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Editorial Results (free)

1. Council Could Close Door on Alternative Health Plans -

Memphis City Council members could put to rest alternatives to the health care insurance benefits cuts they approved in June when they meet Tuesday, Sept. 16.

The question is whether they would do that with some kind of vote or indication through discussion or whether they will simply let the June decision stand and take no further votes.

2. Sara Kyle Claims Democratic Senate Nomination -

Tennessee Democratic Party chairman Roy Herron came to Memphis Monday, Sept. 8, armed with 77 Bible verses on unity to use as Shelby County Democrats gathered to pick their nominee in a November special general election for state Senate District 30.

3. Kyle Gets Democratic State Senate Nod -

Shelby County Democratic Party leaders chose former Public Service Commissioner and Tennessee Regulatory Authority Commission Sara Kyle Monday, Sept. 8, as the Democratic nominee for State Senate District 30.

4. Democrats Choose State Senate Nominee -

When Shelby County Democratic Party leaders gather Monday, Sept. 8, to pick their party’s nominee in the November special general election for state Senate District 30, it will also be an indication of how deep the wounds run from the party’s disastrous August election outing.

5. Flinn Gets Republican State Senate Nomination -

Fresh from running in the August U.S. Senate Republican primary, George Flinn is back on the Nov. 4 ballot as the Republican nominee in the special general election for state Senate District 30.

6. Cohen Prevails, Incumbents Dominate -

Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen held off Thursday, Aug. 7, the most serious electoral challenge he’s faced since winning the Congressional seat in 2006, in the form of attorney Ricky E. Wilkins.

7. Cohen, Luttrell, Weirich, Harris Take Early Vote -

Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen has taken the early vote over challenger Ricky Wilkins in the hard fought Democratic Congressional primary on Thursday’s Shelby County election ballot.

8. Alexander Looks to Fend Off Tennessee GOP Challengers -

LAWRENCEBURG, Tenn. (AP) – After losing his first bid for Tennessee governor 40 years ago, Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander shed his blue suit and buttoned-up appearance for a plaid shirt, hiking boots and a 1,000-mile walk around the state.

9. Haslam, Alexander Look to Boost Republican Turnout -

U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher remembers the first time that he talked with U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander.

Fincher had been elected to Congress long enough to have made several votes after a 2008 campaign in which he touted his conservative values and stances. And in the process, Fincher admitted to Alexander that he had been critical of Alexander’s voting record during the campaign.

10. Republicans Rally In Bartlett -

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam told a group of several hundred Republicans in Bartlett Monday, Aug. 4, that he would like to see a statewide turnout in the August Republican primaries of 750,000.

Haslam and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander have been on a statewide bus tour since last week to pump up overall Republican turnout even as they face opposition in the GOP primaries for governor and the U.S. Senate. The goal is to also boost the turnout for Republican candidates in local general election races on the ballot.

11. ‘Big Ballot’ Moves to Early Voting Friday -

Voters begin making their decisions Friday, July 18, on the longest ballot of any election cycle in Shelby County politics.

Early voting in advance of the Aug. 7 election day begins Friday at the Shelby County Election Commission’s Downtown offices, 157 Poplar Ave., from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

12. Alexander Raises More Than $900,000, Launches New Ad -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander has raised more than $900,000 in the second quarter and has more than $3.4 million on hand in the final weeks before the primary.

Alexander's campaign is also launching a new television ad stressing the senator's opposition to President Barack Obama's health care law.

13. Lamar Alexander Shows Little Interest in Debates -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Lamar Alexander showed little interest Monday in taking up challenger Joe Carr's call for a debate in advance of the Republican Senate primary in August.

14. U.S. Senate Primaries Feature Different Realities -

The statewide primary races for U.S. Senate on the August ballot feature the longest and best-known political back story in Tennessee politics and competing realities about what it takes for Democrats to end their shutout in statewide offices.

15. August’s ‘Big Ballot’ Awaits County’s Voters -

With the unofficial results in the Shelby County primary elections in, get ready for the “big ballot.”

The candidates who won the Democratic and Republican primaries in Tuesday’s elections advance to the August ballot where they will join a much larger group of candidates and races that once every eight years produce the largest ballot of any election cycle in Shelby County politics.

16. Haslam Unveils $1.5B Transportation Plan -

Gov. Bill Haslam and Transportation Commissioner John Schroer have released the state’s three-year, $1.5 billion transportation program.

The Haslam administration said the plan unveiled Thursday takes a conservative approach because of uncertainty over future federal transit funding. It contains no money to pay for early engineering work on new projects.

17. Tate Uncontested in Tenn. Senate Race -

The day after the filing deadline for the August state and federal primaries, Democratic state Sen. Reginald Tate became an uncontested incumbent, winning another four-year term representing District 33.

