Main Street Journal - Monday, January 30, 2012

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Mayor A C Wharton has started a task force and signed with Police Executive Research Forum to do a full review of Memphis Police operations. Wharton says this has been in the works for a year. More on the “multijurisdictional” task force that will tackle the gang problem in the City. Police Director Toney Armstrong’s motive was a simple change-of-administration accounting, but many officers were afraid of self-incrimination. The Organised Crime Unit audit is available online. More on the OCU’s OCU’s “secret benefactor”, Nick Clark. “This is life in the big city,” said Wharton.

Officer Melvin Robinson was arrested for attempting to buy 22 pounds of cocaine, while in uniform and driving his patrol car! He was charged with Attempted Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute. More from WREG.

Memphis City Schools: Despite coming consolidation, the annual ritual of optional school transfers was in full effect this year. School security officer Phillip Cotton has been arrested for interfering in a rape investigation.

Morgan Keegan: A large group of executives and advisers will spend the next two days in Florida meeting with new owners, Raymond James Financial.

An Inconsistent Truth: The film, produced by Nashville radio talk show host Phil Valentine, satirises and criticises the Al Gore film and is getting some press attention but not from reviewers.

Transition Planning Commission: The fears being heard in the suburbs are a perfect echo of fears from the desegregation era. Meanwhile, in Middle Tennessee, the Franklin Special School District is changing the way it assigns students to schools based on their socio-economic status. The TPC has its next “listening sessions” tonight, at Bellevue Baptist Church and Arlington High School; this is all part of a process.

While Representative Curry Todd has dropped his bill on giving new school districts Shelby County school buildings, State Senator Mark Norris is asking the TPC to hear from suburban mayors. He gives them a month to work out a plan, saying the issue of school building transfer, at the State level, is not dead. State law only allows six school districts per county, which means one suburb in Shelby County may get left out. (via the Bartlett Express)

Domestic Violence: The new year is less than a month old and already numbers for domestic violence are troubling.

Arkansas: Interim lottery director Julie Baldridge says there are no problems with scanners despite sworn store employee’s testimony saying otherwise.

Politics: Is proposed legislation just an effort to weaken ethics reforms passed just a few years ago? Critics call it a “step backward”. The mayor of Columbia, Dean Dickey, is leaving office to run for the new 28th State Senate District. Legislation has been filed on unemployment insurance reform, which Lt Gov Ron Ramsey calls a top priority. Beginning today, WKNO2 will be carrying State legislative meetings live. “Anti-bullying” law sponsor, State Senator Bill Ketron, is looking to strengthen the law. Legislative Republicans are narrowing their focus on immigration to a single bill. In a meeting at Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry, Congresswoman Diane Black came face-to-face with their sexual discrimination.

The Legislature couldn’t be in session and not have silly stories about State Senator Stacey Campfield. The follow-up.

Knoxville: The State Board of Education put an end to the County’s first proposed charter school, the New Consortium of Law and Business.

Local Media: Just a reminder that local political discussion can be seen online anytime with Behind the Headlines on WKNO, hosted by the Daily News’ Eric Barnes. WREG also has Informed Sources, hosted by Richard Ranson, though it is not available online.

Farm to Table Conference: Next Monday, a conference on the local food system, with a screening of Cafeteria Man. Purchase tickets here.

Memphis International Airport: A Homeland Security agent, Phillip German, has been sent to prison for eight months for stealing a laptop.

Real Estate: With sales still declining, is it time to get used to the New Normal?

University of Memphis: A computerised math tutor program is giving students personalised attention and immediate feedback, while increasing attendance and grades. Just like a really good teacher.

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NEW! ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: R-E-W-T, Root For Newt! Our tea party contributor, Ed “Doc” Holliday was in Charleston, South Carolina, for the CNN Republican presidential debate and he thinks he’s found “the Tea Party’s new prize fighter”. Do you agree?

Internet Exclusive: The Political Silly Season: Our political and financial contributor, Chuck Bates, is already growing tired of outrageous political ads and he’s still got to survive until November!

Governor Bill Haslam: He will give his second State of the State address later today. What to expect. It will be carried live on WKNO-TV. Or at this TN Forward page.

Downtown: The “loose group” behind the South Main District Seismic Retrofit and Historic Conservation Demonstration Project is asking for public input and promises a low-cost upgrade. Big success means new challenges for Cooper-Young. More on the upcoming plans for redevelopment for Triangle Noir.

State Redistricting: Final maps for State legislative and Congressional maps have been posted online. You can see them here.

Homeless: A look at last week’s survey of Memphis homeless by the Community Alliance for the Homeless. They expect to count 2500 people this year.

MATA: Another activist, bus rider-oriented group, the Memphis Bus Riders Union, has formed in reaction to the decrease in service and quality.

Agricenter: An update from WMC on construction of the 4200-panel solar farm.

Mississippi: Starting today, Lee County is rolling out a telephone weather alert sytem, CodeRED Weather Warning. Legislators are being “pressured” to change a law that “almost no one seems to know”. Missing “pardonee” Joseph Ozment is getting national attention.

