscal year, that ended last June 30, the "excess" totaled only $318,567 and that is the amount of funds what were shifted. It will be interesting to see if school supporters on the county commission allow the sentence on "excess" collections to remain in the tax rate ordinance. There may be legal question about whether the commission has the authority to place the sentence in the tax rate ordinance. And does the wording bind the county trustee, an independently elected official, to holding back the funds? jcov40

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by jcov40 on 04/20/2017 at 4:21 PM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

No. It isn't obvious. The reason it isn't is because you made a point of singling out individual areas, two of which are cities in their own right, and the entirety of north Mississippi (which you've ceased talking about).

I must assume that you have some reason for that.

The two cities have both grown a bunch over the years.

Collierville has grown from a population of 7,839 in 1980 to 43,965 in 2010
Germantown has grown from 21,467 in 1980 to 38,844 in 2010.
Memphis, even with major annexations went from 646,174 to 646,889 in the same period.

This is dynamic and amazing growth for Collierville and Germantown, but a horrifying stagnation for Memphis, especially given all the annexations in the period in question.

I also noticed that you want to add Dallas to your list to which we are to be compared. Fair enough.

Dallas, the metro area of which contains the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the nation (Led by Houston and NYC) and the area's economy is the tenth largest in the world. Dallas proper grew from 904,078 in 1980 to ,1,197,816 in 2010. Very respectable but doesn't even come close to the amazing growth of either Germantown or Collierville in the same time frame yet puts Memphis to shame. You've mentioned South Lake, which is in the Dallas Metro. It has had amazing growth in this period also, going from 2,808 to 26,575 in the given period. However, Collierville, Germantown and Memphis have at least twice he population density, with Germantown coming out on top with 2,200 persons per square mile. You've also mentioned Plano which has had very respectable growth and has a population density of over 3,800 persons per square mile. Personally that sounds horrible to me. Another place you mentioned is Highland Park, but you don't tell us which one, so I'll go with the one in the Dallas metro. It has actually lost population in e given period, so I have no idea why you'd do that. It doesn't match the cherry picking trash talk of the rest of the garbage you are passing.

Both Franklin and Brentwood have had very respectable growth, but they hardly create some kind of shameful contrast the way Memphis proper does.

Decatur (I have to assume you mean the one in Georgia) has a population density over 4,000 persons per square mile but has very little growth in the period in question.

Clayton? Which one?
Carmel? Which one?
Mountain Brook? Alabama? Really?

2 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Bric-a-Brac on 04/20/2017 at 2:37 PM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

Bric- obviously I was stating that the metro as a whole, including the suburbs, are not competitive when compared to vibrant metros. Germantown and Collierville come in second (sometimes a distant second) compared to Brentwood, Franklin, Highland Park, Southlake, Plano, Mountain Brook, Decatur, Clayton, Carmel, etc. Sure, G'town, C'ville and Arlington are wonderful if the competition is limited to just the Memphis metro, but as Grove can attest, we are (or should be) competing with other metropolitan areas for employers and quality employees. Grove also accurately noted that a great central city is not a requirement to attract those 2 targets, but it definitely helps. However great suburbs are a must in order to attract and retain those who prefer a less urban lifestyle. While the quality of life in Memphis proper may be neutral at best, the Memphis suburbs- when compared to other suburban areas in the southeast and midwest- are quite mediocre.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by barf on 04/20/2017 at 12:17 PM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

Barf,

So, you don't intend to critique (blame) the parts of the Memphis Metro area that aren't Memphis proper when you wrote: ...but even the metropolitan area's suburbs are showing that they cannot compete with suburban Atlanta and Nashville. Hell, even the Little Rock Metropolitan Area can offer more than Germantown, Collierville, and north Mississippi.

Right. Sure. Got it.

2 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Bric-a-Brac on 04/20/2017 at 9:06 AM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

@barf,

The point I was making, on which I think you agree, is one I've tried to make often. The suburbs and city are tied together. I know the history of suburban growth in this country, so I understand where some of the resentment comes from. However, successful Metro areas have figured out how to make the suburban/urban relationship work, and they've realized that one helps the other and vice versa.