18. Alexander has $3.1 Million for Senate Campaign -

Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander raised $614,000 in the first quarter, leaving him with $3.1 million on hand for his bid for a third term.

Alexander said he received formal notification on Thursday that he has qualified for the Aug. 7 primary. His eight opponents in the GOP nomination contest include state Rep. Joe Carr of Murfreesboro and former Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn.

19. Tate Uncontested in Tennessee Senate Race -

The day after the filing deadline for the August state and federal primaries, Democratic state Sen. Reginald Tate became an uncontested incumbent, winning another four-year term representing District 33.

20. Harris Files Ford Challenge at Deadline -

Memphis City Council member Lee Harris is challenging Democratic state Sen. Ophelia Ford in the August primary for District 29, the Senate seat held by a member of the Ford family since 1975.

21. Council Displeased With Budget Ideas -

This isn’t going to be pretty. Two weeks before Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. takes a budget proposal to the Memphis City Council, council members reacted angrily to how Wharton’s administration set the stage for its definitive recommendations.

22. Council Unhappy With Budget Plans So Far -

The administration of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. got a rough reception at the Tuesday, April 1, Memphis City Council session as it set the stage for Wharton’s budget proposal to come in two weeks.

23. Police, Fire Directors Discuss Budget With Council -

Memphis City Council members got deeper Tuesday, Feb. 4, into the specifics of Memphis Police and Fire Department budget decisions.

But they didn’t get a clearer picture of what the direction forward will be as they and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. prepare to make some hard decisions about public safety in dealing with the city’s unfunded pension liability.

24. Council Hears More on Police and Fire Budget Decisions -

Memphis City Council member got deeper Tuesday, Feb. 4, into the specifics of Memphis Police and Fire Department budget decisions.

But they didn’t get a clearer picture of what the direction forward will be as they and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. prepare to make some hard decisions about public safety in dealing with the city’s unfunded pension liability.

25. Little Outlines Options for City’s Pension Liability -

Changing retirement and health care benefits for city of Memphis employees going forward is a given, said city Chief Administrative Officer George Little this week.

26. City Council Questions Pension Plan -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. plans to ask the Memphis City Council sometime in February or March to close the city’s defined benefits pension plan to new hires and those city employees with less than 10 years of service.

27. Council Opens Unfunded Liability Plan Talks With Questions -

Memphis City Council members again rejected Tuesday, Dec. 17, an increase in the city’s monthly solid waste fee and affirmed a 2.1 percent hike in the Memphis Light Gas and Water Division water rate hike.

28. City Pension Crisis Meets Sanitation Overhaul -

The city’s looming pension liability crisis and the proposed solution to it intersected Tuesday, Oct. 1, with a plan to overhaul city sanitation services and, in the process, provide a pension supplement to sanitation workers.

29. Council Gives Early Approval to Solid Waste Fee -

The Memphis City Council sent a proposed lease of Handy Park on Beale Street back to committee Tuesday, Sept. 3, for more discussion about the details.

And the council approved on the first of three readings a restoration of the city’s solid waste fee to $25.05 a month. But there were conflicting explanations about which part of an overhaul of sanitation services the restoration of the fee is supposed to fund.

30. Budget Reset Talks Lead to Fresh Drama -

The Memphis City Hall budget drama turned from a budget reset into a political thicket Tuesday, June 4, as Memphis City Council members debated getting involved in the details of changing employee and retiree benefits.

31. Critical State Report Remakes City Budget -

An April report from the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury critical of city finances threw the budget season at City Hall into remake mode Tuesday, May 21.

The bottom line for the budget is a remediation plan that will increase the city’s long term debt, force the city to use its reserves, and take reserves below the 10 percent level considered key with bond-rating agencies.

32. State Delays Auto Inspection Takeover -

The state of Tennessee has told the city of Memphis it will probably take two years for it to take over auto inspection duties in Shelby County.

But city funding for the auto inspection stations and employees runs out when the current fiscal year does, at the end of June.

33. Council Preps for Late Summer Sales Tax Hike Referendum -

A referendum on a half percent city sales tax hike to fund a city pre kindergarten expansion and roll back the city property tax rate by 20 cents would happen in August or September instead of May.

34. Council Reconsiders Golf Course Closings -

Four city golf courses were scheduled to close for the winter season on Dec. 1, with one of the four – Whitehaven – to close permanently.

That was the decision the Memphis City Council made last spring as it set the city budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.

35. Election Follows Script in County -

In Shelby County and Tennessee the presidential race stuck to the script both national campaigns expected.

President Barack Obama carried Shelby County and Republican challenger Mitt Romney took the state and its 11 electoral votes.

36. Obama Carries Shelby, Cohen Over Flinn and Two Tax Hikes Defeated -

President Barack Obama carried Shelby County in unofficial Nov. 6 election returns as his Republican challenger Mitt Romney took the state’s 11 electoral votes.

