Thanks for publishing Chris Davis' enlightening profile of Ekundayo Bandele ("It's Hattiloo Time," February 2nd issue). I've never been to the Hattiloo Theatre, and though I'd read enough to know Bandele's name in passing, I didn't know his history or background. These are the kinds of stories Memphians need to read, especially in the face of all the haters out there who think the city is the devil. I, for one, can't wait to see what develops at Overton Square's theater district.
John Branston's "Capture the Children" column (City Beat, February 2nd issue) should be required reading for Memphians and suburbanites alike. The history of fights over annexation (land grabs) by the city of Memphis and various suburban entities is a long one. It has shifted from white-flight and land deals for well-placed developers to taxation to who can get the most kids in their school system.
The bottom line is always the same: a battle for power and money. This latest battle was brought on by the arrogance of state senator Mark Norris and state representative Curry Todd, who treat the city of Memphis like a red-headed stepchild instead of the economic engine upon which the entire area depends. Do they never stop to think that if Memphis becomes stronger, their property values will improve? And conversely, if Memphis is isolated and put at an economic disadvantage, do they not realize the whole area will eventually suffer from that economic decline, including their precious "tiny towns"?
I love how those opposed to any kind of consolidation between Memphis and the rest of the county — school systems, county government, etc. — always cite Memphis government as being corrupt. They conveniently forget the Rout administration and its sweetheart deals for developers which led to horrible sprawl and monstrosities like the Germantown Parkway commercial blight. And they ignore situations like the one in Southaven, Mississippi, where, for the last 10 years, Mayor Greg Davis has apparently been running the most corrupt political machine since Boss Tweed.
I'll take Mayor Wharton over Davis and Rout any day. Greed and corruption know only one color: green.
So Shelby County has finally managed to put an end to those nasty strip clubs ("The Cover Up," January 26th issue). It's genius. There's no question that making strippers cover their "naughty bits" should pretty much fix the problem. Now all those thousands of men who spent money to see naked dancers will just stop doing that. And the dancers will see the error of their wicked ways and find work as secretaries, nurses, nuns, and rocket scientists. Memphis and Shelby County will no longer be plagued by any illicit sexual activity. Hooray!
Now, if we could only outlaw hypocrisy, we'd be set.
As the economy continues to improve, what will the Republican and Tea Party doom-and-gloom crowd do? GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is already bad-mouthing the good news about the economy. Sure, it's getting better, he admits, but it could be even mo' better if Obama wasn't president. That's because Romney's campaign has been all about turning the economy around and Obama is beating him to the punch.
Hundreds of thousands of new jobs are being added monthly. Consumers have ramped up their spending. The housing market is inching forward. The unemployment rate has fallen for many months in a row and is now at 8.3 percent. Exports are up; high-tech research is on the rebound. The stock market is on an upward trend.
Obama has improved the financial mess he inherited from the Republicans and, much to the dismay of the GOP, his approval ratings are rising. Do Americans really want to go back to the failed economic policies of the Republican Party? It's looking less and less likely.