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Editorial Results (free)

1. Grizzlies Seek NBA Draft Night Magic -

Three years ago, you probably had never heard of Kawhi Leonard. He played at San Diego State, the same school from which the Grizzlies selected guard Jamaal Franklin in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft.

2. Commission Prepares Final Budget Moves -

When Shelby County Commissioners make the last adjustments to the county budget in committee sessions Wednesday, May 28, they will likely increase the 2.5 percent pay raise county Mayor Mark Luttrell proposed for county employees to 3 percent.

3. Commission Approves Ballpark Deal -

The deal for the city of Memphis to buy AutoZone Park and the St. Louis Cardinals to buy the Memphis Redbirds franchise is on its way to a mid-February closing.

Shelby County Commission approval of the county’s part of the deal Monday, Jan. 27, came with a lot of reluctance and some of the same complaints Memphis City Council members had last month – primarily that they were being rushed.

4. Commission Approves Other Part of Ballpark Deal -

Shelby County Commissioners reluctantly approved county government’s part of the AutoZone Park deal Monday, Jan. 27, despite delaying a vote on it at committee sessions last week.

The item was added onto the commission’s agenda by chairman James Harvey who said he could because it was “time sensitive.”

5. City, County Differ on Fairgrounds Zone -

The city of Memphis and Shelby County governments have a difference of opinion about tax revenue and education funding.

It is over where the sales tax revenue would go within a tourism development zone the city wants to use to finance the redevelopment of the Mid-South Fairgrounds.

6. At 11th Hour, Congress Debates Plastic Gun Ban -

WASHINGTON (AP) – With 3-D printers increasingly able to produced plastic weapons, the House voted Tuesday to renew a 25-year-old prohibition against firearms that can evade metal detectors and X-ray machines.

7. County Leaders Blast Fairgrounds Tourism Development Zone Financing Plan -

Shelby County government leaders say a city plan to use incremental sales tax revenue within a tourism development zone to revitalize the Fairgrounds will take the share of that revenue that goes to Shelby County Schools.

8. Luttrell Proposes Tax Hike for Schools -

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell is proposing a $4.38 county property tax rate including a 6-cent tax hike above the higher certified tax rate for the new fiscal year that begins July 1.

9. Due Process -

One at a time. That is the most noticeable change so far at Memphis-Shelby County Juvenile Court as a result of a landmark settlement in November with the U.S. Justice Department. The children before the court come before the court magistrates one at a time. No more groups of juvenile defendants waiting for their case to come up as other cases are being heard.

10. Heritage Trail Complexity a Concern -

As 2012 comes to an end, the most ambitious plan from City Hall for the revitalization of an inner-city area in 15 years of such projects has hit a critical stage.

The idea of a tax increment financing zone for a large swath of the area south of FedExForum as well as the Downtown area itself into South Memphis is being examined closely by Shelby County Commissioners before they commit county property tax revenues with the “Heritage Trail” zone.

11. Concerns Continue Over Heritage Trail Tax Increment Financing -

Shelby County officials have reservations about plans to create a tax increment financing zone for the city’s proposed Heritage Trails development area.

The reservations prompted county finance experts to move a recommendation against the proposed tax increment financing district to a private committee meeting last month.

12. Political Outsourcing -

It has been 12 years since Shelby County voters have encountered a Democratic or Republican presidential nominee on the general election ballot who had some kind of political presence in the region, if not the city, before they made their bid for president.

13. Wal-Mart CEO Says Co. Committed to Compliance -

FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. (AP) – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. CEO Mike Duke said Friday that the retailer is committed to integrity in the wake of recent bribery allegations in Mexico.

Duke joined other executives including chairman Robson Walton, the son of founder Sam Walton, at the company's annual meeting on Friday in pledging that Wal-Mart will get to the bottom of the allegations.

14. Believe Memphis? Not if Lakers in Town -

The evening started with such a great vibe. FedExForum public address announcer Rick Trotter just mentioned the visiting Los Angeles Lakers and sweet boos rained down onto the court.

15. Believe Memphis? Not if Lakers in Town -

The evening started with such a great vibe. FedExForum public address announcer Rick Trotter just mentioned the visiting Los Angeles Lakers and sweet boos rained down onto the court.

16. McConnell: Extend Tax Cut Short-Term and Long-Term -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate's top Republican on Thursday urged the GOP-led House to pass a short-term renewal of payroll tax cuts and break an impasse that threatens all workers with a Jan. 1 tax increase. Within hours, a House Republican freshman broke ranks and agreed, signaling that fierce pressure from almost every corner of the Republican Party had begun to crack conservative opposition to a short-term fix.

17. Commission Considers Convention Center Buyout -

It was May 2009 when the Shelby County Commission sold the county’s share of The Pyramid to the city of Memphis.

