Archive for September, 2010

by (RSS) Shelby County government | September 30th, 2010 12:25am CST | 5 Comments

Caught in a brutal vise of too many kids, too little density and a broken tax structure, the people who head up local government here may not need to be mayors, but alchemists. There are so many troubling trends taking place in Memphis, and they converge by necessity in the budget hearings of our governments. […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | September 29th, 2010 12:39am CST | 12 Comments

We’ve been talking about the Talent Dividend so often here that we feared that it would just become the latest buzzword with no lasting commitment to it. Boy, were we wrong.  Leadership Memphis’s President David Williams and his board embraced it as a priority and have set out to turn it into a movement.  In […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | September 28th, 2010 2:38pm CST | Comments Off on Paddle and Stretch

The Mississippi River is the most distinguishable natural local asset and a defining historic and economic feature of this region. Back in June, I had the opportunity to take a day-long canoe trip down the Mighty Mississippi, courtesy of Quapaw Canoe Company.

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | September 28th, 2010 12:57am CST | 9 Comments

Sometimes in government, the biggest changes are symbolized by the smallest things. It’s not so much Bass Pro Shop in The Pyramid as much as the first mile of city bike lanes.  It’s not so much Beale Street Landing as the city’s first skate park at Toby Park.  It’s not so much a new Unified […]

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by (RSS) Transportation | September 27th, 2010 11:58am CST | Comments Off on Calculate Your Transportation Costs

Have you ever wondered what the average transportation costs are for your community? Do you think your neighborhood is more affordable and sustainable than others, when it comes to transportation? Now you can find out at Abogo, an online site that says it can help you discover the true cost of transportation where you live […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | September 24th, 2010 12:14pm CST | 2 Comments

We can always count on David Pickler and the Shelby County School Board to know that they are right.  Extreme right. They are resurrecting their latest gambit into their Orwellian world with their plan to randomly test its students for drugs.  This post from August 27, 2007, continues its relevance: The Shelby County School Board – […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | September 23rd, 2010 4:00pm CST | 12 Comments

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 to create, attract and […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | September 23rd, 2010 3:56pm CST | 18 Comments

One look at the Elvis Week schedule and it becomes apparent that it’s geared toward the tourists (and not the locals) who may have no qualms with shelling out lots of dollars for Elvis Week events. After all, they’ve traveled so far to get here, so they might as well make it worth their while […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | September 21st, 2010 3:39pm CST | Comments Off on Great Mayors: Denver’s John Hickenlooper

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) Uncategorized | September 21st, 2010 11:35am CST | 18 Comments

Lately, I have been sensing a fair amount of negativity here on Smart City Memphis.  We may have been at this so long that frustration is getting difficult to shake off.  Instead of rehashing all of the reasons we are right and restating the case for this idea or that solution one more time, I […]

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by (RSS) Civil Rights | September 20th, 2010 12:25am CST | 2 Comments

History is like grief.  It’s hard to understand it unless you lived through it. That’s why it’s so hard now to judge Memphis photographer Ernest Withers’s role as an FBI informant during the volatile days of the civil rights movement in Memphis that climaxed with Dr. Martin Luther King’s murder.  There is seemingly a clarity […]

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by (RSS) Economic Development, Planning and Urban Design | September 16th, 2010 3:49pm CST | 8 Comments

This region must stop fighting over scraps, get moving on something meaningful and decide what is really important to our future. Southern cities are in an awkward point in history.  Our populations have grown in a time as the economy moved away from the agriculture that established us, through the industrial revolution that built some […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | September 16th, 2010 12:58am CST | 5 Comments

There’s the oft-repeated legal aphorism that the appearance of a conflict of interest can be just as devastating as a conflict itself. That’s why Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy is right to question why someone other than Republican Party operative John Ryder shouldn’t be representing the Shelby County Election Commission as its county-appointed lawyer.  At […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | September 14th, 2010 12:48am CST | 13 Comments

Memphis is a mythic city. There are of course the mythic musicians and entrepreneurs who created our greatest exports to the world – from B.B. to Elvis to Chilton and from Kemmons Wilson to Pitt Hyde to Fred Smith. And yet, there are mythologies of a different kind. They limit Memphis’ options for progress, trap […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | September 12th, 2010 12:54am CST | 3 Comments

Where’s Judy when we need her? She was granddaughter to one of Charles Dickens’s most memorable villains, Smallweed in Bleak House. Her grandfather couldn’t walk and was carried in a chair from place to place, and regularly, to get better positioned, he would shout: “Shake me up, Judy.” We need her here.  No place needs […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | September 9th, 2010 3:08pm CST | 3 Comments

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | September 9th, 2010 2:29pm CST | 2 Comments

There are very few concepts that are likely to draw virtually no opposition. I’d like to offer two: 1.  Memphis has too many blighted and abandoned buildings that need a champion to either refurbish or repurpose, or take down. 2. Memphians need to make sure we get our share of federal and state dollars floating […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | September 9th, 2010 12:19am CST | 9 Comments

We seem unable to shake off one of our most serious examples of civic lethargy:  our tendency to take our most famous international export for granted as we talk about attracting and keeping creative workers – music. Meanwhile, the rich get richer. Up I-40, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean continues to drive new thinking about his […]

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