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Editorial Results (free)

1. City Council Reconsiders Utility Standards Contract -

Memphis City Council members Tuesday, Sept. 2, reconsidered their rejection at the Aug. 19 council meeting of an $8.8 million contract between Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division and Davis H. Elliott Construction Co. of Lexington, Ky. The contract is for three years’ worth of work to be done to meet federal utility reliability standards.

2. Council To Review Conflicting Health Insurance Numbers -

City government’s open enrollment period for health insurance begins in October and new details of health insurance benefit cuts approved in June go in the mail later this month. Yet Memphis City Council members meet in a special committee session next week to again review conflicting numbers from actuaries on the coverage.

3. 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.

4. Memphis Bar Judicial Poll Released -

The Memphis Bar Association poll of attorneys on the judicial races on the Aug. 7 ballot shows 16 percent to as high as 38 percent of the attorneys participating have no opinion in many of the judicial races.

5. Malone Takes Early Vote In Mayoral Primary -

Former Shelby County Commissioner Deidre Malone took the early vote in the three-way Democratic primary for Shelby County Mayor.

The first results of the Tuesday, May 6, election night showed Malone leading rivals county commissioner Steve Mulroy and former Shelby County Schools board member Kenneth Whalum Jr.

6. Southbrook Mall Plans Simmer -

If the city is going to spend money on a renovation of the Southbrook Mall in Whitehaven, it should be part of a larger plan for Whitehaven and tie in to the aerotropolis concept.

That’s what city Housing and Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb said Tuesday, April 15, as he outlined a $6.5 million plan for turning the mall into a “town center” that includes some city government offices and private retail.

7. Council Questions Five-Year Wharton Plan -

It’s usually a quick bottom line for any local government budget proposal – does it mean a property tax hike?

The $596 million operating budget submitted to the Memphis City Council Tuesday, April 15, by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. does not include a property tax hike.

8. 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.

9. Council Approves Plan for Raleigh Springs Mall -

Memphis City Council members approved an urban renewal plan Tuesday, March 4, for the Raleigh Springs Mall that will start the process of locating city government offices at the mall, starting with the Memphis Police Department traffic precinct. The resolution, sponsored by council member Bill Morrison and approved without debate, also sets the stage for a public hearing on the larger plan.

10. Council Approves Plan for Raleigh Springs Mall -

Memphis City Council members approved an urban renewal plan Tuesday, March 4, for the Raleigh Springs Mall that will start the process of locating city government offices at the mall, starting with the Memphis Police Department traffic precinct. The resolution, sponsored by council member Bill Morrison and approved without debate, also sets the stage for a public hearing on the larger plan.

11. Council Weighs Conflicting Liability Numbers, Approves Mall Plan -

Memphis City Council members cleared much of their committee calendar Tuesday, Feb. 4, to talk for four hours about specifics of the city’s pension fund liability crisis.

The discussion with Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson, Tennessee Treasurer David Lillard and consultants from four actuarial firms was aimed at trying to define the specifics of the problem, see if there is agreement on some of the numbers and better explain the differences.

12. Council Weighs Conflicting L:iability Numbers, Approves Mall Plan -

Memphis City Council members cleared much of their committee calendar Tuesday, Feb. 4, to talk for four hours about specifics of the city’s pension fund liability crisis.

The discussion with Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson, Tennessee Treasurer David Lillard and consultants from four actuarial firms was aimed at trying to define the specifics of the problem, see if there is agreement on some of the numbers and better explain the differences.

13. Roland ReElected At Filing Deadline, Two Countywide Races Set For August -

One of the six Shelby County Commission incumbents seeking re-election this year was effectively elected to a new four-year term in a new district with the noon Thursday, Feb. 20, filing deadline for candidates in the May county primaries.

14. Council OKs ‘Tax Dead’ Anti-Blight Program -

The Memphis City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 4, approved an anti-blight grant program for “tax dead” properties – properties with more in back taxes and associated fees than the property is appraised for or could ever be sold for.

15. Fields Begin to Gel for May and August Ballots -

With two weeks to the filing deadline for candidates in the May Shelby County primary elections and two months to the deadline for those in the August state and federal primaries and county nonpartisan elections, the fields have solidified enough that some political players are weighing their prospects for a late entry before the filing deadlines.

16. Council OKs ‘Tax Dead’ Anti-Blight Program -

The Memphis City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 4, approved an anti-blight grant program for “tax dead” properties – properties with more in back taxes and associated fees than the property is appraised for or could ever be sold for.

17. 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.

18. Boyd Proposes Cordova Streetlight Fee Exemption -

Homeowners in South Cordova are about to get a utility bill this month that includes a new fee for streetlights, though they don’t have streetlights yet.

January is the debut of the streetlight fee on Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division utility bills under a switch of streetlights from a part of city government and its budget to the utility.

19. Boyd Proposes Cordova Streetlight Fee Exemption -

Homeowners in South Cordova are about to get a utility bill this month that includes a new fee for streetlights, though they don’t have streetlights yet.

January is the debut of the streetlight fee on Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division utility bills under a switch of streetlights from a part of city government and its budget to the utility.

20. Council Rules Could Change in 2014 -

Memphis City Council members are already starting to adapt some items in a set of proposed changes in how they conduct business.