Voter turnout in the most popular election cycle among Shelby County voters was 61.9 percent, about the same percentage as four years ago. But the 371,256 voters is fewer than 2008 when more than 400,000 Shelby County voters cast ballots. The percentage is about the same because there are fewer registered voters in Shelby County than there were four years ago after a purge by election officials.

37. Shelby Early Vote Shows Cohen Winning - Two Tax Questions Losing -

Early vote totals from Shelby County were released just before 10 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 6, after the vote count was delayed in part by long lines of voters waiting to vote at the 7 p.m. closing of polls.

38. County’s Early Vote Total: 38.9 Percent -

Nearly 40 percent of Shelby County’s 598,803 voters cast ballots during the early voting period that ended Thursday, Nov. 1.

But the 232,690 early voters – which accounts for 38.9 percent of the total number of registered voters – is fewer than four years ago when 254,362 early votes were cast.

39. Cohen, Flinn Sparring Heats Up as Election Nears -

It’s been an election year in Shelby County dominated by something other than candidates in a local political arena where personality and name recognition usually go far.

There have been significant problems with the accuracy of the vote count, presidential campaigns only momentarily interested in the local Republican and Democratic bases and the politics of tax increases and municipal school districts.

40. School Board Majority Backs Sales Tax Hike -

Twelve of the 23 countywide school board members have signed a letter urging voters to approve a half-cent countywide sales tax hike in the Nov. 6 elections.

The letter dated Thursday, Oct. 25, refers to using half of the estimated revenue from the extra half cent for an expansion of pre-kindergarten. But it mentions pre-k as one of several possible uses for the $30 million that would go to local education under state law.

41. Shelby County’s Early Vote Count Leads State -

Early voter turnout in Shelby County is lagging behind the pace set four years ago during the last presidential general election.

But the turnout is the largest by county in the state so far.

42. Gay, Transgender City Workers Protected From Discrimination -

At the end of a long night at City Hall with a relatively short agenda, Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism told Memphis City Council members that their meetings looked like more “fun” than the commission’s meetings.

43. Race to the Finish -

Republican state Sen. Brian Kelsey walked into the storefront at the Carrefour shopping center earlier this month and liked what he saw of the local effort for the Romney-Ryan presidential ticket.

44. Flinn’s Challenge -

Dr. George Flinn has been running for office for 10 years now and running in a style that continues to evolve.

45. Flinn-Cohen Race Gets Minor Jolt -

The general election campaign in the 9th Congressional District sparked to life Monday, Sept. 24, with a brief encounter between incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen and a team from the campaign of Republican challenger George Flinn.

46. Watershed Day -

The unofficial vote totals are in from Thursday’s county general and state and federal primary elections in Shelby County, but no one involved believed the last cartridge read at the Shelby County Election Commission would be the last word on the results.

47. Muni Schools Questions Pass, Cohen Wins Big -

Voters in each of the six suburban towns and cities in Shelby County approved establishing municipal school districts in the unofficial results of the Thursday, Aug. 2, county general and state and federal primary elections.

48. Muni Schools, Cohen, Weirich, Johnson, Stanton, Kyle Take Early Vote -

Voters in each of the six suburban towns and cities in Shelby County were overwhelmingly approving the establishment of municipal school districts and a half cent sales tax hike to fund them in the first vote totals released Thursday, Aug. 2 by the Shelby County Election Commission.

49. Cohen Talks About Opponents, Schools, Race and His Political Past -

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen is running for a fourth term in Congress starting with the Aug. 2 primary, in which he is being challenged by countywide school board member Tomeka Hart.

50. City Moves Closer to Cutting Auto Inspection Funding -

Two weeks after the Memphis City Council approved an either/or change to auto inspections against the advice of the city administration, the council took another step as Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. embraced the earlier change.

51. Cohen Keeps Focus on Bigger Picture -

Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, says he works well with Republicans in Congress but that most of the federal funding and help he has secured for the city comes from the Democratic-controlled White House.

52. Hart Seeks Debate With Rep. Cohen -

Democratic candidate for the 9th Congressional District Tomeka Hart wants a debate with incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen. But Cohen’s campaign is not responding to the debate call a month before early voting begins in the Democratic congressional primary contest between the two.

53. Cohen Plans Rollout of Endorsements -

There will be a Cohen ballot of political endorsements for the Aug. 2 and Nov. 6 elections.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, opened his campaign headquarters Saturday, June 2, with a pledge to not only campaign hard for re-election but to campaign on behalf of President Barack Obama and several local Democrats in county general election and state legislative races.

54. New District Lines Lead to New Races -

“This time I waited to be sure,” Ian Randolph said just before the Thursday, April 5, deadline for candidates to file in the Aug. 2 elections.

