Archive for November, 2010

by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 30th, 2010 12:29am CDT | 7 Comments

Since moving to Memphis I have heard much criticism concerning MATA and its service.  As it appears a window is opening that would allow for a significant overhaul of the system with the hiring of Nelson\Nygaard Consulting for a $350,000 short-range transit plan, we need to look at the facts and the myths of the […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 29th, 2010 12:09pm CDT | 1 Comment

Interim Superintendent Dan Ward was heading up Memphis City Schools when the amendment aimed at making Shelby County Schools a special district.  His testimony to a committee of the Tennessee Legislature remains relevant: Good afternoon and thank you for allowing me this opportunity to speak to you on behalf of the Memphis City School System […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 29th, 2010 12:18am CDT | 31 Comments

School consolidation is an idea whose time has come. It’s likely that Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell is the only person standing between what’s been called “the nuclear option” by Memphis City Schools and good faith negotiations with Shelby County Schools about its special school district aspirations.   We predict that he will prove Lincolnesque in […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 28th, 2010 1:02pm CDT | 1 Comment

There’s nothing harder than trying to change the culture of a bureaucratic organization, as Mayor Wharton knows full well.  Here’s the latest advice from New York City Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith: Job routines are comfortable, especially in government. Going “by the book” produces certainty about how a job should be accomplished, provides guideposts for conduct […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 26th, 2010 7:54pm CDT | Comments Off on The Best of Memphis Spotlight: John Stokes

He was born into a family of privilege, in a city where the dividing line between rich and poor is more pronounced than most. That would have been true whether John Stokes had chosen Vanderbilt or Auburn, whether he lost dozens of games or competed for national titles, whether he became one of the SEC’s […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 25th, 2010 12:55pm CDT | 1 Comment

Memphis should be #2 in passing an open data law.  There should be no data created in city government (and county government, for that matter) that is not the property of the public, and as a result, it should be shared with the public as a matter of policy and law. One year ago, San […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 24th, 2010 12:49am CDT | Comments Off on CEOs for Cities: A Golden Moment for Cities?

The following column is by longtime urban commentator Neal Peirce: DETROIT — Could this moment — deep recession deficits notwithstanding — be a golden one of opportunity for America’s cities? Is it time to see them not as dragging anchors but rather as key national assets, the defining centers of our metro regions, essential for […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 23rd, 2010 5:28pm CDT | Comments Off on Special School District Report

We’ve received a few emails asking us for a copy of the special school district report that has been mentioned in media coverage and our blog post. If you’d like to read it, click the following: Special School District report 2-29-08 If you prefer, here’s the executive summary that never made it past the draft […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 22nd, 2010 4:00pm CDT | 1 Comment

November 15-20 was observed in communities around the world as Global Entrepreneurship Week.  Memphis had its share of events and news on the topic, which the local print media covered very nicely, thank you.  This seems like an appropriate time to step back and look at the state of entrepreneurism in Memphis. We are a […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 22nd, 2010 12:46am CDT | 33 Comments

Shelby County Schools Board Chair David Pickler extending an overture to Memphis City Schools is the  equivalent of Dr. Kevorkian volunteering to work in ICU. You know he’s going to do something, so you really don’t have anyone to blame but yourself if you fall for his unctuous pleas. After all, Mr. Pickler and the […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 21st, 2010 6:50pm CDT | Comments Off on Special School District Is Special Interest of County Schools

For the second year in a row we dodged a big bullet fired by our suburban friends in Shelby county. In the words of a famous Republican… “Well, there you go again”. The bullet is none other than the Special School District authorization for the Shelby County School System, which had been introduced last year […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 19th, 2010 12:26am CDT | 5 Comments

From the sublime to the ridiculous. Already, it’s become clear this will be the theme for the new look Shelby County Board of Commissioners. In time, they may even be able to make Tennessee Representative Curry Todd look intelligent.    They are certainly off to a good start. It began this week with a vote that […]

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by (RSS) Economic Development | November 18th, 2010 12:42am CDT | 3 Comments

What do you do with a gritty city lagging in economic growth and with a legendary music heritage as its main claim to fame? No, not that one. We’re talking about Liverpool, England. If we were in charge of putting together a delegation to visit cities with important lessons for Memphis, that’s a place we’d […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 17th, 2010 4:39pm CDT | 7 Comments

In light of our recent discussions, we’re reprising a post written by Gene Pearson: Many political leaders and grass roots organizations in Memphis today are advocating “smart growt,” “sustainable development,” and something called “new urbanism” as an answer to the ills of “urban sprawl,” which robs the core city of its vitality and extends costly […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 16th, 2010 12:19am CDT | 8 Comments

If Memphis was a real estate business, we would say that it suffers from a low occupancy rate. If we ran a shopping center with this problem, we could spend some money making it more attractive and offering special leases, we could lose money and suck it up, or we could raise rents, but if […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 15th, 2010 12:50am CDT | 3 Comments

It looks like Memphis Area Transit Authority has finally reached a long awaited point: put up or shut up. For years, MATA has offered up numerous justifications for the sad state of public transit in Memphis. At a time when efficient, effective mass transit is a competitive advantage for cities attracting talented workers, ours does […]

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by (RSS) Uncategorized | November 14th, 2010 5:49pm CDT | Comments Off on ULI Report: Finding Certainty in Uncertain Times

Our friend, Andrew Trippel, University of Memphis professor and staff to the local Urban Land Institute (ULI) chapter, sent us another fascinating report from ULI. According to ULI: In the midst of economic uncertainty, there are still some elements of certainty – such as  demographic shifts, financial industry restructuring, global competitiveness, and sustainable building – […]

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by (RSS) Neighborhoods | November 12th, 2010 12:48am CDT | 6 Comments

We wrote April 17, 2006, that if there was any justification for a Tax Increment Financing District, Broad Avenue is it. Truth be told, it was pretty much an exercise in faith at the time, but since then, a group of urban pioneers have taken root in the area and they are turning things around.  […]

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