The proposal took a bit longer to formulate than originally anticipated.

21. County Commission Races Generate Early Interest -

The first two days of the period for candidates in the 2014 county elections to pull qualifying petitions has been dominated by incumbents and contenders for the newly configured district seats on the Shelby County Commission.

22. 6 Candidates Pull Qualifying Petitions on Opening Day -

Three Republican incumbents and three Shelby County Commission hopefuls were the first six candidates to pull petitions on the opening day of the candidate filing season for the 2014 county elections.

23. New Parking Meters Ready for Debut -

After years of talking about new parking meters and more aggressive enforcement of the Downtown and Medical Center on-street parking governed by the meters, city leaders thought it best to bring out the new meters as proof that the change is actually about to happen.

24. New Council Chairman Could Have New Rules -

The new chairman of the Memphis City Council in 2014 could be overseeing the council under a different set of ground rules.

Jim Strickland was elected chairman by his fellow City Council members Tuesday, Nov. 5, to start his one-year term in January.

25. Council Rules -

Three Memphis City Council members continue to look at the council’s rules of procedure and how those rules are enforced as the council prepares for the annual election of a new chairman for the new year.

26. Council Committee Looks Broadly at Council Rules -

A trio of Memphis City Council members weighing possible changes to the council’s way of conducting business has more questions at the outset than answers about what kind of conduct is allowed and what shouldn’t be on the elected body.

27. Fullilove’s Funding Push Raises Legal Questioning -

Memphis City Council member Janis Fullilove pushed hard for $1.5 million in city funding for the renovation of Southbrook Mall in Whitehaven.

28. Council Approves Beale Deal, Delays Highland McDonald's -

Memphis City Council members sent a plan Tuesday, Oct. 15, to settle the last barrier to direct day to day city control of the Beale Street entertainment district to a federal bankruptcy judge.

The council approved a resolution that would use $400,000 from a dormant city fund related to the abandoned Midtown interstate corridor and $100,000 in revenues it has collected from the Beale Street district to pay off a loan Beale Street developer John Elkington took out for improvements he made to Handy Park.

29. Police Plan New Evidence Storage for Rape Kits -

A backlog of thousands of unprocessed rape kits, some dating back to the 1980s, has gone from a plan to process them to a new DNA evidence storage room for the Memphis Police Department.

Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said Tuesday, Sept. 3, the new evidence storage room would be built at the current police impound lot at the old International Harvester plant in Frayser.

30. Legislature to Explore Annexation Votes -

The Tennessee legislature has put a moratorium on annexations, and even if the moratorium wasn’t in place, the Memphis City Council hasn’t been anxious to annex any territory beyond South Cordova for several years.

31. Eastward Bound -

Another Memphis park may be getting a name change just as the controversy over three Confederate-themed parks starts to move again at City Hall.

But unlike the controversy surrounding those parks, there doesn’t appear to be any disagreement about the changes for Columbus Park, a tiny patch of land at Adams Avenue and Third Street.

32. Haslams Selling Tennessee Smokies Baseball Team -

KODAK, Tenn. (AP) – Cleveland Browns owner and Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam are selling the Tennessee Smokies minor league baseball team.

Pilot Flying J is under a federal investigation into alleged rebate fraud. Lauren Christ, a spokeswoman for the truck-stop chain, said the sale of the Smokies wouldn't affect Haslam's ownership of the Browns and was unrelated to the investigation.

33. Council Turns Down Home Schooling Center -

Memphis City Council members voted down a K-8 home schooling center in Midtown and a collision repair center in Cordova at their Tuesday, May 21, meeting.

The Natural Learning Center at 2368 Circle Ave. in the Lea’s Wood neighborhood near Overton Park drew opposition from the neighborhood.

34. Council Turns Down Home Schooling Center -

Memphis City Council members voted down a K-8 home schooling center in Midtown and a collision repair center in Cordova at their Tuesday, May 21, meeting.

The Natural Learning Center at 2368 Circle Ave. in the Lea’s Wood neighborhood near Overton Park drew opposition from the neighborhood.

35. Police Changes Continue Amid Budget Talks -

With the start of the new year, Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong began a reorganization of the department that changed the boundaries of the city’s nine police precincts, evening out the amount of territory and calls each area handles.

36. Parks Controversy Back to City Council -

The committee recommendations are in for new names for three Confederate-themed city parks. And the long-running controversy about the parks is now back to the Memphis City Council.

The ad hoc committee of nine, which included several historians and two City Council members, held its final meeting Monday, April 29, and voted with little discussion on several ideas for what used to be known as Confederate, Forrest and Jefferson Davis parks.

37. Three Confederate Parks Get New Recommended Names -

An ad hoc committee of the Memphis City Council voted Monday, April 29, on three permanent names to recommend to the City Council for three Confederate themed parks.

The council voted earlier this year to give the three parks temporary names in lieu of further council action.

38. Committee Split on Park Renaming Options -

The nine-member ad hoc committee that is supposed to come up with recommendations for the Memphis City Council on what to call three Confederate-themed city parks displayed a clear rift Monday, April 22.

39. 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.

