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Editorial Results (free)

1. Building Walls Around the Suburbs -

Germantown awards contract for city wall.

(Considering the tone of public conversations lately, hard to imagine scenarios are much easier to imagine.)

The Mayor and Alder People of Germantown have just awarded a new contract to build a 50-foot wall around the suburban city. The contract is for $1.27 bazillion, “Give or take,” a high-class source confirmed, “our tax rate is going up 3,350%, but it’ll be our wall. We take care of ourselves in Germantown, by God.”

2. Metro Charter Backers Begin Campaign -

The campaign for a consolidation charter kicked off this week in a stifling heat on the Main Street Mall between City Hall and the County Administration Building.

Leaders of Rebuild Government announced the group has changed from one that provided information on the drafting of the charter to a group that will now campaign for the charter.

3. Tough Crowd -

The Metro Charter Commission never drew close to a hundred citizens at all but one of its public hearings earlier this month. The exception was the first hearing at Memphis Botanic Garden.

But the group did find an interesting array of opinions even when the numbers were small.

4. Charter Commissioners Grapple With Term Limits -

For the Metro Charter Commission, setting the qualifications for holding office in a consolidated government is not an abstract discussion.

The commission’s recommendations so far have been made with recent officeholders in mind.

5. Charter Commission Continues Work on Mayoral Limits -

Metro charter commissioners wanted to do more than send a message last week as they set guidelines for the office of metro mayor in a consolidated local government.

Several commissioners felt they had to discourage voters from making choices based too much on simple name recognition.

A proposed limit of two consecutive four-year terms on the mayor’s office was the setting for the larger debate. The charter commission’s recommendation, which is preliminary, would allow someone to be elected and serve two terms, sit out four years and then run again.

Those are the term limits now in place for most county offices. The same limits take effect for Memphis mayor and the City Council in 2011.

Other charter commissioners cited the recent election of Walter Bailey to the Shelby County Commission this year. Bailey ran for re-election in 2006 despite term limits, but lost to J.W. Gibson. After sitting out four years, Bailey was elected to the County Commission again without opposition.

Gibson, who serves on the charter commission, is among those who say term limits should not bar someone from running again after sitting out a term.

But charter commissioner Rufus Washington said local voters are guided in too many cases solely by name recognition and endorsements made in ballots handed to them as they walk into polling places.

“They don’t know who they are voting for,” he said. “We don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a city and a community that has some of the most innovative businesses in the world. But I think our politics is about the 17th century. I said it and I’m glad I said it.”

“You have people that make statements, ‘Nobody can run this city but me’ (and) ‘God put me here.’ That’s offensive to me,” Washington said, referring to former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton. “Sometimes people don’t know what’s best for them.”

He also referred to Bailey’s re-election.

“You can’t tell me that these are the only people that have the ability to run this city. … I take issue with that. I take the same position at the national level. We need a house cleaning,” he said.

Former Collierville Mayor Linda Kerley said the problem isn’t limited to Memphis politics. She agreed the charter commission should try to interrupt the political pattern with the charter proposal.

“We need to somehow make a very strong statement,” she said. “We don’t need to put a person in a position where they can falter. … We are not looking at the integrity of the position.”

The Rev. Ralph White proposed a compromise of three consecutive terms with no option to then sit out a term and serve again if elected a fourth time.

But before any of the alternatives to two consecutive terms could be moved, the commission’s conversation veered into the requirement that candidates be 21 or older, and other qualifications.

White proposed raising the minimum age to run for mayor to 25 years old. That and another motion to leave the minimum age at 30 each failed to get enough votes, so the 21-year benchmark remained.

Commission vice chair Andre Fowlkes, who is 32, argued for a 25-year-old age minimum.

“That’s a pretty bright person. I mean, let’s really think about it. They are rallying an entire city to vote for them and give them the majority to win. … They must be doing something right,” he said.

Commissioner Chris Patterson saw problems in that argument.

“If the simple ability to get elected – to organize your friends – if that’s the test, then term limits is off the table and you can just drop to 18 (years old) by default. To me, that can’t be the reason that you do it,” he said.

Fowlkes argued a candidate younger than 30 years old for mayor would, as a matter of practical politics, have to convince older voters since voter participation is lower among younger voters.

