Out of the Picture
As chairman of the board of the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission, I can speak for all of us at the commission in saying that we are pleased about Hannah Sayle's cover story ("Out of the Picture," July 25th issue) in the Memphis Flyer.
Encouraged by both our mayors and our film commission's executive board, Memphis/Shelby County film commissioner Linn Sitler and Memphis-based filmmaker Craig Brewer have been diligent, vocal, and aggressive in the past months in their behind-the-scenes efforts to convince Governor Haslam's administration's leaders that HBO/Cinemax's TV pilot for Quarry and its first season should be offered at least the same "deal" as Nashville's pilot and first season were offered.
Sayle's unbiased and in-depth coverage revealed the inequity in not only the treatment of Quarry but also the historically inequitable distribution of the incentive funds across the state. As Sayle's story shows, since 2006, when Sitler, Tennessee industry activist Andy van Roon, and then-Memphis city lobbyist Reina Reddish led the charge to create the Visual Content Act of 2006, the majority of the incentive funds have gone to Nashville and Middle Tennessee. In light of this, the current administration's refusal to make a "deal" with Quarry for Memphis seems even more inequitable. Sayle's documentation of this inequity will make Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission leaders' work much easier in convincing both the Haslam administration and the legislature of the need for reform. Thank you.
A recent Flyer article spotlighted Blues City Thrift ("Attention Shoppers," July 18th issue), and we appreciate any endeavor that joins with Memphis Goodwill to give back to the local community and employ those considered hard to employ. However, there was also some misinformation about Memphis Goodwill that we'd like to correct.
One source in the article indicated that Memphis Goodwill proceeds are flowing out of town to national organizations, and that is simply not true. We pay dues to Goodwill Industries International, but the vast majority of our locally generated revenues stay right here in our community.
In 2012, here are some of the contributions Memphis Goodwill made to our local economy: $18 million in revenues spent; of that, $10.75 million was paid to our employees in Shelby, Tipton, and Fayette counties; more than 525 people worked in West Tennessee Goodwill stores, donation centers, and in government and business contract locations; some 28 percent of employees had a declared disability; others faced such employment barriers as lack of education or work experience; 4.6 million pounds of goods were recycled or salvaged, keeping waste out of local landfills.
We know that many Flyer readers have already visited us, since they voted Memphis Goodwill their "Favorite Vintage Store" in 2012. We have been in Memphis since 1927, and we look forward to many more years of service in our local communities.
Trina Jones, Sr. Director, Marketing
Memphis Goodwill, Inc.
Not a Fincher Fan
According to the U.S. Census, more than 46 million Americans live below the poverty line and more than 50 million Americans have no health insurance. Most Americans who live below the poverty line are working, and many are working parents who need food stamps to help their families survive.
Eighth District congressman Stephen Fincher says that it is not right for the federal government to "steal" from American taxpayers to support the food stamp program.
Fincher received a $70,000 farm subsidy from the federal government in 2012 for not planting crops on his land, while the average 2012 Food Stamp benefit in Tennessee was $1,586.40. Most people who are poor are working; they are productive citizens, not deadbeats. They do need help in feeding themselves and their families, and there is nothing immoral for the rest of us to help them.
Many conservatives who would end food stamps and refuse to help Americans without health insurance proudly proclaim themselves Christians, Fincher sings in his church's choir. I do not understand how anyone who is a follower of Jesus can have such a lack of compassion and concern for those who suffer in America.
Fincher may be only the second most highly subsidized farmer in Congress, but he is undoubtedly its biggest hypocrite.