40. City Council Approves Fairgrounds TDZ Request -

Memphis City Council members approved Tuesday, Feb. 19, plans for a tourism development zone to capture sales tax revenue in a large area for a renovation of the Fairgrounds property at first.

The boundaries of the zone go to the state for approval and city Community and Housing Development division director Robert Lipscomb said such a proposal could be at the state building commission in Nashville in April.

41. Give Up These 40 Things for Lent -

40 THINGS TO DO WITHOUT. Lent has begun – a season of reflection and sacrifice for believers seeking spiritual strength, a season bridging the gray gloom of winter and the green promise of spring for those seeking renewal, a season of waffles and chicken hash for those seeking comfort in the caloric basement of Calvary Church – 40 days of all of that for me.

42. Legislation Propels Parks Controversy to New Level -

As Shelby County suburban leaders were meeting in Nashville Tuesday, Feb. 5, with Tennessee legislators about possible moves toward some version of suburban school districts, the Memphis City Council was reacting to a pending bill in the state Legislature.

43. Dunavant Awards Honor, Discuss Good Government -

An award for elected and non-elected public officials marking its 10th anniversary this year began as a way to honor the late Probate Court Clerk Bobby Dunavant and to counter the damage done 10 years ago by the Tennessee Waltz federal public corruption investigation.

44. City Council Delays Forrest Park Discussion -

The Memphis City Council delayed to its first meeting in February a committee discussion about a proposal by council member Myron Lowery to rename Nathan Bedford Forrest Park to include the name of Ida B. Wells, the anti-lynching crusader of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

45. Council Delays Forrest Park Discussion -

The Memphis City Council delayed to its first meeting in February a committee discussion about a proposal by council member Myron Lowery to rename Nathan Bedford Forrest Park to include the name of Ida B. Wells, the anti-lynching crusader of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

46. 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.

47. Haslam Announces Higher Ed Goal -

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam says he wants to set Tennessee on a path toward boosting college graduation rates from 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025.

Haslam said in a release Tuesday that he has appointed Randy Boyd, chairman of wireless pet fence maker Radio Systems Corp., to help further that goal as his top higher education adviser.

48. Jones Center Fulfills Dream at First Assembly Christian School -

If the walls could talk in the log cabin on the campus of First Assembly Christian School in Cordova, they might tell stories of home life in 1836 or of the visiting missionaries who used to stay there.

49. 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.

50. Council Delays Anti-Discrimination Ordinance -

When the Memphis City Council got to the real intent this week of the latest version of an anti-discrimination ordinance it has been debating off and on for two years, it wasn’t just a decision about including “sexual orientation” in the wording.

51. Council Sends Sales Tax Hike To November Ballot -

Memphis City Council members added a half percent local option sales tax hike proposal to the Nov. 6 ballot in Memphis at their Tuesday, July 17, meeting.

The council approved the referendum ordinance on third and final reading.

52. Strickland and Conrad Pitch South Cordova DeAnnexation -

Memphis City Council members Jim Strickland and Kemp Conrad want the city to consider the deannexation of the South Cordova area taken in by the city of Memphis earlier this month.

53. Polls Set to Open for Early Voting -

Shelby County voters start deciding Friday, July 13, general election countywide races for assessor of property, General Sessions Court clerk, district attorney general and a race for a Shelby County Commission seat. The ballot also includes seven races for district seats on the countywide school board.

54. Tennessee Legislature Could Decide Muni Districts -

This could be the week that the Tennessee Legislature decides the timing of the rise of suburban municipal school districts in Shelby County.

The issue is an amendment to a Senate bill on school bullying that would permit the suburbs to call referendums this year on forming such school districts.

55. Schools Planning Commission Weighs, Rejects Stand on Schools Bill -

The schools consolidation planning commission considered Thursday, April 19, but voted down a resolution that would have urged the Tennessee legislature not to pass the bill that would allow suburban towns and cities to hold referendums this year on forming municipal school districts.

56. Council Approves Wood Chipping Location -

The Memphis City Council has approved a wood chipping and mulch processing operation by MTL Environmental LLC at Knight and Getwell roads over neighborhood opposition.

57. Wharton Budget Plan Includes Alternatives To 47 Cent Tax Hike -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. took a $628.3 million city operating budget proposal Tuesday, April 17 to the Memphis City Council with a 47-cent property tax hike proposed to meet the city’s obligation to fund Memphis City Schools.

58. Council Rejects 18 Cent Property Tax Hike -

Memphis City Council members voted Tuesday, March 20, to reject a one-time, 18-cent property tax hike to mop up an estimated $13 million in red ink for the current fiscal year.

Instead the council voted to use $10 million from the city’s reserve fund and cut $3.2 million in the existing budget including money for a voluntary buyout program of some sanitation workers that the Wharton administration has yet to activate.

59. Hard Work at Heart Of Boyd’s Public Service -

Editor’s Note: This is a Daily News series featuring past winners of the Bobby Dunavant Public Service Awards, which annually honor one elected and one non-elected government official. The 2012 awards will be presented Feb. 22.

60. Grays Creek Annexation on City’s Agenda -

Memphis City Council members take up the first of three readings Tuesday, Feb. 7, of an ordinance to annex the Grays Creek area that is in the city’s annexation reserve area.

