Memphis

Memphis council hiring lobbyists, maybe at over $100K budget

The Memphis City Council plans to hire The Ingram Group, a high-powered Nashville-based strategy firm, to serve as its envoy to state and national lawmakers, reports the Commercial Appeal.

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More on Memphis effort to remove Forrest statute — with Haslam’s help

The Memphis City Council, which voted in 2015 to remove a statute of Nathan Bedford Forrest from a city park but saw its effort rejected by the Tennessee Historical Commission, held a meeting Tuesday to talk over options for getting around a state law that requires commission approval. One is to sell the park to a private entity, which would not be covered by the state law; another is to cover the statute up.

Gov. Bill Haslam, who was in Memphis Tuesday and who is a member of the commission, told reporters that he’s been talking with Mayor Jim Strickland and supports the Memphis chief executive’s efforts to remove the statute.

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Reorganized Shelby County Democrats elect new chairman

A restructured Shelby County Democratic Party elected Naval Reserve officer and lawyer Corey Strong as chairman on Saturday, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Strong, 36, became the party’s first chairman since it was forcibly disbanded by the Tennessee Democratic Party a year ago.

“My goal is to have a unified message across various interest groups and people of different backgrounds,” Strong said. “The values that we share are the values we want represented in our government, our communities and our neighborhood.”

Strong, a graduate of White Station High and the U.S. Naval Academy, served eight years on active duty in the Navy. He received a law degree from the University of Memphis in 2014 and is a special project manager in the Shelby County Schools finance department under a foundation residency program.

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Study criticizes TN law on school district secession, cites Shelby, Hamilton County examples

A new study on school district secession around the nation says Tennessee law makes it easier than most any other state for wealthy, predominantly-white small cities to set up separate school systems from predominantly-black poor areas.

It cites the formation of six new school systems in Shelby County under a 2011 law as a leading example and also uses as an example plans in the works for Signal Mountain to set up a school system separate from Hamilton County.

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Memphis newspaper editor resigns

Thirty-eight years after he began working for The Commercial Appeal’s now-closed Jackson news bureau, Louis Graham has resigned as editor of Memphis’ daily newspaper effective May 12.

From the CA’s report on his exit:

He’s leaving to become executive director of enterprise content at ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

For Graham, who turns 60 later this month, the career change isn’t as dramatic as it might seem. “I’m just moving into another mission,” he said.

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Billboards used to push Memphis funding for schools

A week after Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland largely dismissed a new coalition’s call for $10 million in city spending on schools, the group is taking its message to billboards, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee.

Fund Students First — comprised of elected officials, education advocates and public school leaders — posted two billboards Friday in high-trafficked streets in downtown and midtown Memphis. The campaign is being underwritten by Stand for Children, a national education advocacy group with offices in Memphis and Nashville.

One billboard says:

standforchildren

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AG names former judge as ‘special counsel’ in Memphis

News release from the attorney general’s office

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III today announced James R. Newsom III of Memphis as lead attorney in the Memphis regional office. In his role as Special Counsel for the Memphis office of the Tennessee Attorney General, Newsom will assist on a broad range of cases.

“It is important that our Memphis office is managed by someone with deep roots in the community, as well as someone with extensive knowledge and experience. Jim brings that and more to the table, and we are fortunate to have him serve in this role,” Attorney General Slatery said.

Most recently, Newsom served as Chancellor in the 30th Judicial District, which serves Shelby County. (Note: Appointed to the bench last year by Gov. Bill Haslam, Newsom was defeated in a bid for a full term by Joedae Jenkins in August.)

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