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VOL. 133 | NO. 84 | Thursday, April 26, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Last Day of Early Voting, Senate Poll and Legislature Goes to Overtime

By Bill Dries

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The last day of early voting before the May 1 election day is Thursday. And the turnout count through Wednesday has eclipsed the total early voting turnout in this same set of elections in 2010 and 2014. You can find a list of early voting locations and the hours at www.shelbyvote.com, the website of the Shelby County Election Commission. The winners on election night next Tuesday advance to the August county general election.

We got Wednesday turnout numbers Wednesday evening so consider this an update of the story in our digest section. 32,524 early voters with one day to go. That compares to 26,295 for the whole early voting period in 2014 and 31,005 in 2010. Through Wednesday, 19,126 of the early votes were cast in the Democratic primary and 13,398 in the Republican primary.

Thursday is the last day of the early voting period in county primaries. Turnout through Wednesday has already topped 2010 and 2014 with increases in both primaries.

Four years ago the split was 18,695 Democrats and 7,599 Republicans. In 2010, it was 18,292 Democrats and 12,713 Republicans. So, as you can see turnout in both sets of primaries is up.

We’ve been over this before, about how comparisons to 2010 and 2014 are difficult at best because only the Downtown early voting location was open the first week of early voting for this election cycle in 2010 and 2014. All 21 locations were open this year on opening day of the period. And then there are the races and campaigns that draw voter interest. 2010 was the last time the primaries featured races for Shelby County Mayor and Shelby County Sheriff with no incumbent seeking re-election in either.

So, you’ve kept up so far. Stay with us @tdnpols, www.twitter.com/tdnpols, for the roundup of the final early voter turnout numbers including Thursday’s final day when it comes in. That could be Thursday evening or Friday morning. Meanwhile, there are a number of efforts underway even as the last of the early voters show up Thursday to rev up and turn out the election day vote by partisans on both sides, candidates and their supporters who have come to know each other well this spring. And when all of the votes are counted Tuesday evening look for the unity press conferences to follow where none, all, most or some of those who didn’t win get behind the winner under the party banner for the August elections. DEMOCRACY

The Tennessee Journal on a new Mason-Dixon poll on the U.S. Senate general election matchup between Democrat Phil Bredesen and Republican Marsha Blackburn. And this one has a breakdown for different parts of the state.

Bredesen has a three-point lead statewide over Blackburn which is within the poll’s margin of error. More important than that, 11 percent of those polled are undecided in a race that goes to voters in November. In West Tennessee, Bredesen has a 13-point lead over Blackburn. Blackburn leads him by 9 points in East Tennessee and Bredesen leads in Middle Tennessee by 7 points.

In the Republican primary for Tennessee Governor, contender Diane Black says the west Tennessee megasite project in Haywood County has been a “boondoggle from the beginning.” She is advocating a plan that uses at least part of the megasite acreage as an agricultural hub to include processing, packaging and distribution

The Tennessee Legislature approved seven of Gov. Bill Haslam’s appointees Wednesday to the new smaller UT board of trustees. That includes AutoZone CEO William Rhodes III of Memphis and Arlington attorney Lang Wiseman. Wiseman, a former Shelby County Republican Party chairman was one of two new nominees sent to Capitol Hill this week after four earlier nominees were voted down in the state Senate and a fifth withdrew.

Our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard, breaks down the Legislature’s reaction to the TNReady testing problem and the impasse Wednesday that kept both chambers from adjourning for the year until after 10 p.m. The impasse was over whether the test scores can be used later for grading students. And one of the legislators told Sam it was worth “us staying here an extra day or two.” Several Memphis legislators told us over the weekend that further fallout from TNReady’s problems could keep the Legislature in session.

As it was the House had the bare minimum of 66 votes to pass the resolution to adjourn Sine Die as they say on Capitol Hill.

A rendering of the makeover Mississippi River Park is about to get with specific plans filed Wednesday by the city and the Memphis River Parks Partnership.

Here is Sam’s “View From The Hill” column on the larger issue offering his view on the controversy.

Coming to the Board of Adjustment next month, an application from the city and the Memphis River Parks Partnership to use shipping or intermodal containers as open air dining pavilions in Mississippi River Park. The application says the intermodals are “durable structures that can withstand thousands of visitors and harsh weather for years to come.” This is part of a larger plan to make the park a “vibrant social hub comprised of unique spaces that support flexible programming, casual athletics and small-scale events,” according to the letter to the board from Brenda Solomito Basar of Solomito Land Planning. From the rendering, the pavilions would go on the park’s north end, next to a treehouse playground at the edge where the park ends and the Tennessee Welcome Center begins. On the south end of the park, bordering the Cobblestones, there are to be new bike racks and a bike share station.

You may remember that Carol Coletta, the new leader of the MRPP – which used to be the Riverfront Development Corp. – told us on “Behind The Headlines” that phase one of work on the riverfront from Mississippi River Park through Tom Lee Park would begin soon and would begin in Mississippi River Park.

Also in the works, a four-story set of lofts to be built just north of the National Civil Rights Museum where the old Lucky Heart Cosmetics building is. The maker of African-American cosmetics and beauty supplies has been in business since 1935. Here’s a High Ground feature about the history of home grown business which moved not too far away two years ago and recently added a retail store to its current manufacturing site.

Industrial real estate rental rates up locally in the first quarter by the Avison Young report. The principal of the brokerage firm tells us falling vacancy rates should start going the other way very soon given new construction about to hit the market. But that should still be off the 16.6 percent vacancy rate in 2011.

Rolling Stone on a Booker T. Jones autobiography coming this fall that will offer even more detail on Stax behind the scenes.

More on Sharon Griffin’s move from SCS to the ASD and the changes the Achievement School District has seen over six school years in existence.

Also more on Memphis Mayor Jim Stricklands proposal to adjust the city tax rate as part of his budget proposal. This isn’t the first time that the recertified property tax rate has created a windfall that state law specifically tries to avoid when property is reappraised for purposes of taxation.

Here’s the rundown on the council actions of Tuesday at City Hall after the budget address including the latest on the still moving issue of historic overlay districts. And a clarification about what we refer to in the brief as the Crosstown overlay. While the applicants are the Crosstown Memphis CDC and the North Crosstown Neighborhood Association this overlay would create the Speedway Terrace Historic District. So, going forward we will refer to it by the Speedway Terrace name.

Michael Phillips is the new director of Su Casa Family Ministries.

Looking in on the Transplant Institute at Methodist during National Donate Life Month.

Michael Phillips, the new director of Su Casa Family Ministries, talks about the nonprofit's work in the Hispanic Latino community at a time when immigration issues have changed the political climate. You may remember Phillips from his work with City Leadership and Choose 901.

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