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VOL. 131 | NO. 169 | Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: The Wiseacre Deal, City Hall Goes To Pot and TEDx Memphis

By Bill Dries

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That was quick. Less than a week to come up with lease terms between the city and Wiseacre Brewing for the Mid-South Coliseum including a due diligence period that is the first order of business.

The Memphis City Council approved the deal Tuesday during a busy council day that also included a dismantling by the council of an alternate plan to keep the arena an arena but no confidence by the council in the financing details from Brian Saulsberry.

While that was happening to Saulsberry at City Hall, the Beale Street Tourism Development Authority was meeting on the other end of Downtown and ruling out Saulsberry’s company from the competition to be the next manager of the entertainment district.

The Beale authority still hasn’t settled on a company. 21 Beale is the only group left in the running but that’s not a guarantee it has a lock on the contract.

Back to council day. No votes by the full council Tuesday but quite a committee discussion on Berlin Boyd’s ordinance that would allow police to write a ticket and impose a $50 fine for possession of under half an ounce of marijuana.

This was a big tent discussion revealing some very different attitudes about pot and the drug habits of the city around the committee room table. All the discussion was missing was Congressman Steve Cohen who has been very vocal in confronting federal law enforcement officials who say some of the things about what pot leads to that Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings said Tuesday.

Other issues present in the discussion, racial disparities, mass incarceration, the police personnel shortage and criminal justice system reform.

The first vote on the measure – first of three readings – is Sept. 6.

Council member Martavius Jones didn’t have seven votes for his quest to put a new residency requirement for city government employees on the November ballot. He didn’t even have three votes. The referendum ordinance up for third and final reading Tuesday got his vote and that of council member Edmund Ford Jr.

While the council and the Beale Street Tourism Development Authority were meeting Tuesday, so was the Shelby County Schools board which approved a Crosstown High charter school and followed the recommendations of superintendent Dorsey Hopson on seven other charter applications. That is reject three and approve four others in addition to Crosstown.

Evergreen Packaging expands. And further down in Digest, Tennessee health exchange premiums go up and your starting quarterback for the University of Memphis Tigers is Riley Ferguson

TEDx Memphis is back after its debut last year. We’ve got the full run down of who the 18 are who are giving talks including MATA CEO Ron Garrison. Garrison is marking two years in what may be the toughest job in the city – trying to turn the city bus system around and not go deaf from being yelled at constantly. It’s a good mix of people with new ideas and people with new ideas leavened and honed by their experiences running some very important institutions in our city.

Life after Dak in Starkville.

More on the local Democratic dysfunction and the brief life of a vacuum in our politics.

Once upon a time there was a Victorian Village Festival. This was before we had a season of festivals around the county. These days it is about to become two festival seasons given some of our latest additions. Anyway, it’s not a festival. But I’m sure the tours this coming weekend of homes in Victorian Village will be festive.

The tours will take long-time Memphians beyond the earlier festival to a time when tours of the Fontaine House were a part of growing up in Memphis. And if you miss the Saturday event, you can still tour the Mallory-Neely House which has been open for tours for some time now including a recent renovation of the windows to restore them to their 19th century glory. Nothing like looking at the 21st century through an 19th century frame to give your perspective something to think about.

Nationally, U.S home sales at their best level since 2007.

PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047