Beyond the Crystal Ball 

Elsewhere in this issue we have done some summing up, of both the events of 2013 and the prospects for 2014. Some of it is merry, some of it is meh, and some of it is OMG, but that's how it always is.

Then there are matters that are just plain hard to figure out. In the latter category is the continuing imbroglio over the Shelby County Election Commission and the associated office of election administrator. Is there really a full-scale probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into the affairs of the SCEC and its beleaguered administrator, Rich Holden? Or is the bureau, which is famously (and necessarily) close-mouthed about its activities, merely doing a pro forma response to persistent complaints and suspicions that have been routed its way?

The one thing we know for sure is that Democratic election commissioner Norma Lester, the source of much criticism of Holden, both internally at SCEC councils and publicly, has, by her own statement, been interviewed by the FBI. There is evidence, too, that others connected with the SCEC or with the administrator's office have been contacted or are about to be.

All in all, it's just one of those mysteries that will likely come unspooled in the New Year — in which direction and to what end remains to be seen. We were the first to report on this development, and we don't know!

Nor is this the only mystery or conundrum that faces us. A whole series of unanswered questions accrue to projects under consideration by the city of Memphis. Will there be a resolution to the on-again/off-again proposal to redevelop Southbrook Mall in Whitehaven? What about AutoZone Park and the intent by Mayor A C Wharton's administration to acquire the stadium in a tandem deal that would simultaneously see the St. Louis Cardinals purchase the resident Memphis Redbirds? Will the endgame here result in the crack of doom (i.e., in the loss of the team and the facility) or in the usual satisfying crack of the bat?

What about the still unresolved controversies over city pensions? And all those Robert Lipscomb projects — especially the de facto city planner's revived Heritage Trail proposal and his idea for a broadly cast TDZ development involving the Fairgrounds? Are these feasible? Needful? Are there votes for them? And would they disturb the composure of state comptroller Justin Wilson, who has famously warned the city against taking on too much debt?

On the education front, will those new school districts in the suburbs actually get under way? And if so, will they be adequately funded without bankrupting their host cities, as some fear?

Not to forget the eternal question: Hey, Bass Pro, what's up with the Pyramid? Is it really happening?

We're just scratching the surface here of matters whose denouement lurks somewhere around the corner. There are many more: Convention center? A Shelby Farms thoroughfare? Not to mention who gets elected in the next mammoth round of elections coming our way in 2014.

Regarding some — or maybe all — of these matters, we're almost afraid to find out.

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