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VOL. 132 | NO. 223 | Thursday, November 9, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Rape Kits Deposition, Pre-K Kickoff and Parkside Gets Company

By Bill Dries

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A retired Memphis Police Lieutenant was deposed Wednesday in East Memphis as part of the ongoing civil lawsuit in Circuit Court over the city’s 12,000 untested rape kits. Cody Wilkerson had been a detective in the police sex crimes unit and said Wednesday in the deposition that police brass, including Col. Marcus Worthy – his supervisor in sex crimes – oversaw cases in which rape kits were routinely shelved and forgotten about.

That was even during the later period of several decades when DNA testing was available. Wilkerson said there was inaction by police and cases closed even when there were DNA matches by the state crime lab. And as a result, he said rapists who should have been caught committed more crimes.

Worthy was later made the police supervisor over the unit that is investigating cases from the recent testing of the rape kits that were finally processed years later. At one point, Wilkerson said police brass cut off contact with the Rape Crisis Center.

More development on the northern border of Shelby Farms Park along the Greenline. The Parkside development will have a neighbor to its east – 71 acres of apartments and single family for seniors by Elmington Capital Group of Nashville. Lots of reaction to this since Patrick Lantrip broke the story Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking of that place to our east, the new state office building in Nashville that the Tennessee Legislature is moving into will permit armed visitors with a carry permit. But the Capitol building itself will maintain a ban on firearms. And the difference is the new building is controlled by the legislature. The capitol is controlled by the governor. Our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard picks the story up from there in his “View From The Hill” column.

A new telephone poll making the rounds this week. It includes questions about a possible sales tax increase referendum in 2018 for several different causes including public transportation and prekindergarten. And it has questions about the direction of the city and polls for opinions on some names already expected to be on the ballot next and those not on the ballot next year – at least that we know of. The names we’ve picked up so far from those who got the call include council chairman Berlin Boyd, district attorney general Amy Weirich, as well as state Senator Lee Harris and county commissioner Terry Roland – who are both running for county mayor in the Democratic and Republican primaries respectively.

As the week began there was the broadest outline of a proposal to raise the hotel-motel tax to fund a prekindergarten expansion within Memphis. When this got to the city council committee sessions Tuesday with opponents from the city’s tourism and hospitality industries present, however, it became a much more general opening of the public discussion about another try at an ongoing revenue stream for pre-k.

Here’s the recap of the major action of council day at City Hall leading with Beale Street. And here are some of the other items on the agenda to make this complete.

Shelby County Commissioners had their committee sessions Wednesday and found time for a quick special meeting to effectively double down on the decision by chairwoman Heidi Shafer to hire special counsel to explore a lawsuit against big pharma over opioid addiction. On an 8-0 vote, commissioners approved a resolution that “ratifies” Shafer’s decision. Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell is suing Shafer over her earlier decision saying it violates the county charter.

Just in time for Thanksgiving plans, a locally-sourced farmers market addition to the meal kit market here. It’s called SingBean.com.

There are two schools of thought out there about leadership – you can’t teach it and you have to teach it. And both camps can be pretty vocal. Maybe the truth is we need both kinds of leaders – maybe. What may be more important is what happens when those who have varying amounts of leadership experience and different methods get around the same table and start to watch each other. And then they start to talk to each other about things beyond what comes across their desks – like the city beyond their offices and more than the view on the drive to and from the office. One of those programs is Leadership Development Intensive that has been around for two decades under different names and traces its roots back to the Memphis Jobs Conference of 1979.

PROPERTY SALES 79 321 2,586
MORTGAGES 90 426 3,033
BUILDING PERMITS 153 796 6,864
BANKRUPTCIES 37 213 2,000