About Jackson Baker's post, "Council Votes Final Passage of Ordinance to Remove Forrest Statue" ...
If the state somehow managed to keep the statue from moving, what would stop the city from building something that encircles the entire statue, blocking the view of it from all sides, some sort of architectural monument built over the existing one? That would be a fun thumb in the eye, if state law somehow kept the city from being able to relocate the statue.
How about some kind of large art installation celebrating gay rights surrounding the old Wizard of the Saddle? Maybe with lots of leather ...
Watkins Overton was a noted segregationist during his time as Memphis mayor. No way we should have our "crown jewel park" named after him. May I suggest "Zoo Overflow Parking Park" as an adequate replacement name.
About Bianca Phillips' post, "WMC's Dave Brown to Retire" ...
I will miss his calm approach to something everywhere else played to maximize anxiety. I hope his successors stand their ground to continue that approach.
Good luck to Dave in his retirement. He will be sadly missed. He is a legend in Memphis. And Ron Childers will do an excellent job serving in Dave's position. Many thanks to both of you.
Alina K. Kaiser
About Bianca Phillips' story on the Steven Askew case, "Switching Stories" ...
My question is: Why didn't the cops run his plates and see what they could find out about the person in the car? I know from personal experience that a good-sized police department in Texas would not pull over anyone unless they could run wants and warrants on his car first. (I was the consultant called in to fix the wants and warrants problem.) That's because they wanted to know if it was a person with no record, a dangerous criminal, if the car was stolen, etc., before they approached the vehicle. Had they done that, they could have determined he had no criminal record as well as a pistol permit, and maybe not banged on his window while he was minding his own business and sleeping in his car in a bad part of town.
He was found dead with a cigar in his hand, not a gun, and the last time I read about this, the gun was on the seat next to him, not in his lap. The cop who didn't request that Askew's gun to be checked to see if it had been fired, even after hearing the inconsistent statements from the cops, should not be investigating anything. The cops' explanation has never passed the smell test, and still doesn't. Maybe some day someone will write a book or make a movie about the Steven Askew case and get the attention it deserves.
About Alexandra Pusateri's story, "Bus vs. Trolley" ...
As chairman/founder of Citizens For Better Service, I have been a leading voice for bus riders for more than 22 years. While I do not dispute the argument of the Memphis Bus Rider Union on the subject of "buses vs. trolleys," the trolley service is so inextricably tied to downtown Memphis that MATA has no other choice but to spend money on replacing trolleys. Without the trolley service, downtown Memphis will continue to suffer a financial crisis in which workers are laid off and businesses lose customers and will be forced to relocate or close.
MATA needs to streamline the current administration, cut administrative costs, and stay out of projects that have nothing to do with public transportation. MATA needs to listen to the concerns of bus riders, who are having a hard time understanding why MATA is investing millions of dollars in Central Station while they are riding on hot, overcrowded buses that take up to two hours to get to their destination.
Sadly, more funding for public transportation is not a top priority for the city or a major issue in this election season.
In the Aug. 13th issue "Bus vs. Trolley" story, we printed that the trolleys cost $1.8 million. They cost $1.1 million. We regret the error.