Monday, April 30, 2007

John Ford's Future Hinges On Sentencing Guidelines Algebra

Contrary to news media reports, the future of former Tennessee Senator John Ford – convicted on a federal charge of bribery – does not now rest with U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Breen.

Rather, Mr. Ford’s fate largely lies in the hands of an overworked employee of the U.S. Probation and Parole Office, who will soon call the former political powerhouse and his family to compile an extensive pre-sentencing report for the judge, including what the recommended length of his sentence should be.

As a result, if Mr. Ford displays some of the behavior that became legend in the halls of government in Nashville, he could seriously derail his hopes for a sentence on the low side of the sentencing range for accepting $55,000 in bribes from an undercover FBI operative.

Alternate Universe

If Mr. Ford is experienced at anything, it’s in living a life of complexity. As he frequently joked at his own expense, he owns multiple homes occupied by multiple women and he often can’t enter any of them. But there’s nothing in his experience – or anyone else’s - that prepares him for the byzantine world of federal sentencing.

A singular feature of this parallel universe is the serious risk that a defendant takes in going to trial, and there’s no more dramatic example of this than the outcomes of the cases of former state senator and county mayoral aide Roscoe Dixon and former county commissioner Michael Hooks.

Mr. Dixon went to trial, was convicted and sentenced to five years and three months on the charge of accepting $9,500 in bribes. Mr. Hooks entered a guilty plea and his sentence was two years and two months on a similar charge involving $24,200.

The Guilty Difference

The divergent sentences resulted from two main factors: 1) Mr. Hooks managed the process instead of allowing it to manage him, taking decisive action and giving a heartfelt apology in court; and 2) Mr. Hooks, with his guilty plea, gets about a year knocked off his sentence by “acceptance of responsibility.”

It’s a strange irony in light of the common American belief about the Constitutional right to a jury trial. The truth is that if a defendant pursues this right in federal court, it costs him, because he can no longer get credit for accepting responsibility for the crime for which he is charged. In other words, it’s a high stakes game, because in addition to gambling on a jury verdict, he is also taking a one-year reduction off the table.

As a result, federal court is much more about risk assessment than anything else, and in assessing his risks correctly and calmly, Mr. Hooks comes out the big winner. After all, pitted against the marshaled resources of the federal government – investigative and prosecutorial, not to mention the majority of Republican judges – the number of people acquitted in federal court is 150 out of 10,000 defendants.

The Six Percent Solution

As a result, it’s not surprising that 94 percent of all the federal cases don’t go to trial. In truth, the real surprise is that six percent do.

Since being written 22 years ago in a process that gives new meaning to the “a camel is a horse formed by a committee,” the federal sentencing guidelines are supposed to be advisory as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in January, 2005. By and large, they are still used by the Memphis judges. Only Judge Bernice Donald shows enough independence to venture away from them.

It’s been said that it’s easier to understand the IRS code than federal sentencing guidelines. After all, the summary is more than 600 pages.

Algebra 101

In keeping with the algebraic approach taken by the guidelines to sentencing, the guts of the guidelines is a matrix with points for specific crimes, extra points for the amount of money involved in the crime, a deduction for a guilty plea, and, well, you get the picture.

The guidelines were set up in an assault of conservative activism during the Reagan years, but it’s possible to argue that there was justification for establishing a process that eliminated the racial and geographic differences seen in sentences at the time. But if the original intent was to tie the hands of federal judges, in the end it transformed the entire system.

As one critic said after passage of the guidelines, all it took to fill the responsibilities of a federal judge was a chimpanzee and a calculator. (Years later, Memphis Mayor Wyeth Chandler said essentially the same thing about the county mayor, but that’s another subject altogether.)

Chimp Justice

In over reaching, the sentencing guidelines committee eliminated judges’ discretion in evaluating the age of a defendant, education, mental and emotional condition, health, drug dependence, lack of guidance as a youth, community ties, military service and charitable works that indicate that the criminal behavior was an anomaly.

In other words, in a system already leaning toward the prosecution, the federal sentencing guidelines made the scales of justice even more tilted in favor of prosecutors. Some legislators even went so far as to say that prosecutors needed an extra boost since they generally had less pay and less talent than the criminal defense attorneys they opposed.

One of the most incredible sections of the guidelines was the section on “relevant conduct,” and it was this section that seem to attract the wrath of the Supreme Court in its opinion.

Irrelevant Justice

Under the relevant conduct section, investigators could arrest a defendant with a kilo of some drug, but in the seizure, they could also seize an address book. If there were 80 names in the address book, the relevant conduct provision allowed prosecutors to argue that the sentence should be based on 80 times the amount of the drugs confiscated at the defendant’s arrest. It’s this provision that’s responsible for so many people serving 15-year sentences for marijuana, which despite the lofty rhetoric of the federal “war on drugs” remains the target for 80 percent of federal drug prosecutions.

But, we digress. Badly. We were talking about former Senator Ford. Right now, the Probation Office is gathering information on his personal history, his mental state, the level of support from his family, balances in his bank accounts, his assets and liabilities, and much more.

To arrive at the “guideline range from the sentencing table,” the probation officer will check the guideline to see the total number of points that Mr. Ford amasses and then he’ll get the corresponding sentence from the matrix.


For example, for bribery, Mr. Ford could get 14 points. Then he could get two points for multiple acts, four points for being a high official and six points for an amount more than $30,000 and less than $70,000, bringing his total points to 26.

Then looking on the sentencing matrix, the 26 points converts to a sentence of 63 to 78 months.

However, we acknowledge that experts on federal sentencing guidelines are few and far between, so your guess on the sentence for Mr. Ford is just about as good as anyone’s, including ours. In the interest of complete disclosure, similar calculations by us were four months too high for Mr. Hooks and 11 months too low for Mr. Dixon.

Back To Nashville

All of this aside, if Mr. Ford is convicted in Nashville on related charges, the Memphis sentence could be the small piece in his sentencing puzzle. At this point, Mr. Ford’s attorneys are likely talking – or are trying to schedule a meeting to talk – with federal prosecutors about a “universal” settlement.

For example, in return for a guilty plea on the charges in Nashville and on the extortion charge left unresolved by the Memphis jury, prosecutors might be charitable in their sentencing recommendation. But the price of admission to this kind of conversation is likely to be Mr. Ford’s agreement to waive an appeal.

One thing is certain: Mr. Ford enters the Nashville federal courtroom much more world-wise about the realities of this judicial world than he was only a few weeks ago. That experience should encourage him to take control of his life as best that he can in his circumstances, and like most defendants, that measure of control most likely comes with a plea of guilty.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Playing Field For Talent Rests More On Skate Parks Than Football Stadiums

Previously published in Memphis Magazine's City Journal column:

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is home to the world’s smartest young researchers.

They come here from around the world to work as postdoctoral fellows after weighing offers from the world’s best research institutions. That they decide on St. Jude says volumes about its track record and impact.

The good news is that they come here in the hundreds. The bad news: most of them leave when their contracts end.

A Golden Opportunity

At a time when the competitiveness of every city rests largely on its ability to attract young, highly-educated workers, the postdocs are the gold standard. For Memphis, they end up being fool’s gold, a reflection of what could have been.

Memphis’ failure to keep these researchers comes as it entertains intimations of greatness as a biotech center, making their exit an even more serious blow to the future.

More and more, cities’ economic growth is about attracting talent, so if Memphis is serious about competing in the innovation economy, it has to get serious about talent strategies.

Holding What We've Got

The first, and most obvious, step is convincing the talent that comes here to stay here. Besides the postdoc fellows at St. Jude’s, there’s also the best and brightest at two private colleges consistently ranked among the best in the nation.

At Rhodes College, 74 percent of the 1,700 students come from outside Tennessee and 84 percent are involved in community service, notably those in the CODA program blending arts and entrepreneurship to create future leaders. Just down East Parkway, half of Christian Brothers University’s 1,700 students were in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating classes.

They are part of the most mobile, best-educated, most entrepreneurial generation in history, and as they map out their lives, they say they are looking for cities that are clean, green, safe, and tolerant. When you couple these priorities with the fact that CEOs for Cities’ research shows that two-thirds of 25-34 year-olds decide where to live before they even look for a job, it should be a wake-up call for Memphis.

Holding On To Talent

Ironically, Memphis pioneered talent strategies with the Memphis Talent Magnet Report in 2002 and Memphis Manifesto Summit in 2003, but the interest was short-lived. It shows.

Three hundred city governments are planning or operating Wi-Fi networks as a basic city service, but it’s not on the radar of City Hall here. City after city makes record investments in parkland, greenways, and alternate transportation, but Memphis traffic engineers stonewall pleas for bike lanes on projects like the new Walnut Grove Road bridge over Wolf River. The tendency to paint issues in black and white – despite the fact that 55 different languages are being spoken in Memphis homes - leaves the impression that Memphis is trapped in a self-destructive time warp.

It should be no surprise then that Memphis does poorly in attracting and retaining young, college-educated workers, ranking 38th among the largest 50 metros in the percentage of those with college degrees. Memphis has 13,000 fewer 25-34 year-olds than in 1990, and for every six who move here, five move out.

Marking The Difference

It’s been shown that when they are deciding where they want to live and work, they look for “markers” -- a vibrant downtown with outdoor cafes and high-quality public space, retailers like Whole Foods, active parks with recreational options, and waterfronts alive with activity.