Read more about the work of the Metro Charter Commission in the current edition of The Memphis News, which can be found at The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.

...

6. Charter Commission to Examine Metro Mayoral Powers -

The Metro Charter Commission will take a second look at a civil service system for a proposed consolidated government Thursday.

The group drafting a proposed consolidation charter for the November ballot will also discuss what powers a metro mayor should have.

7. Consolidation Charter Slow To Move -

Not a single word of a proposed consolidation charter has been drafted.

A Metro Charter Commission is still working toward an August deadline to complete a charter that would consolidate Memphis and Shelby County governments.

8. Former Indy Mayor’s Advice To Local Government: Cut Red Tape -

Combining city and county governments is not the issue, the former mayor of Indianapolis told the Metro Charter Commission last week.

Stephen Goldsmith said the group drafting a consolidation charter for voters on the November ballot should be more focused on efficiency.

9. Commission Appointments Not Without Rancor -

John Pellicciotti is pursuing his master’s degree in political science from the University of Memphis. He’s writing his thesis. And this week, after trying several times for several years, the small-business owner and consultant got some real-world experience in his degree area.

10. Pellicciotti Wins Commission Seat -

Shelby County Commissioners took several rounds to do it, but got through the last two appointments left from the busy 2009 political year.

At the group’s first meeting of 2010, Republican John Pellicciotti was appointed to the District 4 Position 3 seat vacated in December by Democrat Matt Kuhn. Kuhn resigned to become a policy adviser to interim Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford.

11. UPDATE: Turner To State House -- Pellicciotti To County Commission -

Shelby County Commissioners took several rounds to do it, but got through the last two appointments left from the busy 2009 political year.

At the group’s first meeting of 2010, Republican John Pellicciotti was appointed to the District 4 Position 3 seat vacated in December by Democrat Matt Kuhn. Kuhn resigned to become a policy adviser to interim Shelby County Mayor Joe Ford.

12. Commissioners to Fill Commission, Legislature Vacancies -

Shelby County Commissioners will begin the new year with some familiar chores.

Today’s meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. at the County Administration Building.

It includes the appointment of a new commissioner for District 4 Position 3. And the commission will appoint an interim state representative for District 85.

13. Metro Charter Commission to Choose Chair -

The first order of business today will be selecting a leader. It’s become a familiar note in political daily planners these days.

The Metro Charter Commission holds its first meeting today on the third floor of the Shelby County Courthouse.

14. 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.

...

15. More Evidence Surfaces in Shelter Crisis -

Disgusted with what in hindsight appears to have been widespread mistreatment of animals at the Memphis Animal Shelter, a shelter employee turned to an out-of-town specialist for help.

In September, the employee asked an expert from Florida who regularly is consulted in animal abuse cases to examine three dogs that had died at the shelter. That set in motion a chain of events leading to last week’s temporary closure of the facility, which was raided and battened down by sheriff’s deputies investigating the employee’s allegations of animal abuse and cruelty.

16. Commission to Revisit Charter Appointments Today -

Approving mayoral appointments to boards and commissions is usually the quickest part of the Shelby County Commission’s agenda. It’s normally a routine vote.

That won’t be the case today.

The commission will meet this afternoon starting at 1:30 p.m. at the County Administration Building Downtown. A full agenda for the meeting is available at The Daily News Online, www.memphisdailynews.com.

17. Metro Charter Appointments Win Recommendation -

Shelby County Commissioners Wednesday recommended all 10 of County Mayor A C Wharton’s appointees to a metro charter commission.

The commission, which will include five people appointed by the Memphis mayor and confirmed by the City Council, will draft a charter proposal to consolidate Memphis and Shelby County governments.

18. Wharton Turns in 10 Names for Consolidation Commission -

Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. has come up with 10 appointees to a metro charter commission and has sent the names to the Shelby County Commission for approval.

The commission will consider the appointments Wednesday in committee sessions. The full commission is scheduled to vote on the names later this month.

19. Wharton Turns in 10 Names for Consolidation Commission -  

Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. has come up with 10 appointees to a metro charter commission and has sent the names to the Shelby County Commission for approval.

The commission will consider the appointments Wednesday in committee sessions. The full commission is scheduled to vote on the names later this month.