55. Cohen-Hart in Congressional Race at Filing Deadline -

The chairman of the countywide school board, Billy Orgel, was effectively elected to his District 7 school board seat without opposition at the Thursday, April 5, filing deadline for candidates on the Aug. 2 primary and general election ballot in Shelby County.

56. Tax Hike Thorny Issue for Council -

To some at City Hall, the plan at the end of the 2011 budget season for city government is unfolding as it should. To others, nothing in the plan approved by the Memphis City Council has happened.

Still others aren’t sure whether a one-time, 18-cent city property tax hike is really one time or if it’s the second tax hike of its kind since last year.

57. Council Passes Amended City Bonus, Rejects Water Rate Hike -

Memphis City Council members approved a $750 flat bonus for all full time city employees Tuesday, Dec. 6, and a flat bonus of $200 for part time city employees.

Just as the Shelby County Commission did Monday for county employees, the council departed from the mayoral administration’s plan for a bonus as a percentage of pay.

58. Wharton, Fullilove & Conrad Re-Elected -- Harris-Ford to Runoff - Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. won a full four-year term of office as mayor Thursday, Oct. 6, two years after he claimed the mayor’s office in a special election.

And all 12 of the Memphis City Council members seeking re-election won new four year terms in the city election cycle, marking the largest return of incumbents to the 13-member council in the 43-year history of the mayor-council form of government.

59. Carpenter Reflects on Five-Year Run -

As Memphis voters prepare to bring to an end another city campaign season, Shelby County Commissioner Mike Carpenter just ended a five-year run on the Shelby County Commission.

60. 4 Council Members - All 3 City Court Judges To Run Unopposed In Oct. Elections -

Four incumbent Memphis City Council members and all three incumbent City Court Judges were effectively re-elected at the Thursday, July 21, noon deadline for candidates to file their qualifying petitions for the Oct. 6 Memphis ballot.

61. MCS Board Votes To Delay Aug. 8 School Start -

The stakes got higher Tuesday evening, July 19, in the funding dispute between the city of Memphis and the Memphis City Schools system.

MCS board members voted 8-1 Tuesday to delay the Aug. 8 start of the school year until the city pays a disputed amount of money the school system says the city owes for the fiscal year that began July 1.

62. Conservative Radio Launches in Memphis -

Two years before the next national election and with fervor for conservative activism, Memphis-based MPS Broadcasting Monday announced the launch of WMPS “The Point” simulcast on 87.7 FM and 1210 AM.

63. County Commission Approves UDC -

Shelby County Commissioners this week approved a new Unified Development Code with no discussion. The combined city-county code passed on a unanimous vote on third and final reading.

Memphis City Council members were scheduled to take their final vote on the code Tuesday afternoon, which would make it a countywide set of rules for future development, both residential and commercial.

64. Flinn's Contributions Now $2.45M in 8th District -

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) — Memphis radiologist and broadcaster George Flinn has given another $450,000 to his bid for the Republican nomination in the 8th Congressional District on top of the $2 million he spent on his campaign through the first half of the year.

65. Candidates Pour Own Money Into Congressional Races -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Primary contests for each of Tennessee's three open congressional seats feature at least one candidate spending a hefty amount of their own money in efforts to secure the Republican nomination.

66. Campaign Calendar Crowded -

Lt. Gov. and Republican contender for governor Ron Ramsey opened his Memphis campaign headquarters Friday with a call for grassroots conservative support in the Aug. 5 primary.

67. Ford Wins Democratic Mayoral Primary -  

Interim County Mayor Joe Ford became the Democratic nominee for mayor in the August county general elections Tuesday night.

And the August sheriff’s race will be a contest between Democrat Randy Wade and Republican Randy Wade.

All three were among the winners in Tuesday’s low turnout county primaries.

Approximately ten percent of Shelby County’s nearly 600,000 voters cast ballots in early voting and election day polling.

Ford, who was appointed interim mayor in December, beat County Commissioner Deidre Malone and General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson in the Democratic primary. He will face Republican Mark Luttrell who had only token opposition in the Republican primary from perennial contender Ernie Lunati.

Luttrell has raised more money than all three of the Democratic primary contenders combined and began running television ads in the last week runup to election day.

The final unofficial totals in the Democratic mayoral primary are:

Ford 20,360 57%

Malone 12,916 37%

Jackson 2,168 6%

The pair of primaries for Sheriff featured eight candidates, seven of whom either currently work for the sheriff’s department or are past employees. Only Reginald French, in the Democratic primary was not a former or current department official.

Wade was the 2002 Democratic nominee, losing to Luttrell who is leaving as Sheriff after serving two terms. French was the Democratic nominee in the 2006 elections.

Oldham is Luttrell’s chief deputy, the number two position in the department. He is also a former director of the Memphis Police Department.

