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Editorial Results (free)

1. New City Council Learns Ways of Budget Season Quickly -

There are 3,000 miles of street curbs in Memphis. Figures like this are the basic elements of budget season at City Hall.

They are how 13 Memphis City Council members – seven of them four months into their first four-year term of office – wrap their heads around an $85.3 million capital budget proposal and a $667 million operating budget proposal.

2. Council Members Express Impatience with Minority Contracting Complexity -

Some Memphis City Council members want to challenge City Hall’s existing minority business system as its minority business effort is being streamlined.

The possible challenge includes questioning the idea of percentage goals in contracting based on a complex formula that includes multipliers.

3. Potential Revenue Loss Stirs Deannexation Options -

As a potentially damaging deannexation bill moves to the state Senate for a possible vote soon, city officials are considering options to combat the expected loss of revenue should the bill pass.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland estimates the state deannexation law could cost City Hall $27.7 million on the low end but as much as $80 million if all Memphis annexations dating back to 1998 were negated by voters in those areas.

4. Council Tallies Damage in 'Day of Bad News' -

Memphis City Council member Berlin Boyd summed up City Hall’s attitude Tuesday, March 15, during the council’s executive session. “Today is the day of bad news,” he said after a briefing from Mayor Jim Strickland on the deannexation bill approved the night before by the Tennessee House.
That was followed by more details on the estimated $60 million it will cost to replace the entire radio system for local first responders from the radios to the towers used to transmit their signals.

5. Green Sword -

First it was a rumor – there would be a move by the Memphis City Council aimed at putting a quick end to the long-simmering Overton Park Greensward controversy.

It would come quickly and just before the start of the third spring of protests against the Memphis Zoo's use of the northern part of the Greensward for overflow parking.

6. Duke Takes Reins at Friends for Life -

Longtime nonprofit administrator Diane Duke recently took the helm of Friends for Life as its new executive director. In her new role, the Los Angeles native leads and oversees an organization that’s helping those affected by HIV/AIDS through the provision of education, housing, food, transportation and healthy life skills training.

7. Last Word: EW&F, Midtown Rent Rise and A Closer Look At The Pyramid Deal -

One seemingly ordinary winter’s night in Downtown Memphis, I was going from event to event focused on work – specifically trying to stay on a schedule in which several things I wanted to cover were happening at the same time.
That is usually when you miss the experience that is Memphis on an everyday but definitely not ordinary basis.
So I get in a parking garage elevator and on the next floor David Porter – of Stax Records fame – gets on and he introduces me to his friend, Maurice White – the founder of Earth Wind and Fire. They too are trying to be in several places at the same time.
As they went their way and I went mine, I remember thinking this is quite a special place.
The encounter slowed my stride a bit and took some of the edge off the schedule – noticing for the first time how many people were out on a winter’s night in our city having nothing but a good time made better by all of us going our different ways.
White, who was from Memphis, died Thursday with his band’s music stronger and more relevant than ever.
If you grew up listening to EWF when the songs were new, you know that the bright and funky sound and the positive, affirming, and diverse identity of this music was quite intentional at a time when there was plenty going on that could have pushed it the other way.
If your parents or grandparents grew up listening to EWF, this music is a part of your family’s tradition that calls to mind special occasions and even your own mild surprise the first time you found yourself dancing to it with your children.
And if your folks’ vinyl record collection from back in the day included Earth Wind and Fire, that was one of the ones you listened to when they weren’t around and one of the ones you took with you when you got a place of your own.

8. Cates Wants Detail on Downtown Agreements -

From Mud Island River Park across the Memphis harbor to The Pyramid and further east to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – there are a lot of connections as the areas head toward a new incarnation.

