VOL. 132 | NO. 78 | Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Last Word: 'Take That For Data', Gas Tax Wednesday and Corker in Memphis
By Bill Dries
“Take That For Data” may be the rallying cry for the rest of the NBA playoffs around here. And look for an off-the-chart crowd reaction Thursday when Grizz coach David Fizdale takes his place courtside. The Grizz' loss to the Spurs in Game 2 Monday in San Antonio prompted a post-game statistics-laden tirade by Fizdale about officiating of the game that concluded with Fizdale saying “take that for data” –the closest thing to profanity in the entire rant.
It followed a stunning climb back for the Grizz from being 26 points down to being 4 points down. Fizdale’s reaction was an impeccably Memphis moment and the city noticed. Less than 24 hours later there were t-shirts on the streets of this city of yours and mine with the slogan and Servicemaster was offering to pay the resulting NBA fine for Fizdale’s comments. Other phrases from the rant you might be seeing on a t-shirt near you, “They’re not going to rook us.” I believe a ceremonial playing of “Whoop That Trick” at the start of Thursday’s game at the Forum is called for.
Meanwhile, the NCAA basketball south regionals are coming back to the Forum in 2021.
In the Tennessee Legislature:
House Speaker Beth Harwell sets some ground rules for Wednesday’s House floor debate and vote on the gas tax bill. Harwell is trying to keep Republicans on different sides of this from any permanent or lasting split.
Meanwhile, a House committee has voted to take a property tax relief measure for veterans out of the gas tax package.
And Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville, who is carrying the governor’s gas tax bill, has dropped a change in the state’s open container law that Haslam wanted to redirect federal funds to roads and bridges. Without the changes, the federal money – about $18 million -- can’t be used for that. It is used instead as a revenue stream for drunk driving prosecutions and prosecutors don’t want to let go of the money.
Another piece of the Downtown Gateway project puzzle falls into place … in Nashville. Our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard reports the state Senate approved Tuesday enabling legislation that allows the city council to create a second hotel-motel tax with a 5 percent cap aggregate to finance the debt on the Memphis Cook Convention Center. This already cleared the House so the Senate vote sends it to the governor’s desk for his signature. Look for this ordinance to show up soon on the city council’s agenda for the first of three readings.
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee in Memphis Tuesday during Washington’s Easter recess and one of his early stops was in Arlington for what was billed as a business breakfast gathering by the Arlington Chamber. Local Democrats targeted the event and were among those at the gathering along with lots of Republican partisans as well. After the gathering, Corker taped an edition of “Behind The Headlines” at WKNO TV that will air Friday and still later at the Dunavant Awards, Corker described the Arlington meeting as “animated.” Partisans on both sides said there were plenty of disagreements but that it stayed civil. Corker addressed the discord on BTH among many other topics including North Korea, Syria, refugees, immigration, health care reform and Trump.
The Women’s Foundation honors three legends.
A Georgia Tech professor coming to Memphis for next week’s RegionSmart Summit has a data base of dead big box stores and malls. Ellen Dunham- Jones will be among the speakers at the April 27 day-long Urban Land Institute gathering at Halloran Centre and she will be talking about retrofitting the retail that made the suburbs the center of growth in the 1980s. Dunham-Jones tells us she will have a few properties from Memphis and the surrounding areas as case studies of what is possible. The concept is that this kind of redevelopment isn’t just for the inner city or Downtowns any more. The suburbs have enough age on them that they’ve seen the path of growth move even further out and then further in.
Catch Patrick Wisdom in a Redbirds uniform while you can. The third baseman made an impression in spring training with the parent St. Louis Cardinals and Don Wade reports he’s having a good season 11 games into Triple-A in Memphis. And it’s only taken five years to become an overnight success.
Izakaya – the restaurant that opened four months ago in what had been the Nineteenth Century Club on Union Avenue -- will close Saturday.
The newest addition to Crosstown Concourse will be on wheels – Bikesmith will take its mobile bicycle repair shop to Crosstown on Fridays starting May 8 and looks to build trade between there and its brick and mortar presence at Hollywood and Broad. The shop is also planning for more events there this year.
As promised, more on the Shelby County Commission’s long discussion Monday about putting teeth in the county plan for directing more county government contracts to minority and locally-owned businesses. Strong words in the commission’s discussion, with the disagreements more about tactics and how to proceed than intent. And at the end of the discussion Monday there did not seem to be anyone walking away from the table on the issue.
Minority business growth in the private business community follows hard on Monday’s discussion as the Greater Memphis Chamber talks more Thursday about its minority business efforts.