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VOL. 131 | NO. 113 | Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: A Different Aftermath and Trolleys Aren't Just for Tourists

By Bill Dries

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A week that will likely end with the funeral of a Memphis Police officer began with a discussion about violent crime that is even at this early point proving to be different from the past discussions we’ve had at times like these.

Some of the difference is the massive frustration and impatience so many of us feel and are expressing about just about any call for a meeting or summit on the issue and with that a good amount of frustration with any suggestion that long-term solutions take time.

There were more homicides and more violence just since the Saturday rampage. Someone riddled the front of the Tennessee Highway Patrol office in Bartlett with gunfire Sunday.

What I think makes this different is that Officer Verdell Smith was talking about this very dilemma in the last years of his life.

Before he became a police officer, he knew this issue better than many of us. His brother is an imprisoned gang member.

And his social media posts on this indicate he was a police officer who believed the solution wasn’t just to lock up young offenders and not look back.

Days before his death, we heard a lot about this as we recorded our Behind The Headlines program on WKNO TV. And Monday morning, we heard from some viewers who thought the discussion many of them watched Sunday morning, just as they were learning about the violence of Saturday night, was particularly timely without any of us involved in the program realizing it as we were taping it.

Monday afternoon, Mayor Jim Strickland talked about this as well and announced the Tennessee Highway Patrol and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office will be helping out Memphis Police. Also look for a Downtown Memphis Commission plan for Beale Street in the coming days.

You can expect some discussion of this during Tuesday’s council day at City Hall amidst the hustle and bustle of putting the budget season to rest with final votes on the operating and capital budgets as well as a stable city property tax rate.

Shelby County Commissioners aren’t quite there on the budgets and tax rate for the county yet, although they took the first of three votes Monday on a stable county property tax rate. They could have some changes to the county budget beyond what to do about schools funding before it is all over.

And former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton was back at the county building Monday with a resolution in which the commission endorsed his plan for two residential schools in Shelby County for juvenile offenders who are in detention. And again, Herenton did not care for some reservations expressed by a commissioner. Last month it was commissioner David Reaves. This time it was Walter Bailey.

Some complications for the city’s South City redevelopment plan – Memphis didn’t make the list Monday in Washington for Promise Zone designation that was part of the plan for South City.

The Promise Zone designation isn’t automatic federal funding. It’s a better chance at federal funding for wrap around social services for those public housing residents in the area, especially residents of Foote Homes, the city’s last large public housing project. Foote Homes would be demolished in the city’s plan which a city council committee will review today.

In our Financial Services Emphasis:

The volatile sector of freight payment. It takes a lot of people to unload a truck, railroad car or barge. But the companies that make that happen don’t like to deal with a lot of different hands when it comes to who pays and who gets paid.

Promotions at First Tennessee as the bank grows in the west Tennessee region.

A Memphis accounting firm, Reynolds Bone & Griesbeck, is marking 100 years in business. Ink wells and ledgers and an office off Cotton Row before a move out east when Clark Tower was new. And the firm still has a client, in the form of a family, that has been with the firm since the beginning.

Quote of the day from managing partner John Griesbeck attributed to his grandfather: “It takes a long time to get a client and only about five seconds to lose one.”


Associated Press on a new study that says streetcars – what we call trolleys – aren’t just for tourists and the Memphis experience is cited as an example of a system built for tourists that has fared worse. Of course, the spontaneous fires that consumed two trolleys didn’t help either.

Nationally: Fed Chair Janet Yellen says the economy is improving but there are still questions about whether the Fed should continue to raise interest rates.

PROPERTY SALES 23 23 1,365
MORTGAGES 21 21 1,068
BUILDING PERMITS 117 117 3,173