Three St. Jude postdocs – Aaron Shafer, Steve Zatechka, and Zachary Baquet – are working to give Memphis just such a marker. They have put together plans for connective bike paths with a skate park as its centerpiece, used much like it is in Louisville where it’s staking out that city’s reputation among young professionals.

The Louisville Extreme Skatepark opened in downtown Louisville five years ago this month, and that afternoon, more than 4,000 people showed up. The round-the-clock park has since been expanded and is a “must-see” for anyone touring the city with its mayor, who says it has attracted new businesses, NBC-broadcast competitions, and thousands of new visitors.

Skating To The Future

Dr. Shafer has written a compelling proposal that shows a concern for Memphis that belies a status that may only be temporary. He suggests that the “long-term plans for this facility not only promotes Memphis as a recreationally rich city, but to use it as a vehicle for community building and reconciliation between two cultures.”

Already, he has formed a task force to push his plans for the country’s best and largest skate park to be built in Memphis. So far, he and his colleagues have received encouragement by the staff of the Riverfront Development Corporation and new Memphis Park Services Director Cindy Buchanan.

In a city with an affinity to treat big projects as the answer to everything, the skatepark costs 1/40th of the cost of a new stadium. But in the end, it’s the investment that returns the biggest dividends.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Strategic Thinking For Cities: This Week On Smart City

Why do great strategies fail? That's the question Michael Raynor asks in his new book, The Strategy Paradox. Michael says the job of leaders is to embrace the inherent uncertainty of strategy and recognize that the future can't be predicted. Instead of making choices, leaders create options. Michael is a Distinguished Fellow with Deloitte Research in Boston.

Our second topic this week is a strategy critical to cities - how to leverage universities and other anchor institutions to contribute fully to urban success and, in turn, to their own. Dr. David Maurrasse of Marga is with us to talk about the challenges and rewards of these partnerships. David is on the faculty at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.

Smart City is a syndicated, weekly hour-long public radio talk show that takes an in-depth look at urban life: the people, places, ideas and trends that affect us all. Host Carol Coletta talks with national and international public policy experts, economists, business leaders, artists, developers, planners and others on the pulse of city life for a penetrating discussion on urban issues.

In Memphis, Smart City is broadcast on WKNO FM, 91.1, at 9 a.m. Sundays. It is also webcast and podcast at the Smart City website, which also has a listing of broadcast times in other cities and the sign up for a weekly newsletter.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

This Week's Question: What To Do If In Charge Of Downtown

First, a reminder. We welcome all suggestions that you have for improving Memphis, particularly as it relates to its competitiveness, its revitalization, its design, its downtown, well, you get the picture: we welcome your ideas and the logic behind them on just about anything that can make Memphis a better place to live and work.

While we wait for those spontaneous suggestions to come rolling in, we prime the pump with a question of the week.

This week’s toss-up question for this round of the suggestion box was:

If you could be in charge of downtown Memphis for a year, what would be your three priorities?

Here’s what you said, and as usual, there’s great food for thought:


1. Code enforcement. There are STILL too many buildings that need work and are being ignored.

2. Development NORTH of Madison on Main Street.

3. More police on Beale Street.


1. Provide financial incentive to attract a buyer for the Sterick Building so it can be renovated and turned into a hotel and condo. It is a beautiful historic building. Surely renovating it would be less expensive than building a similar development from the ground up.

2. Expedite the development of the "hole" on Main Street. There have been four proposals under consideration for some time. The original developer defaulted, so obviously the CCC (Center City Commission) had an idea of what they wanted there originally. What is taking so long?

3. Decide once and for all what we are going to do with The Pyramid.


1. Give ultimatums to Downtown landowners that have sat on their decaying property too long (i.e., The Chisca for years, The Sterick Building). If they don't clean it up, fine them or use eminent domain to take them and give the properties to developers who will. Maybe issue RFP’s on these sites.

2. Put some traffic back on the Main Street mall. Just two lanes (one each way) with cut-outs between the trees for on-street parking.

3. Find a new user for The Pyramid. Drop Bass Pro and pick a company that can actually DO something.


Just some ideas, feasible or not:

1. As others have said, incentives for development/renovation of existing historic buildings (though I think I read that the Sterick Building would take like $40 million to renovate, though appraised now only at $400,000)

2. Nurturing a self-sufficiency for the downtown community, developing a market of common needs services (encouraging the farmer’s market, addition of groceries/co-ops, convenience stores, pharmacies, small special services shops, etc.)

3. Contrary to above, perhaps make more of downtown pedestrian/cyclist-only (with the introduction of more bike racks and maybe increased use of trolley) might be worth considering

4. In the interests of fostering a self-sufficient community, perhaps a school would be a good idea...though we know how successful Memphis is with those...

5. Throughout development, maintain a focus on the city and community's sustainability for the future


1. Increase residential density by actively promoting development of apartments, 'specially in the area that LWC mentions. Besides creating a more dynamic downtown, apartments will feed businesses, parks and more condominium purchases.
2. increase residential and commercial density and a stronger urban space by infill of surface parking lots in the center and near edges of downtown.

3. Rationalize parking downtown with strategically located parking garages built and run by the city or the CCC on existing surface lots.


I would probably focus attention on putting more feet on the street throughout Downtown, including the weekends. So, I would try to bring the kinds of activities and businesses that tend to attract both residents of downtown and commuter workers - a Davis Kidd-style bookstore and Miss Cordelia style grocery on Main Street, etc.
Lots of shade all along the main pedestrian streets and in the parks, because the summer heat often makes outdoor activity much less attractive. I had brunch at the Majestic Grill this weekend; I passed by customers enjoying brunch at Sauces on my way. If more restaurants open on the street and offer weekend brunch, brunch on Main could become a real attraction for downtown residents and a reason for other Memphians to come downtown on the weekend. (Something would have to be done about the smells that assault your nostrils on the strip of the street between Adams and Jefferson.)

I agree with the writer who would encourage development north of Madison. I would raze any building that could not be rehabbed so that the space could be freed up for new development, including the Sterick Building (as sad as that would be) and The Pyramid. If I had to focus my attention on one thing I would focus first and foremost on getting more and more businesses Downtown because that would do so much to create more foot traffic and would make a lot the other objectives more doable.


1. A moratorium on all new groundbreaking. Clearly, from the posts here, urban sprawl and decay are an issue. Large businesses coming into Memphis would get a lower tax rate for a three-year period only on rehabbed or replaced property. End the moratorium ONLY when absolutely necessary.

2. Total rehab of the education system in Memphis. From re-building decaying buildings to supplying all supplies. Memphis can never supplant the other major problems it has, such as high infant mortality without informed, intelligent citizens. Further, develop a program that pays for adults to go back to school. Just starting new with kids will only make things better in the future. Educating the parents and the children will accelerate the improvement. New school construction might also make a dent in unemployment in Memphis.

3. Augment city beautification with more garbage workers, parks care, street cleaners and accelerated completion of construction. My momma always said, "You may not have nothin' but you can be clean." Memphis is dirty and beautification can work wonders on a citizenry's collective consciousness.

Finally, in a follow-up to last week's comments about having "real" cabs in Memphis, Tyler says:

I think it would be better to first establish a half-decent public transportation systems (bus, light rail, etc.) that locals could rely on with rarer use of a personal vehicle. Then it might be prudent to bolster a seemingly nonexistent cab system.

In addition to this, an airport shuttle service (like CAAC in China) could be used that shuttles people to various important sites (airport, train station, regional centers like downtown, midtown) for a fee more expensive than public transportation, but not as expensive as a direct cab ride. From there on, public transport or cab could serve.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Mayors' Visits Spark Innovations For Their Cities

It’s time for Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton to hit the road.

That’s precisely what some of his peers in other cities are already doing.

That’s because these mayors are looking for new ways to recharge their batteries, to inspire their thinking, to set their agendas and frankly, to steal some good ideas.

Two Reasons

In Mayor Herenton’s case, this kind of trip could be valuable for two reasons.

One, if he does run for reelection, he needs to find some new ideas, articulate a new agenda and demonstrate new energy.

Two, it gives him a way to gauge the depths of his own interest.

After all, these days on his best days, Mayor Herenton looks like he’s on automatic pilot, and on his worst days, he looks like he’s just not interested.

Firing Up Interest

In politics, there’s no substitute for fire in the belly, and in visits to other cities, Mayor Herenton could find out if there’s anything left that can motivate a higher level of engagement on his behalf. More to the point, if he’s not interested in visiting with other mayors to learn from the best, he should come face to face with an unmistakable conclusion – he just shouldn’t be running.

Mayor Herenton could begin by emulating new mayor of Washington, D.C., Adrian Fenty. He’s been visiting other mayors for months, and already, he’s borrowed the idea of mayoral takeover of public schools and bullpen offices from Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City, the “CitiStat” system used by former Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley (now Maryland governor), the affordable housing initiative by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and the customer-friendly permits office created by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa.

Old Dog, New Tricks

If Mayor Herenton thinks that a freshly-minted mayor is not a role model for him, he could consider Mayor Newsom. Although he’s mayor of one of the world’s great cities, he made a trip to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley for new ideas and inspiration.

As a result, he’s set contemporary design as a priority, finding motivation from Millennium Park (one of the few parks that really lives up to the overused descriptor, world-class), and environmental responsibility, citing Chicago’s accomplishments in city greening.

