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Editorial Results (free)

1. Northwestern Defense Tough, But Give Edge to UT -

There’s nothing like spending the Christmas holidays in Florida, and Tennessee’s football team will savor every minute of it for the second consecutive year.

The Vols (8-4) board a flight Saturday morning to Tampa, Fla., where they will spend almost a week before the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl against Northwestern (10-2).

2. LeMoyne-Owen Events Highlight Black History -

LeMoyne-Owen College President Johnnie B. Watson grew up in a housing project across the street from the historically black liberal arts college he now leads at 807 Walker Ave. in South Memphis.

3. Rudy Gay Helps Grizzlies Beat Knicks -

MEMPHIS (AP) – That was the Rudy Gay the Memphis Grizzlies have been waiting to see.

Gay scored a season-high 26 points and the Memphis Grizzlies beat New York 94-83 on Thursday night to end the Knicks' winning streak at four games.

4. Work Draws to a Close For Charter Commission -

Metro Charter Commissioners are tightening up provisions in the proposed consolidation charter that is one meeting away from being completed.

The 15-member body holds its final meeting Monday, just ahead of the Aug. 10 deadline imposed by state law for consolidation efforts.

5. Charter Comm. Nails Down Final Details -

Metro Charter Commissioners continue closing in on the exact language of a consolidation charter with a meeting Monday.

The 4 p.m. meeting at the Vasco Smith County Administration Building, 160 N. Main St., is one of only three the group has left to draft the charter that goes to voters on the Nov. 2 ballot.

6. Metro Charter Commission Plays To Tough Audience -

The Memphis City Council and Shelby County Commission got their first formal look Thursday at what the Metro Charter Commission has been working on since December.

And the still forming consolidation charter that is the group’s chief task under state law got decidedly mixed reviews.

7. How to Build a Government in 71 days -

The idea of consolidation is a political perennial in Memphis, but the details of merging Memphis and Shelby County governments are much more elusive.

The Metro Charter Commission’s formation last year represented the most meaningful move toward consolidation in almost 40 years.

8. Charter Commission Tackles Tricky Political Rules -  

Members of the Metro Charter Commission are getting into some of the thorniest political issues involved in writing the blueprint for a consolidated city and county government.

At least for now, term limits, runoff elections, being current on metro taxes to qualify to run for office and a referendum for any metro council pay raise are in.

Out, at this tentative stage, is the idea of a vice mayor, staggered terms for council members, a city pension for council members and partisan primaries.

All of the proposals approved last week go to a drafting committee. The committee will write charter language and then come back to the full commission with the wording. The charter group will then take a final vote on the general proposal and the charter wording.

Still to be discussed is how big the metro council would be and what the districts would look like.

The charter commission also delayed votes on proposals to:

  • Fill vacancies on the metro council with a majority vote of the council unless it is a vacancy of more than two years. In that case, the vacant council seat would go on the next available election ballot.
  • Making the council chairman the “mayor pro tempore” if the mayor resigns or otherwise leaves office. The mayor pro tempore would serve for up to 180 days if there is a general or municipal election scheduled during that period. If no election is scheduled, a special election for mayor would be held within 90 days of the vacancy.

The delay came after lots of debate, with more debate certain.

“Is there any other way?” Charter Commission Chairwoman Julie Ellis asked at one point. “It just hasn’t looked like a very good system. … The public has had a lot to say about this, and it’s not been kind.”

Commissioner J.W. Gibson termed it a system of “hard knocks,” pointing out that part of the Shelby County Commission’s dilemma in picking an interim mayor last year was that it required seven votes – a majority of the 13 members – which proved difficult to collect with three commissioners not voting, because they had been nominated for interim mayor.

Gibson, who is a county commissioner, was one of the contenders. He lost to fellow commissioner Joe Ford.

Charter commissioner Randolph Meade Walker proposed not allowing the mayor pro tempore to run in a special election.

