Main Street Journal - Monday, February 27, 2012

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The Titanic Was Fatally Sinking & Couldn’t Be Rescued, Though

At a weekend retreat of City Councilmen and City officials–with an unfortunate image choice of a sinking RMS Titanic to illustrate–they were told Memphis is “just lurching from year to year” on revenues. Translation: expect higher taxes or new “revenue sources”. Mayor A C Whartonsays jobs cuts and higher service fees will be needed. A “five-year strategic plan” was mentioned. Housing and community development director Robert Lipscomb pointed out that 30 percent of property goes untaxed and called our business model “not sustainable”. ABC24 notes the City still hires plenty of expensive consultants.

The City will begin conducting annual audits of City disability pensions to review for possible fraud. More from WMC.

The Hamer Incident: Deputy Superintendent Irving Hamer was suspended for “crude remarks” he made about an executive secretary’s breasts. The event was in Superintendent Dr Kriner Cash’ home. More from Fox13.

Shelby County Commission: Commissioner Brent Taylor said single-member districts, which may be voted on as the new redistricting plan, would produce “extremists”–citng fellow commissioner Steve Mulroy as the example.

West Tennessee: Although it has been studied, planned and approved every step since at least 2005, critics still hope to stop the I-40 and TN 196, connecting to TN 64.

Memphis Belle: The famed WWII bomber, moved from its open-air exhibition site in Memphis in 2005 is finally being restored by the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force before permanent display. Original Dayton Daily News story. Her history.

Municipal Schools Districts: Collierville and Germantown have scheduled votes on separate school districts; what happens now?

Raymond James Financial: The Daily News reports on the experience of the 550 Morgan Keegan employees who made the invited trip to the company’s Florida HQ.

Blight: A troubled lot’s condition in Oakhaven was blamed on the owner, and then WREG learned the City of Memphis was the owner! It was cleaned up.

Ninth Congressional District: Former Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn is seriously considering running for this seat, against putative Democratic incumbent, Steve Cohen.

Politics: State Republican legislators discuss the need for legislation that limits teacher discussions on sexual matters.

Republican Presidential Primaries: Republican governors are “concerned” about this cycle’s long primary season.

Mississippi: Seven Highway Patrol officers, alleged to have cheat on a promotions exam and then suspended, are now saying that they were discriminated against becuase most of them were white. A suspiciously high percentage of absentee voters since 2007 is drawing State interest. More from the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. The press release and the report. (PDF document) The Federal government is mandating uniform, reflective street signage but the local governments have to find the money.

Regions Morgan Keegan Championships: As with so many things in Memphis, this tennis tournament could use more money and a more stable sponsor.

Gasoline: Gas prices continue their steady rise. The Memphis average is $3.55/gallon. (via

Bonnaroo 2012: Tickets are back on sale.

IHOP: This Tuesday, a free short-stack of pancakes in exchange for a donation to the Children’s Miracle Network. Details.

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NEW! INTERNET EXCLUSIVE! Comparing Economic Plans: Our economic contributor Chuck Bates looks at the tax plans of the four Republican presidential candidates and President Barack Obama to see which offers the great, most beneficial change.

Internet Exclusive: Where’s Carol? Contributor Mick Wright wonders why Shelby County District Attorney candidate Carol Chumney is missing in action for her own campaign!

Internet Exclusive: How I Got Involved in Local Politics: Southaven’s Oriana Hill was dismayed that nothing was being done about Mayor Greg Davis’ official shenanigans, so she decided to take action herself. Read her exclusive story here!

The March 6 Election: The Commercial Appeal does their background check on the candidates. Satellite early voting starts today. Shelby County Election Commission website. The Commercial Appeal looks at the Republican “Super Tuesday” vote and how the GOP County Commission race “mirrors…in some ways” that primary.

Public Health: No children were born in Shelby County with HIV in 2011.

Southaven Mayor Greg Davis: An update on the effort oust Davis from office.

