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VOL. 131 | NO. 114 | Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: A Distinct Reaction, City Hall's Budget Season and BreakFest On Broad

By Bill Dries

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Funeral services for Memphis Police Officer Verdell Smith are set for Friday at Hope Presbyterian Church in Cordova.

The day before that Downtown leaders will gather in Handy Park on Beale Street to talk about new measures to make the district safer.

Before last weekend’s rampage that began with the shootings of three people on Downtown’s north end and ended with Smith’s death when he was run down at B.B. King Boulevard and Beale Street, there were several stampedes on consecutive weekends on Beale.

It’s a problem that has surfaced in previous springs and summers usually with accompanying videos posted on YouTube.

The impact of last weekend continues to be felt far beyond Beale Street and the discussion remains distinct in some ways from our past discussions that have surfaced after similar tragedies.

Among the points in that discussion is the distinction made between homicides and other types of violent crime. To get a more immediate handle on the violence, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office are about to get involved in city policing duties.

Violent crime remains the dominant topic at City Hall, especially given the smooth path the city budget season took as it closed Tuesday evening in an uncharacteristically short council session of an hour and a half. Bottom budget line, no major amendments that pushed either of Mayor Jim Strickland’s budget proposal radically out of line. In fact, the council reduced his operating budget proposal by a net of $339,000. And the city’s property tax rate in the new fiscal year that arrives July 1 remains at $3.40.

Question: If the calendar new year arrives as a baby in a diaper, what does the fiscal new year wear?

New federal rules for overtime pay take effect on Dec. 1 by the calendar. And those changes are expected to have quite an impact on who punches a clock and who has to keep up with their hours.

We talked with a couple of experts about how this will likely shake out for you and your boss.

Planned Parenthood’s new director of medicine in Memphis talks about her work here and in the state capital.

The supermarket boom we’ve seen lately shifts to Arlington Wednesday with a Kroger groundbreaking there.

Further down in Digest, fighting mosquitos at the golf tournament.

A good festival takes time to plan. And before you walk out there with an idea, you have to realize you are in a city that loves a good festival and knows the difference between superior and adequate.

I’m not saying any idea is a potential festival. But sometimes the most ingenious ideas are the most obvious.

Witness BreakFest 901 which returns in September from its debut a year ago in the Broad Avenue Arts District where it sold out.

The festival is a benefit for the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry with cooking competitions and the food trucks will, of course, offer brunch menus.

I see a Bloody Mary tasting mentioned but no mention of what has to be considered the city’s other official brunch beverage – the Mimosa.

I don’t want this to become a place to correct my mistakes. Who wants to read that?

But, having said that, it is awfully convenient for that purpose.

And that brings me to yesterday’s link to a story about a new study on trolleys and streetcars.

Within that story is a link to the study itself which, contrary to my lead in to the link yesterday, does not down the Memphis trolley line but instead praises it.

Here is where the confusion is. The same study says it’s generally not a good idea to build a trolley line that caters to tourists. Not that we don’t like tourists. They are really very nice people.

But when that is the market you are going after, it’s not a good premise to sustain and grow such a transportation system.

That’s what the trolleys here were all about more than two decades ago when they started rolling on Main Street and for much of that time, they have been geared toward tourists who don’t necessarily have to be some place between walking distance and a car drive at a specific time.

Thus my confusion.

PROPERTY SALES 62 288 2,619
MORTGAGES 52 197 1,783