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Editorial Results (free)

1. Malone to Challenge Luttrell In August Mayoral Showdown -

Former Shelby County Commissioner Deidre Malone will challenge incumbent Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell in the August county general election after winning the Tuesday, May 6, Democratic mayoral primary.

2. 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.

3. Biz Licenses Down From Year Ago -

Business licenses issued during the first quarter of this year plunged 31 percent from a year ago – a steep drop that could be an anomaly.

An unusually high number of permits was issued during the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period in 2010.

Desperation and misrepresentation could be factors, according to local experts.

Jeff Jacobs, manager of the business tax division of the Shelby County Clerk’s Office, said he thought several individuals may have obtained permits in the first quarter of 2009 just to claim federal income tax deductions.

However, Mark Taylor, an adviser at the Tennessee Small Business Development Center in Memphis, said many more people were looking to start their own businesses during that period.

“I’m sure for the first quarter of last year there was a big surge in business licenses,” Taylor said. “Everybody was desperate. I think people were just scrambling.”

A total of 1,590 business licenses were issued during the first quarter of this year, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.

That compares to 2,316 in Q1 2009.

Taylor said fewer people are inquiring about opening businesses now because of the tight credit market.

Banks are reluctant to loan money for startups.

“Money is still tight,” Taylor said. “We’re not seeing any real big shift on that yet.”

That trend could be changing, said an official from the research division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

David C. Wheelock, a vice president at the Federal Reserve who is an adviser on financial markets, in a recently published essay said, “Business lending may be poised for a rebound.”

His essay was based on quarterly surveys of banks by the Fed concerning lending activity.

“The percentage of respondents reporting tighter standards has declined in recent surveys,” Wheelock wrote. “In the January 2010 survey, no banks reported tighter standards on loans to large- and medium-sized firms,

while 5.5 percent reported that they had eased terms somewhat.

“This was the first survey by the Fed that reported a net percentage of banks easing terms for loans to large- and medium-sized firms since 2007:Q2.”

However, he also noted that 3.7 percent of banks had tightened standards.

Wheelock found a silver living to this number, pointing out that it was the lowest percentage of bank tightening since the second quarter of 2007.

During the prolonged credit crunch, many people have financed startup endeavors mostly from their own pockets.

Keith and Jill Forrester, the owners of Whitton Farms in Arkansas, are about to expand their operation into Downtown Memphis with the Trolley Stop Market at 704 Madison Ave. Keith Foster said they’ve borrowed only $10,000 and drawn on savings for the rest.

“It’s been a hurdle,” he said. “We’ve just been able to piece it together here and there.”

The couple had hoped to have the farm-fresh market and restaurant open by now. The opening depends on how quickly some interior renovations can be completed, such as the installation of a kitchen venting system.

The business will hire 10 to 12 people initially, he said. It could open by the end of April or in May.

In Memphis, lending by banks to small businesses remains tight, Taylor said.

“Here recently, the biggest surge of interest I’ve had in small businesses has been due to the Hickory Ridge Mall reopening,” he said.

“It sounds like the mall may make a goal of it. At least one client quoted a low rental per square foot. They obviously are making some deals.”

The Hickory Hill North ZIP code of 38115 was where the most business permits were issued during the first quarter. A total of 93 permits were issued.

The Oakhaven/Parkway Village ZIP code of 38118 had the second most with 92, followed by the Bartlett ZIP code of 38134 with 85.

...

4. Three County Candidates Withdraw -

Three candidates in the May 4 primary elections withdrew from the ballot by today's noon deadline.

Jeff Jacobs withdrew from the GOP primary for Shelby County trustee.

5. 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.

6. 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)

...

7. Q3 Biz Permit Dip Not as Steep -

Recession casualties in the business sector could be easing, according to the most recent numbers for privilege licenses in the greater Memphis area.

The number of business permits issued during the third quarter slipped by 2.8 percent from the same period a year ago, according to The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com. That compares to an 8.8 percent drop in the second quarter.