Once home, Mayor Newsom issued a directive for all city buildings to meet standards of sustainable development, for an accelerated permit process for green buildings and he appointed his own director of green strategies for city government.

Learning Journey

His learning journey to Chicago says volumes about the value of an intellectually curious mayor. It would be easy for Mayor Newsom to say that San Francisco is a great city and leave it at that, but instead, he returned to his hometown with a new emphasis on civic vitality of all things. Even more, he said that Chicago is a “model” for what San Francisco should be.

“When you walk the streets of Chicago, it enlivens the spirit,” said Mayor Newsom. “The intangibles are evoked. There’s a spirit of pride and community.” Those are pretty strong words to be uttered by anyone from the city by the bay, much less its mayor, but he added: “We in San Francisco could learn an enormous amount from (Mayor Daley).”

He’s right to be impressed. From the snickers elicited when Mayor Daley invoked the name of Martha Stewart for his newfound interest in landscaping the city in 1996, Chicago has evolved a green consciousness that includes 73 miles of landscaped medians, a green roof on City Hall and 200 other buildings covering 2.5 million square feet (more than the rest of the U.S. combined), hundreds of miles of bike paths, hundreds of thousands of flowers and a green building construction code.

Just Do It

In addition, Mayor Daley’s “just do it” approach to government, rather than a consensus-building process, should appeal to Mayor Herenton. But the ultimate lesson is this: if a city like San Franciso has a need to search for innovative ideas, then surely it’s absolutely mandatory for a city like Memphis.

In Washington, Mayor Fenty entered office with the healthy notion that just because he was elected, it didn’t mean that he had all the answers. Reading a Time article about the best city mayors – O’Malley, Bloomberg, Daley, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Atlanta’s Shirley Franklin – Mayor Fenty decided that there are things to learn from the best.

That’s just what he did. And along the way, he learned about more than good programs and sound policies. He says he also gained insights about how the best decisions are made, even in midst of a crisis.

Learning From The Best

As for a must-see city government, Mayor Herenton should begin with Baltimore, a city with similar demographics and problems. There, Mayor O’Malley took New York City Police Department’s highly successful computerized Comstat program and invented a system called CitiStat, a computer-driven system that analyzes the performance of every city agency.

As a result, with good reason, Baltimore became destination for pilgrims from City Halls across the U.S. Using the CitiStat program, Mayor O’Malley turned the Baltimore bureaucracy inside out and in the process invented a new way of managing a major urban government.

Using exhaustive data on every function of city government, the mayor and his staff attacked managers for unmet goals, redtape and a culture of excuses. In a war room reminiscent of a set for 24, the emphasis was on creative problem-solving and results.

Starting Anew

Best of all, CitiStat blew up a culture of cronyism and corruption and replaced it with performance-based systems that are in essence constituent services writ large.

One final note on Mayor Fenty: his visit to Mayor Bloomberg led him to copy the bullpen concept that the New York mayor transplanted from Wall Street to City Hall. In Washington, Mayor Fenty now sits near the center of a large, open room surrounded by 30 staff members.

Of course, in the end, the verdict on whether Mayor Fenty’s trips pay dividends will not come in headlines about new office layouts or new policies. Rather, the verdict comes from his ability to make government more entrepreneurial, efficient and customer-oriented.

A Better Way

Of course, these are motivations that work as well for a mayor in office for 16 years as for six months, and that’s why we wish that Mayor Herenton would pick up some frequent flyer mileage in the next few weeks.

As the Young Turk in the D.C. mayor’s office says: “If we’re happy judging the city against the old city government and saying how far we’ve come, that’s limiting our potential. Why not go out and find out if there’s a better way?”

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Suggestion Box Question Of The Week

While we continue to welcome any contributions to our weekly spotlight on strategies for improving Memphis, we throw out this question to spark some conversation:

If you could be in charge of downtown Memphis for a year, what would be your three priorities?

And please elaborate on why you chose these three priorities and what you think each could accomplish.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Chattanooga Shows How A Riverfront Can Transform A City

There’s so much that Chattanooga has done right to transform its once underused riverfront into a vibrant public place, and so many lessons that Memphis can learn from its sister Tennessee city.

Lesson #1 – do something.

We’re thinking about Chattanooga as we develop suggestions for a city that needs to reclaim its waterfront, and it’s hard to find a city that’s done a better job than Chattanooga. After all, it’s morphed from being called the most polluted city in American in 1969 to one of the most honored for its courage and success in redeveloping its waterfront and downtown.

Cast Of Characters

Interestingly, it did it with much of the same cast of characters that we have – city government, a mayor with downtown and riverfront improvements as a priority, a private nonprofit devoted to improving the riverfront and private foundations determined to make the city more competitive.

What it did have that we’re missing is a design center – there called the Planning and Design Studio – that serves as convener on urban design issues, as a voice for high quality design and as advocate for the mixed-use, vibrant, walkable, livable developments that elevate the quality of life so important to city competitiveness in the current economy.

We’ll come back to the subject of design centers in a few days, but for now, suffice it to say that progress is being made in creating one in Memphis.

Making The Most Of Crisis

It’s been said that a “crisis is a terrible thing to waste,” and reeling on its heels, Chattanooga sure didn’t waste its chance to turn the city around. The battle back began on the riverfront. In some ways, the city had little choice, because its economy was cratering and every sector of civic leadership felt the same - that Chattanooga was fighting for its life.

The new partnerships created out of crisis were so strong that they have endured through four mayors, and before they were through, the signature projects that we’re all familiar had become Chattanooga landmarks -- the $75 million Tennessee Aquarium project and a new riverfront, a 10-mile recreational greenway along both sides of the Tennessee River, new mixed-use development, $1.2 million in public art and a free electric shuttle.

The Fab Five

Analysts have traced the Chattanooga “culture of cooperation” and “era of enlightenment” to five factors that converged to make it possible:

A clear regional vision. Public and private leaders came together to reach consensus on an agenda for growth.

Public processes to set goals. The plan created in 1984 led to the Aquarium opening in 1992, and the success from that led to a three-year, $120 million 21st Century Waterfront Plan.

One-stop design center. Setting higher design standards and becoming the vehicle for problem-solving, the focus was kept on quality and livability.

Portable planning for neighborhoods. A process was set up in which the city identifies priority zones, a nonprofit organization works with neighborhood citizens to set goals and the development agency follows with plans of action. It’s produced two downtown magnet schools, incentives for corporate and public employees to buy homes and jumps in property values of 60 percent in four years.

Design excellence. Chattanooga’s unyielding obsession with high-quality, well-designed infrastructure created walkable, pleasing experiences that connect public space with development.

Milestones Of Success

Key benchmarks on the Chattanooga timeline include much more than the Aquarium. Other milestones from the momentum are renovation of the Walnut Street Bridge for pedestrian use between south and north shore developments, 1993; multi-family housing at Riverset Apartments, 1994; opening of the Creative Discovery Museum, 1995; IMAX theater opens, 1996; Coolidge Park opens on north shore, 1999; BellSouth baseball park opens on south shore, 2000; groundbreaking for two new schools, 2001; rollout of the 21st Waterfront Plan including museum improvements, waterfront piers and redesign of the Riverfront Parkway from four lanes to two lanes through downtown, 2002; and completion of 21st Waterfront Plan, 2005.

Chattanooga’s version of the RDC – The RiverCity Company – led the transformation, including the 21st Century Waterfront Plan, and along the way, it leveraged $12 million in seed money into $1.5 billion in private investment.

In addition, special attention was given to connectivity, and the most dramatic example of it was the reduction of the four-lane Riverfront Parkway to two lanes so museums would have river access and so development parcels could be created. In addition, an impressive glass pedestrian bridge connected the once-isolated Hunter Museum of American Art into the fabric of downtown.

Common Ground

Since its opening in 1992, the Tennessee Aquarium has attracted more than one million visitors, and the area adjacent to the aquarium on the south shore quickly became the city’s most popular common ground, made even more popular by the addition of a well-designed, newly-constructed project where visitors to the river could enjoy scenic vistas, participate in river events and gather for civic celebrations. It’s a reminder of the impact that can come from a project like the proposed Beale Street Landing at the foot of Beale Street (although the Memphis project is more context sensitive).

To make connections easier, with the opening of the aquarium, an electric-powered shuttle was added, but it was there to do more than provide transportation. For a city maligned as the most polluted in the nation, the shuttle became a symbol of a commitment to more environmentally sensitive policies. The shuttle eliminates an estimated 130,000 pounds of diesel particulates.

Today, Chattanooga bears little resemblance to the sad city that we knew a couple of decades ago. Back then, all of its stories were about the ones that got away – how Coca-Cola started there but left for Atlanta and how the New York Times Company began but left for the Big Apple.

Good News, Bad News

The good news is that these companies, plus steel and chemicals, created wealth that’s found now in foundations that have invested in the waterfront improvements. There are always serious bumps in the road (including election of a new mayor who campaigned as an anti-urban design candidate and whose rhetoric bordered on anti-intellectualism), but that is the nature of city development in general.

The truth is that there are no magic answers that can be transplanted from city to city. The truth is that by the time that something’s called a best practice, it no longer is. The truth is that Memphis needs to quit chasing the last, greatest answer to its problems.