The ordinance is a reaction to pending state legislation in Nashville that would remove part of the area from the Memphis annexation reserve.

61. Wharton, Council Take Oath Sunday -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and the Memphis City Council take the oaths of office Sunday, Jan. 1, to begin new four-year terms of office.

The ceremony at 2:30 p.m. at the Cannon Center for the Performing Arts is free and open to the public.

62. 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.

63. 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.

64. Schools Planning Commission Begins Work -

The 21-member schools consolidation planning commission goes to work Thursday, Sept. 29, in a conference room at the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement in Shelby Farms.

65. Luttrell Makes Picks for Schools Planning Group -

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell has picked his five choices for the schools consolidation planning commission: two higher education officials, a corporate attorney, an Episcopal priest heading BRIDGES USA and an elementary school principal.

66. Luttrell Makes Picks for Consolidation Planning Group -

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell has picked his five choices for the schools consolidation planning commission: two higher-education officials, a corporate attorney, an Episcopal priest heading BRIDGES USA and an elementary school principal.

67. Summit Touts Return of Demand -

“Demand is back” was the theme at the ninth annual Southern Lodging Summit held Downtown this week at The Peabody hotel and the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

Hoteliers and industry execs gathered for the 2011 Summit, which was organized by the Metropolitan Memphis Hotel & Lodging Association and hotel consulting firm Pinkowski & Co.

68. Local Democrats Take City Election Straw Poll -

It was more fundraiser than legitimate poll.

The Shelby County Democratic Party raised more than $2,000 with a straw poll in which party regulars paid $25 a ballot to show their preferences in races in the Oct. 6 city of Memphis elections with a separate ballot for the mayor’s race.

69. Boyd Moves Into Temp. Council Seat -

It’s the week between the filing deadline for the Oct. 6 Memphis elections and the deadline for any candidates who made the first deadline to get out of the race by Thursday, July 28, at noon – the withdrawal deadline.

70. 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.

71. Redrawn Lines Affect Council Contenders -

Mud Island has become a kind of safe harbor for candidates hoping to make it onto the Memphis City Council in the Oct. 6 city elections.

With Mud Island apparently still safely within council District 7, University of Memphis law school professor Lee A. Harris pulled his qualifying petition this week for the only council seat with no incumbent seeking re-election. He’s one of three citizens weighing the district race with Mud Island addresses.

72. Six Council Contenders In New Districts Under Redistrict Plan -

A detailed examination of the proposed redistricting plan for the Memphis City Council by The Daily News shows six prospective council candidates would be drawn out of districts they are considering running in for the Oct. 6 elections.

73. Belgian Professor Discusses Biotech Ties to Memphis -

The Bluff City and the city of Liége in Belgium, this year’s Memphis in May International Festival-honored country, are both growing hubs of biotech research and incubation.

And as part of the business exchange activities between Memphis and Belgium, representatives from Memphis’ business, government and scientific community Thursday gathered at the Memphis Bioworks Conference Center, 20 Dudley St., to hear professor Joseph A. Martial of the University of Liége speak during a luncheon event.

74. Memphians Among Those Receiving State Arts Awards -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Tennessee's highest honor in the arts will be awarded Tuesday in Nashville for exemplifying the state's finest cultural traditions.

Winners are the Blues Foundation of Memphis; buck dancer Thomas Maupin of Murfreesboro; Charles Towler of Cleveland, a Southern gospel convention singer; Patrick W. Halloran III of Memphis, who helped preserve the Orpheum Theatre; the W.O. Smith Music School in Nashville; Estelle Condra of Nashville, an actor and writer; Johnny Maddox of Gallatin, a ragtime pianist; and Dolph Smith of Ripley, an artist.

75. Rotary Seeks Nominations for Dunavant Award -

The Rotary Club of Memphis East is seeking nominees for its 8th annual Bobby Dunavant Public Service Award, an event that honors distinguished work by public officials.

76. Lowery Named New Council Chairman -

Myron Lowery is the new Memphis City Council chairman for 2011 and Bill Morrison is slated to be vice chairman. Lowery was the only nominee at Tuesday’s council session, as was Morrison.

77. City Anti Discrimination Ordinance Clears First Reading -

Memphis city council members approved an anti-discrimination ordinance on the first of three readings Tuesday. And they requested a study of city hiring policies to determine if there is discrimination in city government hiring practices.

78. New Chairman, Anti-Discrimination On Deck for Council -

Council member Bill Boyd is favored to become the next City Council chairman when council members vote Tuesday.

Boyd is favored due to tradition because he has served for the last year as council vice chairman. The chairmanship rotates on an annual basis by council custom.

79. Senate to Move on Stopgap Spending Bill -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Lawmakers are largely ignoring an Obama administration shopping list as they fashion a stopgap spending bill that's needed to avoid a government shutdown Friday.

The Senate could pass the measure as early as Wednesday, after a likely test vote Tuesday, and the House could clear it for President Barack Obama before the budget year ends at midnight Thursday.

80. City Council Approves Pyramid Lease Deal -

All that’s left is for Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. to sign the lease for The Pyramid. The Memphis City Council Tuesday approved a resolution that is the last step in a formal lease agreement between the City of Memphis and Bass Pro Shops.

