Weekly Update

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First and foremost, I’m sorry, and I take full responsibility for our lack of adequate Solid Waste service to some Area E residents which is made up of Cordova, Hickory Hill and parts of East Memphis.

The lack of service is completely unacceptable.

I want you to know that we are actively working to find a long-term solution. To help alleviate some of the backlog, a few days ago, we began to have City of Memphis crews working overtime to get your trash picked up, and I want to thank them for stepping up to help.

As I have previously said in interviews with the media this week, Waste Pro has a 20-day notice to cure as stated in our contract, and that date is up on April 10th.

Please know that in the meantime, we’re working diligently to get this issue permanently resolved.

The Race: Right now, we’re in a race against this virus. The more people we vaccinate, the closer we get to the finish line.

Why does it matter?

The longer the virus goes unchecked—the more chance it has to mutate and potentially become more transmissible and deadlier.

Starting today, citizens 16 years and older can register to get vaccinated. To sign up and get your vaccine, go here.

To help us ramp up the vaccinations locally, the state of Tennessee will be allocating 10,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines over the next two weeks to be administered through our homeless and homebound programs, and through our Community PODs.

Two weeks ago, I was vaccinated with the J & J vaccine.


Additionally, we are excited to be a to be a potential partner in the Federal CVC program. This potential partnership would expand our operation at Pipkin to 3000 doses per day, seven days per week for six weeks starting sometime in April – that’s an increase of 21,000 doses over the 30,000+ we are receiving per week now. This will allow us to redirect what we had been allocating to Pipkin to our other fixed sites and Community PODs--meaning increased availability all across the county. We are hopeful that we will be selected and will keep you updated.

We have surpassed 300,000 doses administered so far, and we are putting our foot on the gas to help us win this race!

Thank you: Those two words are simply not said enough. I wanted to say a special thank you to two gentlemen who have been nothing short of great to work with as we fight our way through the pandemic: Brigadier General Scott E. Brower, USA (Ret), Chief of Staff, COVID-19 Unified Command and Command Sergeant Major Mario Vigil USA (Ret), Strategic Planner, COVID-19 Unified Command.

I want to publicly thank them and the state for their efforts here in Memphis, and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.

The future is bright: As you may have seen, the Memphis City Council and Shelby County Board of Commissioners held a joint meeting yesterday to discuss economic incentives and they reached out to me to participate. I wanted to use my time to remind everyone that, prior to this pandemic, we were experiencing momentum in our community on all fronts. For the first time in a long time, more Memphians thought we were heading in the right direction instead of the wrong one. Billions of new private dollars were being invested city-wide, and violent crime had gone down three years in a row.

For the first time in history, we had set up free, universal needs-based Pre-Kindergarten. We’re the only state in the country with free workforce development in the form of free community college and tech schools. And, Shelby County is number one in the state in the amount of people taking advantage of TN Promise and TN Reconnect programs.

Since 2016, we’ve incentivized the construction or renovation of over 5,000 quality, affordable housing units. And in 2019, 20,000 more Memphians were working than 2016, and our poverty rate had dropped to its lowest point in twenty years—one of the lowest points ever, at least since the rate began being measured decades ago.

We were moving in the right direction and still had more work to do, but the pandemic has slowed much of this progress.

There is an end in sight, and the interest in economic development and creating jobs in Memphis and Shelby County is strong. We should be doing everything in our power to foster it and keep it going.

From my standpoint, I have every intention to keep my foot on the pedal in Memphis and to capitalize on these interests and our advantages as a city. We have become a “can-do” community, and I will keep pressing the “I believe in Memphis” button every—single—day.

Now, if I were king of the world, I would do away with all economic incentives in every community. I don’t like them.

But, that’s not the reality, and it’s never going to be.

Every state, every city offers incentives. In fact, many locales offer more incentives than we do, such as Mississippi. Memphis needs many more good-paying jobs. Memphians deserve those jobs, especially now as we come out of this economic downturn.

Now, incentives are not the only tool we use to attract and grow jobs. In fact, it’s not the primary tool. But, the reality is that economic development (the quest for jobs) is highly competitive, and if we don’t offer incentives or we start adding in more hoops for a company to jump through—the game is over before its even started.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to use PILOTs or incentives to lure or keep businesses here. But, the reality is that to remain competitive, we must have them as another tool in the toolbox because if we don’t—everyone else still will use them.

Marching for JOY: The Memphis Office of Youth Services is an essential division of the City of Memphis serving the educational and developmental needs of students in the Memphis area.

Tomorrow on FOX13, there will be a one-hour telethon to increase funding for additional youth for summer employment.


There will be performances from Memphis Youth; testimonials from MPLOY (a locally funded initiative administered by MOYS that provides 1,000 City of Memphis youth ages 14 to 22 with meaningful and rewarding summer experiences) and MAP (a year-round development program for youth participants in grades 9-12 that offers engagement with career-readiness and college-preparation skills) participants (past & present); and interviews with City leaders and business partners. If you get a chance, tune and check it out.

Have a great weekend!


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