Last Word: Monuments Ruling, The Open Council Seat and Not So Great Streets

By Bill Dries

It is likely just the first round. But the city of Memphis prevailed on every major point in the Wednesday ruling out of Nashville by Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle upholding the removal of Confederate monuments this past December from two city parks.

A Chancery Court Judge in Nashville ruled Wednesday that the city of Memphis acted legally when it sold two city parks and the Confederate monuments in them to a private nonprofit last December with the nonprofit them removing the monuments.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans sued the city and Memphis Greenspace, the private nonprofit that the city sold the parks to, including the monuments within them. The court’s conclusion was the 2016 state law protecting Confederate monuments had a loophole in it permitting such a sale. The legislature amended that earlier this year but that was after the sale of the parks and removal of the monuments under the 2016 state law.

The ruling also shows the city’s instinct to get this done before the Legislature went into session was correct as well. But don’t expect Memphis Greenspace to sell and transfer the three removed monuments just yet. The court order Wednesday is stayed pending an appeal by the SCV.

Noon Thursday is the deadline for applicants for the appointment to fill the open Memphis City Council Super District seat on an interim basis. And it is hard to know what this is going to look like because the packet of forms the council requires to be considered can be downloaded from the city website. So there could be some applications right at the deadline.

Probably the best indicator is the seven people who have pulled petitions to run in the August election race for the same seat. Whoever wins the council appointment at Tuesday’s council session serves until the results of the special election in August are certified. The winner of the election service to the end of 2019. There will be some contenders who go for the appointment and run in the special election race on the ballot. In fact that could be the case with most of the field. And the filing deadline for the August race is noon June 21 – the first day of summer

Into Wednesday morning there were seven citizens with petitions out including two who just recently made ballot appearances in the May county primaries. Here’s the rundown so far. And as usual we’ll have the applicants @tdnpols,, some time after noon.

Terry Roland is still making waves even though his bid for the Republican nomination for Shelby County Mayor ended earlier this month.

Shelby County commissioner Terry Roland not endorsing yet in the August general election race for Shelby County Mayor. Wednesday came and went without word on Twitter. Roland had earlier tweeted that the person he will endorse after finishing second in the May Republican primary to David Lenoir has an e and an l in his name which not only covers Lenoir and Democratic nominee Lee Harris, but Roland himself as some kind of write-in candidate. The deadline has already passed for independent candidates to file for the August ballot.

Republican contender for Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee out with several written statements Wednesday doubling down on the position he took in the latest gubernatorial debate – that is whether the Parkland Florida students who have brought new energy to the nation’s debate about guns have had a positive or negative impact. Lee says it’s been negative and that they are being used.


As all sides wait to see if Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam will veto the bill, our Nashville correspondent Sam Stockard looks at the victory Jack Daniel’s won in the Legislature this year. And in his “View From The Hill” column, Sam reports the Lynchburg whiskey maker is reportedly prepared to appeal a decision by assessors in Moore County that its barrels can be taxed by the state as personal property if Haslam vetoes the bill that essentially says the barrels are part of the manufacturing process and thus not taxable. The show of political force by Jack Daniel’s, meanwhile, has created some ill will in other quarters.

At the EDGE board Wednesday, approval of an expansion PILOT for Mimeo Inc. designed to get the company to move its HQ from New York to Memphis. Also community builder PILOTs for the Whitehaven Landing retail center at Faronia and East Shelby Drive as well as the new auto repair school Moore Tech is working on at a vacant car dealership on Mendenhall.

A rendering of what the Edge Motor Museum on Marshall Avenue will look like.

And an exterior improvement grant for the Edge Motor Museum – that’s Edge as in the area between Downtown and the Medical District that was once the city’s original auto row. This is all getting a bit too edge-y.

Faropoint, the real estate investors we told you about last week who are converting a Hickory Hill space back to a distribution center, selling two Olive Branch retail centers for a combined $9.24 million.

Lakeland Schools pull a building permit for a $3 million expansion to Lakeland Elementary School. Meanwhile, plans for a new Lakeland high school still in legal limbo as a lawsuit over the city’s method of financing that project is still pending.

An experiment in two-way bike lanes and a pedestrian promenade with tables and chairs and planters is about to end on Peabody Place.

The Great Streets experiment – as it was called – on Peabody Place between Front and Fourth Downtown turned out to be a mixed bag. The “bump-outs” for pedestrians at the intersections will become permanent and there will be a center turning lane for cars. And the parallel parking stays. But when city crews restripe the street next month they will take out the two-way bike lanes and the pedestrian promenade – the area with the tables and chairs and planters as a border.

Yolanda Dillard has been a foster parent to 70 boys over the last 27 years.

Yolanda Dillard thought she would be a better foster parent to girls than boys at the outset of her relationship with Youth Villages. That was 27 years ago and before being a foster parent to 70 boys. Dillard talks with Don Wade about the need for foster parents and has some practical advice.

An unusual ribbon cutting this week in Germantown – for a storm sewer channel into the Wolf River.

Kilgore Flares plans to triple its production capacity at its Toone, Tennessee plant.

Here are the three finalists Haslam will choose from as the new director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.