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Editorial Results (free)

1. ‘Santa Claus’ Makes 100th Visit to Kids at St. Jude -

The children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis celebrated Christmas in the lobby of the Chili’s Care Center Monday, Dec. 19, with crafts, holiday treats and a special visit from Old St. Nick.

2. State Fines Appraiser, Suspends Certification -

Alan R. Price, a real estate appraiser based in Olive Branch, committed legal violations “indicative of fraudulent or intentionally misleading conduct,” according to a judgment handed down by the Tennessee Real Estate Appraiser Commission.

3. Neuvo Salon Files Permit For New East Memphis Location -

5158 Wheelis Drive
Memphis, TN 38117
Permit Amount: $712,367

Project Cost: $712,367
Permit Date: Applied May 2009
Completion: March 2010
Owner: Neuvo Salon
Tenant: Neuvo Salon
Contractor: Construction Solutions LLC
Architect: Thoda and Associates PLLC

4. Appraisers Can’t Be Tracked In Tennessee -

Tennessee has no tracking system for citizens to see the names of the appraisers setting home values in their neighborhoods, including the artificially high appraisals for properties used in mortgage frauds.

5. Appraiser Surrenders License In Fraud Case -

Thomas W. Farris Sr. permanently surrendered his license as an appraiser last month after a state investigation determined he engaged in “fraudulent conduct.”

6. Payday Loan Vote Foreshadows Next Step - This week’s vote by the Memphis City Council regulating the location of payday lenders, check-cashing and title loan businesses in the city generated pointed questions about demographics, money, private business, the threat of litigation and the role of the council.

If that vote is any indication, Monday’s vote by the Shelby County Board of Commissioners on the same joint city-county ordinance likely will do the same thing.

The third and final reading by the City Council on a measure that would put new restrictions on where those fringe-lending businesses can operate passed Tuesday night on a unanimous vote.

The County Commission’s third and final reading of the same ordinance – which limits those businesses to operating no closer than 1,000 feet from each other – will take place during Monday’s commission meeting.

Politics, politics

Bill Morrison is the council member who sponsored the ordinance on the city side and who first got the idea to try and clamp down on where those businesses can operate.

He said he began sketching out a plan for the ordinance, which would create new zoning guidelines for the businesses, with officials such as Assistant City Attorney Thomas Pacello and Mary Baker, deputy director of the city-county Office of Planning and Development.

But for a body that often has gone out of its way to keep a focus on the financial burdens of city taxpayers and residents, Morrison’s idea sparked a surprising mix of responses.

In addition to that, representatives of the businesses and of the fringe-lending industry itself mounted an intense behind-the-scenes effort against Morrison’s original proposal, the basic idea of which was to break up the existing clusters of check-cashing stores, payday loan and title loan shops around the city.

Working the angles

That lobbying effort continued throughout Tuesday night’s council meeting, when individual council members repeatedly left the dais to venture into the audience and huddle with representatives of the industry.

Steve Lockwood, executive director of the Frayser Community Development Corp. and an opponent of the fringe lenders, brandished statistics at Tuesday’s meeting showing how one debtor ended up paying after one year more than $800 on a $440 payday loan.

Several council members, including Barbara Swearengen Ware, promoted one of the same arguments put forward repeatedly by representatives of the industry in private discussions about the issue. That argument was this:

“When you talk about regulating a legal business, you’re treading on thin ice, to say the least,” she said. “And to say that where they locate – the regulation needs to be in the interest rates (they charge) ... We’re not talking about strip clubs, people.”

After some inaudible whispering among council members, Ware continued: “You say strip joints are legal? Well, let’s make them illegal ... It’s supply and demand that’s driving these businesses. Nobody’s holding a gun to these people to make them walk in and hand somebody the title to their car.”

‘Opening shot’

That argument about the businesses having a legal and proper right to operate is the same idea Chuck Welch, an attorney from the Nashville office of Farris Bobango Branan PLC, shared with The Daily News in a conversation a few days before the council vote. Welch is one of the industry representatives who has been meeting with local legislators who have for the last few weeks been mulling over the issue.

