Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Judicial Joke

The Milan Effect and its surprising repercussions from the schools case.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Funny thing, nobody from the Milan Mirror-Exchange weekly paper showed up. And nobody from the Humboldt Chronicle. Or the Jackson Sun. And no mayors from Milan or Humboldt or other towns in Gibson County, and no state legislators.

What a bunch of slackers. One of the biggest stories in Gibson County history unfolded in federal court in Memphis last week, and the locals completely blew it off. By local, I mean rural West Tennessee and, of course, its centerpiece, Milan, located about 100 miles northeast of Memphis. Because the trial in U.S. district judge Samuel Hardy Mays' courtroom is all about municipal school systems in Gibson County.

State senator Mark Norris from Collierville was there, hanging on every word that might impact the Humboldt strawberry region. Bartlett mayor Keith McDonald, Germantown mayor Sharon Goldsworthy, and Shelby County Schools superintendent John Aitken dropped in too in a show of solidarity with their Milan brothers and sisters.

To be fair, there is also an eentsy teentsy chance that the Norris-Todd bill could also apply to Shelby County, and on that chance, eight Memphis news organizations are covering the trial. But really, this is all about Milan and demographic trends in urban growth areas in rural Tennessee counties.

Do you realize that if the cohort component forecasting method is correct, Milan could positively explode? I don't mean literally, although conceivably it is possible given the presence of the Army Ammunition Plant. The potential ramifications of what is now being called the Milan Effect are so great that Mays called a halt to the dueling demographers until September 20th so that more experts can be consulted and more legal bills can be submitted.

The Norris-Todd bill, now known as the Gibson County Growth Act, is one of the most misunderstood pieces of legislation in history, possibly because lawmakers were specifically told that it would apply only to Shelby County before voting for it in case any of them were too groggy or dim-witted to get the point.

The delay has caused a whole lot of rethinking about, well, everything.

It is possible that the Unified School Board will decide after a national search for a superintendent to offer the job to Willie Herenton.

It is possible that the law firms in this trial wake up each morning and kiss the pictures of Shelby County commissioners Sidney Chism and Steve Mulroy.

It could be that Alabama football coach Nick Saban keeps a straight face when he warns his players not to be complacent when they face Florida Atlantic. And that Ole Miss will remain undefeated. And that Memphis will fill the Liberty Bowl.

And it could be that when someone booms, "Band, take the field!" the Tiger band will march out of the tunnel and across Central Avenue to Tobey Field.

It is possible that The Commercial Appeal will turn over the names of its commenters, revealing that half of them were Curry Todd, half were residents of Milan, and some comments were deleted by staff due to mistakes in spelling and grammar.

It is theoretically possible that the lawyers assigned to read the comments will, after bathing in Lysol, decide to renounce law and become GIS map specialists.

It is also possible that lawyers on both sides will decide in light of the outrageous fees and nature of the case to put it on the pro bono account and settle.

It is possible that North Korea, Pakistan, or Indiana will launch an invasion of Tennessee using Highway 45 and the Tennessee River and the Milan Army Ammunition Plant will hire thousands of employees and the Milan Effect will reopen International Harvester in Frayser and the Memphis Defense Depot. When this happens, it is possible that nobody will call it a "population boom" or "real estate explosion."

It is possible that Memphis rapper Al Kapone will sing in the new television series Nashville and that its success will inspire another series called Memphis Blues starring the Romney Brothers, with music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

It could be that Clint Eastwood thought he was talking to the presidential nominee of the Green Party and that Bill Clinton did not realize he exceeded his time limit by half an hour and has therefore sworn off public speaking, golf, and sex for four years.

And it could be that Judge Mays knows exactly what the legislature was up to but thinks it is unwise to overrule the wishes of 85 percent of suburbanites and Milan has given him an out.

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