Why I'm thankful to be a Memphian


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If you’ve heard me give a speech at any point in the past couple of years, you’ve probably heard me say this: I view my job as mayor to be both clear-eyed about our challenges and celebratory of our successes.

It’s in that vein that we tackle some not-so-comfortable issues in this weekly email and on our social media channels — items like continually communicating what we’re doing about crime.

But it’s also in that vein that I share this: Fodor’s magazine, the renowned travel guide, has compiled a list of 52 places that will “remind you what a wonderful world this is.” No. 6 on that list is our very own Memphis.

Just eight American places are on the list. And Memphis joins a list of worldwide destinations like Buenos Aires, Singapore, Bali, Tokyo, Mongolia and Marrakesh.

But that’s not all. Recently, a study from the Chronicle of Philanthropy determined that Memphis is the most generous metro area in the country. That’s right — No. 1. A few years ago, when the Chronicle did a similar study, it determined we were No. 2.

I’m a firm believer that to make Memphis a better place, we all have to be pulling our weight — city government, the private sector and the nonprofit world. I think this study is further evidence that there are so many people doing so much good for our city.

Sometimes I think Memphians can be too hard on ourselves. As we enter this Thanksgiving weekend, I encourage you to take a look at these two articles and be thankful, as I am, that we live in one of the great cities on this Earth.

Oh, and one more article: Business Insider recently tried to determine the five best cities for young professionals to start their careers. Not only did we make the top five — we’re No. 1 in that list, too.

(If you have some relatives coming home from college this Thanksgiving weekend, feel free to bring this up at the dinner table.)

Protect our aquifer: The Memphis Sand Aquifer, which supplies the pure drinking water we all love, is one of our greatest assets. It’s important to me that we ensure its quality and safety for generations to come.

That’s why we’re launching a first-of-its-kind comprehensive study of the aquifer, so that we know exactly its dynamics, its ability to accommodate any future wells, and any vulnerabilities that may exist. This isn’t information that fully exists at the moment. That lack of long-term, comprehensive knowledge is a big reason why I recently opposed the TVA drilling new wells at its new power plant.

We’ll work with the Center for Applied Earth Science and Engineering at the University of Memphis to make this a reality.

Reminder: If you’re a customer of City of Memphis Solid Waste crews and your pickup day is normally Thursday or Friday, please make sure your cart is curbside for collection on Saturday. And if you’re a customer of our contractor Inland Waste, Thursday customers will be picked up on Friday and Friday customers will have collection on Saturday.

Never too late to do the right thing: On Sunday morning, the Today Show highlighted the $70,000 grants we awarded the 1968 sanitation workers earlier this year. Check out this piece — it was an honor to talk to Harry Smith for it, and I'm so glad he highlighted Mr. Elmore Nickelberry and his years of service to the City of Memphis.

You can check out the piece here.

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