That said, there are few things as instructive as taking the lessons that come from cities that have faced similar challenges, and one of these is 330 miles away in Chattanooga.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Transforming Anchor Institutions: This Week On Smart City

What would happen if every anchor institution in your city -- your universities, libraries, parks, major sports facilities, and museums -- were in perfect alignment around a few big goals, contributing their maximum to your city's success and their own?

Our guests this week are leading anchor institutions with imagination and energy, and they are key participants in an upcoming discussion to take place May 1st and 2nd in San Jose on the topic of Leveraging Anchor Institutions for Urban Success.

Paul Holdengraber is the Director of Public Programs and LIVE from the NYPL at the New York Public Library. Josephine Ramirez is Vice President of Programming and Planning at the Music Center in Los Angeles.

Smart City is a syndicated, weekly hour-long public radio talk show that takes an in-depth look at urban life: the people, places, ideas and trends that affect us all. Host Carol Coletta talks with national and international public policy experts, economists, business leaders, artists, developers, planners and others on the pulse of city life for a penetrating discussion on urban issues.

In Memphis, Smart City is broadcast on WKNO FM, 91.1, at 9 a.m. Sundays. It is also webcast and podcast at the Smart City website, which also has a listing of broadcast times in other cities and the sign up for a weekly newsletter.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Suggestion Box: Recruiting To Memphis

We began a new feature last week spotlighting reader suggestions on ways to improve Memphis. There is no prescribed limit on topics nor any prescribed othodoxy for the recommendations, so please send us your comments as we continue our conversation on how Memphis can be a smart city.

To prime the pump, we'll occasionally ask a question or two, but remember, you don’t have to wait for a question to send in your suggestion or recommendation to

To follow up last week’s initial Suggestion Box feature, we asked this question:

If you were recruiting someone to move to Memphis and you only had a couple of hours to convince that person, where would you take him/her? Why?

Here’s what you said, and we don’t see how anyone could argue with any of them:


Cooper-Young. I would show them how much house they could get for their money, show them the variety of restaurants and shopes within walking distance and how well-kept the neighborhood happened to be.

Tom Guleff:

Trolley ride!!!!


Wild Bill’s! A ride down Walnut Grove Road out East. It’s not my style of hood, but in the spring, it’s gorgeous.


Downtown. Then again, you’d have to ‘splain the Pyramid. The Zoo – we have an awesome zoo.


I would take them to the Flying Saucer on Friday night, because you’ve got a vibrant bar with Beale Street down the way and Peabody Place just across the street. A good, vibrant experience.

Also, the Madison or Peabody rooftop parties could be good. They’re not my scene, but they can be fun and the views are outstanding.

Finally, a Redbirds game. We forget how great that stadium is. Also, I would get them to try the Rendevous BBQ nachos, a treat you can’t find at most ballparks.


HarborTown for recruiting. Winchester/Bill Morris Parkway from Southwind to Collierville FedEx for reality tour.


I would take them on a walk through Midtown ending at Central BBQ; good food and a beer on the patio. Then end anywhere in Midtown for good music. Hopefully, finding Snowglobe or Clanky’s Nub playing.


If the person is being recruited from the Northeast or Midwest, wait until it snows in April (as it did this week), bring them to Memphis, and take them anywhere. With blue sky and budding green, pink, purple and yellow trees, the sale will be much easier.


I love the uniqueness and diversity of Cooper Young, and also second the South Main idea.

We recently entertained a visiting artist for a few days. It turned out that what impressed her most were the more casual, “every day” spots like Soul Fish, P&H and Fino’s.


Agree with anon: Wild Bill’s for sure. That place sold ME on Memphis – after I had already lived here!

Suggestion Box: How About "Real" Cabs?

Mike Hollihan has offered another good suggestion for improving Memphis, and we include it as part of our weekly Suggestion Box feature:

I'll throw out something else to be looked at: the city cab situation. It is unbelievably broken. Twenty to 30 dollars for a cab ride from the airport to downtown? Not being able to hail a cab? Having to wait up to 90 minutes after call for one?

Isn't there a Cab Commission that artificially limits cab licenses to keep profits high and competition non-existent?

Take 'em to the Mississippi and let 'em have a swim.

To which, Carol replied:

Amen to Mike's comments. I am in Pittsburgh today where the airport is a $40-50 cab ride. (It is a very long ride.) But there is a shuttle to downtown for $19.

When I come into Memphis, I usually have no one to pick me up, and the price of a cab ride seems exhorbitant. But there is no alternative. It's cheaper to rent a car than a cab. Something seems really wrong with that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Shelby County Schools Gets "F" For Special District Legislation

It’s hard to see anything special in Shelby County Schools’ bill in the Tennessee Legislature to become a special school district.

More the point, it seems like another one of the county district’s regular gambits aimed at achieving some of its favorite goals – power and control.

Ironically, the loss of some of Shelby County’s most talented Nashville operatives to the Tennessee Waltz investigation gives Shelby County Schools an awfully good chance of getting its ill-conceived legislation approved. In fact, some prognosticators on Capitol Hill say that only one vote may separate the school politicians from success with their bill.


It all seems so amazing and offers a revealing view into the lawmaking process, because at this point, the discussion about the special school district is more about opinions than facts. And yet, Republican lawmakers are all but fighting to get to the front of the line to endorse the legislation.

To make things even more interesting, one of them – Ron Lollar – is also a member of the Shelby County School Board. Despite this, none of his colleagues – always outspoken on the alleged propensity of Democrats to serve two elected offices - even bothers to question his conflicting loyalties. As one commentator has said, if a legislator can get into trouble for using his state office for his personal benefit, is it too much of a stretch to argue that a legislator shouldn’t be able to use his state office for his political benefit in another office?

Of course, when Mr. Lollar entered the race for state representative, he promised to resign his county school seat. But upon election, he ignored his promise and refused to step down from the county office. (Campaigning as a Religious Right candidate, he apparently forgot the passage in the Book of Matthews that says that “no man can serve two masters.”)

Strange Bedfellows

It’s ironic that the Shelby County Schools bill is being supported by metro districts like Nashville-Davidson, because only Shelby County, among Tennessee’s metros, doesn’t have a consolidated school system, and consolidation is a Satanic plot, to hear the county school board members tell it.

These other urban districts have little in common with the county district, but they are lured to the proposed bill by the potential to have the taxing authority promised by the bill.

Regrettably, Memphis City Schools has been reticent to weigh in on this bill, but it seems that it is now recognizing the negative impact that it could have on the nation’s 21st largest school district. With an issue that prompts more questions than answers, Supt. Carol Johnson and the Memphis City Schools Board of Commissioners have taken a well-modulated and mature approach – they have asked for time so definitive research can be undertaken to address the mountain of questions that are left unanswered.

Facts, Just The Facts

It’s hard to argue that an action of this magnitude doesn’t deserve more thoughtful study and analysis. Perhaps, at the end of it, supporters of the special district might even have something besides political expediency to inspire them.

On Capitol Hill, the fiscal note filed with the bill should be red flag enough for legislators. As it pointed out, if this bill is passed, revenues and expenditures would be shifted from county government to the special school district, and this would result in some unnecessary expense to taxpayers; however, the main warning was that “any new special school district would likely have a lower bond rating than for other local governments, resulting in higher interest rates and increased costs to the district in an amount that cannot reasonably be quantified.”

While questions about public education and taxing authority are serious enough to deserve detailed research, it’s equally important to weigh the issue in terms of government accountability, government efficiency and equity in tax policy.

A Messy Divorce

If approved, the county school district would divorce itself from Shelby County Government. No longer would it have to submit a budget to Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton and the county board of commissioners, no longer would it have to answer questions from Mayor Wharton and the commissioners, no longer would county government issue bonds for new schools and no longer would the county set the tax rate for education. Rather, all of these responsibilities would rest with the county school district.

In other words, the Shelby County Schools Board – known for its erratic decision-making, for racially-based decisions that are resegregating some county schools and building schools that are built too big and at the wrong locations – would be given the power to levy taxes for its operations.

No longer would decisions on the amount of taxes earmarked for education rest with a public body – the county board of commissioners – that has to balance the needs of schools with the other vital public service needs of Shelby County.

The 75% Solution

It’s worth keeping in mind that despite the amount of media attention spent on public education, for every family with a child in public schools, there are three with no children in school. If the special district bill is passed, the county school board tips the scales in favor of the 25 percent with children in its schools, because the tax rate set for education would be set in a vacuum free from equally important needs of public health, The Med, parks and green space and emergency services.

In other words, if the bill is approved, it will layer on another level of taxation in addition to those that exist now. Put another way, a citizen in a municipality outside Memphis – say, Collierville – would get a tax bill from that municipality, a tax bill from Shelby County and a tax bill from the Shelby County Schools.

If this isn’t confusing enough, the county district also has expressed interest in using the special district to freeze its district boundaries. As we’ve pointed out before, despite rhetoric to the contrary, the boundaries are already frozen. That came about seven years ago as a result of the setting of the Urban Growth Boundaries in the wake of Chapter 1101 and the “tiny towns” controversy.

Freeze Out

For a couple of decades, freezing the county school boundaries has been held out as a magic answer to turning the tide of the thousands of residents moving out of Shelby County. Again, since only about one-fourth of county residents actually have kids in public schools, this seems to be an overemphasized reason for the exodus (crime, corruption and tax burden would seem more pressing concerns).