9. Last Word: History As Geology, Beyond the Greensward and City Hall's HR Director -

History can be like geology once you get it in something that isn’t in the form of a book.
There are layers on top of layers that you may not ever see or miss until a site is wiped clean for the next present that used to be the future and will eventually become the past.
That’s the case with the city’s historic Medical Center where much has come and gone several times over as our city’s considerable investment in medicine and health approaches the end of its second century.
Health Sciences Park used to be the site of a hospital. You would think something as massive as the tower of Baptist Memorial Hospital’s central campus on Union Avenue would be missed. Yet even those of us who grew up with its presence drive past it every day without a thought of what was once there.
The same with the site of Russwood Park on the north side of Madison Avenue and the old bus barns where Beale used to run further east than it does now.
In recent years, new facilities have arisen as the medical center makes itself over in a kind of economic regeneration without a comprehensive plan.
There is now an effort to come up with a comprehensive plan for the area that is more than different ventures buying or leasing land and making plans for their needs.
Eight of the institutions in the area have hired a consulting firm to develop a master plan that includes not just facilities but residential and retail areas.
It’s a significant step for an area that remains intriguing for those of us trying to remember what was where and how long some of the survivors have been holding out in much different streetscapes than were there when they arrived.
The Masonic lodge at the dead end of Dunlap into Union Avenue is a survivor. It’s where the funerals were held for some of those killed in the 1925 river disaster in which Tom Lee rescued so many others.
The lodge at one time had an earth-shaking pipe organ that I had the rare privilege of hearing at a concert following its restoration in the 1980s – the ancient 1980s.
And I still wonder about the tiny medical textbook storefront and how it endures at a time when students rent books and others use digital versions.
There are still remnants of the porous border between the medical center and the Union Avenue auto row that used to exist and arose around the old Ford plant.

10. Last Word: Rallings Meets the Council, Million Dollar Auditions & A Pinch Plan Emerges -

His second day on the job, the new Memphis Police Director, Michael Rallings, met the Memphis City Council and discovered just what a huge issue police body cameras are – if he didn’t know that already.
His answers to some pointed questions about when police can turn off those cameras and why made this an uneven first encounter.
Council members told him they got an earful from constituents over the weekend in the wake of the fatal police shooting of Johnathan Bratcher in South Memphis. And some of the reaction they got was to reports that a police dispatcher ordered police trying out the body cameras to turn them off as they arrived at the scene of the shooting.
There are three cameras being tested. And one of the officers with them showed up after the shooting, according to police.
Meanwhile, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland still didn’t have a timetable for the roll-out of the cameras but did offer some specifics including hiring by the MPD of 10 new personnel to deal with the handling of what the camera records.
And Strickland’s intention is to pay for it out of the existing MPD budget.

11. Strickland: Police Body Camera Rollout Requires More Personnel -

The rollout of police body cameras will mean hiring more people at the Memphis Police Department and the Shelby County District Attorney General’s office, according to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

12. City Council Approves Colonial Conversion, Vintage Trolley Purchase -

One of two golf courses at Colonial Country Club would give way to houses under a planned development approved Tuesday, Jan. 19, by the Memphis City Council.

The council approved a development that would turn the north course at Colonial into either a mix of single-family homes, townhouses and cottages or a mix of housing for senior citizens.

13. Council's New Crop -

They ran in the considerable shadow of the most competitive Memphis mayoral race in a generation. The new Memphis City Council that takes office with Mayor-elect Jim Strickland in January isn’t necessarily a generational shift. It doesn’t signify a wholesale ousting by the electorate, either.

14. Departing City Council Members Remembered at Last Session -

Before the Memphis City Council’s final session of 2015 on Tuesday, Dec. 15, the 13 council members got around to something they should have done four years ago: take a group picture in the Hall of Mayors at City Hall.

15. District 5 Council Race Produces Highest Campaign Spending Of Runoffs -

All that’s left of the 2015 Memphis elections are the year-end campaign finance reports and the campaign loans that some candidates took out to make it to election day.

Meanwhile, most of the candidates in the five Nov. 19 Memphis City Council runoff election contests have filed their reports on how much they spent up to the last week before the runoff election day.

16. Voters Fill in City Hall Blanks In Last Election of Busy 2015 -

The 2015 election season was put to rest last week: A low-turnout set of five Memphis City Council runoff elections filled in the blanks of what will be a different City Hall starting in 2016.

With a 4.8 percent turnout across the turf of five single-member City Council districts, voters in the Thursday, Nov. 19, non-partisan council runoff races defined the new council that takes office in January. The 13-member body will include six new faces.

17. Last Election of 2015 Decides Five Council Races -

The last election of 2015 in Shelby County will fill in the blanks in a changing of the political guard at City Hall.

Six weeks after Memphis voters ousted incumbent Mayor A C Wharton and replaced him with Jim Strickland and elected two new members to the 13-member City Council – Martavius Jones and Philip Spinosa – voters will decide who gets five more council seats.

18. Caissa Public Strategy Works Behind The Scenes for Clients -

The word public, by its definition, seems to say out in the open.

