Weekly Update


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As mayor of Memphis, few days are as meaningful to me as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January and April 4, when we commemorate the anniversary of Dr. King's death in our city.

Tuesday was no exception. We began with a simply amazing musical tribute luncheon at the Cook Convention Center, where we were honored to hear from two of the first three African-American City Council members -- Fred Davis and Rev. James Netters. From there, we visited the National Civil Rights Museum and dropped by the AFSCME event at its headquarters on Beale. There, I said that our city failed our sanitation workers 49 years ago, and that I thank our current Solid Waste employees for what they mean to our city.

As we turn the page toward the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s death in 2018 -- the sort of round number that will no doubt place Memphis in the eye of national attention -- let’s not forget that. Let’s not forget what brought Dr. King to our city, what led to those stirring words we remember from Mason Temple, and what our workers marched for day after day. Let’s celebrate the rebirth of Clayborn Temple. Let’s learn from our past at the I AM A MAN Plaza, which we’re building next to Clayborn Temple.

And let’s make Memphis, through the events and programs planned in 2018, the center of our national discussion about where we go from here.

On de-annexation: Meeting Thursday afternoon, the Strategic Footprint Review Task Force -- that’s the city/county group studying de-annexation -- reached its final recommendations. They include three referendums, to be voted on by those who live in the affected neighborhoods. I’ll refer you here if you want to learn more about the specifics, but I do want to make sure you understand the big picture of this.

Remember last year, when we spoke so forcefully, and so often, about how bad the potential General Assembly bill on de-annexation could be to Memphis? From the day that bill entered our radar, we’ve been working non-stop to engineer the best possible outcome for Memphis. I think these recommendations are just that. They’ll make us more densely populated, thus improving service delivery. That’s great for our long-term health.

Since that bill came up last March, we’ve done exactly what we said we would do: My administration worked with citizens, the legislature, members of the City Council, and county government representatives to reach an outcome that’s responsible and driven by Memphis.

The task force’s recommendations are the fruits of what happens when we work together -- and when Memphians decide what’s best for Memphis.

A deserving honor: I tell people often that one of our administration’s best assets is the team we’ve assembled. I knew that last year, when our chief of staff, Lisa Geater, won the Bobby Dunavant Public Servant Award. And I saw it again this year, when Keenon McCloy, the director of our Memphis Public Library & Information Center, won the 2017 edition of the award.

Keenon is a veteran of city government, yet she's always innovating. It’s working, too. We’re increasing the number of young people we’re serving and we’re going to have our libraries open longer hours this year. All because Keenon -- and her staff, I’m sure she would point out -- works so hard to make it happen.

Thank you, Keenon -- and congrats!

So do I, Parker: I thought you would enjoy this sidewalk art I saw last weekend:

Love Memphis

Don’t we all?

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