Shelby County Government: Lawsuits and a desire to reform the County’s 25 year old equal opportunity compliance policy are bringing the issue to a head.

Small Business: The Daily News has a special section on small businesses: More and more seniors are turning to entrepreneurship. Many businesses are adding “social change” to their mission. Even after initial successes, it’s still a hard road for minority-owned businesses. The Small Business Spotlight shines on Babytimes, and its owner Mike Harvey.

Breakfast Club: The January Breakfast Club speaker was Dr Joseph Michelli, who spoke of “his experiences while visiting Memphis” in a way that Memphians might appreciate. The Commercial Appeal has a much more detailed write-up.

Business: Union membership was very slightly up for 2011. CK’s Coffee Shops are preparing for “rapid expansion” in the Mid-South. There are several social-business get-togethers planned for this week.

People on the Move, via the Business Journal. Today’s Events, from the Daily News. And, from the Commercial Appeal, People in Business for Sunday; What to Do for Sunday and Monday; Property Transfers.

Pinnacle Airlines: Forward progress for the airline in their effort to renegotiate debt.

Delta Air Lines: Delta reassigned the last five Northwest Airlines skycaps in Memphis. They will be replaced by contract workers.

Thomas & Betts: They have agreed to be acquired by Zurich-based ABB Limited for $3.9 billion. The company’s press release.

Tennessee: We were one of four highest-scoring states in teacher quality according to the National Council on Teacher Quality. Website here. The first two bank failures in over a decade in Tennessee–Tennessee Commerce Bank in Franklin and BankEast in Knoxville. State press releases here and here. (PDF documents)

R. Allen Stanford: A report on one of the prosecution’s first witnesses, Joseph Flynn.

DeSoto County: County home prices continue to fall. The Spring Hill Cemetery was rededicated with a historical marker on Friday. The Unknown Child Holocaust Remembrance Penny Project is getting closer to its goal. State and local officials are lining up Congressional support to stop the move by the Farm Service Agency to Tate County. A profile of Hernando planning director Robert L. Barber. The DeSoto Soil and Water Conservation District is packaging 2700 magnolias to give away to County third-graders next week. Leigh Wills is the new head of the Hernando Farmers Market, but won’t be tampering with success. The County Bulletin Board for Monday, from the CA.

Southaven Mayor Greg Davis: A Commercial Appeal investigation into some of the businessmen who surround the mayor show they’ve done well in his administration. More from WREG.

Picture of the Day

Friday night’s playlist, from The Soundcheck & the Fury by David Williams. © 2012.

Opinion and Blogs

My Crazy Busy Life: Random stuff and pictures. The incredible similarities between two New York-set sitcoms.

Ben Thompson Can Change: Some advice on losing belly fat and weight.

Benito’s Wine Reviews: He celebrated his 7th blog anniversary with northern Italian foods and wine. Moldovan roses and wheat vodka.

Best Burger Memphis: Ching’s Hot Wings aren’t burgers but they “did not disappoint”.

Empty Oven: After seven years of trying, they are pregnant! She’s now publishing the blog posts she’s been holding back. Send congrats and prayers her way.

TNcon: Ten differences between Romneycare and Obamacare.

Secondhand Underground: He’s back and headed to Amvets! Much hilarity ensues.

Knoxville News-Sentinel: Drivers need to drive and not send text messages.

Tom Humphrey: Will Governor Bill Haslam’s civil service reforms lead to a return to the State old patronage system? (via the Knoxville News-Sentinel)

Glenn Reynolds: Calls for stricter gun laws are an idea whose time has passed. (via the Tennessean)

Tennessean: Faux outrage on the illusory “gun show loophole”.

Gail Kerr: The Arriola scandal in the Davidson County Court Clerk’s office is just the latest in a troubling trend. (via the Tennessean)

I Love Memphis: She’s having a contest and this one is simple: You just have to have fun. There are prizes! Memphis, than and now.

Joe Spake’s Daily Buzz: The rest of the day’s news, from all sorts of eclectic places.

Bill Minor: He criticises fellow MS columnist Sid Salter for his perceived support of Republicans and the US Chamber of Commerce. (via the Desoto Times Tribune)

Commercial Appeal: Compared to other citizens trying to “help out” public officials they are insufficiently upset or skeptical about Nick Clark. And they fail to connect that point to this related point. They are happy the Memphis City Schools food program is buying local. They support charter schools…in Mississippi. Well-deserved honors for Shelby County’s Juvenile Court.

Chris Peck: A peek inside his mind, how he deals with coworkers and subordinates, and his plan for the paper. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Otis Sanford: Ahhh…so now this presidential election is about likability? (via the Commercial Appeal)

Wendi C. Thomas: Republicans are “rude, ugly, disrespectful, insane, ‘a hot mess’, demonizing, jerks,” except, maybe Bill Haslam? (via the Commercial Appeal)

Andre K. Fowlkes: Entrepreneurship isn’t something you can teach from a textbook. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Small Business Advocate: The second part of his series about local business going global. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Smart Stuff 4 Work: Let failure show you the road to future success. (via the Daily News)

Memphis News: The City of Memphis has a stake in the success of its minority-owned businesses.