81. Pinnacle Board Gets Downtown Hard Sell -

Pinnacle Airlines Corp. executives, after listening to a coordinated, Downtown-focused pitch from developers, businessmen and political leaders, will now take about a month to finish deciding where to relocate their corporate headquarters.

They’re considering sites Downtown, near Memphis International Airport as well as beyond the city. Mississippi has made what Pinnacle acknowledged is a “generous” offer for the company to move to Olive Branch.

Pinnacle executives are in town this week for the Memphis-based regional air carrier’s regular board meeting. Backers of the proposal to make Pinnacle the anchor tenant at Downtown’s One Commerce Square took that opportunity to make their case directly to the company in a private meeting Tuesday evening on the 29th floor of the landmark tower.

After about an hour, Pinnacle executives descended to the One Commerce lobby, where Memphis’ business elite were gathered, refreshments were served, and projected onto a screen were the words “Pinnacle Land Here” against a backdrop of the city.

Guests included a handful of political leaders, representatives of the Greater Memphis Chamber, EmergeMemphis, the Center City Commission and the heads of Memphis two largest locally-based banks, First Tennessee and Independent Bank, among other people.

Contrasting with the traditional nametags everyone else wore, the nametags of Pinnacle board members were brightly colored. All the better, Downtown supporters pointed out, for identifying them and laying on the charm.

“We’re going to fill this building,” exclaimed Karl Schledwitz, one of the partners with Southland Capital president Terry Lynch involved in buying the tower and working to lease a significant portion of it to Pinnacle.

As guests mingled, a marketing video produced by the Center City Commission was played on one wall that featured Downtown workers talking up the neighborhood. The same video was shown earlier that evening during the private pitch to Pinnacle’s board.

Making the case to the board were Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.; incoming Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and representatives of the investors buying One Commerce, as well as the Center City Commission and the Looney Ricks Kiss architectural firm.

Pinnacle Airlines Corp.’s board of directors participated in a walk-through of One Commerce Square, hosted by members of the Center City Commission, the investors who are buying the building, and key business and government leaders,” said Phil Trenary, Pinnacle’s president and CEO, in a statement released Tuesday night. “This visit gave our board an opportunity to get a firsthand look at the building.

“Pinnacle has not selected a new site and still has to complete an in-depth analysis on this and other sites. We appreciate the interest and enthusiasm that the City of Memphis, the CCC, the Chamber and the ownership group have shown as we move through this process.”

Tuesday was the culmination of a months-long synchronized attempt at deal-making among several entities working to keep Pinnacle from being lured away from Memphis.

Details of the multimillion-dollar incentive package business and civic leaders have pieced together to cement the Downtown location for Pinnacle also began to trickle out Tuesday.

Coupled with that, a series of well-timed dominoes still needs to fall into place before a deal sweetened with a variety of incentives comes together.

Lynch confirmed Tuesday afternoon that several things have to happen more or less simultaneously.

The city, or perhaps an entity like one of the Center City Commission’s affiliated boards, would need to buy a nearby parking garage at the same time the investors buy One Commerce Square and at the same time Pinnacle signs a lease. Plans in the works now call for leasing the nearby parking garage back to One Commerce Square's new owners and giving Pinnacle parking there. More Pinnacle parking would be available at 250 Peabody Place.

Lynch said a memorandum of understanding has already been making its way around to various people involved in the deal. Wharton, outgoing Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford and CCC President Paul Morris have all signed a memo outlining the proposed incentives.

Lynch said U.S. Bank, the current owner of One Commerce Square, has accepted the investment group’s bid, but plenty more moving pieces need to fall into place.

“We have a letter of intent and we’re working through a contract right now. We’re just going back and forth. That’s the status of it right now,” Lynch said.

He said the timeline for next steps is fluid.

“If we don’t get past the first one, we can’t get to the second one,” Lynch said. “There’s various steps we have to get to.”

Wharton said Tuesday the city would like to commit $3 million from the $5 million economic development fund Wharton recently asked for the City Council’s approval to establish.

Wharton also mentioned Tuesday the possibility of applying for $15 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act bond allocations from the state to add to the pot of financing for the Pinnacle deal.

Another facet of the issue is how to pay for and fit into the package the acquisition of a nearby parking garage for Pinnacle’s use. The importance of that topic was discussed by Downtown officials with Pinnacle’s board Tuesday night.

“Landing Pinnacle Downtown would be a big boost in all kinds of ways,” said council member Bill Boyd.

U.S. Bancorp recently accepted the bid to buy One Commerce Square tower from a group of investors that includes Lynch; Schledwitz; and Gary Prosterman.

Lynch’s group is committing $25 million to $30 million on the building, which includes the purchase price and improvements to the building in the coming months. The group is now teeing up a deal to make Pinnacle the building's anchor tenant, something that Wharton has said will be an attraction to other businesses that have expressed interest in following suit if Pinnacle inks a deal.

Lynch wasn’t able to disclose the building's formal purchase price, but One Commerce Square was listed for $12 million.

Look for updates at The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.

...

82. Multimillion Dollar Incentive Package on Tap for Pinnacle -

The city and other partners have pieced together a multimillion-dollar incentive package to help cement a new Downtown location for Pinnacle Airlines Corp.

