About Toby Sells' cover story, "Trolley Trials"...
Without the trolleys, it's like the heart has been ripped out of downtown Memphis. They truly were the heart, soul, and glue that held everything together. The sooner they're back, the better off everyone will be. It's sad to read that many businesses are suffering. What makes this really disappointing is this entire episode could've been avoided had competent management been in place. I do feel Ron Garrison has a good handle on the situation, and I feel confident in his leadership.
About Les Smith's "At Large" column on MLGW ...
Les is spot on. This closely parallels the city administration's way of handling the "shortfall" in funding the pension. Let's put it on the backs of the retirees by taking away the health coverage to make up the deficit. Cargill (a PILOT benefactor) cost the city millions in tax revenue, and now MLGW wants to put it on the backs of the customers. Another PILOT recipient that got a free ride and pulled out with no penalty or accountability. And the mayor and council are having a hard time understanding our shrinking tax base? Wake up, Memphis!
About Bianca Phillips' story, "Beer Me"...
One of the measures on the upcoming ballot will allow voters to determine the availability of wine in grocery stores in municipalities throughout the county. It's important to clarify a few points about this ballot measure.
The phrase "grocery stores" is extremely misleading. In fact, if this measure passes, wine up to 18 percent alcohol in volume (and products manufactured from wine) will become available at convenience stores, corner markets, and gas stations. In order to qualify to sell wine, an establishment needs only to have a minimum of 1,200 square feet and sell at least 20 percent food products.
Numerous studies indicate a direct link between the number of alcohol outlets and the incidence of violent crime, including domestic violence. Approving this legislation will expand availability of wine from approximately 140 retail stores to more than 600 convenience and grocery stores throughout our community.
There has been little detail from the Alcoholic Beverage Commission as to how they plan on regulating the sale of wine in so many additional stores. Expanding availability of alcohol will dramatically stress the commission's already taxed resources, increasing the likelihood of underage sales.
Passage of this measure will eliminate local jobs, close retail stores, and move revenue to the hands of large, out-of-state businesses. Our Memphis-area retail store proprietors and store team members are deeply involved in our communities. Vote No to the wine-in-grocery-stores bill.
Memphis Area Retailers Association
About the upcoming vote on Amendment 1...
Our state constitution was purposefully designed to be very difficult to change, and with good reason. It takes a two-thirds majority of both houses of legislature to even get an initiative on the ballot, and that is after it has been voted on in two consecutive legislative sessions. Since its adoption in 1870, our constitution has only been amended nine times, yet the Republican-led legislature has placed four amendments on this year's ballot. Why? Has our constitution been wrong for these 140-plus years? Or is it simply a power grab by those in the majority?
Amendment 1 restricts and removes rights from the constitution — something that has never been done before in the history of the state or federal constitutions. Proponents call it "returning Tennessee to a position of neutrality." That is just a fancy way of saying they will no longer protect a woman's right to privacy. Constitutions are meant to enumerate and preserve rights of individuals, not to give them over to whatever political party happens to be in power. They are to protect the rights of the minority against the tyranny of the majority. People's rights should never be put on the ballot for a vote. We must be very careful not to advocate taking rights away, because one day the rights they take away may be yours. Vote No on Amendment 1.