“What you’ve got is a lawful business that’s a commercial retail establishment, and it’s permitted and regulated by the state of Tennessee,” Welch said.

Council member Joe Brown questioned Morrison during the meeting about whether he was being supported in his effort to push the ordinance by any entity that stands to profit from its passage. That’s something at least one of the industry representatives told a reporter privately before the vote – that some of the bill’s supporters might be able to capitalize on legislation curbing the growth of fringe-lending operations.

Morrison, during Tuesday’s meeting, reiterated the fact that he came up with the plan on his own, with help from officials like Pacello and Baker.

“It does leave something to be desired … but (this ordinance) is a step in the right direction for our city,” Morrison said.

Lockwood called it “an opening shot across the bow.”

...

7. Events -

The Memphis chapter of the Public Relations Society of America has announced its call for entries for the 15th annual VOX Awards Gala. The entry deadline is today and is for work produced and primarily used in 2006. Winners will be announced at the VOX Awards Gala April 26. For complete submission information, fees or to buy gala tickets, visit www.prsamemphis.org.

8. Events -

The Chickasaw Council Boy Scouts' "Friends of Scouting" dinner is today at 6:15 p.m. at the Hilton Hotel, 939 Ridge Lake Blvd. Archie Manning, former Ole Miss all-American quarterback and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, is the guest speaker. A minimum contribution of $250 is requested upon reservation. Call 327-4193 to register.

9. Events -

The Chickasaw Council Boy Scouts' "Friends of Scouting" dinner will be held Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. at the Hilton Hotel, 939 Ridge Lake Blvd. Archie Manning, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and an All-American quarterback at Ole Miss, will be the guest speaker. A minimum contribution of $250 is requested upon reservation. Call 327-4193 to register.

10. Events -

The Memphis Landmarks Commission holds a meeting today at 5 p.m. on the council chamber's main floor at Memphis City Hall, 125 N. Main St. For more information, call 576-7191.

Joe "Santa Claus" Farris makes his 90th visit to the children at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital today at 9:30 a.m. in the Danny Thomas/ALSAC Pavilion at 332 N. Lauderdale St. Farris also will present a check to the hospital. For more information, call 578-2421.

11. Archived Article: Memos - Lucian T

Lucian T. Pera, an attorney with Armstrong Allen, is one of the newest members of the American Law Institute. A Memphis native, Pera received a bachelors degree from Princeton University and a law degree from Vanderbilt University law sc...

12. Archived Article: Calendar - Calendar of events Jan

Calendar of events June 24-June 30

June 24

Mississippi Museum of Art, 201 E. Pascagoula St. in Jackson, Miss., presents Passionate Observer: Eudora Welty among Artists of the Thirties, featuring photographs by Mississ...

13. Archived Article: Calendar - Calendar of events Jan Calendar of events March 25-March 31 March 25 Mississippi Museum of Art, 201 E. Pascagoula St. in Jackson, Miss., presents Ms. Booths Garden: Photographs by Jack Kotz, a collection of photographs by Santa Fe-based photographer...

14. Archived Article: Market Briefs - The Local Workforce Investment Board meeting is scheduled for 8 a The Local Workforce Investment Board meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. Tuesday in Farris Hall at Southwest Tennessee Community College Macon Cove campus, 5983 Macon Cove. For more infor...

15. Archived Article: Attorney Graph - Attorney Attorney Judgments Amount ------------------------------------------------ ----------- -------------------------- Gordon & Feldbaum 226 $220,174.79 Baer Baer & Baer 220 $348,622.30 Mccullough Law Firm ...

16. Archived Article: Benchmark - Shelby County Deputy Sheriffs Association, Sgt. Ronald A Houston, Sgt. Robert Michael Shelby, Sgt. Ronald Ray and Sgt. Mark Rochevot vs. Shelby County, the Shelby County Commission, Mayor Jim Rout and Sheriff A. C. Gilless Jr. The Shelby County Depu...