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VOL. 131 | NO. 53 | Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: Deannexation, Pastner Past the Season and Chewing Gum and Walking

By Bill Dries

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The much-discussed deannexation bill in the Tennessee Legislature always had the votes Monday evening in the House with Memphis Democrats succeeding only in delaying the outcome in Nashville by about two hours.
The bill passed by a wide margin after a debate that was for the most part Memphis against the rest of the state starting just outside the city limits with Republicans in the Shelby County legislative delegation.
And there is some dispute between the bill’s sponsor from the Chattanooga area and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. Strickland puts the potential loss of tax revenue to the city at $80 million. Rep. Mike Carter says it is more like $27 million.

Meanwhile there was new drama in Tigerland the day after the University of Memphis basketball season ended in Orlando. There is a lot of parsing of terms on both fronts – the statements of coach Josh Pastner and University president David Rudd.

And that brings us to Tuesday’s council day at City Hall.
As we outline here, much of the discussion will be about the financial surprises of over $100 million, not including the disputed deannexation impact.
Strickland will also talk about deannexation and the council will discuss but not act on the proposal to buy the old central Police Headquarters building Downtown.

Lots of discussion of blight as a city problem this week from a symposium one day to a summit the next day around town. On the WKNO TV show Behind The Headlines, we jumped the gun on this a bit.
We talked to some of the principals about a long-forming strategy that is as much about finding a way around red tape as it is a city that's grown in land area much faster than its population has grown.

Andy Meek talks with Christine Munson about her arrival at Tri-State Bank and the philosophy behind the changes since late last year for the city’s only black-owned bank and what the plans for going forward.

The two finalists for the job of Shelby County Elections AdministratorChris Thomas and Linda Phillips -- have each spent time in the political arena. For Thomas it’s been the local arena. For Phillips it’s been Tippecanoe County, Indiana. Here’s a look at the backgrounds of both and some insight into what the Shelby County Election Commission is looking for in filling a job it wanted to fill earlier.

A computer software company in South Memphis is building software used in businesses as diverse as warehouses and day care centers. And it also does computer repairs. Lance Wiedower talks to the founder Luster Williams who started Automation Plus Computer Services after he retired from the military more than 20 years ago and came back to his hometown.

A few things from other places:

Troy Wiggins on the Make Memphis site about our city walking and chewing gum at the same time and many other essential topics as our city enters an early spring. Lots of links in the piece as well including several to some of our coverage of these very topics.

And a novel concept from Money magazine, a top 10 list that is actually the result of specific data and not which direction the wind is blowing between the ears of someone trying to pull a click-bait list out of their …
This is the seven best places to travel based on yearly monitoring of air fares and hotel room rates.
Why, yes, Memphis is on the list and high on the list at that.

The Hollywood Reporter filling in the casting gaps in the “Million Dollar Quartet” television series that is about to film here. Actor Chad Michael Murray, best known for the TV series One Tree Hill, will play Sun Records founder Sam Phillips.
This is the biggest film or television production the city has had in years.
Not that every production has to be enormous.
The Cinemax show “Quarry” was in town last summer to film a small number of scenes Downtown and in Holly Springs for a storyline that is about a soldier returning to 1972 Memphis from Vietnam. But after those scenes, Quarry left to film the rest of the show in New Orleans.
Moving quickly to another example – Mystery Train, the Jim Jarmusch film was so low key that most Memphians didn’t know it had been made here until it was ready to go into theaters.
And it's earned a place on a very short list of films that do the city right on celluloid.

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