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VOL. 133 | NO. 48 | Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Bill Dries

Last Word: Penny Turns Up, Boots to Tickets and Ag Innovation

By Bill Dries

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So it begins as it always does in the world of Tigers basketball. Gary Parrish of CBSSports reporting the University of Memphis is considering a change from Tubby Smith to Penny Hardaway. Hardaway’s name last surfaced during the exit of Josh Pastner. This time around, the report is that Hardaway has already started rounding up possible staff members. This will either vanish with a very quiet poof and University officials saying they always review their options at the end of the regular season or it will move swiftly to an announced deal.

The jury is still out on a move by the Memphis City Council to have this mural on private property painted over. The zombie-like image has drawn most but not all of the ire from the council in the protracted flap over public art.

Art – public art – tops the council day Tuesday at City Hall. Among the other action, final approval of an ordinance that has been in the works since some of the companies that enforce the rules on paid commercial parking lots tried a new tactic after the council capped what they could charge to unboot your car at $50. In virtually every case they had been charging much more than that. And some of the signs are still around long after the council passed that ordinance.

The City Council capped fees to unboot cars last year at $50. But the word apparently hasn't reached every parking lot, like this one just a few blocks from City Hall.

The other thing that was happening was ticketing cars on commercial lots with stickers and charges like the one on the sign since the tickets weren’t covered by the new rules. The council gave final approval Tuesday to new rules that effectively make the unboot rules the rules for the tickets including a cap on charges of no more than two times the all-day rate of the lot involved up to a cap of $50.

Elsewhere at City Hall, an email chain among officialdom from last week about sewer basin capacity in the Fletcher Creek area got untangled. More on this when next we meet.

A follow up to our story in Tuesday’s edition about the new historical marker at B.B. King and Adams to go up April 4 that will mark the location of the slave market Nathan Bedford Forrest owned. The new marker will indeed coexist with the old 1955 Tennessee Historical Commission marker at the same corner that makes no mention of slavery in connection with Forrest.

A couple of local political developments to pass along:

Four of the county’s six suburban mayors have endorsed David Lenoir in the Republican primary for Shelby County Mayor – Lakeland Mayor Wyatt Bunker, Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner, Germantown Mayor Mike Palazzolo and Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald. They join Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, who announced his pre-primary endorsement of Lenoir earlier.

Germantown alderman John Barzizza opened his campaign for mayor of Germantown Tuesday – a challenge of incumbent mayor Mike Palazzolo on the November ballot. And it will be a challenge along the political fault line we’ve seen in the last few Germantown elections – a difference over the direction Germantown should take. “For far too long the voices of the people of Germantown have not been heard on issues of importance to them,” Barzizza said in the statement announcing his candidacy.

Meanwhile, east of us on Interstate 40, Tuesday was Megan Barry’s last day as mayor and the day she took a plea deal to a felony and was booked, complete with a mug shot. Barry resigned hours after the mug shot and the guilty plea to a felony theft charge in return for three years of probation and paying restitution of $11,000 to the city – per the New York Times account. David Briley is the new mayor of Nashville.

The great ServiceMaster move in continues Downtown with 300 new office workers moving in this week alone as part of a six-week process.

Lots of hardware at the recent Mid-South Farm and Gin Show Downtown but there were also investors afoot who came to see those with start ups.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant  takes himself out of the running to become Mississippi’s newest U.S. Senator with the April 1 retirement of Thad Cochran. And Bryant’s decision is what we in Frayser call a lead pipe cinch since he is the one who will make the interim appointment.

The great ServiceMaster Downtown move-in of 2018 continues at what once was Peabody Place Mall – 300 more this week in what is a six-week process.

In our Guerilla Sales & Marketing column, questions about the relevance of Facebook.

Inside the AgLaunch class of start-ups that pitched last weekend to investors at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show Downtown. Start-ups usually aren’t about someone just thinking of an idea and then taking it to the folks who have money to invest. There is a lot of work before that and a bit of a track record is necesary along with numerous revisions in a business plan. When this kind of innovation is around agriculture, the willingness of farmers to give the technology a test drive and offer feedback is essential. And the AgLaunch accelerator’s founder, Pete Nelson, feels like he’s got some traction for making Memphis the intersection for technology, farmers and investors with a goal of bringing more women and minorities to ag-tech and ag-innovation. AG

Speaking of money, an increase in local lending by the Fed numbers. That is an increase by dollar amount as well as total loans.

Atop our Memphis Newsmakers segment, Trey Carter on the barriers of leaving home for the glitz and glamour of other cities – it turns out someone has to pay for all of that G&G, not to mention the sweeping up involved with glitz, which is a form of glitter? No? Yes?

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