At the time, A C Wharton Jr. was Shelby County mayor and Robert Lipscomb was city director of Housing and Community Development. And with commission approval Monday, Aug. 22, of a similar buyout of the county’s interest in the Memphis Cook Convention Center, Wharton will sign the contract as the city of Memphis mayor.

18. Reappraisal Appeals Increase County Red Ink -

As the week began, the Luttrell administration upped the gap between revenues and expenditures in its county operating budget proposal by approximately $4 million.

County chief administrative officer Harvey Kennedy told county commissioners Wednesday the amount of red ink has increased to a total of $16.6 million because of lower revenue estimates for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

19. Day of Reckoning -

Memphis and Shelby County governments are in the process of taking a hard look at the benefits they’ve promised to start paying their several thousand employees once they retire – payments the employees will then get for the rest of their lives.

20. County Commission Addresses Paid Leave -

Shelby County employees can’t get paid leave to go Christmas shopping or in exchange for giving blood or giving to a charity.

In a change of political course, the Shelby County Commission this week added the ban to county personnel policy stopping what has been a practice for some elected county officials for years.

21. County Commission Reverses Course on Buying Paid Leave -

Two weeks ago, Shelby County commissioners were about evenly split on the idea that county personnel policy should prevent employees from “buying” paid leave to go Christmas shopping or get the leave as a reward for giving blood and supporting various charities.

22. Appointment Comes Just in Time for Budget -

Just in time for the new budget season, the Shelby County Commission Monday considers the appointment of Mike Swift as the new county finance director.

23. $1.2B Budget Presented To County Commission -

The budget season began officially Monday morning as Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell took a $1.2 billion consolidated county government budget proposal to county commissioners with $22.7 million in red ink.

24. Huntzicker Retires from County Finance -

Shelby County Finance and Administration Director Jim Huntzicker is retiring effective April 22.

Huntzicker submitted his retirement notice earlier this month with little fanfare.

Word of the retirement came Monday as Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell nominated Mike Swift, currently the finance administrator under Huntzicker, to be the new finance and administration director.

25. Commission Rejects Paid Leave Restrictions -

Shelby County commissioners were short of the votes Monday to specifically prohibit county employees from getting paid leave for Christmas shopping days or in exchange for donating blood and other charity work.

26. Local Officials Overestimate Tax Rates -

Memphis and Shelby County governments collected more property tax revenue than they needed in 2009, according to new figures from the Shelby County Assessor’s office.

Officials from both governments guessed too high when forecasting how much they’d lose to property owners appealing last year’s new appraisals and winning reductions. And state law doesn’t require governments that guess too high to give the money back.

27. Candidate Filing List -- The Final Version -

Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell appeared on his way to the Republican nomination for Shelby County mayor at Thursday’s noon filing deadline for candidates on the May 4 primary ballot.

28. UPDATE: Mayor's Race Grows At Filing Deadline -

Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell appeared on his way to the Republican nomination for Shelby County mayor at Thursday’s noon filing deadline for candidates on the May 4 primary ballot.

Luttrell faces only token opposition from perennial candidate Ernie Lunati.

Meanwhile, the Democratic primary for mayor grew to three contenders as General Sessions Court Clerk Otis Jackson filed his qualifying petition just before the deadline. He joins interim County Mayor Joe Ford and Shelby County Commissioner Deidre Malone.

Luttrell ruled out a bid for Shelby County mayor last year (2009). But when Harold Byrd decided not to run in the Democratic primary, some local GOP leaders asked Luttrell to reconsider.

The result touched off a scramble of candidates from both parties for the open sheriff’s office. But before the noon deadline, the initial field of over a dozen possible contenders was narrowed to ten – six Democrats and four Republicans.

The other surprise at the filing deadline was the return of attorney Walter Bailey to the District 2 Position 1 seat he gave up in the 2006 elections. Bailey sought re-election then to another term despite a two term limit on commissioners. Bailey lost to J.W. Gibson who decided not to seek re-election. He also lost a court fight to overturn the term limits.

Bailey was the only candidate who had filed for the seat at the Thursday deadline.

Only one incumbent county commissioner – Republican Mike Ritz -- was effectively re-elected at the deadline because he had no opposition.

All but one of the eleven contested County Commission races will be decided with the May 4 primaries. The only general election battle for the August ballot is the district 5 contest between GOP challenger Dr. Rolando Toyos and whoever wins the May Democratic primary between incumbent Steve Mulroy and Jennings Bernard.

Former County Commissioner John Willingham also returned to the ballot among a field of Republican contenders in the primary for Shelby County Trustee.

