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VOL. 131 | NO. 40 | Thursday, February 25, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Timing and Numbers, Old Dominick Takes Shape and Zip Lines To Spring

By Bill Dries

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Political opportunity is defined by timing.
Witness a look at the early voting turnout numbers in advance of Tuesday’s election day.

More than half of the more than 43,000 Shelby County voters who cast early ballots voted Monday and Tuesday – the last two days of an early voting period that began Feb. 10 – way back there when Martin O’Malley was the third Democratic presidential contender and Jeb Bush was considered a force to be reckoned with in the Republican primaries.

In adding up the different turnout numbers from the state and from the Shelby County Election Commission for a more indepth story in Friday’s edition, we came across a problem with the numbers – there are three answers to the question “How many people voted early in Shelby County?” There should only be one answer.
One of the discrepancies could probably be easily resolved since the state showed one more vote than the Election Commission’s tally of its daily turnout totals.
But the Election Commission also had two separate sets of turnout numbers it kept – one for the Democratic primary and the other for the Republican primary.
And when you add them together, the total number of early votes you get is 322 votes less than the other Election Commission total.
That is a problem and it is not the first time we’ve found such a problem – even in this election.
The Election Commission tally during the voting period was short by 35 votes compared to the Secretary of State’s total in Nashville. And 25 of that was voters in the Republican primary on one day that were apparently left out.

Also on the political factor of timing, we take a longer look at what a Congressional bid by Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell would create in terms of political ripples.
Granted some of this is conjecture. There are a lot of what ifs that have to happen to set all of the dominoes in motion.
But this is not ivory tower hypothesizing or "what is Spartacus had a Piper Cub" either. (Look it up. It was an SNL skit.)
This is the exact moment when those in politics looking for an opportunity begin to see openings – not just the office everyone is talking about but what happens to other offices down the line depending on who gets in the race that is center stage.

On Front Street, Old Dominick Distillery is starting to take shape and our photographer Andrew J. Breig got the first look around as the works of the place were moved into position.
We write about a lot of plans of this sort. And when they start to move from renderings to reality that is just as important as when the plans turn out to be a bit premature or the necessary parts before construction begins don’t quite fall into place then.

Meanwhile, the first building permit is pulled for the Tennessee Brewery project – the conversion of the 19th century brewery to a residential development. The project begins with the $4.5 million parking garage.
Our Memphis Real Estate Recap also includes the sale of the Outland Business Center for $13 million; more details about the second Frost location in Collierville; the old Prescott Place apartments sell to Texas buyers for $1.3 million; a refinancing of the Lee House in Victorian Village that has been a bed and breakfast since 2014 and an Xfinity customer center in Olive Branch on Goodman Road.

In his View From the Hill column, our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard reports on the Democratic minorities in the Legislature gaining on a few fronts.

A follow-up to the legislature’s debate over whether to keep a cap on the number of liquor store permits. State Rep. Curry Todd of Collierville has killed his bill that would have kept a limit in place. This is tied to the July 1 start of allowing supermarkets to sell wine. That start date remains in place. But it may be difficult for those stores to buy what they need from wholesalers.

St. Jude has a new chief financial officer at a particularly important time in the life of that uniquely Memphis institution.
Pat Keel
comes to the job as St. Jude prepares for a multi-billion dollar expansion in terms of both construction and capacity.

Here’s the Beale Street Music Festival list of performers by the days they play in case you weren’t waitng around for the Wednesday 6:30 a.m. release of the information. And a bit more about a real “get” for the festival – Neil Youngwho hasn’t played Memphis in more than 30 years and has never played Tom Lee Park before.

Spring can’t be far behind now that the zip lines are being prepared in Shelby Farms Park. This will be the second year for the park’s Treetop Adventure Course.

More details on the UPS bid to boost the same-day delivery company Deliv.

Nationally: A GAO report says there are eligibility problems with Obamacare and describes the approach to those problems as “passive” … New home sales take a tumble at the start of 2016 primarily in the west … And the next step if the FBI gets to unlock iPhones.

PROPERTY SALES 85 205 21,165
MORTGAGES 76 206 24,338
BUILDING PERMITS 183 321 43,755
BANKRUPTCIES 48 92 13,560