Photo Credit: crissy haslam, twitpic
Come Out Swingin’
General Assembly: The Legislature went into session at noon yesterday. After a morning and afternoon of discussion, the State House passed the redistricting plan through two committees, despite vigorous Democratic appeals. Republicans are still aiming for Thursday passage in the House, Friday in the Senate. The US Chamber of Commerce praised the TN Legislature, calling us an “Enterprise State”.
Unified County Schools Elections: A major error in the creation of the new consolidated school district has been found. The Election Commission was never given filing dates for the August election by Judge Samuel Hardy Mays! And now there are disagreements over the district lines to use in the election.
Memphis City Schools: Two Sheffield High School teachers, April Wade and Darrin Miller, appeared in court yesterday to answer charges of inappropriate (or attempted) relationships with students. Their student victims testified; more.
Transition Planning Commission: The planned format for the first public meeting quickly fell apart giving way to concerns about County schools being overwhelmed by Memphis dominance, “lower standards” and local control. An estimated 600 people were in atttendance. Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner said another public town meeting will be held on Thursday, January 19. More from Fox13 and the Commercial Appeal.
Shelby County Commisson: They confirmed the appointment of John Halbert Jr as the County’s new CIO. Even with next week’s possilbe reboot, there “isn’t a lot of optimism” about a solution in County redistricting. WREG explains the new “vicious dog” ordinance; more from WMC, Fox13. Commissioner Steve Mulroy talks about changing the open meeting laws.
Charter Schools: The Federal grant that been funding the start-up of charter schools has “unexpectedly” run out.
Millington: Former mayor George Harvell may be asked to serve as interim mayor when the Board of Aldermen meet this Friday.
Shelby County Pensions: After an underperforming 2011, the investment managers of the pension fund are defending their performance.
Politics: Last-minute campaign donations flowed into legislators’ accounts ahead of the deadline–the start of the General Assembly. State Senator Mike Faulk is asking interesting questions of his constituents. (Last item; PDF document) The State Democratic party is planning a Latino outreach. The judge hearing the case on third party ballot access laws “bristled” at certain State arguments defending them.
Unified Shelby County School Board: They are hoping the Legislature does no harm and does not drop any “mandates” on the district, in its legislative wish list.
US Senator Bob Corker: A mixed reaction from financiers and mortgage lenders to comments from Corker about housing and mortgages. He was still supporting “winding down” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac the next day. Did a Nashville Democratic fundraiser overhear Senator Corker pressing then-governor Phil Bredesen’s case with the Obama administration? Corker denies it.
Nashville: A charter group from Arizona, Great Hearts Academies, wants to open 5 to 10 charter schools in the city; more from NewsChannel5. Mayor Karl Dean is sounding out residents on a property tax increase, mass transit expansion, financing a new stadium and more. The fight between Williamson County and the Brentwood Library has sparked a lawsuit.
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NEW ARTICLE! Who Runs the World? Memphis Urban League president and political candidate Tomeka Hart notes that while women are making progress in politics there still aren’t enough women in office.
Will There Be a Brokered Convention? Regular Main Street Journal contributor Chuck Bates, on the eve of the Iowa caucuses, looks at the Republican field and wonders, “Are we headed to a brokered convention?”
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Mayor A C Wharton: He says he’s working with Police Director Toney Armstrong to fully staff the police department.
Knoxville: County Trustee John Duncan III and six employees have agreed to pay back incentive payments for programs they never completed. New mayor Madeline Rogero attended her first City Council meeting last night. The Metro Gang Unit shows you how to spot problems.
Raise Your Hand Tennessee: This coalition of private agencies and voluteers aims to teach reading skills to TN children.
Representative Curry Todd: His hearing on charges of drunken driving and carrying a loaded gun while intoxicated has been delayed a month. More in the Nashville City Paper, WMC and the Commercial Appeal.
Chattanooga: Mayor Ron Littlefield confirmed that Audi officials have been visiting the city, scouting potential future sites. The City Council decided not to divert money for minority business development into a study of gangs.
Business: The median asking price of a Memphis business was up 19% in the 4Q. The top ten of TN’s publicly traded companies. TNTrade will hold an “overview meeting for local small companies” interested in foreign trade.
Kimberly-Clark: They are leasing a half-million square feet of industrial property in Southaven.
Velsicol: If the company closes down its Memphis operation, what becomes of clean-up at the site?
Kroger: Yes, there is such a thing as Kroger-tweeting.
Holiday Fatalities: They were down slightly this year.
Bartlett: The Grievance Review Board upheld the termination of former water treatment plant manager Scott Baker.
Mississippi: The Oxford Square is getting a lot of lighting in the name of security. Controversy continues over four pardoned murderers (including the killer of Rickey Montgomery) and former governor Haley Barbour, who ultimately pardoned or gave early release to dozens. Phil Bryant took the oath of office yesterday as Mississippi’s 64th governor and set an “ambitious” agenda; more from Fox13. Officials with the State’s higher education system once again asked for more money from the State.
Real Estate: Memphis area new home sales ended 2011 down 18%. MAAR reports home sales were down 10% in December. From the Business Journal, the top commercial real estate sales of 2011. Crye-Leike realty passed the one billion dollar mark in local real estate sales, though that was short of their goal.
2012 Republican Primary: Our Tea Party contributor Ed “Doc” Holliday looks at the Republican presidential candidacy of Newt Gingrich and wonders if his past baggage can–or should–be overcome in tea party eyes.
Picture of the Day
|A preview of his next art project, The Politics of Inclusion, from artbutcher by Dwayne Butcher. © 2012.|
Opinion and Blogs
theology & geometry: A mother’s loving letter to her son as he turns two months old.
Walls of the City: Thoughts on candlelight vigils and gun control.
Vegan Crunk: An update on her Crazy Sexy Diet cleanse.
Urf! He’s almost reminiscing about finishing his third manuscript, anticipating leaving his characters behind.
Thoroughly Modern Medusa: An interesting repurposing of a drafting map table.
The Daddler and Me: I can’t begin to summarise this post, but it’s worth reading nonetheless.
Taming Insanity: Some holiday cooking tips, gleaned from hard experience.
In the South, it’s a religion: Her 25 point break-up check list.
My Crazy Busy Life: Why she and her family are Tim Tebow fans.
Joe Spake’s Daily Buzz: The rest of the day’s news, from all sorts of eclectic places.
Nooga.com: Five ways to become the gentleman you’d like to be.
Julie Worley, MS, RN: The State must take a pro-active position on prescription drug abuse. (via the Tennessean)
Jim League: Newspapers could do a better job explaining science to their readers. (Amen!) (via the Tennessean)
Commercial Appeal: Every tired cliche and talking point is deployed in this editorial on the convening of the General Assembly. Very soon, the entire Mid-South will be wrapped in a web of bike and walking trails.
Guerrilla Sales & Marketing: How to ignite your sales team’s performance. (via the Daily News)