For Caissa Public Strategy, that’s not how it works. In fact, the Memphis-based firm likes to work in the shadows, so to speak, where the agency helps its clients grow and protect reputations.

19. Five City Council Races Destined for Runoffs -

The identity of the Memphis City Council that will take office in January with six new members was still in flux at the end of a very long and frustrating Oct. 8 election night.

The races for four of those six open seats and the seat now held by an appointee to the council are going to a Nov. 19 runoff election – one week before Thanksgiving.

20. Election Day Beckons In Hard-Fought Memphis Mayor’s Race -

The most competitive Memphis mayor’s race in 24 years goes to the city’s 403,227 voters Thursday, Oct. 8, along with races for all 13 seats on the Memphis City Council and the race for City Court clerk.

21. Memphis Early Voting Turnout Up 76 Percent So Far -

Early voting in the 2015 Memphis elections is running ahead of the pace from four years ago but behind the pace from 2007 and the special mayoral election of 2009.

The early voting period in advance of the Oct. 8 election day runs through Saturday, Oct. 3, at 16 locations across the city.

22. Memphis Chamber Backs Wharton in Mayor’s Race -

The political action committee of the Greater Memphis Chamber is backing Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. for re-election.

Wharton faces a strong challenge in his re-election bid from Memphis City Council members Harold Collins and Jim Strickland. And a key issue in the hard-fought campaign is the city's pace of economic development during Wharton’s tenure.

23. Strickland's Memphis Mayoral Bid Heats Up -

Just hours after he dropped out of the race for Memphis Mayor, James Harvey endorsed mayoral contender Jim Strickland at the opening of Strickland’s Poplar Plaza campaign headquarters.

24. Memphis Mayoral Field Set at 10 -

Shelby County Election Commissioners have certified the Memphis election ballot for Oct. 8.

These are the names to appear on that ballot for the 15 elected offices.

The commission met hours after the noon Thursday, July 23, deadline for candidates to withdraw from the ballot if they wished.

25. Memphis Candidates Prepare To Spend -

How much a candidate raises in an election season attracts a lot of attention, and the second-quarter fundraising numbers for the Oct. 8 Memphis elections are still trickling out.

The reports were due July 10 but some are still arriving at the Shelby County Election Commission website. And in some cases, the reports are incomplete, showing amounts raised but not amounts spend and on hand as of July 1.

26. Filing Deadline Shapes Field in Memphis Elections -

Now that they’ve made the filing deadline for the Oct. 8 Memphis elections, candidates have until Thursday, July 23, to withdraw if they wish before the ballot is set later that day in the 15 city races.

27. Ford Switches Races at Election Filing Deadline -

Darrell Wright cut it about as close as was possible at the noon Thursday, July 16, filing deadline for candidates in the Oct. 8 Memphis elections.

28. Memphis Filing Deadline Features Last-Minute Shifts, Intrigue -

The decision Tuesday, July 14, by a sixth Memphis City Council member to pass up a place on the Oct. 8 ballot has added some intrigue on the way to the noon Thursday, July 16, filing deadline for the Memphis elections.

29. Boyd Becomes Sixth Memphis City Council Member to Pass on Re-Election Bid -

Memphis City Council member Bill Boyd announced Tuesday, July 14, that he will not seek reelection on the Oct. 8 Memphis ballot.

30. Memphis Election Fundraising Deadline Prompts Flurry of Appeals -

For the last week, candidates in the October Memphis elections have had fundraising fever.

The campaign finance reports for the period that ended Tuesday, June 30, are due at the Shelby County Election Commission by July 10. That’s followed by the noon July 16 filing deadline for candidates in the races for Memphis Mayor, City Council and City Court Clerk.

31. Council Begins Hearings on Operating Budget -

The Memphis City Council is down a member as its budget committee begins hearings Tuesday, May 5, on the $656.5 million operating budget proposal of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.

Council member Shea Flinn resigned Thursday effective immediately to take a position as vice president at the Greater Memphis Chamber in charge of the Chairman’s Circle.

32. Dr. Neil Bomar Joins Support Solutions -

Dr. Neil Bomar has joined Support Solutions as its first staff psychiatrist, a role in which he will help individuals with intellectual disabilities and those with a history of long-term mental illness who are currently supported by the organization. Bomar’s addition makes Support Solutions one of the only industry providers in the Mid-South to provide this level of support.

