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VOL. 132 | NO. 28 | Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Impasse Flashback, Pot Alliances in Nashville and The Age of Etsy

By Bill Dries

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The late 1970s – bell bottoms, punk rock, disco, that perpetual haze floating over those lucky enough to get the most expensive concert seats for as much as $10 each on the floor of the Mid-South Coliseum… and yes, the impasse ordinance.

You remember, the mechanism worked out by guys in leisure suits to avoid a repeat of the 1978 fire and police strikes. Actually not all of them wore leisure suits but they might have worn platform shoes – might have. Some were still clinging to their Air Nixons.

38 years later, the impasse ordinance has been amended more than your jeans were patched in the 1970s. And the proposed overhaul we told you about in the Tuesday edition (It's below the lead about the hotel project) got its first reviews from the labor unions on the other side of the bargaining table from the city. And they weren’t good.

Most of the action during Tuesday’s council day at City Hall was in the committee discussions on the 5th floor with Beale Street and the impasse ordinance being the major discussions. Here is our roundup.

Crosstown is starting to fill up ahead of a formal May 13 opening and with the move-ins now underway, The Curb Market closes up shop in Cooper-Young after about a year in the location of the old Easy Way to make the move to Crosstown Concourse.

Another look at Monday’s County Commission vote on Planned Parenthood as part of our ongoing post-presidential election reaction in Memphis.

In the Tennessee Legislature:

Republican state Senator Brian Kelsey has some across-the-aisle support in the Shelby delegation for his school voucher bill.

And our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard finds support for medical marijuana among conservatives. Some argue that marijuana is a gateway drug. In this case, it is proving to be a gateway issue for liberals and conservatives at least as long as you don’t get too specific about it.

The story also includes results from a poll of Republican voters on Gov. Bill Haslam’s gas tax hike proposal showing only 21 percent of those surveyed support Haslam’s current package of tax hikes and tax cuts that are to be revenue neutral in whatever final form they take. And most say the state should use part of a $2 billion state budget surplus to take on the state’s list of waiting road projects. That’s an option Haslam has flatly ruled out including from the well of the House floor as he made his State of the State address last month.

Given the gas tax battle, Haslam says he won’t be trying to overhaul the state’s sentencing laws this year, but will probably make it his priority in 2018 – his last year as governor.

On a related note, The Baltimore Sun on the highest court in Maryland setting what is a landmark rule that keeps a money bail system but instructs judges and court commissioners there to first look at other ways to ensure someone charged with a crime shows up for the trial. We aren’t the only city in the country having a discussion about our criminal justice system but this rule in another state’s court system is getting some attention here.

In the Arkansas Legislature, a bill to block funding to colleges and universities that do not cooperate with immigration authorities is rejected.

A guest column from Memphis attorney David Jones on what the Trump administration’s immigration travel ban and the court fight over it mean for the workplace.

Tulsa goes down to the Tigers at the Forum Tuesday, 66 – 44. The Grizz play the Phoenix Suns at home Wednesday. Don Wade with more on the Grizz and the Spurs in the first game of the home-stand this week.

Etsy anyone or Etsy everyone? Some interesting results from the local Made By Project survey of what is being called the “maker economy” – the scale and scope of these undertakings is probably best summed up by the use of the term Etsy although that’s not the sum and total of this.

The survey of 300 “micro-entrepreneurs” found 83 percent hope to grow their businesses. Most work at this part-time and most of them run the businesses themselves. Few of them can handle small batch contract manufacturing and all hand-made products isn’t scalable for most of them.

Who among us hasn’t looked at a shipping container and wondered about some use other than … shipping. You’ve probably clicked on the clickbait about tiny homes including Frank Lloyd Wright-angled shipping containers with their sharp angles. For a while there was a Cooper-Young restaurant concept built around them and food trucks. And now there is a concept out there to convert the containers into year-round hydroponic farms.

U.S. job opening numbers for December stay at a healthy level.

PROPERTY SALES 93 424 6,970
MORTGAGES 42 281 4,410
BUILDING PERMITS 196 704 16,619
BANKRUPTCIES 38 174 3,570