Last Word: Saturday In The Park, Lipscomb's Successor and Fred's Looks Up

By Bill Dries

Quite the Easter weekend on the Overton Park Greensward.
Greensward partisans planned a Saturday Easter Egg hunt, Memphis Zoo parking crews found the eggs and a crowd of several hundred people blocked overflow parking briefly that afternoon.

Still being sorted out late Easter Sunday was the case of a man who came to the last Sunday morning service at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova armed with a .40 caliber Beretta and with an assault rifle in a backpack that also held lots of ammunition.
Church security stopped the man without resistance from him outside the church sanctuary.
He was arrested for an emergency commitment by police, a legal status that indicates police think some mental health issues may be involved.
Also being sorted out is how the incident corresponds with or clashes with state gun laws which remain in a state of flux, with new changes coming by the day from the Tennessee legislature. Those legislative changes taking effect July 1.

A comprehensive look at the city’s long-talked about blight fight by Madeline Faber in our weekly, The Memphis News.
Lots of acronyms are involved in this effort and there is an amusement park or two of legal hoops to jump through as well as miles of red tape.
For the effort to negotiate all of that and the Blight Authority in place to lead part of the charge, this is also an indication of a significant shift in the city’s Housing and Community Development division.
That's the division headed by Robert Lipscomb until last year.
The new leader in the new administration of that division is Paul Young, who does not have anywhere near the power and autonomy that Lipscomb came to have over the administrations of Mayors Herenton and Wharton.
But Young also appears to have a different portfolio in the new administration and that sometimes comes with the HCD position, just as it did when Herenton took office and put Lipscomb in charge.

A significant part of this is a blight charter with 10 principles that spells out a cultural change in the city and county government attitudes toward blight.

Shelby County Commissioners vote on eliminating term limits Monday on the second of three readings and this remains an interesting topic with some favoring continuing term limits indicating they remain willing nevertheless to listen to arguments for a referendum on term limits.
It would be the fourth term limits referendum for county government since the mid 1990s and the third since 2008.

Commissioners have a rare committee meeting on their twice monthly meeting day. The committee session is to review the county government disparity study which was one of the first moves commissioners made several years ago as part of a renewed call for minority business growth in the public and private sectors.

Meanwhile, a look at two government entities – Memphis Light Gas and Water Division and the Downtown Memphis Commission – that are posting minority business numbers that suggest those agencies know something the rest of local government doesn’t.

Earnings reports don’t get much more turbulent than the week Memphis-based Fred’s Inc. had last week with earnings for the quarter that included a $3.9 million loss and the announcement that the company’s board chairman is stepping down.
But one of the hardest trends to parse in such turbulence is whether the shattered expectations are the company hitting bottom after sorting out a good number of its problems or whether there is more bottom to come.
Fred’s executives broke the bad news about the numbers analysts and investors care about last week. But they also made the case for a “culture change” at the company that they believe sets the stage for a change in fortunes.

In other reading, David Simon, creator of The Wire television show, and Edward Snowden ran into each other on Twitter and began having a conversation, 140 characters at a time, on government surveillance via “burner” phones. Actually it’s part debate and part conversation. The two do not agree on some of the larger points.
If you are a fan of The Wire, as I am, you know that the burner phones are an integral part of the plot. They are, in essence, the wire that sets the many twists and turns of the Baltimore-based plot in motion over the several years that The Wire aired on HBO. The surveillance is what enables the comprehensive view of many different parts of Baltimore that are connected even if the people in those different parts of the city think they couldn’t possibly be connected.
So Quartz has curated the tweets between Simon and Snowden with a bit of context inserted for those who may be a bit hazy on the background or who haven’t seen The Wire.

The Memphis News Almanac: Magic in Memphis, Central Station Plans, Csonka Kiick and Warfield come to the Liberty Bowl by way of Toronto, an orphanage in Douglass and “good progress” on the Southwestern campus.