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VOL. 133 | NO. 36 | Monday, February 19, 2018

Dries

Bill Dries

Last Word: Looking In The Lookout, Women in Business and The Race for Governor

By Bill Dries

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What would bring a Memphian on his own to The Lookout – the restaurant and bar at the top of the Pyramid? The view, of course. So after the obligatory walk outside to the views south along the riverfront and west across the river, I settled in Sunday for the view from within. I lined up with both of the tree stumps in the round fish tank in the center of the Pyramid’s apex, a steampunk frog watching from above.

The view of Mud Island from The Lookout.

I watched the reflection of the Olympics via a nearby screen in the glass of the fishtank, wondering if the tourists would figure out who is one of them and who is not. My conclusion: They probably don’t care. From more than 300 feet above, Memphis is taken in from a distance. Below a figure in a red hoodie was out for a Sunday walk on the other side of the floodwalls on the trail along the city harbor. Mud Island’s north half always looks handsome with its mix of bare trees and homes indivisible.

Most of the fish in the center of the bar are on what I call the Frayser side of the tank – for the unbalconied view it offers of Frayser. There are a couple of really big catfish on the “skyline side.” As Finland and Sweden play hockey, a dozen fish from the Frayser side go together around the tree stumps to the skyline side. But they don’t stay long – back within the third period of Finland and Sweden.

They return, apparently unimpressed, about the time a family of 11 – in dark hoodies and bubble jackets make their way immediately from the elevator to the skyline view – about half with heads down immersed in what is on their phones. That is until they hit the spring-like air outside and start running after each other. As they begin recording the view and sending it to each other, within feet of each other, a smaller child is carefully making his way along the part of the balcony that is not a glass view of what is about 300 feet below. “Oh, there comes a boat,” says a man in the western corner to a boy who is just tall enough to look over the railing at a southbound barge along a rising river.

Go to the other corner of the balcony and you see the city’s landmarks to the east rising from the trees. The winter shows a little bit more of them than you might see in the spring and summer. But it is the trees that dominate the view further east and thus is probably how you separate the tourists from the Memphians. For the tourists, the river and the skyline, including the bridges, are just about the whole show. They also seem to be less concerned about what amounts to the $10 cover charge to get to the top of the Pyramid. About two and a half years since its opening, the cover charge at the Pyramid has lasted longer than the Beale Street cover charge.

At the bar, the Olympic reflection has given way to a Nascar reflection. A bartender eventually gets the channel to change by pointing the remote straight up instead of at the screen. “That might be the last four I’ve got,” she tells a customer of the beer brand he orders for the group of six. “I’ve got one more,” she says as she brings the four bottles. He orders that one as well and someone calls downstairs for reinforcements.

TANNERA GIBSON

From the cover story of our weekly, The Memphis News, by Don Wade on women in business:

“I know several women who feel like they have to be incredibly aggressive 100 percent of the time to make up for being a woman, to be taken seriously. I’m not going to do that. I’m just as skilled as you are.” Tannera Gibson on being a partner at Burch Porter & Johnson. Gibson is also quick to point out that there remains a stigma in how women attorneys are treated.

She along with Rhodes College president Marjorie Hass and Dr. Susan Murrmann are the featured speakers at the Women & Business Daily News Seminar Thursday at The Brooks.

MARCO PAVE

Baseball spring training is underway including for the Memphis Redbirds.

The rest of The Week Ahead includes unveiling the city’s design of a new zoo parking lot, Lincoln Day and Marco Pave at Stax.

In our Around Memphis reading list: Tim Huebner on Abe Fortas, Penny Hardaway and Ole Miss? and Paul Manafort at the Rivermont in the 1970s

RANDY BOYD

BILL LEE

The U.S. Senate race now moving center stage as Marsha Blackburn has no major rival for the Republican nomination – at least for now.

Slate over the weekend on Bob Corker's reconsideration of the Senate race. If he decides to run for re-election, Blackburn appears highly unlikely to yield.

The Tennessee Journal has an internal poll on the Republican primary race for Governor that shows a tight three-way race among Randy Boyd, Diane Black and Bill Lee with House Speaker Beth Harwell a distant forth. And about 30 percent of the 600 likely Republican primary voters are undecided in the August statewide primary.

Several interesting points about this.

Boyd leading Black as Black leads in other polls. At this stage, it’s about the margin between first and second in the polls – Is the margin closeable?

Harwell has better name recognition than Lee who is running his first race – but not by much. And Lee is the third most preferred and within striking distance of Black and Boyd by the percentages.

Of those who recognized the names of the contenders, Black had the highest unfavorable rating at 19 percent but also the highest favorable rating at 42 percent. Lee’s favorability rating of 27 percent is the same as Harwell’s.

Lee’s abilities as a candidate have come a long way in a short period of time.

JOHNNIE TURNER

And right on cue, Harwell’s TV ads debuted as the weekend began, emphasizing her record as House speaker from her place in the House chamber and touting “conservative reform.”

Here is the recap of who is in for the May county primaries so far including Democratic and Republican candidates side by side. If the past is any guide you might see one or two candidates get out by Thursday’s deadline for any candidate to withdraw if they wish.

Still on the political event horizon is the filing period for the August state and federal primaries and the county’s nonpartisan elections. The deadline for that is April 5. And there is an open seat in the state House delegation to Nashville from Memphis – the second open seat in the delegation with Johnnie Turner’s announcement last week.

Keeping up on the dicamba front: An Arkansas judge has thrown out of court Monsanto’s challenge of that state’s ban on the herbicide.

An ad from the Feb. 22, 1978 edition of The Daily News.

Mississippi’s Brain Drain.

Entergy wants to limit the ability of Mississippi’s attorney general to sue for the state.

The Memphis News Almanac: The Business Lunch deduction in 1978, Blues Alley opens and how many Ford and Chevys are on the streets of 1958 Memphis.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 56 437 16,061
MORTGAGES 76 508 18,556
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 8 56 2,461
BUILDING PERMITS 241 876 33,390
BANKRUPTCIES 64 301 10,314
BUSINESS LICENSES 15 125 5,303
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 17 125 6,273
MARRIAGE LICENSES 19 98 3,511