Main Street Journal - Weekly Update for Monday, July 29, 2013

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Farewell Dowager Queen

Environmental Court judge Larry Potter ruled last week that the demolition of the Nineteenth Century Club can proceed. Judge Potter admonished advocates of saving the building for not taking the necessary legal steps.

Overton Park: The OP Conservancy is experimenting with various approaches to dealing with heavy traffic and parking around the Park.

City of Memphis: Mayor AC Wharton pleaded with students at the New Memphis Institute to stay in the city. He’s also “worried” about Detroit’s plight. Ten percent unemployment is hampering the job search for Memphians. Memphis Area Legal Services is feeling the funding squeeze lately. City Councilman Kemp Conrad wants to reduce the number of paid holidays for City workers as a budget-saving measure. The city’s unions are fighting to preserve jobs. Four county governors from Kenya are in Memphis this week to promote international trade and business. A petition drive is underway to salvage Gaisman Park.

Shelby County: The County Commission approved the property tax rate first proposed and defended by County mayor Mark Luttrell. For a $150,000 home, the increase would be $137 annually. More from WATN and again, the Daily News, the Flyer.

Now that the County property tax has been set, the realities for the suburbs sets in. Will the tax increase cost jobs? WATN’s Mike Matthews breaks down the tax increase. Commissioner Mike Ritz believes any increase in school funding is unlikely in the near future.

Second Amendment: Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is challenging Hinds County judge Winston Kidd’s stay of the new open carry law. Open carry activists there are “creating tension” with store owners who oppose them. Concealed carry applications in Arkansas have decreased sharply this year. “Peaceful protests” are planned against the arrival of gun manufacturer Talon Ordnance.

Sidney Chism: Questions still about Commissioner Sidney Chism’s ability to vote on certain issues. The ethics case against the County Commissioner moves forward.

Memphis Fire Department: They are considering “brown outs” (temporary station shutdowns) as a cost-saving measure. The City has sent out a “reduction strategy” for the Fire Department, even as local residents try to keep Fire Station 6 open. More on the fire cuts from WATN.

DeSoto County: The County has put up a movable gate to close flood-prone Holly Springs Road. Violence at community centers in Southaven is making some reconsider them. Also, their Board of Mayor and Aldermen may stop renting public buildings for private parties.

Memphis Police Department: The department is hoping the “Community Police Relations” group will improve police-citizen interactions; more from WMC and WREG. Planned precinct closures could lead to higher response times.

Charter Schools: The charter school consortium founded by former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton, the Du Bois Charter Schools, opens next month.

Bill Giannini: The toxicology report from his December 2012 auto crash, in which a child died, has been released. Fox13 also obtained the accident report, which may indicate why he wasn’t charged.

Shelby County Schools: Just weeks before the start of the new school year, board member Reginald Porter has stepped down. He is taking a job with the school system as Chief of Staff. And TN Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman talks about changes in education for the state’s schools, teachers and ratings. More on the “Our Children. Our Success.” campaign, which now includes Literacy Memphis. One hundred teachers’ jobs are still in limbo as the new school year starts. Volunteers are encouraging parents to register their kids for school. Parents are fighting to stop the closure of Westwood High School. The decision to withdraw bus service for students who live within two miles of their school is worrying parents. School board members are interviewed about the coming school year on WREG.

Achievement School District: The ASD had a press release explaining their mixed performance on the TCAP test. More on this from the Daily News. An interview with the superintendent of the ASD, Chris Barbic, from the Tri-State Defender.

Reappraisal: Citizens are being urged to study their property tax bills to make sure they aren’t overpaying their taxes!

Arkansas: One of the Republican candidates for governor, Asa Hutchinson, wants to phase out the State’s income tax. If you’re stopped for a DWI test, you might be tested for a wide range of intoxicants. The state’s sales tax holiday is coming up this weekend. State attorneys are asking that the “informed consent” section of the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the broader abortion law be removed.

Social Media: What are the social media habits of Mid-Southerners?

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Lois DeBerry: Democrat and second longest-serving member of the TN State House, Speaker Pro Tempore Emeritus Lois DeBerry passed away Sunday after battling pancreatic cancer. She served House District 91 (Memphis) for more than 40 years. DeBerry was the first African-American woman to chair the Shelby County Delegation. Fox13 had an earlier report that talked about DeBerry’s fight with cancer. More accolades from the Commercial Appeal, the Flyer’s Jackson Baker, the Tennessean. Reactions to her death from Tennessee politicians and still more political reactions. New reports from Fox13, WATN, WMC and WREG.

Steve Cohen: The US Ninth District Representative is still in the news, this time over comments about his “blackness”. He’s also still answering questions about his paternity kerfuffle, including an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Meanwhile, an ethics complaint has been filed against his former aide, Randy Wade.

Suburban School Districts: The six communities that approved separate school districts are now talking superintendents and they are competing amongst themselves for the best school district.

Housing: Apartment owners are working with the Shelby County District Attorney General’s office to implement and use a database of drug dealer evictions.

Downtown: The former Greyhound bus terminal is now officially on the market. New, versatile, parking meters will be installed by this Fall.

MATA: At a public meeting about coming route changes, the public vented their upset with the reductions. A Fox13 report on the meeting of the Memphis Bus Riders Union.