The final unofficials totals in the Republican primary are:

Bill Oldham 13,821 48%

Dale Lane 7,981 28%

Bobby Simmons 5,886 21%

James Coleman 943 3%

In the Democratic primary:

Randy Wade 22,643 67%

Reginald French 6,777 20%

Larry Hill 2,738 8%

Bennie Cobb 1,814 5%

Voters in the primary elections decided to return six Shelby County commissioners to new four year terms with Tuesday’s results. They also elected six new commissioners. The winner of the thirteenth commission seat will be decided on the August general election ballot in a contest between district 5 Democratic incumbent Steve Mulroy and Republican challenger Dr. Rolando Toyos. The winner of the match up will determine whether the commission remains majority Democrat or goes majority Republican.

Mulroy easily defeated Jennings Bernard in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Republican incumbent Mike Ritz ran unopposed as did new Democratic commissioner Walter Bailey.

In the remaining ten contests, the primaries decided who gets the seats since no one ran in the opposing party’s primary.

The most hotly contested contest among the commission races was for District 4 Position 1. Outgoing Probate Court Clerk Chris Thomas beat John Pellicciotti, appointed to a commission seat last year but running for a different position in the same district. Jim Bomprezzi, the former mayor of Lakeland, was the third contender in the contest.

The final unofficial totals in the Republican primary:

Thomas 7,631 52%

Pellicciotti 4,871 33%

Bomprezzi 2,298 15%

In position 2 of the same district incumbent Republican Wyatt Bunker easily overcame two challengers with former Lakeland alderman John Wilkerson finishing second and Ron Fittes finishing third.

Millington businessman Terry Roland claimed the third position in the district that takes in all six of Shelby County’s suburban towns and cities.

Roland beat George Chism to take the seat Pellicciotti was appointed to but opted not to run for in deference to Roland.

Heidi Shafer, an aide to outgoing County Commissioner George Flinn, claimed Flinn’s District 1 Position 2 seat over Albert Maduska.in the GOP primary.

District 1 incumbent Republican Mike Carpenter easily beat businessman Joe Baier.

In the Democratic commission primaries, Melvin Burgess claimed Malone’s District 2 Position 3 seat in a field of six contenders. His closest contender was Reginald Milton. Burgess, a city school system audit manager, had run for the seat before. He brought in 54 percent of the vote.

The other hard fought Democratic commission primary saw Justin Ford, son of the interim mayor, claim his father’s District 3 Position 3 seat.

Ford beat Edith Moore, a retired IBM executive, whom the commission appointed to the seat after the elder Ford became mayor.

The final unofficial vote totals are:

Ford 7,342 66%

Moore 3,822 34%

Democratic incumbent commissioners Henri Brooks, Sidney Chism and James Harvey were all re-elected over primary challengers.

The county-wide primaries for seven clerk’s positions saw the return of former Criminal Court Clerk Minerva Johnican 16 years after Republican challenger Bill Key took her job. Johnican decisively beat Ralph White and Vernon Johnson in her first bid for office since the 1994 defeat. She will face Republican Kevin Key, the son of Bill Key in the August general election.

The final unofficial vote totals are:

Johnican 16,381 51%

White 10,170 31%

Johnson 5,954 18%

Former Juvenile Court Clerk Shep Wilbun easily won the Democratic primary with 76 percent of the vote to face Republican Joy Touliatos in August for the office being vacated by Republican Steve Stamson. Touliatos was unopposed in the primary.

Democrat Coleman Thompson is back for another go at incumbent Republican Register Tom Leatherwood.

Aside from Leatherwood, Jimmy Moore is the only other of the seven clerks seeking re-election. Moore ran unopposed in the GOP primary. He will face Democrat Ricky Dixon in August.

Trustee Regina Newman was appointed to her office following the death last year of Paul Mattila. Newman easily overcame M LaTroy Williams in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. She will face David Lenoir, who beat former Shelby County Commissioner John Willingham in the Republican contest.

The final unofficial vote totals are:

Lenoir 15,922 58%

Willingham 11,569 42%

The other six candidate field on the ballot was in the Democratic primary for Probate Court Clerk. Sondra Becton posted impressive vote totals over her rivals, bringing in 35 percent of the vote with Peggy Dobbins her closest rival. Becton, who is making her fourth bid for the office, will face Republican Paul Boyd, who ran unopposed in his primary.

The final unofficial vote totals are:

Becton 10,929 36%

Dobbins 5,366 18%

Annita Hamilton 4,848 16%

Clay Perry 3,549 12%

Danny Kail 3,120 11%

Karen Tyler 2,782 9%

The closest contest of the evening was in the Democratic primary for County Clerk. Wrestling promoter and television personality Corey Maclin won his political debut by less than 1,400 votes over Charlotte Draper and LaKeith Miller. He will face Republican Wayne Mashburn who beat Steve Moore in the companion primary.