83. GOP Carries Countywide Offices -

The only thing Republican candidates in Shelby County were denied in the Aug. 5 elections was a majority on the Shelby County Commission. The local GOP slate swept every countywide partisan race on the ballot with Thursday’s election results.

Voter turnout – early and Election Day – was almost 30 percent of Shelby County’s 600,000 voters. All election returns will be audited and must be certified by the Shelby County Election Commission.

Republican Bill Oldham, the former chief deputy of the Sheriff’s Department under outgoing Sheriff Mark Luttrell, beat Democrat Randy Wade in the race for sheriff.

The unofficial returns with all precincts reporting were:

Oldham: 89,613 (52%)

Wade: 82,981 (48%)

Wade, who was the Democratic nominee for sheriff in 2002, linked his 2010 campaign to the re-election bid of Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen. Wade, a former sheriff’s deputy, is Cohen’s district director.

Oldham campaigned on continuing the policies of Luttrell. But his campaign faltered when Oldham was forced to resign his job as chief deputy – the No. 2 position in the department – following a complaint to the U.S. Justice Department that his candidacy violated the Federal Hatch Act.

The civil complaint investigated by the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel left Oldham with the choice of either quitting the job or quitting the race. To keep both could have jeopardized federal funding the department receives.

The complaint was unique because deputies and high-ranking officers running for sheriff has been a regular feature of the sheriff’s race for decades. It wasn’t until 2002 that those in the department were required to take a leave of absence if they ran.

In other general election races, challenger Ken Hoover lost to Shelby County School Board Chairman David Pickler in the race for the District 5 seat on the seven-member board.

Pickler has been chairman for 11 of the 12 years the school board has been an elected body. Pickler ran on his record as chairman. Hoover also ran on Pickler’s record, saying his leadership style was too autocratic and not transparent enough.

The unofficial results were:

Pickler: 5,123 (51%)

Hoover: 4,956 (49%)

In the two other contested school board races, former Bolton High School principal Snowden “Butch” Carruthers beat Millington parent Charlene White in District 1. And political newcomer David Reaves beat fellow newcomer Lara A. McIntyre, both of Bartlett, for the District 3 seat.

White and McIntyre both called for change in school board methods during their campaigns.

District 7 school board member Ernest Chism ran unopposed.

The even-numbered district school board seats are on the 2012 county ballot.

After running for Probate Court clerk three other times, Democratic nominee Sondra Becton could not claim the office on her fourth try – even with the incumbent she campaigned against the three other times out of the race. Republican contender Paul Boyd easily beat Becton in the race for the office Chris Thomas gave up to run for and win a seat on the Shelby County Commission.

Becton lost to Thomas by 604 votes four years ago and was among the four Democratic challengers who unsuccessfully challenged the results in Chancery Court. This time she lost by more than 6,500 votes.

The vote totals were:

Boyd: 82,259 (52%)

Becton: 75,702 (48%)

Republican Tom Leatherwood easily defeated Democratic challenger Coleman Thompson to remain Shelby County register. The two faced each other in 2006, with Leatherwood winning.

The results Thursday were:

Leatherwood: 96,531 (58%)

Thompson: 68,784 (42%)

As early voting began, Thompson’s Pyramid Recovery Center was evicted from its longtime South Memphis space that was also an early voting site and an election day polling place. The landlord agreed to leave the voting sites up and running. But the possibility of a change in polling places served to highlight Thompson’s financial problems.

Late publicity about financial problems took a toll on another Democratic contender.

Newcomer Corey Maclin began campaigning early for Shelby County clerk, with incumbent Republican Debbie Stamson not seeking re-election. Maclin lost to Republican nominee Wayne Mashburn, the son of late county clerk Sonny Mashburn.

The unofficial returns were:

Mashburn: 88,619 (55%)

Maclin: 72,651 (45%)

Stamson’s husband, Steve Stamson, retired as Juvenile Court clerk, setting up the race that was won by Republican nominee Joy Touliatos, the chief administrative officer of the clerk’s office. She beat Democratic nominee Shep Wilbun, who won appointment to the clerk’s office in 2000 but lost to Stamson in the 2002 election and was beaten by Stamson again in 2006.

With all precincts reporting, the numbers were:

Touliatos: 85,849 (51%)

Wilbun: 73,345 (44%)

The remaining votes went to independent candidate Julia R. Wiseman.

Also seeking a return to countywide office was Minerva Johnican. Johnican, the Democratic nominee for Criminal Court clerk, lost to Republican nominee Kevin Key, the son of outgoing Criminal Court Clerk Bill Key and an administrator with the Circuit Court Clerk’s office.

The results were:

Key: 79,755 (49%)

Johnican: 74,831 (46%)

Independent candidate Jerry Stamson: 8,581 (5%)

Johnican, also a former Memphis City Council member and Shelby County Commissioner lost the clerk’s job in 1994 when she was upset by the elder Key.

Incumbent Republican Circuit Court Clerk Jimmy Moore easily defeated Democratic challenger Ricky Dixon. Although Dixon was part of the effort by Democratic party leaders to get voters to vote the entire party slate, Moore continued to show up at Democratic functions and make his case for crossover votes.

