City Hall news-o-rama: Cops, Grizzlies, metal, tires, trails and hires

The hardest-working journalist at City Hall had to be The CA's Amos Maki, who filed not one, not two, not three, not four, not five . . . but six -- count 'em, SIX! -- articles from Tuesday's City Council sessions, including a B1 story (that's newspaper slang for the front of the Local News section) about an audit showing the Grizzlies appear to owe the city $587,687 for uncollected seat-use fees at FedExForum.

We also have a B1 story about the Memphis Police Department receiving $6.3 million in stimulus money under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, enough to add 37 new officers according to MPD but well short of the $50 million it had hoped for (or maybe fantasized about, given that no city in the country got enough money to hire more than 50 officers). Some on Council are questioning MPD, wondering why it $6.3 million doesn't cover the hiring, training and benefits of more officers.

Amos and Alex Doniach also shined a light on the salaries of new Memphis Mayor A C Wharton's first hires, which are running higher than in previous administrations (Wharton said he'll stay within the executive budget established by Council and defended the numbers by saying "you get what you pay for.").

In the category of public policy that may seem like small potatoes but really is important, Amos writes about Council moving along an ordinance amending a scrap-metal law to make it less onerous to business but still effective in deterring thefts of "commonly stolen items such as copper, catalytic converters, railroad spikes and aluminum foil and siding." Also in that category is news that Council voted to join Shelby County in going after the increasing problem of widespread tire dumping, which contributes to blight and can generate environmental hazards, such as mosquito breeding grounds.

In good news for nature lovers and bicycle enthusiasts, Amos reports that a City Council committee approved $1.4 million in funding to begin Phase II of the Wolf River Greenway, which he explains "will give bicyclists and pedestrians better access to Shelby Farms Park." Parks division director Cindy Buchanan expects a winter groundbreaking for a 1.5-mile path between Walnut Grove and Shady Grove Road, adjacent to Humphrey's Boulevard, with possible completion by next summer.

Nice work, Amos. Keep a lookout for the CA's hand masseuse, due down at City Hall any minute ...


Go Amos!! It's yer birthday!

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As the process for merging Shelby County's schools accelerates into action, we'll provide bonus coverage here at, with a particular focus on the 21-member transition team and the 23-member unified school board. Comment early and often. If you have any tips or suggestions you wish to share, contact Zack McMillin at or 529-2564.

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