“An interim who is an insider is appointed by fellow insiders,” Walker said. “I think a major drawback to this whole area has been an exclusivity in government that we have people who are the same folks that keep playing musical chairs. We need some new ideas – some new people.”

Gibson, however, said it might mean a council member who wants to be chairman as a later stepping stone to serving as mayor might have to give up being chairman.

Meanwhile, commissioner Chris Patterson expanded on Walker’s idea by adding that those appointed to fill vacant council seats could not seek the seat in the next election for that seat.

Charter commissioner and Memphis City Council member Jim Strickland headed the task force that presented the recommendations. He wasn’t surprised by the debate on the 25 items.

“There are legitimate differences of opinion,” he told The Daily News at the end of the three-hour session. “The county’s been through three mayors in the last year. The city’s been through three mayors also. … The average person has been very aware of the process.”

Ellis questioned whether the metro council should have staggered terms with half of the members elected every two years.

Eight new county commissioners were elected to that 13-member body in the 2006 elections.

Before those political precedents, most council and commission seats changed hands because an incumbent decided not to seek re-election. That was also the case in the 2006 and 2007 election cycles.

The proposed charter is due by mid-August.

Voters decide whether to accept or reject the charter in a pair of referenda on the November ballot. It must win in the referendum within the city of Memphis as well as the referendum in Shelby County outside the Memphis city limits.

...

9. Charter Comm. Considers Two New Divisions -

The first proposal to reach the Metro Charter Commission for a new consolidated government would create two new divisions – “parks and community enhancement” and “civilian enhancement.”

A three-member task force considering how to handle park services and amenities including public libraries brought its recommendations to the full body Thursday afternoon.

10. Consolidation Task Forces Begin Work -

The Metro Charter Commission will begin a series of task force meetings this week on the various issues a proposed consolidation charter should address.

The task forces, which are smaller groups of commissioners working with citizens not on the commission, will submit ideas to the full body for its consideration.

11. Charter Commission Elects Ellis Chair -

As Shelby County Commissioners were appointing an interim county mayor this week, the Metro Charter Commission was working four floors above them at the County Administration Building in only its second meeting.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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.

...

17. Why the Struggle to Control Beale Street Continues -

Eight blocks lie between the Shelby County Courthouse and Beale Street.

The courthouse’s seated representations of wisdom, justice, liberty and authority look southward toward the entertainment district. Sometimes, if the wind is blowing in the right direction, you can hear the band in Handy Park from the courthouse steps.

18. Shanker Named Partner At Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs -

Jill Uiberall Shanker has become a partner at Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP. Shanker is a member of Wyatt’s Corporate and Securities Team.

19. Events -

The Shelby County Board of Commissioners will hold a joint meeting of the Rules and Education subcommittees of the Shelby County Ethics Commission today at 9:30 a.m. in the County Attorney’s Conference Room, Suite 600 of the Shelby County Administration Building, 160 N. Main St.

20. March Continues In Memphis Politics -

Measuring progress in numbers can be tricky. And the numbers are usually mute on the topic of what should come next.

As Memphis and the nation on Monday observe the national holiday marking the birth of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 53 of the 163 elected officials representing all or part of Shelby County - federal, state and local - are black.

21. Local Businessman to Head State Insurance Group -

Brad V. Smith, president of Cecil Smith Insurance Agency in Germantown, was elected president of Insurors of Tennessee. Smith has served on the association's board of directors and executive committee for 12 years. He won the group's Chairman of the Year award in 2004 and Insuror of the Year award in 1992.

22. St. Jude Researcher Earns National Recognition -

Scientific American named Dr. Robert G. Webster, the Rose Marie Thomas chair at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, as a research leader in the 2005 Scientific American 50 - a list compiled by the magazine that recognizes outstanding acts of leadership in science and technology from the past year.

23. Archived Article: Memos - Trezevant Realty Corp Trezevant Realty Corp. has announced several new employees and a promotion: Linda Braden has joined the corporation as marketing assistant for retail development. Braden has been involved in the commercial real estate industry ...