Early voting in advance of the Aug. 5 election day begins July 16. The August ballot will also feature state and federal primary elections including the statewide primaries for governor and the primaries for all nine of the state’s Congressional districts.

...

68. Commission Races Hinge on Public Issues -

Two issues figure in to the 11 competitive races for the Shelby County Commission – the future of the Regional Medical Center and local government consolidation.

Any push card for a credible candidate includes either something about how to save The MED or the candidate’s opposition to consolidation – or both.

69. Heavy Fundraising in Open US House Seats in Tenn. -

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Candidates for three open congressional seats in Tennessee have reported heavy fundraising activity through the first quarter.

The retirements of Republican Zach Wamp of Chattanooga and Democratic Reps. Bart Gordon of Murfreesboro and John Tanner of Union City have led to spirited campaigns to succeed them in the U.S. House.

70. Filing Deadline Hits for August Primaries -

The stage is set for the county’s most anticipated political showdown in the Aug. 5 state and federal primary elections.

Noon today is the deadline for candidates in the primaries, as well as those vying for nonpartisan seats on the Shelby County school board and the three judicial positions, to file their qualifying petitions for the ballot.

71. MED’s Future Becomes Muddier -

The Regional Medical Center at Memphis’ future grew more tenuous this week as Gov. Phil Bredesen and the Memphis political community staked out differing political stances.

However, Bredesen and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. began discussing the future of the county-owned and -funded hospital – even as Bredesen appeared to dismiss efforts by interim Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford to get emergency state funding.

72. Surprises Possible as Primary Filing Deadline Nears -

Although today marks the filing deadline for the May 4 Shelby County primaries and independent candidates on the Aug. 5 county general election ballot, plenty of political drama remains.

In fact, the filing deadline is often just as important – and surprising – as election day.

73. Commission to Carry MED Baton Again Today -

Shelby County commissioners approved $10 million for The Regional Medical Center two weeks ago.

Today the body will still be talking about The MED.

On the agenda for today’s meeting is a resolution asking all candidates for governor to sign a pledge to provide The MED with “all federal funds received by the state for uncompensated care.”

74. Ford Expected to Run for County Mayor -

After a tumultuous year of political upheaval in 2009, the 2010 campaign season has belatedly come to life.

Democrat Harold Byrd’s decision not to run for Shelby County mayor late last month and Republican Mark Luttrell’s decision this week to get in the race have shaken the political atmosphere out of its post-New Year doldrums.

75. Luttrell to Run for County Mayor -

Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell is running for county mayor in the May 4 Republican primaries.

“Probably the toughest part of this decision process was deciding to leave the sheriff’s office,” he said. “I have a very deep, abiding loyalty to the sheriff’s office.”

76. Temporary MED Fix Just That: Temporary -

The Regional Medical Center at Memphis will get $10 million from Shelby County government to keep its emergency room open through June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

The Shelby County Commission’s 9-3 vote this week takes the money from the county’s $73 million reserve fund.

77. 2010 -

Is it over yet? That may be the most frequently asked question in the New Year. “It” is the worst national economic recession since the Great Depression.

Accurately reading the indicators will not be easy. Some will predict the recession is about to end, just as new indicators point to continuing economic agony for thousands of Memphians.

78. MED Task Force Members Appointed -

Shelby County Interim Mayor Joyce Avery and County Commissioner Joe Ford, who will become county mayor Dec. 10, have appointed a task force to brainstorm short- and long-term solutions to the revenue crisis at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis.

79. County Mayor Deadlock Moves to Next Week -

The pressure of 24 roll call votes didn’t change any minds. Attempts at persuasion between the votes didn’t change any votes on the Shelby County Commission.

So now commissioners on both sides of the body’s deadlock over an interim county mayor are counting on another tactic to break the draw between Commissioners Joe Ford and J.W. Gibson – time.

80. Commission Deadlocked On Next County Mayor -

Joyce Avery will serve as Shelby County Mayor until Dec. 10.

Shelby County Commissioners decided Monday that she will serve the full 45 day period in the county charter. But they weren’t able to decide who will be mayor after Dec. 10.

81. UPDATE: County Commission Deadlocks On Mayoral Choice -

Joyce Avery will serve as Shelby County Mayor until Dec. 10.

Shelby County Commissioners decided Monday that she will serve the full 45 day period in the county charter. But they weren’t able to decide who will be mayor after Dec. 10.

82. Commission Expected to Choose County Mayor -  

This could take awhile.

Among the items on today’s Shelby County Commission agenda is the appointment of a mayor to serve the remaining 10 months left in the term of A C Wharton Jr. Wharton became Memphis mayor in the Oct. 15 special election to replace Willie Herenton, who retired in July.