Regina Morrison Newman, the third Shelby County tustee in four years, lost her bid for a full term in the office to Republican challenger David Lenoir. It was an impressive political debut for Lenoir, who had heavy backing from the local GOP.

The results were:

Lenoir: 77,166 (49%)

Newman: 72,618 (46%)

Independent candidate Derrick Bennett: 6,353 (4%)

Newman was appointed to the office by the Shelby County Commission following the 2009 death of Trustee Paul Mattila. Mattila was appointed to the office and won a special election for the position following the 2008 death of Bob Patterson. Patterson was re-elected to a four-year term in 2006.

In the judicial races:

Attorney Bill Anderson Jr. emerged atop a field of 20 candidates for General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Div. 7 with 15 percent of the vote. Assistant County Attorney Janet Lansky Shipman was second and the only other contender to go into double digit percentages. The 20 candidates were the largest field in any race – primary or general – on the Shelby County ballot.

Prosecutor Bobby Carter, who had the backing of District Attorney General Bill Gibbons and former District Attorney General John Pierotti, was elected judge of Criminal Court Div. 3 in a close race with attorneys Glenn Wright and Latonya Sue Burrow.

Carter got 26 percent of the vote to Wright’s 25 percent and Burrow’s 24.7 percent.

The results in the three other special judicial races saw the three appointed judges rejected by voters.

  • Lee Wilson, the appointee to General Sessions Criminal Court Judge Div. 10, lost to former General Sessions Court Clerk Chris Turner by more than 64,000 votes. Turner’s victory was the strongest proof of the strong Republican turnout for races across the general election ballot. Turner had been the General Sessions Court clerk until 2006, when he was upset by Democratic challenger Otis Jackson. He is also a former Republican state legislator.
  • Lorrie Ridder, the appointee to Circuit Court Judge Div. 4, lost to attorney Gina Higgins by about 5,000 votes.
  • Rhynette Northcross Hurd, the appointee to Circuit Court Judge Div. 8, lost to attorney Bob Weiss by more than 12,000 votes.

Ridder and Hurd had been appointed to the Circuit Court vacancies by Gov. Phil Bredesen, who picked them each from a list of three finalists from the Judicial Nominating Commission. Bredesen even taped a robo-call on behalf of Hurd, his first robo-call for any candidate in the state.

Wilson was appointed to the General Sessions vacancy by the Shelby County Commission and adopted a domestic violence case docket for the court.

...

84. Council to Delve Into Contract Fine Print -

Memphis City Council members will be dealing with lots of contract fine print Tuesday during their executive session.

The session will mark round two of questioning by council members about the city’s settlement in June of part of an 11-year-old lawsuit involving the city and Beale Street developer Performa Entertainment.

85. Different Mayor, Same Story in Budget Talks -

Memphis has had three mayors since the last budget season at City Hall, and the latest appears to have picked up where the other left off.

Several City Council members are questioning the budget priorities of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr., just as they questioned those of former

86. Council Approves Robinson As City HR Director -

The Memphis City Council approved the appointment Tuesday of Quintin Robinson as the city’s new Human Resources Division director.

Robinson has worked in HR at Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., as well as at The Commercial Appeal newspaper.

87. Fairgrounds Plan Has New Details -

Memphis City Council members took up a trio of high profile CIP (Capital Improvement Projects) Tuesday as they prepared for the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

The Fairgrounds

Council members got their first look at detailed plans for “Tiger Lane”, the greenspace to be created at The Fairgrounds from East Parkway to the west side of The Liberty Bowl stadium by mid September.

88. 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.

...

89. Public Invited to Submit Names for New Green Space -

A Memphis City Council committee tasked with reviewing the details of the cleanup and greening of the former Mid-South Fairgrounds site is offering citizens a chance to name the green space/promenade area leading from East Parkway to Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

90. 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.

91. 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)

...

92. Black Farmers Leader Stumps for Equitable Treatment – and Money -

A week from a planned political rally in Washington, the founder of the National Black Farmers Association was in Memphis Monday to rally farmers for the political cause.

The Presidents Day rally is the latest chapter in John W. Boyd Jr.’s eight-year fight to make good on a 1999 legal settlement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for denying loans and credit to black farmers.

93. School Funding Debate Marches On -

The city of Memphis is pursuing a last appeal in the Memphis school funding court case, and the City Council this week came up with a plan to provide $50 million in court-ordered funding to the school system.

94. Watchdog Saino Forms Nonprofit Organization -

Joe Saino is a self-appointed watchdog, a protector of the people’s house who snarls at the faintest scent of bloated, inefficient government. And his bark just got a little louder.

Saino, a retired electrical engineer and former board member of Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division, has formed a nonprofit group called MEMPHISSHELBYINFORM and rolled out a splashy, multi-faceted Internet presence to accompany it.

95. Ruling Allows City To Switch Sides In Lee Suit -

The city of Memphis can switch sides in a lawsuit against the former head of the city-owned utility company in an attempt to recoup money the city paid this summer to that official, a judge decided Tuesday morning.

96. Council Chairman Collins Readies For New Regime -

Memphis City Council Chairman Harold Collins will have a very good seat for today’s swearing-in ceremony of Memphis Mayor-elect A C Wharton Jr.