33. Legislators Not Moved by Hymns, Reason -

The words of “We Shall Overcome” and “Wade in the Water” resonate through the halls as Insure Tennessee supporters descend on the Legislative Plaza for a key vote on the plan to provide coverage to 280,000 working Tennesseans.

34. Sammons Gets Good Look at Mayor-Council Relationship -

There was a moment Tuesday, April 7, at City Hall when outgoing chief administrative officer George Little paused in the middle of his grilling by the council to look over at incoming CAO Jack Sammons and smile.

35. Sammons Nomination Approved By Testy Council -

With an 11-0 vote, the Memphis City Council approved Tuesday, April 7, the return of former council member Jack Sammons to City Hall as the city’s new chief administrative officer.

36. City Debt Restructure Isn’t the End of Finance Debate -

The table was rectangular, not round. There was no green felt and nobody had a deck of cards. But when 10 Memphis City Council members, Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and Tennessee comptroller Justin Wilson gathered in the council’s committee room Tuesday, March 17, there were lots of comparisons to a poker game. And lots of money was at stake.

37. Flinn Signals Exit From City Council -

In the political mathematics of an election year, another seat on the Memphis City Council just opened up – sort of.

Council member Shea Flinn went a bit further Wednesday, March 18, than his “no comment” the week before to persistent rumors he might resign from the council and take a job with the Greater Memphis Chamber.

38. City Debt Restructure Meets Council Resistance -

First reviews from Memphis City Council members Tuesday, Feb. 17, to Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s plan to restructure the city’s debt payments were harsh and skeptical.

Wharton wasn’t present in council committee sessions Tuesday as council member Jim Strickland played audio of Wharton in 2010 telling council members that the restructuring of city debt then was a “plain vanilla” transaction.

39. Harris Goes to Nashville -

At his last Memphis City Council session, Lee Harris reflected this week on his three years on the council and the group of politicians he joined.

40. Council Signals Return to Schools Funding Mediation -

It’s back to mediation Thursday, Jan. 8, in the six-year long schools funding deadlock between the city of Memphis and Shelby County Schools.

That was the next step several Memphis City Council members pointed to after more than an hour behind closed doors at City Hall Tuesday with their attorney as well as city Chief Administrative Officer George Little.

41. 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.

42. 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.

43. Memphis Bar Reveals Judicial Candidate Poll -

All but three of the 24 local judicial incumbents on the Aug. 7 ballot came out on top in the Memphis Bar Association poll of judicial candidates released Monday, June 30.

Attorneys were asked by the bar to select candidates based on who they felt was best qualified to hold the office.

44. 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.

45. 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.

46. 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.

47. 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.

48. 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.

49. 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.

50. 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.

51. 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.

52. 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.

53. 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.

54. 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.

55. 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.

56. 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.

57. 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.

58. 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.

59. 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.

60. Agricenter International Announces New Board -

The Agricenter International, 7777 Walnut Grove Road, recently elected two new board members.

61. 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.

62. School Board Moves Toward Superintendent Pick -

At the start of another five-hour countywide school board meeting Tuesday, June 26, Jim Boyd of the schools consolidation planning commission set the stage for a busy night on several fronts.

63. Countywide School Board To Discuss Future Supt. -

When countywide school board members resume a still-preliminary discussion Tuesday, June 19, about who should be superintendent of the merged public school system to come, they will have another opinion to consider.

64. 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.

65. 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.

66. 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.

67. Consolidation Planning Remains in Flux -

The way some on the schools consolidation planning commission see it, the group has some momentum going in its goal of selling a still-forming consolidated school system plan to parents – urban and suburban.

68. 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.

69. Pruitt Keeps Centre Group Running Smoothly -

Holly Pruitt is office manager of The Centre Group, a human resources consulting firm. Pruitt handles accounting and administrative duties and works closely with the company’s marketing firm.

70. Cynthia Ham Named BRIDGES President -

The youth-development organization BRIDGES has a new president.

Cynthia Ham, archer-malmo principal and chief public relations officer, will leave the firm she’s been with for 15 years to start work Feb. 15 as BRIDGES’ new head. She succeeds Jim Boyd, who stepped down late last year after 16 years with the organization, which works to build a community of leaders to advance racial, economic, educational and environmental justice in Memphis and Shelby County.