“Million Calorie Match”: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has given a $200,000 grant to Healthy Memphis Common Table to “change social norms” by getting “groups” to limit foods offered to their employees. HMCT website. This parallels, but is as yet unrelated to, Healthy Shelby.

Shelby County: The new Regional Forensic Center is “more private, secure and modern” than the building it’s replacing. With money so tight, why do so many County agencies spend on lobbyists?

Tennessee: The State park system is 75 years old this year; more from WMC. The park system website. More on the TNInvestco program event, hosted by the Memphis Bioworks Business Association, which called the State’s bioscience community “robust”.

Memphis Youth Ambassadors Program: The successor program to the old, troubled Youth Employment Program, is accepting applications. YAP website.

“Check Engine” Light: Rep. Steve Cohen weighs in on the issue of auto inspection requiring repair of that light if it is on–before you’ll pass inspection.

DeSoto County: The Board of Supervisors has selected Ted Garrod as the County’s new planning director. Hernando skateboarders hope to open the Mid-South’s second public skate park there. Farmers in the western part of the county are urged to apply for erodible soil program. The County looks to “rebrand” itself later this year. From the Commercial Appeal, the Bulletin Board for Monday.

Business: This year’s ADDY awards saw an increase in paid entries, their first in five years, though only half of previous highs; more from the Daily News. The latest iteration of Ignite Memphis is this Thursday; more from IM website.

From the Daily News, Today’s Events. The Business Journal reports People on the Move. And the Commercial Appeal covers What to Do for Sunday, People in Business for Sunday, and Property Transfers.

Pinnacle Airlines: Three months into a turn-around plan, and the CEO Sean Menke is still not sure Chapter 11 bankruptcy can be avoided. The company still has deals to work out if United Airlines and the Air Line Pilots Association.

Wright Medical Group: More on their 8% fourth quarter sales drop.

Hotel Industry: The local hotel industry set a record in room rentals even as it lost revenues.

Local Media: The E. W. Scripps company, parent of the Commercial Appeal, reported a fourth quarter profit but losses overall in 2011. The newpaper division continued to report losses. More details from the Daily News. The Scripps report. (PDF document)

IRS: Tennesseans left $16.1 million in uncollected refunds from 2008, which is still collectable!

Financial: Independent Bank was founded on a “heroic culture” that still guides it. From the Daily News, a small survey of local financial services. the Daily News’ Small Business Spotlight falls on Triumph Bank.

Picture of the Day

The Eddie Smith Band on the stage at the not-yet-open Downtown bar and restaurant, the Double J SmokeHouse and Saloon, from Paul Ryburn’s Journal. © 2012.


Memphis News: While municipal schools districts may be a good idea, they still need a lot of work before going to the voters in May.

Layne McGuire: Community bankers can benefit from risk assessment right about now. (via the Daily News)

Smart Stuff 4 Work: The answer to “if only” complaints isn’t a flood of resources. (via the Daily News)

Small Business Advocate: Your success will be tied to a mobile (phone) strategy. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Better Business: How “lemon laws” work. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Kemp Conrad: The City of Memphis needs the fiscal discipline that a six-year capital improvement amendment plan would impose. (via the Commercial Appeal)

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

Commercial Appeal: Memphis at the Oscars. The Rev. Jesse Jackson means well but…he’s wrong. Too many “needs” and an expectation that Memphis will meet them. A plea to give the new director of the Animal Shelter a chance first. Kudos to the National Civil Rights Museum.

Otis L. Sanford: Damning Sanford for the words of his supporters but not President Obama? (via the Commercial Appeal)

Chris Peck: A bizarrely optimistic view of job desperation. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Wendi C. Thomas Telling the tale of the great migration of Southern blacks to the North. (via the Commercial Appeal)

Geoff Calkins: It’s (another) great era for Memphis sports fans! (via the Commercial Appeal)