VOL. 133 | NO. 132 | Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Last Word: Storms and Birds, Sizing the MPD and Plans for Early Voting's Opening
By Bill Dries
Very dark skies Monday afternoon over parts of the city. I could be off in this but I think there is a connection to these sudden summer rain showers that we need to consider. I think they line up very closely with areas where you cannot find a Bird scooter or at least not one that is fully charged. Then again it could just be me.
And while we are on that subject, what is it about the sight of a Bird left standing at attention after it’s been used by someone. What is the etiquette for jumping on it and firing it up without the previous user running out to proclaim he or she is still using it. Don’t want to leave anyone stranded. Although I think, through careful observation of course, that some of you just like catching a breeze.
Graceland back to Chancery Court in its third lawsuit over its plans for an arena. This one is seeking a declaratory judgment on whether their plans violate the noncompete clause in the FedExForum contract.
The issue of how big the Memphis Police Department should be – how many cops are enough and how many are too many – is about to go back on the front burner. Those involved told us on “Behind The Headlines” to look for a completed study on this in the fall.
Shelby County Democrats have plans for the start of early voting next week in Whitehaven and Germantown.
Lots of life still left in the issue of where and when you can early vote starting next week. The latest is an emergency meeting of local Democratic leaders in Midtown Monday evening outlining an opening day plan to not only turnout out Democratic voters at the Whitehaven site open on July 13 but also turnout the blue in red territory – the other early voting site open on that first day at New Bethel Baptist in Germantown. And the answer is yes, a lawsuit over the second slate of early voting sites approved Friday by the Election Commission remains a real possibility.
Here is more background and some early voter turnout numbers from past elections to frame this up. And a trivia question to be answered at the bottom of this column. Who was the first Shelby County voter to cast an early vote in July of 1994 when early voting made its local debut? No reading ahead.
‘Tis the season for endorsements this holiday week with Democratic U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen announcing Monday his endorsement of state Sen. Lee Harris in the August county general election for Shelby County Mayor. Cohen doesn’t automatically endorse everyone with a D by their name. And his endorsement of Harris comes after Harris very briefly considered a challenge of Cohen for the Congressional seat in 2016 that Cohen very quickly signaled would be a hard fought primary contest.
Among the newest crop of Teach For America recruits preparing for the new school year is Breunna Lovett, a UT graduate by way of Orange Mound who planned on being a lawyer but who has returned to the city to teach.
Don Wade on the addition of Omri Casspi to the Grizz by way of the Golden State Warriors.
It’s been a while, about six years, since the debut of the idea of making Memphis “Teacher Town” – the idea of making the city in particular a destination for college students and graduates recruited fresh out of school, often with major in other subjects, to teach and change education. Those new teachers have become a part of the city’s story over that time and an influence. This summer we’ve been following the newest recruits of Teach For America as they come to town. This is the first installment by Toni Lepeska.
Ole Miss begins accepting what is known as the “common application” in a month.
Also in Mississippi, former Lt. Governor Brad Dye – the state’s longer serving Lt. Governor in a state where the post is an elected one – died over the weekend.
An apology is in order to Ron Higgins – probably not the only Montrose fan out there who caught the mistake I made in The Week Ahead column that is a compilation of items from our reporting staff. My contribution was about Friday’s Def Leppard/Journey show at the forum. And in recounting that Journey’s first concert date in Memphis was in 1978 at the Auditorium, I noted that Montrose and Van Halen opened for Journey. I also took note of the irony that Van Halen was fronted by David Lee Roth and Montrose by Sammy Hagar, who would later replace Roth in Van Halen. That was a mistake. Hagar was not in Montrose by 1978. He was doing quite well on his own and Montrose would soon run its course with the band’s namesake Ronnie Montrose soon to form another band called Gamma. I feel like I should have to turn in my vinyl copy of the first Montrose album to someone in authority. But that won’t happen. And those of you who bought the later album “Jump On It” have absolutely no right to judge me and you know why.
The answer to our trivia question is Memphis city council member Myron Lowery was the first Shelby County voter to cast an early ballot.
Bonus points if you can tell me who was the first Shelby County voter to register with the passage of the Constutitonal amendment that gave the vote to those 18-21. The answer when next we meet.