Healthy suburbs help you attract businesses/jobs. Healthy urban areas help you attract businesses/jobs. It's a combination of both that lead to growth for a city. One without the other is difficult, unless you talk about an area like Detroit where businesses have basically given up on the city core but have instead figured out they can just locate in the suburbs and let the suburbs serve the role that the city used to serve.

As for my specific suburb, we're doing well. I enjoy my quality of life, and our suburban city is healthy, though landlocked and limited in growth opportunity. With that in mind, the one thing I'll say is that I don't think suburban options are really holding the Metro area's growth back.

If you're one of those people who has kids, and you're looking for quality suburban life, there are multiple options in this Metro area to suit whatever style of suburban life you want for your family. The reason that the Metro area as a whole is stagnant is because the city itself isn't seen as attractive for the young singles or the hipster crowd. There has been some progress made on that front, but we've got a reputation problem to overcome.

If the city could overcome that reputation problem, then the entire Metro area would see growth. Solid suburbs by themselves are not enough to attract all the jobs.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by GroveReb84 on 04/20/2017 at 8:58 AM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

Bric-
If I meant to say the "burbs are at fault for the 'lack of growth, in Memphis proper and also in the metro area", I would have said just that. I do not believe that and thus I did not say it. As always and as everyone else on at this site regularly asks you: try rereading the posts again (perhaps 3-5 times based on your skill level) and see if you are able to grasp the points.
I know it is extremely difficult for you, but I urge you to continue refining your meager critical reading skills. With enough practice you too may catch up.

3 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by barf on 04/20/2017 at 8:38 AM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

Barf,

I think I understood you quite well. You mean to say that the burbs are at fault for the "lack of growth" in Memphis proper and also in the metro area. The fault your argument is that the burbs have grown while Memphis has lost population by the 10's of thousands.

Thus, your comparison of Memphis Metro with "more vibrant metro areas" is largely irrelevant. No amount of growth in the areas outside of Memphis that are in the metro area can make up for a city that has only grown in area by annexation and still managed to fall in absolute population. Face it. Memphis has really screwed up. It has some of the worst crime and schools in the nation. Memphis cannot pay its police. These are the fault of Memphis, not the metro area. No amount of fancy word work on your part can hide the effects of this. Neither would have consolidation regarding city/county or the schools.

3 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Bric-a-Brac on 04/19/2017 at 11:49 PM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

Sorry, meant to say: "...would agree with you". I gave you the verifiable reasoning for why economic indicators are important in quality of life assessments and you dismissed them because it does not fit your simple ideal. As Grove and essentially the rest of nation would point out, your ideal is not widely shared otherwise Arlington's quality of life would prove an enormous value and recruitment tool to attract and retain educated and talented individuals as well as the employers that would hire them. Unfortunately Andy Griffith does not serve as the beacon for creative, dynamic communities full of opportunities for growth and betterment. As plainly described by your homebuilder associates, it has not resulted in the desire by a large number to live in Arlington, at least not enough of those with the moderate income necessary at a scale that would significantly increase the potential for home sales and thus reduce the risk associated with new development.
I know from your posts that you do not understand or care what the preferences of others might be or how they go towards defining a high quality of life. Clearly only your own viewpoint is of any value. However, whether you value it or not, it is the reason that the quality of life in Memphis and it's suburbs- including Arlington- is defined by it's mediocrity and why both population and economic indicators depict a stagnant community. It just so happens that in your case, stagnant is a preferred condition for your lifestyle.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by barf on 04/19/2017 at 10:47 PM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

AP- you must be retired, otherwise you would understand why economic indicators are a key metric in quality of life measurements. I would imagine most of those who live in Arlington and actually require an income to pay for all the quaint ideals you described would agree. That is why it is included in most objective quality of life metrics. Simply because you do not find it important, does not mean the rest of the nation would disagree with you.

It's amazing how a myopic someone can become, specifically if money is no object. I expected better of you.

2 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by barf on 04/19/2017 at 9:40 PM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

@barf

Why do you assume that quality of life factors are dependent on economic development?

