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VOL. 132 | NO. 212 | Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Bill Dries

Last Word: Corker's Quest, Overton Park Transition and The Two Amazons

By Bill Dries

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The basic political differences between President Donald Trump and U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee returned to the top of the news cycle Tuesday with an extraordinary airing by the two leaders that went beyond Twitter, at least for Corker. Here is the basic account from Associated Press of what was a story that unfolded over the course of a work day in the Beltway. It was a day that included Trump going to Capitol Hill for a meeting with Republican Senators, including Corker.

Beyond the basic account, the differences between Corker and Trump have become sustained enough that it now appears to be a case of whether other Republicans in Congress will follow Corker in breaking with the White House. As we saw here at the weekend convention of the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women, the other side of this are Republican elected officials including U.S. Rep.s David Kustoff and Marsha Blackburn calling for nothing less than complete alignment with Trump – no exceptions and no questions. So far, Corker is all by himself on the Tennessee Republican landscape. Blackburn, of course, is running to be Corker’s successor in the Senate and at least as of this past weekend avoided any criticism of Corker.

From the national political analysis pieces: WaPo on Corker possibly building a case for removing Trump from office; Politico on the Capitol Hill meeting; and The Hill on the new level of criticism of Trump.

The discussion about Overton Park’s future just got bigger than the Memphis Zoo’s new parking lot and the move by the Brooks to the riverfront. The Memphis College of Art is closing in May 2020. The school whose faculty and students have included a who’s who of Memphis visual arts dating back its origins and opening in Victorian Village during the depths of the Great Depression has been in financial trouble for several years. And ultimately the MCA board made a decision that those problems are insurmountable. Laura Hine, the interim director of the college through this effort, talked with us Tuesday after an emotional announcement to students Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, the Overton Park Conservancy is moving into developing a park master plan that now includes what to do with the art college’s landmark Roy Harrover-designed home since 1960.

The Daily News Seminar next week, Nov. 2, at the Brooks continues our theme of going at the stories and issues on the front burner in terms of timeliness. The Commercial Real Estate discussion will focus on the city’s bid for Amazon’s HQ2 headquarters. The local application was turned in last week and Greater Memphis Chamber president Phil Trenary who is on our Nov. 2 panel says our application has multiple sites for Amazon’s consideration – Downtown, Collierville, Millington, Arlington, Bartlett and Germantown.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s distribution center on our side of the state-line with Mississippi has turned out to be a different matter even though the tax incentives for that project are a done deal as of last week’s vote by the EDGE board. We revisit the discussion at City Hall between city council member Martavius Jones and EDGE president Reid Dulberger over going for HQ2 and whether EDGE should have let the distribution center’s lower wage jobs ride without tax incentives.

Memphis has one of the highest disparities in the nation when it comes to mortality rates for breast cancer between African-American women and Caucasian women. That despite women in both groups being diagnosed with breast cancer at about the same overall rate. The local groups working to explain and then battle that disparity are making some progress but much remains to be done around awareness, early detection and coverage for treatment. And Carla Baker, the leader of the Memphis Breast Cancer Consortium, tells us ObamaCare has been particularly helpful with eliminating co-pays for mammograms that are a barrier for some. The group also has as a goal of paid time-off in the workplace for such health screenings.

Tracking changes at The Arcade, the city’s oldest restaurant, in advance of next month’s Downtown Dining Week.

You’ve got to pay attention to the details when it comes to who is running for what around this place. And I have learned that the hard way this week. So, when last we met I had Alvin Crook listed as running for Shelby County Commission in the 2018 county elections. It turns out Crook is instead running for the District 9 seat on the Shelby County School Board – the seat currently held by Mike Kernell. And that means a false alarm for now for Edmund Ford Jr., who is running for his cousin Justin Ford’s seat on the commission.

Still some hope for this baseball traditionalist that the World Series will actually be decided in October as nature intended and not November. Meanwhile, Mickey Callaway, the new manager of the New York Mets – who play in a league that does not accept the heresy of the designated hitter rule – is a Germantown Red Devil who comes to the Mets dugout from being the pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians.

At the top of our Memphis Newsmakers segment, Matthew Day, the new senior vice president of investments at Fogelman Properties, and his guitar dreams.

PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047