Crime: Memphis and Shelby County law forces put Operation Zero Tolerance into effect, a wide-ranging trolling operation to snag criminals.

State Politics: The ranking Democrat in the State House, Representative Craig Fitzhugh says he’ll decline to run for governor in 2016. More from the Nashville City Paper. The firm behind troubling robo-poll calls referencing State Senator Stacey Campfield has finally been identified. State Senator Jim Summerville wants to freeze tuition rate increases for state colleges; the press release from the GOP. The state’s tea party groups and some conservative Republicans want to challenge US Senator Lamar Alexander in the 2014 GOP primary. Democratic activist Lenda Sherell is weighing a run for her party’s bid to replace Fourth District US Representative Scott DesJarlais, who opened his already troubled re-election campaign. The House Republican Conference is planning a press package for US Representatives to study over the August recess. US Senator Rand Paul spoke at a Republican fundraiser in Franklin over the weekend. Legislators were back in session to grill sports team owners and officials about the haphazard “jock tax”; more from WMC.

Local Media: Informed Sources, the WREG political discussion show, this week talked about the new school year, comparisons to Detroit, and poverty in Memphis. You can also watch Behind the Headlines, the roundtable co-production from the Daily News and WKNO, online.

Fresh Market: The former Artisan Hotel and the office building next door are being considered as the next location for that grocery chain.

Overton Square: Four new tenants are set to open.

Business: A wave of uncertainties is driving the acquisition of private practices by large hospitals. International Paper had a second quarter doubling of net income.

Tennessee: Chattanooga is preparing for a visit from President Barack Obama this week. The state’s drivers are ten times more likely to be involved in cellphone-involved fatalities. The State’s ratio of debt and pension liabilities to personal income is the lowest in the nation! Amazon is having a big impact on Chattanooga jobs.

Smart Meters: Opponents of the proposed MLGW usage-tracking meters, which can also lead to higher rates during peak demand periods, are mailing out a flyer to Memphis customers.

Mississippi: The state’s seventh case of West Nile virus has been recorded. Casino revenues fell by 7% in June, versus last year. The Delta Queen steamboat may be plying the Mississippi River by next Summer.

David Kernell: The former UT student, convicted of illegally accessing vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s email account in 2008, is free from probation. He remains a former felon, with the loss of certain rights and privileges that entails, but plans to become a defense attorney. A Wikipedia article on the “hacking” incident and the Main Street Journal’s archive of linked stories.

Nashville: One of that city’s free alternative newsweeklies, The City Paper, cease publication on August 9; more from the Associated Press. Why that city consistently beats out Memphis on filmmaking incentives. (Hint: it’s politics.) The music industry has a $9.7 billion impact on Nashville. Relocating the offices of the Davidson County Election Commision is taking longer than anyone expected.

Survey Says: Memphis is among the ten worst cities to visit, according to The Center for Financial Literacy says Tennessee’s schools are one of only seven states to get an “A” in financial literacy.

Picture of the Week

The northeast elevation for the proposed, but never built, Tennessee Brewery residential apartment building. From Creme de Memph by Josh Whitehead. ©2013.


Governor Bill Haslam: He touts our business climate as welcoming to new and established businesses. (Via CNBC)

FUNdraising Good Times: When you are fundraising, see yourself from your donors’ perspective. (Via the Daily News)

Memphis News: Financial stability is critical to Memphis’ future.

Memphasis: The way you look at Memphis is up to you. (Via the Daily News)

I Swear: A review of Andy Carpenter’s novel, Unleashed. (Via the Daily News)

Guerilla Sales & Marketing: Narrowcasting to fragmented markets is killing broadcast marketing. (Via the Daily News)

Smart Stuff 4 Work: How do you untangle the Gordian Knots in your life? (Via the Daily News)

John Lancaster: Public schools are failing to educate kids on the basics of money management. (Via the Tennessean)

Verna Wyatt: A defense of Tennessee’s judicial nominating commission. (Via the Tennessean)

Catherine Glover: Improving the quality of Tennessee’s workforce would be helped by implementing the Common Core standards. (Via the Tennessean)

Frank Daniels III: Take back the political power of redistricting by taking it out of the hands of incumbents. (Via the Tennessean)

John Branston: He’s cool with the so-called “jock tax”, mostly because it’s chump change. (Via the Flyer)

Flyer: The suburban school districts should heed the financial wisdom of County Commissioner Mike Ritz.

Lucy Shaw: Just walk away from folks who “po’ mouth” you about your age! (Via the Tri-State Defender)

Charles Sims Jr: Read the prospectus carefully before investing in target-date funds. (Via the Tri-State Defender)

Carlee McCullough: The upside to downsizing. (Via the Tri-State Defender)

Dr Timothy Moore: A healthy emotional outlook can contribute to physical health, too. (Via the Tri-State Defender)

Frank Cagle: Our current system of “judicial retention” for state judges is blatantly unconstitutional but will it be kept anyway? (Via the Knoxville Metro Pulse)

Robin Smith: Hands off our success, Mr President, since most Tennesseans didn’t vote for you! (Via the Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Chattanooga Free Press: The policies of the Democratic Party are harmful to black Americans.

Drew’s Views: His thoughts on Senator Lamar Alexander, politicians and judges ignoring the law, and President Barack Obama’s visit to Chattanooga this week. (Via the Chattanooga Free Press)

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