If you find any significant numbers of people in Arlington who think like that, let me know. For my part, I value other things. Like great schools, low crime, low taxes, responsive governance, and good neighbors. I value knowing my Aldermen and School Board members well enough to be on a first name basis. I value having a small town square that hosts local festivals during the year and is rich with historical buildings. Concerts there on Saturday nights in the season. I enjoy walking 15 minutes to watch the local high school teams play sports and feeling safe doing it. I enjoy going to the local bank and everybody working there calling me by name. Or watching my children play in the neighborhood knowing all the other parents will look out for them. I enjoy town sponsored fireworks on July 4th and Easter Egg rolls the Saturday before Easter. Those sort of things, and there are many others, which are more important to me than any cost of living factors.

I suppose if economic indicators and trends, quality of employment, and market returns were important to me and my family, I could move to suburban Atlanta or Nashville and put up with horrendous traffic jams that go hand in hand with those things.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by ArlingtonPop on 04/19/2017 at 7:00 PM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

AP,
Seeing as my livelihood is partially based on development, I too am speaking from first hand knowledge. I am not seeing why you think you disagree with me when you relayed the outcome of my post. The fact that their is a greater risk of seeing less profit in the Memphis metro real estate market was exactly my point.

Why would any financial institution invest money in a market where returns (making money) from new development (homebuilding) carry a significant risk? Specifically with the knowledge that said funds could be invested in other markets where the odds of realizing higher returns were greater.

You need to better understand and/or define the characteristics used to define quality of life. For example, did employment opportunities and the quality of those jobs play a role in the ranking process? Was the increase of opportunity and quality of employment over a period of time given weight?What weight was given to cost of living (it usually plays an outsized role in many lists and is compounded by not taking a location's average and median income into account)? When academic circles try to define quality of life, they typically include a wide range of economic indicators and trends. These same factors are only lightly employed by click-bait/media sources. Based on a well rounded group of metrics, those same homebuilders would not be concerned about lack of sales or the ability to make profit if Arlington did in fact have a high quality of life defined in part by such indicators as those mentioned above.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by barf on 04/19/2017 at 5:20 PM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

@barf

Yeah, I don't think so. The homebuilders i talked to didn't build because they did not think, given the recession, they could make money by homebuilding. The biggest fear was lack of sales when they were heavily financially leveraged. But I would be interested in knowing more about those quality of life metrics you are talking about. I do know that Arlington is constantly among the towns selected by magazines as the best places to live in Tennessee. So I am bit confused that our metrics may not measure up.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by ArlingtonPop on 04/19/2017 at 4:40 PM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

Ah, but you are in competition with the suburbs of Nashville and Atlanta...and Austin, Dallas, OKC, Charlotte, Birmingham, Louisville, St Louis, New Orleans, etc...

One of the reasons for the local "lot shortage" is the difficulty in obtaining financing for the development of new subdivisions. That in turn is linked to sluggish local and metropolitan economic indicators. While capital is abundant, it is still a limited resource so investors and developers tend to utilize that resource in a way which provides the greatest and most assured return. Why invest in real estate in metropolitan Memphis where development costs may be low but so are the potential returns, when a slightly greater outlay in initial investment in a place like metro Nashville has an increased probability of seeing returns that are greater by several magnitudes?

Were an employer or multiple employers (from outside the region) to establish locations in Arlington or its immediate environs with thousands of job openings characterized by salaries paying an average exceeding the national average, you can be certain that the number of homes and population growth in Arlington would increase dramatically because the odds of improved returns on new development would increase.

I do not doubt that life is very pleasant in Arlington. However, similar suburbs around other cities exceed that quality in various metrics. That fact should not be interpreted as reducing Arlington's quality of life in any way.

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by barf on 04/19/2017 at 4:23 PM

Re: “Memphis Census News is Troubling

Grove- trust me, I get it. In fact, that is exactly what I was saying. The quality of life in suburban areas of a major city can offset the lack of said quality in the central city when attracting talent. There are innumerable suburbs that have redefined at least a portion of the area within their municipal boundries as independent urban centers with all the benefits and characteristics typically found in a vibrant core city's downtown.

However, this is not the case here. As you said- and in line with the point I made originally- this is not a suburbs vs. Memphis issue. In the case of the Memphis metro, the quality of life of both the central city (Memphis) AND it's suburban areas is lacking in the appealing qualities found in peer metropolitan areas and even many of the metros much smaller than our own.
You can probably attest to the issue of a weak central city being a difficult (yet surmountable) obstacle, where a weak metropolitan area presents a nearly impossible hardship.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by barf on 04/19/2017 at 4:00 PM

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