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VOL. 131 | NO. 81 | Friday, April 22, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Prince, Violent Crime Numbers, and a Parkside Post Script

By Bill Dries

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Prince. It’s hard to think of a musician with a more complete knowledge of music as a social and cultural force and the ability to let that force inhabit his music and what he wanted to accomplish.
It is that knowledge and its use from obscurity to the pinnacle of fame and acclaim to his own journey for personal fulfillment that, to me, defines what has been lost.
Music mattered to Prince unlike it had ever mattered before. All of the influences analyzed and synthesized by someone born in rock and roll’s first wave pushed forward in a sound that combined rock and roll and rhythm and blues and funk with purpose and confidence.
It wasn’t a denial or downplaying of any of those music categories – all were present sonically and culturally. No juggling or quick changes.
That was his talent and it’s hard to think of anyone who has been as knowledgeable, intentional and successful -- commercially and artistically – in that combination.
Prince is remembered here for not only playing the city’s largest arenas but for his legendary after shows on Beale Street that brought an entertainment insider cachet the district has rarely seen since its early 1980s reopening.
His was an intensity and sense of purpose rarely seen and possessed in such a way in the 60 years since rock and roll started in this very city, kicked off by both Rocket 88 and That’s Alright Mama.
So why couldn’t the city’s rock radio stations do more than talk about Prince into commercial breaks after another Nickelback rock block and actually play some of his music to acknowledge such a huge genre crossing artist?
Not cool.

New local crime stats for Memphis and countywide confirm violent crime is up significantly from last year. That rise is also the case as well when comparing homicide and aggravated assault rates from 2006, the baseline year used by the Memphis-Shelby Crime Commission and Operation: Safe Community.

The Tennessee Legislature goes into Friday with a session that lawmakers had hoped to end Wednesday.
Here is an Associated Press rundown of Wednesday’s legislation before the stalemate began over the Hall tax on dividends and other investment income.

Meanwhile at City Hall… (cue the radio drama organ music)
Setting the stage for the budget hearings that begin next week and some elements of Mayor Jim Strickland’s budget proposal that didn’t get that much attention earlier in the week. That includes some city funding for Mason Village, an area where a public housing project once stood. But its demolition was not part of the much larger HOPE VI effort to convert the sites to mixed-use mixed-income developments.

In advance of next week’s RegionSmart Conference, a look at why the drop in population here in Memphis is important or should be important to the surrounding cities and towns and counties. This discussion also includes the challenge of getting older citizens outside the city to take a more active role in the debate about public education funding and education reforms in general.

EDGE continues to explore a FastTrack PILOT program and its becoming a very detailed discussion. The program is seen as one way of competing with economic development incentives offered in North Mississippi that the city is hard pressed to compete with.
The competition is also an issue that is expected to come up at the RegionSmart conference on regionalism next week.

A follow-up to our story earlier in the week about the city council’s approval of the Parkside at Shelby Farms Park development.
The still tentative plan began to take shape with Tuesday’s decision by the council to approve the concept.
As the mixed-use development dominated by apartments stands now, the plan is to use a portion of the Shelby Farms Greenline as a construction easement to get the construction crews in and out and stage their work.
Council members took note of this Tuesday in committee sessions. And across the Main Street Mall, so did Shelby County commissioners.
And it is the commission that would have to approve such an easement on the Greenline.
Commissioner Heidi Shafer called us Thursday to say she doesn’t think it’s likely at all that the developers will get approval of the easement.
The part of the Greenline that runs parallel to Mullins Station Road had been a part of the front of the three six-story apartment towers that border the northern edge of Shelby Farms Park. But the northern line of the Parkside property was changed early on to not include the Greenline

NASCAR comes to the NBA. The NBA is about to begin a trial period of three seasons in which corporations can buy patches on jerseys.
I’m going to confess that I just don’t see the marketing value in much of this when everywhere you look on the screen you see someone’s logo. And I really did think for the longest time that the Staples Center was some kind of super office supply store in Los Angeles similar to Bass Pro Shops at The Pyramid. Same story second verse with Smoothie King Center.

In Digest: Arlington has plans for a new retail center and further down one of the biggest names in advertising opens a Memphis presence.

Other Reading:

Bass Pro Shops has an equity partner by the name of Goldman Sachs and, as Fortune reports, could be about to make an offer to buy its competitor, Cabela’s.
When the city was about to settle on an adaptive reuse of the Pyramid, there were lots of ideas and proposals forming in various parts of the city.
One of them, pushed by developer Henry Turley, was the idea of getting Cabela’s to open a superstore in the Pyramid with other attractions. Turley couldn’t get much traction probably because other business forces in the city were coalescing around the same idea but with a different brand – Bass Pro Shops.

The Republican National Committee votes down a rules change for the coming convention after a lot of debate including RNC member John Ryder of Memphis, per Politico.

The Daily Helmsman breaks down University of Memphis spending on entertainment for Spring Fling and a few contract rider items that will not be in the green room.

Seen on Beale Street Thursday, the signage on Flynn’s Restaurant and Bar is down and renovation work appears to be underway inside the restaurant that was called Superior Bar before Flynn’s and which was also a police substation as well as a men’s store over the years. What’s next?

PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396