Archive for March, 2010

by (RSS) Uncategorized | March 31st, 2010 12:52am CDT | 7 Comments

On March 24th a Sinkhole appeared on I-240.  Helicopters soon hovered above, reporters descended on the scene and traffic was snarled throughout East Memphis.  Approximately 48 hours later, repairs were complete, the emergency subsided and our city went back to business as usual. In a coup for Smart City Memphis, I have the obtained the […]

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by (RSS) Memphis City Schools | March 31st, 2010 12:46am CDT | 1 Comment

It’s a teachable moment for Memphis. But it may be squandered because of failing grades given in deportment to Memphis City Schools and Memphis City Council, aided and abetted by the class troublemaker, a news media that always gravitates more to personalities than policies. As a result, the much-needed debate about the fairness of Memphians […]

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by (RSS) Poverty, Uncategorized | March 30th, 2010 12:53am CDT | 5 Comments

Can we now turn the page – not one in Forbes magazine of course – and quit talking about the miserable cities rankings? We’re becoming like the guy who knows he’s having an affair so he continually tells his friends how happily married he is.  The continuing obsession with this ranking is beginning to summon […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | March 29th, 2010 1:40pm CDT | 3 Comments

Bill Gibbons may not have intended to move anyone by withdrawing from the Tennessee Governor’s race. However, I found gems of inspiration in his words that I wish had been more evident through the early stages of his campaign. And I felt that we Memphians better be ready to demand attention from Nashville one way […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | March 29th, 2010 12:22am CDT | Comments Off on The Perfect Storm Rains on City Budgeting

Politics 101 calls for politicians to solemnize each year’s budget hearings with the pronouncement that there’s never been one that’s more challenging and difficult. This year, it just happens to be true. Troubling trends that have been gathering for 20 years, exacerbated by the last eight years of the Herenton Administration, have landed with a […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | March 25th, 2010 12:31am CDT | 2 Comments

Memphis City Schools says it may cut funding to charter schools. So what else is new? The district’s been shortchanging the charter schools for years. Because of it, we’ve always found it perfectly logical that Memphis City Schools’ students score terribly on the math section of the ACT.  After all, if the district itself can’t […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | March 24th, 2010 12:21pm CDT | 3 Comments

OK, I admit it, I watch TV. And I admit that I watch a little more than I’d like to admit. So when someone tells me about a new TV show, I shrink away, not wanting to get hooked into any more TV. BUT when I read about Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, I immediately set […]

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by (RSS) Economic Development, Uncategorized | March 24th, 2010 12:19am CDT | 33 Comments

It’s been nine years since Richard Florida, who had not yet published his seminal book on the “creative class,” was the first guest on the inaugural Smart City program, eight years since he advised our colleague Carol Coletta on Memphis Talent Magnet Report and seven years since they co-hosted the Memphis Manifesto Summit in our […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | March 23rd, 2010 12:12pm CDT | 4 Comments

We’ve received this email from our reporter friends at The Commercial Appeal who it seems have been stonewalled by management for way too long: Greetings, Several years ago, you signed a petition in support of workers at The Commercial Appeal. Now we need your help again. The management of The Commercial Appeal has made its […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | March 23rd, 2010 12:01am CDT | 1 Comment

Talent remains the top priority for Memphis. It requires us to align our energies and our strategies, but we run the risk of our penchant for big project answers to our problems – whether it is downtown redevelopment, neighborhood revitalization or economic growth – to keep us from the hardest work: creating, attracting and retaining […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | March 22nd, 2010 12:44pm CDT | 6 Comments

I recently received a draft copy of The Urban Child Institute’s 2010 Databook, and was struck by one line in particular: “… for children, there are two realities to life in Shelby County…” This statement is certainly true, and there is a world of difference between those two realities when it comes to the early […]

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by (RSS) Economic Development | March 22nd, 2010 12:15am CDT | Comments Off on Job 1: Talent and Human Capital

Despite last week’s mishandling of the announcement  about the Mayor’s Office of Talent and Human Capital, it is still an idea whose time has come. Sadly, mistake compounded mistake until the news story wasn’t even about the merits of the office.  Events in recent weeks have left testy reporters suggesting that the new city administration […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | March 20th, 2010 12:43am CDT | Comments Off on On Smart City Radio: How a University Remakes a City

It is the university on the hill, overlooking a city in transition.  Once, the town and gown divide was palpable but today, suffering from industrial decline and trying to make a comeback, the city of Syracuse is depending on Syracuse University to help remake the city. Key to that effort is Marilyn Higgins, Vice President […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | March 18th, 2010 1:06pm CDT | 3 Comments

Rather than selling themselves at a discount — cheap land and cheap labor and tax giveaways – most highly successful cities are investing in better workers, high-quality universities, quality of life and efficient public services. So, what should we start doing right now to get ahead? We welcome your suggestions. Here is our list: • […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | March 18th, 2010 12:14pm CDT | 1 Comment

We got this email from Bridges, one of our favorite organizations in Memphis, and it lifted our spirits.  Hope it lifts yours. The Power of 10 is The Power of Hope When fifth graders spend months studying the life of a woman who fights for the rights of women and children in a country where […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | March 17th, 2010 12:36am CDT | 27 Comments

In the not-too-distant future, government in Memphis and Shelby County will look nothing like it does today. And it will happen with or without consolidation. It’s a fact lost on so the knee-jerk anti-consolidation folks, particularly when political ambition overrides discussion and analysis.  Already, we’ve got newly appointed Shelby County Commissioner John Pellicciotti chasing election […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | March 17th, 2010 12:04am CDT | Comments Off on Michelle Rhee v. Barack Obama

What kind of leadership produces meaningful change? Certainly, the complex mix of circumstance, timing, cultural norms, and the nature of the issue impacts how one answers this question.  That said, given my work at Teach For America and my role as interested observer in the health-care debate, I have been intensely pondering the concept of […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | March 15th, 2010 12:06am CDT | 2 Comments

The Memphis Poll — city government’s equivalent of the Consumer Confidence Index — said that 8 out of 10 Memphians are satisfied with city services. That’s the highest rating since 2001. Results of the poll never show up on the nightly news, because only a handful of news reporters knows that the yearly polling by […]

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