And former Criminal Court Clerk Minerva Johnican joined the Democratic primary field for her old job. Incumbent Republican Bill Key pulled petition to seek re-election but did not file at the deadline.

Here is the list of races and contenders from The Shelby County Election Commission. All candidate have until noon Feb. 25 to withdraw from the ballot if they wish.

D-Democrat

R- Republican

I- Independent

Shelby County Mayor:

Deidre Malone (D)

Joe Ford (D)

Otis Jackson (D)

Mark Luttrell (R)

Ernest Lunati (R)

Leo Awgowhat (I)

Shelby County Sheriff:

James Coleman (R)

Bobby Simmons (R)

Bill Oldham (R)

Dale Lane (R)

Larry Hill (D)

Bennie Cobb (D)

Randy Wade (D)

James Bolden (D)

Elton Hymon (D)

Reginald French (D)

County Commission Dist 1 Pos 1

Mike Ritz (R) (incumbent)

County Commission Dist 1 Pos 2

Albert Maduska (R)

Heidi Shafer (R)

County Commission Dist 1 Pos 3

Mike Carpenter (R) (incumbent)

Joe Baire (R)

County Commission Dist 2 Pos 1

Walter Bailey (D)

County Commission Dist 2 Pos 2

Henri Brooks (D) (incumbent)

David Vinciarelli (D)

County Commission Dist 2 Pos 3

Eric Dunn (D)

Norma Lester (D)

Tina Dickerson (D)

Melvin Burgess (D)

Reginald Milton (D)

Freddie Thomas (D)

County Commission Dist 3 Pos 1

James Harvey (D) (incumbent)

James Catchings (D)

County Commission Dist. 3 Pos 2

Sidney Chism (D) (incumbent)

Andrew "Rome" Withers (D)

County Commission Dist. 3 Pos 3

Edith Moore  (D) (incumbent)

Justin Ford (D)

County Commission Dist 4 Pos 1

Chris Thomas (R)

John Pellicciotti (R)

Jim Bomprezzi (R)

County Commission Dist 4 Pos 2

Wyatt Bunker (R) (incumbent)

John Wilkerson (R)

Ron Fittes (R)

County Commission Dist 4 Pos 3

Terry Roland (R)

George Chism (R)

Edgar Babian (R)

County Commission Dist 5

Steve Mulroy (D) (incumbent)

Jennings Bernard (D)

Rolando Toyos (R)

Shelby County Clerk

Charlotte Draper (D)

Corey Maclin (D)

LaKeith Miller (D)

Wayne Mashburn (R)

Steve Moore (R)

Criminal Court Clerk

Vernon Johnson (D)

Minerva Johnican (D)

Ralph White (D)

Michael Porter (R)

Kevin Key (R)

Jerry Stamson (I)

Circuit Court Clerk

Jimmy Moore (R) (incumbent)

Steven Webster (D)

Carmichael Johnson (D)

Ricky W. Dixon (D)

Juvenile Court Clerk

Joy Touliatos (R)

Charles Marshall (D)

Sylvester Bradley (D)

Shep Wilbun (D)

Julia Roberson Wiseman (I)

Probate Court Clerk

Paul Boyd (R)

Sondra Becton (D)

Danny Kail (D)

Annita Sawyer Hamilton (D)

Peggy Dobbins (D)

Clay Perry (D)

Karen Tyler (D)

Shelby County Register

Tom Leatherwood (R) (incumbent)

Coleman Thompson (D)

Lady J. Swift (D)

Carlton Orange (D)

Shelby County Trustee

Regina Newman (D) (incumbent)

M. LaTroy Williams (D)

John Willingham (R)

Jeff Jacobs (R)

David Lenoir (R)

...

29. Senate Panel Clears Bernanke Nomination -

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Senate panel on Thursday approved the nomination of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to run the nation's central bank for another four years.

The Senate Banking Committee voted 16-7 to send Bernanke's nomination to the full Senate for consideration. Approval came after a two-hour debate that heaped both praise and criticism on the Fed chief.

30. 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.

31. County GovernmentRestructures Debt -      Shelby County government is getting a better interest rate with the restructuring of part of its $1.7 billion debt through 2022.
     The Shelby County Board of Commissioners Monday approved

32. The Road to Perdition? Memphis-Shelby County must 'pay the piper' on retirement benefits -

As Memphis and Shelby County governments continue piecing together their latest budget documents, which are both weeks away from being reviewed and adopted, one bit of information is conspicuously absent from the reams of dry numbers. It concerns the solution to a potentially thorny accounting problem, one that some analysts around the country have said has all the makings of a financial train wreck.

33. Archived Article: Events - The Small Business Innovative Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs outreach tour comes to Memphis from 8 a

The Small Business Innovative Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs, or SWIFT V, outreach tour runs ...