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VOL. 132 | NO. 240 | Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Visions of Black Helicopters, 'Extreme Body Rot' and Mall Nostalgia

By Bill Dries

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A happy council day at City Hall to you and yours. I know this is probably a new and foreign tradition to most of you – the twice a month Memphis City Council meetings every other Tuesday. Or maybe you just don't think of the sessions in that way. This time of the year can be pretty mellow – a lull before what is really the biggest season at City Hall – budget season in the spring. But the council will be pretty busy Tuesday.

Here is the overview of discussions about getting stuck in your driveway because a marathon is coming down your street and whether that is the real issue or just a distraction to put more restrictions on protests – which are another use of city streets. Don't forget the RCV discussion. You can't have a council day without acronyms.

Council member Kemp Conrad on BTH this past weekend: “It’s not like Reid (Hedgepeth) is in a black helicopter trying to figure out a way to quash free speech.”

And we drill down on a plan to expand the term limits of council members from the current limit of two consecutive terms to three consecutive terms. If the parade and protest ordinance ideas are a rough first draft, this is an even rougher first draft. This proposed charter amendment intended to go on the November ballot for city voters to decide would take effect immediately. Usually term limits ordinances spell out precisely who is affected by this and when the clock (or calendar) starts running on however many terms an officeholder has. That is probably still to come after the council dips its collective toe in the political waters Tuesday. And that is probably where a lot of the initial discussion will be -- defining terms.

As always join us @tdnpols, www.twitter.com/tdnpols, for live coverage of the council session and updates from the committee sessions earlier in the day.

And give us a look there Tuesday morning for our daily rundown of who has pulled a petition and who has filed for the May 1, 2018 county primary ballot. The action here has slowed a bit. The filing deadline for these races is Feb. 15 after all. But there are a few recent moves. County Clerk Wayne Mashburn has filed to run in the Republican primary for Register. Meanwhile, Bill Chism has a petition out in the Democratic primary for Probate Court Clerk. And Ian Jeffries and Jonathan Smith have pulled petitions to run in the Democratic primary for county commission District 9 – the seat Justin Ford is giving up because of term limits. The race now has five potential contenders, all in the Democratic primary – making it the most active commission race thus far. But like I said, it’s still early.

Meanwhile, the Shelby County Commission did its next to last meeting of the year thing Monday across the Main Street Mall and promptly renewed its legal skirmish with county mayor Mark Luttrell over opioid legislation. It also resurrected one of the proposed pay raises for county elected officials that were all voted down last month.

Some of the ongoing opioid back and forth is a race with the state, which is considering its own lawsuit against big pharma and their distributors. Some commissioners voting for the commission’s own legal path and timing on this argue that if the county throws in its lot with the state, Memphis and Shelby County will get left out in any settlement that comes through state government.

To that end, state officials rolled out their analysis Monday of what substance abuse costs the state annually. The analysis is an early move in the coming litigation.

The verdict on three of the trolleys shipped off to Iowa for restoration is "extreme body rot" which means no end of the year restoration of trolley service here. It's now an April start on MATA's calendar

In our Distribution and Logistics Emphasis:

Even one of the developers of the truck center that has replaced the Mall of Memphis at Perkins and American Way has some nostalgia about the now vanished mall. It turns out Tommy Earl lived in the neighborhood. We get a look around the TAG Truck Center on the 113-acre site that begins the move to Parkway Village this coming weekend. And the truck dealership is a state of the art testimony to the technological leap trucking made long ago that continues to evolve.

That ongoing evolution includes electric and autonomous semitractor-trailers that some say are years away but are changing rapidly in terms of the technology.

Truckers, meanwhile, have quite a few issues with some technology already in the cab – electronic logging devices and that becomes a mandate later this month.

Local reaction from HR executives to the $69-billion CVS Aetna deal. Some very cautious opinions thus far. Although one of our experts says it continues to trend toward fewer divisions among doctors, pharmacies and hospitals. But she adds there are still real questions about whether the tendency to merge all of this together will represent real cost savings.

Here is the Associated Press Q&A on what this means so far in the merger of the nation’s second largest drugstore chain with the third largest health insurer. And here are some early guesses about cost with one analyst saying it won’t make your prescription drugs cheaper in the near term and probably won’t change how those drugs are priced. But it does get those folks in the same room as the insurers.

The Toy Truck is out and about as part of an annual toy drive around town the benefits Porter-Leath. You didn’t think I was going to talk about one season and leave out the other one did you?

MORTGAGES 80 320 1,066
BUILDING PERMITS 120 590 2,248