Archive for January, 2006

by (RSS) Uncategorized | January 31st, 2006 10:06pm CDT | Comments Off on Interstate Sound Barriers Don’t Have To Be Eyesores

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. So is I-40 at the Midtown Interchange. Just take a look at the massive concrete walls being built as sound baffles for the historic neighborhood adjacent to the interstate. But rather than simply allow concrete to look like concrete, someone at Tennessee Department of Transportation has […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | January 30th, 2006 9:40pm CDT | Comments Off on Is The Memphis MPO Inherently Biased?

The Memphis Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is one of those arcane groups that labor in the shadows of local government, but whose decisions fundamentally shape how our community grows. That’s because its decisions have the power to fuel sprawl or determine if the urban core can compete with new commercial areas. The Memphis […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | January 29th, 2006 11:26pm CDT | Comments Off on In Love With Trolleys

From Otis White’s Urban Notebook: What is the deal with trolleys? Every city, it seems, is suddenly crazy about streetcars. On the surface, this makes no sense. They’re an antiquated form of transportation (most cities ripped up their streetcar lines by the 1950s), they’re slow (top speed: 5 miles an hour), stop at nearly every […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | January 28th, 2006 1:28pm CDT | Comments Off on Energy Trends Have Special Meaning for Memphis

I am still puzzling over Monday’s top story in the New York Times by Edmund Andrews. Here goes: “At a time when energy prices and industry profits are soaring, the federal government collected little more money last year than it did five years ago from the companies that extracted more than $60 billion in oil […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | January 26th, 2006 9:58pm CDT | Comments Off on County School System Continues Its Questionable Decisions About New Schools

Why are these people smiling? While Memphis City Schools is developing a national reputation for innovative school reform, Shelby County Schools seemed mired in a business as usual approach to public education. This means that in the near future, the county school system will once again try to stampede approval of another questionable new school […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | January 25th, 2006 8:01pm CDT | Comments Off on Trends To Watch in 2006

McKinsey Quarterly reports on the “currents that will make the world of 2015 a very different place to do business from the world of today.” Among those are these four with particular relevance to urban leaders: Public-sector activities will balloon, making productivity gains essential. The unprecedented aging of populations across the developed world will call […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | January 25th, 2006 12:46am CDT | Comments Off on City School Plan Makes Persuasive Case For Funding

Finally, the tail is not wagging the dog. For the first time in recent history, Memphis City Schools’ capital funding needs are center stage with Shelby County Schools moved to a supporting role. That’s as it should be, because for too long, the political debate and decisions on public education have centered on the needs […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | January 23rd, 2006 10:27pm CDT | Comments Off on Constitutional Legal Opinion Critical To Tax Reform Proposal

In yesterday’s post, we questioned whether the needed changes in the PILOT program will ever get a fair hearing. We hope the same can’t be said about the proposal for a payroll tax. With about 88,000 people driving into Shelby County every day to work, exacerbating one of the most regressive tax structures in the […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | January 22nd, 2006 9:20pm CDT | Comments Off on PILOT Recommendations Deserve Real Presentation

The primary question these days about the consultants’ study about tax freezes isn’t what changes will ultimately be made in the program, but if the recommendations will ever get a fair hearing. Last week, there was the meeting of the PILOT committee of the Memphis City Council where Council Attorney Alan Wade – who also […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | January 18th, 2006 11:46pm CDT | Comments Off on Memphis Tax Structure Becomes Even More Regressive

The latest study of 51 cities – the largest in each state and the District of Columbia – shows that Memphis is moving to the head of the list. Unfortunately, it’s the head of the list of the cities with the most unfair tax structures in the nation. A few weeks ago, we wrote about […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | January 17th, 2006 10:54am CDT | Comments Off on Paul Grogan Talks About Civic Leadership on Smart City Radio

Paul Grogan, CEOs for Cities founder and president of the Boston Foundation, was our guest on this week’s “Smart City,” and the subject was civic leaderhsip. Paul outlined the direction he has set for the Boston Foundation to fill the leadership gap left by corporate CEOs who have been merged out of business. This new […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | January 12th, 2006 5:44pm CDT | Comments Off on Highway 385 Suggests We Have Lost The War On Sprawl

County elected officials talk about the evils of sprawl, the OPD staff keeps working on planning reports and the taxpayers keep grumbling, but reading headlines ballyhooing the coming completion of Tennessee Highway 385, it’s easy to feel that the war against sprawl is over. We lost. The opening of the 54-mile suburban loop (if your […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | January 11th, 2006 11:52am CDT | Comments Off on Young at Heart: Finding The Key Demographic Needed To Revitalize America’s Inner Cities

Featured on today’s planetizen.com are the findings of CEOs for Cities’ research that are key to Memphis’ continued downtown revital and our city’s competitiveness in the future: Economist Joe Cortright and Carol Coletta, host of Smart City Radio and CEO of CEOs for Cities, outline the findings of their recent report, “The Young and the […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | January 9th, 2006 4:58pm CDT | Comments Off on Delay & Delay, LLC, Have Ties To Memphis Through The Coalition To Build I-69

With expanding inquiries into the lobbying firms of former staff members and friends of former House Whip Tom DeLay, this post of September 26 seems even more relevant: Another unfortunate feature of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is that they have overshadowed the growing storm about the pattern of behavior by Majority Leader Tom DeLay. While […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | January 5th, 2006 6:43pm CDT | Comments Off on The BioWorks Foundation Offers Important Lessons in Economic Development

When Steve Bares talks, we should listen. As head of the Memphis BioWorks Foundation, he is making things happen, effectively and methodically creating a major new industry for Memphis’ future. That’s why his recent comments to The Commercial Appeal about a study of 50 cities caught our eye. While others were crowing about the study […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | January 3rd, 2006 11:39pm CDT | Comments Off on PILOT Program Overhaul Deserves Renewed Council Commitment

It’s becoming evident that taxpayers may have missed their best chance for getting control of tax freezes when Memphis Councilman Tom Marshall’s motion to implement immediately the recommendations of the study on tax freezes went nowhere in City Council. It seems that in the intervening weeks, as often happens, the Council’s resolve is dissolving in […]

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