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the current county school district boundaries are frozen. If so, the area just south of Germantown in Southeast Shelby County would remain as part of the Shelby County School district. That means that when the area is annexed by the City of Memphis, these students would remain in the county’s schools.

Here’s where it gets tricky. Since they are citizens of Memphis, is it fair for them to pay taxes for Memphis City Schools if they can’t attend them? As citizens of Memphis, would they have the right to vote for board members of Memphis City Schools even though their children don’t attend city schools?

Questions And More Questions

As citizens of Memphis, would they even have the right to vote on the members of the Shelby County School Board, which sets policies for the school attended by their children?

Under No Child Left Behind laws, students are given some rights, such as access to tutoring, transfers to higher performing schools and more. Would students living within Memphis but attending Shelby County Schools have the right to take advantage of the services within the city school district?

And the questions go on and on. That’s why we think Memphis City Schools’ approach is wise. There’s no need to rush to judgment, and it seems a reasonable investment of time to gather more information and determine the facts about a special school district.

At this point, Shelby County Schools hasn’t made a persuasive case in support of the special district, and its past record erodes any confidence that the public should have that its position represents the best interests of this community.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

More Candidates Brighten Mayor Herenton's Mood

Doomsday polling and an accompanying perception of vulnerability are about the only competitive advantage held by Memphis Mayor Willie W. Herenton.

That's because buoyed by polling that shows Mayor Herenton languishing in voter support, additional candidates for mayor are already preparing to jump into the race.

They include an African-American young Turk, an African-American businesswoman and a reasonably well-known African-American man, not to mention a couple of white candidates with major name recognition.

All in all, it's enough to make Mayor Herenton giddy. After all, from his point of view, the more the merrier, because in a badly fractured race, his chances for success grow.

The Dozens

The highly-publicized April 9 poll by The Commercial Appeal concluded that the 16-year incumbent had voter support more in keeping with a novice candidate – 12 percent.

That said, it’s way too early for the other candidates to be celebrating the demise of the most dominant political figure in Memphis’ modern history. Although Mayor Herenton is given to hyperbolic excess when describing himself and his political prowess (not to mention his legacy), he may actually be close to being right when he says that if we want to gauge his real political strength, we need to listen to the people in New Chicago and Boxtown, not the downtown insiders.

While it seems clear that for the first time in his political career, Mayor Herenton is seeing his African-American support vanish, we also believe that it is indeed difficult to accurately poll the mayor’s political base.

Poll Problems

First, it’s difficult to conduct personal interviews with a proportional percentage of low-income African-Americans, because they are more transient than the general population and are less likely to have stable telephone listings. That’s compounded by the fact that African-Americans, more than Caucasians, refuse in greater numbers to participate when called by pollsters.

Second, in addition, African-Americans generally are less open in answering pollster’s questions, tending to answer the questions in ways that they think the pollster wants.

The recent poll by The Commercial Appeal may reflect this phenomenon. When asked for whom they would vote for mayor, only 20 percent of African-Americans said they would vote for Mayor Herenton. Strikingly, when asked their impressions of the mayor, 51 percent of African-Americans had favorable opinions.


By way of comparison, Herman Morris, attorney and former president of Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division, is viewed positively by 37 percent of African-American voters; Memphis City Council member Carol Chumney is viewed positively by 38 percent and former Shelby County Commissioner John Willingham is viewed positively by 22 percent.

In a race destined to be the most polarizing election since Mayor Herenton defeated former Memphis Mayor Dick Hackett way back when, Mayor Herenton’s continued favorability ratings will become the basis for a campaign that targets black voters and all but ignores white ones.

Of course, we are quick to add that the trial heats in these polls make for interesting political gossip right now, but little else. It is way too early for them to mean anything and no real campaigns are under way to galvanize voters’ attention. All in all, it seems clear that Mayor Herenton’s description as a street fighter will never be as apt as in the upcoming race, and that’s why whoever enters the race should be ready to fight to the death.

High County Positives

Despite the strong showing by Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton in the polls, no one close to the second term mayor, who cannot run for reelection because of term limits, is predicting that he will run. They report that Mayor Wharton promised his city counterpart that he would not run against him, and that Mayor Wharton takes his word seriously. Others say that if the two mayors went head-to-head, it would be a bloodletting, because they know so much about each other.

While some business leaders and political insiders are doing all that they can to urge Mayor Wharton into the race because of his positive polling, some of the mayor’s advisors are well-aware that county mayors routinely poll above 75 percent. It seems that voters don’t generally understand what the county mayor does, while in Memphis, any problem seems to stick to the city mayor. While the county mayor’s favorable ratings sit at 82 percent, they are almost identical to those by former Shelby County Mayor William N. Morris Jr. in the 1980s, and as a result, many political observers consider them to be artificially high.

All the polling – there have been two private polls that foreshadowed the one by The Commercial Appeal – has generated a great deal of buzz, if not gossip, in the political community. Some say that the three gloomy assessments of Mayor Herenton’s electability all but doom his reelection, while others contend that because all of the polls were done by the same firm, there’s no secondary validation of the results.

Not Too Favorable

All of this spinning aside, it’s difficult to comprehend that the once invincible city mayor has seen his support crumble to its current level. The overall favorable ratings for the candidates stand at 36 percent for Mayor Herenton, 45 percent for Mr. Morris, 58 percent for Council member Chumney and 31 percent for Mr. Willingham.

And yet, it’s hard to shake the feeling that predictions of Mayor Herenton’s political death are greatly exaggerated. He’s always been a lightning rod for voter anger, and as his campaign unfolds, it will be revealing to see if he plays on his historic role as the first African-American mayor. There are a considerable number of local political observers who just can’t see African-American voters kicking out of office the man that took them to the political Promised Land.

Meanwhile, intermediaries for some prominent local business leaders continue the trek to City Hall to meet with Mayor Herenton. They lay out their polls, tell him that he cannot win reelection and press him to withdrawn from the race. Allies of the mayor suggest that the meetings have actually done just the opposite – increasing his resolve to run and to prove them wrong.

It’s A Matter Of Respect

If the business leaders want to see if they can encourage the mayor to get out of the race, they should call in someone who works with Japanese businessmen. That’s because Mayor Herenton takes a distinctly Asian approach to his political persona. To the mayor, it’s all about face. Now that all of the polling has been made public, Mayor Herenton is put in the position of losing face by bowing out of a race in the face of bad poll results.

We don’t think at this point that the mayor can right a city ship of state that is badly foundering, but we know him too well to count him out. Although it’s way too early to be making declarations about the upcoming race, we can’t help but have the opinion that Mr. Morris’ campaign is a nonstarter and that Council member Chumney’s campaign peaked on the day that The Commercial Appeal poll was published.

That’s why the upcoming announcements could be so exciting. Cities around the country have triggered new eras of success by looking outside the usual suspects to find nontraditional candidates who have brought fresh thinking, candor and regional support to their mayors’ offices.

More Oxygen

Clearly, Memphis needs a breath of fresh air. It’s a rare person who can maintain the same level of energy, focus and vision after 16 years at the helm of a $1 billion a year city government. Mayor Herenton has said that these days he’s looking to his legacy.

We hope that is the case, because if he is, he will set aside his pride and his obsession on paying back anyone who disrespects him, and look ahead to a new challenge. In fact, there’s no decision that he can make that would have a more positive impact on his legacy than this.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Atlanta Offers Lessons In Ethics

There’s often a yawning gap between political rhetoric and reality. But, there’s never been more pressure on Memphis City Council for the two to meet as in the area of ethics reform.

To comply with a state mandate, Council must adopt new ethics rules by the end of June. Even without the state’s urging, ethics would be on city government’s agenda in the wake of well-publicized federal probes and well-traveled rumors about various conflicts of interest.

In 1999, when City Council last wrote ethics rules, the rhetoric far outstripped the results. In the end, its members approved rules that had no real teeth or consequences for violations.

Model Rules

All of that may change. Council Chairman Tom Marshall set ethics reform as the top issue for his one-year term and recruited Councilman Jack Sammons to head up a committee drafting model ethics rules for city government.

Sammons and his ethics committee counterpart on the Shelby County Board of Commissioners, Mike Ritz, have even been working together to pursue the boldest goal of all – to change a culture that they believe erodes the public’s confidence in their local government.

Some political observers say that it can’t be done. Events in Atlanta prove them wrong.

Atlanta's Example

Only a few years ago, Atlanta was rocked by a federal investigation into bribery and payoffs that eventually went all the way to the mayor’s office. In the end, more than a dozen city contractors, senior city officials, and even Mayor Bill Campbell himself were convicted of multiple bribery and corruption charges.

Atlanta turned this national black eye into something positive. The call for change led to the election of Shirley Franklin as mayor in 2002, and through force of her personality, she immediately pushed through new ethics rules that were unimaginable only a short time before.

As recently as last year, she proved that she hasn’t taken her eye off the ball, vetoing a resolution by the Atlanta City Council to relax her Code of Ethics to allow its members to accept gifts and gratuities worth less than $75. Here, Mayor Willie W. Herenton seems to be letting the Council do the heavy lifting on ethics reform, but as Mayor Franklin proves, there’s no substitute for mayoral leadership.

What To Look For

Council leaders have set an ambitious goal - to pass model ethics rules. If that’s to happen, they’ll include rules that other cities are using, such as:

• Prohibiting any business relationship with local government or its agencies.

