Tommy is Flattered
Can you imagine how flattered I was to read Bruce VanWyngarden's August 25th editor's note on Bass Pro and the Pyramid? While it took the fledgling editor six full years to catch up, he finally embraced the ideas I put into the public eye as downtown neighborhood president. VanWyngarden proclaimed that opposition to Bass Pro was indeed elite. He also recognized that citizens' need for jobs is more important than the status quo. And finally, he acknowledged that this project will attract many to Memphis.
The truth is that the longtime effete downtown faithful believe their voice is the majority voice and the only one that should be considered. The good news is that these new developments will flood downtown with a new wave of diverse humanity and forever squash the socialite voice that has crippled Memphis for far too long.
VanWyngarden gets an A-plus and a big smile from Tommy the Terrible. It is heartwarming to see one of my pupils come of age!
Bikes on Madison
I live adjacent to Madison Avenue and walk, bike, drive along the street and frequent the businesses there. I am a bit puzzled by Les Edwards' final paragraph in his Viewpoint (August 18th issue). He refers to Madison as very dangerous for bicycling yet believes it to be an ideal thoroughfare for those desiring dedicated/shared lanes.
There are so many businesses that could be affected, it hardly seems worth the risk. Edwards states there will be 140 more parking places. That sounds like 140 more opportunities for cyclists to encounter motorists, not to mention the many commercial vehicles turning off and on Madison.
I am also concerned about the three-lane option as it pertains to the Loeb plan for Overton Square redevelopment. I have yet to hear any mention of Peabody as an option. There is one less traffic signal, significantly less traffic and on-street parking, and it is a much more visually pleasing ride.
Peabody and Madison are a quarter-mile apart; Peabody would make a fine east/west route for commuting cyclists and recreational users.
A few weeks ago, I spent an afternoon in Michele Bachmann's 6th congressional district in Minnesota. Based on the conversations that I had with nine citizens of Stillwater and some of the information that was shared with me, I feel confident in predicting that if candidate Bachmann runs again for Congress, she will not be re-elected in her own district.
One of my first impressions was that even though the Bachmanns have recently lived in Stillwater, not many people in her hometown know her personally. I found it amazing that not one person I spoke with (including the editor of the local newspaper, the Stillwater Gazette) was personally acquainted with either Michele or Marcus Bachmann.
The situation that should provide the death knell for Bachmann's congressional career is fast approaching. The bridge linking Minnesota to Wisconsin provides one of only four crossings over the St. Croix River. It is a two-lane drawbridge built in 1931. On weekends and holidays, traffic is often tied up for hours as numerous pleasure boats pass. The state has access to federal funds that have been committed for the project. But the St. Croix is classified as a "wild and scenic" river, and the National Park Service ruled that the current project is in violation of federal law. In order for the project to go forward, a bill must make its way through Congress bypassing that ruling and giving the locals the authorization to move forward. Congressperson Bachmann offered a bill in March to bypass the National Park Service's ruling, but it appears to be stuck in committee.
Minnesota governor Mark Dayton has given Bachmann until the end of September to get her bill passed. If she fails to do so, he will use the federal funds for other projects rather than risk losing them. I wonder how much of the problem with Bachmann's bill is due to animosity towards her in Congress and how much is due to her detachment from doing the job she was elected to do. I also wonder how many of her supporters will still support her when a capable Democratic opponent asks why she didn't get them their bridge.
Which leads me to put on my Dr. Phil face and say what has to be said: It's time for Memphis and Shelby County to start seeing other people. We've tried for years to patch things up, to come to some sort of mutual understanding, but we need to admit that we have irreconcilable differences. We don't even know each other any more ...