97. Chaotic Council Welcomes Wharton To ‘Land of Fire’ -

Memphis Mayor-elect A C Wharton Jr. got an early welcome to the ways of City Hall in the week before he took the oath of office.

It came from the City Council he will serve with for the next two years.

98. Morris Confirmed As City Atty. -

Memphis Mayor elect A C Wharton Jr. was put to the test by Memphis City Council members before he even takes office.

The council approved his indirect nomination of Herman Morris as the new city attorney.

And it approved his five indirect nominees to the Metro Charter Commission.

But there was a lot of discussion among council members this afternoon and evening about:

-Morris being paid $140,000 a year as city attorney, $15 thousand more than his predecessor, Elbert Jefferson.

-Whether Morris was the choice of outgoing Mayor Pro Tempore Myron Lowery or Wharton. The answer was Wharton with Lowery making the appointment since he is still mayor.

In another rapid move, Wharton and Lowery teamed up to appoint the five city of Memphis representatives to the Metro Charter Commission. All five nominees were recommended by members of the City Council. Normally, the council votes on such groups of nominees to one body with a single vote on the slate. The council voted separately on all five.

The original five nominees were:

-Damon Griffin, an assistant District Attorney General.

-Carmen Sandoval, an administrative director at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

-Steve Ross, a freelance video and technical director who also has a popular political blog.

-Jim Strickland, attorney and Memphis city council member.

-Rev. Ralph White, pastor of Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist Church and candidate for Shelby County Criminal Court Clerk in past elections as well as in the 2010 elections.

Strickland was named just this week to Wharton’s transition team. But he is giving up the transition team spot to serve on the charter group. Council members Bill Boyd and Joe Brown voted against Strickland’s appointment saying they considered it to be a conflict of interest for an elected official to serve on the commission. Brown didn’t vote on the other nominations. Council member Wanda Halbert passed on Strickland.

Ross encountered vocal resistance during committee sessions from council members upset with critical comments he has made on his blog about council members. Council member Shea Flinn, who recommended Ross, came to his defense during an emotional committee discussion – clashing with Brown as Lowery and Wharton watched from the end of the council committee table.

“I’m a real man,” Brown told Flinn at the end of the exchange. “I’m a real black man. I hope you are a real white man.”

By the time the council voted, Wharton and Lowery decided to pull his nomination and instead nominated Richard Smith, a FedEx executive and son of FedEx founder Fred Smith. Council member Janis Fullilove was the only no vote. Halbert recused herself because she works at FedEx. Brown and Boyd did not vote.

...

99. Wharton Picks Morris for City Attorney Post -  

Memphis Mayor elect A C Wharton Jr. was put to the test by Memphis City Council members before he even takes office.

The council Tuesday approved his indirect nomination of Herman Morris as the new city attorney. And it approved his five indirect nominees to the Metro Charter Commission.

But there was a lot of discussion among council members this afternoon and evening about:

  • Morris being paid $140,000 a year as city attorney, $15 thousand more than his predecessor, Elbert Jefferson.
  • Whether Morris was the choice of outgoing Mayor Pro Tempore Myron Lowery or Wharton. The answer was Wharton with Lowery making the appointment since he is still mayor.

In another rapid move, Wharton and Lowery teamed up to appoint the five city of Memphis representatives to the Metro Charter Commission. All five nominees were recommended by members of the City Council. Normally, the council votes on such groups of nominees to one body with a single vote on the slate. The council voted separately on all five.

The original five nominees were:

  • Damon Griffin, an assistant District Attorney General.
  • Carmen Sandoval, an administrative director at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
  • Steve Ross, a freelance video and technical director who also has a popular political blog.
  • Jim Strickland, attorney and Memphis city council member.
  • Rev. Ralph White, pastor of Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist Church and candidate for Shelby County Criminal Court Clerk in past elections as well as in the 2010 elections.

Strickland was named just this week to Wharton’s transition team. But he is giving up the transition team spot to serve on the charter group. Council members Bill Boyd and Joe Brown voted against Strickland’s appointment saying they considered it to be a conflict of interest for an elected official to serve on the commission. Brown didn’t vote on the other nominations. Council member Wanda Halbert passed on Strickland.

Ross encountered vocal resistance during committee sessions from council members upset with critical comments he has made on his blog about council members. Council member Shea Flinn, who recommended Ross, came to his defense during an emotional committee discussion – clashing with Brown as Lowery and Wharton watched from the end of the council committee table.

“I’m a real man,” Brown told Flinn at the end of the exchange. “I’m a real black man. I hope you are a real white man.”

By the time the council voted, Wharton and Lowery decided to pull his nomination and instead nominated Richard Smith, a FedEx executive and son of FedEx founder Fred Smith. Council member Janis Fullilove was the only no vote. Halbert recused herself because she works at FedEx. Brown and Boyd did not vote.

...

100. City Gives Second Thought to Lee Settlement -

Shortly before Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton retired in July, the city paid more than $426,000 to settle a lawsuit with the former head of the city-owned utility company.

But the city now wants to recover some or all of the money awarded to Joseph Lee, the former president and CEO of Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division.