• Prohibiting representation by a Council member of a client before a governmental agency.

• Prohibiting the acceptance of gifts or gratuities.

• Disclosing any family member who engages in a transaction with local government that involves a contract, zoning, liquor license, or grant funds.

• Disclosing any relationship or actions between family members and local government and its agencies and prohibiting Council members from voting, participating or discussing any decision involving these agencies.

• Disclosing outside employers.

• Prohibiting travel, meals, or gifts from people lobbying city government

• Prohibiting Council members from representing anyone before a local government agency for 18 months after leaving office

• Disclosing any financial or ownership interest by a Council member or family members in a company doing business with local government.

• Prohibiting the use of city employees or city property for business or political gain, including using them to organize political rallies, soliciting contributions, or preparing campaign material.

• Disclosing ownership of any stocks in a company doing business with city government.

• Prohibiting the use of confidential information for financial benefit by the member or family.


And yet, Atlanta learned that ethics aren’t just about rules. They’re also about enforcement. That’s why the creation of an Office of Public Ethics is almost as important as the rules themselves.

When Mayor Franklin accepted an award five months ago for her advocacy for ethics, she said: “When I was elected, I was determined to raise the bar on ethics in city government, to reclaim the public trust and confidence in city government, and to create an environment of openness and integrity. I am honored to be recognized for what I believe is simply working hard to do the right thing.”

It Begins At The Beginning

It sums up the importance of the work being done here. Mayor Franklin has received national attention for what she’s done in Atlanta - eliminating a $82 million budget deficit, dealing with a growing homeless population, setting in motion a plan to maintain streets that had been ignored for eight years, ending a $20,000 a day fine from state and federal agencies for leaking sewers, reducing the payroll by 1,000 people, and cutting her own salary by $40,000.

Despite all that she’s been able to accomplish, she would sum it up this way: it all begins with strong ethics rules.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Germantown Is Pretty Smart, After All

I’m walking across Poplar Avenue thinking about Mary Cashiola.

In itself, that probably doesn’t make me particularly unique. But it’s the day after her must-read column in the Memphis Flyer, In The Bluff, dealt with Germantown’s smart growth program.

So, here I am thinking about Ms. Cashiola, because I’m walking across Poplar Avenue at Germantown Road, one of those super-wide suburban streets that she says she won’t drive down, much less walk across.

Asphalt As King

But I’m doing just that, wondering with each step when the tragic decision was made that traffic engineers would become chief urban designers for our city and county, contributing roadways that carve our community into dysfunctioning, disconnected sections and that create barriers rather than bonds between all of us.

More precisely, Ms. Cashiola referred to Germantown Parkway as one of these kinds of highways in her column about Germantown. But while I curse the overly wide road I’m walking across, I’m also thinking that Germantown actually gets more right than wrong.

In truth, the highway I’m crossing and Germantown Parkway are not of Germantown’s making. Rather, they were designed by Tennessee Department of Transportation, that bastion of the state’s most powerful special interest – roadbuilders. In the industry’s worldview, there’s never a road design that couldn’t be made better by two more lanes of asphalt.

Pocket Liners

In its infinite devotion to roadbuilders, state traffic engineers have insisted on the devastating designs that sacrifice the quality of our state’s communities in exchange for car-centric highway designs that line the pockets of the political powers who control it.

To its credit, Germantown’s engineers show more sensitivity. Amazingly, Germantown Road, entering the city limits from the south, is still two lanes. The one constant in the city is that the straightest line between two points is never a straight road, and it’s impossible to speed from one side of town to another because roads are not designed for speeds higher than those posted (a common philosophy in roads designed by city and county governments).

In other words, the intuitive message sent to drivers in Germantown is that they should slow down and smell the roses. As numerous studies point out, the overly wide highways popularized by traffic engineers tell motorists to ignore the speed limit, because the road is designed for higher speeds.

Ribbing And Results

While Germantown takes its share of ribbing, both good-natured and not, it’s really hard to demean its public attention to design, ambiance and community.
And don’t make the mistake of thinking that the tongue-in-cheek news reports reflect any serious opposition by Germantown residents to city policies that keep the city off-limits to billboards, restrict sign dimensions and heights, encourage landscaped boulevards and discourage drivers speeding through neighborhoods.

Much of this can be credited to Germantown Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy, who has brought a steady hand and concern for the future to City Hall. Best of all, she resists the temptation to take anti-Memphis positions for her own political benefits or to respond in kind to the periodic outbursts of anti-suburban rhetoric from her Memphis counterpart.

Instead, she speaks convincingly of the inextricable ties – economic and historical - between Germantown and the major city whose orbit dominates its own. There are many public positions taken by Germantown with which we disagree, but at least they have none of the “we versus they” rhetoric often found in Memphis City Hall.


Unlike many suburbs of similar size and with similar commuter predilections, decisions in Germantown are much less likely to pivot on cars than those made in Memphis and Shelby County Governments – not to mention Collierville and Bartlett.

Germantown’s new Smart Growth Plan appears to be built loosely on the now generally accepted principles of New Urbanists. In fact, conventional wisdom to the contrary, Germantown’s population density per square mile is only nine percent less than Memphis itself. In fact, Germantown’s population density is almost twice Collierville’s to the east and Shelby County’s.

Of course, the real difference between Memphis and Germantown is in the density of housing units. Memphis’ density is 20 percent greater than the suburban city, but then again, Memphis’ percentage of unoccupied housing is about three times larger than Germantown’s.

Smart Cities

At any rate, suffice it to say, any city that develops smart growth policies is a smart city, and it’s an approach that could well serve as an example to Memphis and Shelby County where talk about smart growth far exceeds action on smart growth.

Back to Ms. Cashiola, as usual, she points her pen at an important issue in this community, and if you’re interested in the implications of public policies here, you have to read her column each week. Even a reference to the “downtown Memphis renaissance” can’t deter us from hanging on her every word.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Keeping Perspective On The Celebration For Students' Improved Test Scores

In light of The Commercial Appeal's celebration about improved test scores for Tennessee students, we reprise this post from last November:

Tennessee Department of Education Is Generous When The Report Card Grades Itself

The release each year by the Tennessee Department of Education of its State Report Card is accompanied by celebration and rhetoric about improving schools, but it’s the educational equivalent of the Detroit Tigers popping the champagne corks after this year’s World Series.

There’s really not much they should be cheering about.

In recent years, DOE has gotten really adept at churning out press releases about the improving school scores in Tennessee, but they’re more about hype than hope. All in all, the students of Tennessee aren’t performing much better than 14 years ago, and in a word, the Report Card is a farce.

It’s one thing to spin the facts. But this is something else altogether.

Government Spin

All of us expect a little spin from government, and to be truthful, all of us like to interpret situations in our own best light, but in this case, the state deliberately misleads the public. After all, surely no one believes – particularly the administrators in Nashville - that almost 90 percent of Tennessee students in the fourth and eighth grades are proficient in math and reading as shown on the TCAP (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program).

A report written earlier this year by Kevin Carey of Education Sector dramatically showed how much our Department of Education is playing loose with the facts. When compared to the other 50 states, Tennessee Department of Education claims that we are among the top 5 in the U.S. in eighth grade math and reading, fourth grade reading and math, and high school reading.

It’s an incredible claim, especially when a more objective national test of student proficiency paints just the opposite picture for Tennessee. In that test – the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) – Tennessee ranks #40 and its percentage of proficient students is more in the average range of about 25 per cent. In case your math proficiency has been certified by DOE, we point out that this is a difference of about 65 percent

So, how does Tennessee fare so well in its own tests?

It’s Simple In Its Execution

It’s simple, our state lowers its standards to jack up the results. For example, as The Commercial Appeal reported in an outstanding series earlier this year, eighth grade students who answer 40% right in the state’s math test are considered proficient. Just three years ago, they had to answer 51% of the questions right to clear that bar.

At least, it now makes sense why nobody in a fast food restaurant in the state can make correct change these days. They’re getting high marks if they’re only getting 40% right.

But in the interest of fairness, it’s probably unrealistic to expect anything else from DOE. After all, if you were given the power to evaluate your own performance every year, wouldn’t you do whatever it takes to give yourself high marks? Essentially, that’s what happens here, because the much-vaunted No Child Left Behind allows each state to develop their own tests and to define their own levels of proficiency. Faced with loss of federal funding if they don’t make progress under No Child Left Behind, they have strong incentive to massage the results.

To be fair, Tennessee isn’t alone in playing games with the numbers. At least 40 other states are doing the same, which means that No Child Left Behind in the end is the poster child for unintended consequences. Passed by Congress as the way to let the public know if its schools are improving, it does just the opposite by presenting statistics every year that are virtually meaningless if you’re trying to determine if schools are better.

Putting On A Pretty Face

In his report, Mr. Carey puts states on a “Pangloss Index,” named for the character in Candide who, despite all evidence to the contrary, always argued that all was well. On that index, Tennessee’s results rank it as the 11th best state in student achievement when compared to the other 49 states.

Meanwhile, NAEP ranks Tennessee as #40 in student achievement, and more disturbing, since 1992, test scores have been relatively been flat except for fourth grade math.

Since 1994, fourth grade reading scores have moved all the way from 212 to 214; fourth grade math scores have climbed from 211 to 232; eighth grade reading scores have moved a grand total of one point, from 258 to 259; and eighth grade math has gone from 259 to 271.

