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VOL. 132 | NO. 148 | Thursday, July 27, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Repeal Votes, ServiceMaster Exit and Cooper-Young Apartments

By Bill Dries

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U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee was among the seven Republican Senators who voted Wednesday against a bill that would have repealed the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act without an immediate replacement. U.S. Senator Bob Corker voted for the repeal. The bill failed.

After the vote, the second time in as many days that the state’s two Senators have voted differently at key points in the Senate’s consideration of the matter, Alexander said in a written statement that the ACA should be repealed with major parts replaced “at the same time.”

“In addition, I don’t think Tennesseans would be comfortable canceling insurance for 22 million Americans, and trusting Congress to find a replacement in two years. Pilots like to know where they’re going to land when they take off, and we should too.”

Corker telegraphed his vote on this specific point and repeated it Wednesday in his written statement. “As I have said before, I believe the best path forward is for Congress to repeal Obamacare after a reasonable transition period. This amendment would take us back to a level playing field where, by a date certain, all sides have incentive to work together to develop a health care replacement that would generate broad support and stand the test of time.”

Earlier in the day in D.C., Corker said Trump should stop Tweeting about Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Speaking of tumult, a quick exit at ServiceMaster for the Memphis company’s third CEO in six years, Rob Gillette. To most Memphians, Gillette is the guy who decided not only to keep ServiceMaster in Memphis but also to move its headquarters into the vacant Peabody Place mall Downtown. But investors, analysts – and most importantly -- boards of directors don’t put HQ relocation decisions too high on their list of priorities. They made a call based on some different considerations and also announced that ServiceMaster is spinning off its American Home Shield business.

New multi-family construction in Midtown is causing quite a bit of discussion. There is the discussion among those who live by the sites and then there is the broader discussion. That broader discussion about the Overton Gateway project approved Tuesday by the Memphis City Council revolved around the cluster of historic districts in Midtown and what would happen to their guidelines for future development if the gateway project was approved. That was a key point in the compromise.

Did someone say new apartments in Midtown? There’s a new plan for 25 units in Cooper-Young by First Congo and Stone Soup.

More background on the Memphis City Council’s decision Tuesday to up the city grants to the 14 surviving sanitation workers from 1968. The sanitation worker’s strike has had a long and continuing influence on what happens at City Hall, surfacing at the most unlikely times in a building that was one of the stages on which a critical chapter in the city’s history played out.

The New York Times on the 1968 sanitation worker grants.

An interactive way out of student debt by a group of University of Memphis alums who are now marketing the five-year plan.

The Memphis Redbirds are 30 games over .500 and their home game attendance is up 13.8 percent from all of 2016.

In a very grim Oxford, questions about what happens to the charity there formed by former Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze.

Confirmation Wednesday of the renewed suspension of Melrose High football coach Teli White before he ever took the field in Orange Mound. SCS suspended White again because of a TV interview the attendance officer at Trezevant High did in which she implicated White in grade- changing when he was Trezevant’s coach. When SCS officials talked to her at the outset of this late last year she didn’t name names and was allowed to resign – the only casualty of the scandal.

In an email to school board members, superintendent Dorsey Hopson said the new information has been turned over to the trio of attorneys led by former U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton that is conducting an independent investigation of this and other allegations made this past June by former Trezevant principal Ronnie Mackin.

The first woman to chair the board of the Tennessee Housing Development Agency is Kim Grant Brown of Memphis who has been on the board since late 2015 and is a third generation homebuilder.

The rapid fall of the leader of the state’s fastest growing community college in Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard’s “View From The Hill” column.

At Idlewild Presbyterian Church Wednesday, a new grief center by Baptist opened.

The Fed leaves interest rates alone Wednesday but may be close to selling off bonds. And here is the text of the Fed statement. Parse at will.

PROPERTY SALES 51 223 1,152
MORTGAGES 55 189 861
BUILDING PERMITS 149 541 2,593