The meeting will begin at 1:30 p.m. at the County Administration Building, 160 N. Main St.

Three Shelby County commissioners and a former suburban mayor are vying for the appointment to serve as the next Shelby County mayor.

They are County Commissioners J.W. Gibson, Joe Ford and George Flinn and former Collierville Mayor Linda Kerley.

The Daily News will tweet the outcome this afternoon and a full account will be posted later today at The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.

Commission Chairwoman Joyce Avery is serving as mayor for up to 45 days. She is not among the four contenders who filed an application and underwent a background check.

Issues to consider

Each of the four contenders identified the financial crisis at The Regional Medical Center at Memphis as a top priority if they are selected. All said they would not be a candidate in the 2010 county elections. Flinn qualified that slightly by saying he would not run in 2010 if he wins the appointment.

“The biggest challenge facing this interim mayor will be The MED,” said Flinn, who is a physician and radiologist. “Closure or scaling back of The MED will be devastating to the community as a whole.

“Yet, we know our severe limitations financially in the county. This is a serious challenge and I’m the only one here with 35 years of medical experience … to meet this.”

Gibson also accented his business acumen as CEO of Gibson Cos., which includes a commercial printing operation, land development services and a wholesale medical supply company.

“I would like to deal with trying to stabilize the Regional Medical Center,” Gibson said as he also talked of improving the access locally owned small businesses have to government contracts and to economic growth in general.

Gibson was appointed to the Metro Charter Commission, and reaffirmed last week what he said in October when his appointment was confirmed by the County Commission. He will resign the charter commission position if he wins the appointment as county mayor.

Ford, who is the longest-serving member of the current commission, talked of his reluctance to seek elected office despite being part of the city’s best-known political family. He retired in 2008 from the family business, N.J. Ford and Sons Funeral Home, and started his own funeral home that same year.

“I had no desire to be in politics,” the 11th of 12 Ford children said as he outlined his bid for the Memphis City Council seat his late brother James Ford gave up when elected to the County Commission. “The citizens in the district came to me … and said, ‘You’ve got to run.’”

Kerley opted not to seek re-election as mayor of Collierville in 2008, saying she needed to devote more time to her real estate company during the recession.

Like Ford, Kerley said she was approached about seeking the appointment and initially said no.

“But the more I thought about it, the more I thought I might be an alternate choice to have as a temporary solution,” she said.

Partisan politics

There are a few parliamentary wrinkles going into today’s decision.

It will take seven votes for someone to claim the county mayor’s office. But the three commissioners seeking the job won’t be able to vote even if they are eliminated over several rounds of voting. The ruling by Assistant County Attorney and parliamentarian Christy Kinard means the winner will have to get seven of nine available votes on the commission if all three commissioners stay in the running.

Picking one of the three commissioners also would mean the commission would then have to fill a vacant seat on the body as well.

Kerley touted her experience running the thriving suburb.

Kerley’s name was among those considered by the commission earlier this year for a vacancy on the County Commission that ultimately went to Democrat Matt Kuhn.

Democratic backers of Kerley identified her as a Republican, but that didn’t draw enough Republican support for her to claim the seat in predominantly Republican commission District 4.

“I do miss it. I didn’t think I would,” Kerley said of the practice of politics as she talked of her partisan political identity. “I’ve been called a Democrat by Republicans and a Republican by Democrats. I’m not a card-carrying anything. … I never thought it was fair for me to join any party since I could not give my total support to that party. I wanted to be very clear about that.”

Kerley estimated she has voted for Republican candidates approximately 95 percent of the time.

The distinction is important because unlike Memphis and Collierville municipal elections, county elections for non-judicial offices feature partisan primaries before general elections. The primaries apply to commission races as well. Flinn is a Republican. Gibson and Ford are Democrats.

...

83. Commission to Appeal Second Juvenile Court Judgeship -

The battle over more than one Juvenile Court judge is on its way to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Shelby County Commissioners voted this week to appeal an earlier ruling by the Tennessee Appeals Court to the high court. The Supreme Court could choose to hear the case or deny the request for an appeal, which would leave the appeals court ruling in place.

84. Commissioners Seek Mattila’s Replacement -

Shelby County Commissioners are scheduled to fill the vacancy in the county trustee’s office by the end of this month.

Commissioners voted this week to interview candidates at committee sessions on Sept. 23. The full commission is scheduled to vote on the appointment at its Sept. 28 meeting.

85. UPDATE: Commission Approves Metro Charter Commission -

Shelby County Commissioners voted Monday to form a Metro Charter Commission. The resolution passed on a 9-2 vote.

Memphis City Council members are to discuss a similar resolution today in executive session with a vote by the full council likely in two weeks. If the council approves its side of the joint resolution, the Memphis and Shelby County Mayors would then begin appointing citizens to the 15 member body. That body would write a charter proposal to consolidate Memphis city and Shelby County governments.