71. Cynthia Ham is New BRIDGES President -

The youth-development organization BRIDGES has a new president.

Cynthia Ham, principal and chief public relations officer for archer-malmo, will leave the firm she’s been with for 15 years to start work Feb. 15 as BRIDGES’ new head. She succeeds Jim Boyd, who stepped down late last year after 16 years with the organization, which works to build a community of leaders to advance racial, economic, educational and environmental justice in Memphis and Shelby County.

72. 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.

73. Memphian Cobb Joins MIFA As Meals on Wheels Director -

Trentwood Cobb has joined Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association as director of MIFA Meals on Wheels, which provides hot meals to senior citizens in the greater Memphis area.

Hometown: Memphis

74. 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.

75. 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.

76. Vote for Me -

Four years after the biggest turnover on the Memphis City Council, the Oct. 6 city elections could see the biggest return of incumbents ever on the council. Early voting begins Friday, Sept. 16.

Twelve of the 13 incumbents are seeking re-election. It would have been 13 had Barbara Swearengen Ware not taken a plea deal on an official misconduct charge.

77. 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.

78. 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.

79. Boyd Stepping Down as BRIDGES President -

After 16 years, Jim Boyd is stepping down from his position as president of Memphis nonprofit BRIDGES, a youth-development organization working to build a community of leaders to advance racial, economic, educational and environmental justice in Memphis and Shelby County.

80. 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.

81. 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.

82. 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.

83. Documentary Sheds Light on Water Conservation -

Despite the distance between them, the San Francisco Bay has much in common with the Mississippi River.

Memphians will gain a better understanding of the connection between these two water systems when WKNO – along with PBS television stations nationwide – in April broadcasts a documentary series on the history and conservation of the San Francisco Bay.

84. WKNO to Screen 'Saving the Bay' -

WKNO and The Chickasaw Group of the Sierra Club will host a preview screening of the upcoming PBS series “Saving the Bay” Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at BRIDGES, 477 N. Fifth St.

85. Forum to Address Students’ Needs in School Showdown -

Most of the real experts on how a city and county schools system consolidation will work on a day-to-day, classroom-to-classroom basis won’t be voting on the matter next month.

But Memphis and Shelby County school students will get a chance to talk over the MCS charter surrender and its effects Saturday at 1 p.m. at BRIDGES, 477 N. Fifth St.

86. Talent Dividend Promotes Increasing Graduate Rate -

The Memphis Talent Dividend (MTD) College Attainment Initiative is a more than 100-member mission to increase the number of college graduates in the Memphis Metropolitan area by 1 percent over the next five years.

87. Plough Foundation Awards BRIDGES $300,000 -

The Plough Foundation has awarded BRIDGES $300,000 to develop curriculum to expand its Bridge Builders youth program, the agency’s flagship initiative.

Bridge Builders currently serves high school juniors and seniors. The award will allow the nonprofit to expand the program to include youth in grades 6 through 12.

88. Olive Branch Enjoying Fruits of Labor -

The spring and summer of 2010 will go down as seasons to remember in Olive Branch.

Between May and late July, four major companies – Soladigm Inc., Hamilton Beach Brands Inc., McKesson Corp. and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare – announced plans to either open a new facility in, or relocate to, the North Mississippi city.

89. 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.

90. 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

91. 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.

...

92. Candidates Battle it Out in Democratic Primary -

Before voters get to the slimmer, trimmer Aug. 5 race for Shelby County mayor, some of them must decide the three-candidate Democratic primary on the May 4 ballot.

As political races go, this one has enough drama to make it interesting.

93. FBI Warns Extremist Letters May Encourage Violence -

WASHINGTON (AP) - The FBI is warning police across the country that an anti-government group's call to remove governors from office could provoke violence by others.

A group that calls itself the Guardians of the free Republics wants to "restore America" by peacefully dismantling parts of the government, according to its Web site.

94. 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.

95. 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)

...

96. 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.

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. Election Commission to Consider Mayoral Deadline -

The Shelby County Election Commission today is setting the stage for the next step in the coming special election for Memphis mayor.

The commission will meet at 4:30 p.m. to consider setting a deadline for candidates to file and a date for the election itself sometime in late October. In setting the dates, the commission would abide by terms of the Memphis Charter. The charter calls for a special election three months after a vacancy in the mayor’s office if there is no regularly scheduled election within six months of the date the office becomes vacant.