Curiously, the state Department of Education doesn’t schedule any press conferences to announce these scores, which come from the only national student test that allows us to actually compare students’ performance across state lines.

The Time For National Standards

All of this begs the question of why we don’t have a national standard that allows us to have comparables as part of No Child Left Behind, but in the interest of states’ rights, when the federal law was passed, each state was given the power to interpret their own standards and progress.

As Memphis City Schools Superintendent Carol Johnson said in The Commercial Appeal series: “If every state is going to create its own assessments and tools of what is proficient and advanced, then what’s the point? We’ve got to figure out what is proficient as a nation.”

She’s right, because what’s happening now is perpetuating the cruelest kind of hoax on states like ours. At a time when the economy depends on our ability to produce knowledge workers for the new economy, we’re deluded into thinking we’re making progress. By the time that it becomes clear that we’re not, it will be too late, and we don’t know about the rest of Tennessee, but here in Memphis, we simply don’t have time to waste.

As long as Tennessee is able – and most of all, willing – to set the bar low so proficiency is high, the public is given a false sense of security that the people in the Tennessee Department of Education are taking care of business.

Asking The Tough Questions For A Change

Hopefully, now that Governor Phil Bredesen has breezed to victory and says that education will be his top priority in his second term, he’ll ask the tough questions and demand more out of DOE. He prides himself on his experience as a businessman but what businessman, much less governor, could make wise decision about investment or success if someone is cooking the books.

Tennessee had its own standards in place before No Child Left Behind was even passed in Washington, D.C., and its stated intent back then was to make sure our schools produced students who could compete with students from Singapore and Hong Kong. Over time, this attitude has eroded, with political spin trumping public accountability.

Some things are so important that they should rise above the normal day-to-day politics in Nashville. Surely this is one of them.

Meanwhile, it may have only been curious to us, but after the fine series written by Ruma Banerji Kumar and Halimah Abdullah in March in The Commercial Appeal, the newspaper’s coverage of the release of the Tennessee Report Card last week could have been used to build momentum on those earlier articles. Surely, the paper’s attention span is longer than eight months. They owned this story earlier this year, and it’s a really important one. Let’s hope they stay on it and continue to point out the need for change. Tennessee sure needs it.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Hometown CEO: This Week On Smart City

Getting corporate CEOs involved in civic affairs can be a challenge. Globalization, mergers, consolidations and franchising conspire to keep the attention of top business leaders focused anywhere but in their own hometowns. But the commitment this week's guests have to their local communities runs counter to the larger trend.

Cliff Hudson is chairman and CEO of Sonic, the company headquartered in Oklahoma City that franchises its drive-in restaurants around the country. But Cliff also holds the title of chairman of the Oklahoma City School Board, a position to which he was elected in 2000. Cliff compares the experience of running a major business with running a major school system this week on Smart City.

Carl Guardino has the job of leading CEO involvement in the public affairs of Silicon Valley. His members are among the leading technology companies in the world. So what are they doing involved in housing, transportation, and education in the Valley?

Smart City is a syndicated, weekly hour-long public radio talk show that takes an in-depth look at urban life: the people, places, ideas and trends that affect us all. Host Carol Coletta talks with national and international public policy experts, economists, business leaders, artists, developers, planners and others on the pulse of city life for a penetrating discussion on urban issues.

In Memphis, Smart City is broadcast on WKNO FM, 91.1, at 9 a.m. Sundays. It is also webcast and podcast at the Smart City website, which also has a listing of broadcast times in other cities and the sign up for a weekly newsletter.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Suggestion Box Question Of The Week

To prime the pump for our “suggestion box” feature, here’s a question for your consideration:

If you were recruiting someone to move to Memphis and you only had a couple of hours to convince that person, where would you take him/her? Why?

As we said yesterday, we welcome your recommendations on a variety of subject, but we toss this one out to see if it generates any ideas from you.

Usual Suspects Block Real Progress Following Imus Debacle

Don Imus has now received the death penalty on a unanimous verdict on a charge of sheer stupidity.

Unfortunately, in its coverage of this controversy, national news networks went to the usual suspects for interviews, and because of it, the potential for something good to flow from all this was largely squandered.

We agree with anyone who opposes the objectifying of women, particularly as it is expressed in the demeaning of African-American women and the sexualized bigotry that’s rampant in society today.

The Suspects

But we’re baffled as to why the news media, faced with the opportunity to shine light into a dark corner of American life and contribute to a meaningful conversation about these issues, turn the camera on Reverend Al Sharpton, Reverend Jesse Jackson and Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Network.

In these kinds of racially-charged environments, reporters often shrink from asking questions that seem obvious to the rest of us.

As the Reverends Sharpton and Jackson rightly decried Mr. Imus’ verbal stereotypes and the prejudice pulsing in his words, not one reporter asked them if they regretted and repudiated their own anti-Semitic remarks, which paralleled the behavior they condemned so convincingly but without any subsequent apology.

Accepted Crudity

In his interview, Mr. Johnson pointed out clearly and passionately the idiocy of language like that used by Mr. Imus. But no one bothered to ask him about the role that BET – and the cumulative effect of countless rap videos in which Imus’s description would be considered polite - played in creating a climate that suggests to low-wattage thinkers like Mr. Imus that such crude descriptions of African-American women are acceptable.

Hopefully, now that Mr. Imus has lost both his television and his radio gigs, the news media can move beyond the “blood in the water” aspect of today’s journalism and contribute to a thoughtful discussion of how we can deal with the widespread use of racially intolerant language wherever it orginates and the pop culture that encourages and amplifies the coarsest parts of society.

Localizing The Story

But, first, the media have to move beyond the usual suspects and the usual responses to the new voices and new thinking that populate African-American life in this country. As this week’s controversy shows, there’s an important national discussion still needing to take place.

All of this is the Memphis problem writ large. Here, for example, we have a large, talented and thoughtful group of African-American managers at FedEx and other major companies, and yet, we largely recycle the same old folks that produce the same old civic discussion about our city. If we need anything here, it’s the new leadership and new faces that lead to new dialogue and new behavior.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Smart City Memphis Suggestion Box: A New Feature With Your Ideas For Improving Memphis

A few weeks ago, we got a supportive email from Melissa who recommended that we add a “suggestion box” to the blog so readers could present their recommendations and strategies to address important issues facing Memphis.

We liked the idea, so we’re giving it a try starting today.

We’re pleased that Melissa promised to write one on the subject of her email - talent recruitment and creativity, but first, she had to attend to the small matter of giving birth to her baby.

While we await her contribution, we invite you to submit your suggestions on ideas that could move our city ahead. As you know, we have particular interests in downtown, economic development, smart growth, creativity, talent strategies, branding, oh, well, almost anything related to the vibrancy and success of Memphis.

We Begin

Today, we start with two commentaries, one by Second Strangeness and one by Mike Hollihan.

The former sent an email about the brain drain, and we asked him to elaborate. His response follows.

The other writer has been blogging (Half-Bakered) before most of us knew what the term meant. In an email exchange related to a post, we asked Mike what he would do to turn things around if he were in charge of downtown. His answer follows Second Strangeness.

Together, these two commentaries become the first installment of our “suggestion box” feature. With these features, the emphasis isn't on agreeing, but on provoking new thinking and new discussions. If you’d like to participate, please email your commentaries to Equally important, we hope readers will join in the conversation on the issues raised in the "suggestion box" each week.

The Brain Drain

Here’s Second Strangeness --

The Memphis Brain Drain and its inferiority complex:

Everyone knows that Memphians have a notorious inferiority complex. When a person moves to Memphis they are constantly asked "the question": "Why on earth did you move here?"

This inferiority complex has negative effects on the city that are far reaching. Allow me explain:

Children grow up in Memphis with visions of leaving the city for bigger and better things and never returning. Each fall, the city loses another round of its best and brightest young minds to elite colleges and the majority of them will not return when they graduate from college. Even from amongst those that go to college in Memphis, many of them seek to leave the city as well upon graduation.

Much of this is economic, but a lot of it is also from the inferiority complex in the city. You see, only the losers stay in the city. There are so many Memphis born and raised youth - particularly African-American - that are now living in places such as Atlanta, Houston, or New York. I'd dare to say that the bulk of this outgoing Memphis African-American talent has found its way to Atlanta.

What does it tell you that Memphis' own Harold Ford Jr. is considered to be "too good" (read: too smart and too talented) to return to Memphis permanently?

Replacing this talent isn’t easy.

How much of our leadership has addressed this problem? This fall, we will lose more and next year more until someone recognizes this and makes some changes. Memphis will continue to be passed by other cities that are moving forward with progressive ideas.

It is frustrating to me to walk downtown and see the streets virtually empty instead of being filled with young, talented “up and comers” and future "movers and shakers." This all leads full circle back to the inferiority complex.

Downtown Changes

Here’s Mike’s response:

As for my three things to change downtown. Well, let's assume a magic wand, OK?

1. Get rid of all the commissions and corporations like CCC and RDC, etc. Create a single Office of Downtown Planning directly under the Mayor, answerable to him and then the City Council.

2. Use eminent domain (carefully!) to create some properties where public parking (or privatised public parking) can be built. Parking downtown is a joke and to just keep packing in more events and buildings for them is ludicrous. Memphians have to use cars; deal with it. We need more space for them, rather than forced-pedestrian fantasies.

