VOL. 131 | NO. 83 | Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Last Word: Memphis Gets Busy, Elections Future and Past and Dad Rock In C-Y
By Bill Dries
While their folks are still getting settled over in the front office at The Commercial Appeal, Gannett announces Monday an $815 million offer to buy Tribune Publishing which would put The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune in the expanding USA Today family.
Tony Allen on the possibility of Mike Conley leaving the Grizz in the off-season: “He’s got a flagrant foul coming if I see him in New York.”
Don Wade on the possibility of Mike Conley leaving.
The Memphis Zoo makes it official Friday morning at 11:30 a.m. with a ribbon cutting that will open the zoo’s $22 million Zambezi River Hippo Camp exhibit, the first major new exhibit at the zoo since 2009’s opening of Teton Trek.
That's about the time Friday morning that the RedBall Project opens in the nearby plaza of the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art for a 10-day visit to the city ending May 7 when the Brooks marks its centennial.
Meanwhile, all of the park news isn’t at Overton Park. The “Heart of the Park” improvements to Shelby Farms Park -- $70 million including the Woodland Discovery Playground, Wolf River Pedestrian Bridge and Shelby Farms Greenline – are ahead of schedule. That is according to conservancy director Jen Andrews, who was our guest on WKNO TV’s Behind The Headlines which should be up soon on our video page if it isn’t already.
Andrews also talks about the environmental aspects of the project and what the plan means for the park’s future.
Heart of the Park is scheduled to open formally at the end of September.
This Friday is also day one of the Beale Street Music Festival and the Memphis In May International Festival.
And if you believe the pervasive weather speculation that is a major part of conventional television viewing, this coming weekend will be a bit damper than the near perfect weekend that is now behind us – unless you have allergies, in which case it was far from perfect but very nice to look at through a very thick and air tight pane of glass.
Given all of that, some of you feel like something is missing even though we are now in the most bountiful time of the year to celebrate Memphis.
The missing element is Law Week, the annual observance by the legal community of its place in the history and culture of Memphis.
Luckily for you we haven’t forgotten.
You won’t find Neil Young or Paul Simon playing any Law Week events. But there are events and here is where you can find our schedule of them.
It is part of a story about attorney Monice Moore Hagler who has recently rebranded her law practice with a concentration on real estate and development.
Hagler was the attorney involved in the city’s first TIF district and has threaded the eye of the legal needle for many of the city’s major mixed-use developments. She’s also served as city attorney, worked in the juvenile justice system and was an investor in the Barboro Flats project Downtown.
For all of our 130-year history, The Daily News has either been physically located in the courthouse, that would be before the current Shelby County Courthouse was built, composed entirely of records from the courthouse and covered the issues of the legal community as well as the comings and goings from firm to firm or from law office to the bench.
For a good part of our history, the motto on our masthead was “trade-finance-court.”
So a Law Week emphasis is an ongoing part of our tradition.
This year we feature the four judicial races to be decided on the Aug. 4 election ballot, races that are usually not at the top of the ballot or necessarily top of mind with voters who aren’t part of the legal community. The races also reflect a continuing turnover of judicial positions in recent years with Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam making a large number of appointments to the bench in his first term. That’s as the Tennessee Legislature changed the method for appointments to appellate court positions to include confirmation by both chambers of the Legislature.
We also look at the expanding role of judicial commissioners in the criminal justice system in the last 17 years, a sign of not only the growth in the local criminal justice system. It’s also an indication of a growing debate in our community about how that system functions.
Now if we can just bring back the Law Week tradition of attorneys handing out pocket-sized copies of the Constitution in Court Square.
An interesting exchange Monday afternoon at a gathering in the lobby of the county administration building for a new exhibit on the city of Bartlett, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.
The exhibit is one in a series that highlights all seven of the cities within Shelby County and it features such ancient artifacts as a Brother electric typewriter.
Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald was on hand and in a speech mentioned that he’s heard people talk of Shelby County Commissioner David Reaves running for Bartlett Mayor in 2018.
McDonald noted that he hasn’t made up his mind what he will do in terms of re-election in 2018.
Reaves, who represented the area on the Shelby County Schools board as well as the county commission, told the group in the lobby – “I have no idea what I’m going to do in two years.”
Decisions, decisions. And at time the 2018 elections have been more present than the elections coming up this August or beyond that in November.
Commission chairman Terry Roland is running for the Republican nomination for Shelby County Mayor as is County Trustee David Lenoir.
Shelby County Democrats, meanwhile have an interim chairman after the resignation of chairwoman Randa Spears and vice chairwoman Deidre Malone, each citing the demands of their full time jobs outside the political arena.
Local party leaders who are left seem to be in no hurry to fill the top positions which are to come up at a June executive committee meeting.
Let’s not leave out past elections. A Nashville federal judge ruled at the weekend break in a fascinating challenge of the results of the 2014 statewide referendum on an abortion amendment to the Tennessee Constitution. The amendment passed and the ruling likely doesn’t change the outcome.
But the judge has ordered a recount of the 2014 votes to take out – to not count – the votes of citizens who voted in the referendum but did not vote in the 2014 race for Tennessee Governor.
It wasn’t just that the race was a snoozer in which Bill Haslam won a second term of governor over a Democratic nominee that the state Democratic party disowned. It was a strategy advocates of the abortion amendment advocated to in effect double the impact of votes for the amendment since the threshold for passage of the amendment was a majority of the votes cast in the race for Governor.
Where do the figures come from in those lists that rank the worst cities for crime, education, poverty etc? That question assumes the lists use some rational basis for such conclusions and many times they don’t. So caveat emptor.
But when they do, the figures aren’t just for the city. They usually are taken from the Metropolitan Statistical Area or what those who work with these numbers call the MSA.
Of course, those who use the shorthand are in government. We’ve been over this before.
That feeds into our ongoing discussion about regionalism which will be explored in more detail --- but hopefully fewer acronyms – at Thursday’s RegionSmart gathering.
You’ve heard from the mayors to come to the gathering from Madeline Faber in our weekly cover story.
Here are some views on regionalism from the non-mayors at the gathering. These are the folks who will be saying “Hello, Mayor” Thursday and then watching as a group of more than a dozen guys in suits turn to face them at the same time.
What do Methodist Healthcare and FedEx have in common? Barcodes. From there, the comparisons begin to diverge. Methodist has a new designation that shows advances in its effort to digitize patient medical records but also continue to tighten the procedures that result from using those paperless records.
Kraftwerk is coming to Memphis, specifically Minglewood Hall for a Sept. 7 show.
It’s billed as a “3D Concert” in which there is surround sound as well as 3D images synchronized to the music being performed live.
The Minglewood date is also one of nine shows in the U.S. In October, the tour plays the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.
Kraftwerk was last here in 1975 – I see from consulting “Memphis Rocks” by Ron Hall -- when they played the Auditorium on their first U.S. tour as “Autobahn” was topping the music charts, Elvis was still alive, Nixon wasn't President anymore and the band was from West Germany.
Here is an August piece from Rolling Stone on what the band has been up to lately in advance of the tour.
More on the Grizzlies end of season from The Washington Post.
USA Today’s “Dad Rock” podcast visits DKDC in Cooper-Young on a rainy night with CA music writer Bob Mehr. Some insights here on the weight of the city’s music history.