The Good, the Bad, and the Inexplicable
Things are happening, people
It looks like we might have finally gotten a solid bite from Bass Pro Shops. New members of the city council have warmed chairs at their first meetings. There's talk of retailers like Target opening in Midtown. Rumors are swirling about the future of Peabody Place, and word on the street is that the downtown attraction might get new life
in the form of an outlet mall. Local mover and shaker Andy Cates bought the Sears Crosstown building, with plans to revive the towering eyesore that's sat empty since 1993.
Finally, some of the big ideas we've heard bandied about might actually come to fruition. That's a good thing.
Other local events, though, are a curious mixture of good, bad, and the downright inexplicable.
The dirty dancers of the Tennessee Waltz will all end up doing the jailhouse rock, with prosecutors landing convictions for all 12 involved. That's a good thing. Sadly, that's not the last we'll see this year in terms of dirty deeds on the part of those we put in office to serve our city's best interests. Rest assured, there are more scandals on the horizon. Not a good thing.
As we go to print, Memphis' status as a Northwest Airlines hub is, well, up in the air. Not a good thing.
Beale Street continues to help put Memphis on the map as a tourist destination. That's a good thing. But there's a gloves-off battle being waged over how the legendry street is being run, and the fight is about to get grittier than any gutbucket blues played inside its clubs. Not a good thing.
Our library was just awarded the National Medal of Museum and Library Service — one of only 10 in the country to receive this, the highest honor granted to libraries — during a ceremony at the White House. That's a good thing. Sadly, Judith Drescher, who worked for decades to get the library where it is today, wasn't there to accept what she and so many others on her watch rightfully earned. Why? She was not re-appointed to her position, a decision made by our mayor. That's an inexplicable thing.
Drescher's been replaced by Keenon McCloy, the former head of the city's division of public services and neighborhoods. McCloy is well respected by those she's worked with in the past. She has a reputation as a smart, hardworking employee. That's a good thing. But she lacks the library science degree from an American Libraries Association accredited school that most libraries require just to get a foot in the door, let alone the top job.
This scenario sounds familiar, no? Recall the mayor granting the top spot at MLG&W to Joseph Lee, whose experience as the city's director of finance and administration didn't quite prepare him to run a utility company. We all know what kind of thing that was.
We're cautiously optimistic about some of the changes brewing around town. Trust that Memphis will be watching and reporting on it all, just as we've done for the last 32 years. We work for the city magazine, not the city. And that's a very good thing.