Archive for February, 2006

by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 28th, 2006 6:28pm CDT | Comments Off

In light of WMC-TV’s coverage of Sunday’s post about county schools, the following commentary from last month seems to be worth a repeat: 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. […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 28th, 2006 12:10am CDT | Comments Off

In December, the University of Pittsburgh Center for Social and Urban Research published a report called “The Roots of Pittsburgh’s Financial Crisis.” It could just as easily be called “A Cautionary Tale for Memphis.” The report is a post mortem on the city’s financial meltdown, which became so acute that the State of Pennsylvania stepped […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 26th, 2006 11:04pm CDT | Comments Off

As we pointed out last week, the rhetoric of Shelby County Schools officials often bears little resemblance to reality, whether the subject is growth, consolidation and academic achievement. It’s a prime example of how if political rhetoric is loud and persistent enough, it often becomes reality. Frequently, no one, including the news media, bothers to […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 24th, 2006 12:18pm CDT | Comments Off

From Otis White’s Urban Journal at governing.com: If ever there was a lost cause for cities, you’d think it would be affordable housing. After all, the average price of housing in the U.S. has increased by 73 percent in the last seven years, the Economist magazine reported recently. And resistance to affordable-housing projects remains fierce […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 23rd, 2006 6:33pm CDT | Comments Off

From AIA Oregon Newsletter: By George Crandall, Crandall Arambula PC in Portland, OR Lifestyle centers are cropping up across the country. Communities everywhere are jumping on the lifestyle bandwagon without questioning how these new developments will ultimately impact the long-term livability and economic vitality of their downtowns. My first experience visiting a lifestyle center was […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 22nd, 2006 5:22pm CDT | Comments Off

In light of the historic compromise highway plan that can end a generation of controversy about the Kirby-Whitten Road through Shelby Farms Park, we are revisiting our November 7 post about the “context sensitive design” process that produced this result. Two main points about today’s announcement about the road compromise: One, Shelby County Mayor A […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 21st, 2006 9:07pm CDT | Comments Off

Sometimes, when the spirited defense of the current PILOT program begins, it seems to lose touch with reality. In the consultant’s report recommending the overhaul of the current tax incentives program, this is what’s written on page 57 in defense of the $60 million worth of tax freezes: “During the interviews, general benefits of the […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 20th, 2006 8:39pm CDT | Comments Off

Emily Trenholm must sometimes feel like the tiredest member of the Donner Party. If she dozes off, there’s just too much that can happen. As executive director of Community Development Council of Greater Memphis, Emily is apparently the designated community representative on the 13-member Mayors’ Joint PILOT Review Committee. She is surrounded by people who […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 19th, 2006 7:26pm CDT | Comments Off

It’s an immutable law of modern politics that no matter what else you do as an elected official, you have to keep your base happy. No matter what. Sadly, in recent years, this inviolate belief has grown to obsession, spawning an epidemic of robotic talking points aimed at solidifying “the base,” regardless of whether they […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 16th, 2006 6:17pm CDT | Comments Off

Walking through downtown Memphis, memories of Tokyo often come to mind. In one of the largest cities in the world, regardless of the neighborhood or part of the city, the streets are immaculate and the sidewalks are clean. That’s because each morning, in a wholly Japanese sense of the collective, store owners sweep off the […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 15th, 2006 11:59pm CDT | Comments Off

Sometimes, it’s the petty corruptions accepted as part of the every day workings of government that are the most amazing. We thought of that yesterday in light of the way that one assistant county attorney surfaced in a variety of ways that sabotaged the prospects for a payroll tax and the commissioner who proposed it. […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 13th, 2006 2:49pm CDT | Comments Off

From the Washington Post: By Carol Coletta and Joseph CortrightMonday, February 13, 2006 Recent headlines about the latest census data on U.S. cities have had city leaders –most notably D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams — fretting. According to the new numbers, Washington has lost about 20,000 residents over the past five years at a time when […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 12th, 2006 6:15pm CDT | Comments Off

Some major cities, notably Portland, OR, and Minneapolis, have traced much of their competitive success to their multi-county taxation authority. In these places, rather than joint taxing being a divisive force, it is a unifying force that led local governments to work together, rather than see themselves as enemies and competitors. If such taxing authority […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 9th, 2006 7:39pm CDT | Comments Off

Forget the out-of-date notion about the three grand divisions of Tennessee – West, Middle and East. According to the University of Tennessee Center for Business and Economic Research, there are actually 10 distinct regions in our state. Now, the real challenge if for state government to frame its policies, especially taxing authority, within the reality […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 8th, 2006 7:01pm CDT | Comments Off

New market tax credits, a little-known development tool for low-income areas, is making a high profile appearance in Memphis as part of the Bass Pro Shop financing package at The Pyramid. That revelation was made to the Memphis City Council this week, although financial details of the package are yet to be revealed. However, it […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 8th, 2006 2:04pm CDT | Comments Off

From the CEOs for Cities blog: Simon Anholt was a recent guest on “Smart City.” Simon, perhaps the world’s premier place branding expert, has just launched the Anholt-GMI City Brands Index, a measure of the brand strength of 20 cities around the world. Here’s what Simon told “Smart City” about the value of city brands… […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 8th, 2006 1:50pm CDT | Comments Off

To follow up the last post, Memphis has been ranked the third most dangerous of 330 metropolitan areas, following Detroit and New Orleans. In an interesting footnote, as a city, Memphis ranks 16th among 369 cities. It’s as a metro area that it really moves up the list. By the way, the Jackson, TN, metro […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 7th, 2006 7:22pm CDT | Comments Off

We have now officially entered the political season. The attorney general’s office has expanded its “No Deals” program just in time for the election, and press conferences are being held that treat garden variety drug dealers as if a Columbian drug ring has been crushed. Of course, it’s impossible to have an election cycle without […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 6th, 2006 10:22pm CDT | Comments Off

A little over a year ago, United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spoke at the oldest Sephardic synagogue in New York City, Shearith Israel. He noted that in Europe, religion-neutral leaders almost never used the word “God” publicly. And then, as a panel member of a forum on matters of government and religion, he […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 5th, 2006 9:35pm CDT | Comments Off

Perhaps Bass Pro megastores are the downtown aquariums of this decade. Once again, cities can’t seem to stop the unrelenting chase for a magic bullet, a quick fix, a simple solution to revitalizing downtowns. It was the attitude that gave birth to a handful of successful aquariums which in turn inspired dozens of other aquariums […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 3rd, 2006 12:48pm CDT | Comments Off

In response to Tuesday’s post on the need for Tennessee Department of Transportation to change its approach to sound barriers to make them more appealing, State Commissioner Gerald Nicely emailed that he “agrees completely” and that he and his staff are working to improve the appearance of the eyesores. In response to Monday’s post about […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | February 2nd, 2006 5:31pm CDT | Comments Off

On the political front, there are developments that can hearten Democratic supporters – or at least those interested in the city mayor and state governor’s offices. While the anti-Herenton faction works to amass the daunting 70,000 signatures required for a recall vote, a number of people who support Mayor Willie W. Herenton are keeping a […]

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