Archive for October, 2009

by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 31st, 2009 1:19pm CST | Comments Off on This Week On Smart City: Models For Civic Activism

In Cincinnati, a clumsily written ballot measure would effectively strangle any rail project in the city and Joe Sprengard is fighting to strike it down. We’ll talk with Joe about forming Cincinnatians for Progress and how he built a political movement in that city. And we’ll revisit my conversation with Alex Steffen. Alex is a […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 30th, 2009 12:58am CST | Comments Off on Great Mayors: San Francisco’s Gavin Newsom

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is a mayor in the tradition of Denver’s John Hickenlooper. Coming from a restaurant background, skeptics about his potential as mayor were outspoken and prevalent. And yet, he defied all expectations and two years ago, he got 72% of the vote in his re-election campaign that exploited a record that […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 27th, 2009 11:03pm CST | 3 Comments

Mayor Joe Riley has been a great mayor for so long he’s often overlooked these days. Few who see him would cast him as a political powerbroker. And yet, he has reshaped this city to such an extent that it’s essentially unrecognizable from the poor, racially torn backwater that had lost hope in the future […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 26th, 2009 10:57pm CST | Comments Off on Great Mayors: D.C.’s Anthony Williams

When Anthony Williams was elected in 1999 as the fourth mayor of Washington, D.C., the city was in crisis, racked with corruption and teetering on the financial brink. As a result, his most pressing objectives were to restore the public’s confidence in their city government. In fact, when he was first elected, the District of […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 25th, 2009 10:49pm CST | 3 Comments

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin is widely recognized as one of America’s great mayors, taking office at a time when her city was demoralized, government was seen as part of the problem and city government was racked with corruption. When she leaves office in a few weeks, she will have restored trust in government by taking […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 24th, 2009 8:41pm CST | 1 Comment

This week on Smart City we’ll talk to the creator of one of my favorite websites, Walkscore.com. Matt Lerner is the Chief Technology Officer of Frontseat.org, a company that builds software for civic life. He’ll tell us about making software that makes the world a better place. And we’ll talk to Sadhu Johnston. Sadhu is […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 23rd, 2009 11:59am CST | 9 Comments

Watch this 10 minute video. Replace Memphis every time they say Birmingham. Substitute I-269 every time they say Birmingham Beltline. They have the same Chamber, the same project, the same inner-city desires and the same need for transit. Fascinating and frightening. A recent report on Blueprint America for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, hones in […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 22nd, 2009 9:33pm CST | 3 Comments

Our list of great city mayors always starts with Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. A geologist and restaurateur by profession, he’s been a remarkable mayor who built record approval ratings throughout his entire region and invested them to produce breathtaking results – nationally praised homeless program, a regional light rail system, growth plans, downtown development, and […]

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by (RSS) Neighborhoods | October 21st, 2009 10:31pm CST | 3 Comments

Simply put, there is no basis for the Shelby County Board of Commissioners’ approving county government’s gift of 140 lots to Buehler Homes. It is simply wrong on so many levels. Politically, it’s essentially the majority invoking their will on a district whose direct representative to Shelby County Board of Commissioners opposes the transfer. More […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 20th, 2009 10:09pm CST | 15 Comments

Here’s our advice to Memphis Councilman Shea Flinn: When confronted with the rantings of Councilman Joe Brown, just say: Councilman, I simply refuse to go into mental combat with an unarmed man. Those are the immortal words used by former City Councilman Fred Davis to a colleague decades ago when his colleague’s argument crossed the […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 18th, 2009 9:08pm CST | 13 Comments

Memphis needed a mandate. Yes, Mayor-elect A C Wharton got it, but it was the city that needed it. We’ve been limping along for eight years or so with no sense that we had anyone in charge, someone with a compelling vision and the public credibility and ability to lead us out of the wilderness, […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 17th, 2009 11:00pm CST | Comments Off on This Week On Smart City: Shrinking Detroit and Exploding Mumbai

Detroit is in the news again with Time Magazine launching a bureau of sorts from the city. But to get a real local’s perspective, we’ll talk with Katy Locker and David Egner of the Hudson Webber Foundation. It provides grants to improve the quality of life of the metropolitan Detroit community, and Katy and Dave […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 16th, 2009 9:14pm CST | 4 Comments

If you ever wonder why so many of us are passionate about the proposed Mud Island skate park, you can get a sense of it with this video.

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 15th, 2009 11:51pm CST | 2 Comments

It was in the late Sixties when our dorm walls bore a poster: “Suppose they gave a war and nobody came.” In those heady days of political activism, it was hard to imagine that the poster today should say: “Suppose they held an election and nobody came.” Voter turnout numbers in Memphis have been tumbling […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 13th, 2009 9:37pm CST | 3 Comments

Caught in a brutal vise of too much poverty, shrinking density and a broken tax structure, the next person to head up City of Memphis Government may need to be an alchemist, not just a mayor. There are so many troubling trends taking place in Memphis, and they converge by necessity in the budget hearings […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 12th, 2009 9:20pm CST | 11 Comments

The American Planning Association has posted its 10 great streets as part of its annual Great Places in America project. Check out these 10 great streets, and let us know what Memphis street should be on this list. Or, give us your 10 great Memphis streets.

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 11th, 2009 8:04pm CST | 4 Comments

One of the things the new mayor needs to do is just make people believe again in good government. That was the observation by our friend and colleague Cardell Orrin in today’s Commercial Appeal. He accurately identified the most serious problem facing City Hall – that the people whose taxes pay for it no longer […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | October 10th, 2009 8:52am CST | Comments Off on Member of James Gang Saddles Up for the Bluff City

We became acquainted with the James Gang in Iowa City, Iowa, when several of its members – Jesse Elliott, Gina McGee, Alex Johnson, Spencer Griffin, Elizabeth Azoff, and Michael Brooks – participated in the Memphis Manifesto Summit, which our company founder Carol Coletta conceived of and organized in 2003 with Richard Florida. We were impressed […]

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