The nominees are:

•Millington Mayor Richard L. Hodges

•Former Collierville Mayor Linda Kerley

•County Commissioner J.W. Gibson of Memphis

Julie Ellis, an attorney at Butler Snow PLLC

•Lou Etta Burkins, FedEx Express project engineer of unincorporated Shelby County

Andre Fowlkes, Memphis Small Business Chamber executive director

•Billy Orgel, Tower Ventures developer, of Memphis.

Chris Patterson, an attorney at Wiseman Bray PLLC of Germantown

•The?Rev??Randolph Meade Walker, pastor of Castalia Baptist Church

Rufus Washington, retired U.S. Marine and president of Southeast Shelby County Coalition

The charter commission is to draft the proposed structure of a consolidated city and county government. The draft will then be taken to voters in Memphis and Shelby County outside of Memphis in a pair of referenda set for Nov. 2010.

The proposed charter must pass in each referendum to become the new structure of local government.

The consolidation charter would not have the effect of consolidating the six suburban municipalities outside Memphis into the proposed new consolidated government. But it would probably affect the delivery of services to Arlington, Bartlett, Collerville, Germantown, Lakeland and Millington and from what is now Shelby County government.

The Memphis mayor has five appointments to the metro charter commission. But in approving the creation of the commission last month, the City Council also said it would not vote on appointees by the Memphis mayor until its Oct. 20 meeting. That means whoever wins the Oct. 15 election will make the appointments.

If Wharton wins the special election, he could make those five appointments as well as the 10 he’s forwarded to the County Commission. But Wharton has said he would not make all 15 appointments in that scenario.

...

20. 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.

21. Kuhn Appointed To County Commission -

Former Shelby County Democratic party chairman Matt Kuhn is the newest member of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners.

22. Kuhn Gets County Commission Appointment -

Former Shelby County Democratic party chairman Matt Kuhn is the newest member of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners.

23. 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.

24. Ten Candidates Vie For Vacant Commission Seat -

Members of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners will interview at least 10 candidates today for the District 4 commission seat vacated when David Lillard became state treasurer.

Ten people had applied for the vacancy as of late Monday. They are:

25. Election Totals: Better Late Than Never -

Two days after the Nov. 4 elections, the final unofficial totals were finally posted by the Shelby County Election Commission. The long vote count involved absentee ballots whose count was delayed because of problems with an optical scanning machine.

26. Collierville Car Dealership Might be Sold -

In the wake of news Wednesday that Bill Heard Enterprises Inc. plans to shutter the 13 dealerships it still operates, the word among Collierville town officials is that Collierville’s Bill Heard dealership is being sold rather than closed.

27. Proponents Hopeful CDDC Would Strengthen Collierville's Town Square -

During the past two decades Collierville has evolved from sleepy suburb to thriving town. Thanks to an upscale mall, an extended highway and, most notably, an eastward population shift in Shelby County, this town of more than 40,000 residents has become one of Tennessee's fastest-growing communities.

28. Armstrong Allen Names New Litigation Practice Chair -

Armstrong Allen attorney James F. Arthur III was named litigation practice group chairman for the firm. Arthur replaces Lucian Pera, who has served as litigation practice chairman for the past several years.

29. Archived Article: Daily Digest - Wal-Mart raises

Wal-Mart raises

same-store forecast

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. officials said sales growth in August could be the strongest in more than a year after back-to-school demand proved better than expected.

During a sales update for ...

30. Archived Article: Memos - Janie Day joined Enterprise National Bank as vice president in the executive banking division Janie Day joined Enterprise National Bank as vice president in the executive banking division. Mark Pierce and Jeremy Metheny joined the organization as mo...

31. Archived Article: Wolf (lead) - Wolf River project underway Top brass sign on to save Wolf River By SUE PEASE The Daily News Gathered around a conference table Thursday were three mayors, an army colonel, a county commissioner, a land authority official and an environmentalist to ...

32. Archived Article: Comm Focus (forum) - By STACEY WIEDOWER Issues forum lets teen voices be heard By STACEY WIEDOWER The Daily News Memphis teens enjoy the benefits of living in a metropolitan community they can go to restaurants, shop in the malls, watch movies in any number of theaters ...