3. Explore ways to make the western boundary of downtown, at Danny Thomas, less a barrier and definer. South Main is doing fine. The Pinch District was doing well until the knife in the Pyramid killed it, too. Explore ways to use the under-bridge parking lots there as smaller lots tied to new buildings. The Uptown remodelling will catch up the area one day, as will new tenants for the Pyramid; it will just take a while.

4. Speaking of the Silver Snuff Box, I think the City may, again, just have to suck it up and take over the debt so someone will take it over. It's a skyline trademark (like the TA Tower in SF, the Arch in St. Louis, the Space Needle in Seattle) and should be kept. Folks like you may just have to accept that it becomes something attractive to the lumpen-middle class types. Getting it active again just helps the Pinch and surrounding areas.

5. Go ahead and eventually dig up the Main Street Mall. Make it just Main Street again, with traffic, street parking and garages. No better way to get people to come!

6. Build up Mud Island (and keep the name!) with restaurants and nightlife, with large pedestrian bridges back to the downtown. Keep the amphitheater and let someone who can start booking it. And to hell with the FedEx Forum's "first refusal" clause. Force the next owners (soon come!) to take the new deal. Or suck it. Make the river itself a destination and tourist spot, not Beale Street.

7. Boot Performa from Beale Street. Let it go private and to individual business owners. Maybe have a sub-office of Downtown Planning with a Beale Street focus to set some broad boundaries. Frankly, an open-air drunk tank is not a public benefit. It's not "New Orleans-esque," just sad and smelly. I think Sherman W. can offer some really good ideas here.

Jeez. That's seven, not three, isn't it? LOL. Let me add a last one: Change to a strong City Council / weak mayor system. Double the number of districts and make the mayor the administrative arm of the Council. That's a hard sell to black Memphis but I think that system is better for a "city of neighborhoods" like Memphis.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Murderer Wins At Deals Or No Deals In Prosecutors' Office

Continued from yesterday:

Questions That Need To Be Answered

All in all, the disposition of the case raises a number of questions about the local justice system, but before that important conversation could even take place, a Commercial Appeal editorial did its best to shut it down. That’s too bad, because it seems long overdue, most particularly because the effectiveness of the justice system depends on the public’s confidence in its fairness sound decisions.

The good news is that Lawrence Buser, a veteran reporter among the increasingly green staff at The Commercial Appeal, covers the justice system, so despite his own editorial board’s quick acceptance of the prosecutor’s actions, we’re willing to bet that he’s got questions of his own to pursue.

More Questions Than Answers

Here’s some that come to mind:

· Why was the prosecutor’s office not more influenced by the opinions of the Wright family? Is there something about Mr. Wright that it needs to tell us?

· Why did it charge Mardis with capital murder if its case was as thin as they describe it now?

· How did the two witnesses for Mardis negate the cumulative weight of the witness who was told that black inspectors shouldn’t be sent to Mardis’ property, the witness who saw Mardis in Mr. Wright’s truck and the witnesses who were told by Mardis that he killed Mr. Wright in a confrontation over a courtesy citation? Did the D.A.’s office interview the two Mardis witnesses?

· If the attorney general’s office feared that Mardis could win a self-defense argument, did they take statements from co-workers about Mr. Wright’s personality and professional demeanor? Did they get statements from members of the public who received citations from Mr. Wright and reported no problems?

· When does “No Deal” not really mean “No Deal?”

· What do the records of the much-vaunted “No Deal” program show? What percentage of the D.A.’s cases are settled with plea bargains to lesser charges?

· Why didn’t the prosecutor’s office have an alternate theory of the case so it didn’t gamble the entire case with an “all or nothing” prosecution based on its hate crime theory?

· Why did the prosecutor’s office allow Mardis to plead no contest? If the “No Deal” program guidelines are to be abandoned, shouldn’t there at least be a requirement that a defendant has to plead guilty?

· If, as Mr. Henderson says, it’s unethical for the prosecutor’s office to prosecute someone if it doesn't think prosecutors can get a conviction, isn’t it just as unethical to allow that person to be sentenced to 15 years?

· Does the 15-year sentence mean that Mardis will really serve 15 years in prison?

The Verdict Is Out

The Commercial Appeal editorial pointed out rightly that the prosecutors aren’t the bad guys in this case; Mardis is. But it’s up to the public to determine if they are really the good guys, or if they have just become functionaries of an uncaring system. Unlike the editorial writers, most of us can’t reach such immediate opinions with such an absence of definitive information.

Yes, the Wright family deserves to have all of its questions answered. Even more importantly, so does the public.

Until then, put simply, the jury is still out on this one.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Deal Or No Deal In Criminal Court: Murder Suspect Wins

There’s no polite way to put it: the Attorney General’s Office blew it.

In negotiating a plea deal that gave a 15-year prison sentence to a man who killed an employee of Shelby County Government, burned his body with diesel and put whatever was left in junk cars that were crushed, prosecutors shot a hole in their image as fighters on the front line against crime.

And along the way, the case has raised dozens of question, notably one suggesting that the reality of Attorney General Bill Gibbons’ much-ballyhooed “No Deals” program may not live up to its rhetoric.

No Deal Becomes No Contest

Worst of all, the attorney general’s office didn’t even get a guilty plea out of the controversy. The defendant pleaded no contest to second degree murder for murdering Mickey Wright, a Memphis and Shelby County code inspector.

To layer on even more intrigue, the rush to judgment by The Commercial Appeal’s editorial gave credence to prosecutors office's boasts that they can get whatever they want from the newspaper’s editorial board.

Meanwhile, within the newspaper, the editorial inspired retellings of Attorney General Gibbons’ call to editor Chris Peck a few weeks ago when CA columnist Wendi Thomas gave the prosecutor a trip to the woodshed in connection with his culpability for our lawless strip club culture.

Place Your Bets

Within the ranks of the working reporters, the state prosecutor’s office has long been the subject of sarcastic asides, particularly as it relates to the thin skin of Mr. Gibbons himself. As soon as Ms. Thomas’ column was published, some reporters set up a pool to pay whoever could come closest to guessing how long it would take Mr. Gibbons to call Mr. Peck with his latest complaint. The guesses were in hours, not days.

It is commonly accepted at the newspaper by reporters that Mr. Gibbons is a complainer, but reportedly his call to Mr. Peck was more histrionic than normal, demanding that action be taken against Ms. Thomas for doing precisely what columnists do – express their opinions.

But all of that is merely backdrop to the explosion that occurred Friday when the D.A.’s office agreed to a 15-year murder sentence in a case that prosecutors presumed to be a hate crime. In the end, it was an incredible turn of events for a prosecutor’s office that has invested so much in its macho “tough on crime” persona.

Low Threshold For Shock

Making it even more unexpected was that the case was before Criminal Court Judge Fred Axley, who had the power under state law to refuse the plea bargain unless, in his words, “it shocks the conscience of the court.” While defense attorney complains that Criminal Court Judge Axley was a “prosecutor’s judge” have been large dismissed as sentence envy, it’s a reputation that has new currency with his concurrence in the 15-year deal.

All in all, it left the family with a feeling that had become all too familiar for them, the feeling that they were once again abandoned by the system that could deliver the justice that would give them closure after their six years of hell.

Family members thought finally the worst was over. They had endured long lapses in information after the burst of initial concern from county officials. In time, the family’s calls were returned slower and slower and updates on the case became fewer and fewer.


It’s a strange phenomenon, but nevertheless a reality, of the criminal justice system that murdered victims often become just names on a page and families left behind sometimes become seen as nuisances.

Sadly, that’s what happened to Mrs. Frances Wright, widow of the building code enforcement officer that vanished in April, 2001. Mrs. Wright was persistent in her calls to county administrators and the sheriff’s office, and in time, she became just another insistent, unsatisfied citizen rather than the wife of an fellow employee presumed dead.

As a result, the family’s life became defined by days of scaling the heights of hope and others crashing to the floor of despair. It was 10 days after Mr. Wright’s disappearance that his burned out county truck was found in Mississippi. The next day, his ID badge was found.

Prime Suspect

From the beginning, Dale V. Mardis was a prime suspect.

Although the family’s faith in the system was shaken by curt responses and less frequent updates, Mrs. Wright continued to plead for any information about her husband, a well-liked member of the Memphis and Shelby County Building Codes Enforcement Department.

He was last seen at the Lamar address of Mardis, a belligerent white man who had told construction code managers not to send a black inspector to his property. As a result of this threat, it appears that prosecutors put all of their evidentiary eggs into the hate crime basket, and when at the 11th hour, two African-Americans appeared to say that Mardis had been a good friend since childhood, the case unraveled.

Without A Net

We can almost hear Mardis saying that some of his best friends are black, but it’s unclear why prosecutors thought the two African-American witnesses for Mardis could not be offset by witnesses telling about his demands to keep black inspectors away from his property.

In a world whose equilibrium is defined in terms of means, motive and opportunity, the attorney general’s office apparently had no fall-back plan. In an office where public relations often seems as important as public safety, no amount of spinning this time could put a pretty face on its decision to sign on to a plea deal based on a conversion rate of 15 years for murder of a public servant.

The best justification that the attorney general’s office could give was to say that the plea bargain required Mardis to disclose what he did with Mr. Wright’s body. It was small consolidation, because from all appearances, the family would have preferred to forego that bit of information in exchange for a trial.

Chapter 2: Tomorrow