86. County Commission Approves Metro Charter Commission -

Shelby County Commissioners voted Monday to form a Metro Charter Commission. The resolution passed on a 9-2 vote.

Memphis City Council members are to discuss a similar resolution Tuesday in executive session with a vote by the full council likely in two weeks. If the council approves its side of the joint resolution, the Memphis and Shelby County Mayors would then begin appointing citizens to the 15 member body. That body would write a charter proposal to consolidate Memphis city and Shelby County governments.

87. UPDATE: Metro Charter Commission Clears Commission Test Vote -

The formation of a Metro Charter Commission passed in a key test vote this morning before a committee of the Shelby County Commission.

The committee approved the resolution authorizing the 15-member commission to draft a blueprint for a consolidated Memphis and Shelby County government.

88. County Leaves Wiggle Room In Tax Rate -

In setting the Shelby County property tax rate for the coming fiscal year, county officials have planned for the loss of as much as $1.06 billion in tax value from successful challenges to property value this year.

89. MSARC Now Firmly in County’s Palm -

Shelby County Commissioners talked over the finances of moving the Memphis Sexual Assault Resource Center into county government this week. But the 13-member body was anxious to avoid discussions about anything else surrounding the politically volatile agency.

90. Not So Fast -

A proposed ordinance to prohibit employment-related discrimination in Shelby County government based on sexual orientation failed in a County Commission committee Wednesday morning on a 5-5 vote.

The measure, sponsored by Commissioner Steve Mulroy, will head to the full commission Monday for a vote on first reading but without the support of committee approval behind it. If Monday’s vote results in another tie or clear defeat, the measure at that point will have died.

91. Life After City Hall: The story behind Herenton’s Washington surprise -

You would think that Mayor Willie Herenton’s “resignation” last spring as he thought about trying out for Memphis City Schools superintendent would be difficult to top.

92. Commission to Dissect Reappraisal Process -

All that’s left to do for the countywide reappraisal is sort through property value challenges, but Shelby County commissioners plan to conduct an ad hoc committee meeting this morning to determine what, if anything, should be done to improve the process.

93. Democrats Pull Off Commission Trick -

Before this week’s meeting of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners, Commissioner Steve Mulroy was offering magic tricks. Moving a foam cup with static electricity was the trick of the day at that point.

94. County Commission To Fill Vacancy -

The Shelby County Board of Commissioners should return to its full complement of 13 members today.

The commission is scheduled to select a replacement for David Lillard, a Republican who resigned from the commission this month following his appointment in January as state treasurer. Whoever wins the appointment will serve the year and a half remaining in Lillard’s four-year term of office.

95. Lillard Prepares for Treasurer Post, Would-Be Replacements Line Up -

David Lillard attended his last Shelby County Board of Commissioners meeting this week.

The competition to win the appointment to his seat has been under way since earlier this month when Lillard won the balloting in the Tennessee Legislature for state treasurer.

96. Bass Pro Deal Trundles On -

The same team that negotiated the development agreement with Bass Pro Shops will do the talking for city and county governments on a lease of The Pyramid to the fishing and hunting retailer.

Earlier this week, the Shelby County Board of Commissioners approved the yearlong development agreement on a 9-3 vote. It’s the same agreement approved in October by the Memphis City Council.

97. Bass Pro Development Agreement Approved On 9-3 Vote -

There is a development agreement between Bass Pro Shops and Memphis and Shelby County governments.

The Board of Shelby County Commissioners approved the development agreement Monday afternoon on a 9-3 vote. The Memphis City Council approved the same agreement earlier this month.

98. Bass Pro Development Agreement Clears Last Hurdle -

There is a development agreement between Bass Pro Shops and Memphis and Shelby County governments.

The Board of Shelby County Commissioners approved the development agreement this afternoon on a 9-3 vote. The Memphis City Council approved the same agreement earlier this month.

99. Pyramid Decision Sets Stage For Further Debate -

Shelby County government will stay in The Pyramid business for now.

A move to sell the county’s share of The Pyramid, The Mid-South Coliseum and Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium to the city of Memphis for $5 million failed this week on a 5-6 vote of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners.

100. Commission Moves Forward With More Charter Changes -

The Shelby County Board of Commissioners will meet twice next week for the second and third readings of two new sets of county charter changes for voters to consider.

During two days of deliberations this week, the commission approved proposed changes to five countywide offices – sheriff, trustee, register, county clerk and assessor – that would fix legal problems in the current county charter noted in a 2007 Tennessee Supreme Court ruling. Those changes are the same ones voters rejected by a narrow margin in the Aug. 7 elections. But on the August ballot they were attached to a term limits proposal.