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VOL. 131 | NO. 134 | Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Being Veep, Greensward Still Active and Tuition Goes Up

By Bill Dries

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On one of the most eventful days yet in the 2016 Presidential general election campaign, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker was on the campaign trail with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. First there was a private meeting in New York where he was reportedly being vetted for the vice president’s position including a look at his financials – and then a Trump rally in Raleigh, N.C., where he was being road tested.

The Washington Post on Tuesday’s events in that regard.

A word to the wise about the process of picking a vice presidential nominee.

This came up in 1992 when then U.S. Senator Al Gore of Tennessee had decided to pass on running for the White House that year following a failed bid in 1988. Along comes word – several times – that Bill Clinton, who is running, is looking at Gore as his running mate.

Gore comes into town for an event at the Liberty Bowl and gets asked if he is even interested in being Clinton’s vice president -- in a luxury box at that.

Gore responds unequivocally that he is not interested in the least.

Months later, there he and Tipper are with Bill and Hillary amidst the confetti on the big convention platform – the one that’s round and blue and doesn’t have planks that Bernie Sanders is interested in – ready to take a road trip together.

It just might be that the vice presidency is a job that Gore wasn’t interested in and that Corker isn’t interested in. That doesn’t mean Corker wouldn’t take it if it was offered for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with what he’s interested in doing at the moment.

With Gore, I always thought he was driven by an overwhelming sense of obligation and duty in such matters. In the case of the vice presidency, for the Senator’s son that could have translated to a belief that if you are asked, you don’t say no.

As for national political ambitions by Tennessee political leaders, I’m reminded that among the many works of art on display in the lobby of the First Tennessee Building Downtown is a sculpture of the three Presidents from Tennessee – James K. Polk, Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson.

Polk won despite losing his home state.

Jackson, the patriarch of the modern Democratic party, won after running a second time for the Presidency with the firm belief that he had lost the first time through some kind of political skullduggery.

Andrew Johnson was Lincoln’s vice president and was impeached although not convicted – missing conviction by a single vote.

So Tennesseans with presidential ambitions have a pretty tough road.

As we mentioned, an eventful day on the campaign trail. Here are the basics of the FBI’s conclusions on Hillary Clinton’s email server, from Associated Press.

Don Wade with some thoughts on Mike Conley and Kevin Durant.

The Overton Park Greensward controversy isn’t all settled just yet. There are still some details the Memphis City Council has to iron out and the council could change some elements of Mayor Jim Strickland’s proposed settlement announced just last Friday.

There could be amendments says council chairman Kemp Conrad on the parts of this that the council controls.

As in all things council, you have to be able to count to seven votes to make that happen. We’ll know in two weeks and that is a long time in politics. But it’s hard to believe the council is going to rearrange the furniture on this too dramatically given the general view among council members that the mediation process was worth the effort even if it didn’t produce a compromise and Strickland had to follow through on his pledge to make a call if those at the table couldn’t. And you have to believe that much if not all of Strickland's proposal came from offers made in mediation.

On the other side of the Main Street Mall, we got a glimpse of the 2018 race for Shelby County Mayor – at least the Republican primary part of that – last week.

Tuition is going up 2.3 percent at the University of Memphis with the semester that starts in August – part of tuition hikes approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents in the transition to an independent board for the U of M and five other universities now overseen by the Regents system.

The U of M increase comes to $222 per semester including mandatory fees for an in-state student with a full-time course load of 12 credit hours.

Further down in Digest, the state begins registering fantasy sports operators and the Tennessee Division of Charitable Solicitations becomes the Division of Charitable Solicitations, Fantasy Sports and Gaming.

Do you really want a state government that has a division with fantasy in its title? It probably depends on how much revenue that division brings in.

If it’s summer, it must be time for Bridge Builders and the climbing wall at Bridges is in full use.

The Memphis chapter of the American Advertising Federation has a new executive director.

Recruiting accountants to Memphis.

The writing is still on the wall of the plant on Monroe that until just a few years ago made Twinkies. But if you drive around the back of the site you can see the grass that’s taking over the asphalt in the loading dock area.

Four years after the bankruptcy that set that fact of life in motion here, the equity firms that bought Hostess and a new acquisition company are about to go public, according to Associated Press.

Lots of tech stuff:

Apple’s new iPhone software.

Comcast adds Netflix to its X1 box

And say goodbye to Blackberry’s Classic smartphone, although Blackberry loyalists will probably continue to use theirs as long as possible.

PROPERTY SALES 101 603 9,602
MORTGAGES 92 538 10,616
BUILDING PERMITS 215 1,282 20,958
BANKRUPTCIES 51 408 6,108